2/10 Catching Up With Pamela’s Progress

February 10, 2014

The last update I had was a few weeks ago and talked of Pamela’s process of getting some closure. I wanted to update everyone with what has been going on and also answer the most common question I hear… “How’s Pam?”

Pam is getting stronger every day – those who know her would say her voice still sounds different. She tries to make it to the athletic club as many times as she can every week… and is exercising her wrist on a regular basis. Her wrist injury is easy to forget but is slow to progress. In general Pamela is much better, still not herself, but we have been told that will take a year.

Pamela was featured in a popular running blog today (another mother runner). The story is for the most part accurate except for some continuity issues and a pretty good recap… click here to read it.

Super Bowl Sunday was not a complete disaster as around 20 of Pam’s Ohio running friends held a benefit 5K to help with medical bills. The event was sponsored by Vertical Runner in Ohio, where Pam spent some time as a part timer. We have not heard how much was raised, but are sure it was a generous amount.

1/29 A Bit of Closure

January 29, 2014

When we left the ICU on December 10th, one of the nurses (Andi) said that coming back to the ICU “healthy” can be empowering for patients who have “graduated.”  That was an understatement.

But first, I will tell you that this has been a processing week for Pamela.  After we met with the first responders on Saturday, she spent some time sitting by the scene of her fall on Sunday… processing.

On Tuesday Pam went to more physical therapy and walked on the treadmill… and then we went to see Doc Platnick.  It was a pretty standard “How is it going?” session that included… we are taking you off this beta blocker and this blood pressure medicine so all you are left with is Coumadin.

And then somehow… Pamela asked a question that led the Doc to showing us pictures from the surgery… HELLO! Needless to say as shocking as these were, I think we both took it in stride and found them helpful for further processing.

So he sent us away, only to be seen at “case study” hearings and a video case study for their practice.

In a closure mood, Pam felt up to heading over to the ICU.

So we headed to room 2118 at Exempla Good Samaritan and immediately someone asked… “May I help you?” And I am thinking… “DO YOU KNOW WHO WE ARE?” At first, they didn’t – then a light bulb goes off and you can see that recognition. Still, it was strange, many of the “regulars” were not there this day as life goes on.

Pamela did not recognize the room – she recognized a glimpse of a view from her bed… but for the most part, those 10 days are lost in her mind… except a few faces and a few traumas.

One face that was awesome to see was Hilary – as I said before, she took care of Pamela and one very anxious/worried husband for 5 of our days there.  I know it was not easy for her as Pamela and I were not the “typical” ICU visitors.  It is hard to explain the gratitude I feel for this person that I only knew in this crazy “hospital world.”

So where are we, on January 29th?  I guess we are still figuring out what post-accident life looks like while people like Pamela’s running friends in Ohio are helping with the numerous bills we have received. The kids are getting back to normal as they are no longer cutting mom slack.  And Pam is only on one prescription, rehabbing at her own pace… which of course is a faster pace than most would tackle.  She is taking a few short shifts at Apple next week – answering the phones, maybe doing some training… it will be good for her to get back to see all her friends and colleagues and put the blue shirt back on.

Doc said that “you should feel better in six months but after a year you will realize it took you that long to get back to normal.”  One whole year… like I said once or twice, it’s a marathon… maybe more like a 50K at Buckeye.

1/26 Visiting With the First Responders

January 26, 2014

On Saturday Pamela and I walked down to the fire department which is probably a mile and a half away.  We went in hopes we would see the EMTs that helped Pamela on that day so we could thank them. Fortunately, the group of guys that helped Pam were indeed working. We were able to thank them and visit for about an hour – we got a lot of answers and were told how much it meant to them to be able to see Pam.  For 99.99% of their cases, they do their jobs, may get a quick update on the condition of the person(s) they helped, but that’s it.

We found out some additional details, including:

  • Most times EMTs try and get out of a scene within ten minutes, For Pam, it was fifty minutes
  • One of the reasons it took so long is that her vitals were steady the whole time… 110 over 80, and she was breathing okay.  So they took the time to wrap Pam in bean bags and air casts – techniques that Craig had perfected from years of working with ski injuries in the mountains.
  • A lot of times EMTs will be called for something that the caller to 9-1-1 will embellish, so they didn’t really know what they were dealing with until they saw her sitting at the bottom of the stairs with the metal rod, indeed, going through her upper body from arm to arm.
  • The rod in question was steel – Pam was hoping it was iron.
  • There was, remarkably, only a drop of blood from the accident… at the exit wound.  (Quite a contrast from the 20 units of blood required for the surgery)
  • Lisa (neighbor) held Pam’s arm up the entire time because it hurt when she lowered it.
  • Again, Pam never went into shock – details are hard for her to remember because of the pain killers they gave her (fentanyl).
  • Pam couldn’t remember how she got up the stairs – so they pulled out the chair they used to bring her up (pictured on right).
  • Jessey said that he called into the hospital twice to tell them what happened and what to expect, the vitals, etc.  Each time the dispatcher’s response was the same… “bull shit!”  No one had ever heard of such a thing (in real life)
  • As if we didn’t need one more instance to say what a miracle this whole thing was – the EMTs said that the CT Scan showed that the most logical explanation for why the rod did not go through her lungs was because she was breathing out at the time of the fall – and her lungs were a smaller target when the rod was going through her. Had her lungs been full, it would have surely gone straight through both.

Paul mentioned that they would be writing this up for their first responders trade publication as (hopefully) this is a story others can learn from.  This of course is in addition to the case study that Dr. Platnick and his team will be doing. Paul said he asked Dr. Platnick if this would make his book… to which he responded, “this will be the cover of my book.”

And finally, the offending steel rod was about 41 inches long with a stand.  it was thin on top and probably had a diameter of a 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch at the bottom.  It tapered to smaller as you got towards the top.  This may explain how it went in and out so clean as she fell on the top. They had to cut a portion of each side off so she could fit in the CT scan – below is a picture of the ends that were cut off.

We are so grateful for the great team we got at Rocky Mountain Fire – they were flawless – thank you boys!

1/19 Unfinished Business

January 19, 2014

No, this is not about the Broncos… but yay!  Last night we went to a “Holiday Party.”  Why on January 19th?  We were to host the Superior (Colorado) Run Club’s Holiday party at our house on December 7th.. For obvious reasons that did not happen.

We were able to attend for a short time as Pam gets tired after an hour or two of activity.  It was good for us to see and thank all the people who brought meals and have helped in a myriad of ways over the past 7 weeks.

Earlier in the day – a day that had a high of 60 – we walked for 3 miles with a stop for lunch in between.  We didn’t break any pace records but it was a beautiful day and we had a nice walk.  Then Pam fell asleep.

Speaking of running clubs and friends – Pam’s Ohio group, recognizing our upcoming bills and significant medical bills, are holding a 5K Benefit Ron on February 2 (click for details). The generosity and recognition of our continuing challenges is felt and appreciated.

So how is Pam?  Her voice is getting better so that she sounds hoarse rather than sultry/whispery. She gets really tired and I would say sleeps a total of 12 hours a day. If she does something in the morning that requires energy, she will need a nap.  For the past 3-4 days she has stopped taking pain pills (oxy) during the day. Off these, she can drive short distances. Usually around 3 or 4 she starts to feel pain and I have to hide some Tylenol in chink of cheese or grind it up in a ginger ale… seriously, the girl who hates pills relents and takes the pills, but not without agitation.

1/14 Words from the Docs

January 14, 2014

Summarizing the past several days, it would be most appropriate to go through the recent doctor appointments.  Friday we say Pam’s primary doc who was pleased with her INR and said she didn’t need to see Pam until the beginning of February to evaluate her.  What?!?!?  Three and a half weeks in between appointments?  This seems like a big step.

The rest of Friday morning was Pamela visiting the PT at Lakeshore Athletic Club in Superior and then walking another mile on the treadmill.

Friday night we felt really adventurous so we decided to go to a movie… Saving Mr. Banks… okay movie, not as uplifting as we would have liked.

Monday we went to the hospital physical therapy and she was evaluated by the folks who do the post-cardio type therapy.  She was put through the all the tests, passed them, and told… “don’t come back, we can’t help you.”  So that is pretty great.

Tuesday we went to visit Dr. Platnick at Blue Stone Surgical. For those of you in Colorado, if you know him – thank him.  We hit the lottery with him and his team.  Doc cut back some of Pam’s prescriptions and said she is on track to do some “short shifts” at work (Apple) before the end of the month. He recommended that she do what feels best – if PT from her sports therapist at Lakeshore helps, do that… and so we will. We are going back to Blue Stone in two weeks.

Thursday will take us to the ortho – we will see how long she needs to wear the brace.

1/9 The Clap In

January 09, 2014

At the Apple store there is a tradition to “clap out” employees as they move on to bigger and better things on their last day.  I don’t know if they do this for everyone, but I had stumbled on one in November on accident and it is pretty cool.

On Tuesday Jack had an Apple Store appointment to have his phone looked at and Pam was going to come along to get out of the house.  I knew Pam would make the trip and told the store leader (Kellie) that Pam was coming in at 4:45.  I suggested that a “clap in” would be pretty cool. For those of you who do not know, Pam works at the Apple Store.

As we walked up to the store Pam mentioned that the store was awfully busy.  I thought I knew what was coming (as I had seen a clap out) but I really had no idea.

As soon as Pam entered the store there was a roar that I am sure could be heard throughout the mall.  Her colleagues and friends cheered for her for a good five minutes as she walked from person to person, embracing them and raising her arms in triumph.  I was so blown away and choked up. I wish I would have taken video of this but to tell you the truth – I was caught off guard with such a moving and raucous reception.  I want to thank all the employees that were there – as many who were not working that day just showed up for the “clap in.”

Earlier that day Pam went to see a sports physical therapist that she had seen during her training that is attached to her gym.  He worked with flattening her out and stretching out her chest muscles.  After PT she walked on the treadmill for one mile… that’s right Pamela Adams “You are an Iron Man.”

The challenge right now is what kind of physical therapy she should have.  We tried the “sports impact” on Tuesday and will try the more traditional one at the hospital next week. The difficulty is with the fact that there is no playbook for this type of injury.  if she had open heart surgery they would have heart monitors, etc. as part of her PT – but she did not have surgery on the heart, merely the same type of open chest surgery.  We are feeling our way.

1/5 A Few Days Off


January 05, 2014

Jack’s good friend Jack Linert (from Ohio) got here shortly after Christmas and went home today.  I know it was good for all of us to see him, especially my Jack.  The trip was long planned – and even ironically was cancelled last minute last year due to Jack L’s own shoulder injury. A few surgeries (Jack’s, my shoulder, and Pam’s) and a year later, we were thrilled he could visit for a ski trip. And so we went – Jack, Jack, and myself to Keystone, Breckenridge, and Vail for a three day trip after a visit to the mall and whatever else boys do in Superior.

I wish I could tell you the trip recharged my batteries… but it was probably more alone time than I could handle as being with one’s thoughts as much has happened the past 35 days or so was probably not the best use of my time.  But I got the boys home unscathed with no surgeries pending… so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Now on to Pam – as I write this she is watching Downton Abbey – so her love of pretentious British nonsense has returned.  What hasn’t is her voice, her strength, and in general her energy.  BUT she did get the cast/splint off the other day and got removable splint as the doc says he wrist is healing nicely. She will have to wear that for a few weeks and then will be pronounced “healthy”… or maybe just her wrist. She continues to get her INR checked on a regular basis and is coming in at a healthy 3.0… a tad high but manageable.

I was able to leave Pam’s side for a few days thanks to Pam’s parents who are here and heading back Monday for Ohio.

I would encourage you to reach out to Pam directly as it definitely helps he spirits and means the world to her.

As for me, I will continue to write – we have had so many visitors and lots of people encouraging me to keep the blog going.  I am wondering if that is of interest to people… as always, comments are welcome. I look forward to the day that we can focus on ME.

12/31 Auld Lang Syne

December 31, 2013

As we close out the year I am thinking of this song and its translation as “time gone by.”

The time gone by… the people who have come in and out of our lives in just 31 short days is literally overwhelming.

This has easily been the longest month of my life and I wasn’t the one in a hospital bed for most of it. I look towards January 1, 2014 as perhaps a day to start our road back to normalcy.  And yes, I mean our.  The entire Adams family has been impacted by the events of this month, Pam’s accident, and her miraculous recovery.

My New Year’s resolution will be two very different things – one would be not to take anything for granted… the other to get back into life and the swing of it. To get Think moving on all cylinders again.  To get out on the slopes.  To enjoy Pam and the kids as much as possible.  And to cheer on the Pacers to an NBA championship… or maybe not… time will tell.

Today we went to the surgeons’ office and Pam’s primary doc’s office.  First off, the surgeon was amazed at Pam’s progress.  He took her off a few of her pills and we talked about physical therapy.  This is a bit different that the typical surgery in that her heart was not operated on, although she had open chest surgery… we are still feeling our way and her primary doc will be offering some suggestions.  Pam’s INR is at 3.1, a tad high but overall good.

She goes back on Friday for more consultation.  On Thursday we have a follow up with the orthopedic surgeon so hopefully she will get out of the splint.  We will see.

In general, Pam is very weak, tired, and has a difficult time breathing.  On the other hand, she is more and more like herself every day.

In the meantime… no matter where you are, if your small-to-medium sized business needs marketing support, let me know. Hey… I have sold a lot of product on this blog, maybe we could get a little love for my business.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and will provide an update no later than this weekend, sooner if it is warranted.

12/29 Home for the Holidays


December 29, 2013

Hi all – I wanted to update everyone on Pamela’s progress. As you know, she got home Christmas Eve. She has been getting a little better every day.

Christmas Eve she slept in a La-Z-Boy recliner and woke up in the middle of the night not especially comfortable.  Christmas was everything we could have hoped for and more and my gift to Pam seems to come every four hours or so with a new round of pills.

Another uncomfortable night of sleep and I went to the medical supply store to get her a foam wedge that allows her to sleep like she did in the hospital… at an incline as it is tough for her to breathe should she just lay flat.

We had two trips to the doctors on Thursday and Friday for them to take her blood to measure where she was/is with the Coumaden blood thinner. And yes… she gets car sick… and it is worse than ever.  In the past her cure for it is to drive. For obvious reasons she won’t be driving any time soon.

Thursday was a beautiful day and we took a short walk and sat outside… we will find out so much more tomorrow as we fave several follow-up appointments. I will post details Monday or Tuesday.

12/24 I’ll Be Home for Christmas


December 24, 2013

I have to tell you, the past 24 hours have been a whirlwind.  We went from extreme lows last night when Pamela was convinced that she would be stuck in the hospital through Christmas to this morning when Dr. Platnick woke us up at 7:30 and said… “Merry Christmas… go home.”

The rest of the morning was a series of procedures and paperwork and lots of instructions (we are up to eleven prescriptions).  There were visitors wishing her well from the hospital including Hilary, one of her ICU nurses. I cannot imagine how rewarding their job must be to see someone like Pam walk out of there. And yes, she walked. Would not take the wheelchair ride… she walked out of there.

There will continue to be major hurdles and we have a long road as coming home from the hospital is merely the first step in recovery,

As I write this Pam is sleeping in a lounge chair in front of the Christmas tree – so thrilled to be home.

I will continue to update this, albeit a few times a week and not daily… I wanted to say a few things beyond the thanks I have for Pam’s awesome Blue Stone medical team at Exempla Good Samaritan.

First of all, I want to than our new community of Superior, CO. The love you have shown Pam and by extension me will never be forgotten.

My clients who have been oh so understanding and taken less productivity this month as a fact of life and a commitment to me and my business.

Ryan Grassie – who has been my partner and friend for three years – he has always had my back and will always cover for me… may I never have to return the favor.

All of our friends and family from across North America – your love, prayers, and support has gotten us through some brutal times.

And finally, I would like to thank my wife Pamela for being a fighter. She always kept her head up and battled through what would have beaten most men/women.  I have never been more proud to call you my wife and I hope that we will never lose this perspective we have now.

Merry Christmas everyone.

12/23 Not Much To Tell

December 23, 2013

Pam’s INR is 1.8. It SHOULD be 2.5 before they send her home but they will let her go home as long as it is in the 2’s.

Each morning we find out the number… and tomorrow will be no different. Either she will be on her way home or she will not be able to have another shot at it until Christmas morning. That is all I’ve got.

Zoe and I went for a long visit early today and I am headed back now.  Have to go to a 24 hour place to find something that is one step better than “crap” for the stockings.  Stockings are really a mom thing… I kind of suck at it.

Merry Christmas and thanks for following. If she is coming home I will post to Facebook… either way I will have another update tomorrow night.

12/22 Three Weeks Later


December 22, 2013

It is easy to get mad as Pamela continues to wait and see her INR get farther, not closer to what it needs to be to get her home.

But three weeks ago Pam was on the table – after I was told her making it to the hospital alive was a miracle and to “prepare for the worst” in the middle of surgery.  It was the longest hour of my life… waiting to hear if they could stop the bleeding and save her.

Obviously, they did… and here we are, frustrated she is still there but so grateful.  Perspective.

This morning I got there early and we spent the morning together.  We got her a shower and we walked down to the first floor coffee stand where she got some sort of mint-white chocolate tea.  Walking back her left upper leg really started to hurt – we will need to see what the story is there… I am guessing more “non threatening” blood clots. We will see maybe with an ultrasound tomorrow.

Came back in the evening. The hospital floor is a bit of a ghost town as no one would schedule procedures around this time, so the people here are all emergency type folks.

That is all I have for now. I would encourage her friends to text or FaceTime her as the days are long and mind numbing.

12/21 Not Today or Tomorrow Either

December 21, 2013

There is not a lot to tell today.  Pam called me early this morning to let me know that it would be “Monday at the earliest” according to the doctors.

They raised her blood thinner dose today and will not attempt to see if she can live without the blood thinner at an acceptable INR number until Monday morning.  If her number is not right, I would guess home for Christmas is out.

Zoe spent about an hour with Pam on FaceTime today – staying away as she has a bit of a cough.

I was there this afternoon – we napped and walked around the floor. There is a couch outside her room where she sits and reads her iPad… getting out of the room helps.

Visitors are encouraged as she is going a tad stir crazy and I would not classify today as a “high morale” day.

12/20 Not Today


December 20, 2013

So we continue to wait for the INR (see yesterday’s post for those fun details).

Went in this morning and Pam was eating like a champ… I think she is getting more of her appetite back. Her sodium is still low and they are limiting her water intake… which they have been doing for at least two weeks.  So we get the “naked” brand protein shakes as those don’t count against her “water count” and – according to Pam – are tasty. Maybe I should start selling ad space on the blog… Miracle woman endorses Naked Protein Drinks as the reason she survived… cut to her surgical team saying, “Hey what about us?”

They took her down for an ultrasound today on her right leg – her calf continues to be in pain and they and Pam wanted to see what they are dealing with. The result was that she indeed has a few clots that are causing the pain but that they are “not threatening.”

I got sent home by Pam to try and get some work done… most of our clients have been very understanding and my partner Ryan has been awesome in covering for me… but I am the only one who can write (to my standards), so I need to catch up.  As I write this, I am having a hard time focusing on writing work blogs… I am sure I will do them this weekend, but something about Pam not being home… or her still being there… makes it hard to focus. Plus there’s the whole sleep deprivation thing.

The housekeeping service that so many of you donated to came today – had her focus on Pam’s living quarters when she comes home… the first floor.

Stay tuned… maybe tomorrow.

12/19 INR

December 19, 2013

Web MD says this about “INR.”

INR stands for international normalized ratio. The INR provides some information about a person’s blood’s tendency to clot (which is often described as how “thin” or “thick” their blood is)… it is checked to monitor a person’s response to blood thinners such as warfarin  (Coumadin).

Why does this matter?  Because Pam needs to be above an INR of 2 about six hours AFTER she is off the IV blood thinners.  In other words, they are measuring her ability to clot on just the Coumadin before they send her home.

So we waited.  And waited.  They prepped us by getting me to go down to the pharmacy and pick up her prescriptions… which turns out to be a record for the Exempla pharmacy… ten.

At the end of the day her level was 1-point-2.  So this was very discouraging as this could have been a very good day indeed had it been above two. So we will go through this day after day until they get the levels right I suppose.  It could take another day… it could take two or three.

And speaking of blood clots, Pam’s lower leg is in some pain – they figure this is a blood clot that will eventually go away with the blood thinners… again she needs thin blood, but not too thin (not less than 2).

She had a shower this morning and her Apple buddy Donny came to visit which I know Pam appreciated.

I am going to take Petie in there tonight to cheer her up.

12/18 Home Stretch


December 18, 2013

Came in this morning and Pam was back in her t-shirt and sweat pants.  Her wrist is still in pain but less painful than before. Hopefully it gets better every day.  She is taking most of her medication in pill form now… and that little pill cup was full with probably about 10 pills.

We (she) had breakfast quesadilla chock full of veggies for breakfast and Karen stopped by for lunch with Chipotle.

She had a PT session that focused on balance and keeping it when walking. She had some cognitive tests and probably did better than I did (my excuse is that I was half listening and typing this).

Last night I was curious as to how much “traffic” the /pamela portion of my website (the Pam blog) was getting.  And I was literally blown away.

So then I was curious as to WHERE the visits were coming from and saw that we have had visitors from 45 of 50 states.The darker blue the more visitors. I guess Pam has no followers in Montana, West Virginia, New Mexico, Hawaii, or Arkansas.


PLUS we have Canadian friends… which is GREAT because Canadians are the greatest people ever… the breakout is below.


I am just so blown away and grateful that so many people are following and care for Pamela.

Heading home to watch the Pacers Heat game and then go Christmas shopping.

12/17 Wrist Surgery Day


December 17, 2013

So today’s surgery was scheduled for 3:00. You don’t think about it when they tell you the scheduled time… but the waiting makes for a long day,

Pam had a rough night so did not wake up until 10 and was unable to eat because of the surgery.  So we sat and waited.  I started reading some of the blog comments to her and she was of course touched.

Her physical therapy today was steps.  Stair steps. She climbed four steps… twice.  Then it was back to the waiting.

They took us for her prep around 2 and she did get in right at 3.  The surgery required a small hockey stick shaped incision (maybe 3 inches by 2 inches) to they could repair the bone with a few screws and a metal plate.

Actually, she does not have a cast – it is a small splint that she can remove. I guess the plate provides that stability.

She got back into the room at 6:30 and was in a lot of pain… “they” say bone pain is some of the worst pain… now they tell us.  She is resting and I am hopeful she will sleep from now through to the morning.

And so we seem to be on the last leg of the hospital part of the journey as the staff is hopeful that she will get out of here Sunday.  Stay tuned, I will continue to keep everyone updated.

12/16 Sixty-Five and Sunny


December 16, 2013

So for those of you that don’t live in Denver/Boulder – you may not realize just how crazy our weather can be… today it was 65 while a few weeks ago it was in the teens. So Pam got outside today… read on.

The Ortho Doc came in today to tell us that her wrist surgery is scheduled for 3:00 tomorrow (Tuesday). This is both a relief and a source of anxiety. It is a minor surgery… but surgery is surgery.

I brought some sweatpants and t-shirts from home so that she could get out of the hospital gown and start to feel a little more normal – so she actually got dressed today.

Around 2 o’clock her main Doc (Platnick) came in and there was lots of discussion around what she should be doing for rehab and whether she should be going home and do outpatient rehab or go to a rehab center for a few days to a week.  Needless to say this is a big deal conversation regardless as it means she is getting closer to being released.

Pam is motivated to come straight home… so as many of you know, when she’s motivated, she pushes herself.  She took a long walk to the elevator, down to the first floor, and outside.  We sat with her occupational therapist outside for a half hour.

So here’s what the next week looks like as we are rapidly approaching Christmas… surgery on the 17th and she will probably be feeling the effects of the general anesthesia until the 18th. At this point they will take a few days (2-4) to make sure she is stable and able to come home and get the “right” level of the blood thinner (Coumadin) in her system pill-wise.

12/15 Two Weeks In


December 15, 2013

As this happened on the first of the month it is easy to keep track of how many days have gone by. It still feels like an eternity.

Pam’s parents flew back to Ohio today. Shortly after Doc Platnick came in and said the goal was to just have a “good day” and figure out other things (arm surgery, etc.) on Monday.  The only thing really to report medically is that they are still limiting her water intake to 800 ml a day as her sodium levels are low.She also has long nights as she gets nauseous overnight. She says the nights are the hardest.

The kids were able to visit for an extended time when she was actually sitting up and alert. Then the next door neighbors (Susan and Jim) came by to visit which I know Pam appreciated.

But Pam’s special visitor today came later… her lap dog Petie. They allow dogs under “special circumstances” as long as you let them know and bring them in in a crate.  I don’t have one so we stuffed him in a duffel bag.

12/14 Two Steps Forward… Maybe a Half Back?


December 14, 2013

Pam’s parents are leaving tomorrow morning so they did most of the visiting today.  I can tell you that when I was there this morning she was in great spirits.  She is back on her phone and even posted on Facebook a quote from the movie Gravity from Sandra Bullock… “I hate space.”

Her temporary splint/cast covers most of her left hand so she is typing with one… when the new cast gets set, hopefully it will free those five additional fingers up.They are saying early in the week for the arm surgery… probably will not know a day/time until Monday.

As a food snob, she is having me bring some food in as hospital food, although passable taste-wise, makes her nervous as she does not trust what is in it.  She loves Noosa (Colorado company) honey flavored yogurt and tonight I took her some spaghetti prepared by a kind Apple co-worker’s wife (Santino and Lauren).  We have had meals brought to our house every night – it really is quite amazing that everyone is rallying around us like this.  We have only been here for a year and sometimes you feel like you know so few people… but this has certainly changed our feeling on that.

Her blood work is better and they cleared her pic line so it is easier to draw blood.She has been nauseous the past few nights so they will take care of that with some anti-nausea pills every night.

They wrapped her arm up in a plastic bag and gave her… that’s right… a shower.  It is funny how a simple thing like a shower can be such a big deal in lifting spirits.

Pam then got some news that was discouraging but we try and remind ourselves that this is just a road block… not a set back. First is she has small blood clots in her longs that can be managed with a blood thinner pill (coumadin) for six months.  AND she has fluid collecting in the lung that collapsed – so they at first said they were going to put a small drainage tube in for a few days to get rid of that.  Then they decided to monitor it instead.  They are really trying to keep the incisions to a minimum.

12/13 False Alarm


December 13, 2013

The doctor came in this morning… he is one of the three partners that operated in Pam on “the day,” and informed us that he and his partners decided not to operate on the hematoma today.  Trying to limit the incisions and opportunities for infection.  And the hematoma can wait a week, a month or whatever.

Before sending her in they told me that she is anemic and needs two units of blood – so this delayed her going down to the OR as they prepped/matched her blood. Because the OR was booked all afternoon, her surgery was delayed until 7:30.

And finally, they decided that with the anemia they would just wait until next week.  So it was one big long tease today.  On the bright side she walked about twice as far as she has to-date. They are giving her a few units of blood that will hopefully help curtail the anemia.

I wanted to get this up early as I know she was in a lot of people’s thoughts and prayers – especially today.  I will update this later if there is anything of note that happens… in the meantime, here is a picture of the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree in Pam’s room.  A big thanks to Karen for this.

12/12 We’re Walking


December 12, 2013

Lots of sleep today, less pain… and some walking.

This morning I came in and Pam was sleeping. I am not sure I knew how tired I was (or maybe I did) and I fell asleep sitting up… that never happens when I am not in an airplane.

Woke up… some light activities (keep in mind a big activity can be getting up and going to the bathroom)… lunch… a few light activities with PT and another nap.

In the afternoon she walked around the room once… and that makes her tired. She does like sitting and looking at the view  (below).

Later in the day she took a walk outside the room, around the nurses station, and back to the room – big progress.  I was also scolded that she “likes flowers” when there is a wedding or hospital involved… who knew? I guess not me.

Tomorrow is a big day as she is having her arm surgery and they are also removing her hematoma. Surgery is scheduled for 12:30 MT – which means they will wheel her down around 11:30 and she will be back in her room around 3 or 4.

12/11 Happy Birthday Pamela

December 11, 2013

Tough day… but it was a bona fide birthday.

She was up and sitting when I got there… which I thought was encouraging… but I guess the air mattress/massaging bed had finally made her nuts. Keep in mind that Pamela gets motion sick when she drinks water too fast… so it was overdue and they got her an old school mattress.

Doctor Platnick came in and took out the chest tube again… this time no lung collapse, but later I found out that her lung deflated “a tad,” less than the equivalent of 10 percent… it should be fine and heal itself.

So the happy birthday you are getting this tube out moment kind of made the day tough as she was in pain most of it and when I took the kids by to see her in the evening… she was out from the pain meds.

Weird birthday. I hope in the coming days to be able to read her all the well wishes that were sent – but she honestly could not absorb anything today.

12/10 Some “Normalcy”


December 10, 2013

We had a good morning – I got there about 8:30 and she was seated in the reclining chair. We ordered breakfast and she had two poached eggs, a bit of cream of wheat, some orange flavored tea… and a popsicle,

She then walked from one end of her room and then back and was pooped… so to sleep she went.  I was able to go home and do some work while she rested. Her parents are in town and taking afternoon shifts sitting with her.

In the afternoon we got some great news – after 9 nights in the ICU, they are moving her to a “normal” room on the surgical floor. This remains her own room and the net-net is they consider her well enough to move to a floor where there are less nursing resources but more convalescing and therapy resources.  My understanding is if you wanted to send something (keep in mind she is not a big flower gal), you could to Exempla Good Samaritan in Lafayette, CO.

Speaking of nurses – there are so many who were good to Pam and got her through these past several days including Hilary who had Pam for five of her days.  I cannot even begin to explain how much these nurses do and how they take care of the family members (me) as well. Andi was especially important to me as we only had her officially for the first day of Pam’s stay, but whenever she was working she was sure to stop in and check on Pam and I. She took the time to speak and comfort me on several occasions. I don’t know how to explain it, but I could not have made it through the past 9 days without either of them as well as Kristen who we had over the weekend.

Tomorrow… The 11th… Is Pam’s birthday.

12/9 One Long Day


December 09, 2013

Today started well enough – Pam ate a lot for breakfast, was extremely alert and upright in a recliner-type chair.  And the docs were talking about moving her out of the ICU.

Then around 11:30 Mountain Time they decided to take her last chest tube out – it was time. When it came out it apparently dislodged a clot and her right lung collapsed… so time for the chest tube to go back in.  Another procedure.

So when that’s done they tell me she has some bacteria in her intestines… They call it the C-Diff bacteria.  Not great… not terrible.  You get this bacteria in your intestine as a result of antibiotics. I guess when you have a metal rod through you they give you a lot of antibiotics,

Tonight she was in more pain than I have seen her in since the middle of last week.  It is the result of the new procedure… the chest tube, the new incision.

Currently surgery for her arm and the hematoma is scheduled for Friday.

So not all days can be good days. But every day she is still with us is a good day. A bump in the road. I am really desperate for a good day tomorrow.

12/8 One Long Week


December 08, 2013

It is hard to believe it has been a week. I know both Pam and I are having a hard time discerning the days

Today Pam sat out of bed for two long stretches. She had one more of her many tubes removed and I think we are down to one drainage tube.

She is starting to ask for the protein stuff she used for training. So if anyone in the area knows where to find orange power bar brand protein shake powder let me know.

Pam’s parents arrived Friday night and are settling in.  I am hopeful they can relieve me some afternoons so I can work.

They say there is such ha thing as ICU delirium. I think we both have it. Hopeful she gets a regular room soon.

Hope to have more answers tomorrow as the Docs are back in (I assume) on a more regular schedule.

Her arm is still not fixed and maybe we will get her into surgery this week for that.

12/7 Peaches and Cream Chairs


December 07, 2013

Today was a good day from start to finish. I went in early in the morning and she was resting comfortably… taking in ice chips.

Around 11 we moved her over to a chair (a cream colored chair, see below) and she sat for an hour, leaning on me while they washed her up and her hair.

She whisper talks a bit – 2 or 3 words at a time.  At 4 the nutritionist came in to run her through some drills to see if she was ready to get on a diet… this included drinking water and eating peaches.  She passed with flying colors and later had some strawberry/banana smoothie and a bit of sweet potato.

They took out a few of her drainage tubes as they were not doing anything anymore (a good thing) and closed her exit and entry wounds. As a reminder, this is right under her left arm and right arm. Squeamish much?

At 4 the ear-nose-throat doc came in to ensure her vocal cords were not paralyzed as this was a fear… they are NOT. She will be talking with a raspy voice for a while (as in a  month).

Jack and Abby were able to see their mother briefly yesterday and I brought Zoe in to see her for 10 minutes today – I know they all felt better to see her.

12/6 (Extubation Day)


December 06, 2013

So today was rough until it wasn’t. The end of the day Dr. Platnick removed the tube from her throat. She is resting now… but before that:

Her blood count was low and they gave her two liters of blood.She got sick… which led to the extubation as they determined that there was no reason for her to be nauseous other than the tube down her throat… so they asked her if she wanted the tube out.  Needless to say she quickly nodded and was more alert than she has been all week. For a bit.

So after a tough couple days we had a good end of it. Getting her off that ventilator is HUGE… plus I took the Pam-mobile out to get a tree, which Jack says “does not smell like Christmas, just smells like tree.”  Oh well – another reason we need Pamela at home.

12/5 Update (Day Four of Recovery)

December 05, 2013

When I walked in from dropping the kids off at school they were wheeling her off to get a CT scan as she had signs, and the C.T. scan confirmed, of some internal bleeding and a hematoma. For now we are in a holding pattern as it is in a non-life threatening area (where the rod went in under her right arm) – but will eventually need to be dealt with in the O.R… probably next week.

They also ruled out taking her off the ventilator today. So maybe tomorrow.

All morning she was out – on a dose of Adavan as they were giving many tests.

They have also taken her off the heparin as they are feeling like clotting is no longer a concern.. for now.

At about 1:30 they came in to give her some basic physical therapy…move her legs and one good arm… move her up in the bed.  As you would suspect, she is alert during that time… but her alertness is limited to nodding and shaking her head… she keeps her eyes closed for the most part.

The surgeons came in around 3:30 to check her out… they remain pleased with Pam’s progress.

12/4 Update (Day Three of Recovery)


December 04, 2013

Short update as I am waiting for Pam to get back from a procedure…

  • They tried taking Pam off the ventilator today but could not as her trachea is still too swollen… maybe tomorrow.
  • Her sedation started at 100… was lowered to 50 yesterday and 25 today… so we are making progress. 100 of what? I have no idea. So she ends up in a tad more pain BUT as it should take no one by surprise, she can take it. (EDIT… it is fentanyl according to the nurse)
  • More on her arm/wrist… the bone that is broken is called the radius, they are thinking surgery early next week.
  • They are feeding her through a tube.
  • They put a “pick line” in a few minutes ago… so it is easier to draw blood.

The kids are hanging in there – they miss there a mother, especially Zoe.

12/3 (Day Two of Recovery)

December 03, 2013

Today’s update is rather short and sweet as this was a day of healing and no obvious milestones. BUT plenty of good news.  Her pain meds/sedation was about half of what she had yesterday… she was much more alert today for longer stretches.

Pam remains on the ventilator which the docs say is to be expected – she still breathes on her own some, but her trachea is swollen and they need it to heal before they take it out – they will reevaluate this tomorrow.

All day doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists came it just to see her.  I was thinking this was normal – but I guess it isn’t… what was happening is one by one, members of the 12 person team come in to see her… and they just shake their head and smile.  One anesthesiologist said to me “we will always remember her and that night – everyone in that room.”  I didn’t know what to say.

Tomorrow they will try and mobilize her a bit to get her moving and they will try to take her off the ventilator.  They are also going to give her a diuretic to pull some of the fluids out of her as she was given about 12 liters or more of saline in the surgery.

And so the marathon continues… every day is hopefully a step forward.

Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support – sometimes we don’t realize how many people in this world care about us… I know Pam would be overwhelmed if she knew all the love coming her way.

I walked into the Apple Store today during my 2 hour kid break with Jack to check in and I was overwhelmed by this: Kellie the store leader tells me that there is not a single employee’s life who Pam has not touched.  This is just one group that I am certain that Pam has no idea how much she means to.

Think of Pam and send some love towards someone while you can.

12/2 (Day One after Surgery)

December 02, 2013

I will be providing a daily update – I wanted to thank everyone for your offers to help. There are meals that will be needed and help with the kids… I just ask that you stick with us as this… to use Pam’s language… is a marathon, not a sprint. Thank you so much for your support.

Today was – for the most – uneventful. All tests were positive… most significantly before they started giving her blood thinners the ultrasound showed that there was NO CLOTTING – which was a happy surprise to the surgeons and a huge positive for her carrying on a normal (as normal as hers is), active life. She is on blood thinners now to keep it from occurring at all now.

Pam is heavily sedated and still on the ventilator… BUT they have turned it down to mostly supplement her breathing. This is a positive sign. They will try and take her off tomorrow – but it is a crap shoot as to when it will come out. They come in to poke and move her and draw blood and perform suction… she wakes up for that, then goes back under. She is responsive during those times and is more so tonight than she was earlier today.

She will need arm surgery later this week to repair her arm fracture – as early as Wednesday, as late as Saturday.

Honestly, we are in uncharted waters here as there are not a ton of iron women who survive being impaled with a “white elephant” Christmas tree rod. She could be home in a week or a month… no one knows. I don’t care when she comes home… just that she does. Very grateful to be sitting next to her recovery bed as I type in the ICU.

Her doctors are “very pleased” and I can tell the way they say that… that they look at Pam as their miracle patient.

12/1 Update on Pamela

December 01, 2013

I wanted to update you all on Pam’s condition. As many of you already know, Pam slipped and fell off the step ladder as she was exiting our storage area today. She fell sideways onto the base of a decorative Christmas tree. This ¼ inch in diameter and 3 feet long metal rod went through her on one side under her arm and out the other.

As it happens, we were calm enough to make sure she stayed put and ran over to get a neighbor pediatrician (Lisa) who kept Pam calm (miraculously as she wanted to pass out from the pain but never went into shock) throughout the ordeal as Pam also broke her left arm. The local EMTs came up and took no less than an hour to stabilize the rod her arm to get Pam up the stairs and to the ambulance – which we find out later was key.

She went into surgery around 5 our time and was out around 10 mountain time, in ICU and resting on a ventilator. She is not out of the woods as the rod passed through her vena cava which has been repaired – but it is a delicate repair. The fact that the rod was not moved and stayed in place saved her life. The fact that the rod missed her heart by fractions of an inch saved her life. And the three surgeons at Exempla Good Samaritan in Lafayette (who ended up having to crack her chest much the same way as if she was having open heart surgery) saved her life when the bleeding did not seem like it would stop… they stopped it. The doctor told me later that her chances of getting out of that surgery alive were not good… but she did… she is strong… and in spite of EVERYTHING her vitals remained stable throughout the procedure. I am sure her Ironman training served her well and probably saved her life.

Please don’t send anything as she cannot have anything in the ICU… I will keep you posted. For now, they are going to try and keep her under until tomorrow afternoon (and she will remain on a ventilator for a few days).

Needless to say, the fact that she is still with us is more than one miracle. She will be in ICU for several days and who knows how many more in the hospital. This is not a quick road back and she is by no means out of the woods… I ask for your prayers and thank everyone for your support.