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Info about the original injury in 2008
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Saturday, April 11, 2015

    I have had a blessed relief from doing this for four years -- mostly good.
    The triteness of "no news is good news" is reinforced as the truth!  Renewing 
    this is a strong indicator of "the bad"!

    Here it is.

   

    Sometime in the week of April 5-11 we noticed that Ken was listing to the
    right in his chair, unable to sit upright.  We wondered, not too concerned
    at the reason, finally concluding that his right armrest (the one with
    the controls) being lower than the other, was the cause.  Simultaneous to
    that we did notice  a certain listlessness about him (he found it difficult 
    to stay awake while we were putting him to bed).  Even during the day, he 
    had difficulty staying alert and we noticed the beginnings of a pressure sore 
    on his backside.   In retrospect, we should been alerted that   
    something serious was happening, but he had just been put on some new 
    medication and we attributed it to that.  A few days later and no improvement 
    and the pressure ulcer on his backside rampaged, I finally did what I should 
    have immdiately that we noticed the slouch.  I sat in his chair and the cause .  
    was ascertained.  The inflatable cushion was flat on the right side -- he was 
    sitting on unyielding metal!  We immediately took action putting together a  
    temporary foam pad and ordered a new inflatable.
    
    But the damage was already done!  The speed of progression from a minor 
    irritation to a life threatening injury is lighteninglike!

    I began thinking of Superman (Christopher Reeve).
   

Sunday, April 12, 2015

    Ken needed to deal with these issues so I accompanied him to an emergency 
    clinic. He drove, but it was obviously not a good decision, because he was not
    alert and in the beginning he weaved back and forth, almost going off
    the road and dangerously crossing the middle stripe.  He insisted he was
    all right, and his driving improved for the rest of the trip, but I had
    reservations and convinced him not to drive until the episode was over.
    After a week, it seem that things were returning to normal.  He was still
    very sleepy when we were putting him to bed.  
    
    The pressure sore had not improved, but it didn't seem to be worse.  We 
    received his new cushion.

Monday, April 20, 2015

    Back to driving.  He had an appointment at MD Anderson
    to refill his implanted medication pump and on the way he had an accident.
    He swore it was not caused by his lack of aletrtness.  He was following a
    slow-moving utility vehicle (ATT, I think) on twisty two-lane Roberts Cemetery
    Road, looking intently for a place to pass and the truck driver stopped
    quickly.  Before Ken could react, he hit its rear.  He seemed to be very
    alert after the accident.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

    I took a day off to fulfill Ken's aborted MD Anderson
    appointment.   He was fine.

   
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    We received a rental van and Kathy became chauffeur again, but for only one 
    day.  She took him to Tomball Hospital for evaluation by a wound care doctor 
    who took immediately admitted him to the emergency room because his blood 
    pressure and oxygen levels were low.  He was evaluated and admitted to 
    Tomball Hospital's critical care unit and scheduled surgery to debride his 
    pressure ulcer.  Such ulcers are a leading mortality cause for quadraplegics. 
Thursday, April 23, 2015

    Ken was unresponsive and sleepy for several days because he needed to have 
    ventilator tubes down his throat, which are very uncomfortable, so they had him
    on sedatives.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

    Ken has developed sepsis.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

    Ken has been basically asleep since the sepsis diagnosis.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

    Ken continues to be asleep with only eyes half-staff; pseudo-
    alertness for short periods.
   

Monday, May 4, 2015

    After Kathy's and my visit yesterday, He was moved to the
    intensive care unit at Kindred Hospital in Tomball.

Tuesday, May 5 and Wednesday, May 6, 2015

    As before he sleeps with only spotty alertness.
    
Thursday, May 7, 2015

    I arrived this afternoon to good news.  Ken is awake!  -- and 
    trying to communicate doesn't understand why we can't read his lips -- the 
    tubes in his mouth make it totally impossible -- and I never could read lips 
    worth a damn)

    The entry for June 8, 2008, explains my "deja vu":
    ......
    
    	Confusion is the operant term.  At 10 AM and noon Ken was reasonably alert 
    	so that we were able to communicate, but at 2 PM he was completely asleep
    	even though Tricia came in to see him.  At 4 and 6 PM he seemed wide awake 
    	again, but at 8 he was the same as at 2.  During his alert periods two 
    	weeks ago we could communicate, with me talking, and he would choose letters 
    	from a grid by nodding or shaking his head.  He seems unwilling (or unable) 
    	to do it now, and it is next to impossible for me to read his lips, so our 
    	"communication" is largely one way.  I did get that he is concerned about
    	my traveling to the hospital and my days "out of work."  His smiles and 
    	tears convey the depths of his emotions.
    	
    .......

     After that, back in 2008 I read a book and even took an online couse in lip 
     reading.  I didn't improve much. 

     After our square dancing that night, I spent a couple hours creating an app
     that would enable him to touch the letters on the screen of an Android tablet
     which took the grid mentioned above a step further.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

     I arrived excited at the hospital.  Kathy told me on the phone that he was 
     just as alert, and I knew the tablet app would have him happly communicating 
     with us.  
     
     No such luck.  For whatever reason, he simply did not want to (or could not) 
     touch its screen.  Kathy thought he was simply not understanding, but I
     think he was too weak to raise his hand to it (or maybe he could not see it
     well.  That is surprising, because he had tried to write on a clipboard.  
     That was indecipherable until Kathy was able to interpret his intent through
     a combination of lip-reading and prompting.  We both said, "Oh yeah, that's 
     what he wrote."

Saturday, May 9 through Monday, May 11, 2015

     Thinking that it was his inability to  control his fingers accurately, or he 
     just could not extend far enough, I fashioned a stylus from  an old radio antenna 
     and a sponge that I could tape to his hand.  That was  a little more successful, 
     but he still is not much interested.

Tuesday May 12, 2015

    Much more alert.  Hot.  Still doesn’t want to poke letters 
    with his hand, or the stylus but responds (slowly) to numbers on the tablet.  
    I need to add a Word list after first letter typed to choose.


Wednesday May 13, 2015

    I added word list but it doesn't work on the tablet I took in 
    for Ken's visit (shame that android devices are so random in compatability).  
    I tried to get info by pointing a letters again, but even that is spotty 
    (Ken has little patience for it).


Thursday, May 14, 2015

    I got the word selection working on the tablet (download Typer). But 
    wouldn't you know, when I got to the hospital the tube was out of his 
    mouth and he could speak.  Much better!.
    
    A red letter day, Ken felt good!

Friday, May 15, 2015

    
    Ken passed a swallow test and can now eat real food and take meds in pill 
    form.  He wanted me to fashion something so that he could use the suction
    device they gave him, so I didn't stay long.  I returned at about 7:30 with 
    a jury-rigged device, that, with a few modifications will work, I hope.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

    Kathy stayed with Ken both last night and Thursday.  She 
    called today with some rather unsettling news.  Ken is not feeling well.
    My visit: Very dependent on mom and me (because Kathy went home for a 
    little break). Ate a bite of beans and cornbread and asked the nurse 
    for Boost, but took only one tentative sip.  Went to sleep at at about 
    5:45.  He looks comfortable and more important' his heart rate is now 
    only in  the 40-70 range after having it up as high as 130 last week.  
    Noticing now that, although the nose ventilator device is out of his 
    nose, his O2 (oxygen) level is 98 percent.
    
    He seemed much improved by the time I left about 8 PM.
    
Sunday, May 17, 2015

   I'm about to relieve Kathy again today and arrive at the hospital by
   2:30 to watch the Rockets - Clippers game seven. 
   
   Rockets won!   But even better Ken is over his malaise of the past
   couple of days.
   
   In ICU since April 22 (25 days) 

Monday, May 18, 2015
   Ken is not talking as strongly.  He is having a bit more difficulty breathing.
   
   Ken's 14 year old daughter, Alex, paid him a visit.  They talked for over an
   hour before Kathy took her home.  
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
   Kathy has stayed nights in Ken's room for about a week. This morning she 
   accompanied him in an ambulance to MD Anderson hospital for his monthly 
   refill of his baclofen pump.  A wild ride!  The driver was Barney Oldfield 
   in a truck without springs.  It turned out, that the ride will have to be 
   repeated tomorrow, because they filled the pump with the wrong mix.   
   Kathy requested a different ambulance company.
   
   Ken is very depressed.  He is still having difficulty breathing and is 
   distressed about the possibility of a long hospital stay.  Each inhale 
   is an obvious, dragging effort, He wears an uncomfortable mask and wants it off.    
   Kathy decided not to tell him about the repeat visit to MD Anderson.
   
   He mouthed to me,  "I am scared!"
   
   As I watched, Ken began spiraling downward.  He was taking difficult, heavy
   breaths and every few minutes he would page the nurse wanting a drink of water
   and asking wordlessly to have the mask removed as if that was the cause of his
   seemingly futile efforts to heave in enough oxygen.  The nurse didn't want to 
   take the mask off even for the moment it would take for him to get a drink.  She 
   explained "If the mask is removed, his oxygen level would spiral lower and it 
   would lead to the necessity of putting the tubes down his throat again.
   
   Ken persisted and the nurse relented.  In the space of maybe 10 to 15 minutes
   his oxygen level plunged from the 93% it was when I arrived down to 87% and even 
   86% briefly and his breathing became even more labored.  Finally, they had to
   reintubate him.
   
   Our euphoria of Wednesday and Thursday were dashed again.
   
   One of the doctors came in for a visit and let slip the planned repeated
   trip to MD Anderson (There's always someone who doesn't get the word!).  The
   dread of that was clearly painted on Ken's face.
   
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
   No revisit to MD Anderson today.  They decided his breathing situation made a trip
   difficult.  There is some talk of bringing someone to Tomball to adjust the medicine
   in his pump there.
   
   When I arrived at about 4:00 PM, the breathing was still labored.  Kathy had gone
   home earlier and plans to sleep in our bed tonight.  She said that he slept most
   of the morning.
   
   He seemed to be asleep when I came into the room, but he opened his eyes and motioned 
   me to come closer.  He tried to talk a bit, but as before it was lost in the tubes. 
   I held his hand for a half hour or so, until he seemed to be asleep.  Feeling a
   little guilty, I went home. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015
   Kathy and I went home early, and went to our regular Thursday night square dancing.
   Ken was totally asleep, but we felt no foreboding from anyone that things could 
   turn bad.  I had thoughts that we should go by to see him after the dance (Kathy
   said she thought about it too).  We didn't, but I sure wish we did.
Friday, May 22, 2015
   Ken is in a coma, kept alive by machines!  He had a massive brain hemorrhage all 
   throughout and even the brain stem.  There is no hope for recovery.  We found out
   today that there was plenty of cause for concern yesterday.  The doctors had taken
   him off the sedatives and were expecting him to wake.  
      
   We waited for his brother Dan and his family to arrive from Austin to make the 
   the decision to end it.  But the choice was obvious.
   
   Kathy, Dan and his wife Bobbie stayed vigil, while I took Kathy's mother and 
   Dan's son home.  I admit it, I couldn't stand to see him like that.
   
   At about 7:00 PM everything stopped.
   
   He was taken to:
   
       Klein Funeral Home
       1400 West Main
       Tomball, Texas 77375
       (281)351-7233
       
   
 
Saturday, May 23, 2015
  Funeral arrangements are set.
  
       Klein Funeral Home
       1400 West Main
       Tomball, Texas 77375
       (281)351-7233
      
       Visitation
       Wednesday, May 27, 6:00-8:00 PM
       
       Service
       Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 10:00 AM
       
       

 
Monday, May 23, 2015
   There will be a get together at our house after the ceremony.
   24887 Tenn Oaks Road
   Hockley, TX 77447
 

Wednesday, May 27 and Thursday May 28, 2015

The Visitation on Wednesday and the funeral on Thursday were great tributes to our son Ken. Thanks to all of you who attended and those of you who wanted to, but could not.

You made those days full of love for Ken.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A father's tribute to a much loved son



Please donate to the Christopher Reeve Foundation