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
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
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
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
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Funeral arrangements are set.
Klein Funeral Home
1400 West Main
Tomball, Texas 77375
Wednesday, May 27, 6:00-8:00 PM
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.