Just received this from Hickey’s wife, Angela. Overall, very good news …
Brian was off the ventilator last night and breathing on his own after the trach and PEG were placed yesterday morning (they did it right in the unit, which i didn’t realize). Visiting hours actually started on time at 830pm and when we got upstairs he had the trach cuff on that supplies humidified air for him and it was pretty loud. The first 48 hours with the trach is bloody and he needed respiratory care. His nurse arrived and let us know she would be sedating him but wanted us to see how active he was this evening. Apparently he squeezed her hand on command and put his thumb up for his neurosurgeon (we are really pleased with Dr. Bollinger who has taken a lot of time for us for questions). This gives him one more point on the coma scale, so it looks like he may have gotten two points in the past 24 hours. I have to confirm today. We think he is now at a 9 (1 for verbal, 2 for vision, and 6 for motor). I will confirm today.
During respiratory care he was in a lot of pain and he opened his eyes for about 30 seconds. I think he scared Craig Shand who was with me because Brian was freaking out at the pain. I kept telling him, look at me honey, it will be okay. I asked him if he was in pain to raise his thumb and he raised his whole arm (as much as the restraints would allow). I hope he saw me and knows I am there! He also flexed both legs and left arm very strongly during this pain. It was my first time seeing his right leg function at all. He nurse said she saw him move his right arm grossly, from side to side. This too is progress as he was not moving that since I believe Sunday or Monday when the swelling around the stroke tissue increased.
I found out this morning that Brian was moved to a stepdown unit overnight that I think is on the 7th floor. It is a trauma unit as well. I spoke to his nurse and he is very agitated today and his meds are only keeping him calm for about 15 minutes so she was trying to get another order from the doctor. The nurse told me that as he “wakes” up he will be a lot more agitated because the of the frontal lobe injury. She also saw him have his eyes open earlier. I asked her what she was doing to him at the time and she said nothing. I told her he’s only been opening to painful stimuli and she said “he’s in a lot of pain,” but I’ve not yet seen them open without someone doing anything to him. This unit has one additional visiting hour at 530-630pm.
I am so anxious to get to the hospital today. If his conscousness has increased I want him to know that he needs to calm down and that we are all here for him. We have to continue to not stimulate him because his BP keeps elevating and that can create too much pressure on his brain which is already swollen and trying to heal. If you come to see him try to whisper to him and hold his hand.
THANK YOU so much to everyone for, um, everything….. Thank you for your support, emails, letters, egreetings to Brian at Cooper (which we read to him everyday), food (Elisa, Dan and I love your lasagna), getting flyers made up, handing out flyers, raising money, and raising auction items (I don’t have the full list but there will be baskets of cheer, gift cards, sports memorabilia, signed copies of award-winning books and two Pulitzer’s (Four Kings, Piecework from Hamill, a Lehane book, one by Jimmy Breslin, Cinderella Man and Triumph from Jeremy Schaap, and Frank McCourt.) Truly amazing.