Update

February 1st, 2011 by Conor

Danny has his final surgery this afternoon. At least we hope it’s his final surgery. He has been pretty lively lately and you can catch him chatting away on Facebook if you time it right. My guess is that that will slow down over the next 24 hours after they put the drain in his skull. Hoping for the best.

Update

January 30th, 2011 by Conor

The doctor is 80% sure that he is going to have to do another surgical procedure on Danny. There is a small fluid buildup underneath Danny’s skull that has accumulated since his last CT scan on the 25th. The doctor thinks that this is playing a part in Danny’s sever headaches. They are going to do another scan at the beginning of the week, but if things stay on course than they will be putting a drain in his head on Tuesday afternoon. This will probably delay our departure by 2 -3 days from what we were looking at before- which was unknown exactly. Hopefully that 20% will prevail and the surgery wont have to happen, chances are it will though. Stay tuned.

Update

January 29th, 2011 by MIchelle

Danny’s been having trouble sleeping lately. He simply hates the hospital and doesn’t feel comfortable here. He was about to get to sleep this morning around five when they came in to draw blood for labs. Every four hours they check his vitals and I’m not sure how often, but respiratory comes in as well to multiple times per night. I wouldn’t be able to sleep either. We’ve managed to push back the blood drawing to 6:30 or later tomorrow and they are now only allowed to check his vitals when he is already awake. They are going to try to give him Nyquil tonight in hopes that it will help him get to sleep. If that doesn’t work they are going to try ambien. I don’t think that Danny needs ambien, I think he just needs to be left alone while he’s sleeping.

He’s eating, not much, but he’s making an effort to even though he’s got stomach aches. They are giving him something for that as well now. It’s kind of tough to get him to eat sometimes, but we keep telling him that the more he eats the quicker he can get out of here. Conor and I took him for his first unassisted walk today (without a nurse or PT). We got the hall pass to roam the hospital! Our first stop was the lobby to say hello to David and Ellen. We then headed down to floor number two and walked to the waiting area where Conor and the Shreddy Crew spent a fair amount of time on the 3rd of January waiting to hear the prognoses of Danny’s first craniotomy. As we relived a lot of moments in the past three weeks with Danny by our side, we laughed at everyone’s reaction who passed us in the hall. They would smile at Danny, but it was an awkward smile saying something like I can’t believe they let you out of the room, congratulations, but you look like you’ve had a lobotomy. Danny’s scars and hair cut are wild. We laughed about making an edit featuring Danny scaring people in the hospital. Picture the elevator doors opening up to Danny with staples in his odd shaped head screaming at the unexpected elevator takers. We all got a kick out of that.

It’s exciting to be able to get Danny out of the room. It doesn’t seem like much to him, but we constantly remind him that the more he walks/exercises and the more he eats the quicker this will all be. Reality set in today when the Doctor informed Danny that he wouldn’t be snowboarding for at least a year. Danny was bummed. We all knew this, but no one had broken the news to Danny yet. It’s always incredibly hard to hear that kind of news, but hopefully with your help we can keep Danny’s spirits high.

He is eating a little bit. Mostly cereal and the occasional cookie. He’s drinking smoothies which is about the thickness that all of his liquids need to be. As long as he keep his caloric intake up then they won’t need to feed him through the PEG tube that runs into his stomach from the outside of his belly.

In other news, Conor informed me that we may have forgot to mention that Danny is clear of the tracheostomy and all that comes with it (the hardware anyways). He now has the hole there that will close up any day now. You can hear air coming out of his neck when he talks sometimes. It doesn’t hurt him, but it feels odd and annoying. He’s fast asleep right now and dinner should be here any minute.

Dinner is here…chicken noodle soup, chicken fingers, a fruit cup, and veggies. Bon appetite.

-Michelle

Update

January 28th, 2011 by Conor

Danny is no longer on the 5th floor (YEsssssssssss!) He has been moved to the PCU down on the 4th floor. Things are looking up more and more every day. The rules are much less strict down here and they don’t kick us out during shift change. We still have a long way to go here in Great Falls but this change in location feels big. Very big!

Update

January 25th, 2011 by MIchelle

After Danny had some time to visit with his friends his physical therapist, Scott, showed up to get him moving. Danny was able to stand, with support, on his left leg and then on his right leg individually. Next up was the big first step. Danny got out of bed and walked down the hall! These were his very first steps since January 3rd with Ellen and Scott supporting him on either side. Although it was more of less a shuffle, according to Ellen, we’ll take it. When asked if standing up brought more pain to Danny’s head he replied with a yes and opted to take the wheel chair back. With Danny fast asleep in bed, they have pushed back the swallow test until tomorrow based on his reaction to walking and his level of pain. The swallow test will determine if the tracheostomy can be removed and if Danny can drink. I’m so excited that Danny got to get out of bed! One step at a time he’s getting better!

-Michelle

Update

January 25th, 2011 by MIchelle

Just walked out of room 5109 after a short visit with Danny. He’s resting, eyes shut, but responding the the nurses when they ask him questions. His right eye is more swollen than we’ve seen yet. The nurse was thinking this might be because of the bandages on his head. Danny had a cat scan this morning and as soon as Doctor Gorsuch checks that out we might get the go ahead to take off the bandages. At some point today they want to sit Danny up and see what he can do with the possibility of standing. Hope Danny starts to feel better quickly as he’s obviously in a ton of pain right now. We’ll keep you up to date with what happens this afternoon.

-Michelle

Update

January 24th, 2011 by Conor

The surgery was a success! Danny is now recovering back in room 5109. The doctor used 5 plates and a bunch of titanium screws to put the bone flap back in Danny’s head. Danny is rocking a huge white bandage again to cover up the staples and surgical site. The doctor estimates that Danny will be in the ICU for the next 48 hours or so. If the CAT scans suggest that his swelling is going down and his recovery is on an upward trend, they will move him to the Progressive Care Unit (PCU). At the end of the Doctors report he finished by telling us that it is time to celebrate. He had a huge smile on his face and a look of relief . We have made it through the hard part medically. The rest is on Danny! Cheers from Montana!

~Conor

Update

January 23rd, 2011 by MIchelle

Since Conor and I left this morning, the Doctor stopped in to talk about the surgery that is now scheduled for 7:00 AM tomorrow morning. As I’ve mentioned before, the surgery that Danny will undergo will be to take the bone flap that is now under his skin in his stomach and put it back into place in Danny’s skull. The procedure will take 3-4 hours. The bone flap will be secured into place using titanium plates and screws. There is a section of the skull, near the ear, where the initial cut is not clean. This will be secured using a plaster (I am not using the medical term, it is a plaster like substance)¬†that veins can actually grow into and through. The plaster ¬†will form like bone. This surgery is not one that is rushed. There is no concern about danny’s brain swelling and therefore it is a longer surgery because they can take there time as opposed to the craniotomy when the doctor is worried about relieving that pressure as soon as possible.

This is the only surgery that Danny has been aware of. We’ve told him that the difficult surgeries have already been done and not to worry, but he is still concerned, as he should be. They tried to give him a shower today, but he refused because he was having trouble with his breathing again. I think that the breathing might be related to the stress of now knowing what he is about to go through. I could be wrong, but I would be scared too.

The Doctor said Danny might be up and walking a few days post operation. With the bone flap back into place there is much less concern about him hitting his head in the area where the skin is covering his brain. This is when the physical therapy and other therapies will really start to pick up.

It’s really exciting to know that Danny will be able to get out of bed and start moving around more. I am still in awe of the condition that he is in considering we had no idea how he would come out of the first two operations. Danny could have had to relearn how to do everything from swallowing to holding a pen. The fact that he is typing, conversing, and playing catch like all of this never happened is absolutely amazing. Nurse Cindy was really impressed with how quickly he was recovering. I am in awe and so incredibly happy.

That’s all for now, but we’ll keep you guys in the loop with how everything goes tomorrow. Thanks again for the continued support! Although Danny doesn’t really understand everything right now, soon enough he will be blown away by all the positivity coming his way.

-Michelle

Update

January 22nd, 2011 by MIchelle

Danny got a cat scan this morning. Things are looking good and Doctor Gorsuch is planning on putting the bone flap back into place on Monday. Today has been the first day I noticed the skin over the missing piece of bone looking concave. That means the swelling is going down. It looks less normal, but it’s a good thing. After that we’ll just wait for however long post operation recovery takes before they move Danny to PCU. It could be a couple of days or it could be two weeks longer in ICU after this surgery. Sometimes, we were forewarned, the patient will take a step backwards in his recovery after the bone flap procedure. It’s not common, but it’s a possibility. Prior to the cat scan today, they gave him some morphine. He’s been sleeping since I got here around noon until now with about twenty minutes broken up in between of being awake. The respiratory therapist visited, put his voice plug in the tracheostomy, and tried to get Danny to speak, but he wasn’t into it at all. He told me yesterday that it’s painful and it’s harder to breath. He managed a whisper, but that was it for today. It’s been a slow day.

-Michelle

Update

January 19th, 2011 by MIchelle

Not sure if we mentioned yesterday that Danny is no longer on the ventilator. He still has the tracheostomy in and the hole where the vent used to plug into is now where Danny breathes from. He had a few cough attacks yesterday which look horribly uncomfortable, but since I’ve been here today, he’s been doing well with it. He also got the voice plug put in today. Usually they only leave it in for a couple of hours or so, but Danny’s vitals are doing well enough that they can leave it in. If you haven’t figured it out already, this means that Danny can talk. David and our day nurse Kye got to hear it first hand. Conor and I haven’t heard it yet. I’m not one to pressure Danny into doing things that he doesn’t want to right now, but I would love to hear him speak. He mouthed words to me today, but didn’t make a peep. He seems very reserved right now. He’s hanging in there, bored with the questions, and over being strapped to a bed all the time. In physical therapy he is impressing everyone. He’s sitting up and balancing by himself. The doctor won’t let him stand up until the bone flap is put back in. That surgery might be on Monday. If you guys have any ideas as to how to entertain Danny while he’s hanging out in bed, let us know.

-Michelle

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