Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Jokester

Dad's sense of humor has improved greatly since the accident. I don't know if he's lost his ability to filter himself and he had this humor hidden away before, or if he's just being honest and I'm taking it as funny. He's a pleasure to be around.

He's doing well. He says he's not getting the sleep he needs, but i suspect he feels like he's just not waking up at 100%. It may never come, but I'm certainly hopeful it will.

I had a dream last night that he was driving. I can see it happening again, albeit a long way down the road (pun not intended).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home again, home again...

He lit up. He was no longer lost. Suddenly everything was his... "Quit moving my table. What are you doing on my bed?"

The dogs showed the excitement that i was internalizing. They hadn't seen pop in almost six months. They licked his face. He let them.

Welcome home, pop.

Dad goes home today...

170 days.
5 months, 17 days.

Today he goes home. I'm headed to the hospital now to pick him up.

Chapter 2 begins.

And he hates boats...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

going home...

I'm in tears. I can't help it.

Today I thought about the day dad's heart stopped.

I also thought about getting that phone call from mom. The only thing she said as i answered the phone with some non-sequitur witticism was "Eddie, This is serious. Your father fell." I knew it was more than that. Without any details, I immediately sent a simple email to all my immediate coworkers. "I just got the call. I'll be stepping out for the rest of the day."

I have memories of things i don't wish on even my worst of enemies.

Seeing him on that first day, in that first hour in the emergency room. His face bloodied and looking of fresh hamburger, i couldn't tell what was actually left of him. I could see teeth through his nose. Blood was caked on his ears marking the path of which it first poured. He was bound to a gurney, and being a big man myself i couldn't help but chuckle under my breath as I noticed his arms were only resting on the straps used to hold him down securely. I put my hand on his chest and leaned over to address him directly. "You've done well. If you need to go, we will be ok. I love you dad."

I remember the first words he said to me after regaining conciousness. "I need to take a shit."

Today, from the vantage of sitting in his wheelchair, i looked over at him on the couch at my mother-in-law's on this only fourth outing from the hospital since March 3rd. He was lying on his side, eyes closed, with his hand resting over the misshapen half of his skull. In less than two weeks he's going home. He's going home.

I just got a text message from my sister. She said, "Hello to you on this beautiful day!" How fucking corny. I'm crying again.

I think he's saying, "And that's why they call me big poppa."

P.S. I needed mention one other thing. He walked from the car, to the couch on his own with help from a single crutch and only guidance from me and Mom.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This weekend dad left the hospital for the first time (that I know). He went to Trader Joes, and Barnes and Noble.

He did well, considering his complaints otherwise.

You're getting there Dad. Stay strong.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Taking it easy...

He's slowly making progress. He's nowhere near the levels he was before the seizure, but isn't fighting the tests and exercise.

He's only answering yes or no questions, mostly with nodding. He's only said one thing without being solicited: "My head feels good."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Eyes open...

Unresponsive to external stimuli.

Although Chloe did mention to him after watching him scratch, "It's good to see you're aware enough to know when your balls itch."

Last night he was still mostly out of it. The CT scan results came back, showing no sign of stroke or other damage, for which I'm thankful. At this point it's just another waiting game within a waiting game.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

He's not waking up.

Dad started in with seizures last night.

He's not breathing well on his own so they're reattaching the "bigger" trach tube and hooking him up to the ventilator.

He's not awake, and they can't wake him up with drugs or otherwise. He can react some to external stimuli, but it's minimal.

I don't know much else. I will post more if anything changes.

Please send those good thoughts today. They're needed.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Message from Mom

Thank you for all the prayers and positive energy; many of your prayers have already been answered.

Since Wednesday July 1st I have seen my husband walk down seven steps and after a short rest, determined to build up his stamina and rebuild his muscles, turn around and climb the seven steps. He has walked 40 feet using nothing but a small lap table for support. He is accomplishing these feats while being in the worst funk imaginable and trying to fake a positive attitude.

Without the love, support and prayers of of his family and friends Wayne would not be with us today.

Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and in your prayers.
Much love,
Lucy Kestermont

No. They're not Gallagher fans.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


It's so difficult. For everyone involved.

I wish there were a pill he could take, and tomorrow he'd be better. I want him to have his mind back.

I think i used this picture already, but I love it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day.

It looks like he got a present better than any of us could give him. From my mom:

Good Morning,
The first week of Wayne's accident; I told Eddie "I see your Dad walking." Today using the parallel bars; he took his first steps! He was moved to the Rehab unit on Wednesday, June 17. He is now eating solid foods, although he still has the trach [tube] he is getting very little help to breathe. He's doing it mostly on his own. He even sat on the toilet today that has been one of his biggest goals.

We sat out in the patio today enjoying (Wayne had hospital food; he didn't enjoy it) our lunch together for the first time in 110 days. Oh yeah, we had dinner in his room. After dinner Wayne wanted to get back to bed and there wasn't anyone around to help him. Feeling confident after today's therapy session he got into bed with just little ole me helping him. (I later learned this is a big NO NO. I have to be trained and cleared to do this).

When they mentioned it to Wayne he said "Would you like me to get back into the wheelchair so that you can put me back in bed?"
On my wedding day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


He moved today!


The hope is to move dad to the new facility by the end of the week. this is where the real rehab will begin. He has his moments, but still is mostly swimming underwater.

It's going to be a long haul both mentally and physically. I'm prepared to be drained, but also have taken deep breaths and set aside time for myself, so I'm not lost in all this chaos.

I intend to make sure my family do the same.

Again, if you'd wish to see dad send me an email and I'll provide the details. eddie dot kestermont at gmail dot com.

Dad and dad's engine flanked by my arm wrestling coaches.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A little bit of a break

The Nausea has eased up, and dad is becoming again more lucid. Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Yeah, today's not a good day"

I told Pop I was going to be bringing my good friend D-lo in for a visit. His son also sustained a traumatic brain injury, and has come a long way in his recovery. He could answer questions for the both of us on the spot.

Dad's color was pearlescent, like the inside of an abalone shell. His eyes were lazy, and even the slightest shuffle or scrape sent his head pulsating like a giant bony heart. When he wasn't vomiting, there were moments of lucidity reiterating his current state, "Yeah, today's not a good day."

The doctors still don't know what's causing the constant vomiting, but have a theory. I could ramble on, but I'm sure you'd prefer to just watch this video. They suspect the recent surgery to replace dad's skull jarred some crystals loose.

I also have a couple theories of my own.

The swelling at the site of the surgery or the shunt currently not equalized (thus not draining enough fluid) are causing pressure against the inner ear. Much like an ear infection, his equilibrium is off and being prone to motion sickness he just upchucks when it gets too much for him.

My second theory is that he's faking it. Just kidding! There may be extra pressure on the brain itself. His body needs to become accustomed to the shunt, so drainage of CSF is regulated to the point where there's never too much, or too little. There may currently be too much, causing pressure on his brain makeing him sick. This is a common side effect of brain injuries and aftermath of surgeries; at least from the couple of websites I've read up on.

In any case, he's still roughly where he was mentally the first few days after the surgery. One moment he'll be cracking jokes like nothing ever happened, the next he'll be laying on us his conpiracy theories that the orderlies are part of a crime syndicate, wheeling him from room to room being sure to hit every bump at speed trying to get him airborn. He was in such a bad way yesterday, I didn't have the heart to correct him. It wasn't a day to exascerbate his stress.

I'm jumping in the shower now, will then spend the morning with him, and then am off to work. Think those good thoughts! (...for dad, not of me in the shower).

The hat returns. It's so big you can see the shadow cast onto mom's head. I need to add a quote for Chloe. Imagine her saying this, "I'm not a baby, I'm a tumor."

Monday, June 8, 2009

Give him a couple days...

I know we had JUST opened up visitation, but he isn't doing as well today as we'd hope. He's taken a couple of tests, and they're being bumped around to try to figure out what is happening inside his head to be causing the downturn in his health and behavior.

In the meantime, please pray, send good vibes, coerce the fairies, dance and chant, or whatever it is you do that stirs up and projects the good vibes.

It's is much needed today.

Here's a little something to help you focus.

Dad, Chuck Taylor, and my sister before her wedding.

Open House

Dad is now welcoming all visitors. Email me directly if you'd like the details on how and where to see him, or even just how to send something to his room. eddie.kestermont@gmail.com

There are a number of ground rules for your visit; Dad, mom and I thought these would make the experience better for everyone.

1. Stay quiet. He has frequent and painful headaches and noise only exacerbates them. He reiterated this one during our discussion - don't be loud!
2. Limit your visit to roughly 15-20 minutes. He gets tired, confused and frustrated; it's better for everyone involved to cut themselves off at roughly the 20 minute mark.
3. Don't bring up the injury. He knows about it and can recite in great detail, but talking about the same thing day in and day out is wearing thin on him. Bring your relationship to the conversation. It'll be greatly appreciated and a breath of fresh air.
4. Be forewarned; he sleeps a lot. He may not be awake when you get there. Grab a seat, and if he shifts just say his name a couple times and he my come to.
5. This grouping has to do with the injury and it's affect on his thought processes:
  • Don't take anything he says personally. Remember that the brain injury has greatly affected his social filter.
  • he may be inappropriate; please call him on it to help correct the behavior
  • he may not remember you, or not remember you immediately. There have been a few times where he didn't know who Mom or I were. Again, don't take it personally.
Even with all that you should expect to have a great time. Although some facts are jumbled, he can actually hold conversation better than you may expect. He's very positive about his recovery, and is all about entertaining his guests.

He's excited to see all of you.

That hat. Need i say more?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I'm in the process of getting permission to film and otherwise document dad's recovery process.

He's also requested that I post some photos of him, specifically some of his more intense surgery scars. He likes to show off. :) We'll wait a couple more weeks to see if he holds the same sentiment.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Now that I've thrown everyone into a panic...

It actually looks exactly the way it's supposed to look.

He's got no "meat" on that portion of his head. No temporal musculature, no fatty tissue... that stuff has to fill back in.

Mom said the docs were poking him with their fingers there to show her that they were in fact touching bone.

BIG relief.

On a side note, I now have a consent form to visually record his recovery at the rehabilitation center!

It looks weird

The neurosurgeon caught us in the hall waiting to tell us everything went well.

We got to see Dad about an hour later after he got out of recovery. He made eye contact, waved, and then told the nurses he was about to puke. All of these are good signs. :)

His head still looks weird. It doesn't look like swelling, but almost as if the skull didn't entirely go back in. He's got a divot, a dent, like someone pressed down with their thumb into some soft clay.

Other than that, pop was heavily drugged up, but chipper and glad to see us as soon as his eyes opened. He's also no longer in isolation, so we can hang out without gowns and gloves and masks. He actually saw us and not medical gear when he woke up. I'm glad for that.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Surgery Slated for 4pm

Dad's surgery is scheduled for 4pm today. This surgery is to replace the skull that was removed 3 months ago, and insert the shunt to assist in draining the cerebral spinal fluid.

I spent about 6 hours with him yesterday evening. There is a lot of incorrect rewiring that we've been working through. Although sometimes his interpretations and reactions are inappropriate (he has no social filter), they are hilarious. He's calculating and intending what he's saying, but I'm fairly certain he's completely unaware of how rude some of it is. I have to bite my tongue and not laugh as to not perpetuate the behavior.

If you see me, ask me about some of it. I won't print it here, but I'll definitely share the chuckle with you in person.

Set yourself a little reminder to take a moment to send out that good vibe this afternoon before and during the surgery. I'll keep you posted both if something changes in the scheduling, and of the immediate recovery.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Message from Mom

Standing Tall

"On Friday May 29th Wayne was scheduled to use a hoist to stand for the first time in 87 days.

A special machine/equipment was brought to his room. Once in the room the Physical Therapist asked Wayne if he felt strong enough to stand without the hoist.

She positioned a lap table in front of him. Using the table to support himself Wayne pushed up with his arm and legs and stood up. He said his hips hurt and sat back down. He stood again to get from the bed to the wheelchair (with help).

The therapist said this is unheard of. After being in bed for 87 days your muscles are atrophied. It takes weeks to build up the strength in your muscles to allow you to stand. Wayne did it from a sitting position with little support on his first try.

Faith in Our Lord and the Power of Prayer is unmistakeably at work within Dad."

Fucking 'eh. That's pop for ya.

Friday, May 29, 2009


It goes back in on Monday.

Everything else will now fall into place. The physical therapy. The brain healing. Eating a 3x3 animal style.

He built this one from scratch. Yes, that means casting and machining the case and cylinders.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Skull is in the Building...

which means:
A. he'll not have to wear the silly helmet so often
2. they can begin more rigorous physical therapy; no squash or greco-roman just yet
D. He gets a nice freshening up of the scar on his scalp

Dad is doing remarkably well. He's telling people they yap too much, and asking for more quiet. Definitely the Dad i know.

The plan was to get him up and about this week, but with the skull so close the surgery to replace it can happen at a moment's notice. No PT until after it's back in.

He's still confused... he still has hints of someone i don't recognize, but it's certainly Dad... and he IS improving.

If I forgot to mention in a previous post -> Dad's infection is gone. Thus the skull being ready to go in and such.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Dad has apparently been having them. He refuses to speak with those that condescend (which is mostly everyone). He had a brain injury, what does he expect? ;)

Esha called me frantically excited at his cognition and memory. "It was Dad, Eddie. I was totally Dad."

In any case, my sinus infection is coming back with a vengeance, so it'll still be at least another week before i can drop in again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Taters 'n' Gravy...

He's eating. Repeat, he is eating.

He hasn't had anything in two months. Early this week, first came the Chocolate Jello.

"Chocolate is not my flavor," he told the nurse. He has the pass-through valve on his trachea, allowing air to be forced out his throat on exhale - thus speech is born.

She insisted.

"Chocolate is not my flavor," this time informing her.

Esha butt in, "Um... he never liked chocolate."

The nurse was surprised. (I mean JEEZ, who doesn't like chocolate). Apparently she thought he was just wording randomness. She came back with some applesauce.

Today he has mash potatoes and gravy!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mom back to work

Mom Returned to work this week, with the hope of returning today. She came back to visit on Wednesday. Can't blame her.

Dad is slowly but steadily stabilizing, with hints of regression when his blood pressure spikes or heart rate drops. They are leveling out the amount of CSF being drained from his brain. We are waiting waiting waiting.

I have a serious cold, which i believe may have grown into a sinus infection. I haven't seen him since Monday, and will not see him for at least a few more days until this is out of my system.

I hope I'm half as good lookin' when I'm 58.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interesting day today...

I flatly asked dad, "what are you thinking about." He turned and looked at me a moment, then waved his hand around the missing skull.

"I don't like how this feels" and then returned to looking out the window.

Mom and I stopped at Safeway on the way home. She told me similar that came from him during the day. Something to the affect of "My head hurts when i try to think." I like to think he's just re-wiring himself, and it's a bit painful.

We'll see.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

He's thinking outside the box

Dad asked mom both where she's staying, and if she's doing OK. That's a huge step forward as far as his awareness goes. He's thinking outside of his immediate surroundings - outside of his little box of a world.

The medical staff also realized after Esha's suggestion that his complaints of headaches weren't perpetual, but only when he coughed. They stopped giving him so many painkillers and as a result he's able to focus much better - even going as far as wishing my sister a happy birthday, and then jokingly mention she was only 29. (Damn we're old; only in our years as neither of us has even grown up).

The boob is now gone from his head with the lumbar drain in place. It's now inverted with a space large enough to put half a pack of hot dogs. Look up "craniectomy" if you want an idea of his head's shape.

Shark week.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cha cha cha changes...

Dad's condition changes more than Cher's costumes at a concert. Down again yesterday... up again today.

I'm rolling with the swings as they come. The biggest threat to my personal status quo was the look of his now un-swollen craniectomy - not as bad as I thought, but I'd been preparing myself for the last two months. I'm sneaking a camera in to take some shots for pop's little personal album of his progress.

One of my good friends mentioned of the incident, "Wouldn't it be cool if you dad's injury unlocked a mad genius?"

My reply: "He already is a mad genius. Case in point;" and I directed him to the photo below.

Yes, that is a motorcycle. Yes, it has a small block Chevy resting in the frame. Yes, it has two blowers custom machined and mounted.
I ain't riding it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back on Track

My mother called me at lunch, and I nearly broke into tears. Dad pulled a 180 overnight. He's back to being very active, argumentative, and all around goober. I love it.

The suspicion is that the lumbar drain that placed in him yesterday removed enough fluid from his head to pull him out of that funk. This still is the best theory, but a couple more are still on the table and need to be verified.

Thanks to all of you jujubeings putting out that energy into the ether.

Holy shit pop, you gave me quite a scare. I'll see you tomorrow.

This is not my father, but I found it rather genius.
A golden manatee with son lawn ornament. No kidding.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Better Blood Pressure

Dad's blood pressure started climbing almost immediately after i wrote the last post. Once he was actually transferred into ICU it climbed to normal levels. This was without any influence from the medical staff or medication - he did it all on his own, and I also want to believe with all of your help. We're not out of the woods yet, as he's still barely there.

They still do not have a definite on what is causing his current condition, which is the rapid degradation in his physical and mental states. Again, septic shock is still the main suspicion, but some quickly run tests showed he actually isn't infected anywhere. The "big test" results should be coming back today. In the meantime he's being treated as if he's septic; they are not waiting for results to come in to help him with this fight.

Right now, it is apparent to the neurosurgeon that his brain is not correlated with his current state. In other words, his brain is still healing. This is good.

Again, take a moment after reading this to close your eyes and do what you do to get the good energy out there. Only a few seconds are necessary as every little bit helps.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Need your good juju

Only a few of you know this: on March 20th Dad's heart stopped. He became septic after his body was infected from a leak between his feeding tube and stomach, causing severely low blood pressure. His heart eventually ceased from doing its job. Immediate compression brought it back, but for a few moments there... I don't want to think about it.

Tonight, likely due to the same complication, he is again apparently septic and is immediately being transferred to ICU at the same hospital. His blood pressure is severely low - at similar levels to what they were last Month. The staff have better ability to care for him in the ICU for this type of issue, thus the immediate transfer.

Please send your good juju, it is direly needed, and wholly appreciated. I will try to follow up with news as soon as it changes.

This certainly is a roller coaster ride.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

He's Still Got the Boob on His Head

My mistake in making that claim. NOTHING was to be done to his brain until these other regions were drained, and the contents verified.

I visited with him immediately after the surgery, and I could tell he was scared. The meds slow you down considerably, and I suspect he thought the worst. We clarified what had just happened and let him know he'd be coming around again.

He looked great. Healthy, even. When he's aware and not talking, it just seems like Dad there, chilling out and waiting for his dogs to hop onto his lap. When he then communicates we're reminded that he is only rattling around inside that body, trying to get to the surface. Apparently I'm Faith Hill's brother. And my mom's name is Don. My wife is actually my sister-in-law, and he claims he's been in the hospital either for 7 hours, or 148 days.

Dad, I know you're in there. I want to see you again.

From left to right: Nerd, Nerd in Denial, Nerd.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Multiple procedures this week

I'll try to get as much information out in as few words as possible.

As a result of the injury, Dad now has Hydrocephalus. Literally, water head. Cerebral spinal fluid comes in, but doesn't have a way to get out. Currently, without his skull, he just gets a swelling on the side of his head that looks like an A-cup boob. With the skull returned, this swelling would cause pressure, and subsequently damage to his brain. To prevent any further injury, the neurosurgeon plans on inserting a shunt into his body, draining the fluid from his skull, down into his abdomen to be reabsorbed. Yes... basically a tube from his brain to his intestines.

Today they are directly draining the fluid that has accumulated over the last few weeks in his head, hopefully relieving some pressure and discomfort. This procedure is relatively simple, basically sticking a needle in and draining.

He also has a couple of pockets of fluid in his belly. If the belly patches are clean of any bacterial cultures or otherwise, the shunt goes in on Wednesday. Today these will also be drained.

He's ever so slowly making progress on the mental front, recently establishing his mental prowess at 50% personally, by writing that fact down for us. He's a bit further along now, becoming more aware of his predicament, which has substantially interfered with his attitude. He is bummed. Really bummed.

There is plenty more info... but I need to retain some intimacy here. ;) Some scary, some funny, some disgusting. In all cases, look for it in my account of all these happenings - a Graphic Novel titled My Dad, His Brain, and the Boob Growing Out of His Head.

In this photo, Dad reminds me of Toby Radloff. I'm thankful that
he removed those glasses and that shirt from his wardrobe.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sore Sore Sore`

Dad is having physical therapy daily. When i go to visit him in the evenings he is wiped - the news is typically blaring and he is halfway between dozing off and watching; really not much different when I dropped on him midweek anyhow. When I ask how he's feeling, his reply usually is a shrug, followed by mouthing the the word "sore." Poor fellah.

There is some massive swelling on his skull. It looks like his head has a love handle. I must resist the urge to squish it with my finger.

His tummy is still healing. At the lower portion of the incision, you can see pretty deep into his belly. This caught my mom off guard, and I must also fight this temptation - of taking off his gown so i can see the wound. Apparently they let this type of cut heal from the inside out, thus the "gaping wound" appearance.

He's involuntarily twitching a lot. I don't know if this is good or bad, but I told the nurse on duty and he's going to pass this info along to the doctor. Cross your fingers for that one.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bored Bored Bored

He's bored. That's good sign, right?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Dad was transferred to a new (secret) location today. This is the facility for the upcoming rehab, both mental and physical. Mom is set up around the corner at a nice hotel. They are both less than a mile away from my place.

Should be cozy around here in the next couple of months.

Whew, finally out of ICU!

Dad's going to need to get himself some bigger hats.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Slow and Steady...

Dad is pulling a tortoise. When he tried the hare, he hit some speedbumps.

Over the weekend his progress was steady and stable. We're getting a better grasp of where his mind is, and understand we've still a long way to go on this journey back to Dad.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Big day for pop...

and... i don't want to mention anymore before it's set in stone. But good news is around the corner.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Removing the restraints...

"OK Dad, I'm going to untie you now. Do not touch your head, and do not pull on any tubes or wires, OK?"

He nodded.

"Do you understand what I just told you Dad? Two things: Don't touch your head, and don't pull on anything."

He turned his head and gave me that "WTF, do you think I'm stupid" look.

"Of course not."

I untied him and he let his hand stretch out a moment. He let out a big sigh, quickly and squishily poked his skull-free zone, and then smiled.


Iron Chef Daddy-o. Specialty? Meat and Potatoes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


ALL of the April Fool's prank posts I thought up didn't seem so funny when actually written down. It seems I'm more fragile than I've even convinced myself that I am. I have a sick and twisted humor, but the stuff I came up with left a bad taste in even my mouth.

Dad's doing great. Unfortunately he has an infection at the site of his abdominal surgery, and this is impeding a more immediate recovery. Go away, germs!

It's a waiting game.

His emotional range seems to all be in order; happy, silly, grumpy, Stubborn... they're all there.

I look forward to his further progress.

Demon Dad meets Zombie Mom

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Favortie Cliche Proverb Whatever thingy

"What a difference a day makes."

Damn. No kidding. No more painkillers. No more sedation.

Dad is snapping his fingers, trying to talk, pointing at everything, watching TV... I made him laugh when I said "I am not massaging your feet." He had his glasses on for a short while, but they were giving him a headache so pulled them off himself.

He got a shave yesterday, and I ran him through a few options, each with an increasingly judgmental look at me and my absurdity.

"Dad wants Elvis sideburns."
{A look}
"Dad wants a goatee."
{A harder look}
"Dad wants a Fu Manchu."
{A WTF look}
"OK. Mustache. Down to here."
I whispered to the nurse to leave a soul patch. She didn't listen.

While I was by his side I untied his restraints. He scratched his head, he traced the scar on his skull, and he even covered his mouth when he coughed (which is cute since he's in the trach tube so all the snot comes out the hole in his neck). He also opened his mouth wide and pointed to his tongue. No swallowing yet, so I felt a little bad. I'm pleased with all this as it's fine motor control.

Unfortunately all of this panicked mom. "dont let him... what are you?!... ugh!" I told dad not to poke his brain or pull on the tubes or wires. He listened.

He can easily identify his pain, as he did when tracking the belly incision with his hand when I asked him where it hurt. I'm happy for this. I've told him to snap his fingers at the nurse and point to where it hurts when it hurts.

Physical therapy again today, with the exception that they're taking it easy.

Dad and Esh are sitting down, but mom really is that height. She once placed her palms on both of my cheeks and said, "Ay mijo, I'm so glad you're head wasn't that big when I gave birth to you."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Coming out of it

Dad is prone to getting sick to his tummy, so the docs and nurses are now taking precautions. Meds, of course. Other than that they are actually beginning again to ween him off of the sedation, so he's coming around. Dad had a rather scary incedent yesterday, and he was very fortunate to avoid any detrimental effect. A big "whew" to the nurse on duty for that one.

This has been a rather slow week as far as his progress, and there's also not much we can determine considering he's been asleep the whole time. His vitals are returning to excellent levels, and he's stable. I look forward to talking to him again. (And sorry - no visitors yet).

On a side note, yesterday Esha and I went through all the "leftover" stuff donated for the fundraiser last week. There's enough crap left to hold another yard sale, so Esha is doing just that - this time in Hollister. More details to follow as soon as we figure them out for ourselves.

Hot dog!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Recovery underway...

The emergency laparotomy this weekend was a bitch, and is going to lay dad out for at least a couple more days. He has been stable since Sunday, and his vitals are gradually improving.

Amazingly, and true to form, dad is still smiling at mom from under that haze of sedatives the doctors have him drowning under. Two words: Hell. Yeah.

This fight is still on. Round 2.
Esha as Pacman vs. Dad's mustache.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Quick Updates

  • Dad's emergency surgery on Sunday was successful, and there were no further complications during, or immediately after. The cause was a huge step back, but at least the major hurdle was removed. I don't want another long weekend like this one. Friday, for me, was the toughest day yet - even over the initial accident.
  • The fundraiser was much more successful than i think anyone anticipated. I went to Gilroy and dropped in on Aunt Letty to thank her directly for all of her selfless effort in both organization and managing the event. Thanks to all of you that found the time to also drop in. Family and friends came out from limbo to show their support! Strangers showed up and asked "Is this for Wayne and Lucy?" and either unloaded their trunks on the lawn or handed over cash. Amazing.
  • We'd still like to hear from you; don't be shy. Mom and Esh are sucking up your comments as fuel for their emotion tanks. They truly are appreciated.

This picture is from ages ago. Esha might know a better date. I think this photo best captures the fact that we've always been dorks. Sis and I admittedly, and Dad through osmosis.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Long day, part 2

After dad's little setback yesterday, you could say today was a vacation. He was under sedation and otherwise heavily medicated. He opened his eyes from time to time, and infrequently raised his right hand a bit to feel if anyone was there. Mom and I only left his side when forced to.

It turns out that due to the pressure in his tummy from upchucking yesterday, he popped out his stomach tube, leaking stomach fluids into the rest of his body. This in turn has caused a bunch of chaos including illness and other complications seemingly unrelated. First thing tomorrow morning he's again going under the knife - this time to correct the feeding tube, as well as clean up his abdomen.

I spoke with the doctor directly; it's going to be a laporotomy (or this is what i assessed from his detailed description). Although a relatively easy and common procedure, it's a big one. There will be a nice scar on his belly to match the one on his head.

If you're still up, or up tomorrow early and reading this, the surgery is at 7am. Spell his name out in your alphabet cereal, watch a little bit of Mythbusters and think about how Adam and Jaime would worship my dad, or simply say his name out loud (preferably not during sex, unless, of course, you're doing it with someone named Wayne). He needs all that good juju right now, and it has to be out there in the first place for him to absorb.

This photo reminds me... dad's head is shaved. He looks cool with a shaved head. I'm going to try to convince him to keep it clean.

I'm thinking about you, Dad.

On a very different note, the Fundraiser...

...is already a success.

Donations and visitors have been coming all day and people whom we've never met are selflessly giving what they can, as well as picking up a few goodies here and there to add to their own personal collections.

The sale is continuing through Sunday, with the same address and times as the previous post.

Every little bit helps. If you've nothing to donate, and you don't see anything there you'd like to purchase for yourself, just be sure you sign in and give your name in show of your support. I wish to thank all of you as best I can.

A little too much to handle...

Dad had a bad Friday.

His progress had been excellent, and they were already giving him physical therapy there in ICU. Not out of bed yet, but moving around his limbs and making him use his lungs.

It seems he overexerted himself, which caused him to vomit, and in turn aspirate.

His blood pressure dropped to its lowest point since the accident, and his oxygen saturation was becoming quite difficult. There is also a suspision of internal bleeding caused by the feeding tube and convultion.

To stabilize Pops, the docs and nurses put him back onto life support, and he is again heavily medicated with sedation, painkillers, etc. Through all my research, and simply knowing my father, I'm certain this is just another small speedbump of many, no matter how scary.

I do not wish for anyone to walk into that, as I had yesterday. There were more nurses and surgeons in frantic exchange than you see on any given medical TV show. My mom's look was that of fear. Dread. I couldn't help but smile and say, "Looks like pop was pushing a little more than he could handle, eh?"

I could see her smile under her mask.

I'm confident dad will be the same man he was at least before this incident. Although still under the weather and being "plugged in" all over again, he's doing very well considering. Keep your prayers and good thoughts coming, if even just for a coule seconds when it comes to mind. Every little bit helps.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Unexpected Help

Esha called me this morning. "Oh My God. I feel so blessed right now." I immediately thought of the Allfather in the graphic novel Preacher.


Then it all came, between short inhales just long enough to supply her brain with barely enough oxygen so she didn't pass out. I didn't catch all the details, but I did catch some. She later filled me in on more, and I will be posting the info as it comes.

This Saturday, my aunts Lee and Letty (and possible more) are throwing a yard sale in Gilroy, where ALL the proceeds are going to my mother and father. It's much needed, and was an area of concern as we're not the type to ask for handout. We work hard, and earn our keep.

I have no words to express the amount of appreciation I feel for my family to do this without any expectation of anything in return. At least I hope that's the case. If I get a bill down the line the world shall not hath wished upon itself such a wrath. ;)

Apparently much of Gilroy has pulled together and donations are tumbling in, from items to directly sell, to gift packages to be won in a raffle. Some names, schtuff and gift baskets that came in for the raffle portion are:
  • Donna from Avon
  • Melanie from Gold Canyon
  • Gilroy Donut house (although I don't know if they've donated to sell, or a Gift Cert for the raffle)
Saturday March 21st 7:30 am (until they're done - possibly Sunday too, but not comfirmed)
789 Mantelli Drive
Gilroy 95020

View Larger Map

They are accepting donations starting @ 7am. They welcome anything from cleaned out closets to baked goods to donations for the raffle prize. All are welcome.

There will be more on this sale, I'm certain, but this is all I have for now.

I live in San Jose, and work in Mountain View, so if you can't make it down that far and have something to donate I'd be more than happy to meet you someplace in town or even split the distance.

This isn't my gig, but I'm certainly happy to do my part; to spread the word and help expedite.

Edit: Oh yeah. This is supposed to be a surprise for my mom, so it's been requested of me not to mention it to her. She may read this update; Surprise, Mom!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Arm Wrestling...

...and in love, for 34 years.

Is it "grey" or "gray"?

Dad is over the first major hurdle; getting off of life support. We've told him about his injuries, and he seems to understand his predicament. With that, he also doesn't like the state he's in. This is where it's going to get rough for all of us.

Before the accident, although a brilliant engineer, dad spoke monosyllabicly. He said only what was precisely needed to convey his message. He's now speaking like the inner geek he's kept hidden. Instead of "What?" we get, "I do not know what it is that you mean by that particular statement." I love it.

This week they intend to get him up and walking with a little help. He's looking forward to the docs removing the tracheostomy gear, so he can breath like a human again, instead of Darth Vader. I enjoy the way he sounds and intend on recording his voice with that one way valve on his neck.

Now we're preparing for the tough part, and that is re-introducing ourselves to this new man, and then slowly re-introducing him to himself. There are certainly hints of dad rattling around in his noggin, and we hope for the best possible outcome in his recovery.

What I haven't yet shared with you, is the fact that due to the contusion, or hemotoma, or hemorage, or other big medical word for "bruise", he has had a small portion of his frontal lobe removed. What he has lost with that, none of us know, nor will know for some time.

On the first evening we were summoned back into the depths of the hospital. It was a long way, and no one was keeping pace with the nurse who called for us. I put my arms around my mom and said "Hurry." I knew whatever it was, needed our immediate attention. Dr. Yeh walked out and bluntly said, "If we don't open Wayne's head immediately, he will die."

Lucy, my mother, took a deep breath and replied, "Just to clarify, if you do not do this surgery, he will die. He may also die from the surgery itself."


"What do I need to sign?"

My mom rules.

That evening was the worst. The surgeon wore his emotions on his face, and it obviously wasn't promising before or after the surgery. He was quivering when he told me about the gray matter that needed to be removed.

The next morning my mom and Esha ran into him at the cafeteria. Yeh was bouncing around and smiling... Wayne is doing remarkably well today yadda yadda yadda... That was the first good day of many we've had, and hopefully many more to go.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cheating a bit...

I don't like doing these while I'm at work, so I'll make this short.

Wayne is talking. Half of it is also making perfect sense. They installed a one way valve in his trach tube that allows him to push air through his windpipe on the way out, thus allowing him to be heard, albiet sounding like when i used to burp the alphabet. He recognizes his whole family, including the in-laws. His eyes are open regularly, and can pretty easily identify people and stuff lying around the room.

His behavior is child-like, but more as my dad as a kid. Many "whys" and other questions about his surroundings. He even watched a little Family Guy, relating Lois to my late Uncle Ed (yes, my namesake), from the episode where she takes karate and brawls at a bar. Uncle Ed was a bit of a trouble maker in his youth. ;)

He's trying to get out of bed, both to potty and just walk around. He's not allowed yet. I suspect he'd be a bit wobbly, but it doesn't help that he's got more wires coming out of him than a switchboard.

We feared a detrimental loss of use to his left arm since it hadn't moved sine the accident. He squashed that belief yesterday by raising his left arm and wiggling those huge fingers when requested by Dr. Yeh. With the right side brain damage, he's simply not favoring it.

He's still in ICU, but is expected to get some help walking around today or Wednesday. There is much amazement going around the doctors and surgeons, but he isn't surprising me one bit. I really didn't expect anything less of him.

The kids in ICU have fitted him with a helmet. He doens't need to wear it while in bed, but will look like Wayne Gretsky when they haul him aroudn the room. Because of his amazing progress, they're planning on replacing the skull cap in a week (as opposed to two or three more).

That's it, plainly for now. There's much more buit I'll reserve it for a time when I'm not supposed to be doing something else. ;)

My mom, Lucy, and sister Alyssia, have read through all your comments and appreciate all the love you're sending. I do too, but you already know that.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I want some Ice Cream

Dad, surprisingly, started communicating on Friday. He's also opened his eyes for up to a minute on a couple occasions. This are enormous steps on his path to recovery. The nurses are still in shock and awe as he's months ahead of the curve.

My sister called me in a happily frantic state. "Dad told mom not to fuck with him!" The only other signs of life up until this point were him squeezing our hands, and wiggling his toes.

Dad was mouthing a few things, like "What's that?" with regard to the constant beeping and wheezing in his room, "Why?" when ever we told him to stop trying to sit up, and "Ice Cream" when asked if there was anything he wanted. There has been plenty we haven't been able to understand, but only because none of us are experts at reading lips. There is a lot of effort on his part, but much of it is unsuccessfully delivered, frustrating for both him and us.

He's pushed some gurgling air past the tracheal tube to actually vocalize some of this, but it seems uncomfortable to him. When it happens it sounds like he's farting words underwater. I need to find my video camera.

We are constantly telling him that he will be uncomfortable with all the machines hooked up to him, and that nothing is wrong when they shove the tube into his lungs to force him to cough. Much like myself, he's never liked sugared-up answers, nor beating around the bush. When he heard "that noise is nothing" one too many times he replied with, "Bullshit" and "Don't fuck with me." Vulgar as it may sound, all he was stating in his (and my) vernacular was "Be forthright, don't soften the blow."

Dad's really in there.

He's asked for my sister by name, definitely is getting annoyed by mom always yakking up his ear, and squeezed my hand and arm tightly enough to macho-ly let me know his strength isn't lost.

There is still a long way to go, and he's not yet out of the woods. There are a couple complications I'll reserve for later, as to not jinx him. What I will share are a couple of longstanding issues; his heart still needs to be regulated, he needs to breathe on his own without the assistance from the ventalator, and he needs to become more aware of his surroundings before he can leave ICU. I don't believe the tracheal tube will be removed until then.

Cross your fingers (or any of the other things you've been doing). It seems to be working. ;)

I am picking up the phone again. Thanks for the texts and emails - I love lapping up all that great energy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday is hump day...

Dad rested his hand on mom's shoulder today. He then patted her on her forearm when she quieted down for a bit to hold back some tears of joy. I don't know if this was to comfort her, or to see if she was still there. In either case, he acted on his own.

He also raised two fingers when asked... apparently this is a big step forward. I told my mother "I think he was just telling you to 'Sod off!' from asking him to squeeze your hand for the last week."

It's our hope he wakes before tomorrow and starts breathing on his own before lunch-ish; if not they will be giving him a tracheotomy. The doctors will not continue the tube-in-mouth route as this be easier to maintain, as well as prevent infection anywhere near or in his yap.

I'll be with him tomorrow morning up until they wheel him out, if they wheel him out for that surgery.

The orginal emails...

From March 3rd:

Sorry about the mass email, but I need to get this out quickly.
Wayne, Eddie's father, was in a terrible accident this morning and is
currently in critical condition. We're waiting for news at a San Jose
hospital. Please, Eddie and his family need all the thoughts,
prayers, and love you can give.

Be excellent to each other,

I can't thank you enough for all the heartfelt good vibes. Some of you know my humor quite well and the tickle of the funny bone has been welcome today.

I know many of you didn't get this email the first time around, as Chloe didn't have all of your contacts in her phone, so you're hearing about this for the first time.

I'll give you the rundown.

My father was running a lathe at work this morning. a piece either on the machine or being held was flung into his face, splitting his upper lip up to the nostril, as well as immediately knocking him unconscious. He fell as a result, and struck the back of his head on the concrete. This resulted in a number of complications, all related to the direct head trauma.

After multiple surgeries he's still in critical condition, but is currently stable. He's in a medically induced coma to help prevent any further damage. We are hoping for the best.

I'm not picking up the phone, but am reading and replying to texts. If I've access to email I'll do that too.

Love you guys,

From March 6th:
If you don't want to get these "dailies", let me know and I'll drop you from the list. You can ping me if you then want updated 411.

Dad is rocking right now. they had INTENDED the coma, as in my last update, but they went the opposite direction because he was doing so well. They began letting him breath with less help from the ventalator, as well as began weening him off of the sedation.

On Wednesday evening, after i left, and due to the drop off of sedation, pops was pulling hard on his restraints. He was fighting like the champ boxer he was in the Navy. He's wasn't yet conscious, was sedated enough to put three normal humans out, and was still tugging and kicking hard enough to freak out the nurses. The term used by one was "miracle" - i just like to think "Yup, that's my pop." I keep telling them "he's a sunnuvabetch and he's gonna fight you" but it's just one of those things they gotta see to believe.

Because of this stress he was aggravating the swelling in his brain. It's was not bad, but to make sure he didn't do anything further to himself, they re-upped the sedation so he was just chilling out yesterday. There has been concern because of the activity, but all the tests and docs have concluded there has been no further complication with any of his systems.

the cardiologist and neurosurgeon are visiting him this morning, and likely the drainage tubes are being removed from his head today. They've confirmed he didn't receive any neck or back injuries, and removed his neckbrace yesterday to help him relax. They should also be fitting him with a helmet.

Everything is going as promisingly as is possibly can. Keep up the good vibes; include him in your weekend drunken toasts, in your voodoo rituals, in your dreams, over your morning coffee, in your chants, in your prayers, and in your good humor. We all have our different avenues, but when pointed they focus the same good energy, and me, Esha and Mom all believe it's working. :)

We are doing great. My good friend Sulekha said, "With these things, you just gotta go with the flow." So true.

All of you are fucking fantastic, and I can't thank you enough so I wont even try. If i give you an extra wink when i see you, you'll know what it's for. ;)

I've downloaded some Frankie Valli and Gypsy Kings for him to listen to today, as well as the soundtrack to Last of the Mohicans. Some of his favorite shite. I'm also looking up the Warriors schedule so we can put on the game...

Love you all,

From March 7th:
Now entering day... I don't know what day.

Dad (Wayne) has hit a couple of speedbumps that are slowing his progress down some. These slowdowns aren't major, and are both successfully addressing immediate issues, as well as being precautionary measures to prevent future complications. The consensus is that this is good, especially since he's been so far beyond the doc's initial expectations at every checkpoint. None of the issues are directly brain related. As a result they stopped trying to wake him up and put him back on all the machines and sedation and other crap. He looks like an experiment in a mad scientist laboratory.

A couple things on the upside. The swelling in his head has gone down enough to remove the drainage tubes. He didn't get any further brain damage as a result of oxygen depletion. He is going to have an AWESOME scar on his scalp, that I'm more than sure he'll be happy to show off. I told Esha that if we paint his head green, he'd look like a tennis ball.

Dad surprised the neurosurgeon yesterday. Mom was talking to him, like she has been doing non-stop. The doc walked in on this and quizzically asked her, "Is he responding to you?" She smiled and nodded.

He grabbed pops hand and said told him to squeeze it. He did.
He told him to wiggle his toes. He did.
The doc smiled from ear to ear.

Although he's improving rapidly, the nurses and doctors are sure to remind us that even though he's stable, he is still in critical condition. They are also sure to remind us exactly what that means - they are doing everything they can to prevent him leaving us, or weaken his state, but his condition could change at any moment.

With that, I ask you give up a few seconds when the thought comes to mind, to send good energy his way. If you haven't met pops, and do know mom or Esha, send your vibes to one of them or myself as well... we can transfer it over for you, and without a processing fee. ;)

My mother, Lucy, explicitly asked me to thank all of you. She and I have very different beliefs, but ultimately we both know that each has his own way to send out powerful healing energy and appreciates all you've done thus far. As do I. :)

I'm still not answering my phone, but am reading and replying to texts and emails when I can. There are no electronics allowed in ICU, but i do get out from time to time.

Let's go, Daddy-o!

When i get more than a few minutes to myself, I'll make a "dad's progress" blog so you can check in on him at your convenience, as opposed to me flooding your inbox. I'd tweet, but as you can see, I'm way too verbose for 140 characters. ;)

I love you guys.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Most of you have already been updated pretty regularly, that is, if'n I had your email. I'm not going to email you any more.

Thank you so much for your support thus far; every offer, every hug, every prayer, and every well-wish has done its part, and is truly appreciated.

We as a family are supporting each other with no qualms. Mom is a rock. I'd even go as far to say a "hero" if she decided to don a cape for our daily meetings. She's comforting me and Esh more than the other way around.

I'll try to update daily, at least until he wakes up. After that, we'll just have to wait and see.