Formerly "Neil Stone Updates"

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Unexpected Surgery

It came to a point this morning where something had to be done. Neil's ICP's were remaining too high. His bloodwork showed that he couldn't be given the meds that usually brought the pressure down, so a CT scan was ordered. The results of that indicated it was time for action. Dr. Danish took him in for surgery about 1:30 and performed a hemicraniectomy. That means they removed a portion of his skull to relieve the pressure. Surgery was successful, his pressures went down, and Neil was taken off all his meds--the sedation, the paralytic, and all that other stuff. Neil is now able to move a little and breathe a little on his own over the ventilator.

Now, don't get too excited. His movements may, or may not be in response to our voices. His eyes are still closed. We still have no idea the extent of the damage to his brain. But at least now he can begin to heal. For what it's worth, the nurse did say that she thought his movements seemed "purposeful" and that she was surprised by how quickly he seemed to be responding.

Don't think we don't believe that miracles can happen. We know they do. But we don't know what God has in store for Neil. We constantly petition Him with our prayers. He knows we want the miracle, but we have faith that it's in His hands.

Okay, now you can get a little excited with us. We're on to the next part of our adventure. We'll see what it brings. Thanks for praying for the miracle, too.


Friday, January 30, 2009

What We Know

The Damage: Serious head trauma has caused a brain injury called DAI (Diffuse Axonal Injury). Doctors have used the words "very serious" and "bad" when they talk about Neil's brain.

Bolt Monitor: To measure the pressure in his brain (ICP), doctors have inserted one of these into his upper forehead on his right side. (I'd include a link to some drawings of what's involved here, but it's a little gruesome. Feel free to search the internet for yourselves if you're so inclined.) Studies vary, but most say the monitor loses its integrity after 3 to 5 days. Neil is on day 7 now because his neuro team believes it's still working. It is registering numbers, but we're not certain if they're accurate now or not. It will surely be removed in a couple of days and then perhaps, we can try to wake him up.

Coma: Although the doctors haven't used the word coma, that's probably what we're dealing with here. And it's not like in the movies. Coma patients don't just wake up and start talking to you. It could be quite a while before Neil shows any signs of alertness--and by quite a while, I mean weeks or longer.

Pneumonia: It's very common in patients with a breathing tube. Neil hasn't had any pneumonia. Yay!

Tracheostomy: Neil's breathing tube will probably be removed within a few days and replaced with a tracheostomy. It involves an incision in his throat to attach his ventilator to. It's routine to do this as it is actually a safer way to help him breathe.

Feeding Tube: Right now Neil is being fed a mustard-colored puree through a tube that goes in his mouth and down his throat. That will most likely be changed in the next little while to a tube that goes directly through his side and into his stomach. This is supposed to be more comfortable for the patient. If there is any way to make Neil more comfortable, I'm for it. Let's pamper this boy!

This is probably all Too Much Information, but I think it helps to be prepared for what we're looking forward too. And looking forward, we are!


A Tentative Timetable...or not

Dr. Fasanya told us this morning that even though his ICPs aren't exactly where we'd like right now, he feels Neil is out of the acute phase. They will probably be taking him off of the sedatives and paralytic sometime early next week and begin the waking-up process.

Oops. Dr. Bagner just came in and said that would just be to do a neuro exam, and then it would be back on the sedatives. It still all depends on the ICPs.

Of course we want to hear the positives, but we need to hear the practical. We're going to be on this ride for a long time.

Thanks for keeping us company.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nurses, Doctors, and Angels

Thank you Jessica, Ursula, Nancy, Quiana, Chris, Pat, and Adele. What would we do without compassionate individuals who choose to go into the care-giving field? These people have been Neil's constant companions. They clean him up, change his boots (that's for another blog entry), adjust his motionless arms and hands. They push a lot of buttons on countless IV machines, monitor same, and do some really amazing tricks with all the tubes that carry the life-saving meds to his body. Nancy even said she would shave Neil tonight! He does have quite a stubbly face. I'd ask her to cut his hair while she's at it, but Neil would not be happy with that, so we'll let it grow for now.

Dr. Fasanya comes from England. We liked him right away just for his accent, but he really won our hearts with his attentiveness and obvious concern for our son. He must live here because he comes in day and night, studies all the numbers, consults with the nurses, orders the necessary changes in medications and respiration, and is very patient with our repeated questions.

Dr. Lee is Neil's neuro surgeon. He's in and out quickly, but has taken the time to talk frankly when we've asked him to. He doesn't paint a rosy picture of Neil's future, but assures us there is room for lots of possibilities. He gives good, professional care.

We have felt from the beginning that Neil is surrounded by angels: these caring medical professionals, loving family who are sending their prayers from far and near, amazing friends who share their funny Neil stories through tears, and countless thoughful people we've never even met. And yes, even heavenly angels who are caring for him while he sleeps, and carrying us while we wait.

We're still waiting as his ICPs go up and down, but we're feeling watched over.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sound in Body

Neil's injuries are isolated to his head and face. His heartbeat is strong and his vital organs are intact and healthy. We saw a few scratches on his hands (maybe from the concert moshpit? :-) ) but no bones are broken. Because of the IV drips and medications he is quite swollen. Believe it or not, the swollen body is helping to undo the swelling in his brain. So now our skinny Neil is quite the fatty. Okay, not really, but his hands and his arms are definitely chubby-looking.

Doctors tell us his age, health, and vitality are in his favor. I think we all know about his enthusiastic "I'm invincible" attitude! So we're remaining hopeful.

Thanks again for love, prayers, and positive thoughts.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Long and Winding Road

Friday night concert in Clinton. Great friend to hang out with. Almost home for some PS3. Almost a perfect night...

Burnt Mills road is dark and narrow with lots of curves. We don't know exactly what happened, but it seems Neil lost control of the car--maybe black ice, maybe a miscalculated curve, maybe an animal in the road. He couldn't gain control and the car spun into a tree on the driver's side. His friend called 911, paramedics came and a lifeflight helicopter took him to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital--a very good place to be for brain injuries.

We don't know all the details, but this is what we've pieced together.

Just thought you might want to know.


Just Waiting

That's really all we can do right now. Neil has suffered some serious brain injuries due to head trauma from the accident. In order to make the swelling and pressure in his brain go down, the doctors have sedated him to help him be very still. A machine breathes for him so his brain doesn't have to work as hard. The lights in his little ICU room are low and everyone whispers. As much as we want to put our arms around him and hold him, we're told that would be too much stimulation so we talk very quietly and gently stroke his hand. Sometimes even that is too much. Then we keep our eyes on the ICP (intercranial pressure) moniter and just send our love to him through our thoughts and prayers--just like you're doing!

I wish we could give you some idea as to how long we have to wait for the pressure to go down and stablize, but we just don't know. Even after that happens, there will undoubtedly be lots more waiting to see just what the damage to his brain is.

Thank goodness we have such good friends, family, and loved ones to wait and hope with us!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Update blog for Neil Stone

There are so many people who love and care for Neil. He is truly one of a kind! Thank you to all of you - for your calls, emails, txt messages, hugs, prayers, and well wishes. Please know that we want to update you regarding Neil's condition and this is the best way we can reach as many of you as possible. We plan to update as often as we have new information to report or something special to share. Again, thank you so much for all your love and support.

The Stone Family

Neil's sister Alison posted the following on Facebook Monday afternoon:

Some of you know my brother Neil. He's 18 and a senior in high school. This past Friday he was in a major car accident and right now he's in the hospital with serious head injuries. He's totally sedated while we wait for the swelling on his brain to go down, and at this point we're not exactly sure what the outcome will be. So I'd just like to ask for your prayers/good thoughts for him. If you've ever met Neil, you know that he is AWESOME. If you haven't, then I feel bad for you. :-) Anyway, I love him lots and would appreciate if you could send a prayer or two his way.

Some of his school friends started a Facebook group for him which (I think) you can access via this link. Please join if you're so inclined.