JD Aylward's Journal
Last surgery done! JD's home!
Written Apr 29, 2013 4:15pm by Colleen AylwardGreat news! JD is home after the 4-hour crainioplasty and hospital stay in which they inserted a titanium skull on the right side of his head (where he didn't have one!). He is a bit swollen and very tired, of course, but overall he's doing great! He's on a lot of antibiotics and we're keeping everything as sterile as possible around here for the next few weeks to reduce the possibility of infection - which is apparently Fear #1 in these cases.
Have to tell you one anecdote: Before the surgery, about 12 different nurses, doctors, and specialists visited us in the prep room to go over their part in the procedure. I noticed one come in, look at JD, look at her chart, and leave. She eventually came back, introduced herself as the Anesthesiologist, and said, "I went over his chart and details of his injury this morning, but when i walked into his room, I couldn't believe that this could be the same person who had these injuries, so I had to go back and check!"
YES, they are all saying that this recovery is nothing short of amazing... physically and cognitively.
JD's attitude is great. He looks good. The surgeon will see him again on May 8th BUT says JD will feel like "crap" for these next few weeks. Will let you know when he's OK to have visitors!
Just wanted to thank you all again for your thoughts and prayers and donations. No idea what this last surgery will add to the bill, but it was certainly worth it to see JD "whole" again! You'll be amazed!
We have a surgery date!!
Written Apr 12, 2013 12:04am by Colleen AylwardWoo Hoo! This week we met with the surgeon who will be doing JD's skull replacement surgery, Dr. Richard Hopper, at Harborview. As many of you know, they had to make him a new synthetic skull for the half that is missing.
The surgery date is Thursday, April 25th! We check in at 8 am, the surgery will probably start around 10 and it lasts 4 hours, then recovery room time, and THEN he'll get taken to a hospital room. So we'll both be there for a few days. He'll be out of it the first day, they say.
They told us that they try to get these patients out of the hospital ASAP since there is too much bacteria there to be a safe environment. (Funny that they admit that!) Guess that means I'll be laundering his sheets a lot here at home!
They also tell us he will feel like crap for at least 2 weeks.
Thanks so much for all your prayers and donations (remember NOT to donate to that link on the right here. That money just goes to the CaringBridge website folks... Yes, it's confusing)
And Jeff Reid... YES of course i remember you. Send me your email address or phone number, since this forum doesn't give me any contact info for the people who sign the Guestbook!!! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We Have Home!
Written Jan 21, 2013 7:06pm by Colleen Aylward
Since we last spoke, we have had some very touching experiences from wonderful, giving people. In fact, we are now staying [albeit temporarily] in a cozy place in Bellevue, thanks to the kindness of 2 sisters who read Caringbridge, and opened up a small house on their property for us.
Now, as I sit staring at the burning logs in the fireplace, hauled here and stacked by awesome new friends who have been through this brain injury journey before with their daughter... logs crackling and sparkling and mesmerizing, I’m feeling that all is right with the world for an evening... and then I realize there is a burning ban in force. RATS.
But at least I can tell you that we do have a working fireplace, and our little cabin is comfy and adequate... unless you have to flush the toilet when the sewer gods are angry, or want to take a shower when mother earth has just had enough and sends it right back up to you, or do laundry while you’re not around with a bucket when the drain cycle flows over the sides of the laundry sink...
So the house has a mind of its own, but a lovely, expansive view of green and patches of water and twinkling lights of Mercer Island through the trees. Very healing. We have a home. Although the landlord died suddenly at Christmas (I know, right?), so we have no idea where we stand in terms of longevity.
So HAPPY NEW YEAR. This is the first post of 2013. JD really needed some privacy as he went through the most recent months of his recovery, so I complied with his wishes and supported the posting ban. But now, we’re back!
We don’t have a date for this surgery yet, but it is a scheduling triumvirate between the neurosurgeons so will let you know when we know.
JD spends his days in outpatient therapies at Harborview, or at the gym in recreational therapy, or playing games on his Xbox, or doing Sudoku, or watching The Price is Right (who knew Drew Carey would end up there??) or hanging out with his ever-loyal friends watching sports. Last Sunday was devastating and there was some special recovery time needed for that Hawks loss. You would be surprised at how far JD has come! In fact, with a baseball cap on, you might not know he was ever lying comatose in a hospital bed clinging to life only a few months ago.
OH! And THANKS to you, we have so far been able to scrape together funds for his outrageously expensive meds (one medication alone is over $1000 every month). We’re still in the mix on all the other bills from the hospital and surgeons... and monitoring those is a real job. I am all about JD these days, and spend my time making sure he has great food, appropriate meds, transportation and activities! I’m usually knee deep in paperwork about insurance, or Medicaid, or Crime Victims, or Disability, or bill collectors, I am chauffer as well!The Pro Club has been fabulous about the time needed for his recovery, and he expects to be able to start back to work several weeks after his next surgery. Cross your fingers that all goes well... whenever it occurs.
We have both met with the detective in the last several weeks, and are disappointed, to say the least, in the progress on this case. The detective is in a “wait for leads” mode. As many of you know, the club that JD had stopped by that night, the Munchbar, had a fatal shooting occur on Christmas Eve, and is now closed down. KOMO4 interviewed me about my thoughts, and didn’t air what I had to say! HA! Not for prime time. Probably for the best, since JD doesn’t want to be associated with all this talk about violence and fights and thugs at the Munchbar – it’s just not who he is. At any rate, we are trying to figure out ways to encourage those who know something about that night to come forward... So if you have any great ideas, let me know!
Again a BIG shout out thank you thank you thank you to those who have continued to provide meals and donate to JD’s fund at USBank. It’s the little things that are getting us through this.