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My Story

On July 21, 2009, Jim was up north at his newly built cottage in Irma, Wisconsin on the Wisconsin River.  After enjoying his morning paper and cup of coffee, he set out to work on painting the deck.  He was standing on a ladder while painting a column on the north end of the house.  He was using the railing of the deck to steady himself and the railing gave way.  Jim fell 13ft. to the ground below made up of tightly packed sand.  He landed on his stomach and immediately noticed he could not feel his arms or legs.  Mary Kay called 911 and within 15 minutes, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department and an ambulance from the Merrill Hospital were at the house and attending to Jim.  He was then taken by helicopter to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield and placed in the ICU. 

Jim received two surgeries while at St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield--an initial stabilization surgery at the injury site on July 23 and a tracheostomy and feeding tube installation on August 3.  On August 6, Jim was tranferred to the Spinal Cord Injury Unit of Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee as a C4 complete injury.  Since he was still using a ventilator, he was initially placed in an acute care room.  After about a month in acute care, Jim started suffering what were believed to be seizures.  He spent 3 days in the NICU before being stabilized and sent back to acute care in the SCI Unit.

On September 9, Jim had surgery to remove stenosis (arthritic scar tissue) from his spinal column and also had the back of his neck stabilized.  On September 15, Jim was moved to the rehabilitation side of the SCI Unit.  For the next two weeks, Jim seemed to be very exhausted and there was no consensus as to what was causing the exhaustion.  On September 23, Jim's heart rate and blood pressure dropped to a dangerous level and he was tranferred to NICU for observation.  After 2 more such episodes, Jim received a cardiac pacemaker on September 26.  He was moved back to the acute care side of the SCI Unit on September 28.

Jim moved to the rehab side of the SCI Unit on October 12.  He made progress until he suffered a small setback on November 15 when he became septic due to a buildup of CO2 in his system.  He was moved to the MICU for a week and then returned to the rehab unit.  Jim began eating again, working with a mouthstick, driving his wheelchair and pretty much working hard to get home.  He was released from Froedtert Hospital on December 15 and taken to North Central Health Care in Wausau, WI for a week of rehabilitation before returning home to Mosinee.  Unfortunately, Jim developed another lung infection and needed to spend time in Aspirus Hospital in Wausau to recouperate. 

Jim was moved out of the Intermediate Care Unit of Aspirus Hospital in mid-January 2010 and spent 3 weeks in the Aspirus Rehab Unit rebuilding his strength and preparing to go home.  On February 3, Jim was discharged from Aspirus Hopsital to his home in Mosinee.  He was doing very well until March 5 when he developed another lung infection and had to spend time back at Aspirus Hospital.

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Bethany Guthrie posted a new journal entry.

Hello again everyone.I'm sure many of you have heard about this by now, but some of the extended followers may not have heard yet: last Monday the trach tube finally came ... Read more

Bethany Guthrie posted a new journal entry.

Hello again everyone.I'm sure many of you have heard about this by now, but some of the extended followers may not have heard yet: last Monday the trach tube finally came ... Read more

Bethany Guthrie posted a new journal entry.

Dear Friends,I am writing this the day after Christmas with my daughter, Bethany.  It has been a long time since either of us have written an entry so we thought we would ... Read more

Bethany Guthrie posted a new journal entry.

Hello everybody.Just to give everyone a quick update, Jim visited the plastic surgeon on Friday and got a thumbs up meaning he is back in his chair full time unless the ... Read more

Bethany Guthrie posted a new journal entry.

Hello everybody.Just to give everyone a quick update.  Jim made it home Sunday without any problems.  He was able to come home in his van.  We made three stops to do ... Read more

Bethany Guthrie posted a new journal entry.

Hello Family and Friends.Sorry for the long delay--it's hard coming up with updates lately since our days are pretty much the same.  If you are keeping track, Dad is ... Read more

Bethany Guthrie posted a new journal entry.

Hello Everyone.It's been a few days since I've done an update, but with Dad flat on his back 24/7, it takes a few day to accumulate some news.If you are keeping track, Dad ... Read more

Bethany Guthrie posted a new journal entry.

Hello Friends and Family.There is not all that much to report today.  Dad is still doing well physically.  His vitals are excellent and his lungs are doing so well that ... Read more

Bethany Guthrie posted a new journal entry.

Good Afternoon Everyone,Just time for a short update before I head off to the hospital.  I'm staying with Jon for the first part of tis visit.  If it is short enough, I ... Read more

Bethany Guthrie posted a new journal entry.

Good morning, everyone,The surgery was successful!  Jim went into the OR at about 2:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon, and the surgery was finished by about 5:30.  When we ... Read more

Bethany Guthrie posted a new journal entry.

Good AfternoonI thought I would give everybody a quick update before Bethany probably writes one tonight.  Jim arrived at Froedtert at around 2:00 Monday afternoon.  The ... Read more

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