In August 2011, Jimmy was in a traumatic car accident while in a news car at work. He suffered a devastating spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis from the shoulders down.
We have learned this journey will be long and involved though we've made some important strides.
We created this website to keep friends and family updated about Jimmy's recovery process. Visit often to read the latest journal entries, visit the photo gallery, and write us a note in our guestbook.
Thanks to those who have taken the time to write incredibly heartfelt messages. Jimmy has seen (or heard) all of them.
Today was Jimmy's trach change day at The Shepherd Center. We're on a 3-month schedule for this.
Jimmy's trach changes have always been extremely painful. He usually won't even let me write the event on our appointment board in his room so he's not visually reminded of it, although it's always looming in the back of his brain.
So he was bummed today when he got up. But, we went.
Because his respiratory and pulmonary staff realize this, they suggested he go with a smaller size trach. Our only concern was that he wouldn't be able to get secretions up.
They said it wouldn't be that much of a difference, and trach changes would be less traumatic. Also, it will help his quality of speech when his stoma heals down the new size, and they said it would be more comfortable for him overall.
Sounds like a win-win. Doctor's were right. Trach change today was less painful, according to Jimmy.
Since it was our annual check-up with our pulmonoloigist, we decided to check Jimmy's vital capacity. Basically that's his ability to draw a breath on his own.
He got tested with his DPS (Diaphramatic pacer) on and no ventilator. His numbers were off the charts good. The RT staff was impressed. His breaths was really strong.
Next the RT had me turn off his DPS so we could test his breath without the pacer's help. So, this is just Jimmy taking deep breaths. No help.
HE DOUBLED HIS NUMBERS FROM A YEAR AGO.
The doctors and RTs were SHOCKED! They said he wasn't the first patient with a high-injury to show this kind of respiratory improvement, but it was rare.
I've talked about this before, how the DPS can be known to recondition the diaphragm.
Looks like it's happening.
So what does this mean?
First step: The doctor wants Jimmy to completely be off the vent. He kinda is. Has been before. Jimmy sleeps on the vent purely for comfort. The doctor wants him to get comfortable sleeping off the vent completely.
Next: He wants Jimmy to come off the DPS. Jimmy will probably get tired while he gets used to this. This step is a big one. But they think he's drawing a big enough breath that he should be fine.
Then: they want him to come back to the hospital to be monitored for a night or two. They want to watch all of his levels closely.
After that: they will decide if he no longer needs the DPS. And, eventually that could lead to his trach coming out. (!!!)
I never ever thought this was a possibility for us.
I immediately asked about his secretions and having to be suctioned. They say once they get rid of the trach, the secretions will start to go away and when he does have them, there is a way for him to get assistance with his "normal" cough to get up what he needs.
Like, it's possible this respiratory thing wont be a forever thing?! WHAT?
We're always so reserved with good news but this feels like REALLY good news. Like, when I asked about the trach coming out one day I got agreeable nods from the doctor and not a bunch of "maybes" or "slow downs."
This is huge news. However, we've got some work to do. Jimmy is going to have to get used to sleeping off the vent again. He had a hard time with this the last time we tried. They said this time it should be easier since he is stronger.