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My Story

Welcome to my CaringBridge. My parents and sister created it to keep friends and family updated when it mattered. I appreciate the dedication they had to give others hope and help chronicle the process of my incredible recovery. 

I have continued to add entries to as I was readmitted for surgery to further my recovery, correcting some of my tightest and most raised scars. These have been relatively extensive in so far, giving me much of the range I have lost back, and there will likely be more surgeries in the future, but less and less comprehensive and more cosmetic in nature. 

Here's the story I will tell strangers if they ask about my scars. First of all, I was badly burned (obviously). I was struck by 50,000 volts of electricity directly in the center of my chest and instantly burned alive on 30% of my body; my heart stopped. I was walking home late one night with my friend in Dinkytown, where I lived at the time. I was climbing everything in sight as was in my nature. I have been climbing everything since I was little kid and I even worked at a rock climbing gym at the time. This girl yells out her upper apartment window to us walking on the sidewalk and my response is to climb the pole next to her window, first I yell up "Have you ever seen Peter Pan?" When I get to the top, it explodes! There was no transformer or anything, just the wires touched or something. And I hit the street from 30 feet up while I was on fire.

The most miraculous thing is that my mind is unhindered and I'm still me. When I came in the hospital, a CT scan showed blood in my brain. My neck broke, there was a hairline fracture in one of my vertebra. My heart stopped for 13 minutes and that was 3 days after my accident, when I was in the operating room and they were removing the burned skin. My temperature was dropping and my blood pressure started dropping and all of a sudden my heart stopped! My abdomen swelled with fluid and they sliced me open to release it and started CPR and got my heart started again. My heart stopped in the ambulance on the way to the ER perhaps for much longer than that. Your brain needs that constant flow of oxygen in your blood or it will start losing cells quickly. That anoxic brain damage, In addition to the trauma, should mentally disabled me but the tests they gave me, for example recite an 8 digit number backwards, did not go far enough and I was one of the smartest patients they have ever seen.

The thing I am most grateful for is everyone coming out from everywhere to show support. "I hope you make it!" and "I'm glad you're alive!" Some of my friends from high school came in to visit me because they heard about me on the radio! You don't normally get the opportunity to reunite with people you haven't seen in half-a-decade and say I appreciate being your friend at one point. I really think that everyone's healing vibes, thoughts, and prayers helped saved my life. Many people say that I must be here for a reason or God wants me here, and I don't know if that's true, but it's certainly a good reason. One of the greatest gifts, I have gotten from this accident, other than my really cool scars, is the ability to preemptively tell everyone that I'm happy they are alive with me.


Sven McKinney posted a new journal entry, "Thursday, September 18th, 2014".

It's been two weeks since my operation and the releases have almost completely healed. I was finally able to get the Mepilex dressing off of my donor site on my leg. It ... Read more

Sven McKinney posted a new journal entry, "Monday, September 8th, 2014".

I stayed up a bit too late last night and today I woke up in early again because of pain in my new skin, but a small amount of pain medication allowed me to be in a hazy ... Read more

Sven McKinney posted a new journal entry, "Sunday, September 7th, 2014".

I got to bed a little late last night and woke up at dawn because of the pain in my arm due to my pain meds wearing off. That happened yesterday too and I was able to get ... Read more

Sven McKinney posted a new journal entry, "Saturday, September 6th, 2014".

It has been a pleasant eventful day. I had a small amount of therapy in the afternoon, but they cant only work on my right arm. My visitations were the nicest part. I ... Read more

Sven McKinney posted a new journal entry, "Friday, September 5th, 2014".

My pain has been pretty low outside of some sharp pain in my leg where a narrow layer of skin was removed but only briefly because they helped me control it with IV pain ... Read more

Sven McKinney posted a new journal entry, "Thursday, September 4th, 2014".

I've been admitted to the HCMC Burn Unit again so I've decided to continue adding to my Caring Bridge; this time authoring it myself. I had surgery this early morning and ... Read more

Lili Johnson signed Steven's Guestbook.

Hey Sven! You're home. That's some great news.  You have made some real strides these past few months. I hear You and Allie are about to have a grand game of Agricola! ... Read more

Tove Dahl signed Steven's Guestbook.

Godt nyttår allesammen -- it will be new in so many ways for you. So many good ways. Stå på! Read more

Patrick McKinney posted a new journal entry, "Tuesday, December 31".

Finally, after 83 days in the hospital, Sven was discharged today.  On this last day or 2013 he came home to stay.  Brenda, David and I went in to have lunch ... Read more

Patrick McKinney posted a new journal entry, "Monday, December 30".

Well, Sven says he slept well last night.  And he didn't have to get up until 9:30 AM.  Such is the easy life at home.  It appears he liked his overnight visit.  We ... Read more

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