Certainly not his whole story, but definitely the most recent....
On March 6, 2018 our world was rocked.
Our dad had what was deemed an embolic stroke caused by small blockage in his right atrium. Cooper, his 5th (12yr old) grandson was having breakfast with him and basically saved his life by body blocking him from falling down the stairs. Our mom’s quick reaction had him in an ambulance and he received the tPA "clot buster" within 75 minutes.
Over the next few days complications arose and he ended up intubated. While all main organs and vitals looked good and he was breathing on his own after 2 1/2 days, he did not wake and was not able to be extubated for a full 6 days.
We pretty much did not breathe during these days.
When he finally woke, he was able to speak slowly and comprehend. While there was no visible paralysis on his face, both his left arm and leg were not working. He then began to experience complications to his mental state attributed to the meds & long ICU stay - and since our dad has not sat still for probably 10 minutes his whole life, 11 days in one room, in one bed, could definitely offer just explanation.
We made a family decision to have him transferred to Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia for more specialized stroke care. At 11pm the night of the transfer, we spoke with the first doctor. He proceeded to tell us he was sorry, but he did not think our dad would ever walk again.
A new day began with new thoughts from other doctors. Physical, occupational and speech therapy was tested and begun; new medicines were tried. Our dad became alert, was slowly talking and the next day he moved his left foot!
After that day, a rollercoaster of days ensued. Working together, the neurology, cardiology and medical teams worked to find the best way to treat him daily, while simultaneously working to keep him alert enough to respond to their testing throughout the night. During that time they discovered 2 small DVT's in his legs caused by inactivity and found that a Tia had occurred since his original stroke. A snow storm came and went and we began figuring out the next step.
On Thursday, March 22 our dad was transferred to Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in Marlton, NJ. As she would not let him sleep in the hospital alone, this was the first time in 16 nights our amazing, yet sleep deprived mother slept at home.
The air in our lungs is starting to fill again. The world feels like it is slowly righting itself.
In February, our dad was snorkeling with our mom in Curacao (see the pic above). At 74, our dad was working out (hard!) 5 days a week and hanging/ helping care for 13 grandchildren with our mom weekly; he was attending every possible grandchild event and was always taking time to enjoy family and friends. He was living life the way he chose.
We have faith that with major effort our dad will walk again, will regain strength in his left side and he will "live life." Yesterday the therapist called him, "a beast." This said, he lost 20 lbs over the past 3 weeks and the reality of all that has happened is starting to hit him.
Knowing all the emotions we have personally gone through, we can only begin to imagine what he is feeling. As quick example, when he was told by a doctor not to worry, that he is still "just weak," his reply, "I've been called weak more times in the last four days than I have in the last 40 years - maybe my whole life." An emotion of frustration we can appreciate -THAT is our dad. We are confident he will prove to them, and himself, his strength.
There is a long road ahead, but we feel ever blessed to have this road.
While we are all so appreciative of your kind thoughts, words and prayers, we now ask that you share them with him. The power of prayer and positive thoughts are ever amazing - as are all of you, our family and friends.
Thank you in advance for reaching out- please feel free to write in the well wish section or send a card: Kessler Rehab c/o Bish Baker Rm. 204A 92 Brick Road Marlton, NJ 08053
Forever grateful, Jen, Ashley, Chantry and Braeden Sean, Damon, Frank and Scott
***PS: We did not/do not ask for the below donation "Tribute" request, this is part of the Caring Bridge website design. We have made a personal contribution that will cover expenses for our page.***