Brian McAuliffe | CaringBridge

Brian McAuliffe

First post: 9/15/2016 Latest post: 10/11/2016
Dear Friends and Family, We will hopefully know more about what we need in the next days to weeks and will let interested people know if and when they can visit or assist. Also, we ask that at this time, people refrain from sending flowers (ICU does not allow flowers) and instead consider making a comfortable donation to the GOFUNDME link in the "Ways to Help" section of this page. Please note the difference between a donation to CARINGBRIDGE and GOFUNDME: If you donate to CARINGBRIDGE then those funds will go to Caring Bridge which is a nonprofit to help them provide free websites for people in need to post about their loved ones who are ill. If you donate to Brian's GOFUNDME account then that money will go toward him to be used for his care and expenses. Both are solid donations, however, we hope to have people donate to his GOFUNDME account now and I promise that I will make a donation to Caring Bridge on his behalf to help make it possible to provide this wonderful free service to others. 



How We Got Here:



Brian was admitted to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago Illinois on Monday September 12th at approximately 1pm  after experiencing a constant headache for a period of at least 24 hours. Seven days prior to this, Brian had experienced a headache, aches and pains, chills and possibly a light fever which we assumed and treated as a mild case of the flu. It lasted for 2 days before he returned to work as usual. 



Upon walking into the ER, Brian's case was immediately prioritized as it became apparent that he was suddenly having trouble with speech and word recall. He was quickly assessed by a stroke team, neurologist, had a CT scan, X Rays and Lumbar Puncture to draw spinal fluid. We were told that his spinal fluid indicated that he is fighting off some type of infection and that the scans detected swelling of the brain.  We were also told that this seemed to be an unusual case and would take time to determine a specific diagnosis.


Symptoms progressed quickly on day one and by midnight, Brian was nearly completely nonverbal and his motor abilities were significantly diminished. The last time he walked was when he walked into the ER Monday afternoon. By Tuesday morning, he had been moved from the ER to his first hospital room and then upgraded two more times, once to a higher level of care floor and lastly to the ICU where he is now. At this point, Brian shows few if any signs that he is aware of what is happening to him. This is a blessing on one hand and terrible in every other sense because it's hard to tell what's going on and we miss the sound of his voice and knowing that we have his attention. I believe that he was aware that I was with him through Tuesday evening and when his family arrived from New Jersey because he was able to look in our direction and grasp our hands with his left hand.


Initially, doctors were assessing for stroke, then meningitis, then encephalitis caused by West Nile Virus due to his recent travel and exposure to large populations of mosquitoes in two separate locations in Michigan over 2 back to back weekends. As of Wednesday, doctors have ruled out meningitis so we are no longer required to wear face masks in the hospital room. It could take up to a week to get lab results back that will hopefully tell us what we're dealing with and until then we wait and take care of him the best that we can. The treatment team is doing their finest job to keep him comfortable and to address his multiple neurological symptoms as they present. Presently, Brian is heavily sedated and intubated to assist his collapsed airway as he breathes. He's receiving an IV cocktail to combat everything that they can identify to treat without having the final lab results. Right now Brian is resting peacefully i.e. kept under sedation and he is doing his best to fight this illness. His mother Barbara, Father Charlie, Brother Dan and Sister Meghan are here with me and together we are taking turns to be with him around the clock. As you can imagine I am taking all the time off I can from work and will go on FMLA just as soon as my regular PTO is depleted so that Brian will have someone with him at all times. 


I made the hard decision to post publicly on Facebook this Tuesday because by then we recognized how serious the situation had become and that people would want to/need to know because they care for him and because I didn't know what else to do in the face of what can only be described as a unbelievable nightmare. Since, Tuesday, the response from family, friends and strangers has been staggering and incredibly uplifting.  I have never experienced the level of concern and outreach as I have in the past 3 days. I think that it's helping Brian's spirit to  fight and I know that it is helping us to stay as strong as possible for him. Brian literally has people all over the world who care about him and what is happening; from Brian's childhood spent in New Jersey, 7 years working in Seattle, 1 year working in India, 3 years working in Sheffield UK, 2 years living in Chicago, my family spread over the US, our extensive Burning Man family,  The Cabin, Grace Street Tap, Lizard Lounge and his enormous family on the West Coast, Brian has gathered one heck of a network of people who are all pulling for him and we are extremely grateful for it. There have been so many people reaching out to us that we decided it would be best to address everyone through this one source of information.


We will be updating this site to help keep people informed on Brian's progress and how they can help if they would like to. We are planning at least one local Chicago benefit and the details of that will be forthcoming. We have a  GOFUNDME fundraising account to help raise money to offset the medical bills and to assist with expenses. From what we have gathered, Brian's recovery will likely take months to years, and involve speech and physical therapy to help him get back to where we hope he can be. We all want a miracle to happen and for him to walk out of here on his own in a week but are realistically preparing ourselves for a much lengthier recovery process.


Once again, we will hopefully know more about what we need in the next days to weeks and will let interested people know if and when they can visit or assist. Also, we ask that at this time, people refrain from sending flowers (ICU does not allow flowers) and instead consider making a comfortable donation to the GOFUNDME link in the "Ways to Help" section of this page. Please note the difference between a donation to CARINGBRIDGE and GOFUNDME: If you donate to CARINGBRIDGE then those funds will go to Caring Bridge which is a nonprofit to help them provide free websites for people in need to post about their loved ones who are ill. If you donate to Brian's GOFUNDME account then that money will go toward him to be used for his care and expenses. Both are solid donations, however, we hope to have people donate to his GOFUNDME account now and I promise that I will make a donation to Caring Bridge on his behalf to help make it possible to provide this wonderful free service to others. 



Thank you for all of your concern, love and support and please continue to help keep hope alive for this amazing man's incredible spirit. 



Lisa




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