David Short David's Journey

First post: Jun 11, 2017 Latest post: Jul 25, 2017
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David Short is the youngest son of Muriel and the late, Reginald Short.  His birthday is 12/26/1964. Up until May 4 2017 he lived in a group home in Morganton NC w/ 5 other adult special needs individuals. He worked a job at Burger King and had a fulfilling comfortable life.  He is a beloved brother that despite his deafness, has  overcome many obstacles in his path.

On May 4, 2017, one of the group home workers found David unconscious in his room at the group home. He was taken to the hospital Carolina's Health Blue Ridge Morganton Hospital. During his 2 1/2 week stay there. They diagnosed him with low sodium levels-hyponatremia and gave him IV fluids slowly to bring this back to normal range, during this time he developed aspiration pneumonia and was in the Intensive Care Unit for a short period of time, in which he was intubated ( a tube placed in airway to support breathing).The breathing tube was needed only for a short period of time and he was able to breath on his on. However,  after this  stay in intensive care, he  became unable to swallow without aspirating food/liquids into his airway. He also failed several modified barium swallow studies (MBSS)  and thus the physicians at this hospital, placed a PEG (feeding tube) in his abdomen so he could receives liquid nutrition, and it was advised that he not eat/drink by mouth until he could adequately swallow without aspirating.

He was then discharged from the hospital and transferred to a Carolina Rehabilitation Center in Morganton to work w/ both Speech/Feeding/Physical therapist to regain his ability to eat/swallow and walk  and care for himself independently.

Soon after arriving (May 24, 2017) at the Rehab facility, it was noted that he had a mass on the side of his neck (see picture). A team meeting was called by family and it was decided by the group to get an endoscopy and ENT (Ears, Nose, Throat) consultation.  He went to a local ENT and he attempted to look down his airway but  was unsuccessful due to airway spasm and  the mass in his airway.  A CAT scan completed on May 31st revealed a significant mass in his airway. He was referred again to  a more experienced ENT-Dr. Merritt Seshul from Carolina Ears, Nose and Throat  on Tuesday June 6th. During this visit, my brother Chuck was at the appointment w/ David and his sister was on conference call to hear what the ENT had to tell us.......

He stated that,  David had a Stage 4 possibly cancerous tumor in his neck that he would need extensive surgery, radiation therapy and possibly chemotherapy to treat. He also expressed grave concerns over the stability of his airway.  He stated that the tumor/mass was so large that it could obstruct his airway completely.

He recommended that we take David to a academic medical facility such as UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill or Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem .

After several discussion between his siblings and the ENT Dr. Sushel, it was decided by his family  to go immediately to UNC Hospital and  so we gather up the CAT scan results/disc and had him discharged from the Rehab facility and travel down from Morganton to Chapel Hill to begin treatment at UNC Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill on Tuesday June 6.

Chuck (oldest brother) and David arrived in Chapel Hill and met up with his sister Sara and proceeded to UNC Emergency Department, they arrived and the process began to get him admitted to the hospital.  UNC ENT Dr. Dean re-examined David's airway with a fiberoptic scope in the emergency department and he also confirmed  a significant  mass in his airway.  He discussed with us the need to get a stable airway and advised that  David would need to  be scheduled in the OR  to have a tracheostomy (a incision in the trachea in which  a tube is place to serve as the airway w/out the use of nose/mouth). He suggested that this would be done the next day on Wednesday June 7 2017.

However, at about 10:30p  June 6 2017, David totally decompensated and began having stridorous breathing w/ chest retractions and desaturations. They placed oxygen on him and gave him inhaled racemic epinephrine/prednisone, however this did not help. David's breathing worsened and it was necessary for them to take him to do a emergency tracheostomy. At this time, they also did a bronchoscopy/laryngoscopy to examine both is airway passage and his esophageal-gastrointestinal passages and also  gathered several biopsies during this time. He was then transferred to UNC Medical Intensive Care Unit where he remained stable.

They kept him sedated for a day and half in order to get another CAT scan of his neck and chest and on June 8th Thursday they discontinued the sedation and he woke up and  was able to breath on his own through the trachestomy w/out ventilation.

We are still awaiting the official biopsy results but Dr. Patel -UNC ENT doctor did tell us today June 9 2017 that he was almost certain that it was cancerous  w/ + lymph nodes and presented similar treatment plan of surgery, radiation therapy and then chemotherapy.  We anticipate at long arduous journey for David and our family but David is doing well and we have faith that he will pull through this.

We are using both live and webcam sign language interpreters to assist him in explaining all that is happening to him. We had a sign language interpreter there today Friday June 9th  and the ENT Dr. Patel explained the diagnoses of cancer with David and he was asked very appropriate questions.  
Please prayer for David and our family to give him the strength and courage to fight this illness w/ dignity and fortitude.
We ask you to only contact  either Chuck or Sara (sowens1013@gmail.com) if their is an urgent need to contact us in person. Muriel (David's mother) is aware but due to fragility of her own health and well being we ask you NOT contact her. Thank you for your prayers and support.

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