In May of 2021, Dean started experiencing uncontrollable back pain. He was referred to Sister Kenny to help with pain management. Prior to starting treatment, they performed an MRI (mid June) to find that he had a fracture on his L5 vertebra and the decision was made to transfer his care to Twin Cities Orthopedics instead to be evaluated.
After consulting with the doctor at TCO, they decided to try a cortisone shot with hopes he could get some relief. When the time came to get his injection, his pain had significantly increased but we were hopeful that this was the answer to find him some relief. Injection procedure was completed and much to our surprise, there was no relief. In fact, things had gotten worse yet again. About a week after his injection we followed up with TCO to start talking surgery. The doctor was 100% on board with going forward with surgery and decided to take an Xray just to double check everything and make sure there hadn't been any changes since his previous MRI 4 weeks prior. Unfortunately, those Xrays showed that he had 4 additional fractures in his lumbar spine in addition to the original one. With this news, surgery was off the table as his back was too fragile to perform surgery and we were then referred to iSpine.
At this point he was required to have 24 hour care at home as he was unable to perform any day to day tasks. We were able to have home health come out and install a couple devices to help him get around, but he was still not capable of being alone as it was hit and miss on whether he would be able to get to the bathroom by himself or not, among other things. Thankfully, one of our daughters had a home that was also handicap accessible so we were able to take turns caring for him during this difficult transition while we were waiting on referrals and insurance authorizations to go through.
His consultation at iSpine (mid August) went good and we found he was a candidate to get a bone cementing procedure done to essentially "super glue" his back, back together. iSpine ordered repeat MRI's to to again confirm nothing more had changed. Much to our surprise, they found even more fractures now going through his thoracic region as well. At this current time, insurance authorization is still pending for the procedure.
August 30, Dean woke up completely delirious and experiencing hallucinations. He did not know where he was or what was going on. He kept asking to go home, although he was at his home. Home health was scheduled that morning to come out and help him shower, but instead she helped get him into a vehicle so we could bring him into the ER.
Upon arriving at the ER, he still had no idea where he was or what our names were. He was eventually admitted and placed under sedation for a few days hoping that he would come out of sedation with a clearer head. Unfortunately, that was not the reality. At this moment, he is still very confused, sometimes knows us, sometimes doesn't. It seems that the people and things he has been talking about are all from about 30-40 years ago at this point. Lots of old names being brought up and his memories with some of you are so clear even though he doesn't know he has kids half the time. The hallucinations have slowed but are still present.
As of today, we don't have any answers. We do know this is going to be a very long road and each day is a new day....it's like the movie 50 First Dates, everyday. It is sounding like it could take months for his cognition to return and in the meantime he will be staying at the Buffalo Hospital for evaluation while they try to dig deeper into what is causing the delirium and his bones to crumble apart. There are currently no restrictions on visitors and we welcome with open arms anyone that would like to come see him.