Dec 12, 2017 Latest post:
Feb 15, 2018
Wednesday December 6, 2017, Phil fell about 15 feet off a ladder on a job site. When he fell, he ended up falling on his side and back. The ambulance took him to St. Nicholas in Sheboygan, where a helicopter picked him up for transport to Theda Care Medical Center in Neenah, WI.
Wednesday evening, he was alert and was cracking jokes despite the pain and the difficulty breathing. He has stitches in his chin, maybe a minor concussion, several broken ribs, bruised lungs, cracked vertebrae, shattered vertebrae, and a severed spinal cord. Later that night he had two episodes where he was having trouble breathing and became unresponsive, so they eased up on the pain meds while using a bipap machine a few times. The bipap hurt his bruised lungs, so as soon as his oxygen levels came up, they would remove it.
We were able to talk with him and spent time with him Thursday morning before surgery. Again, despite the pain, he was sometimes making jokes to make us laugh. He seemed to be more worried about us than himself at times. We spent most of Thursday extremely scared and emotional. For his first surgery, they went in through his side to harvest a good rib for some of the spinal reconstruction. They also accessed his spine from the inside with this surgery. The goal was to stabilize his spine as much as possible so the paralysis doesn’t spread higher than his navel area. They added a cage around some vertebrae, added rods and screws and removed all of the broken bone fragments. After surgery, they decided to keep him sedated and on a ventilator not only to rest and heal, but also because it was easier on him to remain on the vent since he had another surgery Friday as well.
Friday’s surgery went well. They went in through his back to finish up the hardware as well as to cement the remaining fractured vertebrae. Since he has so many injuries to his back and lungs, they kept him on the vent to allow him to rest, sleep, and allow them to give enough pain meds which tend to labor his breathing too much.