Journal entry by Kerry Chrisman

Saw the nerve transfer doc yesterday.  Was a traffic battle getting to Harborview and a traffic battle getting home but we made it.  Dr.  Friedrich said he could feel the deltoid engaging upon exam.  Not where it should be by any means but hopefully with time (up to 2 years!) the nerve will gain strength and fire that darn muscle.  Barry still has lots of pain in his upper arm.  Doctor says probably his ancillary nerve that is angry.  No real remedy.  Pain meds as needed.

Note the photo.  Dr. Friedrich works in the Burn And Plastic Surgery Unit.  This fireman is in the waiting area.  Handsome, isn’t he?  🥰

So many obstacles and Barry continues to jump over them.  I am so proud to be his wife.
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Journal entry by Kerry Chrisman

Just living life day by day and before you know it it has been over a month since I have posted!  That’s good I guess.  No real crisis to report.  But did want to talk about the start of hockey season last night.  Madelyn and I were on high alert.  Hard to focus on the actual game when I was worried about how Barry would/was doing.  Hockey is one of the things we do as a family.  Last year it was a bust but I am hopeful for this year.  I was so impressed with how Barry did.  Did two laps around the rink before the game.  Granted he was using me for support but soldiered on resting as we went.  We suggested that we drop him at the entrance to the arena but he said no.  He told me later walking from the garage to the arena will be a good workout for him.  No shortcuts for him!  Madelyn sat on one side of him and I was on the other.  I am guessing he might have been getting tired of the two of us asking how he was doing.  Haha!  We sent Kyle with him on a couple occasions.  At home later we talked about how it went.  We both agreed it went well and were positive about how the season looks (at least for us but not sure about the team!). 

We continue to check in with all his doctors.  He has taken some other steps to try and manage his pain which does not include taking more meds.  Next week he is going to check in with his arm nerve transfer doc.  That arm continues to give him fits and is less than perfect when it comes to using it.  Will see what the doctor says.

Holidays are coming and before we know it it will be 2 years since the accident......

Journal entry by Kerry Chrisman

Went down to Harborview yesterday to get another CT and see the spine surgeon for news on how Barry's back is healing.  We are not seeing much day to day progress anymore.  Haven't really for months.  The good news is that the CT showed the last surgery has worked to fuse his spine in those most accident damaged areas.  Doctor said hardware is stable.  He did say that he saw some additional wear and tear on the spine that he would normally see in a man much older that Barry.  Doesn't usually see it in a 63 year old.  Wouldn't commit to say that it was from the accident however. Doctor cut Barry loose with no further appointments.  Mixed feelings on this for sure.  Basically surgeon is saying he has done everything he can do for him at this time.  Only problem is that Barry is still suffering.  I dared to ask if this is how it is going to be until we part ways at the end of our lives.  I talked to Barry about how I was feeling.  My frustration seeping through.  He shook his head and carried on.  If this is what it is, then it is.  He said, we will live our best life doing what he can.  And I will be next to him no matter how life plays out.   As long as we are together........

Next up Barry has to check in with the nerve surgeon in Seattle to see how his right arm is responding to the surgery (or not).  Appointment in September.  He has not gained much mobility and continues to struggle with daily pain in that arm.  Has been able to now give a thumbs up sign with that hand which is more than before but the functionality of that arm is still minimal.  

Give the one next to you tonight an extra hug and kiss.  I know I will.

Journal entry by Kerry Chrisman

As if there was not enough on our plates, I ended up in the hospital having my gallbladder removed this past Sunday.  I am home recovering but it is never good when the caretaker goes down.  Barry has been so sweet trying to help around the house, make me eggs, get my pills, and on and on but i can also see he gets worn out quickly.  We just keep telling ourselves that we will make it through this too as long as we work together but we sure didn’t need the added stress.  This too shall pass (quickly, I hope).

Journal entry by Kerry Chrisman

This past Thursday was tough.  Lots of things to think about with very few solutions right now.  First, it had been a year since my mom passed away.  Reliving that day in my mind was really hard.  Secondly, Barry and I had a meeting that brought his situation to the forefront.  Day to day we just go about our business but then there are those days where we can't avoid talking about all of the issues surrounding his accident.  The financial decisions still to be made are mind boggling.  We are now in a position where this accident is going to start costing us money each month.  I ask myself why?  We didn't do this to ourselves.  We didn't choose to change our entire life path.  And now in addition we have to pay?  Don't get me wrong.  The PUD has been more than generous in taking care of us but this has gone on so long that we are left with no other choice.  It is not right.

Barry has been working really hard at physical therapy trying to get stronger and build his stamina.  He comes home worn out and sore but he tells me he can see small improvements.  Over the next few months, we should get some answers as to whether the two surgeries he had earlier this year were successful or not.  This information will be pivotal in the discussion of return to work or not.  Time will tell how all this plays out.  It is just a lot to think about.  Sometimes too much.  Thursday was one of those days.

Journal entry by Kerry Chrisman

Had a great 4th of July with family in our backyard.  Barry is always game for having everyone over but it was so hard to watch him struggle with increased pain all day as a result.  Six months out from last back surgery but no improvement in back pain.  I am concerned this will be his life.  Appointment next month with spine surgeon.  

Next up for Barry is to continue with his dental work.  Have gotten used to his toothless grin but will be good to finish the implant process.  Will make it easier for him to eat too!

Really exciting news for Madelyn....after trying for several years she has landed herself a job at the PUD too.  No more 3 hours of commuting to Seattle each day.  It will be more like a 10 minute commute.  So many new opportunities will open up for her.  So proud of her persistence.  

Journal entry by Kerry Chrisman

Left last Friday for our timeshare week at Lake Chelan.  Came home a day early.  Barry struggling with not being able to get comfortable anywhere.  Had trouble sleeping because the bed wasn’t his nice adjustable one that he uses at home.  No amount of pillows would do the trick.  He was a trooper helping load and unload the car.  Amazingly we had a car full of stuff for just the two of us!  Used a small portable hand truck for some containers/bins/suitcases.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Sometimes I am sure we look totally ridiculous trying to accomplish something and half the time we end up laughing so hard we make it more difficult for ourselves.  Have been going to Chelan since 1976.  Every trip is different.  This time it was all about adjusting past traditions in light of Barry’s accident.  I was on my own to get my exercise done.  I missed my partner who would push me to get it done even though I was on vacation.  We always used to walk “the point” and check out any new houses that had popped up, the quail and any new babies.  He couldn’t do it this time.  As I walked by myself, it saddened me.  Maybe next summer he will be strong enough to go.  Here’s hoping!  Overall, we did have a great time.  Laughed a lot, ate Pringles at the pool, talked with Barry’s buddy, 4yr old Ford every day and just spent time together without all the distractions at home.  All good.

Journal entry by Kerry Chrisman

Tough day today.  Watched the truck that we have had for 26 years drive away.  We kept telling each other that it is just a truck but the tears came anyway.  So many memories kept popping in my head but I knew it was unrealistic to keep it.  As I watched Barry trying to get in it, I definitely knew that we were making the right decision.  Another step in the process of adjusting our lives to the new norm.  Goodbye, Old Friend!  

Journal entry by Kerry Chrisman

Last year we spent today in the hospital in Everett after an emergency run which resulted in draining a significant amount of fluid from Barry’s lungs.  No picnic for sure.  This year Barry putzied on a house project in between taking rests.  I will take that progress for sure.  Fingers crossed there won’t be anymore runs to the emergency room in our future.  I wonder when I will stop looking back to see where we were on any given holiday?  

Journal entry by Jane Suchan

Another woman who has a relative in ICU said this to me this morning.  It struck a chord.

Barry is making progress each day. He is still in intensive care and visitors are limited.  His body is functioning more efficiently requiring less medication.  Still many things to address that need to wait until he is stronger.  So thankful for all the friends and relatives that have rallied around us.  I have had some good laughs which have been a much needed distraction.

Barry’s Story

Site created on March 16, 2018

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. Thank you for all of your texts, emails and calls and for keeping Barry and our family in your thoughts.  We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

On the morning of March 13, Barry was in the Sultan Basin when trees fell on his vehicle.  Fortunately there were Department of Natural Resource workers in the area who responded quickly.  Barry was airlifted to Harborview Hospital in Seattle where he remains in the intensive care unit.  Barry has suffered significant trauma.  Barry's team here at Harborview is working tirelessly to keep him stabilized while they assess and treat his injuries. 

At this time. visitors are limited to family.  As his condition changes we will let you know.  We will be posting updates periodically, so please visit again soon.  Feel free to share this site and information with others.

~ Kerry, Madelyn and Kyle ~