Journal

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is still in a coma and on a ventilator from a serious brain injury.  Ben's new residence, St. Elias Specialty Hospital, has an aggressive therapy protocol for Ben but his neurological status has not changed.  They did however see him respond in new ways to some of the stimuli.  Although we realize the doctors reaffirmed that there has been no neurological change, it was comforting to see something new.  The staff has reiterated that this is going to be a long process, and while six weeks will give them an idea of how many gains Ben will make, it is more realistic to push our expectations out.  With brain injuries such as Ben's, the recovery pace will be greatest up to six months from his accident. From then on, while some progress can be made, it will slow down.

Thank you for coming out to Trail Tales in support of Ben.  The family was so happy to see and hug everyone.

WAYS TO HELP:
1. Donate directly to Ben and Nicki at https://www.gofundme.com/f/1w5jryl100
2. Sign up to make meals for the family under WAYS TO HELP at CaringBridge
3. CaringBridge is free for Ben to use. "Tribute" donations go to CaringBridge.
4. Please keep sharing pictures, well wishes and stories.  Nicki would like me to pass on her gratitude for these; she reads them every day and is going through the stories posted here with the kids.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is still in a coma, on a ventilator and in serious condition with no neurological changes.  Because he is not as critical though, he has moved from the ICU at Providence to St. Elias Specialty Hospital, still in Anchorage.  St. Elias is a long term acute care (LTAC) facility that specializes in patients who are on ventilators and often takes such patients from the ICUs in town.  This is a good move for Ben as they have more accommodating rooms and a robust therapies department whose physical therapists will be working more aggressively to hopefully help wake him up.  We continue to wait and hope together.

Tonight is the Trail Tales fundraising event.  Come spend an evening as Ben would, listening to stories about friendship in the wilderness.  Proceeds go to him.  Get tickets at:  https://www.alaska-trails.org/trail-tales 

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

There have been no changes in Ben's condition since yesterday.  Again, thank you for loving him and his family.

Trail Tales tomorrow is all the news I have for you.  This is an event that like Arctic Entries, has a number of planned storytellers who will be telling a story of adventure/misadventure and friendship in the wild for you to listen to.  Only the first story will be about Ben, told by his college buddy Adam Mugli.  Proceeds go to the Schneider family:

We will be hosting a Trail Tales storytelling fundraiser for Ben next Wednesday March 4th, 7pm (doors 6:30pm) at the Anchorage Museum, side entrance. 

Get your tickets here.  
https://www.alaska-trails.org/trail-tales 

You can hear one of Ben's stories if you click "Listen to Past Trail Tales"

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is unconscious, on a ventilator with a serious brain injury at the ICU with no new neurological changes.  The MRI report showed the widespread physical extent of the injury but cannot predict the effect.  The only way we can know how Ben has been affected is when/if Ben wakes and begins a long rehabilitation process.  As we have been cautioned, we all really do need to wait six weeks after the incident to assess Ben's condition meaningfully.  This Thursday he will be at four weeks.  We still have hope and we are waiting, but it is  hard on everyone.  Ben has been so much to so very many people; thank you for giving back when his need is this monumental.


HOW TO HELP:
1. Donate directly to Ben and Nicki at https://www.gofundme.com/f/1w5jryl100
2. Sign up to make meals for the family under WAYS TO HELP at CaringBridge
3. CaringBridge is free for Ben to use. "Tribute" donations go to CaringBridge.
4. Please keep sharing pictures, well wishes and stories.  Nicki would like me to pass on her gratitude for these; she reads them every day and has started going through the stories posted here with the kids.
5.  Attend storytelling, fundraiser Trail Tales this Wednesday, March 4 at 7pm in the Anchorage Museum, side entrance.  Listen to Ben's past tale by clicking on "Listen to Past Trail Tales".

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben was able to have an MRI of his brain and cervical spine to assess some of the damage sustained from the accident.  Please remember that scans give us a lot of information but cannot completely predict prognosis.  The scan showed he does have axonal damage to multiple areas of his brain so the doctors have put him on a few medications to hopefully help with healing but it is still a lengthy and uncertain process.  He was also able to have the cervical collar removed as the scan showed no damage to his cervical spine.  He still shows no new neurological changes and is unconscious in the ICU.  What this all means is that we continue to hope and wait for Ben.

Thank you again for the continual outpouring of love, concern and hope.  As Nicki said, it is Ben's greatest gift to her and their family right now. 

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Update today, Ben remains off sedation with ventilation assist in the ICU at Providence and unchanged since last update. He still has no neurological changes. There is also talk of a transfer out of Providence Hospital to St Elias Specialty Hospital in Anchorage over the next few weeks.  

The Townsends, (among many) close friends to the Schneiders, tomorrow would like to offer a gesture of faith through fasting as a communal option for those of you interested. If so, the details can be found in the Well Wishes tab of this Caring Bridge site; look for the most recent Carolyn Townsend post if interested. Otherwise thoughts and prayers are entirely welcomed and are continually embraced by the Schneider family. Forever thanks for the continued support of this community. 

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

 Yesterday was sobering. The doctors have weaned Ben off sedation and his body is not responding as well as we had hoped. There are still no neurological gains.  Ben and his family could use your prayers and thoughts.

Journal entry by Will Taygan

We will be hosting a Trail Tales storytelling fundraiser for Ben next Wednesday March 4th, 7pm (doors 6:30pm) at the Anchorage Museum, side entrance.

These usually sell out. Get your tickets here.  
https://www.alaska-trails.org/trail-tales

You can hear one of Ben's stories if you click "Listen to Past Trail Tales"

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Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is sedated, critical and unconscious in the ICU with no neurological changes.  His lab levels are swinging less wildly.  He is still training off the ventilator and learning to breathe on his own while receiving physical therapy.  We are waiting six weeks to meaningfully assess his condition.

Here is a note from Nicki which can be found in the 'Well Wishes' section along with a poem she wrote for Ben:

I can't thank all of you sufficiently. But thank you.
You are one of Ben's greatest gifts right now to my family, and I appreciate all that you are doing, and will do. I am truly grateful.

Please keep posting stories, photos and well wishes.  They help us wait.

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Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is sedated, critical, unconscious and in the ICU with no neurological changes.  His lab levels are better and seem to be improving.  He continues daily trials off the vent to learn to breathe on his own again without mechanical assist and he is now receiving physical therapy to help keep his muscles loose.  

The doctors are hoping to give Ben an MRI next week sometime.  This scan will help determine, but not answer definitively, how much trauma his brain sustained in the accident.  I would like to note that we are still hopeful Ben will wake to consciousness.  If or when he does, the doctors expect to see minimal neurological signs and those will hopefully progress incrementally.  

We were told to wait six weeks for a good assessment of where Ben will be starting from and it is important to remember that tomorrow marks 3 weeks.  There is still a lot of waiting to be endured and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for all your support.  There have been many tears shed these past three weeks and it is so comforting to know how loved Ben and his family are.  Please keep sharing Ben stories—together our patchwork of memories paint a more whole picture of this wonderful man.  


There is a storytelling fundraiser for Ben and his family, Wednesday, March 4 at 7pm in the Anchorage Museum.  Click the following link for more details and tickets: Alaska Trail Tales.

HOW TO HELP:
1. Donate directly to Ben and Nicki at https://www.gofundme.com/f/1w5jryl100
2. Sign up to make meals for the family under WAYS TO HELP at CaringBridge
3. CaringBridge is free for Ben to use. "Tribute" donations go to CaringBridge.
4. Please keep sharing pictures, well wishes and stories.  Nicki would like me to pass on her gratitude for these; she reads them every day and has started going through the stories posted here with the kids.
5.  Attend storytelling, fundraiser Trail Tales on March 4 at 7pm in the Anchorage Museum.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

On February 6, 2020 Ben was in a car accident.  He is in Providence's ICU in critical condition with head trauma and brain swelling.  He luckily has no broken bones but needs a completely calm environment with no stimuli.  We will know more 72 hours after the incident so right now the Schneider's need a lot of prayers.  Everyone is welcome to visit the waiting room but please be respectful of Nicki, Leo and Kaya.  You will not be able to see Ben and probably won't see Nicki.  Your love and support is what is buoying us all up and it means the world to the Schneider's.
Ben’s Story

Site created on February 7, 2020

Ben's wife Nicki writes "I can't thank all of you sufficiently. But thank you. You are one of Ben's greatest gifts right now to my family, and I appreciate all that you are doing, and will do. I am truly grateful."

If you'd like to donate directly to Ben and Nicki go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/1w5jryl100

Meal assistance can be found by going to:  https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/benschneiderak/support
Choose one of the options beneath "Support Links".

If you'd like to donate to Caring Bridge for giving us a space to provide support for Ben, do so via Tributes for Ben.

PLEASE NO VISITORS AT THE MOMENT.

Nicki has asked for one person at a time to sit with her and we have that covered. Also the ICU is limiting drop offs, so please don’t bring food or other gifts without checking with us.
———
On the morning of Thursday February 6, 2020 Ben was in a car accident.  

He is unconscious at Providence's ICU in critical condition with head trauma.  He luckily has no broken bones, but needs a completely calm environment with no stimuli.  

We will know more when he awakens, so right now the Schneiders need a lot of prayers, positive thoughts and love.

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