Caleb continues to improve after his successful heart procedure at the end of March, and he and Shannon have stayed cozied in at home to reduce risks during the pandemic. To stay entertained, they’ve been gardening at the ranch and teaching little Jax how to play T-ball.
Oh, and Caleb has a new, fancy mobility accessory to show you. He’s going to look like the eccentric professor he is! Check out the photos!
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support! Stay safe & well!
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Heart Surgery UPDATE: Thank you for your prayers! All went well in heart surgery today!
He’s patched up and should go home tomorrow after a night in observation to be sure he’s set to go. He had minimal blood loss—less than a unit, despite the surgery going a bit slower than expected! His surgeon discovered that Caleb had some pretty tough scar tissue from his old intravenous port spot near his clavicle (used for dialysis in October), and since he had to slide the placement catheter through there on its way to the heart, it took some time getting through. We’re all relieved they took their time & got it right!
Caleb now has a shiny new nitinol alloy stent holding open the spot near the tear, supporting the pseudo aneurysm (a fail-safe in case it ever bursts; this is to prevent him bleeding out). He’ll have a shiny new scar by his clavicle as his only visible memento from this surgery!
Shannon said his team is allowing her to stay the night to reduce her coming & going during the pandemic. Caleb has awakened drowsy but calm, but will be dozing & sleeping & recovering most of this evening. Pending how his recovery continues, he should be able to walk out of there tomorrow! Keep praying for his recovery and protection from COVID-19!
-Is now walking, without using a cane, for longer and longer distances, and many days not needing it at all! He has a bit of a loping gait, and sometimes gets swelling in that right ankle, but otherwise gets out and about well!
- He’s been tackling some work projects, and writing and making presentations!
-He still struggles with some memory issues and needs to write things down, set reminders, etc. This has been a frustrating adjustment in work and even just social relationships. He’s hoping to see a neurologist in the summer to see what therapies he can try to rebuild & rewire some neural pathways to help. He didn’t have any brain “trauma” that docs could see in his accident, but loss of blood (anoxia) can cause it’s own issues. Over time, most patients see some improvement in symptoms as the brain adapts, so his brain just needs time to learn new work-arounds.
TODAY, he faces what we hope is his last reparative surgery to fix the tear in his aortal wall. He’s having this done by catheter-guides imaging to avoid open heart surgery. Please pray it goes well, and that he is not exposed to the Coronavirus while he stays in the hospital! His immune system is not what it was (especially with no spleen providing support), and his lungs have been through a lot this past year!
We’ll update again soon! Meantime, some pictures of how he’s doing!
Yesterday was our first time to leave the house since our arrival 8 days earlier. Let's just say it is quite a bit more work to get out of the house these days! We have an efficient routine now for getting in and out of the car. However, traveling around town with a wheelchair and searching for the accommodations you need to get in and out of buildings and parking lots really opens your eyes to the lack of such accommodations.
Anywho- Caleb had 3 follow up doctor's appointments today with Dr. Kelly and Lansinger (orthopedic surgeons) and Dr. Harvey (bowel obstruction surgeon). Easy part first: abdominal staples were removed and Caleb was advised not to lift more than 10 lbs for the next 6 weeks. That's the last visit with Dr. Harvey :) Caleb's left arm/wrist is healing nicely, just slowly, and he can now use it freely as he wishes (within reason) per Dr. Lansinger.
Now for the more complicated part: Caleb complained of right wrist pain, so Dr. Lansinger looked at his original x-rays from 10/4 in which she discovered a scaphoid bone fracture. She expressed concern because this is a bone that doesn't heal well on it's own. Extra x-rays were taken, and then Dr. Lansinger recommended a CT scan to observe the 3D bone. It may need surgery once Caleb is stronger and healthier. We'll know more information after the CT scan.
Our appointment with Dr. Kelly went well. He said Caleb could go without his leg brace now, but he still cannot bear weight for 4 more weeks. The only problem is the skin at the middle of the kneecap that was busted open during the accident. The skin isn't growing together and about a dime size area of the bone is fully exposed on the surface. Caleb will undergo a fairly quick surgery to cut the healed skin away from the bone, stretch it, pull it together and stitch it closed with high hopes it will close up nicely. The surgery is scheduled for 8:15am tomorrow. We have to be at the surgery center at 6 am (😫).
Sincere apologies for neglecting our Caring Bridge readers! Since the last post, so much has happened so quickly that Facebook updates have been our best touch-base solution until now!
Long story short: Caleb got released to go home on 12/3!!! Yes—HOME! After being hospitalized since his accident on 10/3!
This is an enormous gift—especially considering that, after his latest abdominal surgery (on 11/27), his struggle with pain and his need for rest has been so intense. His days-long gut pain finally got some relief on Thanksgiving Day after some fast-talking with the head charge nurse to make some big medication swaps to find relief. After that, Caleb improved fairly rapidly, regained his ability to eat, and was assessed for home release. Shannon persuasively demonstrated her ability to continue his recovery care (meds, etc) while safely modifying his home environment so that he can navigate, first in a wheelchair, then in crutches (currently for short spurts). He is not allowed to bear any weight on his right leg still for several more weeks. He will continue outpatient physical rehab until his surgery in February to stent-patch the tear in his aorta. He’ll also still have multiple doctor appointments and checkups in the coming weeks. But HE is HOME!
The homecoming itself was quiet at first—with wife, lap cats, stepson and close family coming around him like a warm blanket.
But today was very boisterous and fun, as many of his wider circle of friends came by during a potluck “open house” to welcome him home. Caleb has been SO delighted to be sprung from the hospital at last! In his own words, “I’m so happy to be home with my amazing wife. It felt so good to be free with friends doing whatever we wanted!”
Please continue to pray for Caleb’s strength to keep rebuilding, for no more setbacks (especially for no return of those abdominal adhesions that caused so much pain!), for freedom from wound/bone healing pain, and for protection from seasonal illnesses. Pray also for rest for Shannon, who has been his health advocate for so long, and who is now his unofficial home-nurse that is coordinating his roadmap to recovery from the ranch.
We wait in this season of Advent leading to Christmas to see yet more gifts and miracles to come from our God who has been SO generous— with open hands.