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November 11, 2019 - Resting, Ready for LTAC Release

Caleb has come so far in 37 days! We have been praising God and celebrating all the little “baby steps” he’s made in the past few days as he awaits transfer to his LTAC facility (AMG Specialty Hospital). As each day passes, he gets more & more lucid—holding conversations about work, study, and family, and with that clarity comes a desire to return to independence. He still struggles some with short-term memory and needs reminders (and has loopy moments right after pain meds kick in!), but he is otherwise much the same Caleb! That is a HUGE gift.
In the past five days, lots of good things have happened:
- Caleb finally passed his swallowing test and has been eating soft solids, Boost shakes, and drinking some of his favorite juices and Diet Dr. Pepper! His osteopathic surgeons say that nutrition for him is super important right now as he builds back up his bones, heals skin wounds, and restores muscle tone. He is still being tube fed at night for extra nutrition, since his stomach has shrunk a bit and gets full quickly. More time eating larger meals will fix that!
- Dr. Kelly and Dr. Panas, his bone tag-team, have been back to reassess his right leg. We have X-Ray pictures here of the amazing work Dr. Kelly did with an assortment of rods & screws (all permanent) to put the bones back together. It’s looking really good and solid, but Dr. Panas restitched some of the fascia In the lower leg where part of his surgical site is struggling to close and heal. Dr. Panas will also check again to see if any more “clean outs” of the skin layers will be necessary there to help this happen. In rehab, that leg will have several rules and goals to follow:
- 12 weeks of no weight bearing
- At 4 weeks (this week!) Caleb can start to bend knee from 0 to 30 degrees. 4 weeks later, 0 to 60 degrees, then 4 weeks later, 0 to 80 degrees.
The bone team did warn us that Achilles tendon lengthening and knee manipulation around late January may have to happen if it’s really stiff.
- The trauma doctors have taken Caleb off all blood pressure meds and have also stopped giving fentanyl. He is now just on his antifungals (for the lung infection), a nerve block, a muscle relaxant, and OxyContin. 
- Heart surgery to fix the aortic tear (with a stent, which hopefully can be done endoscopically) will take place with Dr. Harville in two months, after Caleb’s antifungals are finished.
- Sunday, Caleb was given a trach capping trial and passed! They can remove his trach and close up in the next 48 hours! (*happy dance*)
So much great stuff is happening to set him up for recovery! It has almost an addictive effect—it makes us all eager for more, and it’s hard to be patient. Shannon (and the rest of us!) just want Caleb home again!
Please keep praying, especially for these specific needs:
- Pray that Caleb continues to gain appetite and meet nutritional needs on his own so he can have his PEG tube removed (the last tube!).
- Pray for the pain and stiffness in his right leg to abate. It has a long road to healing still ahead.
- Pray for a smooth transition to LTAC (hopefully this week), and from there, a speedy recovery in his rehabilitation facility!
- Pray for Shannon’s endurance; her days are long and capped off with drives to OKC from Norman to be with Caleb. She is also still carrying a lot of her class load for grad school (and doing well, even submitting her class project proposal and taking exams remotely), as well as simply being a mom to a little guy. It’s a lot to balance!
- Pray that all of us on Caleb’s care team stay HEALTHY despite the seasonal “yuck” going around. We don’t want to introduce any surprises to upset his recovery!
For those asking what they can *do* to help (prayer is important, so let’s not dismiss that!) one tangible thing that can lighten Shannon’s load is joining the meal train for her (and eventually, Caleb, since he’ll soon be eating regular-consistency stuff again): 
Caleb also really enjoys reading your cards and getting video messages from friends! Feel free to send videos to Shannon Fulton on Facebook Messenger! Mail cards to: Attn: Dr. Caleb Fulton (Get Well Soon!), Advanced Radar Research Center, 3190 Monitor Ave, Norman, OK 73019
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your continued support! It has been amazing to have witnessed and testified to this miracle with you!

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