Journal

Journal entry by Theresa Jensen

One year ago today our family was having a normal end-of-summer day.  George went to work, Connor started high school soccer tryouts, and Tara and I headed into school to decorate my classroom for the upcoming school year.  It was a completely normal day, until it suddenly wasn't.  The weather cooled off a little in the evening, so George decided to take a short motorcycle ride.  At a little after nine, our home phone rang.  I looked at the caller ID, expecting to see an unknown number or a spam call, but instead I saw that the call was from Christiana Hospital.  When I answered, a man with a quiet voice and a soft accent told me that George had been in an accident.  All he could tell me was that George had been responsive at the scene of the accident, and that I should come quickly to the hospital.  And so began the most difficult year we have faced as a family.

One year later, we are still adjusting to our new normal.  George has made incredible progress.  He is walking pretty well, and is hoping to get back to work very soon. He continues with physical and occupational therapy to try to make progress with the lingering effects of his injuries.   It will still be some time before we know how much function he will regain in his left arm, but he is seeing small but encouraging indications that his arm is experiencing some activation in the damaged areas.  We have high hopes that he will continue to make gains in his recovery.

There is no adequate way for us to thank all of the people who helped us to navigate this year.  My children demonstrated maturity beyond their years as they helped us cope as a family and stepped up to take on new roles and responsibilities.  Family members and close friends provided us invaluable support as they kept vigil with us in the hospital and continued to call and visit as days stretched into months.  Newark Charter's soccer family stepped up to provide us support that helped me to make sure we could eat and shop for our needs despite long days in the hospital, and they always made sure Connor had rides and was taken care of when I could not be there.  My Newark Charter colleagues stepped up to make sure my classes were taken care of ( special shout-out to Dan for honoring the pact), and they supported me every step of the way last year.   George's work family at Edgecraft showed incredible support and concern for George and our whole family.  Friends helped us with everything from hemming pants for Connor so he was ready to start high school, to mowing our lawn when I couldn't even think about how to make that happen, to moving Tara into her dorm as she started her Freshman year of college.  Facebook messages from old friends, texts of encouragement, phone calls,  meals dropped off when I had no time to cook, etc. all helped us to survive this year. 

Perhaps most of all, the prayers and well wishes from so many people helped us know that we were loved and that we had many people asking God to watch over us.  

We will never be able to say thank you enough times to convey our gratitude.  We have been humbled by the outpouring of support. 

One year ago today, I did not know whether George would live. While he  is still making progress in his recovery, it is amazing to see the gains he has made and the strength he has gained. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
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Journal entry by Theresa Jensen

Hello Everyone,
Today George is having another surgery on his left arm/shoulder.  He’s having two nerve grafts that will hopefully give him some movement back in his arm. The surgery should last about five hours. 
Please pray for the success of this procedure. It will be about six months before we know if the procedure is successful and how much movement he will regain. 
Please also pray that he doesn’t have too much pain after the surgery.  Hes really tired of post op pain. 
I’ll update again after surgery.  Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. 

Journal entry by Theresa Jensen

Hello All,
So, here is a quick update on what's going on with George's recovery from the injuries sustained in the accident.  George's last surgery seemed to go well.  I say  'seemed" because we won't know the outcome for several (6-9) months.  Nerves regenerate really slowly, so it will take that long to find out what function George will regain in his bicep.  Today he had preoperative testing for the next surgery, which will take place on April 25.  The next procedure will attempt to connect functioning nerves from the tricep and scapula to the shoulder.  George currently has subluxation (a partial dislocation) of the left shoulder due to the brachial plexus injury.  The hope is that these procedures will allow George's shoulder to move back into place eventually, and will also allow him to be able to lift his arm to the side.  Again, there is no guarantee of success, but we are grateful his surgeon at Penn has the expertise and creativity to perform this kind of operation.  Results will not be clear for six months or more for this surgery, too.  

As for his other injuries, his badly broken left leg has healed nicely.  He is walking much better now, although he is unsteady because of the lingering after effects of his brain and spinal cord injuries.  As time goes on, we are hoping that the weakness, pins and needles feeling, and shaky balance will diminish.  But it's a victory that he is walking with a cane now.  Since the weather is getting better, George has been able to go outside more, which has been good for his morale.

On another note, today is our 25th wedding anniversary!  Doing preoperative testing at Penn was  not originally our plan for celebration (we were thinking Vegas), but we did manage to have a nice lunch outside on this beautiful day and spend some time together.  And, most important, George is still here and able to celebrate with me.

If you have a moment, please pray for the success of this upcoming surgery.  We really want George to get the use of his arm back.  As always, thank you for your prayers and well wishes.

Journal entry by Theresa Jensen

Hello Friends, 
It's been a while.  George has been working hard to regain function.  Some things are going very well.  George's left leg is regaining strength and flexibility, which is great.  He is working to strengthen his right arm ad leg, which have been weakened by the brain injury he suffered in the accident. He can walk with a walker, or, when he's feeling bold, with a cane.  He is still shaky, but he is walking!

 His left arm has not progressed as much.  As a result of the injury to George's left arm, he will have several more surgeries to try to regain function.  We have been lucky to have been referred to Dr. Zagar at Penn Medicine.  We're hoping that, with his help, George will regain some function in his left arm.
To that end, George will undergo surgery at Penn on March 7. The doctor will do a nerve graft to try to help George use his left arm.  Any and all prayers and good wishes are requested.  It's hard to function with only one arm, and we are hoping that this and the subsequent surgeries will help George's left arm work again.
As always, our family thanks you all for the love, prayers and support.  We are so grateful.  
Please send good thoughts and prayers as we embark on this next phase of George's recovery.

Journal entry by Theresa Jensen

Hello All.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  This is the last update of 2018, and I have to say I'll be glad to see the end of this year!  It's been a rough one with Connor's broken arm and George's multiple injuries.  We are hoping for a healthier 2019.
George's last surgery went well.  The orthopedist removed about five inches of bone that had grown into the knee, causing it to be locked.  With the removal of the bone (called heterotopic ossification - say that five times fast), George has been able to bend his knee for the first time in months!  Unfortunately, the MCL in his left leg was also affected, and part of it had to be removed, so there will be more surgery in the future to repair that, and in the meantime, George has to wear a large, hinged, knee brace for stability.  However, he is progressing with his therapy.  George has been able to take some steps with support, and he is working to restore range of motion is his left leg.  He is still weak on his right side, probably due to the brain injury, and he is working to improve his strength and fine motor control. 
The other issue George is facing is the lack of movement in his left arm.  After visiting several orthopedists, it seems likely that the problem stems from an injury to the brachial plexus, which is a network of nerves that originates in the spine and controls movement in the arm.  This is an over simplified explanation, but something seems to be wrong with a few of the nerves, so George is unable to lift his arm at all.  He will be undergoing a test called an EMG test, which is a diagnostic procedure to assess nerve and muscle function.  After that, we will be seeking a consultation with a doctor who specializes in brachial plexus issues.  We hope to have more answers about what is causing George to be unable to move his arm, and what treatment, if any, would be appropriate. 
So, there is still a long way to go for George to regain his independence.  I'll post again when we know more about the test results.  Please keep us in your prayers.  Nothing about this has been easy, and we are all trying to stay positive and work hard for George's recovery.  The amount of progress he has made after such a catastrophic injury is nothing short of miraculous, and he continues to work with the in-home therapists several times a week.   He should eventually be able to walk, and we are praying that there is an answer that will help him to regain use of his left arm.
Happy New Year, everyone!  Thank you for all of the love and support you have given us over the past 4 1/2 months.  We are forever grateful.

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Journal entry by Theresa Jensen

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  George has been home for a couple of weeks now and we are beginning to adjust to the new normal. He is doing pretty well getting around despite being unable to walk.  He's enjoying time at home, but he is anxious to continue to heal and make progress. 
This Friday, December 14, George will have the surgery we originally thought would take place in late November.  This surgery will address the heterotopic ossification (bone growth ) in his knee. He will be having surgery to remove the bone that is causing his knee to have only 10 - 20 degrees of movement and  making him unable to extend his leg to walk. We think he will also be receiving radiation in the knee to prevent regrowth of the bone. 
We are still unclear about how quickly he could regain movement.  I guess we'll know more when he gets out of surgery.  He is receiving some home physical therapy that will continue after the surgery.
Of equal concern is George's left arm.  While he has some limited movement in some muscles, overall, he is unable to use his arm. Doctors have indicated that the lack of movement is connected to nerve damage.  He has to undergo some more testing to determine exactly how.  Once that happens, hopefully something can be done to hasten the process of getting his arm working again.  However, we really do not know what, if anything, that may be. 
Please keep praying that all goes well in the surgery on Friday, and that operation will help him to walk soon.  Also, please pray that we can get some answers about George's left arm, and that we can find the right treatment or course of action.

Thank you to all who have called and visited.  It has been great for George to see you.

I hope you are all enjoying the Christmas season, and that you are having better luck Christmas shopping than I am!

Journal entry by Theresa Jensen

Good evening everyone! 

Up until very recently we had been expecting George to be discharged directly from Bryn Mawr rehab to Christiana Hospital for an additional surgery on his leg to remove the bone ossification. The surgery, however, could not be scheduled until all preoperative testing was processed and approved. We were previously told that his surgery would be occurring this week, but that will no longer be the case. We expect the surgery to be scheduled for some time next week, but still do not have a definitive date. Due to insurance stipulations, George's time at Bryn Mawr will be ending this week and he will be arriving home on Thursday to wait until he is entered back into Christiana for his surgery and then his continued recovery afterwards. But, in the meantime, we get to have Thanksgiving together!

While it is exciting that George will be returning home, we must keep in mind that the journey is not over, and he will soon need to return to the hospital to continue his treatment. Wish us luck as we work on getting our home ready for his return and as George prepares for surgery. Thank you all again for your continued support! Keep the prayers coming!

Journal entry by Theresa Jensen

I haven't updated in a while because we have been in sort of a holding pattern.  George has been working hard at Bryn Mawr, trying to regain mobility.  He has been hampered by his left knee, though.  He has been building bone in the knee where it should not grow, causing the knee to be immobile, which would not allow him to walk or bear weight on the knee.  
Today, I went with him to the orthopedist, and we got some mixed news.  First, his doctor thinks it's a good idea to do surgery on his knee to remove the bone to get George more mobility.  He'll have radiation afterward to prevent the bone from growing back. That's good news, because it will get him up and walking.   Also, we found out that his MCL is completely torn - bad news.    He will need surgery at a later date to fix that, and he'll have a hinged knee brace to keep his knee stable in the meantime.
What is really troublesome is what is happening with George's left arm.  He doesn't have any use of his bicep, and we've been told that we just have to wait and see if his nerves regenerate. However, that may not be the case. Today, I mentioned to the orthopedist that George had an egg-sized lump on his left upper arm after the surgery to repair his arm. The doctor immediately realized that something had happened to his bicep, and he thinks it may have been severed somehow.  This doctor is NOT the one who treated his arm.  He is the one who repaired his leg after the infection.    We are waiting to see if it can be repaired and what that will entail.  I brought that lump to the attention of many medical professionals dating back to George's initial time in Christiana.  I am shocked that none of them investigated further.  So, we will have to see what happens next.

George is tentatively scheduled for surgery on the 20th of November.  I'll update as preoperative testing is completed and we know more about the nature of the surgery.

Thank you to all who have sent George packages and cards.  He really enjoyed the Jacob's package!  Thank you Peter, Carol and the boys.  He loved the card from Sue's daughter, too, and the candy from Nina.  If I'm forgetting anyone, please know that George is not, and he is beyond grateful that people are still reaching out to him.  The hospital can be very lonely and boring, and your calls, texts, cards,  and packages make life better for him.  

Thank you to all of those who have helped Connor and me with dinners.  You have no idea how wonderful it is to not have to worry about that after a long day of work, soccer, and insurance negotiation. By the way, George's work decided to switch insurance companies.  You can probably imagine how fun it has been to negotiate that process.   We so appreciate your generosity.  

Please, please keep praying, especially for that left arm.  It would have been much better had someone listened to me and investigated earlier.  Please pray for those who may be able to repair his arm, and please offer prayers of thanks for Dr. Q. who will operate to get him more mobility in his knee.

Journal entry by Theresa Jensen

Sorry it's been a while since the last update. George is still at Bryn Mawr, and he is making good progress although he wishes it were moving faster.  He has graduated to a regular wheelchair, and he can move it himself.  George is continuing to work on regaining strength and mobility.  He has lost a lot of weight and muscle mass.  

George continues to struggle with his left arm and leg.  He has some nerve problems in his arm, possibly due to his spinal cord injury.  He can move his shoulder, hand and tricep, but his bicep is not getting any signal that will allow it to move.  We are hoping this is a problem that will resolve with time, but for right now it is very frustrating.  George continues to work on regaining movement in PT.

We found out this week that the pain and lack of range of motion in his left knee was due to ossification (bone growing where it shouldn't be) in his knee.  This is bad news for a number of reasons.  First, he can't straighten the joint all the way. Next, he can't keep his knee rigid enough to bear weight. This makes walking very difficult.  Finally, this also means that George will have to have another surgery within the next few months.  His orthopedic surgeon wants to wait until he heals more before he can have the surgery, so we don't know exactly when that will happen.

On the whole, things continue to get better, though.  George managed to get a good shave and a haircut, which makes him feel much more like himself.  He can use his phone and tablet to take and make calls, text, and email, which helps him to be more connected.  While Bryn Mawr keeps him pretty busy during the day, it can get boring in the hospital, so being in touch has helped to combat that.  George has his ups and downs emotionally, which is expected, but hearing from friends and family definitely helps.

Thank you so much to those who have sent cards and packages to George.  He really appreciates them, and he says thank you.  If you want to send anything, here is the address:

George Jensen
117 Spruce
Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital
414 Paoli Pike
Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355

As always, thank you so much to everyone who has reached out to help George, Tara, Connor and me.  Whether you have offered a meal, a ride, a gift card, a kind word, or prayers, we appreciate it. This has been, without a doubt, the most difficult thing we have ever faced as a family on so many levels.  All of our lives changed in an instant, and it has been a tough adjustment, but all of the people who have offered us support and love are helping us get through it. 

We had a really nice visit with George the other day.  We brought in Chinese food, and we got to eat together and spend time as a family.  We needed that.  Here are a couple of pictures from the day.  Note that George is feeling good enough to be goofy ;)

Journal entry by Theresa Jensen

George has been back at Bryn Mawr for a little over a week now.  He is receiving aggressive physical, occupational, and speech therapy every day.  He's making some good progress, especially with his right arm.  He is starting to be able to use his phone more often.  It's been great to look at my phone and see George's contact when I'm getting a call or a text.  
If you would like to send George a card or letter, you can send it to:

George Jensen
117 Spruce
Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital
414 Paoli Pike
Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355

George was also finally able to see his buddy, Rider this weekend.  Enjoy a picture of their reunion!

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Journal entry by Theresa Jensen

George is continuing to improve, but he is not out of the woods.  He is opening his eyes and he recognizes his family, but he is unable to communicate.  He has had surgery to repair his badly broken left leg and to close his abdomen after exploratory surgery.  This week, he will undergo another surgery to repair his broken left arm.  He is being weaned off of some of the medications, and he has been stepping down the support on the ventilator.  He is receiving excellent care here at Christiana, and we hope to keep seeing improvement each day.  
George’s Story

Site created on August 18, 2018


George was out for a motorcycle ride on the night of Wednesday, August 15th, when he was hit by a Chevy Silverado truck at the intersection of Route 273 and Appleby road. He was wearing his helmet and Kevlar jacket, but the driver of the truck did not see him and hit him at full speed on his left side. A nearby officer was at the scene quickly and an ambulance followed soon after. He suffered significant injuries and underwent treatment at Christiana Care Hospital. He underwent rehab at  Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital.  He returned home, and had another surgery on his leg in December.  He is awaiting several more surgeries on his arm .  



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