Joey’s Story

Site created on January 14, 2019

How do you summarize a complicated case like Joey's? In April of 2016, Joey was on tour when he felt very sick in the middle of the night and asked the bus driver to drop him off at a hospital in Louisiana. Within 24 hours, one little gallstone led to a severe case of pancreatitis that landed him in the ICU with sepsis and in kidney failure. 

Since then, we've been dealing with the fallout from this initial case. Among other things, it's led to: 

-5 major surgeries with 40+ staples each time and hard recoveries
-Over 150 days inpatient in the hospital 
-Over 20 drains in his abdomen
-Dozens of outpatient procedures

The problem that persists is that his pancreas is still leaking since half of it is dead. No doctor has been able to contain the leak, and surgeries that attempted to remove the tail of the pancreas have been unsuccessful because of all the trauma his body has been through (the doctor described it as "concrete like adhesions.")

Our current cycle is:
Intervention is attempted and a drain placed to drain the leak --> things are under control --> drain gets removed --> back in the hospital within a week 

Major surgery #4 was 3.6.19 and removed the tail of his pancreas, his spleen, his stomach, and half of his large intestine to control the leak.

He started having complications a few days later, so on the morning of 3.12.19, he had emergency surgery where they discovered a perforated bowel. He now has an ostomy bag and a complex wound that will take some extra time to heal.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Bekah Eaker

First and foremost, thank you for all of the love you showed Joey on Saturday for his birthday! He just finished opening another round of cards. I'm amazed by how many of you reached out to show him some love. It's been fun the past few days to read your notes. Thank you for that. 

We made the best of his hospital birthday with some decorations and TV watching. It wasn't ideal, but he says he had a good day, all things considered. 

But now that his birthday has come and gone, we're both getting a bit stir crazy. Today is day #25 of this hospital stay. If you've ever spent more than 72 hours in a hospital, you know how soul-crushing it can feel at times. He's within the same 4 walls with pokes and prods and not his bed. I'm slowly going insane with balancing all the aspects of our lives. Again, 2019 is just kicking us in the behind. 

A little bit of good news--he's finally at his full feeding tube rate. That took quite a long time to get to, and it still has its speed bumps. The last few mornings, he's woken up in intense pain. This morning, he once again was miserable and couldn't get relief until he took a 2 hour break from feedings. We need to have more talks with the nutrition team to get this side of things fully under control because it's made for some really difficult days for him. We're hoping we can find a plan that allows for the proper caloric intake along with the chance to take breaks from the feedings for his body's sake. 

His fevers have been long-gone since they started him on an antibiotic, but they're still not sure of the exact source of the infection. They're continuing to pull new cultures almost daily waiting for it to clear up in his bloodwork. There's a chance he may need to be on some longer-term IV antibiotics, but we're not 100% sure on that at this moment. 

All that to say, there are quite a few things to be figured out before he can come home. It may be this week. It may not be until next week. I'm honestly unsure. For every area of progress he seems to make, 10 other issues seem to pop up. So we're working through it. 
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