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

Good news: Joey came home from the hospital on Saturday. More good news: he came home on oral antibiotics, so we don't have to bother with home health. 

Bad news: it's been 3 days, and nothing has grown from the cultures on his port. Translation: it probably was not infected and was not the problem. Further translation: it was removed for nothing, and we're still not entirely sure why the infection reoccurred. 

All we can do for now is try to go back to our normal lives and hope that this round of antibiotics knocks it out for good. 

Some of you might ask, "Why don't you go back to Mayo?" Well, right now, there's nothing that they could do. The infection is gone. The repeat blood cultures showed that the antibiotics are knocking it out. We may send medical records up, but until symptoms flare up again, there's nothing to prove. 

Also, as much as I'd love to squeeze as much medical stuff in before the end of the year, I don't know that Joey and I can handle a Minnesota trip at this very moment in time. 

So restart the clock. Hopefully, he stays hospital-free for more than a month. 
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