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November
13
2020

November 12, 2020

This will be short.  Mike was discharged today.  Alleluia !!!  He has a little extra hardware to carry around for awhile, his wound vac machine. It will be the 3 of us for awhile but at least not at the hospital.  I couldn’t help the happy tears flowing as I saw him walk out ready to go “home” with me. I think I even saw a tear roll down Mike’s face as we pulled away but that could be because I was driving!  That part of this adventure is finished and for as happy as we both are for it to be completed, both of us are going to miss the hospital staff that took such great care of him.  Obviously the surgeons and all the OR staff were the ones to save his life but the group on Pavilion 2 of the 5th floor at Good Sam Medical Center from nurses all the way down to housekeeping and food service made the stay more bearable for 6+ weeks.  We will truly miss them.  Many stopped by this week to say goodbye because they didn’t think they would be working when he was finally released. I think he might be famous for awhile up there!
When we finally return to Cincinnati we will have more doctor visits, more home health care for his wound vac, and more surgeries in 6-12 months but the worst of the storm has passed.
I know I say thank you every time I complete one of these posts but WE REALLY mean it.  We have felt the support from near and far and it has helped tremendously !  I have to say that the staff, all of you, and our faith has gotten us over this mountain.  No words can express the gratitude we are both feeling.
Love to all,
Joanne

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November
9
2020

November 09, 2020

It looks like Mike has spent his last weekend at the hospital!  Last night he finished his last bag of IV nutrition.  He was so happy to be rid of one more thing tying him to the hospital. They let him start to eat any food on their menu on Saturday to see how he would tolerate it and all went well.  He wasn’t that hungry since he was still getting the TPN.  This morning he had a wound dressing change that did not involve putting the wound vac back on!  Now he has no connection to any hospital equipment and is roaming the halls all on his own, which he does frequently, no walker required!  Yesterday was probably the last day for him to go outside for fresh air as today we are getting a wintery mix of precipitation.  The precipitation is welcomed here as the fires are not completely extinguished.  (The one picture he has on regular clothes because it had gotten too chilly to go out yesterday with just the hospital gown and blanket, the other picture shows him without his ball and chain IV/wound vac pole.)  They want to keep an eye on his nutrition and do a few more dressing changes here but then they are going to kick him out!  So sweet that one of the CNAs, Kayla, came by even though Mike is not her patient today.  She wanted to wish Mike well in case he is not here on Wednesday when she works next.  We can’t say enough about the amazing, compassionate, high quality of care he is receiving here.
I hope my next update will include pictures of Mike walking out and finally getting to come stay with me at our home away from home. We will be staying here for a couple more weeks until they feel it is ok for us to make the drive back to Cincy.
Thanks a million for all the support!
Love to all,
Joanne

November
5
2020

November 05, 2020

The good news just keeps on rolling in!  Mike had his wound vac changed in his room today.  I was able to stay and watch the procedure.   Normally this stuff can make me queasy but it truly was interesting.  Mike was given just a slight bit of pain med so  he was alert for the whole thing and was trying to supervise but was unable to see well enough.  Lucky for him I took pictures of each step which I will NOT be sharing here! LOL!  The graft was still looking good.  A few areas were looking “fried” as Dr. Barnes put it but that is to be expected.  He still has 80-90% coverage and they were pleased.  He also was allowed to start eating soft foods.  In the picture above you can see him eating his first real food since September 26th!  I ran down to the cafeteria and got some food and we were able to sit and enjoy a meal together.  The small things give the most satisfaction these days!  I don’t think we will ever take some of the simple things in life for granted ever again. The talk is that if he is able to tolerate real food they can take him off the TPN. That is our next big step to escaping the confines of the hospital.  We won’t be heading home to Cincy right away as they would like us to visit them at the clinic for wound dressing changes before we head across the country.  I have to be sure that my nursing skills are up to par to take care of him on my own!  I am definitely learning a ton of things I never thought I would need to know.
We also got outside in the sunshine again.  Check out the picture of Mike from our adventure today. I think he is going to start a trend with this fashion statement!
Monday is the next changing of the wound vac and observing how well he is healing.  We are hoping to get a better feel for when we can take this show down the road to Louisville, Colorado where I have been living in the “Miner’s Cottage”. It is a short 5 minute drive to the hospital, not too far from all the wonderful doctors, PAs, nurses, CNAs, etc, etc.  Some of them have become like family to us.  
Thanks for showing us so much love,
Love to all,
Joanne

November
3
2020

November 02, 2020

The last few days have been pretty peaceful.  We have been able to get outside the last 4 days all on our own!  Thank goodness the weather has been so nice!  I am learning to steer a wheelchair while I push his IV pole! (He can walk on his own but he is not allowed when we go outside). Dick and Jan were able to come visit while we were outside and Mike really enjoyed seeing them.  
Today was just the most awesome day though. Mike went into surgery to have the grafting looked at and the wound vac changed and the doctor said. 90-95% of it took!  This was great news as they warned us that sometimes these don’t take or only partially take.  I would say that 90-95% is answering all those prayers that you all are sending.
They are planning on doing these procedures in his room from now on, they only lightly sedated him today for surgery and he was awake for half of it, talking to the doctors, LOL!  Who does this?  MIKE of course!
Speaking of his room, yesterday he was moved up to Gold Star Status and got a room with a view!  So nice to see the mountains in the morning for alpenglow and in the evening for sunset. It really makes a difference to look out and see such beauty! 
The light is shining brightly at the end of this tunnel, there may be some pebbles along the route still but I think Mike has shown how resilient and determined he is to get by them easily!
Thanks so much for all of the caring and concern!
Love to all,
Joanne

October
28
2020

October 28, 2020

The last wound vac held really well.  Yesterday they took Mike back to surgery.  Their goal was to do the grafting but they had to check to be sure that everything was looking good first.  Well I am super happy to report that they were able to do the grafting!  They put the wound vac over the top to help with healing.  We just have to pray that the graft takes.  The plan is to  go back on Monday to check and change the wound vac.   Hopefully we have this 5 day streak of no surgeries and LOTS of healing!!  Mike is doing well, as soon as the doctor gave him the thumbs up to get out and walk the halls again he is up and walking!   We haven’t asked if they have a release date in mind.  On this 33rd day in the hospital with 13 surgeries it’s hard to picture that day although we know it will come when Mike is healed enough, and strong enough.  
Thanks for all the cards/pictures ( I have hung them all in his room so he can see them and all the love they represent!) 
Thanks also for all the prayers!
Love to all,
Joanne

October
25
2020

October 25, 2020

Mike had surgery #12 on Friday.  They replaced his wound vac and did another wash out.  They were not planning on this one but somehow something was not going right with the wound vac. ( somehow a tube got loose while he was sleeping and it might have had a little help from the sleeping person)   Mike is progressing but maybe a little slower.  He is not allowed to eat anything just a  very limited amount of clear fluids because of the amount of drainage from his wound vac.  Most of his nutrition is coming from  TPN.  (Basically getting feed into his PICC line- google it). They will need to do another wound vac change and wash out on Tuesday.  They will be checking his nutritional panel and will do the skin graft when that all looks good.  It’s just going to be a waiting game so plenty of time to pray🙏!  It is a super cold (16 degrees) and snowy day here so watching TV, playing on our iPads and taking some walks in the halls is what our day looks like.
Hope your Sunday is just as exciting.  
Love to all
Joanne

October
22
2020

October 22, 2020

All is well with Mike these past few days.  A little bumpy because the wound vac was acting up a lot.  Several things happened that ended up sending him back into surgery yesterday. It was not a set back as they had planned on doing surgery today but because of the aforementioned problems with the wound vac they decided to go back yesterday.  All went well and he is healing as expected.  Keep praying that all continues in this manner and that the next surgery, scheduled for Monday, to do a skin graft over his wound is successful.  If he can have it next Monday he will have 5 more days with the wound vac on  so that the graft takes hold.  Mike has been in good spirits and we have gotten to know a lot of the staff especially in pre and post op.  This picture is from his dry erase board in pre op from yesterday which was surgery #11.  
Melissa arrived yesterday and it was so good to see her, WE MISS YOU MICHAEL!
Mike is probably excited to have a different face in his room all day as they all said it was fine for Melissa to go to visit.  The only downside is that only one visitor per patient per day so I will not get to see him today (COVID rules😡) It will be strange for me not to see him since we have been together nonstop since August 26th.  
Thanks for all the cards and drawings (Lily and Norah) Melissa took them to the hospital today so I am sure Mike is enjoying seeing all of those!  
You never realize how many wonderful people you have in your life until something like this happens and it is so heart warming and (happy) tear provoking.
Love to all,
Joanne

October
20
2020

October 19, 2020

This picture was taken as Mike awaited #10 surgery this afternoon, as he is indicating with his  hands. The last 2 days have been spent walking the hallways and enjoying the different views from various windows on the 5th floor. It’s just nice to get out of the room and move around for both of us. He gets a lot of encouragement as he walks through the halls and sees different employees that have seen him at some of his lower points.  They stop and tell him how good he looks and that he is moving around great!  We are getting to know a lot of the health care workers here and they always are cheering him on.  A few more surgeries are still in store, Thursday is up next.  I am unable to see him tonight after surgery since they took him so late and they had to put in a new PICC line, and visiting hours end at 8:00. I’m sure he will be well taken care of until 8:00am when i will be back to see him with Starbucks in hand. 
Love to all and Thanks for the support!
Joanne