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January 14, 2019

It is with great sadness we share that Grandma (Norma) Harvey passed away yesterday - January 14, 2019. She had been transferred to the University of Iowa again to undergo surgery to help her brain injury and during preparation for this operation, the family was notified she passed away. The family is now back in Fairfield planning her visitation and celebration of life ceremony. We know, without a doubt, Grandma appreciated all of the support and love during her fight. Please send your thoughts and prayers to Grandpa (Gary Harvey) and family, as well as the many friends and loved ones who knew her, at this time.

Visitation will be held 6-8pm, Thursday, January 17th at Behner Funeral Home, Fairfield, IA, Celebration of Life service will be 1 pm, Friday, January 18th with Pastor Danny Cary and Pastor Dick Larson officiating at Behner Funeral Home.  

Obituary can be found below:


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Sunday Update

The neuorgolgy team has now said surgery will be scheduled tomorrow, Monday January14th.  She is currently resting comfortably.  I will post tomorrow when we have more information.

Thank you

Sunday January 13th

Wednesday, January 9th Norma had a CT Scan that was shared with the neurology team in Iowa City, she was having less movement on her right side and some swelling.  She was transferred back to Iowa City on Saturday, January 12th. Today, Sunday January 13th, she is moving more on her right side, new BIG improvements this morning she gave a big yawn and even had a reaction with her left hand when they checked her blood sugar.

They have stopped the feeding and will do the surgery sometime today to replace her bone flap on the right side. (Bone flap = right side of the skull that was removed during the first surgery which has been stored here in Iowa City.)

If all goes well we are hoping to be transferred back to Des Moines within the next few days.

She had a surprise visitor, Colton from AZ flew in just in time to travel to Iowa City and spend the night. 

She is currently in the same room in ICU as she was when she left, this morning I was sitting with her, on the window to her room the snowflakes we put there were still there. 

Please continue to keep Norma in your thoughts and prayers. 

Sunday, January 6th

Since arriving at Mercy Norma has not had to use the ventilator so it has been removed from her room, she does have an oxygen mask over the trach.  She continues to be active on her right side and showing us her left eye every so often.  This week she will have more days of physical therapy.  We met with the staff that is taking care of her and all are pleased with not having to use the ventilator and reminded us this is going to be very long recovery process.  The staff have been wonderful and taking good care of her.  Tonight when we were leaving Gary held her right hand up and asked her to wave goodbye to us and we got a wave.  Love these small gestures she gives us.

Thank you for the continued thoughts and prayers.


Happy New Year

Norma arrived in Des Moines this afternoon, and the nurses have been getting her all settled in.  She is at the Select Speciality inside Mercy Hospital which is a Long Term Acute Care where they will begin focus on physical therapy and tracheotomy care.  She continues to be active on her right side and opens her left eye often. 

The visits will continue to be limited to immediate family with the flu season in full force we cannot risk transmitting anything to her or our family.

Please continue positive thoughts and prayers for her recovery. 

Thank You.

December 29, 2018 Update

The tracheotomy was successful. Grandma is much more comfortable and is able to move quite a bit more now that she has less "stuff" to deal with around her head, neck, and upper body. She is still on a ventilator and feeding tube. She will likely have these for awhile as she continues to recover. She's moved on her own quite a bit more (adjusting, readjusting herself) and has opened her eyes a few more times. Due to Medicare restrictions, she is waiting to be transferred to a care facility in Des Moines on January 1st. Until then, she will remain in Iowa City - getting her rest and continuing to heal. Tentatively, she will be in Des Moines for 3-4 weeks. Doctors will wait to insert the plate into her head to replace where they had to operate/remove parts of her skull during the initial surgery. 

Grandma sends her Happy Holidays in squeezes :)  


Day After Christmas Update

Our family met with Doctors and the Palliative Care Team today. We will be providing Grandma (Norma) the maximum care she needs by introducing tracheotomy and feeding tube this week. The last update shared this similar information, however doctors have been waiting for the right time (i.e., less risk) to do this rather invasive procedure and have consulted with the family a number of times to reassess her progress in the last 4 days. We hope that the tracheotomy and feeding tube will allow her to be transferred to a different unit next week with the goal to get her into a long term care facility as soon as possible. The long term care facility will be where she continues her recovery and the therapies required. In the last post, we shared an important website with a lot of information on Severe Brain Trauma Injury. Please know that this resource provided us with a lot of information, was recommended by the hospital, and that it also outlines the long recovery process faced by Grandma. We are hopeful that the tracheotomy and feeding tube will help her regain strength quicker and that we will start to see signs of improvement in terms of cognitive and physical responses. She is occasionally moving her arms and legs and there are signs she is responding to touch on various parts of the body. It is still very early though and hospital staff are focused on safely managing her pain, blood pressure, insulin levels, etc.

So far, this is the update we have and we will add more once we have more to share. Please know we have not updated the website because we have been waiting to meet with doctors and to hear more about signs of improvement in Grandma's recovery process. I've had a few requests to update the page daily however please understand that the recovery process for Grandma is going to be *very* slow and requires patience on behalf of the family and friends. The family is patiently waiting for these signs of improvement, too, and we are very much aware of the love you all share for her. We won't necessarily have updates each day, but we assure you that when there are signs of change and updates to provide we will do so immediately. Dave, Kristine, and Grandpa are at the hospital daily. We are working together to provide updates when they are available - which will likely be one every 2-4 days depending on what we hear. All of us have access to provide journal updates, so this will be updated as long as we have updates to provide. Doctors reminded the family at the meeting today (12/26) that it's a very long recovery process; patience is going to be the best thing we can practice with everyone involved so we hope to have your support in doing this as well. If something **anything** changes, we will definitely update the page as soon as possible knowing the many loving and caring family and friends are waiting to hear about Grandma's progress.


Saturday December 22

Norma is getting ready for a tracheotomy and working towards moving off her ventilator. Doctor's must wait for recent infection and illness to clear up before they can conduct this procedure. We learned this morning she is fighting a lung infection and the flu. With her immune system status and respiratory risks, her body is working hard to overcome these minor setbacks to in order to conduct the tracheostomy. Doctors shared that respiratory failure is one of her greatest risks at the time and they want to limit the risk by giving her body and brain plenty of rest. ICU staff are monitoring her stimulation, including visitors and other external stimulation, that might cause exhaustion and setback her recovery further. She is in the early stages of recovery for a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); the information above can also be found on the Traumatic Brain Injury Alliance resource if you're interested in learning more about her condition and early stages of recovery (see link pasted below). Norma is still resting her eyes. She responds with the right side of her body by holding and squeezing when doctors' conduct their tests. The medical team is working toward the goal of consistent response on this side, in addition to the procedure discussed above.

Visits are very limited for a few reasons until she regains consciousness and fights off the current infections and flu. These include consideration for: flu season, often when someone has a cold (or worse) they have it before symptoms physically show - therefore risking transmitting it to her, her immune system is very vulnerable. The hospital restricted visits at this time. In order to visit Norma while she heals you must be accompanied by Gary, Dave, or Kristine to the room. If you cannot get a hold of them, please wait in the ICU waiting room so that Gary, Dave or Kristine can come out and get you to visit. Please know the family appreciates your consideration as we are all working hard to follow the best we can to help her recovery. We are very hopeful she can fight this off quickly and move forward with the tracheotomy if we do so. 

Keep posting under the Well Wishes section of the page. We share this and the visitors list to her on the page regularly. During the time she is fighting off infection and illness, we can keep all connected with her via the website.