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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Update On My Brother

As rather cryptically alluded to on Friday, my younger brother is ill. Since we think the truly dangerous part has past, here's an update.

What Happened
My youngest brother lives with my mother, who coincidentally has been in the hospital to receive in-patient physical therapy for sever arthritis in her back and knee. Anyway, we believe that he came home from work on Wednesday evening at around midnight or thereabouts. As he started to get undressed for bed, he apparently suffered from a massive stroke, centered around the front right of his brain. As the stroke started, he fell very hard to the floor of his bedroom. One of my two other brothers (there are four of us in total) found him late Thursday afternoon, lying in a pool of vomit and blood. He immediately called me and we called my older brother. After a few minutes of trying to revive him, I called 911 and an ambulance was at the house well within ten minutes. The very professional ambulance crews (there were two) immobilized him and took him to Scranton's Community Medical Center (CMC), where there is a trauma unit. After arriving at CMC he was brought to the ER, where treatment began. Late Thursday evening he was brought to the ICU at CMC.

The Update
At first we were unsure as to what happened. It was after the first CT scan was completed that a stroke was identified as the cause. I've been up to see him every day (I am now doing the "Scranton Hospital Tour 2009", as I go from CMC to visit my brother to Mercy Hospital to visit my mother), and he is slowly regaining consciousness. The truly good news is three fold:

1. He is off of the respirator (they took that out late Saturday night)
2. Additional testing has indicated that he has not suffered from any bleeding in his brain
3. At this point he doesn't have any noticeable impairment on either side

He is also able to respond to basic questions by nodding his head and moving his hands. The longer term prognosis is a bit more cloudy, given that he's not yet able to speak. That (the speaking part) could be due to the tubes that were down his throat (he had a tube down for breathing and one to pump out his stomach) as much as anything else.

The Next Steps
He will be evaluated by the Neurologist today and probably a speech therapist tomorrow, as they think the stoke may have occurred near a speech center. With a little luck he will be moved to a regular hospital room tomorrow. From there it will be a slow process of recovery, with hopefully minimal lasting impairments.

My thanks to all who have expressed their kindness and concern over the past few days. It is greatly appreciated.

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