Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Still in ICU, But Out of the Woods

Thank you all so much for your prayers and good wishes. I know how much they helped me; Walter's been passing them along to his family out there too, and they appreciate it. It's way past my bedtime, but I wanted to give you a brief update before I hit the sack.

Carl's been upgraded from critical. That's big. He's still in ICU and very heavily sedated. They're going to keep him semi-comatose for a few more days. But he's out of the woods, they say; they don't foresee any big setbacks.

Walter heard some more about the accident. Carl was driving a little tin-can type car made in Slovakia, where they all live. The car that hit him? It was a big ol' hunk of SUV.

So the reason he was broken so badly wasn't just from his car door pushing into him and cracking up on the lamppost. The SUV's grill was up so high, the vehicle itself whammed into the man through his window. Thus the devastating fractures in his shoulder and ribs.

His wife, Anne, Walter's oldest daughter, took one look at their car and never wants to see it again. Seeing the door pushed all the way past the gear shift was as much as she could handle.

Carl's total recovery time will be 6-8 months. There will be lots of physical therapy, of course, especially for his shoulder. He'll probably lose about 20% of its function.

Walter tells me it was separated, rather than simply dislocated. I didn't know there was a difference. Apparently, a simple dislocation means they just pop it back in. When it's separated, it tears up all the ligaments and tendons and cartilage and muscle tissue as it's wrenched way far out. That needs surgery, sometimes a series of surgeries, to repair.

In our family, we tend to get shoulder surgery; we have hereditary problems with impingement on the shoulder tendon. It's similar to rotator cuff surgery. Walter had this done too, from an injury.

The PT lasts forever, and it's brutal. But if you don't do it, the scar tissue builds and ruins all the work the surgeons did. So we all really feel for the man on this - it sounds like he has 100 times the damage we're used to seeing, in our own mundane shoulder problems.

Anne's doing much better now. She's back to her usual calm and efficient self...or as much as anyone could be, I guess.

I'll keep you up to date. I didn't want to leave you hanging. Reading other blogs, I know how maddening that can be.

He really will be fine. I'm still a little shook up, thinking about it all, but overall, I'm just so relieved. That little Ex-Step-Grandson will have his daddy at home with him for a while.

Somehow, even knowing how much pain Carl will be in, and how immobilized he'll be - I have this feeling that Carl and little Walter will be very good for each other as he recovers.


pepektheassassin said...

Thanks for the update of good news, and it IS good news!

Jan said...

Good news, yes!

I'm so glad to hear it, and will continue to pray for his recovery.

Desert Cat said...

I'm glad to hear he's pulled through the worst of it.

That shoulder stuff makes me cringe. I have some funky stuff going on in my shoulders and I've read up on how they're all hooked together. The idea that all those ligaments and tendons got torn apart makes me a little green under the gills.

But if it was me, and the end result will be 20% loss of mobility, I'd be thanking God for my fortune. That it was not a fatal accident is a miracle in itself.

Pretty Lady said...

Yes, they will be good for each other--I wouldn't be surprised if this accident provided the foundation for a lifelong bond between father and son. And it is a miracle that he survived.

DNR said...

wow, he sounds quite lucky.

k said...

Oh yes. Lucky. Incredibly so.

Sort of takes my breath away. One of those instances in life where I stop and think, Hmmm...and what rational side of me is saying there's no guiding hand behind this?

Thank you, everyone. DC, I know something of how you feel. Since I'm not a good surgery candidate any more, I'll have to live with mine. They say that PT can take care of 85% of impingement cases. I'm supposed to be doing it, but had a hassle finding a PT place covered under my plan, so it went on the back burner for now.

Once you do get to learn all the nitty gritty details of the workings of shoulders? Yeah. Hearing about that *separation* vs. *dislocation* had me queasy too. And as you know so well, I don't quease easy.

Then, last night, moving my arm behind me and feeling that nasty stab in that shoulder...ach. Poor man.

Yet Walter tells me lots of folks with 20% loss don't even much feel it. As a hockey fan, he gets to follow such cases pretty often. And as long as he keeps up with his own PT, he does well with his own shoulder.

Pretty Lady, oh yes. That guiding hand, again. Imagine how this amplifies it: that's the father who lost his first child at 18 months to heart disease. She's the baby granddaughter who came through the difficult heart surgery, came home, was recovering, then caught an infection and died.

Now here he is, soon to be home for his own recuperation, alive when he could easily have been dead himself...and able to spend months in close, intimate contact with his new baby son.

It's's stunning.