Wednesday, August 29, 2012

48 hours at Harborview

On Saturday night around 6pm my little brother Cory crashed while he was longboarding and hit the back of his head on the street. His two friends immediately noticed blood coming from his ears and they  contacted 911. While they waited for the ambulance they struggled to keep Cory from standing up and tried to keep him calm.

Responders arrived in no time and sedated and intubated Cory as soon as he was in the back of the aid car.

He arrived at Harborview Medical approximately 30 minutes after his accident. 
Family was contacted and we all raced to the hospital where Cory was in triage being kept asleep while tests were being done. The first CT scan showed 2 skull fractures behind his ears and 2 brain bleeds, one worse than the other but only 3mm in size. 
Cory was not responding well to the sedative and kept waking up confused, combative and in pain. It took my parents and other nurses to hold him down. This was extremely hard for my Dad especially, to see him struggle.

Another cocktail was created and he was finally heavily sedated and medicated. 

(The following pictures are graphic and I advise anyone with a weak stomach to beware.) 

When Matthew and I finally arrived at the Emergency Room, we were only slightly prepared for what we saw. Cory looked horrible and there were times I wasn't sure he was going to come out of this the same. We spoke to him and I promised him I would do everything I could to keep the Doctors from cutting his hair. 
We sat in the family room and waited for his 2nd CT scan to see if the bleeding was getting worse. Discussions or emergency brain surgery were had. 

Luckily, at midnight his CT scan showed only minimal growth in the bleed (5mm) and they believed that he should be fine without surgically stopping the hemorrhaging. 

The scariest thing for me was that the Doctor had a hard time telling us what was to be expected the next few days. She told us that head injuries are so unpredictable and that it was hard to know what he would be like when he woke up. 

I prepared myself for the worse. 

The next morning Cory was awake in the ICU when my parents arrived and was even speaking a few words to them. He didn't remember anything from the accident and we had to repeat a lot of things to him. He remembered who all of us were, but had a hard time remembering anything short term. 
When I arrived that morning Cory was resting, extubated and cleaned. It was amazing to see him improving so quickly and even more reassuring to hear him talk to us. 

He was put on pain medication and some anti-nausea drugs to keep him comfortable. He complained about his ears hurting and was having a hard time hearing anything
Tests were done on his ears and they were cleaned out with drops to get rid of the drainage from the fractures. The Doctors explained that there may be some blood in his ears for weeks. They also told us that there is a possibility, that because of the severity of his injuries and the location, there may be some permanent hearing loss. The bones in his ears may have shifted or become damaged during the injury.

Only time (and a few follow up tests) will tell what he will have to learn to live with.

During the day we did everything we could to keep Cory comfortable. We read him messages that people left for him on Facebook and made sure that he took his medications on time.

 Here you can see some of the bruising from the skull fractures.
Monday morning I got a text that Cory was standing! This was big news. He also was begging to get out of the hospital and so they agreed to give him some tests to see if he could pass them. 
 There were some physical, mental and occupational tests. He had no problem walking down the halls, frying an egg and reading. He had a few issues with details and memory, but the nurse felt comfortable sending him home.

Cory was so excited to leave, but of course it took 2 more hours to get all of the paperwork ready.

I pressured him into taking a nap to pass the time. He rested a little but kept waking up hoping it was time to leave the hospital.

 He was so frustrated and tired at one point, he started to pull out his IV. I about screamed at the nurse to release him. I think we were all a little on edge, but they finally finished all of the paperwork and explained to us the home care.
 Sam came with me to see Uncle Cory and brought him some band-aids for his owies. Sweet boy! Sammy really enjoyed the nurses and they were more than happy to give him the attention. Yep, he's flexing his muscles for the ICU staff.
 On our way out of Harborview!
 We all got a little emotional when Cory rolled into the sunshine for the first time in 3 days. We were all very happy to get him home.
Cory had a rough first night after the hospital messed up on his pain medications. He went a horrible 12 hours on Tylenol only! Poor guy. But, he has started to get more rest, keep a little food down and is on pain meds for the headache.

Recovery will be tough as Cory will have to get used to the hearing loss, head pain and memory loss. Things will get better, but he will have to be very careful and take extra precautions to keep from having another head injury as that could be very dangerous.

A HUGE thank you to everyone that supported us during this very scary time. I was amazed at the outpouring of love for our family.

Sam and Casey (the friends he was boarding with) are our heroes! They did everything right and it is because of them that Cory is alive today. Thanks, boys! Seriously.

Harborview Hospital was amazing and their team was helpful, understanding and knowledgeable.

And remember kids, always wear your helmets!!


Stephanie Bendel said...

Ok seriously crying right now! Sooo glad Cory will be ok! Such a strong guy! We are seriously so blessed to have such a supportive strong family and Cory is blessed to have so many people care about and pulling for him! I love your blog Holly! You can feel the love and emotion in your words! Thank you for keeping us updated.. I only wish we could have physically been there for u guys!

Love u all!


mark rubin said...

Arny, your familys courage and strength has been an inspiration to us all. We are all a part of your your family in your journey to recovery. God bless you all. Mark Rubin

KREED said...

Mark Rubin said it best; prayers to you Arny, to Cory, to your whole family. What an ordeal. Continued healing...God Bless, Kel

Colton said...

Thomas H. Cruise, I don't even know what to say. I'm still in shock.

Even now, still in shock.

I'm so so glad that he's recovering! That is so scary, I can hardly wrap my brain around what it must have been like for you guys. I'm sending my honest sympathy from 1,376 miles away.