Friday, December 30, 2011

Great Appetite, Crummy Infection

 Horse Pen Creek Crabs: Sara, Andrew and Bennett


Bennett continues to improve and he has a great appetite.  When he first started eating he was craving lots of fruit.  Now he'll eat just about anything (but hospital food).  Last night was sushi.  Night before Thai.  Each morning he has a big bowl of berries and some yogurt and he’s loving his smoothies.  Just a minute ago he ate a variety of about 6 Christmas cookies that folks have brought (we have a multitude of sweets and have been trying to fatten up the nurses).   It’s getting expensive eating out so today I went to the grocery store.  Mama B’s gonna have to start cooking again.

The biggest struggle for Bennett is pain.  Tomorrow he has a consultation with pain specialists.  Hopefully they'll be able to figure out a formula that will consistently control the pain.  Right now it seems like he is often chasing it. 

Wednesday morning Dr Reynolds (plastic surgeon) came in with some bad news.  The cultures that had been taken from Bennett’s inner thigh and up into his pelvis area had grown out an antibiotic resistant staph infection.  Now Bennett has added Infectious Disease Specialists to the long list of caregivers.  Things could be a lot worse.  While this is a resistant staph, it’s not resistant to everything and it’s not one of those flesh eaters.  It’s actually the staph that lives on our skin, Staphylococcus Epidermidis. Needless to say, it should not be inside Bennett.  The big concern is that it’s by the metal plates and screws in his right femur and pelvis.  Bugs love to live on metal and the antibiotics have a hard time getting there since there’s no blood flow.  Bennett is on powerful IV antibiotics for 6 weeks.  Luckily this will not keep him from starting rehab. 

So, what happens if the bacteria is on the metal and the antibiotics don’t kill it?  We haven’t spoken to the Orthopods about this yet, but the Infectious Disease Specialist says that if it’s there the plates will start acting up and could come loose.  This would be a sign that the bacteria is still there.  The solution would be to go back in and take out the metal.  Hopefully this would be far enough in the future that the bones will have fully healed and the hardware is no longer needed.  Sheesh.  If it’s not one thing it’s another. 
Right now the important think is to control it so the bones can heal.

When I first learned about this new infection I was terrified and I think Bennett was too, but the ID Specialist sees this type of infection every day and seems confident in his ability to successfully treat it.  I’ve learned to roll with each new crisis.  One of Bennett’s orthopedic surgeons once told me that there comes a point when you have to quit worrying about the science and have faith in the miracles that our bodies and God perform.  I found this so interesting coming from a man that loves science and works with such precision.

Now, it’s time for me to go perform a miracle in the kitchen because I laterally haven’t cooked in over a month.  Tonight, garlic clam sauce on wild mushroom ravioli and a salad.  I wonder if cooking is like riding a bike?

Much love and gratitude, 

Libby

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Very Special Christmas and Looking to the Future

  Bennett viewing his students in Spain.  Bennett loves that job!

On Christmas Eve I realized that I really hadn’t gotten anything special for Bennett.   Somehow it had snuck up on me.  He had received some presents in the mail, but I hadn’t really done anything.  He had an origami covered tree in his hospital room.  He had a few presents under the tree that friends had sent.  On the other hand I had a great present; Bennett.  I was fussing about where the other kids would be.  Bennett called Cy and told him that they’d BETTER be going down to Grandma and Pops.  Alternately Kathryn had invited them to Glos.  Britt said she had a photo shoot on Christmas afternoon.  It just didn’t seem all that Christmassy.

On Christmas morning we spoke to people that we love on the phone and opened our presents.  Bennett’s friend Heather came early with a snowcat poster signed by all the snowcat operators plus goodies and books.   
A signed poster of the snow grooming machine Bennett operates.  Bennett loves that job!

He spoke to cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and quite a few friends.  Sara called late in the afternoon and assured us that they had finally all gotten together and were driving down to Grandma and Pops which made Bennett happy.  Then Britt Sara and Cy walked into Bennett’s hospital room.   It was so strange; everything slowed down and got a little foggy.   For a second Bennett got mad that they weren’t with their grandparents, but only for a second.  The last few days with all the kids have been sweet and amazing.   The previous time the kids were here (3 weeks ago) Bennett was extubated right before they left and was able to speak for the first time since he had been admitted.  The kids are leaving tomorrow and today Bennett was given some great news that has allowed him to set goals and make plans for the not too distant future.  Today Bennett is smiling.

It was one month ago today that I received the kind of call from a hospital chaplain that every parent dreads.  Bennett had been critically injured in a snowboarding accident and was in route via Flight for Life to St Anthony Hospital in Lakewood Co.  Breckenridge is a small town and it seems like there’s only one degree of separation between everyone there and countless people from there have told me what a strong will to live Bennett had that day.  We also know certain events lined up that day that saved his life in the hour or so after the accident.

Last week Bennett was told that he would not be getting his hip replacement for maybe 3 months and he would have to stay in traction until the hip replacement.  The social worker that told him this went on to say that rehab could not start until he was out of traction and that he would likely be discharged from the hospital prior to that.  This conversation had weighed heavily on Bennett in the last few days.  He wondered where he would go when he was discharged and how he would get there.  He feels confident with his doctors here and wants to continue his care here.  He’d been very quiet since hearing this news.

Besides the worry about being discharged and stuck on his back in traction for months, Bennett had started having a strange and scary sensation in his right foot.  The feeling in his foot gave way to a numbness, burning and tingling 5 days ago.  It was hard not to obsess on this and wonder if he was losing nerve function.  The neurologist was unable to do an EMG because the metal from the traction would interfere. 

This morning Bennett and I met with 2 of his orthopedic surgeons and part of the trauma team.  We were give good news on several fronts.  For simplicity sake I’ll list the news:         
  • The doctors believe that the tingling and burning in Bennett’s foot is the nerve coming back, not the other way around.  Bennett has been able to move the toes on his right foot down, but not flex them up.  They think that this burning is caused by the nerve coming back that will allow his to flex his toes up. 
  • Bennett is growing new bone at a rapid rate.  The broken bones are bridging (connecting and growing back together) quickly.  The acetabulum is the only bone that has not been repaired and is considered inoperable because of the risk of infection so the plan was a total hip replacement.  Now the orthopedic surgeons feel that if the acetabulum heals as it is it will support the femur enough for Bennett to be able to bare full weight in another 3 months and that hip replacement should be put off as long as possible.  The thinking is that the acetabulum is healing so quickly and Bennett is growing so much new bone that it will function pretty well.  The hip replacement will only last 15 years and if he had one now it would have to be redone several times throughout his lifetime, so delay it as long as possible. 
  • The traction was reduced today from 20 to 10 pounds.  Starting today the traction will be taken off for 1 hour each day and physical therapists will be working with Bennett each day.  Tomorrow they may sit him up on the edge of the bed.  In 2 weeks the traction will be gone and he can start full time in house rehab.  
  • In order to move up to rehab he will have to be off the heparin drip and IV pain meds.  This is a goal for Bennett.  He will have to be switched to Coumadin (for the blood clot) and oral pain meds. 
This news completely changed Bennett’s outlook and he now has a goal of making it to Panama in April for Ani’s sister’s wedding.  Before he had talked about this, but it didn’t seem realistic.  Now it seems like a realistic goal.

Other good news:  Yesterday Dr Reynolds closed up Bennett’s inner thigh and put a skin graft on it.  The skin came from his left thigh.  There is still some infection in the upper inner thigh, but it seems to be responding well to antibiotics.  Hopefully nothing will grow out of the new cultures and it won’t blow up.  

Bennett continues to have lots of visitors and he’s always happy to see them.  Today Tim, a Swiss friend that Bennett met in France last summer stopped by.   That was a wonderful surprise.  We are so grateful to many people and there are many people that I want to thank.  Please know you are appreciated!  I especially want to thank John for getting the kids out here.

Please continue to send that positive energy and prayer.  Bennett feels it.

Much love and gratitude,

Libby

Friday, December 23, 2011

It’s easy to lose track of time...

 Bennett bobbing head jar decorated for the holidays at North Beach Grill, Tybee Island GA

It’s easy to lose track of time when you are spending it day in and day out in the hospital.  Bennett’s accident happened 4 days after Thanksgiving.  Now it’s Christmas Eve.  He will have been at this hospital 4 weeks this coming Monday.   This has been a week of big improvements and scary setbacks.  Yesterday he ate solid food for the first time since his accident.  He was craving fruit and the first thing he ate was a tangerine.  Then he had half of a green apple espresso brownie.  These are by far the best brownies I’ve ever eaten.  They were hand delivered from Tybee (thanks Cindy!) at least 2 weeks ago, and it hasn’t been easy saving any for Bennett, but I held on to some and he was glad that I had.   Next on the menu was a brothy asparagus leak and salmon stew Bennett’s Dad made.  Yum.  

This past Tuesday Bennett had surgery to put the permanent plate on his right femur and set his right Clavicle.  I didn’t even know he had a broken clavicle until about a week ago.  I guess his docs thought that it was small potatoes compared his other injuries so they just left it off the list.  He also had a washout done on the inner thigh where the infection has been and the wound vac reapplied. Unfortunately there was some puss found in the wound vac area but the surgeon didn’t think it communicated any more ( had passage to) to the femur area.  

Bennett’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr Desai , reported after the surgery that Bennett is growing new bone at a remarkable rate.  He explained that patients with traumatic brain injuries and fractured bones sometimes experience enhanced osteogenesis (bone growth). Somehow the body secretes a hormone that enhance the production of a protein that promotes calcification (don’t ask me to take a test on that.  I wasn’t taking notes).  Evidently Bennett bumped his head hard enough for that to happen, but not hard enough to cause brain damage.  Thomson swears that his mind is sharper now than it was before the accident.  Hmm.  Back to Dr. Desai… he said that this bone growth is a good thing and it produces a lot a blood flow which helps fight infection.  Hopefully it will also help the bones around Bennett’s hip socket harden up and heal more quickly so that he can have his total hip replacement sooner rather than later.  More on that later.     I found out today (or was it yesterday?) that an undesirable side effect of this enhanced osteogenesis is called heterotopic ossification.  This is when bone forms in soft tissue, where it shouldn’t be.  On Wed a CT scan was done of Bennett’s pelvis and hip areas and it appears that this is happening.  The Critical Care doctor that mentioned this to us said it is treatable, but we’re still waiting to hear how it will be treated.  The CT Scan was done to try and determine where the infection is originating from.  They were looking for pockets of fluid but instead of seeing signs of infection they saw signs of heterotopic ossification.

Bennett has had several ultrasounds of his arms and legs to check for blood clots.  His legs have been fine and I mentioned in a previous post that he had blood clots in his arms that the doctors weren’t too worried about because they were in superficial veins (close to the surface) as opposed to deep veins that carry more blood.  Last night I noticed that Bennett’s right arm was swelling and alerted the nurses.  Another ultrasound was done and a clot in Bennett’s right subclavian vein was identified.  This is a deep vein running under the clavicle and is serious.  It must be treated with blood thinners.  The last time Bennett was treated with heparin (blood thinner) his blood counts dropped so much that they discontinued it.  Last time wasn’t so critical, but his body was in much worse shape and still oozing a lot of fluids.  Hopefully now that he is more stable this will not be a problem.  I am concerned though.  He received a unit of blood Wednesday.  

Today Dr. Reynolds (plastic surgeon extraordinaire)  washed out Bennett’s inner thigh again where the infection has been.  He said that it looked pretty good in there but is concerned about it being open for so long.  He felt that the arterial graft was safe and the tissue around it healthy, but found that the infected area communicated with the pelvic area and femur.  We just have to hope that the infection doesn’t start living on the metal plates and screws.  Time will tell.  Dr Reynolds is hoping that he can do another washout on Monday and on Wednesday close up the thigh and do the skin graft.  After today’s surgery Bennett was started on a heparin drip.  The medical staff will closely monitor his blood count and hopefully the heparin will blast the new blood clot to oblivion.  

Bennett’s hospital social worker, Maggie, has been trying to find out when he’ll be heading up to rehab.  He can’t start rehab until he’s out of traction (right leg) and yesterday Maggie was told that he will be in traction until he can have his total hip replacement.  That could be months, so it was a tough day for Bennett.  It’s hard to imagine being in bed and in traction for that long.  Next week Maggie will gather Bennett’s team together so we can get a clearer idea of what is in store for him over the next few months.  He has so many different doctors on his team and it will be interesting to have them all together and hear what they have to say.  The primary team members are trauma, critical care, ortho, plastic, neuro, & vascular.  I’m probably forgetting someone.  Back to his total hip, for several reasons the orthopods have determined that the hip socket (acetabulum) is inoperable.  The primary reason is that repairing it would require a lot of manipulation of the leg which could put the arterial graft at risk.  Another reason is fear on infection.  Dr Desai says that Bennett would probably need a total hip at some point anyway.  If they try to repair the acetabulum they would have to use plates and screws.  Bacteria loves to live on metal because there’s no blood flow and if the area gets infected he won’t be able to ever have a total hip.  So there you go.  Bennett is waiting for his body to be strong enough for a total hip.  Because the acetabulum is shattered there’s nothing to keep the leg from moving up into the pelvic region, thus the traction.  

Yesterday Bennett’s friend Ashley stopped by with a Christmas tree.  Today while he was in surgery I decorated it with the origami that the kids had made his first week in the hospital.  It looks great.  Then some gifts were delivered (thanks Santa Glo!), so we not only have a Christmas tree in Bennett’s room, we have a Christmas tree with gifts under it.   Bennett has had lots of other friends visit this week.  Today Thomson, Steven and Jason all stopped by on their way back to GA.  Safe travels Boys.  We love you.  This evening  his snowmaking buddies, Todd and Rick dropped by with snowmaking photos, a gameboy, some books, sketchpad, snowboarding videos and a 2012 calendar of the US Women’s Rafting Team (Tastefully unclothed. Talk about muscles!  Sheesh!).  Later this evening Vince stopped by who hadn’t seen Bennett in a couple of years.  Wednesday 4 of his Snow Cat buddies  (including his boss) stopped by and presented to him the first place prize money from the snowflakechallenge.   Monday Megan Sandra and Ariel came.  Over the weekend one of his bosses from snowmaking dropped by.  I know I’m forgetting some folks but please know that it means so much to Bennett (and me) to have you visit.  Please continue to drop by.  Bennett is also taking phone calls.  Thanks to everyone who continues to make Bennett’s days better by visiting, sending cards, calling, praying and sending positive vibes. 

With much love and gratitude,

Libby

Monday, December 19, 2011

LoVeloVelovE

          Coworkers and buddies of Bennett Bacon (not pictured here) spent about 95 hours creating their piece, which one first place, to help him with his medical bills he has after a snowboarding accident.

December 19, 2011


Bennett has been surrounded by so much love and positive energy; it’s having a visible healing effect.  His friends and colleagues in Breck have been amazing and it’s been a treat to meet his Colorado family.  The link below is just another example of the wonderful friends that he has cultivated out here.  I love you guys.    



Bennett has been in a lot of pain in the last few days, though I think his mind is more in tune with his body.  He has stopped all the sedatives which had started backfiring on him.  He is now getting more pain meds but his mind is clear and he’s finally sleeping.  It appears that the infection in his thigh is under control.  Tomorrow the orthopedic surgeon will place a permanent plate in his right femur and set his right clavicle. 

Last week Bennett finally got an MRI.  He hadn’t had one because of the traction, but they temporarily took it out so they could get an MRI and put it back above his knee (it was through his lower leg).  The trauma surgeons had identified a basilar skull fracture when he came in but the MRI showed a C1 vertebral fracture.  Just typing this makes me feel a little sick.  The MRI also showed that there was no deep brain injury.  Today the Neurologist from Craig Hospital released him saying that it looked as though all of his rehab will be orthopedic.  Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado is exclusively dedicated to spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation, and research.  

Yesterday Bennett’s restriction was removed on how far up he could sit.  Previously he was restricted to sitting up at no more than a 45 degree angle.  Now he can sit up at 90 degrees which also enables him to swallow liquids and food!  ( I think this increased mobility is also contributing to his increased pain) Last week he “flunked” his swallow test (twice) but passed with flying colors today.  Bennett’s Dad, Jerry has bought lots of groceries to make his famous seafood stew.  He’s determined to fatten Bennett up.   While the speech therapist was giving him the swallow test she also gave him some cognitive tests and he did “above average”.  Thomson teased him that his mind might be sharper since the accident.  I know his mind is sharper than mine after hearing the questions from the speech therapist that stumped me.  It reminded me that I need to start taking some ginkgo but I’m sure by tomorrow I will have forgotten.  

We’ve had so many visitors and each one makes Bennett so happy.  We thank you all. 


Will comes bearing gifts from Old Crow

December 17, 2011 afternoon

Bennett has had an exciting day and it just keeps getting better.  He is so stoked.  This morning his critical care doctor decided he was ready to move off the ICU to the step down unit.  He also agreed to remove all the sedatives that are supposed to help Bennett sleep, but seem to be having the opposite effect. 

Uncle Bill stopped through on Thursday and yesterday Will and “honorary Dad”, John flew in.  Then Ani and Thomson reappeared this morning after an adventurous road trip exuding their love and positive energy.   Bennett is extremely grateful for all his friends and family that have been here to visit him.  He is so happy to see his cousin Will.  They’ve always had a special bond.  Will came bearing gifts from Old Crow Medicine Show including a signed EP.  Pretty sweet.  _____________________________________________________________________________________

Rest for the Weary

December 16, 2011 morning

In the last 6 days Bennett has had 2 more washouts of the wound vacs and besides being anesthetized for about 2 ½ hours for each of those procedures he has slept maybe an additional 7 hours.  This has been heartbreaking to see, and is evidently something that can happen to patients that have been in ICU for a prolonged period of time.    The term for this is ICU Delirium or ICU Psychosis.  My understanding is that it’s caused by the combination of drugs and the fact that in ICU there is continues activity…24/7.  It’s hard for the patient to tell the difference in night and day and the sleep cycle is interrupted.  The combination of sleep deprivation and multiple drugs may cause hallucinations, and In Bennett’s case he is hallucinating off and on.  It’s worse at night and early morning.   The first 2 nights were the worst.  He had a lot of congestion that he was able to cough up, but it would then have to be suctioned out of his mouth and he seemed to be afraid to fall asleep because of the risk of choking.  Since then it’s cleared up some and he is able to suction himself, but he is still hallucinating and not sleeping.  His hallucinations aren’t scary.  Some of them are even comforting, but most cause confusion.  Even when he’s hallucinating he knows where he is, what month and year it is, and who we are.  Bennett thinks that the very drugs that are supposed to help these symptoms are the ones that are causing them and I am beginning to suspect that he’s right.  He lays in the dark, eyes darting back and forth.  I'll speak to his doctor in the morning about stopping these meds.    

While all this sounds scary, Bennett is making remarkable progress.  The infection in his thigh area near the arterial graft seems to be clearing up nicely.  Dr Reynolds preformed the washout today and was prepared to close up his right calf and do a skin graft.  He was actually able to close up the calf completely without a skin graft.  Future plans include another washout on Sunday and on Tuesday the permanent plate in his right femur. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A brief (but good) update




I keep starting a new update, then get sidetracked and something changes.  I’ll try to post a more comprehensive update on the last week in the next day or so but the bottom line is that Bennett is making great progress.  He was moved from the NSICU yesterday evening to the “step down” unit.  This unit still has a high level of care is for those patients who have been in ICU and aren’t quite ready to go to a regular floor.  This is a huge move.  He’s had so many friends and loved ones here and he’s in pretty good spirits.  Last night he said to me, “Mom I have a lot of great friends don’t I?”   Yes he does.

Much love and gratitude,

Libby

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I always disliked roller coasters…

December 11,2011


I always disliked roller coasters but I’ve got to get over that just to keep my sanity.  Bennett’s progress sometimes seems like being on a roller coaster, but as long as we keep creeping forward we have a lot to be thankful for.  My last update2 days ago I was deliriously happy and Bennett was delirious.  He’d just been extubated (ventilator tube out) and was being pretty funny as the sedatives wore off.  As I wrote the update he was in surgery getting his right thigh and calf washed out and the wound vacs re-applied.  

The news from that surgery was not good.  The surgeon found a lot of dead muscle around the site where Bennett’s femur had come out through his inner thigh.  It’s infected and the infection is right next to the arterial graft.  It’s common to get infections when compound fractures occur, but the arterial graft adds a scary complication.  I just can’t bring myself to throw that complication out into the universe by stating what it is in this blog.  I will just say that in order for a leg to be alive you must have blood flow.   The surgeon found that the deep femoral artery had also been severed.  The deep femoral artery branches off the femoral artery going deeper into the leg and does not leave the thigh.  A leg can live without the deep femoral artery however the reduced blood flow to the deeper tissues in the thigh probably didn’t help the situation.  The surgeon removed the dead muscle tissue, (he held up his fist to show how much), washed the heck out of the infected area and applied a fresh wound vac.  He also applied one to the incision on the outer thigh where the surgeons had gone in with the temporary plate on the night of the accident.  

After being deliriously happy with Bennett being extubated I crashed when I heard the news.   Later that evening I accidently redialed the number of a call I had missed earlier.  I didn’t know that I had dialed the number and heard a “hello?” coming from my phone.  When I placed the phone to my ear and apologized for “pocket dialing” someone, I found myself speaking to the brother of the young woman who witnessed Bennett’s accident, got the GPS coordinates and called ski patrol.  She stayed with Bennett and spoke to him until ski patrol arrived and was the first of many people that helped save Bennett’s life that day. 
Thank you Jennifer.  

That was two days ago.  Over that last 2 days Bennett has become more lucid and we see his personality intact.  He’s being pumped full of antibiotics and today his orthopedic surgeon went in to check out the infected area, do another washout and apply new wound vacs.  The surgeon found a bone splinter while he was in there that he removed and said that everything looks pretty good.  No more dead muscle had to be removed.  The graft is working well and he has a good pulse in his right foot.  He is loving company and although he’s still a little sedated he can carry on a great conversation, albeit a little slurry.  He knows where he is and why.  

I keep hearing amazing stories from the nurses, surgeons, helicopter team and friends of ski patrol about the series of events and actions that took place and saved Bennett’s life the day of the accident.   If any one of these actions or decisions by Bennett’s caregivers had been different he likely would not have made it.  When and if I get a clearer picture of what happened I’ll share the story.    

Friends that have visited in the last couple of days: Heather, Jason, Taylor (Chewbacca), Aaron (Treehugger), Marcus, Lindsey.  

Music therapy:  Little Tybee, Third Word, Nancy Griffith, Joe Craven, the Dodos, Chick Corea, Old Crow Medicine Show, Grateful Dead, Herbie Hancock, The Devil Makes Three, The Posies, The Accomplices

Book Therapy:  A walk in the woods

        Camels and Kite Surfing in Morocco



Friday, December 9, 2011

Bennett is Delirious and I’m Deliriously Happy!



December 9, 2011

Yesterday Bennett was weaned off the ventilator!  He was extubated (tube removed) before Sara, Britt, Cy and Rachel left so they were able to speak to him.  In order for him to be extubated he was weaned off the sedatives, so he was fairly coherent when they pulled the tube.  He knows everyone, knows he was in a snow boarding accident and hit a tree, knows he’s in a hospital and know he want to leave NOW.  The origami cranes (and Altamaha-ha) were hanging above his bed and when asked if he knew where he was he said a hospital in Japan.  I think he was joking…

Bennett was able to move the toes on the right foot and said that he could feel his shin being pinched, so we are thrilled.  It’s pretty hard to understand what he’s saying but we’re getting better at it. As the day progressed he became more delirious.  He thinks he can leave here and get in his own bed.  He kept trying to get up.  He asked if the pigs were real...  We keep reminding him of his injuries and how important it is to keep his right leg still because of the arterial graft.  He’s very frustrated but hopefully the delirium will pass soon and he’ll be able to understand clearly the extent of his injuries and come to terms with the fact that he’s going to be stuck here for a while.  

As I write this he’s in surgery having the wound vacs on his calf and upper thigh (where the arterial graft was done) washed out and reapplied.  If nothing changes the next surgery will be on Sunday to put a permanent plate on his right femur. 

We have been warned and understand that there will still be ups and downs, but to see Bennett extubated and witness his smile is a pretty wonderful thing.    

Thanks again for all the love, prayers and positive energy being sent his way.  

Much love and gratitude,

Libby
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________________________________________________

Hurry up and Wait

December 7, 2011

Yesterday was a rollercoaster, but not necessarily in a bad way.  We’re learning that we have to be fluid.  Bennett’s doctors are constantly reassessing his needs.  We are told what’s going to happen next, they reassess and we’re told something else.  I’ve embraced this fluidity.  There is nothing predictable about Bennett’s condition and prognosis, so we are rolling with it.   


We thought that he was going to get an epidural during his pelvic surgery and be weaned off the ventilator.  Turns out that they couldn’t do to epidural but his pelvic surgery went fine.  Because of the importance of not compromising Bennett’s arterial graft they were only able to do part of the pelvic reconstruction.  Dr Olson, his vascular surgeon and made it clear to everyone that his right leg where the graft is must stay stable or the graft could tear.  If this happened and it was not able to be repaired again Bennett would loose his leg, so protecting the graft is at the top of our priorities.  

The part of the pelvis surgery that was not done is the reconstruction of his acetabulum.  The head of the femur meets with the pelvis at the acetabulum, forming the hip joint.  In order for the orthopedic surgeons to reconstruct the acetabulum they must manipulate the leg which would stretch or contract the artery.  Also, the femoral artery runs on top of this area, so it has to be lifted up.  While the eventual reconstruction is extremely important to Bennett’s future mobility the artery is more important.  I’m sure the orthopedic surgeons are just itching to get in there and fix it but they may have to wait longer than anticipated or possibly even not fix it and give Bennett a hip replacement in the future.  In the mean time they are reaching out to colleagues around the world to figure out the best way to get it done safely.  

Thanks SO MUCH for all the love, prayers and positive energy being sent his way.  

Much love and gratitude,

Libby



Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Quilt for Bennett

Since we have been here in Denver I and some other of Bennett's friends and family have begun making a quilt for Bennett. We've gotten a lot done considering it was everyone's first time crocheting but we would like to make it even bigger! If anyone is interested in contributing any pieces for the quilt it would be greatly appreciated! They can be any shape, size or color, knitted or crochet, as you can see from the picture. If anyone is interested please go ahead and send your pieces to me at:
Nicole Erthein
1102 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401

-Nicole 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Get well video for Bennett from the Czech Republic



Bennett will be going into surgery shortly for the 1st part of his pelvic reconstruction.  During Bennett's pelvic surgery they will be doing an epidural for pain management and try to wean him off the sedatives and pain meds to remove the ventilator tube tomorrow. This is a pretty huge step and I am thrilled! We were hoping to get a trach today in order to get the vent tube out, but this is even bigger and better!

Bennett's friend, put together a get well video for Bennett.  The link is below, but what he said about Bennett is certainly a wonderful description of how he lives his life so I've posted it. 

"Anyone who knows Bennett personally certainly understand much more the next few lines I would like dedicate to him. This video we shot during one afternoon in Spanish coastline village Langre where we were together at the surf camp. It's not just surfing in his way, from which comes the positive energy feel or music what he likes so much (the song I actually know from him). It is mainly himself Bennett, who has so positive effect on me. When me and my friend Jakub Dohnalek first time arrived to France where we first time met Bennett we have no idea how much inspiration, good mood and fun he will transfer on us. With no doubt, I would like to say that time I spent with Bennett, is and will be one of the most important moments I'll never forget. Why am I talking about it and why this video was made? Because the positive energy which Bennett gave me (without knowing about it) now I want to return to him back and help him to be strong in this very tough time he`s going through now during recovery from a serious accident that happened to him recently."

I'd also like to thank Bennett's friend Miloš Potužák for sending some wonderful shots from Langre.  We will no doubt be posting some of those photos soon.  

to watch the get well video click here .



With much love and gratitdude,

Libby





Shrimp Sauce


Our friend Patrick Byrnes, owner and designer of the clothing company Shrimp Sauce. has offered to donate 100% his sales profit this week to Bennett and the Bacon family. Thank you Patrick!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

We are wearing our positivity parkas and staying warm.


Sunday Dec 4, 2011

Today has been pretty good.  Bennett was resting nicely and seemed a little less agitated than he has.  The snow is coming down hard and we’re playing Bennett good music.  Today’s music was Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck, Talking Heads, The Dodo’s, Little Tybee, Old Crow Medicine Show, Bob Marley, Brock Scott Quartet and Joe Craven.  

We are wearing our positivity parkas and staying warm.  Thanks for the suggestion Wiley!  We are taking it to heart.

A lot of folks have been asking for Bennett’s address so it’s below:

Bennett Bacon
C/O NSICU
St Anthony Hospital
11600 W. 2nd Place
Lakewood, CO 80228

Much Love and Gratitude,
Libby

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It’s a slow process…


December 3, 2011



Recovery from Bennett’s accident will be a slow grueling process but I know that he’s up to the challenge.  This process is so slow that it’s difficult for me to see since I’m with him most of the time, but friends who have stopped by today after not seeing him for a few days see a big difference.  

Since my last update 2 days ago Bennett has started responding more to friends and family and he’s staying awake for longer periods of time.  Britt and Cy arrived yesterday and he gave them a huge smile.  It’s hard to tell the difference between a smile and a grimace because of the ventilator tube, but his eyes say everything.  Two nights ago his grip became really strong.  We all love that strong grip.  

Bennett had a break from surgery yesterday.  Today he went in for wound vacs on his fasciotomy and inner thigh.  These wound vacs set up a negative pressure and help the blood vessels regenerate quickly plus it’s a closed environment that has a lower risk of infection than regular dressings.  The inner thigh area is where his right femur exited and also where the arterial graft was done.  Both areas will likely need skin grafts and the wound vac helps get the tissue ready to receive the graft.  

A bit of good news today was that the surgeon was able to close up the fastiotomy on his inner calf because the swelling has gone down and only had to wound vac the outer calf.  The wound on his inner thigh was more complicated but they were able to successfully apply the vac.  

He’s running a fever and today it broke that threshold that makes the medical staff concerned about infection so they took blood, sputum, and urine cultures.  Hopefully nothing with show up and it’s just his body fighting the trauma.  

Happy moments ~ Thomson always makes Bennett laugh.  He’d better stop! ~ Andrew started chronicling Bennett’s hospital journey today.  We’ve had quite a few discussions about this and while it seems a little weird we are certain that Bennett is going to be curious about what he was dealing with in the hospital.  The photos will be available if Bennett wants to see them. Thanks Andrew! ~ Guy drove up yesterday from Arizona through a snow storm in his Karmann Ghia with no heat.  We are so thankful he made it safely and not permanently frozen. ~ Nichole taught Guy how to crochet today and they are busily working on a patchwork throw for Bennett.  ~ The rest of the crew has been busy creating an origami menagerie that will soon be hanging all over Bennett’s hospital room.  ~ Sean flew in from Vermont tonight and it’s great to see him!  ~ Marcus was telling Bennett tonight about a snowboarding video he’d just gotten and Bennett’s eyes lit up.  ~There’s about 8 inches of snow on the ground in Denver! (That’s a big deal for us Georgia folks)

Thanks so much to all of you sending Bennett positive healing energy, loving thoughts and prayer.  

With much love and gratitude,

Libby

Friday, December 2, 2011

Surf Trip Destinations: Spain

Bennett sent out this video to some friends and family last week and we’ve gotten such a kick from watching it.  We were wondering what the underwater shot of sand was all about.  Wes told us the rest of the story when we got out to Denver.  The story goes that Bennett borrowed an underwater camera that was attached to a pole.  The guy he borrowed it from loaned it with a strong reminder to not loose it, so of course Bennett lost it.  The sand shot is of it bouncing around on the ocean floor.  He went back to the camera owner and traded his surf board for a mask and snorkel.  The shot of him jubilantly shooting out of the water is right after he found the camera.  Whew!