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Friday, April 19, 2013

Update on Friday, April 19th, 2013

Update on Ben Wolverton

Today is the 17th day since Ben fell off of his long board.

We went to the hospital early in hopes that his nightly meds had worn off, and we were happy to find Ben a little bit awake somewhat. He wasn't real responsive this morning. He didn't help with his exercises.

I did ask him to stop thrashing around so much, so that he wouldn't need his restraints, and I explained that he had been in an accident, and that seemed to calm him. So we did some stretches, and then he started fiddling with his breathing tube. I told him not to touch it, and he moved his hand away. It's hard sometimes to tell if he understands things like that, or if it was just a coincidence.

So progress is slow. Ben is normally a straight-A student, and I'm getting those automatic notices from the school, telling me that his grades are slipping. My goal for the summer is to see if we can get him to the point where he can get his grades where they belong. That might sound a bit lofty, since he isn't conscious yet, but I think he'll come around.

I wanted to thank everyone who has been so much help this past week. The book sales on NIGHTINGALE went great, as did sales on MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES. People have been very generous on the Gofundme site, with donations for Ben.

The emotional support has really been helpful. It's hard to watch Ben be in this fever day after day and not worry about his pneumonia, but I've heard from perhaps three dozen people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, and it's great to see how many of them go through months in comas, then wake to have normal productive lives. Just yesterday I heard of two of them who had gone on to get their PhD.'s after months in comas, and one woman told how it was predicted that she would be a vegetable two years ago, but is now leading a fairly normal life, and just gave birth to a child. In looking at Ben, I'm still shocked at how deeply incapacitated he is, but hearing these stories has given me great hopes for his future.

I'm also glad to hear that these fevers are pretty normal. Ben's nurse said that almost all of her coma patients get them, and that one theory is that since the patient is kept on a cold sheet for much of the time, the brain is simply over-stimulating in order to try to get the body re-regulated. So there are a lot of theories, and maybe they all have some validity.

Here is Ben's picture for today. We were doing his exercises, and he insisted on stretching both arms. I asked him to open his eyes several times, and he did, but then he'd always close them just as Mary tried to snap his picture.