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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Update on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Update on Ben Wolverton

It has been 15 days since Ben fell off of his longboard. He is "awake" from his coma, but far from well. We're having trouble with the internet this morning, so I won't be able to get his picture up for a bit.

Ben'slungs seem to be clearer today. At least the container that holds the fluid that they drain from his lungs doesn't have much blood in it this morning, but his fever is still high. It spiked to about 103 this morning, so he is squirming around and uncomfortable. He also was coughing a bit, so we moved his bed up.

He opened his eyes for a moment when we came in, and I asked him to keep them open while we took his picture. He tried, but couldn't hold it for long, so we won't have pictures with eyes open, unless he wakes for a bit more.

The doctors are taking more blood and urine samples, checking for bacterial infections. But it may be that the part of Ben's brain that regulates body temperature is damaged, and that can cause him to have an elevated temperature. That, or stress, can also cause the high temps.

One thing that I notice happening, is that each time that I talk to him for a few minutes, Ben's mouth clenches and opens a bit, and he moves his lips, as if trying to speak. Nothing fancy, but he might try to say "yes" or "no." He has so many tubes in his throat, along with things to keep him from biting his own tongue, that he can't speak at all, but I suspect that in a few days, we'll be able to hear his voice.

So, we don't have any great, miraculous reports this morning, but he has come a long way.

When we first hard about Ben, I was in a phone meeting with my partner David Cuddy, a movie producer, and James Chankin, our co-producer. Someone began ringing the doorbell frantically and pounding on the door, so I went to check on it. A neighbor boy, Adam Alduenda, was at the door. My wife came up behind and asked "What's going on," just as Adam started to speak.

Adam said, "The police got Ben, and they're sending him by life-flight to the hospital." Only because my wife was speaking in my other ear, I thought that Adam said, "The police shot Ben. . . ." and I was trying to figure out why in the world they would have shot Ben.

In any case, Adam went on to tell me that the police wanted to talk to me on the phone, and I spoke to an officer for a few moments. He told me that Ben had had a longboarding accident out near Snow Canyon. He wanted to know Ben's age, his address, and birthdate, so that they could test Ben's memory "in case he wakes up from his coma," and then warned me not to drive too quickly to the hospital. I immediately wondered what I was saying, and I asked, "What are you saying? Is he going to live long enough to get to the hospital?" He hesitated to answer, then said, ". . . yeah. He could make it. He might make it," but explained, "there's a lot of blood, though." I think at that point, he dropped his hand and thought that he had hung up the phone, because I heard him tell someone, "I've never seen so much blood."

We got rerouted to different hospitals, so we didn't actually get to see Ben until about four hours after the accident, once we got to Las Vegas.

When we reached the hospital, Ben was lying on a cot, and I was surprised to see how much blood had poured from his ears, nose, and the back of his head. I really didn't expect him to live for more than an hour or two.

The doctors explained that there really wasn't anything that they could do for him initially, due to the area of the brain that was damaged. So it became a waiting game, to see how much he might recover.

In talking to dozens of people now, I suspect that Ben CAN recover, but we will have to continue to take it day by day.