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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Update on Saturday, May 10th, 2013

Update on Ben Wolverton

Today starts the 38th day since Ben fell from his longboard.

Early this morning an old friend offered to fly Ben from Las Vegas to Salt Lake aboard his private jet, so that Ben won't have to go through the rigors of waiting in line, passing through security, and so on. So we are setting up his flight for Monday evening, after my son Forrest's wedding.

I've been working hard on taxes and paperwork for the past ten days without a break, so I took the day off. I got to go visit Ben today for the first time since I got sick--more than ten days ago. It was remarkable to see the change in him.

First, his hair is growing in over the scars where he had brain surgery, and my wife Mary has been putting vitamin E on them, so that they are disappearing rapidly. Ben was much more alert today, and he stayed awake for the entire four hours that we visited--a record for him since the accident. Spencer and Danielle went with me on the trip.

Second, Ben has got his sense of humor back. He doesn't remember much of what has happened in the past two weeks, when he began to come out of the coma, but now he knows that he was in an accident and has got a good sense of humor about it. He invited everyone, "Would you like to feel my brain?" More than that, he feels "lucky" to be alive and in such good shape.

A week ago, Ben was still in denial about the accident, and not really aware of what had happened. For example, Spencer told him that he'd been in an accident, and Ben called him a liar. To prove it, Spencer showed Ben the incisions in Ben's stomach, and had him knock on bone where parts of his skullcap are stored. Ben felt the hard lumps and said, "Hunh unh, that's not my skull. That's my six-pack. I've been working out!"

It wasn't until his friend Ty showed him some pictures of Ben being life-flighted to the hospital that Ben was convinced that he'd been in an accident.

So Ben has developed a nice sense of humor, and though he's much better, it's obvious that he's not quite himself. He has one nurse that he doesn't much like, and each time that he passed the door, Ben would glare and say, "I don't like that guy," even if it had been less than a minute since the last time he'd been by. It was obvious that Ben doesn't have a sense of time. Nor is he really thinking about what he says, and filtering it. It's kind of fun to see that kind of guilelessness.

So we visited for several hours, and brought in some Thai food for him.

Ben is doing well on eating, even though his swallowing is still a bit slow. The doctor said that if Ben would drink eight cups of water today, they'd take out his feeding tube, but I'm not sure that Ben will be able to drink that much. The nurses were still giving him a lot of water through his feeding tube.

Ben is also complaining of stomach aches. That whole skull-storage site doesn't agree with him. The doctors think that it is because he doesn't have enough fat to comfortably cover the area. Or maybe it just doesn't fit that well over his six-pack.

Ben was able to exercise with his walker today, and made it completely around the nurses station (perhaps 200 feet total distance), keeping up pretty much under his own power. So between eating, talking, and walking, he seems very ready to get into therapy.