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Ross Dillon | Updates to 12/26/04 | Update letters | Updates to June 3, 2004 | Ross to 12/4/03 | Kentfield to 6/6/03 | Herrick 2003 Updates | Herrick Hospital to 12/31/02 | Rehab through 10/9/02 | First 44 Days | photos | Personal & legal | Links
Herrick Hospital to 12/31/02
***Thanks to KTVU Channel 2, Mornings on Two for airing an interview with both Betsy and Katie on Friday, December 27. Entries began showing up in the guestbook within minutes of the interview.***
Ross was moved to Herrick Hospital 2001 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA 94704 on October 10, 2002. I've started a new page as the other one was so full it was taking a long time to load.
If you want to write to Ross, his mailing address is:
PO Box 1509
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
Thank you to everyone who has so generously
donated to the Dillon Family Fund. Rusty, Betsy, Ariel and Liz have asked me to extend their appreciation to each and every one of you. Gifts to the Dillon Family Fund are used by the Dillon family to help Ross.
Please note: This information comes from family and friends, not the physicians or therapists. It is based on my understanding of what I'm told. I apologize if I have misinterpreted any of the facts given to me, and will try to keep everything as factual as possible
For evening updates of Ross's condition, call 707.799.8868
December 31, 2002 8:00 PM--Tonight I'm going to copy an email from Betsy about Ross's day--he's definitely ending the year with a flourish! Here's what Betsy sent me:
Today was exciting to Ross's family and Katie. The physical therapist got Ross up with his tennis shoes on, sitting in the chair with his feet on the floor. He has not done that since he left Kentfield four months ago. Not only that, but he was seated more upright than he ever was at Kentfield, and he was able to hold up his head. He then spent a couple of hours in the chair with his head upright, but still with his feet on the floor. He raised his head from a total hanging-down position to upright and then slightly to the right to look at Katie. He was able to hold his head up for 30 to 60 seconds, and then let his head fall. After that, upon the physical therapist's request, with about a 60 second delay, he raised his head two more times to a completely upright position. The physical therapist said that he was definitely processing commands. When asked to raise his head, he began by lifting his eyebrows, then the muscles in neck began to move and then his head lifted. Rusty said he could tell how focused he was on lifting his head. Tracking seems consistent now if he is fully awake; his eyes and pupils appear equal most of time. After all this exertion, his vital signs were still good. He had his bath, and is now sleeping peacefully and very relaxed, but becomes more toney when awakening. He currently weighs 156. The dietitian said she wants to get his weight to 160, and then maintain him at that weight.
If you could have seen Ross, just a month ago, you would realize what an amazing achievement today has been. Thank you, all of you, for your continuing prayers for Ross and his recovery.
December 30, 2002 8:30 PM--Ross did really well today. Katie said he was moving a lot, differently than his usual stretches and such, almost as if he were trying to sit up. His vital signs are terrific, and he's looking really good. Not too much to report, other than the fact he's showing minor but consistent improvements every day.
Thank you for your healing thoughts and prayers for Ross, Katie and their families.
December 29, 2002 8:30 PM--(So sorry the update is late--my website was down last night due to technical problems.)Betsy said today went really well. Ross is tracking better than he has since he was hurt, including the period just before he had septic shock. He is moving his eyes all the way to the left, now, and tracking well with the mirror when Rusty holds it for him. He was very responsive during acupuncture and was able to moan in reply to questions from Rusty. That was tough, because Rusty was doing range of motion exercises with Ross, which can be very painful. Rusty asked him to make a sound if he was hurting. Ross moaned in reply. Not an easy thing for a parent trying to help.
Ross's vitals are excellent and he's looking better every day. Thank you so much for your healing thoughts and prayers for Ross. I know all of us are hoping for the very best for Ross, Katie and their families in the coming year.
December 28, 2002 6:45 PM--When I talked to Betsy tonight, Ross was resting comfortably, but he had been very alert much of the day. Rusty has been doing "coma scale testing" using the Rappaport level of disability scale (Rappaport's Disability Rating Scale (DRS), the most sensitive, and the best validated measure of general functioning and recovery following severe TBI from coma to community reintegration; relatively insensitive to mild and moderate TBI-- info from Google search online) which includes tests to show response to olfactory stimulation, flashing lights, response to verbal commands, etc. According to Rusty and the results of today's tests, he figures Ross is either no longer in a coma, or is definitely coming out of it. (Obviously Rusty's opinion...we're still waiting on the doctor.)
Betsy's comment is a typical "mom" observation: "He looks really good." She's right--he does. Please remember Ross and his family and Katie in your thoughts and prayers, and thank you so much for sticking by him through this long recovery.
December 27, 2002 7:45 PM--This morning's interview went really well. I imagine that those folks lucky enough to see it were as impressed as I am with the eloquent and loving support Ross has from his family, his fiancee and the many friends who care about him.
He had a good day today. His mom and dad were able to get him sitting up on the side of the bed for awhile. He also had a visit from a physical therapist who worked with him for about half an hour. Getting him up is really important, as is the physical therapy.
He was resting well when Betsy and Rusty left this evening. Please remember Ross and his family and Katie in your thoughts and prayers.
December 26, 2002 5:40 PM--Ross had a quiet day today, but even the nurses are noticing his improvement. His limbs are relaxed and he continues to make sounds. He's had some visitors, which is always a good thing.
Don't forget to tune into KTVU Channel 2, MORNINGS ON TWO tomorrow morning at 8:30 for the interview with Katie and Betsy, as well as film taken at Herrick Hospital last Monday.
Thank you for your prayers for Ross--and please remember Katie and Betsy as they prepare for tomorrow's interview.
December 25, 2002 8:00 PM--Ross slept a lot today, but he was moaning a lot when he was awake. Ariel worked on him with range of motion exercises and he continued making sounds. Betsy said it was really exciting to hear him vocalizing so much. They put up an airplane mobile for him, but the movement seemed to make him dizzy. It's really frustrating because Betsy said they really have no idea how much or even "how" he sees. If any of you have opthamology training or know an opthamologist who might offer some insight, Betsy said they would love to know if there is a way to test his eyesight, since Ross isn't able to answer questions.
We wish you all the best this holiday season. Thank you so much for remembering Ross and his family and finacee in your thoughts and prayers.
December 24, 2002 10:15 PM--I got the update from Rusty tonight. He said Ross had a "sleepy" day, but the nice thing is that he is still supple and relaxed from the terrific therapy sessions he had while Andrew was here. Today Rusty and Ariel did the range of motion exercises and worked with tracking. Ross is able to look to the right easily. It's more difficult for him to look up and down, but he does it. The left is the toughest for him, but he manges to do that as well. Rusty said he seems to get a bit dizzy when he's tracking, but he keeps at it.
Another thing is that Ross responds to the sound of his name. Rusty said if they call him by another name he ignores them, but he definitely responds to his own name.
Don't forget the television interview on "Mornings on Two" this Friday. Please pass the word to anyone who might be interested.
Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers. Please have a healthy, happy and safe Christmas.
December 23, 2002 5:20 PM--I just talked to Betsy. She said Ross had a wonderful day. He was awake and very alert for the filming this morning when the crew from KTVU Channel 2 was at the hospital. Andrew spent time working with Ross before finally heading home for Christmas, and Betsy said Ross's vitals are all excellent. Even the nurses appear surprised at how relaxed his muscles are, and how well he is doing.
Betsy and Katie will be interviewed on Friday for a live broadcast scheduled to air beginning sometime between 8:30 and 8:45 AM. Please pass the word to let people in the northern California viewing area know about the program. Thank you so much for your healing thoughts and prayers for Ross, Katie and their families.
December 22, 2002 7:45 PM--Ross is resting comfortably tonight. He had acupuncture today and the acupuncturist was very pleased with the "crisp" responses Ross displayed. He is tracking well, occasionally moves his head to follow actions and is showing improvement every day.
Thank you so much for keeping Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
December 21, 2002 7:30 PM--Just talked to Betsy. She and Rusty were at home this evening. Katie and Andrew have been at the hospital with him. Katie said Ross had a good day and doesn't appear to be nauseous. She and Andrew did intensive range of motion exercises with Ross. His vitals are good and he's still vocalizing--essentially making sounds that are part of the process of "toning" the vocal chords. He did not appear to be as alert or tracking as well, and we wondered if that might be a result of the anti-nausea drugs making him sleepy.
Please be safe during this busy holiday season. Thank you for remembering Ross, Katie and their families in your thoughts and prayers.
December 20, 2002 7:45 PM--Betsy said the doctor finally authorized anti-nausea drugs for Ross and he is feeling much better. Betsy was away from the hospital for awhile today, but the physical therapist showed Rusty how to sit Ross up on the side of the bed and suggested using an exercise ball placed behind his back to help him relearn balance and to strengthen his neck and back muscles. Andrew is still there, as well, and Betsy said he's been a tremendous help doing range of motion exercises with Ross and helping to give the family a break. It's been almost seven months now, they've been with Ross in hospitals and rehab hospitals.
The KTVU interview is still on schedule. Once I know an air date, I'll be sure and post the information here. In the meantime, thank you, all of you, for taking the time during this hectic season to think of Ross, to remember him in your thoughts and prayers and for sticking with him through this long, long recovery.
December 19, 2002 8:00 PM--Just talked to Betsy and she said it was obvious Ross wasn't feeling well today. He's still nauseous, running a slight fever and his blood pressure was up. The doctor has agreed to put a dye in his food to prove he's not aspirating anything when he vomits, and he's also getting some anti-nausea drugs. He had acupuncture today and did well with that, and was getting range of motion exercises tonight. Betsy said one of Ross's friends, Andrew Kuan, was here helping with Ross's exercises, and wanted me to remind everyone that visitors are always welcome at any time.
It's beginning to look as if channel 2-KTVU will be doing a segment on Ross sometime in the next week. I'll be sure and post any information I get so that people in the viewing area will be able to watch.
Please remember Ross in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season.
December 18, 2002 7:20 PM--Not much change, though doctors have increased the dosage of Ross's medications and Betsy says he appears even more nauseous today. He's burping a lot and has the hiccups, so I know she's worried about his physical discomfort. He had another session of Jin Shin Jyutsu and appears very alert. He's tracking well, still vocalizing with some grunts and groans, and the low-grade fever he had earlier is back down to normal.
There's another big storm blowing in tonight, so if you live in areas affected by the bad weather, please keep yourselves safe! Thank you for your healing thoughts and prayers for Ross, Katie, and their families.
December 17, 2002 7:20 PM--Ross is still nauseous, but Betsy said that appears to be a side effect of many of the alternative drugs available as well as what he's currently taking. He may be very close to moving from one "category" of coma to another--the drugs that enhance brain function are used to sort of "jump start" the process. He's been making sounds--grunts and groans that are indicative of a step up, sort of a process of toning the vocal cords. He's tracking well and appears very alert when he's awake. When he sleeps, he sleeps very deeply. He had another session of Jin Shin Jyutsu, which always appears to leave him very relaxed. Betsy said she really notices a difference when she does range of motion exercises with him.
Thank you so much for keeping Ross in your thoughts and prayers, especially during the busy holiday season.
December 16, 2002 8:30 PM--Betsy said Ross still appears nauseous and she's wondering if it might be due to one of the medications he's taking--bromocriptin, which enhances brain function. One of the side effects of the drug is nausea. On the plus side, he had another session of Jin Shin Jyutsu today, and also got his first real shower since the accident.
He's more responsive, his vitals are good and he appears to be doing better every day. Thank you for keeping Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
December 15, 2002 7:00 PM--Not much to report today. Betsy said Ross had an upset stomach, whether from the new diet or some bug he might have caught (one's been going around among the patients at the hospital) but he was feeling better this afternoon and sleeping when Betsy left. He had acupuncture today and his vital signs were good.
Thank you so much for keeping Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
December 14, 2002 6:00 PM--Just a brief update tonight to let you know that Ross is doing much better on the new feeding formula they're giving him. It's so frustrating to discover they've included milk in his diet, when it's noted all over the place that he's allergic to milk, but he definitely appears to be feeling better. Another practicioner of Jin Shin Jyutsu spent hours working with him today, and Rusty said he was resting really comfortably tonight.
To be honest, I'm surprised I've still got power to update tonight! The storm is absolutely raging outside. Please keep Ross, his family and Katie in your thoughts and prayers. To those of you who live in areas where the weather is so bad, please be safe.
December 13, 2002 7:45 PM--Rusty noticed Ross seemed upset this morning and realized the hospital has included milk in his food, which Ross is allergic to. He's spoken to the dietician about changing the milk products in his diet to soy as soon as possible. In the meantime, Ross continues to do well, especially tracking with his eyes. The good thing, at least now he's doing it when there are "official" hospital personnel around who can note it in his chart!
Please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
December 12, 2002 7:15 PM--Tonight when I asked Betsy how Ross's day went, she said, "Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous!" This is a good thing! After sleeping most of yesterday, he woke up today without a fever and with excellent vital signs. He was able to touch his hand to his chin on command without any help, and was very alert. Then, when the acupuncturist arrived, Betsy said they sat Ross up in the bed. Not only was he tracking, he was turning his head to the right and the left to follow the movements of the acupuncturist, as well as Betsy and Katie. He continued to follow commands, but the most exciting thing is that he was moving his head purposefully so that he could track. This is a big step. Betsy said the Jin Shin Jyutsu appears to be playing a big part in the changes Ross is manifesting. She's just happy to see such a definite step forward.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, and for remembering Ross as you go about your day.
December 11, 2002 7:30 PM--Betsy said Ross slept most of the day. His temperature was up to 101.8 this morning. His blood pressure was high, as was his pulse. She thought it might be due to the trauma of having the feeding tube and catheter changed yesterday. The "Jin Shin Jyutsu ladies" stopped by twice today and spent time with Ross.
He was only awake about three hours all day long. This evening, Betsy said he was awake again and looking at the picture of him and Katie that Betsy taped to the side of the bed. He focuses on that a lot.
Please remember Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
December 10, 2002 7:00 PM--Betsy said the woman who used Jin Shin Jyutsu with Ross yesterday stopped by to see him again today and was really pleased at how relaxed his muscles appeared. He did have a fairly traumatic day, as the nurses changed both his catheter and feeding tube, and Betsy said his blood pressure was a bit elevated as a result.
Old friends also stopped by to see Ross. They've been to see him before, but Betsy said today it was obvious he was aware they were here. He is becoming more alert every day, though of course we all want to see him doing even more. Thank you, all of you, for keeping Ross in your thoughts and prayers, especially during this busy holiday season. It's so easy to become caught up in the daily pressure, but the fact you are checking here to see how Ross is doing means so much. Thank you.
December 9, 2002 7:30 PM--A friend of Betsy's brought a practioner of Jin Shin Jyutsu by to see Ross today. I'm not familiar with this Japanese philosophy, so looked it up on the Internet. It's not massage or manipulation of muscles or use of drugs. It is described as a gentle art of placing the fingertips over various designated points of the body to facilitate energy flow. You can learn more about it by doing a search through Google.
Betsy said it was really interesting, especially since Ross appeared to respond in a favorable manner, moving his left arm and turning his head to the left, something he hasn't been doing. When the session was over, he appeared to be very tired and slept most of the afternoon.
Katie was with him this morning and she and Betsy worked with him on tracking and range of motion exercises. Betsy said she put a picture of Ross and Katie near the bed and he spent a lot of time looking at it.
Tonight, when Betsy finally left the hospital, she said Ross was resting and breathing very deeply. I was reminded, after talking to Betsy, that there is so much in this world we don't know and don't understand. That doesn't mean we can't at least try different therapies and philosophies.
Thank you for remembering Ross in your thoughts and prayers. The power of prayer is, in many ways, another unknown, but I've seen how beautifully it works.
December 8, 2002 8:00 PM--Betsy said today went fine but it was a busy one for Ross. He had a massage and range of motion therapy, along with visitors. He was running a low grade fever but Betsy said they were able to bring it down without meds. His vitals are good, he's tracking well and moving his right arm and hand easily. He's also moving his left arm more than he has been.
He was still wide awake tonight when his parents had to leave. Betsy said she hopes he'll fall asleep soon as she knows he was tired from all the activity. Thank you for remembering Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
December 7, 2002 5:30 PM--Today went well. Ross had acupuncture and the doctor commented on how well he was tracking and following commands.
Ross continues to show slow but steady improvement every day. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.
December 6, 2002 6:30 PM--Today went well, though Betsy left early after staying at the hospital most of the week, so she really didn't have too much to report. She did tell me that Katie spent quite a bit of time working with Ross on tracking with his eyes, and he was doing beautifully.
If I hear any more, I'll add to today's update.
Just got this in an email from Betsy:
Ross is blinking in response to threat, crisp to fast threat, a slower response to slower movement to face. A finger snap elects a quick blinking response. Also, he is bending his left arm, which has been hyperextended, and is now resting his hand on his tummy. The wrist is still stiff. Until recently, the arm was always stiff. Then two weeks ago, we began to be able to move his arm into a relaxed bend, resting his hand. However, this new movement is on his own. He seems to be alternately extending his arm and then relaxing. Rusty also just used a lemon swab in his mouth, which Ross likes. Afterwards, Rusty inserted it in his nostrils which elicited a quick jerking away. Before, Rusty really had to twirl a sponge up inside the nose to get a response. Once again, Ross is so much more responsive. He is definitely tracking with his eyes. Response to questions about pictures is unclear so far, but we don't have our technique down yet.
Ross continues to improve each day, though he's still got a long way to go. Thank you so much for your continued prayers and healing thoughts for Ross, Katie and their families.
December 5, 2002 8:15 PM--Ross had acupuncture today, and Betsy said his session with the acupuncturist went absolutely fantastic. Ross followed every command he was given and was very responsive. Betsy said his movements were much stronger and he appeared more aware than he has.
They also spent some time listening to a novel on tape. Ross really seems to pay attention to audio books, which made me think about asking if any of you have audio books you're not going to be listening to any more and wouldn't mind donating them, I think Ross would really enjoy them. You can send them to his parents' address at Dillons, PO Box 1509, Glen Ellen, CA 95442
Thank you so much for your healing thoughts and prayers for Ross, Katie and their families.
December 4, 2002 7:50 PM--Betsy said today went well. Katie got to the hospital ahead of Betsy and did range of motion exercises with Ross. She thought his muscles were a lot looser, less tense, than in the past. They also looked at pictures and Ross really looked--his eyes are tracking so well now and he appears much more alert.
I learned something really interesting today. Rusty had contacted the CHP to see why the accident report hadn't been sent to the district attorney's office. According to the officer Rusty talked to, driving off the road and hitting a bicyclist as an inattentive driver in California is NOT AGAINST THE LAW! It is equated with hitting a tree or knocking down a fence, so long as drugs or alcohol are not involved.
Essentially, the District Attorney cannot bring charges because no law has been broken.
The only way to change this would be through legislative action, I imagine, so that's something to think about. No one should be able to just get away without even a slap on the wrist for what happened to Ross. If you knew him before the accident, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's been six months and he is still in a coma. His life and the lives of his family and fiancee have been forever changed. It is NOT the same as knocking down a fence. The more I think about this, the angrier I get. Maybe it's time we contact our legislators in Sacramento and find out what can be done to change the law.
In the meantime, please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers. His recovery is going so slowly, but it's still definitely a recovery.
December 3, 2002 7:30 PM--It's been six months today since Ross was hit by a car out on Occidental Road. Certainly not an anniversary I expected to see him spending in a hospital, still in a coma, but after seeing Ross today for the first time in many weeks, I am more convinced than ever that he will come through this.
Jon (our son) and I drove to Berkeley today and arrived at Ross's room just as Betsy was finishing up range of motion exercises with him. I can't get over how much better he looks.
The weight gain is obvious--he was terribly thin last time I saw him, but now his face, though still lean, has lost the gaunt look he had earlier. However, the most exciting thing is to watch his eyes. His pupils are evenly dilated and his eyes work together when he watches you. He follows each person who moves within his field of vision, and turns his head when, for instance, his mom would move just out of sight.
When you talk to him, there is a definite sense he is aware and hearing. Betsy said he does appear agitated when he first awakens, but she thinks it must be his returning awareness and the knowledge that something is definitely wrong. He dozed off while we were visiting--when he awoke, Betsy reassured him he was in a hospital and recovering, that everyone else is okay.
Katie stopped by between classes for a brief visit. I had to leave after a couple of hours, though Jon stayed on longer. It's hard to believe six months have passed since Ross's dad called to tell us Ross had been gravely injured. He is still gravely injured, but he is recovering and growing stronger. Thank you all, so much, for your wonderful persistence. Please continue to send Ross your healing thoughts, to keep him in your prayers and to remember his family and Katie.
December 2, 2002 7:40 PM--Betsy said Ross was wide awake most of the day, from ten until about two, today. His vital signs are excellent and he looks great. She did range of motion with him today, and said the most exciting thing was that Ross repeatedly touched his face with his right hand. He was unable to even get it up to his face last week. He repeated the movement over and over, on command.
Katie was able to see him again. She's been terribly sick with a bad cold for a few days now, and unable to go to the hospital. Of course, by the time she was able to get to the hospital from school, he was sound asleep!
Tomorrow will mark the sixth month since Ross was injured. Thank you so much, all of you, who continue to hold him in your prayers and to send your healing thoughts to him throughout the day.
December 1, 2002 7:45 PM--The day went well, according to Betsy. Ross's muscles were a bit tight but his vitals were good. Rusty did a coma scale test they got off the Internet and Ross did much better than he has in the past, showing he's more responsive. He worked hard to move his right hand to his face today and consistently tries to follow commands.
Rusty worked with Ross quite a bit, doing range of motion therapy, and he and Betsy also sat him up in bed for a short while. Betsy said Ross appears to try harder to balance himself in an upright position than he did while at Kentfield, but it's difficult to tell, as their observations can't help but be subjective.
He was sleeping soundly when they left. From what Betsy told me, they just wore him out today with therapy! Thank you so much for keeping Ross, his fiancee and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
November 30, 2002 9:10 PM--Ross had a good day. Betsy said his vitals were excellent today--blood pressure at 113/63, pulse 91, his temperature normal. He had acupuncture and his parents did physical therapy with him. He slept a lot, but when he was awake, he was able to follow commands, raising his left index finger or right hand when asked. Betsy said his eyes look good--for a long time they've not dilated at the same rate, but they're much closer to normal now.
Thank you for keeping Ross in your thoughts and prayers, especially during this busy holiday season.
November 29, 2002 7:45 PM--Betsy said she arrived at Herrick around 12:15, but a nurse had given Ross Vicodin at noon, so he was very groggy most of the day. The sad thing is, he probably didn't need the pain medications, as Betsy has learned that if they just change his position on the bed, it's often enough to make him comfortable again.
She felt he was somewhat distressed, but she was still able to do range of motion exercises with him and he was resting comfortably when she left the hospital tonight.
Since a number of you have written me privately with this question, I'm sure it's something on the minds of many of you--Ross is told on a regular, daily basis what happened to him, that he was in a very serious accident, that no one else was injured and that he is getting better. He is also asked to try and wake up. What's really important is that when people are in the room, they don't talk about him, they talk to him.
We've heard from so many people who either have ben or are familier with others who have been in a prolonged coma state, and the one thing that appears consistent is that patients DO recall what is said around them. One friend of mine wrote to me and said her cousin, who was in a coma for a long time, remembers hearing another family member say he was probably going to die, and it made him so angry he woke up!
Ross is in there. His body and brain are still healing. His injuries were terrible and the septic shock was an awful setback, but he's a fighter. He has to be or he wouldn't still be here. His family and fiancée and his friends are fighters, too, and with an army like this behind him, he has to get better.
Thank you for keeping Ross in your thoughts and prayers. He needs you now more than ever.
November 28, 2002 7:40 PM--It's Thanksgiving, and I find myself very aware of all we have to be thankful for--the amazing support of all of you who follow Ross's story is right at the top of the list. You can't possibly imagine how much it means to all of us that so many of you care, that you pray for Ross and keep him in your thoughts. Thank you so much.
Ross had a good day today, though Betsy said he appeared tired. He is trying very hard to track with his eyes. One thing Betsy noticed is that his eyes are moving to the left, something the doctors said he wouldn't be able to do because of his brain injury. Another small step...
They did range of motion exercises and Betsy said his arms and hands are much more relaxed than they have been in the past. His muscles tend to tense up, but it's getting much easier to relax them with massage. Also, when he's alert, she said he's VERY alert. He's also making some sounds, though with the trach it's hard to determine just what. Even groaning is a good sign.
Again, thank you so much for your healing thoughts and prayers.
November 27, 2002 7:15 PM--I have to admit, I am really enjoying having good things to report. Rusty spent the day with his son and said Ross was tracking both up and down and from center to right. He also tried to bring his hand to his face, and when Rusty told him to put it down, Ross followed his instructions.
He was moving his right leg in a purposful manner--not just stretching, but actually moving the position. He appears to be trying to make some sounds, but with the trach still in, it's difficult to tell. He still needs the trach so the nurses can suction the fluids and mucus that build up, as he isn't strong enough yet to expell it on his own. Ross's weight is up to about 150 pounds, and he is completely VRE ( Vancomycin resistant enterococcus) free, so he can be moved to other parts of the hospital.
We want to wish all of you the very best Thanksgiving ever. There really is so much for which all of us can be thankful. It's a good time to count our blessings and remember what's truly important in our lives.
Thank you for your healing thoughts, for your prayers for Ross, Katie, their families and the members of the hospital staff who are there to care for Ross. You are all part of an amazing support group.
November 26, 2002 7:45 PM--The news gets better every day. Betsy said Ross is moving his arms, legs and hands much more, he's yawning and stretching and beginning to track better with his eyes. He was retested for the infection that has kept him in isolation for so long, and his tests were all negative. It's almost like he's finally beginning to wake up from a very long nap. Thank you all so much for your continuing support and for your prayers.
For those of you who will be traveling or who have family traveling home for the holiday, please be safe.
November 25, 2002 6:15 PM--Today went well, though nothing quite as exciting as yesterday. Ross still has a low-grade fever, but the doctor doesn't seem to think it's of great concern. He's showing continued movement in his hands and feet and his eyes were tracking his reflection in a mirror for awhile. Betsy said she played two sides of an audio taped book for him today, and he appeared to be listening.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers for Ross's recovery.
November 24, 2002 8:10 PM--Ross surprised his mom and dad this morning by raising his left arm a full eighteen inches and moving his fingers. At the same time, he moved his right arm toward his face, and was able to repeat the motions a number of times. This was in response to their greeting when they arrived at the hospital this morning. Betsy said he appeard more alert and aware and was much more responsive to commands. The acupuncturist was also able to get him to repeat the movements.
His fever is down but he'll remain on antibiotics to get rid of whatever bacteria is causing the urinary tract infection.
Good things are beginning to happen. They're small and slow steps, but each day brings something new. As seriously injured as Ross is, we have to expect some setbacks, but right now it feels as if he is growing stronger and moving forward.
Please keep Ross, Katie and their families in your thoughts and prayers. To those of you who have left such wonderful messages in Ross's guestbook, thank you so much. They mean a lot to everyone.
November 23, 2002 7:15 PM--When I called Betsy tonight, I interrupted her at dinner, so we kept the call short. She said Ross is still running a temperature but it looks like he's got a urinary infection that the doctors can treat with antibiotics. We thought they had started him on the antibiotics as a preventive measure yesterday, but that information was incorrect.
In spite of the fever, he had a really active day with range of motion exercises. He was also moving his arms and legs on his own, stretching and yawning. Betsy said he has a "strong" cough, which is a good thing, as it means he is able to keep his lungs clear. When he's awake, he's very alert.
Thank you so much for keeping Ross in your thoughts and prayers. He's definitely growing stronger by the day.
November 22, 2002 5:45 PM--Ross was running a fever this morning of about 100° and it still hadn't gone down by this afternoon. Betsy said the doctors were running some test cultures to determine the source of infection and have started him on antibiotics as a preventive measure.
Betsy also told me Rusty had tried shining a bright light into Ross's eyes and he blinks when that happens. Each new response is a good sign.
The fever is defnitely a worry, though, and Betsy is really concerned about him contracting pneumonia again. Please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers. He'll need your help to get through this.
November 21, 2002 7:50 PM--Ross had a low-grade fever this morning and was coughing. Betsy said she was able to bring his temp down with a damp washcloth, and she thinks the acupuncture helped break up the congestion. By afternoon he was doing fine.
Betsy did range of motion exercises with Ross, as well as some other physical therapies they learned at Kentfield. She said Ross appeared to be helping her with some of the arm movements.
All his limbs are moving, which is a good thing, but she said it's obvious that some of his "signals are crossed," which isn't uncommon with a central nervous system injury. He's looking good and growing stronger. Thank you for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers.
November 20, 2002 9:30 PM--Betsy said Ross was experiencing more pain today, but she thought it might be because he hasn't had any acupuncture since Saturday and his muscles were very tight. The acupuncturist will be in tomorrow. Betsy managed to do some stretching exercises, working with his arms, but that was about it. He needed pain medications to make him more comfortable.
Thank you so much for your healing thoughts and prayers.
November 19, 2002 7:50 PM--Betsy said, unlike yesterday, Ross was awake much of today. He was following commands and moving his toe and his index finger when asked, though Betsy said his response was a bit slower than it has been. He's swallowing well and continues to look better each day.
Thank you for keeping Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
November 18, 2002 7:15 PM--Just talked to Betsy. Ross has been sleeping a lot today, but his overall health appears better by the day. His weight is up to a bit over 145 pounds, he looks good and is more alert. On Saturday, the doctor examined him and said he was focusing with his left eye, something he hasn't been doing.
According to the nurse Betsy talked to tonight, Ross hasn't required any pain medications--either Tylenol or Vicodin--since November 14. A few times he has shown some signs of discomfort, but merely changing his position has made him more comfortable. Betsy thinks the acupuncture might be helping, since it appears to affect the amount of tone in his muscles.
We are all feeling very hopeful. Ross continues to show improvement on a daily basis. Thank you, everyone, for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers, for sharing your strength and helping him heal.
November 17, 2002 6:10 PM--When I called Betsy at six, Ross was sleeping, but she said he had been flexing his right foot and toes on command for Rusty earlier in the day. He repeated the motion a number of times, as requested.
He's swallowing much better every day and his muscles are less contracted and more relaxed. People who have not seen him for a couple of weeks remarked on how much better he looks, so Betsy was feeling pretty upbeat tonight.
Please keep Ross, his family and Katie in your thoughts and prayers. He is improving, but it's a long, slow recovery and Ross needs each and every one of you.
November 16, 2002 8:15 PM--We just got home and I called Betsy for the update. Ross had a pretty good day, though he was congested and running a bit of a temperature yesterday. His temperature is back to normal today. Rusty did physical therapy with Ross and then gave him a chance to sleep. When the acupuncturist arrived, Ross's muscles were fairly tight, but they were quite relaxed after treatment.
He's also responding well to his reflection in a mirror, tracking the movements with his eyes and following the movement in all directions.
Please remember Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
November 14, 2002 9:35 PM--Betsy said Ross had a good day today. He continues to show improvement each day. He slept a lot, but resonded well to acupuncture. His muscles are much more relaxed after treatment. Ariel made him a CD of his favorite music and Betsy said his eyes appear to react to the music when she puts the headphones on him.
I will be away tomorrow night so there will not be an update on Friday. Please call Rusty's update line if you want to check on Ross's condition. I'll update on Saturday as soon as I get back.
Thank you for keeping Ross, Katie and their families in your thoughts and prayers.
November 13, 2002 11:00 PM--Ross had a good day. Slept a lot, followed instructions to lift his finger on command, though had trouble dropping it down on command. Had some problems with pain but one of the nurses shifted his position in the bed and he seemed more comfortable.
Betsy said he's really looking good. His weight is up and he's looking healthy again. Always a good sign!
November 12, 2002 7:30 PM--Just a brief update tonight to let you know that Ross had a quiet day. He was given pain medication this morning and consequently slept most of the day. Betsy said he's awake tonight and following instructions--raising and lowering his index finger on command--and when Ariel called him on the phone, he responded to the sound of her voice with rapid eye movement. He's swallowing really well and able to take small amounts of juice and water from a sponge, all of which sounds minimal until you think how far he has come over the past five months.
Thank you for your healing thoughts and prayers for Ross, and also for the many nice notes he's received in the guestbook. I need to get the new ones printed out and sent to him at Herrick.
November 11, 2002 8:00 PM--Ross has gained back some more weight. He's up to 142.9 lbs now and Betsy said he's looking really good. His blood pressure is down even more and he appears to be trying really hard to focus on people who speak to him. He's able to track briefly with his eyes, but Betsy said she can tell it's really an effort for him.
This morning when Katie arrived at the hospital, Ross was resting and relaxed. She greeted him as she usually does and explained that he was in a hospital because he'd been in an accident. When she told him what had happened, he appeared to grow very upset. She explained he was the only one hurt and that he was getting better, and that seemed to calm him down.
I haven't seen Ross in a long time, but I can't help but be cheered by the daily reports from his mom and dad. He seems to be growing stronger and more alert as each day passes. Thank you, all of you, for your daily prayers and thoughts of Ross, Katie and his family.
November 10, 2002 7:00 PM--When I called Betsy tonight she was still at the hospital with Ross. He was sitting up in his chair, resting. His blood pressure was down to 130/82 and he seemed very relaxed. He had acupuncture today and responded well to the treatment. The acupuncturist placed needles in his scalp, hands, and feet this time.
Betsy said Ross's eyes appear more normal every day--moving together and equally dilated a lot of the time, and he seems to focus on people who are speaking to him.
Please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers. He really seems to be making progress, though the steps are very small. Your continuing support makes a huge difference in his recovery. Thank you.
November 9, 2002 8:45 PM--This morning when Katie arrived at the hospital, the nurse on duty told her that the doctor had said Ross was much more focused and responsive, especially with his eyes. She also said she'd asked Ross if Katie was coming in today and he blinked. Then she'd asked if his mom was coming, and he blinked again.
Later on, Ross appeared to be upset and agitated, so Katie explained to him he'd been in a bad accident and was in the hospital. Ross settled down after that, so it appears he understood what she was saying to him. It happened twice. He didn't need any pain medications today, as far as Betsy knows.
Betsy said his swallowing is much improved and he's been yawning a lot. She had spoken with a woman
whose son was in a coma for almost four years before he awakened. The lady told Betsy that just before her son came out of his coma, he had begun to yawn quite a bit.
I was trying to explain to Betsy tonight that I have such a strong and immediate visual image of Ross--it's as if I see him walking through a heavy mist and occasionally it blows aside just enough to let him glimpse the world and his loved ones before it obscures his sight once again. When I think of Ross, I imagine that mist dissapating and disappearing, giving him complete access to the conscious world. I carry that image with me throughout the day. It's almost as if I can help him move through that mist if I just try hard enough.
Rusty just called. He was absolutely ecstatic over the number of people who were at the spaghetti feed last night. In spite of the horrible weather, twice as many people as they had expected showed up. The continuing support for Ross's recovery is amazing. Thank you, all of you, for your healing thoughts and prayers for Ross, Katie, and their families. You are a very powerful support group!
November 8, 2002 8:40 PM--I just got off the phone with Betsy. She's still at the spaghetti feed in Petaluma where they served over 300 dinners tonight. She said the turn-out was absolutely amazing, with people from all over the North Bay attending. There were two walls lined with donated items for the raffle sale, and from the sound of laughter in the background when she was talking to me, everyone must have had (and is still having) a wonderful time.
Ross had a good day. I keep thinking how he would have loved to be there tonight, but he is growing stronger and more alert as each day passes. Rusty spent an hour doing range of motion exercises with him today. Katie was there as well and said he looks better every day.
Thank you so much for your continuing support of Ross, Katie and their families, and for your prayers and healing thoughts.
November 7, 2002 9:15 PM--Not too much to report tonight, though I am really glad Betsy made it home before they closed the San Rafael Bridge! The storm is really something.
She did say that Ross was experiencing some pain this morning but it was controlled with Tylenol. Later on the acupuncturist was there to treat Ross and he was very relaxed afterwards. One of the problems facing Ross is the tightening of his muscles, which is why range of motion exercises are so important, as well as the acupuncture which appears to work very well in relaxing him.
He was in pain again later this afternoon and needed stronger medication to control it.
Ross continues to follow commands and he looks better and healthier every day. Thank you, all of you, for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers. I'll update with more tomorrow evening. Betsy said she would call me from the spaghetti feed in Petaluma. If you plan to attend, PLEASE drive carefully.
November 6, 2002 8:15 PM--Betsy said she spent the night at the hospital last night because Ross was in a lot of pain. He was finally able to relax after receiving medication, though it took two Vicodin an hour apart to finally give him some relief. When I asked Betsy if she had any idea why he appeared to be experiencing more pain, she said she wondered if it might be because he was becoming more alert and aware.
Ross is still following commands and appears to be tracking occasionally with his eyes, though the pain medication tends to slow his reactions down quite a bit. Betsy said she did range of motion exercises with him today and worked with his hands. She also gave him a sponge soaked with water to suck on, and he appears to like that.
Please keep Ross, Katie and both their families in your thoughts and prayers. And, if you're in the area, try to attend the spaghetti feed on Friday night. Details are at the top of this page.
November 5, 2002 7:30 PM--Ross continues to follow instructions to raise his left index finger. He was also able to move his right hand today when Betsy asked him to move his hand if he was in pain. He's tracking a bit more each day and is growing more alert. He's also regained some of the weight he lost--he's up to 141.5 pounds now. Betsy said he's looking much better.
Plans are coming along for the spaghetti feed on Friday. Betsy said a lot of really neat raffle prizes have been donated.
It sounds like it might be raining on Friday, so please drive safely when you go to Petaluma! Thank you so much for remembering Ross throughout your day, and for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers.
November 4, 2002 8:10 PM--Ross was resting comfortably when Betsy left the hospital tonight. She said he followed her commands on six different occasions, lifting his left index finger. The first time it took him almost ten minutes to respond, but after that he was much quicker.
The neurologist stopped by to see Ross. She had read his EEG and said there's no more sign of seizure activity but his brain waves are still sluggish and he has a long way to go.
Betsy asked, if you live in the area, if you would let people know about the spaghetti feed. It's so easy to forget not everyone had a computer!
Thank you for keeping Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
November 3, 2002 9:45 PM--It's been five months since Ross was hit by a car on Occidental Road. I can't help but think how much has happened in the world while he's been comatose--and how much Ross has endured over the last five months. Those of you who have stayed with him throughout everything are so important to Ross's eventual recovery. I hope you realize how very much your prayers and healing thoughts mean to Ross, his family, to Katie and to everyone working so hard to help him heal.
He slept a lot today, but when he was awake he appeared to be focusing much better and tracking for longer periods of time. Betsy did some work with him on his hand. She said she would give him commands and could see him struggling to comply. It's obvious he understands much more than he can physically achieve, at least at this point.
His care is excellent at Herrick. The nurses have learned to recognize when he is experiencing pain and are administering medications as he needs them. Please keep all of them in your thoughts and prayers. His family, his caretakers, his doctors and each and everyone of you.
November 2, 2002 8:00 PM--Ross had a good day today. Ariel said that when she got to the hospital and said hi to him, he turned his head and opened his eyes. He appears to be more alert every day. Tonight he was resting comfortably in a very deep sleep.
Betsy said she talked to one of the organizers and they've gotten a really good response on the Spaghetti feed.
Thank you, all of you, for your continued support and prayers.
November 1, 2002 7:00 PM--There was a change in plans and I'm home after all, so will do a brief update: Rusty spent almost an hour of range of motion physical therapy with Ross today. Betsy said both of them needed a nap when they were done! She gave Ross some juice and water and they also tried to get him to cough as much as he could to keep his airways clear. His temperature was normal and his blood pressure low enough that he was able to spend some time in a chair, sitting up this evening.
I asked Betsy about his diabetes and she said it's controlled right now. His diabetes insipidus was caused by damage to the posterior part of his pituitary gland. No one can say whether or not it will resolve itself with time and healing.
Thank you for your prayers and healing thoughts for Ross, Katie and the family.
October 31, 2002 6:10 PM--Betsy said that Ross is obviously making progress. He's beginning to follow commands more consistently--he moved his left index finger when Katie asked him to and also was able to move his right hand at the command. The doctor stopped in and asked him to open his mouth, and though he didn't manage that, Betsy said it was obvious he was trying. He was able to drink some juice and water without choking and overall, he looks much better than he has.
I will not be able to post tomorrow night, so please call Rusty's updates at 707.799.8868. I'll post again on Saturday night. My thanks to all of you for your prayers and healing thoughts for Ross, Katie and his family. You are all a very powerful force in his recovery.
October 30, 2002 7:55 PM--Betsy sounded pretty excited tonight. Ross has raised the finger on his right hand on command, but tonight he raised the finger on his left hand at least five times on command. (The phone connection wasn't real good so I wasn't quite sure what Betsy was saying!) She said she went through the regular exercises with Ross and he seemed more attentive today. He also appeared to pay attention to the TV for a brief period of time. He was able to swallow on command, though not every time. Betsy has been giving him a small amount of juice mixed with water, which he appears to like.
Even though the changes are subtle, they are once again signs of steady improvement. Your support, your prayers and good wishes are more important now than ever, almost five months into Ross's recovery.
I also received the following information about the Spaghetti Feed: Tickets are available at Murphy's Pub in Sonoma and Dave's Bike Shop in Santa Rosa. The donations and response for help from the business communities in Petaluma, Sonoma and Santa Rosa has been wonderful.
October 29, 2002 7:50 PM--Betsy said Ross was resting comfortably this evening though he experienced some pain earlier today. When she asked him if to raise his hand if he was in pain, he raised his finger in response. In spite of his discomfort, Betsy said he looks much better, as if he's gaining some weight, and there is more a sense of "presence" about him. She did range of motion physical therapy with him today and Rusty will work with him tonight. It's an exhausting schedule for everyone, especially with Ross in Berkeley, so far from his parents' home, but they're with him constantly.
Please remember Ross, Katie and his family in your thoughts and prayers. If you live in the Bay Area, I hope you'll be able to attend the Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser on November 8.
October 28, 2002 9:20 PM--Ross had a good day. He was resting tonight after a shower. Betsy said that since he's still in isolation (he's got some sort of resistant bacteria that keeps showing up in tests, though it apparently isn't making him sick) he got his shower in bed in his room. The physical therapist worked with him today and said he was doing so well and showing such relaxed movements that he should do the exercises twice a day. She showed Betsy how to work with him.
They didn't notice him tracking today, though he did look intently at Betsy at one point. She said it's difficult to know just how much he sees.
To those of you who have written with anecdotes and information, I want you to know how much I appreciate your kindness and your letters. I forward the mail on to Ross's folks. I know your concern means a lot to them.
Thank you all for your prayers, your kind thoughts and even kinder actions.
October 27, 2002 7:11 PM--I've been gone since Wednesday--just got back from a writers conference and talked to Betsy a little bit ago. It sounds as if Ross has had a pretty good week. The staff at Herrick has had him up in a chair like a recliner for the past two days, so he was able to watch at least part of the Series games with his family there. He smiled at Katie for the first time since the accident--at least the first time anyone has noticed.
Betsy said she's spent time working on his left arm and hand to help relax the muscles. On Thursday she was able to get Ross to relax the muscles on command five times in a row. He did it a sixth time on his own.
Last night Betsy noticed he appeared to be in pain--sweating profusely and breathing hard. She asked him to lift his right hand if he was feeling pain. He didn't raise his hand but did manage to move a couple of fingers.
Tomorrow when I've gotten caught up around here I'll update with more detail. Thank you for keeping Ross, Katie and the family in your thoughts and prayers. It's so good to hear some positive news about his recovery once again.
October 22, 2002 6:20 PM--Betsy said Ross was in pain earlier in the afternoon--she can tell because his blood pressure goes up and he perspires heavily--but once the nurse administered his pain medications he was much more relaxed. His temperature remains normal.
Betsy said it was a fairly typical day--she did range of motion exercises with Ross. At first he resisted but eventually relaxed and she was able to work with him quite a bit. She said she spends a lot of time talking to him and massaging his hands. She was there on her own a lot today, as a dear friend who has been visiting had to return home.
I will not be able to write any more updates until at least Sunday and possibly Monday, as I'll be at a conference through the weekend. Rusty keeps a nightly report at 707.799.8868. Please call that number if you wish to see how Ross is doing. I promise to catch up here as soon as I get home.
Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts toward Ross's recovery. Betsy said that, though it is a slow process, Ross is once again showing improvement almost every day.
October 21, 2002 8:10 PM--Betsy said Ross seemed tired when she got to the hospital this morning but after a good rest he went through his regular physical therapy. Friends of the Dillons' helped Ross with massage and various sensory exercises. The doctor stopped by and checked Ross and said he would see about getting him up in a gurney chair and also would check into electronic stimulation for Ross's arm muscles.
Betsy said she noticed at various times that Ross appeared to be watching the black and white mobile. He also seemed to watch a sign she's put next to the bed that says, "We love you, Ross." At this point, however, it's difficult to know how well he is able to focus.
Ross does continue to grow stronger and improve with each passing day. Please remember him in your thoughts and prayers, as so many of you have continued to do since his accident. Your support and healing energy is an important part of his recovery.
October 20, 2002 8:00 PM--Ross had a good day today. Betsy said he didn't seem as tired. They did some range of motion exercises and are watching for patterns of response from Ross when they talk to him and work with him. He's swallowing better every day and his eyes are moving in response to voices and the massage.
Katie is visiting friends for a few days. Betsy said when she called and talked to Ross, his eyes moved in response to her voice. When Jon got on the phone, Ross's eyes centered and it was obvious he was listening. Betsy said it was really noticeable.
The doctor in charge of Ross's unit is due in tomorrow so we may learn more about their evaluation of his condition. In the meantime, Ross continues to improve, slowly but surely. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.
October 19, 2002 9:15 PM--Betsy emailed me her update tonight as all of us were running sort of late--here's her note in her own words: Ross seemed tired again today and resting. A friend gave him a massage and he was really resting afterward. We could tell that it was really good for him. He had a little less rigidity in his arms, another good sign. When Katie called from Boston, the phone was at his left ear and his eyes were to the right. As she talked to him, his eyes moved to the center and then to the left.
Ross is obviously responding more and more since recovering from the septic shock. He was doing really well before that happened, but he's coming back very steadily. Thank you so much for thinking of Ross, for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers throughout the day.
October 18, 2002 9:10 PM--Betsy said Ross was not quite as relaxed as she likes to see him when she left tonght--he appeared to be experiencing some pain, but he had such a good and busy day yesterday and this is a familiar pattern: a really good day is often followed by one that's not so good, where he seems more tired. They did range of motion exercises with him and continued with the wet sponge to encourage his swallowing. Betsy said they're also massaging him with lavender oil which seems to help relax his arms and hands.
Please remember the family and Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
October 17, 2002 8:30 PM--Betsy said when they left tonight, Ross was resting comfortably, though he'd run a low-grade fever and his blood pressure had gone up a bit this afternoon. The nurse gave him some medication and he was peaceful and relaxed by tonight.
Betsy said the activities director (or physical therapist...she wasn't quite sure what to call her!) is fantastic. She worked with Ross for awhile this afternoon, Katie helped him with range of motion exercises and Betsy once more used a sponge to give him liquid and help him with his swallowing.
One other really positive thing happened today: the Dillons have some paintings of Ross and Ariel, done from photographs when they were young by Sonoma Co. artist Claudia Wagner. Ms. Wagner sent a card to Ross with one of the paintings on it--a picture of Ross and Ariel, his younger sister, sitting on the steps. Betsy said when she showed the picture to Ross and then moved it, he followed it with his eyes. This is the first evidence of tracking since his pneumonia and septic shock.
Small steps but important ones. Please remember Ross, Katie and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
October 16, 2002 7:50 PM--Just talked to Betsy. She said Ross had a good day, though he appeared to be in pain by this evening. However, his nurse gave him some Tylenol and he relaxed shortly thereafter. Betsy said he is much more alert and attentive in the morning, but his pain definitely comes at the end of the day. Luckily, he has a terrific nursing staff taking care of him and they're doing all they can to keep him comfortable.
Betsy said they got the mobile hung today. It was a gift from Scott Gimpel of Stamford, Connecticut, who ordered it for Ross--and then had to fight with the company he bought it from when they didn't get it delivered!--but it's up and positioned so that Ross can see it.
Betsy and Katie both worked with Ross today--small things like giving him water on a sponge, or coffee, which he loves--and he opens his mouth to taste and even sucks at the sponge.
For those of you who have known Ross personally, it must be really difficult to realize how far he still has to come, but for those who have watched this struggle from the beginning, it is amazing to think of the barriers he has surmounted. I know he draws his strength from you, as does his fiancee and family. Please keep all of them in your thoughts and prayers.
October 15, 2002 8:45 PM--Ross was resting peacefully tonight. His temperature has been down for three days now. He appeared to be in some pain earlier and the nurse gave him Vicodin, which definitely helped.
Betsy and her friend Polly noticed something interesting with Ross today. Most of the time, Ross's eyes, when he is awake, are tilted to the right. Today, however, when the physical therapist was working with him, touching parts of his body and naming them, Polly noticed his eyes shifted to the left.
She and Betsy tried the same thing later on, touching him and naming body parts. Once again his eyes shifted to the left. Polly said it would take a physician familiar with neurology to say for sure, but that she had read that when a right handed person is using the cognitive part of his brain, the eyes shift to the left. When using the creative part, they would go to the right. Obviously no one knows what Ross is thinking in his comatose state, but his eyes stay mostly to the right--except when the therapist or others are working with him in such a manner to force cognitive response. Obviously this is all hypothetical and Polly and Ross' mom are not experts (thought I think Betsy now knows a lot more about head injury than she ever expected to learn) but it's still interesting to see such a definite pattern change and shift in eye movement.
Betsy also said she thought Ross was trying to lift his hands and follow commands. Every day he shows a bit more awareness.
I know he's going to come through this--I believe that with all my heart, but he's going to need your prayers and support to get him back. Thank you so much for being there for Ross, Katie and his family.
October 14, 2002 7:40 PM--Ross was resting peacefully tonight after a busy day. Betsy said he was moving his limbs a lot, particularly his feet. He also had a visit from the activities director who worked with Ross using various sensory stimuli--aroma therapy, music and massage, for example.
Ross will be allowed to have supplements in his diet, something his parents have wanted all along. As of today, he's getting antioxidents and coenzyme Q-10. Betsy said she had a chance to speak to the doctor who is head of the sub-acute unit. His goal is to reduce the number of medications Ross is currently taking. They are also hoping to start Ross on acupuncture, something that has shown a lot of promise in treating brain injury.
There are a lot of options available to Ross now that he is at Herrick. Betsy and Rusty have nothing but praise for the staff at the facility and sound much more optimistic now that Ross is getting settled in.
Thank you so much for your continuing support, for your healing thoughts and prayers. Ross continues to show improvement.
October 13, 2002 6:00 PM--It was fun talking to Betsy about Ross tonight. She is sounding more positive every day, always a good thing after so many setbacks. Ross had a number of visitors over the weekend and tonight is resting comfortably. His pulse and blood pressure are good and his fever is down. The nurse commented on how clear his eyes look, a very healthy sign for someone injured as severely as Ross.
Your continuing support of Ross, his family and fiancee is so important to his well being. Thank you so much for keeping them all in your thoughts and prayers.
October 12 2002 9:30 PM--Betsy said Ross was really agitated this morning and his blood pressure was up. After getting some Tylenol he was much more relaxed. She's concerned he's experiencing pain, but isn't certain what is causing it. One of the nurses called for a prescription of Vicodin to alleviate pain, so hopefully that will help. Betsy said she and Rusty are really impressed with the staff at Herrick.
Ross's temperature was normal and he was resting comfortably this evening. Thank you so much for your prayers and your continued support.
October 11, 2002 8:10 PM--Ross is getting settled in at Herrick. Evaluations for physical therapy and diet will take place next week, possibly on Monday. He spiked a fever of 103° this morning, but the nurse gave him ice water through his feeding tube and his temperature came back down. Betsy said he's resting well and looks more relaxed, without the rigidity he's occasionally displayed.
I'm still getting notes from some of you regarding physical therapists. All of your messages have been forwarded on to the Dillons. I'm sure Betsy will reply as soon as she has time, but getting Ross moved to Herrick and settled in had kept her away from her computer. Thank you so much for taking the time to write, and thanks to all of you who think of Ross and keep him in your prayers.
October 10, 2002 8:15 PM--Ross was moved to Herrick Hospital in Berkeley today around noon. Betsy said they really like the facility and the nursing staff is terrific and very caring. Ross has a private room with a big window in the newer section of the hospital. Tomorrow he will be evaluated for both physical therapy and occupational therapy. There will also be a visit from a dietitian to get his caloric intake in line with what his body needs.
Betsy said he isn't focusing yet but is definitely reacting to stimuli. She sounded really positive tonight. Thank you to everyone who has written with suggestions for fundraising and physical therapy ideas. I've passed your messages on to Ross's family and we really appreciate your taking the time to write with your ideas. Thank you, too, for your prayers and healing thoughts for Ross.