Monday, January 26, 2009

ricky joe got a new haircut!

Thursday evening around 9:00, I received the following text from my mom:

"I'm at {name of hospital} with Richard. Emergency. CT scans - etc. Long story. No one else knows - just wanted to 'talk' to someone."

Scared out of my mind is a light way of putting things. I immediately called her back and luckily she answered her phone. She found Richard on their bed when she got home from work that evening. He was complaining of a big headache and neck pain and was/had been vomiting a lot. She called his doctor, who thought it might be meningitis and told her to get him to the emergency room. The ambulance came and she followed it there.

A few texts and phone calls later, she gave me the charge of calling my three siblings to let them know. Scott, the only step-child who lives in SL rushed to the hospital to be with my mom. My mom had, in the meantime, called Richard's daughter Claire, who got the word out to her 5 siblings. She, Meghan, BZ and Laura (everyone who lives in Utah) arrived at the hospital a short time later. After CT scans, angiograms and MRIs, the doctors found that he had blood in the cavity of his brain (hydrocephalis), so they drilled a hole in his skull to drain excess fluid (hence the new haircut). A few days later, we have some answers as to what happened, but no information as to a cause. Not sure that we ever will know why this happened. Here's what I know:

After his surgery on Thursday evening/Friday morning, he was angry about being intubated and having a tube in his head to drain the excess fluid. So mad that he continued to thrash around until the tube in his head came out! They sedated him and tied his hands/chest down. After lots of tests, they determined he had suffered a subarachnoid hemmorage and called it a stroke.

They un-sedated (is that a word?) and extubated him on Friday. This made him much happier. Meghan took some video and pictures. In a video I watched she asked if he had any first words, to which he replied, "damn it to hell." Ah, Richard's back. :)

A nurse walked in to check on him and brightly asked, "Hi Richard! Are you with us?" He flipped her off. Ah, Richard's back. :)

He's doig better and better every day. He seems to have good gross and fine motor skills, which is good news for his job. He also seems to have good long-term memory, but is struggling with remembering things that have happened in the past few days. He asks people every few minutes where he is and why he is there.

As to his answer to his own question? He's certain that it is a communist plot and "they" just wanted him out of the way for awhile. Ah, Richard's back. :)

On a more spiritual note, there are some really incredible stories coming out of this experience. He continues to tell of stories of "angels" or "men in white" that he saw while he was driving home on Thursday. He suffered the first effects in Orem while visiting his mom and somehow made it home to Salt Lake (about an hour's drive) and we have no idea how. He also mentioned seeing angels in the ambulance. He also mentioned that he saw the angels talking to my brother Dan and that Dan was coming to see him. Dan, did in fact, come from Southern California to be there. Richard even saw what Dan and his wife Heather were wearing when Richard was going through all of this. Richard has made mention of seeing Meghan and Claire as well. It's kind of amazing.

We aren't positive as to what his recovery will look like, but we all feel confident that he will make a full recovery. He's made great progress so far. Previous to this incident, Richard was strong as an ox and healthy as well, so this was definitely a shock to our family. He was given a blessing by his bishop and next door neighbor on Thursday night (they saw the ambulance at his house, rushed over and then followed my mom to the hospital where they stayed until the early hours of Friday morning). BZ and Scott also gave him a blessing that night. My mom is also doing much better and has a great attitude about everything (as always...why can't everyone be as strong as my mom?).

Thanks to everyone for their concern and prayers. We will continue to need them.


LTC said...

Holy cow Maren...what a crazy chain of events! I hope that things progress quickly and that he is back to his normal self in no time...not to mention, out of that yucky hospital! Good thing your Momma is a smart one...sounds like she knew just what to do! :) Our thoughts are with you guys...keep us updated!

Morgan said...

oh my gosh, how scary!! i am glad things are looking better. isn't it interesting that there are always such amazing stories that go along with things like this?

we'll be thinking of you!

B, C, and D said...

Oh my goodness, Maren! I'm so glad things are going okay. What a scary experience. Thank heavens your mom knew what to do! We'll keep you in our prayers!!

Ben & Eva Pearson said...

Oh wow! I'm sorry to hear that Maren. I'm glad things are going well. It's so scary. My dad just got out of the hospital last week having cancer removed from his mouth and when he got out of surgery and I told him Ben wanted to give him a big kiss and he flipped us off too. He had a tracheotomy so he couldn't talk either. Somehow when they flip us off it makes us feel better!?! Anyway, we'll keep you in our prayers. Good luck with everything!

Julia said...

thanks for the update. you have an amazing family.

ed and kelli said...

yeah why can't we be as strong as mom?? where did she come from! haha..

daveandabbyjohnsonfamily said...

Oh my! WHat a sacre! I couldn't believe it when my dad told me what had happened. I am glad all is well.

Kristen said...

I'm so glad that he's doing better now. I definitely think you've got at least some of your mother's strength! What a great family you have.

Dyan said...

I am sorry to hear about this. I hope he has a quick and speedy recovery.

R and K said...

Oh no! Poor Richard! I hadn't heard about all of this. Glad he is going to be okay.

KaraLyn said...

Thanks for posting details. We have all been thinking MUCH about Richard and Karen and how they are doing. We will continue to pray for you all. Glad he is doing better. :)

megan said...

Wow...a little bit of deja vu for me. I hope Richard is doing better, and that your mom is also okay. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and you Mar.