Breaking The Silence

Hole In AtticIt’s been almost three months since my last post here.  I’m sure some that are subscribers to my blog thought that I may never write again.  Some probably haven’t even realized that I have not added new content since March 8th, 2013 and that’s OK too.  The truth is that since my last post, I’ve experienced some life changing moments in my life.

On March 22nd, I woke up and headed to my office just like I would any other normal day.  I was a little extra tired this morning from driving back from Georgia less than 36 hours ago.  I had gone to Columbus, GA for a social media speaker event where I was sharing on how to integrate video into real estate better. Since Columbus, GA is so close to Atlanta, my wife and the kids went along on this trip  and visited her family while I went to the conference.

Back to Friday.  As I had entered my office this morning to start working, my wife mentioned to me she was going to take the kids and go run some errands so that I would have a quiet house that morning to catch up on work.  I had gone into my office and cranked up my music like I normally do to drown out the sounds of the kids in the house.  After about 30 minutes into work, my daughter (almost 5) come barging into my office and screams: “Daddy, you MUST come right now!  Jeremiah has fallen and is crying very badly”  

I jumped from my chair and headed down the hallway to find my son (2.5 yrs old) standing in the kitchen screaming.  As any normal parent would do, I quickly picked him up and did a full body scan looking for broken bones, bumps, bruises, or bleeding.  I didn’t really see any and by this time I’m beginning to wonder where my wife is.  It is not like her to let either of the kids cry without running to their rescue.  At that moment my peripheral vision saw her laying on the floor leaned up against the door frame of the door to my garage coated in blood.

As she was getting ready to leave the house she noticed the suitcases sitting in the way in the garage and wanted to quickly put them away in the attic while the kids were inside playing.  All of a sudden she heard our adventurous Jeremiah say: “Hi Mommy!” as he had climbed up the pull down stairs and was standing at the top. To try & keep him from falling, she went over and tried to pick him up (all 42lbs of him) and was going to start down the ladder first with arms around him for safety.

As she picked him up, she lost her balance from standing on rafters instead of plywood and both of them broke through the drywall and fell straight down approximately 9 feet onto the concrete garage floor.  I took them both to the hospital, Jeremiah checked out fine (angels were definitely watching him). Katherine on the other hand wasn’t quite as lucky. She fractured her back in two places (t12 & L4). The L4 break they said would heal on it’s own, but the other fracture needed surgery.  She also had a bad cut on her head which caused all the bleeding.

Right Before SurgeryOn Tuesday March 26th, she underwent two major surgeries. Because of the fracture of bone going forward, they had to first go in through her left side, deflate her lung and remove the piece of bone that was floating only millimeters from her spinal chord. Then, after that, they inflated the lung and inserted two chest tubes into her side.  After this surgery was completed, they then made 4 incisions on her back and inserted a column implant to replace the missing bone in her spine. That is held in place by 4 titanium screws.

She spent the next several days in PCU (progressive care unit) recovering. During the first surgery she also got a corneal abrasion on her right eye. This caused her more discomfort than the incisions on her side and back.  Every time she blinked, it caused extreme pain in her eye.  Luckily this only last lasted about 36 hours, but those 36 hours felt like a lifetime.

She started healing, but it seemed to be going much slower than they imagined. They originally said surgery would happen beginning of the week and she would go home by the weekend. Well, after an additional week of being in there, they removed the second chest tube and we thought she would get to come home soon.  All the doctors & nurses said that most patients go home within 24 hours of having the last chest tube removed.

However, when they ran some final bloodwork they found her white cell count up over 22,000. They said normally it’s between 5-10k for healthy people. Katherine had mentioned to me the night before this that she just felt like she had no energy and was fevered. As I left to go home that evening she started running a 103 temp.  That fever continued all through the night.

The scans then started showing fluids building up in her lungs and chest cavity. So, on Saturday April 6th they did a thoracentesis to try & drain the fluids. Basically they took an extra long needle and stuck it in through her back above the shoulder blade into the lung and tried to drain out any excess fluid.  Unfortunately this didn’t work. Her trauma surgeon then consulted with a cardiothoracic surgeon who said she would need more surgery to remove the fluid buildup immediately.

On Tuesday April 9th, early in the morning, Katherine headed back to the operating room. This time they made more incisions on her side, deflated the lung, went in and scraped out as much of the infection. What they found is that the buildup was more in her chest cavity than in her lung and all this buildup was making it almost impossible for her lung to fully inflate.

This time Katherine was given three chest tubes and spent the next several days in CVICU (cardio-vascular Intensive Care Unit.) This floor only handles heart and lung patients. It was kind of interesting because the nurses there say they rarely have patients under the age of 50. They also looked at me funny when I brought her Mc’Donalds milkshakes because her Dr said she needed to consume anywhere from 5,000-6,000 calories/day while her body was fighting the infection so that it would use the food for energy source instead of her tissue.  After CVICU, it was another trip back to PCU.

Because of the amount of infection that was found in her body, she then was given her 5th Doctor.  He was a Doctor of Infectious disease. After several days of cultures, they discovered the infection was a staph infection. He began aggressively treating it with some of the most powerful antibiotics known to man.  At one point we thought she may have to stay in the hospital another several weeks to treat the infection, but luckily they were able to diagnose it and send her home with a PICC line.  Finally, around 8:30PM on April 18th, she was discharged from the hospital. I then gave her daily an IV bag of antibiotics through her PICC line for another 12 days.

Coming HomeMonday April 22nd we took a trip to the suture clinic where they removed the rest of her staples from her side. Between all the surgeries she had well over 85 staples in her side (50+), back (35+) & head (2). May 1st was the first time in almost 6 weeks that she has no sort of needle in her arms or neck for an IV.

Even though she spent 27 days in the hospital, had 5 rather in depth procedures/surgeries, an ambulance ride, some of the strongest antibiotics known to man, probably over 100 x-rays/CT scans, 4 blood transfusions, 50-60 tubes of bloodwork taken, 5 chest tubes, and a giant black back brace that she’s been sporting, she is still smiling and bringing joy to the whole house. All her nurses commented on how sweet and pleasant she was and how much they enjoyed having her as a patient. It just goes to show that her little light of joy shines bright and touches more lives than she realizes.

The house is starting to get back to normal, the kids are adjusting, and I’m slowly getting back into a work groove. As her pain levels continue to decrease she has been able to slowly deal with discomfort with just Tylenol which has allowed her to begin driving again and become more mobile.  Still she cannot bend, twist, turn, or lift anything over 10lbs.  Hopefully in another few weeks she be able to take off the back brace and return to normal living.

Also, while Katherine was in the hospital, both children had been sick with Fifth disease, my mother-in-law who came and stayed for almost 8 weeks to help out had a major sinus infection, our dog ripped one of her claws completely off while in the back yard, and my grandfather was in ICU after having another heart attack.  Needless to say the month of April was complete chaos around my home.

How Are Things Now?

With two children under the age of five, my time has been pretty well tied up the past few months with parenting, having to do extra work around the house that my wife would normally handle, and taking care of her more than normal.  This continues to be the case, but I’ve began to learn better how to manage all of this.  I’ve designated Saturdays as days off of work to spend on projects around the house.

Business on the other hand has been rather hectic lately.  One of the main reasons I haven’t blogged in almost three months is that in addition to all that has happened in my personal life, I have been extremely busy building custom WordPress sites for clients to help cover the extra expenses.  But, things are almost caught back up, so I am hoping that will allow me to get back to more of the things I love doing like blogging and spending time communicating on the social networks.  Just this week I’ve booked two more speaking engagements and several new clients for sites.

Thank you to everyone who has offered help to my family during the past few months.  The meals, monetary donations, lawn service, cleaning the house, child care, and prayers have been truly overwhelming to both my and my wife.  You have all truly blessed our family greatly with the outpouring of love.  We hope that one day we will be able to return the favor.

Now it’s time to break the silence and get things back to normal!

Jeremy Blanton

Jeremy Blanton is the Co-Founder of 210 Consulting- Social Media Advisors. He is a social media speaker who shares with thousands of people each year on things like how to use Facebook for Business, Blogging, and How to use Twitter.

When he is not coaching or speaking, he spends most of his time working on Custom WordPress Sites for his clients.

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