Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday so far

I went up to the hospital early this morning and Danny was still in bed doing his daily contortions. There is not a whole lot more that you can do when your eyes are all stitched shut and your arms are splinted straight out in front of you. It kind of reminds me of a movie I saw once. The movie was Saw III. That is the one where they think of the worst tortures that someone can do to people. It was breakfast time so I had to help him eat his breakfast. It is a real pain to eat when you can't see and you can't open your mouth as wide as you normally can. I had to feed him and I made a real mess. While we were finishing up breakfast, my dad showed up to help do wound care. Over the last couple of weeks, he and danny have figured out the best ways to do certain areas of his body. His arms require different care than his legs, his legs different than his ears, and his ears different than his butt cheeks. At this point, the standard way that the hospital staff does his bandages just doesn't cut it and even can make it worse because the bandages start to stick and rip skin off when they are removed. That is why my dad goes in to do the bandage care. He has developed the best custom techniques, even better than the trained professionals.

Anyway, we got done with breakfast and it was time for physical therapy. Right before it began, the doctor came in to assess the grafts on Danny's eyes. There was the possibility that the stitches could be taken out of his eyes sometime today. Unfortunately, the grafts didn't have quite enough color in them. The decision was made to leave his eyes stitched shut until sometime on Monday. Hopefully then the grafts will look good enough for him to be able to open his eyes again. Until then, Danny remains in a state of blindness and discomfort.

The other night while me and Debbie were staying with Danny, a kind of funny thing happened. There was a guy admitted to the burn unit down the hall from Danny. He had been involved in an accident where something had exploded and burned his face kind of bad. (nowhere nearly as bad as Danny's face had been burned). His whole family was there and a couple of girls were sobbing and a little frantic about their friend. At that point Danny needed to go to the bathroom. The nurse helped him out of bed and led him around the nurses desk. They had to pass the new guys room on the way to the bathroom. The hysterically crying girls saw him being led past their room and they got a look of horror on their faces. They also stopped crying about their friend and shut up for the rest of the night. I guess seeing a guy that got burned so bad that he had to take a needle and thread to his eyelids helped to give them a little perspective to the seriousness of the little blisters on the new guys face. It made me laugh a little bit. I know. I'm a jerk. But it was funny.

Danny gave us permission to put up a couple pictures of his face. One is how his eyes looked before the surgery, and you can see why he probably needed it. The others are of frankenstein.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Our Danny Boy is not happy today

Yesterday, Thursday Sept. the 17th, Danny and I went to the U Med Center for his checkup and progress assessment. Everything was fine and healing as well as could be expected, all except his eyes. The lower eyelids were not closing all the way due to tight skin on his face. The problem is not only cosmetic but also a serious concern for his eyes. If the eyes dry out too much, then damage can occur.

Dr. Morris had seen Danny's eyelids the previous two visits and voiced concern the first time, then seemed hopeful the following week. Yesterday, he saw that the problem was not getting better so he scheduled Danny for surgery this morning. You could see Danny was very disappointed as he learned of what needed to be done.

Danny prepared himself for the surgery by not eating after last night, the typical action taken for surgery. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. (which is very common for me) and found Danny sitting at the kitchen table. He had been up since an hour after going to bed. I am assuming this new problem was worrying him and so he was unable to sleep. I was planning on waking him up at 5:00 to be ready on time, so we went ahead and started preparations for the day early. His wounds are itching and giving him fits that are almost driving him crazy. Unable to really scratch because of the tender new skin everywhere, all we can do is rub lotion on all that delicate skin. The lotion gave him some relief and we were ready to leave at 5:50 for his scheduled arrival at 7:00.

Yesterday we were told there would be two other patients to be operated on, so we thought we would be third in line. After signing in and going to the Pre Surgical area this morning, we were told Danny was up first and the procedure would start just after 8:00 a.m. The rotation of doctors had taken Dr. Morris off duty and put Dr. Cochran as the surgeon to work on Danny's eyelids. Just before entering the operating room, Dr. Cochran told us the various options she would be looking at as to what the actual procedure would involve. One option was to bandage Danny's lower eyelids after the graft had been applied, with little pillows of cotton or gauze to keep the lid immobile. The other was to sew Danny's eyes closed, with the possibility that he could peek out between the eyelids. Dr. Cochran also looked at Danny's mouth and told us since his mouth is only half it's former size, an option of surgery to help that is possible. She said she would rather wait until later on and see before doing anything to his mouth.

The operation didn't take too long and was over at about 9:30 a.m. At 10:15 I was allowed to go see Danny. He's been placed back in his same private room 21, of the 4th floor Burn Unit. As I walked in Danny was awake and doing fine, except his eyes are closed. He's not supposed to open them for three days. To do the grafting, the doctor cut a section of skin from his left side just under the armpit. This time it wasn't a harvesting like his previous skin grafts, this one took all three layers of skin from an area a bit bigger than two postage stamps. That wound was sewn up the same as if it were a laceration. An incision or release as it is called, was made in each of Danny's lower eyelids and the harvested skin was sewn into place. Right now, he looks like he's had a botched makeup job. The thing that's probably going to drive him crazy will be, about a third of the way from the outer ends of his eyelids, the doctor sewed his upper and lower eyelids together on both eyes in order to keep him from blinking. As I said before, this will last for three days.

One of the staff printed a sign to put on Danny's room saying: "I Can't see. Please tell who you are." Danny will need to have someone help him with everything now since he is essentially blind for awhile. His only control in life is his call button. When I left this morning, he was sleeping. He was probably catching up from no sleep the night before. As I write this, Judy (his mother) is most likely with him. Andy should be getting off work soon and will go be with him as well. I'm not sure who else may have seen him so far. Hopefully this will be the last of the surgeries.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

By popular requsest, another post.


Greetings everyone,

It's been five days since I last posted here. Previously I mentioned how it would most likely be difficult for me to see the progress Danny makes because now I see him all the time. I do notice change and improvement as we do wound care each day. I see how the healing is coming along by each spot that at one time was a large opening in the skin. He has very few open sores now and the ones left are quite small. The very tender and sensitive areas are still giving him extreme pain if touched or bumped. He is doing better with pain though, today he didn't take any pain medication until later this evening. He dislikes very much being dependent on drugs for any reason.

We have our good days and bad days here. It seems for every good day, Danny pays for it with one, maybe two bad days. Right now he is experiencing tiredness and fatigue. Most of the day a nagging cough has been bothering him. Those are classic signs of pneumonia, so tomorrow at the hospital check up, we will find out about it.

9-12-09 Morning

We did that check up on Thursday, with no problem of pneumonia. We were told his lungs will have debris in them caused by the vent tube in his gullet for 10 days. He just needs to cough all of that out and get rid of it. The fatigue and being tired is something he'll deal with for the next few months and is typical for his type of injuries. Physical rehab went well, with Danny doing what was asked plus a little extra. As we left the hospital he pushed the wheelchair instead of riding in it. Part of that is pain from sitting on a part of his body that was also burned.

Yesterday, 9-11-09, we were up early and Danny was quite active. He was walking around the house and getting some exercise then decided to go for a walk around the block before the sun comes up. He cannot be in the sun at all, or severe scarring will be the result. I watched him take off up the block and he was walking tall. Some of the neighbor ladies said hello to him as they were walking too. When he got home we had breakfast, then it was back to exercise. While doing a little wound care, he found a couple of staples in his right leg left over from surgery. I called to find out if we should try to remove them but were told it would be taken care of next time we're at the burn unit. I told Danny some wire clippers and pliers would do the job. He said he would just as soon wait. Now what fun is that?

Also on Friday I took him over to the Ogden Athletic Club where he began more physical therapy. He was measured for his range of movement, then Frank (his therapist) took Danny out into the training area and got him started on several of the machines. If things go as planned, he will be at the OAC on Mondays and Wednesdays, then a session of rehab at the U Med Center on Fridays. I was watching and decided we need to find him some more stylish clothes for such activity. Pull over shirts are a problem because of his ears. We thought of some sort of Velcro system to fasten the shirts together some way, but that's still in the works.

Friday evening Danny soaked in the tub full of water for the first time in years according to him. (Typical guy doing showers.) It did wonders for his appearance. All the dead skin that's been stubbornly hanging on finally came off. Other than the discoloration, the injured areas are starting to look very smooth like they should.

We improvise every day thinking of ways to make him more comfortable. Some things work while others we'll only try once. It's a slow process, but progress is being made.

Best wishes,

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's been one month today

One month ago today Danny's family and friends were worried and concerned, and many of them were on the fourth floor of the U Med Center. That day will always be in our memories much like other events in history.

Today, he and I were once again on the fourth floor for his first check up since being released. Everything is healing up nicely even though a couple of areas are still extremely painful. We learned a few techniques of how to make wound care a bit more bearable. More lotion and less greasy goo will do the job on much of his wounds now. Less greasy goo means not as much sticking to the bandages and clothing. He has a very colorful description of what the intensity of his pain is. On the areas that give him the most trouble, he says it feels like someone is pulling duct tape off of the worst sunburn you can imagine and at the same time slapping it as hard as possible. I suppose it must hurt some.

Danny has been up and fairly active all day long since 8:00 this morning, and is still here visiting with Brant and Shawna as I am writing this. We have his big screen set up here and the Wii games were on earlier, then the wake board videos entertained those interested for awhile. I mentioned that all the diversion of his friends and relatives may have kept his mind off the pain some, and he pretty much agreed.

Generally it's been a good day for Danny from what I've observed. Now Judy is doing some wound care on his ears and then we'll call it a day. Good night everyone.


I suppose we are now paying for the good day we had yesterday. It's early Saturday morning, and we haven't had much sleep because Danny has been restless and unable to sleep soundly.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Settling in for a routine

Danny and I spent most of the day together and I am learning what he needs and he's also learning what he needs. Some things we do to make him comfortable don't seem to work, so we try something else until we find what will work.

I'm thinking that progress will be difficult for me to see now that I'll be with Danny most of the time. I will rely on others and their reactions when they see him, to know of improvements.

He's been busy texting with folks or someone in particular, I don't know which and it's his business anyway. The point is, the latest technology is a great thing to keep a person's mind off of their problems for some of the time anyway.

Up dates may come less frequently now, so don't be surprised if you open the blog and see the same thing for two or three days. As noteworthy events happen, I'll be sure to inform all you folks who are concerned with Danny's health and well being.

Best wishes,


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Heeeere's Danny!!

Yes folks, he's out of the hospital. In fact he's sitting about six feet to my left, in my grandmother's old reclining chair. (One of his favorite chairs.)

This afternoon at 3:00 we did wound care, then signed some papers, packed up what ever evidence was left and were out of there at 5:30. What a rotten time to leave the hospital. Rush hour traffic!!! We made it home in much less than record time, but made it home none the less.

One thing Danny mentioned to me is how nice it is to be in a quiet room for a change. His condition is still fragile and weak. His injuries were much improved from the last time I did wound care on Sunday. We'll be going back for check ups every three or four days for the next few months, starting Friday morning.

What was fun during the last few minutes in the hospital today, was the staff member with her progress sheet and disbelief asking: "Is this right, he's going home on his 29th day?" I had to explain to her that indeed he is a Danny Boy Wonder.

Maybe for the next posting, I can get our guest of honor to say a few words on his own behalf. After all, that's why we're here reading this droll stuff that I keep putting up, just waiting for an utterance from the man of the hour, Danny.


Just a little post script here. I see that we have a request on yesterday's comments for an address where you can send Danny Boy a card or come to visit. Sorry I didn't include that before. We're at 257 E 600 N, Kaysville, UT 84037. Knock twice and wait for the creaky door to open, or you can simply ring the doorbell.