This week has been the very devil of a week. It has been an emotional roller coaster. And it has been a long week, with lot’s going on. Who knows if we’ll even get to it all.
Let’s start where we left off. Last week Ryan’s Dad (a.k.a. “The New York Papa”, a.k.a. “Papa Doug”) fell from a ladder at work. The ladder was leaning against the face of a mow (which is a stack of hay bales) and the stack gave way, the ladder toppled and my dad fell and struck the one spot in the floor that wasn’t covered with a thick layer of loose hay. Trust a Kraeger to find the hardest thing around to crack his head against.
And he literally cracked his head. He has bilateral skull fractures, broken ribs, bilateral collapsed lungs, and his pelvis is fractured in four places. Since then he has not regained consciousness.
My Dad is still unconscious, still in ICU. The care team meeting was a rather emotional event for all of us, but the plan remains essentially unchanged. They did the surgery today (Thursday) to repair his pelvis and it went perfectly, better than they thought it would. It may seem strange to repair his pelvis when he hasn’t even regained consciousness, but it was such a minimally invasive thing, and in the event that he ever regains function, this will give him the best chance for whatever mobility he is neurologically capable of.
The chest trauma seems to be healing really well. The collapsed lungs are re-inflated, the drainage from the chest tubes is minimal, and those will be downgraded in the next few days to weeks.
The real question mark remains his neurological status. He still has diffuse axonal injury (DAI), with several areas of stroke. He has not regained consciousness, but now that they let my mom visit once (don’t get me started on that bureaucratic nightmare) he has begun to show signs of increased responsiveness. He briefly opened his eyes yesterday.
We simply don’t know what the outcome of this is going to be. The neurological insult was pretty intense, and medically speaking there is no way to predict whether he will recover, partially recover with some deficit, minimally recover with profound disability, or never recover at all. As far as I know, there is nothing we can do, medically, to influence the outcome either way. We are looking into Skilled Nursing Home options, since we anticipate he will be at the limit of what the hospital can do for him some time in the next couple weeks.
The most important thing is, thank-you all for your prayers. They have supported and strengthened and guided us. Whatever neurological progress we make in the future I attribute specifically to prayer. The family has begun the novena to Joseph the Worker yesterday, as St. Joseph was always my Dad’s favorite saint. Please feel free to join us in that if you feel so led (today would be day 2).
And now, on to the pictures. Let’s just do a gallery, since that’s the easiest way to get through them.
Why were we moving hay? As the oldest brother, Ian, said, “Because that’s what Kraegers do. We work.”
It’s ironic, in the hay moving pictures, we were all there because of an accident that happened to our dad while moving hay, but Ian needed us to come help move hay on the farm. He explained that whoever it was that built the face of the mow that collapsed under Dad, it wasn’t my Dad. his faces never collapsed.
It was odd to watch Ian working, like a very slightly stockier version of Dad, carefully setting the bales, interlocking them, gently building his mow from the outside wall in, all the while explaining the peculiarities of this particular cutting, from the soil it grew in, to the seeding, the weather, the mowing, baling, and mowing (the first mowing is pronounced to rhyme with “rowing” and the second is pronounced to rhyme with “plowing.”)
Then Daddy flew home. It is good to be home, although the whole family still has a long row to hoe.
And that is all for this week. Please keep us in your prayers.