Katie was baptised Sunday in her hospital bed. Something she had been asking for since she was saved before the accident.
Saturday Katies left eye responded to light and she responded to some sensory tests at all four extremities,
Katie got her protective 'Moon Boots". She also had more movement than usual for short while.
Katie began some occasional slight movements when touched.
Katie underwent 2 surgeries today April 16 around noon. A tracheotomy (Surgical incision of the trachea through the neck, as to make an artificial opening for breathing), and another to implant a feeding tube thru to her stomach. Thank God and the doctors everything went well. Katies bowels are still asleep however and not functioning yet without aid. The doctors are hoping to slowly begin weaning her off breathing apparatus. This would be a major step if successful. Katie looks much better. That beautiful face is back. Her eyes remain half open, but no movement yet.
Katie is showing more and more movement, especially when they have to vacuum mucus and saliva inside her trachea.(many times a day) It is difficult to see and one begins to comprehend the incredible amount of care Katie is going to need possibly even when she comes home. Katies mom Lynn is who has stayed by her bedside 24/7 for 3 weeks now is looking at the hardest possible road ahead. When you pray for Katie please include her mom who loves her daughter beyond belief.
Today Katie was taken down to only 3% oxygen and may be able to soon breath completely on her own. This is great news. Keep up the prayers for Katie,her caregivers and family.
Katie is no longer on any Oxygen and is only being given some humidity to make it easier to help clear her lungs from congestion. She is pretty much breathing all on her own. No other change at this time. The surgeon came in and smiled when he saw her.
Today some sounds came from Katie just for a brief moment. The decision on placement of a shunt will be made in the next day or so. This is a device to divert fluid buildup inside her brain. Many people are walking around with this device. A visitor who said he was in a deep coma similar to Katie came by and told us many encouraging things.
Today Katies congestion caused her oxygen to drop very low and there were some anxious moments until they got this resolved. She is doing good now. Also, her right eye is a little better and may have responded to light. Her eyes however, are still fixed.
More movement than usual Thursday night. Her 'posturing' had speeded up and her breathing became somewhat irregular and faster. Her heart rate went to 150 bpm and her temperature increased some. This may be what is known as 'sympathetic storming' (an exaggerated stress response). She was given some medications which seemed to calm her.
Lynn got Katie out of her bed for the first time and had her sitting in her lap for 2 hours, though still not awake. No more 'storming' today. No other change.
No changes. Katie is the same. More 'storming' today.The hope is that Katie will be able to get into rehab instead of going home soon. To do so she must show some sign of communication. Anything, even a squeeze from her hand when asked. They need something to work with. Pray for more miracles !
Today we got Katie into a wheelchair for the first time. We took her around the hallways for awhile. I pray Katie knew what was going on. Her eyes are open and her left eye sometimes moves up and down and blinks, but does not move left or right. She looks much better (enough to post photos). They have detected an infection in her spinal fluid and will characterize it better tomorrow and determine what antibiotics or even surgery may be appropriate. They are waiting still to decide if a shunt will be implanted to help drain fluid from her brain. Katie coughed several times
with force today and that must be good news.
The infection is still being watched very closely. They are running cultures of it to see if it grows and have discovered one is a strain of meningitis. Katie is on antibiotics for this. She seems uncomfortable and her breathing is labored and jerky. She is also being given Tylenol and Adavan to help with her heartrate which is hovering around 140-150. Her BP around 140 and her temperature ranges widely sometimes up to 102. The doctor came in at 3 a.m. and looked at her head stitches but did not seem alarmed even though they change in appearance. .
Last nite things were hectic as Katies bp, heartrate and temperature were fluctuating as she seemed uncomfortable in her bed. She also seemed to move more when her arm was touched. Probably more posturing, although somehow it felt as if she was trying to communicate, no one knows this for sure. Her breathing is slightly jerky at times. At noon today she seems more in a restful state with her pulse down to 130 from 155 or so. They are doing a chest Xray today to determine the severity of her lung congestion as her oxygen level is down somewhat. One infection test came back negative.
Today Katie has been just like being asleep all day. pulse around 125 Oxygen 100. Unresponsive to touch. Eyes closed no struggling or irregular breathing. Her chest Xray showed no serious congestion. They will measure her for her wheelchair Thursday. They are waiting for the decision on a shunt.
Katie was sat in a chair for a couple hours and seemed to be a little more active then the last day or so. Posturing, eye open etc. Not much to report. Pulse around 120-125 most of the day.
The infection cultures were found to be growing. Tomorrow they will remove the drain from the right side of her head and put it on the left side. This is to help clear up this infection. It is a low risk in-room surgery. When ready they will pobably implant an internal shunt, but all infection must be gone to do this. I sat beside Katie for several hours talking to her and it almost seemed as if she was comprehending at times but no way to really know. Her right eye moves up and down still not left and right. Her bp, pulse and pressure was a little better today. They came and measured her for her special wheelchair today. We picked dark purple.
They decided to wait to move the drain. Katie was restful most of the day but seemed to stiffen a little. Her arms were straight for several hours. I saw her move her head up and back while pushing her body to a different position. I had not seen her move this way before. Her numbers not too bad and her temperature actually hit 98.6 once today.
Not much change. The right eye looks better and for the first time on occasion moves up and down in conjunction with her left eye. (neither moves left or right) The doctors do not feel her actual eyes incurred any permanent damage, however the signal from your eyes must travel all the way to the back of your brain to see, and they cannot yet tell if Katie can or will be able to see.
A head cat scan was done last night looking for any pockets of fluid that may be hindering her recovery but none were found. No real improvements to report. Although her right eye moves up and down there is no way of knowing if Katie can see or hear. Her breath comes easily and her heartrate is better. No change in the swelling of her head. The hope is when it goes down we may see some kind of improvement. No one knows.
Last night there was a dramatic change in the swelling of Katies head. It reduced considerably and moved some to the back of her head. Katie is looking much better. Her right eye is almost normal in appearance. I had a call from one Frank King in Memphis with an amazing story about his daughters very similar situation. He also emailed me with a link to his site. It's a must read. Go here.
As Katie looked better on May 16 people wanted pictures and Katie was sat up in a wheelchair and a couple hats were pulled down over her stitches and her drain was covered as photos were snapped. No other changes other than the swelling has come back.
Katie had her head stitches removed today. The swelling is still there, some days it seems worse than others. The infection from her right side drain seems to have stabilized and if no cultures grow they want to do an internal shunt within a week. At least that's a premise of a plan. Most times when I go to Katies room it seems there is a very slight improvement. Today I saw her turn her head just a little at least 4 times in a couple hours as well as do something else I have never seen. She appeared to have a successful cough. That is a hard cough that may have cleared away some congestion. This was exciting to see. It would be wonderful if somehow Katie wouldn't need her trachea suctioned anymore. It's obviously uncomfortable for her as when they change locations of her IV. It's good she responds but hard to watch.
Yesterday Katie had her drain moved towards the back of her head, and the pressure lowered to 7 from 10. She was storming somewhat before this but since has been like she's sleeping, eyes closed etc. The swelling is different now as it seems to move dependant on how they have her head laying. Basically it was drilling another hole in her head. This is not just a child sleeping in a coma, it is a very difficult and uncomfortable place to be. It is clear that often Katie can feel pain. It is hard to understand. I know there are hundreds of people praying.
Today I sat in on a meeting with Katies mom, her sisters Pam and Debra and 8 or 10 doctors,nurses,home health care professionals and insurance co-ordinators. All seeming to want to find the best transition and date for Katie to go home. Katie qualifies for an RN to be at her new room at home 44 hours per week to help with her care. Lynn's training has been ongoing and more intensive between now and the two weeks from now they have planned as the time to move Katie. Pam and Debra will be assisting also. There is so much to be done.
The plan is now more definite for the internal shunt to be implanted within the next week as her head looks so much better. I noticed today her heartrate is very good now at around 85 bpm, pressure down to around 2 once at 1. I believe this is about normal. Her oxygen today was around 95. Her breathing seemed good with occasionally what appeared to be a deep breath and attempts to clear congestion. Sort of a long low forced cough.
I read to Katie about an hour and at times it seemed almost as if she was interested. This may be wishful thinking on my part. I took this photo then and Katie still does not track anything with her eyes. They either look straight or down or they close. Sometimes you just know she is looking right at you, but it's you who have to get in her field of vision. Once every few minutes she moves her legs just slightly and her mom said a few times she lifted her head off the pillow on her own.
When I read to Katie I like to hold her hand and today I felt Katies strength as several times she squeezed my hand with incredible force. I believe this was from occasional reflexive type storming, but I often wonder if they all were, and I will forever remember them.
Her swelling is still there and there will be more waiting to return her bone flaps to her skull. This may happen even after she returns home.
The internal shunt is planned for Monday. We got Katie into a wheelchair again this morning and she kept wanting to straighten her arms and legs causing her to constantly slide down in the chair. This 'storming' had a new aspect to it as her legs did not want to stop shaking. Eventually we got her propped up and this stopped and she seemed more comfortable. I found that someone had tied her hand brace tightly around her left wrist OVER the IV. Louise (a family friend) and I removed the brace and called nurse Angela (who just came on duty) to the room. After examining the wrist Angela decided to move the IV back again to the right wrist.
The good news is I observed Katie doing more coughing which seemed to successfully clear some congestion. Also, it appears that she is now swallowing on her own especially when in an upright position. I talked with the nurse and if Katie can demonstrate that she will be able to manage these tasks there could come a time to discontinue the tube in her throat.
I believe Katie is moving her legs and feet more. Sometimes her feet just move around for minutes at a time. Louise said that when her father recovered from his coma, it was his feet and legs that came back first, then the rest followed. I left the hospital today feeling really great thanking God with every step. I've made him many promises.
Amazingly, I was researching 'COMA' and came across an article about a Dr Edwin Cooper who uses electrical therapy to stimulate new brain activity. I had to locate him. I was able to actually talk with him about Katie and have told Lynn about this. The doctor has sent me some papers which I will be giving to Lynn. While on the phone with him yesterday he told me the National Geographic channel was running a special show at 4 pm that afternoon about the recovery of one of his patients Candice Ivey who was bottom of the scale with no chances. I was glued to this titled.."Back from the Dead" Today Ms Ivey has emailed me and I have posted it bottom of page KatieStories.
The internal shunt was surgically and successfully implanted June 3 and Katie seems to be
doing well. Not much change if any to her swelling yet and the other drain is still there waiting to be sure the internal one is working correctly. One hope is swelling (Hydrocephalus) goes down. If that could happen there may be a better read on Katies possible outcomes and current baseline. Her legs and feet are still moving and her head has a tendency to want to lean downward to the left. Her arms still become rigid about half the time especially when there is some type of stimulus. Everything goes according to plan Katie will be going home soon.
There is a problem with the Shunt and a ct scan is ordered to characterize this.
Katie will have her shunt adjusted Monday as it has clogged. In this video yesterday she was calm and not stiffening or storming which is occasional thru her day. Her eyes still stare straight ahead and blink.
Shunt was re-positioned yesterday and called a success as Katie did well for this surgery. Almost immediately much of her swelling reduced. Lynn said she observed Katie actually move her left eye somewhat to the right. This is another first and can only be a good thing.
Katie is expected to be released soon now but a big problem in that her home is not yet ready. Delays for various reasons need desperately to be squared away and fast. Anyone helping or contributing please be aware the hospital was told her home would be ready this week and planned around this. This is so urgent.
I spent about 5 hours reading to and watching Katie Thursday and it always seems like she has some slight improvement, tho almost imperceptable unless you have been paying close attention to her. I saw her pull her leg up and away from the pain as they removed an IV from her foot. I'm told this is a good sign. While reading to her she would occasionally open her eyes as if looking right at me,although I myself have not seen her move her eyes left or right. Her head looks very strange now that the swelling has completely dissapated but this will be corrected when the surgeon returns her skull flaps which are harbored in her tummy to keep them alive. Probably this will happen in the next month or so.
Most of the time Katie seems comfortable. While I was there it seemed that once every 45 minutes or so she has a 30 second or so moment of extreme discomfort where she moves awkwardly sometimes even raising her head off the pillow and grimacing. Then it goes away and she relaxes.
We are still in need of a speedup in the remodeling being done at Katies house.
Today is the big day. They are taking Katie home ! At about 1 pm an ambulance will escort Katie home. There is a lot of activity there and things will take awhile to settle in. She has a hospital bed there and will be in her moms room until the construction finishes her new room. Also, soon they will be starting Dr Coopers electrical treatment in hopes of improvement. Although the doctors did an amazing job saving Katies life, after nearly 3 months, Katie is still in a coma. There is an ambulance station only a quarter mile from their house.
No one really knows even now if Katie has any awareness of her surroundings. I pray she does and that her old familiar home will help her. They are waiting awhile to return portions of her skull to her head. Katies present appearance may be a bit un-nerving. Pray that Katie will soon make some dramatic improvements. It has been a long difficult stressful time. If you can think of anything that may help Lynn, you are helping Katie too.
As Katie continues to lay in her bed week after week, her immune system weakens and she becomes much more susceptible to infection. In fact, most nurses I have talked with over the last months have told me this is usually what happens to long term comatose patients at home. Anyone visiting can bring whatever germs right into Katies space. Hard to say it but serious harm could be the result. It is more important now than ever to be extremely careful around her room. Wash and sanitize hands and do not get really near her face. Please respect her dignity in this helpless state, she deserves it. We all love her but Katie may not want someone touching her hair or kissing her cheek. There's no way of knowing,and it's dangerous. This wonderful and courageous little 10 year old has been suffering and fighting hard for a long time. Please don't be the reason she loses.
Visited Katie resting in her wheelchair at home and observed more very subtle improvements. She is swallowing at will. (I believe this is easier for her sitting than lying). Once she leaned way forward with head and shoulders but this time her head did not roll to one side but stayed straight. This occurred while her friend Anna and Anna's mom were holding her hand and encouraging her.Her fingers on her right hand straighten occasionally. Did not see any severe posturing with her arms. Lots of people there wanting to help when I was there. No word on where the stimulator is and why it has not been delivered. It is now 3 months since the accident.
Katie is still the same resting at home (photo) and being put in her wheelchair 5 to 6 hours each day. Sometimes she will move herself, arms, feet head. If she moves her head it sometimes stays straight, if she is moved forward her head will roll down to one side.
I did see Katie move her eyes horizontally towards me on 3 occasions. It seems you can illicit movement from her by lifting her arms she will seem to open her eyes wider and sometimes lean forward as a result. Often she moves her mouth almost as if trying to talk,probably just a primitive reflex tho.
I feel more certain that Katie can hear. I bought her some childrens audiobooks on CD just in case. If you have any you don't need please get them to her or me. Stimulation is so important. Imagine the boredom,not the summer she deserves.
Her friend Carson was talking to her and it truly seemed Katie was trying to respond to her. We were told there was an attempted delivery of the electical stimulator and perhaps we will have it Monday.
Today was a fabulous day. I was reading to Katie 'Because of Winn Dixie' when I was about halfway thru it seemed Katie was moving around in her wheelchair more. Leaning forward, arms pulling up etc., more than I had ever seen, and going on for a couple of hours. So I stopped and asked her if she wanted me to continue reading please let me know by blinking her eyes twice. Then looking straight at me, she made two distinct blinks. I almost fainted. Pam Underwood and Katies brother are my witnesses.
I think what is possible is that Katie sort of comes and goes. I really believe myself she can hear and think clearly at times and is progressing. I tried to do this again later and her blinking came but not real distinctive. Of course, I'm no doctor.
It was last July 4th about midnight I remember Katie had come running around the back of the store so excited demanding that I come back and watch the rest of the fireworks. Tomorrow is going to be tough, but today was great.
The EMPI stimulator finally arrived yesterday (photo) and Katie is started at 8.5 milliamps @ 1 hour per day to be increased slightly every 4 days. This is being co-ordinated with Katies doctor and therapist and kind Dr. Cooper in N.C. It may take some time if we see any results and improvements. Lets pray Katie will improve dramatically.
I have not been able to get any more definite eyeblinks yet in response to any yes/no questions. Lynn says that Katie will open her eyes at night when Lynn coughs and clapping your hands causes blinks. This must be proof Katie hears. If she understands no one knows yet. I do feel so strongly that Katie is there when I'm reading to her. She often seems intent on the story and will move her eyes towards me at times.
Her eyes seem to be moving around more. Lynn said that on the 4th she had Katie sitting inside in front of the glass screen door facing the front yard at night and she watched Katie's eyes definitely following fireworks being set off by her siblings. This is great news. I pray she can see clearly and knows what she is seeing.
I remember what the doctor had told us months ago. They could not find any damage to the eyes, but the signal must travel all the way to the back of the brain too interpret an image.
Katie has been seeming more distant and tired. I read to her yesterday but she did not seem at all interested and stared straight ahead. She will be seeing the doctor for a scheduled evaluation monday. There was much activity around her but Katie did not seem to notice it much. She did move her eyes some but less than normal. We are seeing more slight storming to include some leg trembling and arm straightening. She closed her hands into fists very tightly for a couple hours.
HEY TOM, KATIE SLEPT FOR ABOUT THREE HOURS TODAY AFTER USING THE STIMULATOR, THEN SHE WOKE UP BRIGHT EYED. BRANDON CAME IN THE KITCHEN ALL EXCITED AND SAID "HEY MOMA, GUESS WHAT?" I SAID WHAT AND HE SAID HE WENT IN THERE TO KATIE AND SAID HEY KATIE GUESS WHAT? AND SHE OPENED HER EYES AND HE SAID, "I LOVE YOU" AND SHE OPENED HER EYES WIDER. THEN HE SAID I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART AND SHE OPENED HER EYES EVEN WIDER AND LOOKED AT HIM. pretty cool, huh? I WISH I HAD SEEN IT THOUGH! ANYWAY, GOOD LUCK TOMORROW SELLING P-NUTS! I ORDERED THE CUFF TODAY! CATCH YOU LATER! YOUR FRIEND, LYNN (had to post this great news Email hope you don't mind Lynn)
Katie Doll Updates beginning approx. 9 days post accident.