The nurses have cautioned us to minimize the calls we take and return at this early stage, but we also want everyone to be updated. We know how hard it would be to be at home and wondering. Not knowing is the worst part! So... we have set up this blog and we will post updates as we have them. That way can check it out during the day for updates.
So... here I go with what I know at this point....
Scott was doing an anaesthesiology rotation in Cottonwood, AZ, a couple of hours north of Phoenix. He got off early yesterday due to a late night the night before. He took the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful day and gorgeous scenery and headed out on a bike ride to Sedona. We are unsure of the specific details but from what we understand a car pulled out in front of him and he T-boned the car, flew over the car, and landed on the asphalt. We were told his face hit the car first and then the asphalt, but his face took the brunt of the force.
His injuries are: R radius fracture with compartment syndrome (pressure on the nerves, arteries, and muscles between the two bones in his forearm due to swelling)and radial artery tear. They performed surgery on his right arm last night. They will have one more surgery to complete the work on his arm. He currently has a wound vac on his arm.
He also has 3-4 rib fractures, collapsed lungs on both sides, numerous facial fractures, the most significant of which is a right orbital (eye socket). The most worrisome injury is definitely the head injury and bleeding in the brain.
The best news ever is that his survival is likely. Not that he is out of the woods completely, but they are confident, barring some weird complication, that he will live. Everything after that is icing on the cake as far as we are concerned.
Current news is encouraging. The CAT scans throughout the night have shown that his brain swelling is staying low, so the neurosurgeon chose to close his skull after removing the blood clot. The incision looks great, no new swelling. His right eye is black and swollen. His whole face is swollen. They repaired the most critical/urgent facial fractures, leaving the non-urgent ones for later, but...are now thinking they may leave them to heal on their own.
The lungs are doing great. They have re-inflated and they would take him off of the ventilator, but... they are concerned about keeping an open airway due to all of the facial and throat swelling.
Originally, they said they would keep him sedated for 3 days to allow the brain injury to heal, but since he has done so well, they are weaning him off of the sedation currently. He hasn't awoken yet with their attempts to wake him up. This could be due to the fact that he is on IV pain meds, due to the fact that his body has gone through a lot and is needing the recovery rest, or due to a potential brain injury problem, yet to be identified. A common brain injury with this type of injury is called diffuse axonal injury, which is a shearing injury along the nerve tracts in the brain. IT does not show up well on CAT scan, but does show well on MRI. IF they are unable to awaken him, they will perform an MRI to find out. They are seeing no other signs to indicate that he has it, but it is common with the way he was injured, and so they are watching for it closely.
So... he is not out of the woods yet, but his physicians have been very optimistic about his recovery. Brain injuries are long-healing, and very individual, so they are hesitant to give solid prognoses.
Right now is wait and see.... we are hoping he will wake up soon, so they can further assess him and gain better insight to his current status and prognosis.
He is in ICU still, so visitors are being controlled/minimized to allow him to rest and recover adequately.
Here is a link to the news story online. You can see where his bike hit the car, and can see his bike on the asphalt.
We are remaining hopeful. We are uplifted and comforted by all of your love and support! We hope this blog will help to fill in some of the gaps for you. We are simply not finding the time we thought we would have to return calls. Fortunately, he is being very well cared for. They have been very attentive, almost constantly assessing, checking etc.
Love you all!
Patti Nielsen (Scott's mom)