Mike's Road to Recovery

The Unfolding Story of Mike's Miraculous Recovery from a Tragic Ski Accident

TIMELINE

Day
60

March 30, 2021   

Mike must have got a good night's sleep last night because he was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and just full of himself when I came in this morning.  He was ... Read More

Day
59

March 29, 2021   

Not much to report today.  We are still trying to get Mike to swallow, but he’s being very stubborn, but I think he will come around soon. Today’s video ... Read More

Day
58

March 28, 2021   

Today was Mike's day of rest, so nothing new and exciting to report today.  Mike was in rare form today, and his sense of humor was shining through.  When Mike wasn't ... Read More

Day
57

March 27, 2021   

I think the video says it all, today was a good day!  I spent the majority of the day trying to convince Mike to swallow water. Otherwise, we spent the rest of the ... Read More

Day
56

March 26, 2021   

Not much really happened today.  Once again, Mike's speech therapist and I tried to get Mike to eat lunch today without success.  His therapist ... Read More

Day
55

March 25, 2021   

Not much new to report today. Mike is still making amazing progress, at least on the walking and occupational therapy, everyday activities. He tied his shoes today without any kind ... Read More

Day
54

March 24, 2021   

Well, today, we had a little hiccup with eating. Mike’s gag reflex was working in overdrive today, and he kept gagging himself on everything, including water... Read More

Day
53

March 23, 2021   

Mike is starting to make great progress with dressing himself with less help.  And as you will see in the video, eating is coming along well for only being the second day.  PT said his treadmill work was great, and he is putting ... Read More

Day
52

March 22, 2021   

Mike’s walking is improving every day, and today he did a total of 18 minutes on the treadmill in PT.  The included video shows Mike standing and starting to walk without harnesses, and it needs to be noted that the recording was made after Mike had completed his 18 min. treadmill walk. It amazes me just how committed and determined Mike is even when he’s ... Read More

Day
51

March 21, 2021   

Today was Mike’s day of rest, and that’s just what we did.  He did eat a whole container of chocolate pudding, drink a cup of orange juice, and drank about half of a 20 oz bottle of Smartwater.  He is getting ... Read More

Day
50

March 20, 2021   

It was a little bit of a rough night for Mike, and I know why the kid isn't sleeping through the night.  They came in around 2 am central time to do a bunch of stuff like taking vitals, changing dressings, giving meds, etc., which took about 20 minutes. Of course, all the lights have to be on, and whispering or trying to be quiet is not an option.  By the time they finished, ... Read More

Day
49

March 19, 2021   

Today marks two weeks since Mike came to SRALab and I can't believe the amount of progress that he is making. The nurses, doctors and therapists and staff are amazing. Mike is making progress everyday; you show him how to do something one day and the next day he's doing it. Here are ... Read More

Day
48

March 18, 2021   

Not much to report today. Mike did okay during the swallow study yesterday, so he got to try real food for lunch. He did okay; he was able to eat mashed potatoes and macaroni & cheese but gagged a little on the hamburger and chicken tenders. I have to admit ... Read More

Day
47

March 17, 2021   

Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone! Today was another exhausting day for both of us. The morning started off with speech/language therapy (SLT) where we prepared/practiced for the swallow study this afternoon by drinking some apple juice. First, Mike drank the juice from ... Read More

Day
46

March 16, 2021   

This morning the Occupational therapist came in to assess Mike’s one-week progress. They said that he is making progress and scored better than he did last week. Albeit, he still won’t follow directions constantly, I’m not sure if it isn’t Mike just being a PIA ... Read More

Day
45

March 15, 2021   

Wow, a lot has happened in the last 24 hours! First and foremost, I didn’t get to post it last night because I had already posted my write-up before I left the hospital. But when I was hugging Mike when I was getting ready to leave the hospital Mike said “mom.” I was so ... Read More

Day
44

March 14, 2021   

Today was a good day, Mike went to PT early today and the PT said that he did good, he walked on the treadmill for 20 minutes straight. We did get to FaceTime with Mike’s buddies from work and it was really good for Mike to see the guys, he even gave them a thumbs up... Read More

Day
43

March 13, 2021   

In honor of St. Patrick, they dyed the Chicago River green today. Mason and I got to go to breakfast with my parents down by the river. They aren’t kidding about it being ‘bright green’. Once I finished having breakfast I headed over to SRALab to see Mike.... Read More

Day
42

March 12, 2021   

Let me start out by saying today was a magnificent day!!!! My day started out this morning with Mike’s therapist Kaitlyn, FaceTiming me to show me Mike starting to walk with the help of the ceiling suspension. He was a little shaky at first, but hell the kid has been in bed for over a month, so I guess we need... Read More

Day
41

March 11, 2021   

Literally nothing new to report today. We did have our first post-team briefing this afternoon. Mike is still considered minimally conscious and they are still trying to get his meds right so they can start giving him meds to hopefully help bring him out of his current state... Read More

Day
40

March 10, 2021   

Not much to report today, still waiting for Mike to finish his quarantine. I got my negative COVID test results back yesterday, so I’m good to go once he gets cleared in 2 days. On a different note, Mike’s care liaison Linda told me that she saw in Mike’s notes... Read More

Day
39

March 9, 2021   

Well Mike was on an inversion table at 50 degrees when they FaceTimed me today, it was great to see him up in a semi standing position. Kaitlyn, his physical therapist said it was to help him start getting used to standing again and to start rebuilding the strength in his legs. She also said ... Read More

Day
38

March 8, 2021   

Both Andy and I got to FaceTime with Mike today. He looked good and smiled when he saw me on the screen. I can’t wait to see him smile at me when I can see him in person... Read More

Day
37

March 7, 2021   

Not much new to report today. As I suspected, he spent much of the day sleeping. He's usually pretty tired and spends the next day sleeping after he’s had a busy interactive day like yesterday. The nurses also said that he had a restless night last night... Read More

Day
36

March 6, 2021   

Not much to report today. They are still evaluating Mike and I think at last check more than 4 or 5 different therapists had been in today to meet with Mike. The good news is that the nurses FaceTimed both Andy and me so we both got to see Mike. He looked good, he was smiling and using his facial expressions, and they even had him dressed in a ... Read More

Day
35

March 5, 2021   

Well, as many of you may already know, Mike finally made it to Chicago today and is now settled into his new home at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (SRAL). He is doing well and spent most of the day sleeping, according to the nurses. Since today is my first official day of posting, I would like to begin by saying THANK YOU to Andy for taking the time to write all... Read More

Day
34

March 4, 2021   

Well the plan is still in place that he leaves tomorrow morning for his next big journey. As of now the crew should be there sometime after 0800 to pick him up and take him to the airport. Not sure the exact times, all I know is that it's sometime between 0800 and when they get there. Like I said yesterday, nothing is 100% until it happens but it's looking good so far. He had a very busy day today so we did not have as much fun together as we did yesterday.... Read More

Day
33

March 3, 2021   

As I expected, plans changed. No one's fault and everything is still on track, it was just a bed availability issue and put it on hold for a day. So, new plan is for Friday morning so we will see if that goes. I am not going to truly believe that it happened until I hear from Christy in Chicago that he is there and safe ... Read More

Day
32

March 2, 2021   

So Mike had a decent day. He had a pretty relaxing day and actually stayed awake for the majority of my time in there so that was nice. His nurse had a complicated patient in her other room so she had to spend most of her time dealing with that which allowed Mike to not have to be bothered as much. He seemed to enjoy that part since he could just relax and watch a little TV to pass the time. He is really moving his legs around quite a bit now, mostly just trying to find ... Read More

Day
31

March 1, 2021   

Sorry, it's a little later than normal for my posting. Megan came out to visit and made me go out and have a “grown up” dinner so the DoorDash and Grubhub drivers could have a night off... Read More

Day
30

Feb 28, 2021   

So I can't really say that today was a bad day, I just wasn't a great day either. I just couldn’t get him to follow any request. All he would do was look at me on occasion and then go stare off at the TV or something in that general direction. He is doing the simple things like trying to make himself comfortable by swinging his legs around, and scratching an itch, but it's when he looks at you that a hard dose of reality sets in. His movements ... Read More

Day
29

Feb 27, 2021

Mike was pretty awake when I first came in today. That was fun. Sometimes he does something that is so random that we really want to believe that it was intentional, but it's still really hard to know what is real and what is just a random action. Like today, I was in his face talking to him and trying to get him to follow any command. Just simple things like open ... Read More

Day
28

Feb 26, 2021

Well today was good because for the first time since all of this, Ope got to get in to see him. The hospital has been pretty strict in only allowing a small group to come in and visit (they had made an exception for Christy and I since it was technically only to be one person a day), but since he is going to be leaving in the very near future, they made an exception to allow Mike’s ... Read More

Day
27

Feb 25, 2021

There is not really a lot for me to say tonight about Mike. He had kind of a busy morning with the Physical Therapist working him quite a bit so basically the rest of the day was spent watching him sleep. He did have a few times that he was awake enough that we got to make a few phone calls and let some people say hi. He was a little “blah” today though. I think he was more interested in watching the TV than he was with looking at who was on the phone. It really seemed today that he was just in a bad mood and quite irritated at all of the things that are being done to him. I'm sure, if he is aware ... Read More

Day
26

Feb 24, 2021

So the big news of the day is that Mike finally decided to move that right leg. It had been twitching on occasion, but today he finally decided to lift it a little. I guess all it took was a little pep talk from his mom to get that going. We are hoping that we can keep that momentum going tomorrow as well. We know it's just a little thing, but it was HUGE to us to know that it does work, and he has the potential to make it work. He was also doing pretty good at tracking me with eyes earlier in the day as well as I kept moving around the bed and talking to him. At one point I was even standing behind him and he rolled his eyes up to try and follow my voice... Read More

Day
25

Feb 23, 2021

First, I would like to say just how happy the staff was to receive that care package. The staff that has been taking care of Mike have all been phenomenal. Each person that has had a role in his care has consistently gone above and beyond to make sure that he is well taken care of and that any questions or needs that we have had are immediately answered. We could not have asked for better care for him ... Read More

Day
24

Feb 22, 2021

Yet another fun filled day in the world of Mike. They said that he had a little episode with his heart rate last night that they had to give a little medication to get under control, but nothing too dramatic. He was fine all today so maybe it was just a freak occurrence that I am sure is bound to pop up once in a while. Today was ... Read More

Day
23

Feb 21, 2021

I don't really have a ton to write about tonight. I guess I will just take that as a good thing. He got to spend the majority of his time hanging out in his recliner during the early part of the day and that tends to wear him out a lot, so most of the evening is spent back in bed resting. He is getting better already at moving that right arm around to reach whatever is itching him on his face. We think ... Read More

Day
22

Feb 20, 2021

I think today was a great day with Mike. We have definitely had better, but in the past few weeks, today was one of the best. He was very alert today. Still not really responding to commands, but he would definitely make eye contact when you spoke to him. He had something on his face that was bothering him, something itching I suspect but we could just not figure it out. He would ... Read More

Day
21

Feb 19, 2021

Sorry this is a bit late tonight. I had a wonderful visit from a great group of friends from my fire company drive out here to chat, check on us, and get me out to dinner. I cannot thank them enough for this and it was a great distraction from our normal routine. It was truly appreciated to be able to smile a little, tell some stories, and just relax in the middle of all of this craziness. Mike had a ... Read More

Day
20

Feb 18, 2021

Another relatively uneventful day as far as Mike was concerned. No real changes in his improvement but again, this is a marathon so not seeing anything dramatic is fine. He is doing well though. Moving his right arm around quite a bit. Still not much on that left side with the exception that he will squeeze his hand. Both legs are still rather random. Sometimes he moves them when he feels like it. Read More

Day
19

Feb 17, 2021

Today was a good day. He had a pretty productive morning between CT scans, X-rays, Occupational Therapy moving him all around, and various doctors poking on him, so by the time we got in there to see him, he was pretty wiped out and resting. They had moved him into a recliner chair for awhile this morning but he was back in bed and sleeping when I came in. His neuro storming episodes have seemed to decrease slightly. They are still occurring, but the ones that I witnessed today were nowhere near as bad as the ones in the beginning of this thing.

Read More
Day
18

Feb 16, 2021

Mike was awake quite a bit today. He still does not respond or really move anything with any purpose, but he was awake. It's these days that I just have to remember that it has only been a couple weeks and we have a LONG way to go. He tracked a little visually, but it still seems like he is not really sure what he is looking at or doing. Its progress though. He had another MRI and the Doctors said that everything looks exactly like it should be at this point based on his level of injury, which in reality is quite extensive. Read More


Day
17

Feb 15, 2021

Mike had a decent day. The swelling in his face and head looks much better. It looks odd now though where they did the craniotomy that now his head is sunken in where the skull piece is missing. Guess he will be like that for a while until he is plenty stable enough to go back to surgery to get it put back. No rush for that though. We are pretty sure that he is starting with a little pneumonia so they are being aggressive on his antibiotics. It's one of the big drawbacks from breathing through a hole in your neck and not moving around at all to loosen that junk in his chest up. His movements are still random, but he is moving a little so that is encouraging. Read More

Day
16

Feb 14, 2021

So Happy Valentines day. I will try to keep it light since it is a “holiday”. Biggest things today were that his White Blood Cell counts started going up. Guess it was inevitable that some sort of infection type thing would begin to creep in somewhere. Can't really be in a hospital for as long as he has been with that many tubes, needles, lumps, bumps, and bruises and not have something sneak in. They are being very aggressive in sorting it out. They have him on the medications he needs and are running multiple tests to try and pinpoint where it is hiding out. Read More

Day
15

Feb 13, 2021

Not a lot to report today. Well at least not currently but I will be waiting to post until sometime after 1900 when I hear from his mom how her shift went. Since they are limiting the number of people that are allowed in the room, it has been working out that we split the visiting time between us so that we all can get a chance to see him and also get some rest when we can. I had the “day shift” part today but I am not going to jinx this at all by posting anything until I have the “late shift” report to add. As of my leaving, he was still having his neuro storming events but they did not seem as severe as they have been. Read More

Day
14

Feb 12, 2021

You all know the sound that a roller coaster makes as you are going up that first big hill. I joke and say that I hear that everyday knowing that we are still just in the beginning and this ride has really just started with huge ups and downs looming ahead. Now in reality that click, click, click is probably just my blood pressure pounding in my ears but that will be for my own doctor to sort out once this thing settles down in time (Just kidding mom, Im fine, seriously, I'm going to eat my dinner I ordered right after I finish this thing). Read More

Day
13

Feb 11, 2021

So Mike had a pretty good night. He had some neuro storming episodes in the morning that they had to give a little stronger medication to help ease, which then made his blood pressure go down (nothing scary, just a little lower than they liked) but a little IV fluid solved that problem quickly. He was doing pretty good on his temperature spikes for most of the day too so they were not having to use the Arctic Sun device, however towards the late afternoon he had an episode that he just didn't want to calm down from so they had to turn it back on to keep his temperature under control. Read More

Day
12

Feb 10, 2021   

We are going to get there. I'm not really sure where “there” is yet or what exactly “there” means right now, but either way this is a journey we are on and we will get there. Mike had another bumpy night. Seems these neuro storming episodes are a lot for him to handle right now. The biggest issue is that it causes his heart rate to go high and his temperature to rise rather rapidly. They were able to beat the fevers with tylenol for a while but they had to put a new device on him (Arctic Sun machine) to help keep him cool. That machine seems to be helping a lot regulating his body temperature so when he does spike up, it seems to settle back down once he calms down a bit. Read More

Day
11

Feb 9, 2021

Still the saga of Mike continues. Today ,based on everything we have been through so far, was not really a terrible day. His body has been beat up pretty bad from not only the injury, but all the procedures that he has had done to him to aid his healing. They had to come in and give his new tracheostomy a good cleaning to try a fight off any potential infections. He was also fitted for some fancy new hand braces to try and protect his hands when he is neuro storming. During these episodes, he postures quite a bit and the way he clenches his fist could potentially damage his hands. Read More

Day
10

Feb 8, 2021

Well in normal Mike fashion he threw a little curve ball at us today and decided to see just how high he could run up his heart rate before they decided to give him medicine. Well he won and they had to give him some medicine to try and slow it down a bit. They also put the EEG monitor back on to see if he is having seizures. He has these things that we are now just referring to as “one of those episodes” that sort of looks like a seizure, but not completely. They are going to keep investigating but put him on medications for that just in case. It could also be part of the TBI process called neuro-storming, but either way it is not fun to watch. He has boots on to try and keep his feet in a better position and they are going to be fitting him with braces for his arms/hands to keep those in a more neutral position as well. Not really too much to write about tonight, it's been kind of a long day.

Author: Andy Robertson


Day
9

Feb 7, 2021

Today was generally uneventful. I just have to keep reminding myself that it has only been a week and we have many, many more to go. They have stopped all of the IV medications that he has been on and have been giving him his pain medications through his peg tube. While he is still basically unconscious and on the vent, he does respond ever so little to outside stimuli. Today it seemed that things would irritate him more than normal, and while his responses did not seem completely purposeful, they were still responses and I will take whatever I can at this current moment. We spent the day just sitting quietly by his side trying our best to keep him calm and relaxed, letting him know we (as well as this huge support mechanism he has with him) are here with him to help him fight this battle. So while today may not have been a great day, it was one more day with Mike and that is all I am asking for.

Author: Andy Robertson


Day
8

Feb 6, 2021   

I am going to once again keep thanking everyone for the continued support we have received during this past week. I know I am going to be forgetting people that have helped us, and continue to help us, and for that I can only apologize. This past week has been such a blur that we are continuously finding ourselves struggling to do the simplest things. So many people have given so much to help us and we may never really be able to show them just how much it means. Read More

Day
7

Feb 5, 2021

I would first like to start with a thank you to my family for starting this page. This was something that we had been getting asked about and I just didn’t have the time to focus on it with all of our attention being focused on Mike. We had been posting some updates on Facebook, but now with this site up and running I will do my best to keep them both updated with any information about Mike’s condition. So, since this is new, I will try to get everyone caught up to today. Read More

Day
5

Feb 3, 2021   

Mike is rushed into emergency surgery to relieve the cranial pressure in his skull. The Doctors had to remove a large portion of his skull to allow room for the brain to swell, but the surgery went well.

Day
1

Jan 30, 2021   

While skiing at the Wisp Resort in Western Maryland, Mike was involved in a tragic accident, with life-threatening injuries and had to be airlifted to the nearest Level-1 Trauma Center. That was Morgantown, West Virginia.

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