Friday, May 9, 2008

Saturday morning my 36 year old brother Jason Schlotthauer had a stroke. It has been a rough week. It was only a year and a half since my Brother Steve was struck and killed by a car crossing the street in Blaine. My parents just retired and moved in with Jason and his family. Jason has been working hard to make a nice little Aptment for them. Please send prayers and positive energy. Here is an e-mail from his wife Emma.

I promised many of you some regular email updates on Jay’s progress.
Please feel free to forward this on to anyone else you know that would like an update

I think that most, if not all, on this distribution list know that Jay suffered a stroke in the early hours of this past Saturday morning.
Since that time he has been in intensive care at St Joseph’s hospital in St Paul.
The stroke was significant and was caused by a blood clot in a major artery in the left side of his brain. For much of Saturday he was in critical life threatening condition and completely paralyzed on his right side. Attempts to remove the blood clot were not successful and we were fearful of the worst.

I count all my blessings that he is still with us and has made remarkable progress in the last few days. The affected area of the brain, whilst still significant, has turned out to be not as massive as first thought. The right side of his body is indeed affected but little by little he is starting to get movement and feeling back in his right side. He has lost almost all his speech but again, day by day, he is starting to form more and more recognizable sounds and words, even a few phrases now and again.

As of today he has officially been taken off intensive care status and whilst still in the Intensive Care Unit he has significantly stabilized.
His blood pressure has returned to normal levels and he is no longer hooked up to multiple IVs. Each day is a roller coaster for him, both physically and emotionally, as he struggles to come to terms with what has happened. His comprehension and understanding is completely in tact. He knows exactly what I am saying to him and both of us experience high levels of frustration as we try and find ways for him to communicate.

His frustration and restlessness have been at an all time high in the last 24 hours – the doctors think that nicotine withdrawals are playing a significant factor in this and are now treating him accordingly. Even though he cannot walk he is desperately (and inventively) trying to escape the confines of his bed. The strength and dexterity he has in his left side is remarkable and nurses have had to employ ever more sophisticated restraints to keep him confined and to prevent him from hurting himself. He is a fighter and doesn’t give up - all great signs for the road ahead.

He has started physical therapy and today moved a few steps supported by a walking frame and two therapists. Small steps but wonderful to watch.
He also works with a speech therapist daily and again, every new sound brings us a little closer to being able to understand each other better.

Not sure what the road ahead is yet. Still too early to tell. He may still have some surgery in the next couple of weeks to bypass the artery where the clot is located and provide improved blood supply to that area of the brain – an important factor in preventing a further stroke in the future. I anticipate that he will move out of the ICU soon and into a regular hospital ward but I’m still just taking each day at a time and I’ll let you all know when he’s ready for more visitors.

Thanks to all of you that have sent messages of love, prayers and support. They mean so much. Every day is a roller coaster for me too. I can go from intense joy to floods of tears in a matter of seconds. I am still not sure that the events of the last few days have really sunk in.
I am sure that it will hit me sooner or later but for now I am just intensely grateful that he is still here and is making the progress that he is.
He is not only my husband, he is my best friend, and I can’t tell you how hard it is not to be able to chat with him and how hard it is to watch his frustration and feel so helpless. But for now, I am just glad that he can squeeze my hand and tell me he loves me (one of the few phrases he can manage) and that I can look at his eyes, expressions and mannerisms and see the real Jay. I am full of hope for his recovery.

I’ll send out another update in a few days and let you know how he is doing
In the meantime…….take care…….and don’t sweat the small day to day stuff…….it really really doesn’t matter… me!!


Nancy K. said...

My prayers go out to your brother and his wife! It sounds like they have a very special relationship...

Hugs to you, too!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Oh wow, your family has really been hit hard in the last year! We will add Jason to our prayers, too; so thankful for the progress he is already showing. Please keep us posted....

Gail V said...

Oh, Jane,
your family has had the worst year of health and luck-- I am so sorry for all of you.
Prayers from here for your brother's healing and your own comfort. . .