Walking From My Second Coma: Rise and Dimly Glow
Do you have any idea what I’m saying? I can make out some kinda jargon like “Hi…… Help…. I… Thanks for coming… I didn’t really mean to let you guys think about… Thank you.”
I was extubabted successfully for the second time on June 10th, 2011. This video was shot right after I came to consciousness after the tube that provided oxygen and forced me to inhale and exhale was taken out of my throat (extubated) on June 10th, 2011. Here’s the email to my close family and friends from my incredible mother on June 9th, 2011:
Sent: Thu, Jun 9, 2011 6:35 pm
Subject: Cavin Update: Surgery scheduled June 10 2:45PM EDT
Just wanted to update you on the latest plan with Cavin.
On Wednesday, when the radiologist looked at the CT scan that was taken on Tuesday, he didn’t see what they expected to see from when they re-intubated him on Monday (following the emergency intubation on Sat. night). While they did see stenosis for about 2 cm below the vocal cords, there was space between the tube and the trachea further down – indicating that the swelling or whatever they had seen as stenosis for another 3 cm was not present. He has been on steroids for a few days (though they do not have them on presently)…. and there was some question as to whether the steroids had reduced the swelling… though they were surprised that it might do so that quickly.
So the current plan of action is that he is scheduled for exploratory surgery at 2:45 tomorrow afternoon – they will pass a flexible brochoscope through the tube to see what they can…. then they will extubate him and pass a solid tube down and get a full look. If there doesn’t appear to be a problem, then they will simply leave him extubated and see how he does. If they do find enough stenosis to warrant it, they will do a tracheostomy with a long enough distal tube to clear the stenosis. Either way he will be extubated tomorrow.
We went to see him today, he was conscious but highly agitated, especially upon seeing us. He’s on a lot of sedative but that didn’t seem to keep him down. We finally left, knowing we were just causing more distress than comfort. It was heartbreaking and very hard seeing him in that condition. Tomorrow is the next cliffhanger.
So, if you could contact all your prayer groups that you have involved and ask them to pray for him during this difficult period and the 2:45 EDT surgery tomorrow, we would be very grateful…. I know that all of your prayers and good thoughts have collectively made such an impact and am so appreciative of all the love, prayers, and well wishes you have sent. I will keep you all posted as to the outcome of the surgery.
Love to you all
When my mom says that I was conscious today (June 9th, 2011), they had turned the sedative down and left the tube down my throat so that I could breathe. I did wake up. They did this only for the time when I had visitors. It must have been pretty uncomfortable to have a tube down my throat and be conscious. There is no video or pictures of that. My mom says that I was NOT happy, and I have no recollection of this.
The doctors put a bronchoscope down my throat to take a look at what had blocked my airway before. The steroids had shrunk the swelling . The doctors didn’t know what to think, but basically said that it looks ok and to go forth and leave me extubated. This is where my memories vaguely begin. I was obviously in a very delirious state and was getting off of the sedatives… But you can no longer hear a difficulty to breathe like in the last video that I posted. I’m glad that they did so that I could make it to Mount Sinai and get a much higher quality of care.
My first memory after the accident is after this final extubation. I remember waking up in a hospital and my mother and father were there. I was under the impression that I was in Texas where my mom lived. My mother and father had separated years ago. My father lived in Colorado in the house where I grew up. I thought that my dad was my mom’s boyfriend for some reason. I remember asking “where’s my father?” my mom said he’s right here. I felt dumb, embarrassed, and I felt cloudy and like I was in a dream… A nightmare. I thought that I was in Texas for the next few days even after watching local TV and seeing local commercials in NY. I later found out that I was in Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NY.
I also remember that my left hand was stuck in a position where it looked like my left hand and fingers were attempting to touch my left forearm. My left hand was completely unusable. I couldn’t move any of my fingers, and my wrist was immobile as well. My friend called it the pterodactyl hand. Another friend called it “the claw.” My wrist was stuck this way for months to come. Try it in order to get a good understanding of what I mean.
What I felt is so hard to describe. I didn’t know who I was. I was me inherently in my behavior because I was still me, but I had no idea what I had done in my life or what kind of a person I had been. I recognized people, even if I did have some confusion there, but I didn’t really know our history. I would act on instinct… Like a dog may be loving to someone but doesn’t have a defined memory of them… They rely on their instincts. When we see someone it’s not like we go through every memory that we have of this person and then make a decision about how to greet them. We instinctually know how to greet them without remembering every story. But I didn’t have a story to go with anyone. But I could be reminded.
It is fascinating how I regained my memory. It was as if my memory used to be illuminated by thousands of scattered candles that had now been blown out. And one candle would light when I would be reminded and that candle would light another that would light more until I’d remember something. I remember, for example, that I was reciting a 9 digit number over and over, and wondering what the last digit of whatever the phone number was that I kept thinking of. I remember feeling like whoever this phone number belonged to was important because I remembered it, but had no idea what the significance of it was. Then one day I saw a form that my mother had filled out with this number, and it clicked… The nine digit number was my social security number. The candle lit another, and it made sense why I would know that number by heart.