Rehab through 10/9/02
Ross was moved to Herrick Hospital on October 10. Please click on the Herrick link for current updates.
October 4, 2002
Ross was moved from Memorial ICU to Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital on July 17, 2002, 44 days after his accident. On August 22, he was moved to Marin General Hospital for surgery to install a shunt to treat hydrocephalus. He underwent further brain surgery to repair a previously undetected fracture, then developed pneumonia and septic shock. Now, four months to the day since his accident, he is still at Marin General, showing slow and steady signs of improvement.
If you would like to send Ross a card Ross was moved from Memorial ICU to
or a note, please write to him at: Kentfield Rehabilation Hospital on July 17, 2002,
44 days after his accident.
PO Box 1509
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
Thank you to everyone who has so generously donated to the Dillon Family Fund. Rusty, Betsy, Ariel and Liz have asked me to extend their appreciation to each and every one of you. Gifts to the Dillon Family Fund are used by the Dillon family to help Ross.
Please note: This information comes from family and friends at Kentfield Rehabilitation Center, not the physicians or therapists. It is based on my understanding of what I'm told. I apologize if I have misinterpreted any of the facts given to me, and will try to keep everything as factual as possible
October 9, 2002 9:00 PM--The move to Herrick is scheduled for around ten Thursday morning. Hopefully Ross will be in a private room. He's resting comfortably tonight in preparation for the move tomorrow, but was up in a chair for an hour and half today. His EEG shows he is still having minor seizures, but Betsy said he is more responsive. For example, she used a dampened sponge to moisten his lips and mouth. Today he opened his mouth to help her when she asked him to.
He's gaining some weight back on the new diet, but was down to just 101 pounds about a week ago, so he has a long way to go.
Once at Herrick he'll be able to have visitors. I'll be going to a new page tomorrow so that the updates will load faster. Please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers, especially with this new step in his recovery. I will update with more information about Herrick once he gets settled.
October 8, 2002 9:00 PM--It looks like Ross will be moved to Herrick Hospital, 2001 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA 94704, on Thursday. The Dillons wanted me to ask if there is anyone following this site who is a physical therapist in the Berkeley area willing to come in and show them how to work with Ross. Because of the restraints of Medical, the hospital is unable to receive outside payment for a physical therapist to work with Ross, even though he needs PT for his recovery. What the Dillons need is for someone to show them how to help Ross with the proper range of motion movements, etc. If you can help, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will put you in touch with Ross's mom and dad.
Ross was resting well today. Hopefully the move to Herrick will allow the Dillons to try some of the various therapies that have been suggested to help Ross. Thank you so much for your prayers and good thoughts for Ross's recovery. He's growing stronger every day and trying so hard to come back.
October 7, 2002 7:50 PM--Just talked to Betsy. She said Ross had a busy day with a CT scan, EEG and physical therapy. The CT scan is a pretty big process, requiring moving him to a gurney and transporting him to X-ray. He's still got a low grade fever, but Betsy said he's really trying to track with his eyes. Rusty worked with him today and said he was obviously trying very hard to focus and respond.
Ross may be moved into a sub-acute care facility tomorrow. The Dillons still aren't exactly sure where he's going but hope to have everything worked out in order to get him settled in a good facility that will offer the type of therapy he's going to need.
Thanks again to all of you who have offered to help with finding the mobile. Thanks too, for keeping Ross in your thoughts and prayers throughout his long recovery. He needs your healing energy more than you can possibly imagine.
October 7, 2002 3:00 PM--Thank you everyone (and there are a lot of you!) who responded with information about the stimulation mobile. Scott Gimpel of Stamford, Connecticut, found one online at Citikids in San Francisco and is having it overnighted to the Dillons. They should have it for Ross by tomorrow. I am constantly amazed by the power of Team Ross...you guys are fantastic. Thanks, Scott, and thanks to all of you who took the time to write and send URLs where we could find exactly the right mobile.
October 6, 2002 7:10 PM--Ross had a pretty good day. Still dealing with occasional raises in temperature and body sweats, but Betsy said the physical therapist got him up in a chair and he looked pretty good.
We do need your help--one of the doctors suggested using a special type of mobile to help Ross focus his eyes. It's a combination of black and white shapes with defined edges. Betsy hasn't been able to find one and thought possibly someone reading the website would have an idea. Please email me email@example.com if you have any ideas.
Please keep Ross, Katie and the family in your thoughts and prayers. They are still trying to find a sub-acute care facility that will be a good match for Ross when he leaves Marin General Hospital.
October 5, 2002 10:00 PM--Just talked to Betsy. Ross is resting well and his fever is down. He looks great, especially since Katie and Rusty shaved him today. Betsy said they've changed his diet and he's getting more calories and protein, as well as more vitamins and minerals, which is a good thing.
They're still not sure where he'll be moved. Betsy said they're weighing the pros and cons of the various sub acute care centers in the area.
Please keep all of them in your thoughts and prayers. Now more than ever, going into the fifth month of recovery, your healing energy is needed. Thank you.
October 5, 2002 7:40 AM--A number of people have written to ask me for more of an explanation of the diabetes Ross has developed. Here is the explanation I received from his mom and dad:
"We think the weight loss is also connected to the brain injury, which includes the posterior pituitary gland malfunction (which is causing diabetes incipidus) and not enough calories while he is hypermetabolic. Also moving from floor to floor in the hospital means that he is constantly acquiring nurses who don't know him, so continuity is sometimes lost, i.e., keeping track of his weight. We got them to focus on it today."
October 4, 2002 7:30 PM--I just talked to Betsy. She didn't spent much time with Ross today, as she and Rusty were checking on a number of care facilities where Ross might be moved. They have not yet made a final decision where he will go some time next week.
His weight is still dropping, a side-effect of the diabetes. The dietician told Betsy today that she is changing Ross's diet and trying something new, hopefully something that will put some pounds back on him. Katie spent the afternoon with Ross and said he was resting quietly. The low-grade fever he had last night was down.
I will let you know as soon as we find out where Ross will be moved. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support of the family, Ross and Katie through your prayers, your healing thoughts and your continuing donations to the Dillon Hope Fund.
October 3, 2002 8:30 PM--It's been four months today since Ross was first hurt. He has survived an impact that should have killed him, has come through more surgeries than most people suffer through in a lifetime, made it through septic shock, an illness with a survival rate of barely 50%, and in spite of a resistant bacteria that won't go away and the development of diabetes (Ross has diabetes insipidus, which involves the posterior pituitary gland rather than diabetes mellitus which involves the pancreas,) he is still showing slow but steady signs of improvement. His tenacity and strength of will never cease to amaze me.
Betsy said today that his vitals are good, he is growing more responsive and he looks better every day. They still aren't certain where they intend to place him, but hopefully it will be a sub acute care facility ready for someone who is beating all the odds.
Your continuing support, your good wishes, healing thoughts and prayers for Ross are so important to Ross, Katie and his family. Thank you for sticking with all of them through this, and many thanks to those of you who have sent me information regarding the various facilities in the Bay Area. Betsy, Rusty and Katie are checking on all of them.
October 2, 2002 8:20 PM--Betsy said tonight that Ross is noticeably better. Even the physical therapist noticed the improvement. Ross is responding to voices by turning his head, though Betsy isn't sure how much he can see. He's still not tracking, but at least is showing signs of further recovery.
There may be a bed opening up at St. Luke's next week. In the meantime, Betsy said they are checking into some other places some of you have told us about. Thank you so much for responding to my request for information about sub-acute care hospitals!
I had no idea when I started this website so many long weeks ago, how much all of you who follow the updates would actually help Ross. I truly believe the power of your prayers and healing energy is without measure--the practical information you've shared is amazing. Thank you so much.
October 1, 2002 7:30 PM--Totally unexpected bad news tonight. Seton refuses to take Ross. Betsy said the case worker and the nurses they spoke with--everyone thought Ross was a good candidate for the sub-acute care offered at Seton, but the doctor in charge was afraid to accept a patient with a shunt because of the risk of infection. If any of you know of any sub-acute care facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area, can you please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org?
In the meantime, Ross is doing well, showing improvement daily...he's moving better, his eyes are reacting to light and he's growing stronger. The major hurdle now is finding a place for him to continue his recovery. This is unbelievably frustrating. Please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers, and if you know of any facility where he might go for the interim until he is ready for more advanced therapy, please let us know.
September 30, 2002 8:25 PM--Betsy said Ross seemed really tired and was resting, but he is also much more responsive. He is responding well to stimuli, even to very light touches of his feet. His body movements are more relaxed and natural and he was able to close his eyes on command.
A nurse will be stopping by tomorrow to do an evaluation of his condition and he should be moved to Seton either tomorrow or Wednesday. Betsy said doctors have removed the central line feeding him three different antibiotics and he's down to one antibiotic through his feeding tube.
It's almost as if the surgery and subsequent pneumonia and septic shock have knocked Ross back to the condition he was in shortly after the accident, be he's showing the same strength and determination he did in the beginning to fight his way through recovery. Thank you so much for sticking by Ross, especially now when he needs your healing energy and your prayers so much.
September 29, 2002 7:50 PM--Betsy just called and said Ross was resting now, but he seemed more alert today. Not tracking with his eyes yet but showing more eye and body movement. Had physical therapy. The EEG shows signs of some seizure activity, though not as severe as it was earlier last week.
Thank you so much for your prayers for Ross's continuing recovery.
September 28, 2002 7:45 PM--Betsy said Ross is looking better today--especially since she and Rusty shaved his beard and mustache off. J Betsy said he never wears facial hair and it didn't look right on him, though she doubted Ross enjoyed the experience very much.
He's resting tonight after his regular physical therapy as well as the range of motion exercises that Katie helped him through.
There's still no word on what day he'll be moved. Hopefully by Tuesday or Wednesday. I'll definitely let you know as soon as I find out.
Please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you, everyone, for caring enough to keep returning to this site to check on Ross. Your caring and concern mean more than you can possibly know.
September 27, 2002 7:50 PM--Just talked to Betsy and she said Ross is definitely showing some improvement. Katie said his eyes aren't tracking yet but he appears to be more "there." He did respond to having his feet tickled, and tolerated his physical therapy better.
Betsy sounded really relieved because they have found a place to take Ross when he leaves Marin General. He'll be going to Seton Medical Center in Daly City. It's more of a drive for them but Betsy and Rusty were really impressed with both the facility and the people. Ross will probably be moved on Tuesday or Wednesday. The link above will give you the address, for anyone living nearby who wants to stop in and say hello to Ross once he's settled.
Rusty said some of the staff members have been following Ross's story on the website since his accident so they're already familiar with what he and his family have been through over the past three and a half months. I thought that was pretty amazing!
Hopefully Ross will be well rested and ready for the move to Seton. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers and remember Katie and Ross's family as well. It's been a long summer.
September 26, 2002 9:40 PM--Just got an email from Betsy that I'll add for tonight:
Ross is not responsive right now, less so than before the surgeries, but the events of the last month have been hard on him and he needs to rest. At a sub-acute hospital, which ever one he goes to, he will be taken care of and receive range of motion exercises and as he regains strength and responsiveness, he will be given more therapy.
Personally, my thoughts are that the doctors don't know Ross and they don't know his family. Nor do they know the hundreds of people thinking of him and praying for him, sending him all the healing energy they can. He's been through a lot over the past four months but he's a fighter and he will recover. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. He needs time to heal and time to recover. As his mom says:
We are not giving up hope. We hear stories about people who finally woke up after years. We hope it doesn't take years for Ross, but we intend to take care of him so that he has a chance to recover.
September 26, 2002 8:25 PM--I don't have much tonight because when Betsy called me on her cell phone we had a terrible connection. I'll update later if she is able to email me before I head for bed. What I did hear is that she and Rusty met with Ross's doctors today. They feel he is less responsive since the pneumocephalus and septic shock, but Betsy's feeling is that he just needs time to heal. She and Rusty are still checking out sub-acute facilities where he might go when he is released from Marin General at the end of the week. If I hear from Betsy later this evening with more information, I'll be sure to add more.
September 25, 2002 9:45 PM--Sorry I'm so late--had to babysit my grandson tonight and just got in. Talked to Betsy and Ross was supposed to be moved to a specialty unit at Marin General tonight which is just next to ICU. His vital signs are good but he's still not as responsive as he was before the brain surgery, pneumonia and septic shock. He also had a seizure today, though I'm not sure if he was on his anti-seizure meds or not.
Betsy had a chance to visit St. Luke's today, which is in the Mission District in San Francisco. She's also going to check out some other interim care places. None of them is as close to home as Kentfield, though, which will make it even more difficult for Ross's family to be with him. He has had a family member or Katie with him almost constantly since he was first injured. I felt like reminding Betsy he's also had literally hundreds and hundreds of people with him in spirit, if the thousands of hits on the website every day mean anything. Thank you for keeping Ross, his fiancee and family in your thoughts and prayers.
September 24, 2002 8:00 PM--Doctors have downgraded Ross's condition which is a good thing. He could be moved out of ICU if there were more room, but will probably stay there for the time being because of concerns over bed space. Betsy said he's beginning to track again with his eyes, though not nearly as well as he did before the surgery and pneumonia. The doctor said to expect at least a month before he heals sufficiently to begin to get back to where he was before the surgery, pneumonia and septic shock.
Most of his edema is gone. He was getting insulin for awhile right after the surgery but they've cut back on that. Betsy said he may have an injury to he pituitary gland, as it is right where he had some serious damage in the original accident. That might account for his inability to keep his weight up. The doctors just haven't been able to find a formula with enough calories for him and he is very thin. The stuff they're feeding him now has a lot of sugar in it which is why they're giving him insulin.
Betsy sounded really optimistic tonight. I keep telling myself that moms know their kids, so it's always good to hear laughter in her voice. Please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers. He's going to come through this. There are just so many wonderful people pulling for him.
September 23, 2002 8:00 PM--Ross had a really good day today, which is especially gratifying when you think how grave his condition was just a few days ago. His vital signs are strong and there is no fever at all. Betsy said when she adjusted his earphones and put on a favorite CD for him to listen to, he raised his left arm at a 45 degree angle in a very deliberate movement and held the position for a bit.
An endocrinologist came by to do a work-up on Ross's pituitary. Results of the tests should be available by the end of the week.
In the meantime, Betsy and Rusty are trying to figure out where Ross will go for interim care once he leaves Marin General. They are considering a number of options, depending on financing and type of care available.
If any of you were at the races in Santa Rosa yesterday and can tell me about the race that was supposed to be dedicated to Ross, I would appreciate hearing from you. I know the Dillon's had hoped to be there but Ross's problems this past week have kept them pretty close to his bedside. I wasn't able to attend either. Please email me at email@example.com.
Thank you so much for checking the site and following Ross's recovery and for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers throughout the day.
September 22, 2002 7:45 PM--Ross is stable tonight. He's been on a ventilator since the septic shock occurred but he's "over breathing" the ventilator now so the nurses are beginning to wean him off of it. Before this last setback he was tracking well with his eyes, but has not been able to since the septic shock and pneumonia. Rusty said today he could really tell Ross was trying to focus again. There's been a lot of concern about a constant tremor in his hand. A nurse experienced with seizure came in, readjusted Ross in the special bed he's in and the tremor stopped. So far he appears to be coming back from this incident with as much stubborness as he has from everything else. Thank you so much for keeping Ross in your prayers. I know it's helping him.
September 22, 2002 11:30 AM--Just got off the phone with Betsy and my primary response to our conversation is that medicine--especially the diagnosis of illness and injury, can be SO frustrating. A lot of what Betsy's been hearing regarding Ross's health is now being "revised." The doctor does NOT think the septic shock--which in a healthy person has a mortality rate of around 50%--was caused by trauma to the brain. Instead it was a result of a systemic infection from the pneumonia bacteria.
This is really good news, as doctors were growing concerned about more brain injury--now they're saying the scans of Ross's brain don't show anything that might have been a cause of shock. Another concern has been the increasing seizure activity, but the physician today said that a lot of what has been observed as seizure is actually just some typical spasticity of Ross's muscles. Ross has had some seizures but not nearly so often as Betsy and Rusty had been led to believe. All in all they are feeling much relieved today after the doom and gloom reports over the past couple of days.
Please keep all of Ross's family, his fiancée and Katie's family as well, in your thoughts and prayers. All of them have been on such an emotional roller coaster for the past months since Ross's accident. An entire season has passed while he has been comatose. It really is time for him to wake up. Thank you, all of you, for caring enough to follow Ross's recovery and for keeping him with you in your thoughts throughout the day.
September 21, 2002 7:50 PM--Betsy just called. She and Rusty are finally on their way home from the hospital. They've been there since Ross developed septic shock on the 19th. He's stable now and his vitals are good. He had a full physical therapy workout today and the therapist said his range of motion was good. It appears there was no blood infection after all--the septic shock was a result of the surgery and the "insult" to the brain.
The biggest problem right now is where Ross will go when he's ready to be released from Marin General. The insurance is maxed out, which means he most likely won't be able to go back to Kentfield unless they can find some sort of funding. At this point, there aren't a lot of options. It's very discouraging when Ross has come so far through so much. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.
September 21, 2002 10:40 AM--Just a quick note to tell you that Ross's temperature is down and his blood pressure is up--both good things. Thank you for keeping him in your prayers.
September 20, 2002 5:30 PM--Ross is doing much better tonight, so this will be my final update for the day. His vitals are good and Betsy said he looks much better. The physical therapist came by and put him through a whole range-of-motion series and said he was responsive. He also vocalized for the first time since the accident, and though it was just a moan of pain during therapy, the therapist said it was an excellent sign.
The doctor thinks the septic shock was a response to all the trauma to Ross's brain--it is very fragile right now from the accident, the surgeries and the infection.
When Ross has recovered enough to leave Marin General, he will most likely not go back to Kentfield right away. Betsy said he can get "interim" care at St. Luke's in South San Francisco where they are set up to care for a patient in Ross's condition. He has essentially gone through almost four months of constant assault on his body. He is totally exhausted--time at St. Luke's will give him the chance to mend and build energy in preparation for more intensive physical therapy.
Ross continues to fight hard against every setback. I imagine this is the first time in his life his parents have really been thankful for his stubborn streak and dogged determination, but these character traits are serving him well as he struggles to recover.
I am amazed by the number of people who care enough about Ross to visit this update page. It averages close to 6000 hits a day, and that's a powerful force for healing energy and support. Thank you so much for thinking of Ross and for your prayers.
September 20, 2002 9:15 AM--Ross is better. Fever down at 99.5 without a cooling blanket, blood pressure stabilized, swelling a bit reduced, but that may take a few days before it goes down completely. Still no results from the blood infection or pneumonia cultures but Ross was taken off one antibiotic he appears to be allergic to. Betsy said to please ask that you keep Ross in your prayers, because they're obviously working. I'll update again later this afternoon.
September 19, 2002 7:50 PM--I just talked to Betsy. She sounds exhausted but said she can really see the effect of prayers because Ross was very, very sick today. Tonight he is "guardedly stable" and his blood pressure is back up. Doctors wanted his systolic pressure in the 90s and were still unable to achieve that this morning even though they had him on double the normal dosage of medicine and also had him tilted, head down, feet up, to assist his heart. Tonight he's on half the dose and maintaining a good pressure.
Doctors are still not sure of the source of the infection in his blood. It takes 48 hours to do a blood culture so results won't be available until tomorrow. The doctor also said it would take another two or three days to lick the pneumonia. I asked Betsy about the hematoma she mentioned the other day, and she said the doctor didn't seem to think that was an issue. The neurosurgeon said Ross's brain is looking really good and the hematoma appears to be outside the brain. Air is disappearing from the ventricles and the surgery is healing well.
The doctor is still removing spinal fluid daily for cultures and replacing it through the shunt with antibiotics. They've been pushing a lot of fluids, so Ross looks really swollen, but compared to his condition this morning, he is definitely better. His parents, sister Ariel and Katie are all taking rotating shifts to be with Ross so he's not alone at the hospital.
There are so many of you actively following Ross's recovery since the accident. Your prayers and healing thoughts have got to be part of the miracle that he is still alive and, in spite of the many setbacks, overcoming each obstacle in his path. Thank you so much for sticking with him through this long and exhausting recovery.
September 19, 2002 5:10 PM--Betsy said Ross is still very sick but his condition appears to have stabilized somewhat. They've got his blood pressure back up and have "rearranged" his antibiotics, as there is some concern the line feeding them into his system could be the source of infection. I'll update again later this evening. I can't help but think Ross has a most amazing will to live as well as a wonderful support system from all of you of prayer and healing energy.
September 19, 2002 11:42 AM--Betsy just called. Ross's condition is very grave. He is in septic shock from the blood infection. Please pray for him.
September 19, 2002 9:00 AM--I just called Betsy at Marin General. Ross's pneumonia is caused by a fairly common bacteria and the doctor seems to think the antibiotics he's taking will control it. However, Ross also has a blood infection. Doctors are waiting on the results of the culture so they'll know what antibiotics to treat that with. He's still having seizures and is on three anti-seizure medications to control those. A nurse stayed with him through the night and both his parents were there as well.
Betsy said the one good bit of news is that the brain surgery he had "got the job done," in that there is less air in the ventricles of his brain and the area appears to be healing. Unfortunately, infection is the greatest risk to patients of head injury. Please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers, especially today as his body struggles through even more obstacles toward his recovery. I'll update later today when I check back with Betsy.
September 19, 2002 12:30 AM--Betsy just emailed. Ross has pneumonia and is very ill. She's headed back to the hospital. Please pray for his recovery.
September 18, 2002 8:00 PM--Betsy said it was a pretty rocky day today. They found out they've reached the cap on their private insurance while medical bills continue to accumulate. Ross had a couple of CT scans--doctors found a mass in one lung that might be pneumonia and another dense area in his brain that could possibly be a hematoma, a result of the surgery last week. Doctors performed a bronchioscopy to check for pneumonia. Betsy said she'd find out more details tomorrow when she gets a chance to speak to Ross's neurosurgeon.
Ross's blood pressure dropped enough that doctors prescribed medications to bring it back up, and Betsy said there was noticeable swelling in one arm. Ross also had another small seizure. He's got a rash that's a reaction to one of the antibiotics he's on, and is still running a slight fever. It averaged around 100° most of the day.
On days like this, the Dillons, Katie and especially Ross need your healing thoughts and prayers more than ever.
September 17, 2002 7:40 PM--Today was much better. No seizures and Ross was resting comfortably when Betsy headed home this evening. His fever was down, running between 98.5 and 99.1°, but that's with the cooling blanket. He's still not able to keep his fever down on his own, but without any sign of infection doctors are saying his higher than normal temperature is most likely due to one of the antibiotics he's taking. He's supposed to stay on them for about four more weeks.
In the meantime, as soon as Ross's temperature is under control, he can go back to rehab. Why does the phrase Catch 22 keep running through my mind? It's definitely frustrating. So far, Ross has managed to surmount every obstacle thrown in his path. Please keep him in your prayers, that he can keep his fever down in spite of the meds that want to keep it above normal. Remember Katie, his mom and dad and sisters, too. It's been a long summer for everyone.
September 16, 2002 7:30 PM--Ross had a couple of small seizures today, most likely the result of the surgery, but they were shorter each time in intensity and duration. He is still on the anti-seizure medications but doctors are not increasing the dosage. Betsy said the neurosurgeon explained the cause most likely as scar tissue "short circuiting" the wiring in Ross's brain.
His fever has been down and the surgery on his coccyx is healing really well. No word today on when he will be going back to Kentfield. Hopefully everything will be under control soon and he can get back into rehab.
Please hold Ross, Katie, and Ross's family in your thoughts and prayers.
September 15, 2002 7:10 PM--Nurses said Ross had either a mild seizure or muscle spasms this morning, so he was kept on anti-seizure medications all day long, just to be on the safe side--which means he was pretty heavily sedated. He's still running a fever, hovering between 101-102°. He had two CT scans and both looked fine--there's no sign of either hydrocephalus or pneumocephalus. Doctors also did a CT scan of his abdomen in an attempt to pinpoint any source of the fever he hasn't been able to shake.
So far, all the cultures of his spinal fluid have been clear.
Betsy said she and Rusty witnessed what they thought was a seizure, but Ross's responses were not consistent with seizure so they're not quite sure what kind of activity is going on. It's been a long week for the whole family. Please keep Ross, Katie, his mom and dad and sisters in your thoughts and prayers. I'm hoping next week is a whole lot better for all of them.
September 14, 2002 8:00 PM--Ross's fever is down today...the highs not as high and the lows lower. He was tracking well with his eyes, following Katie as she moved about the hospital room. It was obvious enough that the nurse noted it in her records. He's still getting lots of test for infection, but so far there is no sign of any.
On another note, the jersey that 8th place Tour de France Rabobank cyclist Levi Leipheimer donated to the Ross Dillon Hope Fund went for $2024. Our thanks to Levi for his thoughtful and generous offer to Ross.
September 13, 2002 7:20 PM--Ross is resting comfortably tonight. His fever is elevated at 102.2° but there is still no sign of infection. Doctors are planning to replace the lines feeding him his antibiotics to make sure they're not contaminated, but that's just a precuationary measure.
It's been a long week but we're all hoping the worst is over. Please hold Ross and his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.
September 13, 2002 1:05 PM--I just called Betsy to check on Ross and she said his temperature is down to 99.5 °. There's no sign of infection, but Betsy said, though Ross is very alert today, he seems sad. With returning consciousness, I would imagine he is becoming more aware of his injuries. I'll update again this evening.
September 12, 2002 8:00 PM--This will be my last update for the evening. Ross's temperature was down to 98.6 for a bit, then back up to 101.3, but the doctor told Betsy his fever could be a reaction to any number of things that are not infection related. For now he is resting quietly and growing stronger. Please keep Ross, Katie and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
September 12, 2002 3:45 PM--Betsy just called to tell me Ross's temperature is down to 103.1. She also said that's "core" temperature which would translate to about a degree less if taken by mouth, so things are looking much better than they were a few hours ago.
Ross had a blood transfusion last night. His mom just found out that one of the side effects can be a temperature spike within 24 hours, so quite possibly that's what this dramatic rise in fever is from. In the meantime, nurses are keeping Ross on a cooling blanket and watching him closely.
The neruosurgeon said Ross was much more alert this morning and if they can keep the fever under control, there is a chance he could be moved back to Kentfield Rehab by Monday.
On a personal note, I want to thank all the people who responded within minutes after I posted the 12:46 update, asking for a conversion method from celsius to fahrenheit. That request was only up on the site for about ten minutes, so I'm amazed, not only that anyone saw it, but that so many of you immediately told me how to do the conversion!
For anyone who might have doubted the effect of prayer, Ross's continuing recovery, especially through each crisis as it occurs, is quite a testament to a very special power. Thank you so much for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers, and always coming through when he needs you.
September 12, 2002 12:46 PM--Betsy just called, concerned because Ross's fever has gone up to 40.3 Celsius (which translates to 104.5 F--thanks to John North and Steve Hobson who both sent me the conversion)--the nurses are using a cooling blanket and ice to try and bring it down. Betsy wanted me to ask for your prayers, that his fever come down and he does not develop any infection. I'll update more later today.
September 11 2002 7:40 PM--This is the final update for tonight. Ross is in a very deep, restful sleep, according to Betsy. He's still running a bit of fever and needed a unit of blood, but the CT scan shows the air pressure is going down in his brain and he appears to be doing very well. Thank you all so much for your prayers and healing energy. You and Ross's great will to survive are--and will continue--to help him come through this.
September 11 2002 3:50 PM--Betsy just called. Ross is resting now, but a friend who stopped in this morning said he was "very alert," with his eyes open and tracking. He's still got some fever and the nurses are using Tylenol and a cooling blanket to keep it down, but it's not unusual to run a fever following brain surgery. Everything is looking really good. I'll add more later this evening.
September 11, 2002 8:50 AM--Just a brief update this morning to let you know Ross is okay, he's got some fever, which is normal, post surgery. His pulse is a little high and the nurse was going to give him some pain meds this morning. He'll be getting another CT scan to check on the surgery. The neurosurgeon told Betsy and Rusty that the injury he repaired was serious enough that, had it gone unrepaired, Ross would not have been able to recover. Even with all the scans and tests he's had over the past three months, the fracture had not been visible until the CT scan yesterday showed evidence of the fracture. From what Betsy told me, it sounds as if the fracture to the outside of the sinuses was very tiny, but the damage increased as it went deeper, until part of the sinus structure was actually into the ventricle. I may have that information incorrect, and will clarify it when I talk to Betsy around noon. Should have another update by then.
September 10, 2002 2:25 PM--Betsy just called to tell me that Ross has gone in for surgery. It's a little bit better situation than earlier thought...the CT scan done this morning showed a previously undiagnosed fracture in the sinuses above his eyes, which is most likely the source of the problem. The surgery to repair that is not nearly so invasive as what the neurosurgeon originally thought he was going to have to perform, as the area is much more accessible.
The way Betsy explained the problem is that the hydrocephalus, or fluid in the ventricles of Ross's brain, has kept the air out. Once the shunt began draining the fluid off, air was allowed into the ventricles by way of the fracture. The CT scan done this morning showed pneumocephalus, (air in the ventricles) had drastically increased, which is why the surgeon felt the operation needed to be done as soon as possible. Please pray for Ross, his family and his fiancée, as well as for the steady hands and skill of the doctors. I will update as soon as I have any news, but the doctor told Betsy to expect surgery to last from four to six hours.
September 10, 2002 11:25 AM--Betsy just called. She's on her way to the hospital. Ross's hydrocephalus (correction--pneumocephalus. Ross has air in the ventricles, not fluid as I thought) has worsened to the extent the neurosurgeon is going ahead with surgery today, as soon as he can gather a team together to perform the operation. Please pray for Ross, his family and his fiancée, as well as for the steady hands and skill of the doctors. I will update as soon as there is any news.
September 9, 2002 7:30 PM--Betsy called tonight to tell me there is definitely a spinal fluid leak. Ross is facing surgery on Wednesday--a four to five hour procedure in which surgeons will literally have to cut him ear to ear in order to make repairs. The danger is infection--Ross is on as many antibiotics as possible, but if any resistant fungi or bacteria are introduced during the surgery, doctors have little to fight them with. Currently, his fever is down and he is resting comfortably, but he needs your prayers and healing energy more than ever. Betsy asks for your prayers that the surgery go well and that there is not a problem with any resistant microbes that might further endanger Ross. Surgery is scheduled for around noon on Wednesday at Marin General Hospital.
September 8, 2002 8:00 PM--Ross is still free of infection, but there is more evidence his basal skull fracture has not healed as doctors first believed. He is still on high doses of antibiotics, including an infusion given when his spinal fluid is withdrawn each day for culturing. The biggest risk now is that, if the spinal fluid is leaking through an existing crack in his skull, it allows an avenue for infection to get in, which could lead to meningitis.
His neurosurgeon is calling in an ear/nose/throat specialist to do an endoscopic exam, which is essentially running a tiny camera up Ross's nose and through his sinuses to look for evidence of the skull fracture. (I hope I've got that right!) Betsy wasn't sure when the procedure would occur.
In the meantime, Ross's temperature is still down and, when he's awake, he is tracking well with his eyes. This is such a scary time for all of Ross's family and friends. Please continue to keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
September 7, 2002 8:45 PM--Ross's fever was up today, most likely the result of the antibiotics. The culture came back clear but his doctor ordered another culture of the spinal fluid just to be certain. Betsy said there is a concern that the basal skull fracture doctors thought had healed may still be a problem. Hopefully they will learn more with the results of the tests Ross has had.
He's definitely tracking better. Betsy said his focal point appears to be at about six feet. The hard thing for his parents and for Katie is that Ross appears to be crying. It could be a sign his awareness is returning, but that doesn't make it any easier for his loved ones. It's been a very long three months and I'm sure today was especially difficult as it was Ross's 26th birthday.
By the way, thank you for your recent entries in the guestbook. It's so nice to hear from the people who are following Ross's recovery. I print out the messages and they go into a book for Ross.
Please keep Ross, Katie, his mom and dad and sisters in your thoughts and prayers.
September 6, 2002 6:30 PM--What a difference a day makes! I knew a lot of you would be anxious (I know I was) to hear how Ross was doing today, so I called early. I just talked to Betsy and she sounded so relieved--the infections specialist said there was no sign of infection in the cultures he's done on Ross's spinal fluid. He's doing another just to be on the safe side, but it looks as if the cloudiness was the result of red blood cells in the fluid, most likely a result of the surgery to install the shunt. The fever could have been the result of one of the antibiotics Ross is taking. There is a possibility that the shunt itself might be defective, as "gasses" or air (I'm not certain which) are showing up in the ventricles of Ross's brain as inflammation. If that's the case, the shunt may have to be replaced in another surgery.
One of the CT scans was of Ross's brain. The radiologist (not the neurosurgeon, so this is not the "official" report) said there was no sign of significant brain damage or any atrophy of brain tissues, which is really good news, especially considering the severity of the initial impact Ross suffered.
Anyway, after thinking of Ross all day and worrying about all the bad news from yesterday, it was such a wonderful relief to hear good news tonight. All I keep thinking is, this is one young man with a powerful support group! Tomorrow is Ross's birthday. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. I know I'm hoping this coming year in Ross's life is one healing success after another.
September 5, 2002 8:00 PM--Ross has had a serious setback this week. His fever is the result of an infection in the shunt and his spinal fluid is also infected. He is currently receiving massive doses of antibiotics to combat the infection, as well as two different anti-seizure medicines. Betsy said that, in the brief periods where he is awake, he is tracking well and is alert, but that he's sleeping most of the time from the combination of infection and the medications.
Please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers as he fights his way through yet another obstacle to his recovery. If I hear anything earlier than my usual update tomorrow, I'll be sure to post how Ross is doing. The doctor will be drawing out more spinal fluid tomorrow for another culture and to see if it is still cloudy from infection.
September 4, 2002 9:15 PM--Ross is still running a fever but at least it's down. He had his CAT scans around four today--areas scanned were the neck, chest, brain, pelvis and abdomen to check for any possible sign of infection.
Betsy said she thought he might be dizzy, a side effect of the anti-seizure meds, from the way he shut his eyes whenever he would try to focus. When Katie came by after class, Ross appeard more alert, but then the nurses turned him and did a "percussion," where the bed shakes to prevent congestion, which would rattle anyone not in coma.
The side effects of his anti-seizure meds include: sleepiness, dizzyness, infection and asthenia, which is the lack or loss of strength and/or energy. Betsy said she is just hoping Ross is not having seizures so they can get him off the drugs.
On a much brighter note, I've posted an eBay address at the top of this page. Levi Leipheimer, a terrific cyclist who rode as the lead for Rabobank in the Tour de France has donated a jersey signed by the entire Rabobank team for the Ross Dillon Hope Fund. Levi and his wife, Odessa Gunn, are absolutely wonderful people. They know Ross and have generously offered their help. Please take a look at the eBay site and think about bidding on a jersey sure to be worth a lot of money!
Thank you, all of you, for your kind notes, your encouragement, and your prayers. You've been there for Ross and his family and Katie through so much, and I know you'll continue to think of all of them and to hold them in your prayers. I am absolutely amazed by the folks I think of as "Team Ross."
September 3, 2002 8:30 PM--It was a pretty discouraging day today, exactly three months from the date of Ross's accident. Ross has a fever again--it was up to 101 degrees. Doctors aren't sure what is causing it but have scheduled him for five separate CAT Scans tomorrow in the hopes of pinpointing the problem. With all the antibiotics he's getting, there is the possibility the fever is possibly a side effect or drug reaction.
Betsy said he's still on anti-seizure medications which tend to keep him drugged and unresponsive. As far as she knows, Betsy didn't think he'd had any seizures which would warrant the meds.
Ross will be at Marin General Hospital until they can either get the fever down or determine it's not caused by infection. This has been a long and difficult three months. Your prayers and encouragement are so important to Ross, Katie, and his family. Please keep all of them in your thoughts as you go about your day.
September 2, 2002 8:00 PM--Betsy said Ross was given anti-seizure medication last night, consequently was very sleepy today. It looks as if he'll be going back to Kentfield tomorrow. By next Friday the surgery on his coccyx should have healed so that he can sit up in a wheelchair and get into the full regimen of therapy scheduled for him. Please keep Ross, his family and fiancee in your thoughts and prayers.
September 1, 2002 8:45 PM--Talked to Betsy tonight and she said Ross is definitely more alert since the implantation of the shunt. However, both she and Rusty said they sensed he was more nervous and afraid--possibly an awareness that all is not right? It's hard to say, but they wanted me to ask you for your prayers for Ross, that he feel more comfortable while in ICU at Marin General.
The neurosurgeon is gradually adjusting the shunt to lower the pressure and reduce the hydrocephalus. If the reduction of pressure is helping bring Ross out of coma, it could be very frightening for him to suddenly be aware how badly hurt he has been. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, and remember Katie and his family as well.
August 31, 2002 9:45 PM--Ross had his surgery later than planned, but he was out of the operating room and in recovery and all was fine by 6:00 PM. The shunt is in and according to the doctor it went very well with little blood loss. He is currently in ICU and may get back to Kentfield by Monday, though Betsy said she didn't expect him to go that soon.
Please keep Ross, Katie and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Once he's back at Kentfield, rehab really starts.
August 30, 2002 8:20 PM--Ross's surgery for the shunt is scheduled for 2:00 PM Saturday. If all goes well, he'll be moved back to Kentfield on Monday.
By next Friday, his surgery to close the ulcer on his coccyx will have healed enough that he can be back in a wheelchair, which is much better for him. He doesn't get as congested and therapists are able to get him on his feet easier.
He was resting well today and responding to commands. His dad had him tracking both up and down and sideways.
Thank you so much for your continuing support of Ross and his family. I'll let you know as soon as I hear how tomorrow's surgery goes.
August 29, 2002 8:00 PM--Betsy said Ross was more alert today and tracking really well with his eyes. He had an x-ray of the cervical fusion to make sure it was healing okay, and also got the last of the drains out of his incision. He's free of infection and has been cleared for surgery for the shunt, though Betsy said he wasn't on the schedule for tomorrow--that might change.
Keep Ross, his family and Katie in your thoughts and prayers, especially over the next few days as he faces surgery for the shunt and transfer back to Kentfield for rehab. Once the shunt is in place, the work of rehabilitation really begins.
August 28, 2002 8:30 PM--Ross was moved to a new room at Marin General today, one better equipped for all his "hook ups." Betsy said she is still able to stay with him, though, which is a good thing. He's on two antibiotics as a preventive measure, but so far there is no sign of infection and his surgery appears to be healing well.
He had another lumbar puncture today to reduce the spinal fluid pressure. Betsy said he's noticeably more alert after the procedure. If all goes well, he'll be getting the shunt in on Friday, which should alleviate the problem of hydrocephalus altogether.
His feeding tube came out again and had to be replaced. It's going to be so much better when he's able to return to eating "real" food!
Betsy said she's been playing his favorite music for him and they've watched some television. Ross is also getting physical therapy while at the hospital, incuding "range of motion" therapy as well as the application of blanket splints on his right arm. That's the one that was injured (dislocation fracture of the elbow, if I recall correctly) and the splints are to keep him from drawing it up. They consist of warm blankets wrapped around his arm to help straighten it.
Betsy said there are times when Ross appears to be dreaming, and that could be a good sign. She recently read a book about a man who had recovered from a severe head trauma who wrote how he had hallucinated quite clearly during the phase where he was coming out of his coma.
Once again it feels like we're all just in a "waiting mode." Hopefully Ross will have the shunt put in on Friday and then be able to return to Kentfield within a few days where the real rehabilitative therapy can get started.
Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers and remember his family and Katie, too, who is back in law school, now at UC Berkeley so she can be close to Ross and family.
August 27, 2002 8:10 PM--Ross is showing steady improvement while at Marin General. Betsy said he's more responsive and resting very comfortably. His legs are moving more normally--just as someone would move their legs while sleeping. He's able to communicate by blinking his eyes when Betsy asks him if he's in pain or not.
The neurosurgeon will do another lumbar puncture tomorrow to reduce spinal fluid pressure. In the meantime, Ross is completely free of infection, though the antibiotic drip will continue. He had one drain removed today from the surgery on his coccyx. Once all the drains are removed, he'll get the shunt inserted. Then he should be able to return to Kentfield within two or three days after the shunt surgery.
Thank you, everyone, for your kind thoughts and prayers for Ross's recovery. You have no idea how much your continued support means to his family and fiancée.
August 26, 2002 8:15 PM--Just talked to Betsy--cell phones make this so much easier...caught her on the way to the hospital where she stays each night with Ross while he's at Marin General. She said he's more alert today--able to blink his eyes in answer to questions.
The plastic surgeon stopped in and said the surgical repair on his coccyx was healing faster than he'd expected. Once the drains from that surgery are removed, the shunt can be installed. Ross got a direct line installed for antibiotics--that will stay in for at least the next six weeks to prevent further infection.
The neurosurgeon may do another lumbar puncture tomorrow to help relieve the pressure--sort of a temporary measure until the shunt can be installed. In the meantime, please keep Ross and Katie and the family in your thoughts and prayers.
August 25, 2002 7:15 PM--Just talked to Betsy and she said Ross slept a lot today and his muscles were much more relaxed than they have been. The plastic surgeon stopped by to check on the surgery and change the bandage. Betsy said the incision appears to be healing cleanly. The infection to the bone was superficial but Ross will be receiving massive doses of antibiotics for the next six weeks.
The neurosurgeon also stopped by and said he would be able to do the surgery for the shunt as soon as the drains for the current surgery are removed. Once all of this "maintenance work" is completed, Ross's rehab will begin in earnest. Hydrocephalus tends to suppress responses and the doctor at Kentfield has chosen to wait until the shunt is in place before beginning the really intensive drug and physical therapies that Ross needs.
Please remember Ross, Katie and all the family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you so much for your continued support and care.
August 24, 2002 8:45 PM--Ross is resting comfortably tonight. The surgery yesterday went really well and today, when the doctor did a spinal tap, Ross's spinal fluid was clear of any infection. The doctor removed four vials of fluid to help reduce pressure and may repeat the process tomorrow. Ross will be getting an antibiotic feed directly into his chest for the next six weeks to prevent further infection. In the meantime, if all goes well he should have the shunt inserted mid-week.
Thanks to all of you for your continued prayers and good wishes on Ross's behalf.
August 23, 2002 8:00 PM--I just talked to Betsy and Ross was still in surgery. (It started late.) She'll call me for an update if it's not too late--otherwise I'll update tomorrow evening with information about how he did today.
Please hold Ross, his family and Katie in your prayers.
8:20 PM--Betsy just called. Ross is out of surgery and the surgeon said everything went fine, though Betsy didn't get any details. I'll update with more tomorrow, but at this point it's looking good.
August 22, 2002 9:00 PM--Ross was moved to Marin General Hospital this afternoon after a full day of physical therapy at Kentfield. After all the tests required for admission, he finally made it into a room. He'll have a spinal tap tomorrow to culture the spinal fluid for possible infection and will be started on antibiotics for osteomyelitis. (infection in his tailbone) Surgery will be at 4:00 P.M. when the doctor will shave off the infected part of the bone, remove any dead tissue and close the wound on his coccyx with a "skin flap," by pulling muscle and skin together to cover the wound.
Depending on recovery time and infection, (or hopefully, lack of it) Ross should have the surgery to get the shunt inserted within three to five days. Betsy said she expects him to do much better once the infection is under control and the pressure on his brain eased. In the meantime, Ross needs your prayers more than ever. Please keep him in your thoughts as he goes through all his procedures tomorrow.
August 21, 2002 9:15 PM--Today was really busy. Ross had an MRI this morning that shows he has developed an infection in his coccyx bone. There are also signs of fluid around the lower part of his spinal cord and some inflammation, which could have been caused by a number of possibilities.
Tomorrow after ten he'll be going back to Marin General for more tests to pinpoint all the problems, then Friday at 4:00 the plastic surgeon will be doing some work on the ulcerated sore on his tailbone--removing necrotic (dead) tissue, shaving the infected area of bone back and then doing a "skin flap," where he'll close the wound by pulling the muscle and skin together and sewing it up.
The bone infection is most likely causing the intermittent fevers as well as keeping Ross from gaining any weight. On the plus side, his fever is currently down and his white blood count not elevated. Surgery to insert the shunt will have to be put off until the other work is completed.
In spite of all that was done today, his mom said he's still responding well, especially to Katie. Your continued prayers and good thoughts are so important to Ross's recovery. Thank you so much for caring.
August 20, 2002 9:15 PM--Sorry for the lack of updates over the past five days, but at least I'm back on line a day early. I called Betsy awhile ago and the news on Ross is both good and not so good--the wound on Ross's tailbone is not healing as well as it should be and he may require some surgery to close it. A plastic surgeon has been called in, along with a wound specialist. Ross may need an MRI to rule out any infection in the bone. Surgery to install the shunt for the hydrocephalus will probably be delayed until the other problems are cleared up.
The good news is that he continues to show increased response to commands. Today the speech therapist covered his left eye and had him following a mirror with the right. With the one eye covered he was able to track much better. He's also blinking on command and able to raise a finger on command. Betsy said they're trying to work out a method for communication with him. Once he can follow commands regularly to blink or raise a finger, they should be able to ask him questions for yes or no answers.
Thank you for your continued encouragement, your prayers and good wishes for Ross's recovery. He has a truly amazing support group.
August 15, 2002 7:45 PM--Betsy said Ross had a good day today. Dr. Doherty is hoping to schedule the surgery for the shunt on either Thursday or Friday of next week. Ross needs to finish the course of antibiotics he's taking for the urinary tract infection before they can operate.
Betsy noticed he was tracking Katie really well today when she talked to him. His overall health also seems better since the new trach was installed. Therapy continued as usual with him sitting up in his wheelchair and therapists standing him for brief periods.
This will be my last update until next Wednesday. I'm having work done on the computer and will be off-line until then. For regular updates during this period, please call 707.799.8868. Rusty updates the message nightly.
Please remember Ross, his family and Katie in your thoughts and prayers.
August 14, 2002 8:15 PM--It's official--Ross has hydrocephalus and is a candidate for a shunt to drain the fluid from his brain. Hopefully the surgery will be performed next week. Betsy said, in spite of the trips to the hospital and all the hassles of tests, Ross had a good day. He's tracking better, including looking up and to the side, and the doctors have once more reduced his pain medications so that he is more responsive.
His urinary tract infection appears to have cleared up, though he is still on antibiotics.
If you were unable to get into the site today, it was due to technical problems with the main server. Hopefully they're all cleared up for now. I get impatient with the glitches, then I have to remind myself that, without this technology, there would be no way for me to keep all of you informed of Ross's recovery. That's all it takes to find a bit more patience with the machinery!
The Healdsburg Tribune printed a correction in today's issue after their faulty information regarding Ross's recovery last week. They were very nice about clearing up the misinformation.
Thanks so much for caring enough to check on Ross's recovery. The number of hits to this site is absolutely mind boggling. Please keep Ross and those who love him in your thoughts and prayers.
August 13, 2002 10:00 PM--First of all, I apologize if you've had trouble accessing the website. My server has been experiencing problems that have kept the site down, off and on, for the past couple of days. Just continue to try back and it will be up eventually. I'm not certain what the problem is.
Ross went through his second day of tests at Marin General today. Betsy said it was really frustrating because, after an hour of "taking pictures," the computer lost all the images and the process had to be repeated. Ross has one more day tomorrow before they'll have a definite diagnosis of hydrocephalus.
He's still undergoing his regular therapy and the people working with him say he is responding better than ever. Tracking with his eyes really well and Ariel said today that when she told him to open his mouth, he did.
Should have the results from his tests before too long and I'll post as soon as I know anything. Thank you so much for checking in, for your prayers and good thoughts for Ross and his family.
August 12, 2002 11:00 PM--Ross was taken to Marin General Hospital this morning at seven thirty and began the cisternogram around 10:00. He had to remain flat on his back until three...the process will be repeated over the next couple of days until the test is completed.
Results for the test won't be available for a few days, but I'll post them as soon as I know anything.
Please keep Ross, his family and fiancee in your prayers.
August 11, 2002 8:00 PM--Ross had a lot of visitors today. Betsy said that medically, he's doing much better every day and really looks good, even though he's still comatose. Tomorrow he'll be taken to Marin General for his cisternogram--that's the test to determine the extent of the hydrocephalus in preperation for installing a shunt.
Betsy isn't sure if they'll keep him at the hospital for the duration of the tests or transport him back and forth between the hospital and Kentfield Rehab. (Each mile and a half trip in the ambulance is $400.) I'll definitely add updates as any information becomes available.
Please keep Ross and those who love him in your thoughts and prayers, especially over the next three days as he undergoes the tests.
August 10, 2002 9:45 PM--Today, August 10, should have been Ross and Katie's wedding day. I cannot imagine how painful the day must have been for Katie, her family and Ross's family. I know I've been thinking of all of them all day.
Betsy said Ross closed his eyes on command today when the speech therapist worked with him, and he's also tracking much better. I couldn't help but give Betsy a bad time when she told me that Ross's room was filled with visitors and he was very animated and alert, but the minute she put a cool washcloth on his forehead, he fell asleep. Guess it's just a mom's touch...
There's still a problem with the deep wound on his tailbone, as well as another spot on his right thigh that is showing signs of tissue damage. They are treating the injuries much more aggressively in order to get them to heal, and will continue the treatment even when Ross is moved to Marin General on Monday for his cisternogram. Betsy said they've double-checked, and everything is good to go for the test that should have been done last Monday.
Please keep Ross's family and Katie's family, as well as Ross and Katie, in your prayers and thoughts. Your encouragement and kind thoughts mean so very much to all of them.
August 9, 2002 7:30 PM--Ross's temperature is down today, so the antibiotics are doing their thing. There's still a problem with the deep wound on his coccyx--he must have hit terribly hard on his tailbone as the abrasion is quite deep and has been very slow to heal. Once he's able to move around more, it should have a better chance of healing.
Ross is also showing a lot more facial expression, another indication of returning awareness. Baby steps, maybe, but all progressing in the right direction.
If you tried to post a note on Ross's guestbook earlier today and were not successful, please try again. There was a problem with BraveNet but the technician has assured me it has been corrected.
Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement, your support and your prayers.
August 8, 2002 6:30 PM--Just talked to Betsy and she said they had quite a scare last night when the hospital called to tell them Ross had a 104 degree temperature! It turns out he's got a urinary tract infection and is now on antibiotics and resting comfortably, but that is NOT the kind of call parents want to receive late at night.
For those of you who might read the Healdsburg Tribune, I want to correct a statement made in an article about cycling safety where the person being interviewed said Ross was not expected to survive. Betsy said she doesn't even know the man who was quoted, but his statement is blatantly false and should never have made it into print. Ross is improving, slowly but steadily with a goal of full recovery.
I think what bothered me the most when I read the statement, besides the fact it's not true, was how negative it is. There have been so many positive things about Ross's ongoing recovery, one of which is the continued support from so many wonderful people. Thank you all for your positive energy and healing prayers for Ross.
August 7, 2002 8:15 PM--Betsy said Ross was tired today but still managed a pretty good day. Therapists had him standing for about ten minutes, then during the next session they ran him through a number of body exercises that help stretch his torso to keep his muscles and joints more limber. When Ross was in the wheelchair, where they have him leaning back quite a bit, he once again moved his body forward, as if trying to sit up. And, when Katie tried to put Chapstick on him, he moved his head away.
The speech therapist told Betsy that Ross is tracking better every day with his eyes. He's also changing expressions--grimacing and furrowing his brow were things Betsy noticed. She's currently reading a book about a man who was in a coma, and he described hallucinations during the period where he was beginning to wake up. Betsy said it makes her wonder just what Ross is seeing in his alternate reality.
There are so many stories of people emerging from weeks and even months of coma, coming through and coming back. Seeing how far Ross has come in the past two months, literally from the threshold of death to a young man able to track with his eyes, to grasp a hand, to move his arms and legs and breathe on his own, it's very easy to believe with all certainty that he will, in time, come back to the man he was before the accident.
Please keep Ross and those who love him in your prayers and thoughts. I know I find myself thinking of him throughout the day, imagining the struggle he faces and knowing that even my vivid imagination can't possibly picture how difficult a job this is. He's obviously a fighter, but he still needs your help.
August 6, 2002 9:30 PM--Ross had a good day today. The speech therapist who worked with him said his eyes were definitely tracking better today, that he's more alert and his eyes are dilating and contracting at the same rate. Katie noticed him moving his upper body forward while in the wheelchair, which is a "new" movement for him. She also said that she started to put lip balm on Ross without warning him first and he moved his head away. Small steps, granted, but still steps in the right direction as he responds more and more to outside stimuli.
I spoke with Rene Goncalves today, the promoter for the Santa Rosa Criterium coming up September 22. The race, which is sponsored by Redwood Empire Cycling Team and Dave's Bike Sport of Santa Rosa will dedicate the Category 2 race to Ross. Ross was training in the hopes of reaching Cat. 2 when he was hit by the car just two months ago. You can link to the race site for more information at http://www.socobikes.com/.
Thank you so much for your continuing prayers and good wishes. I am absolutely amazed by the number of people who tell me they check this site daily to see how Ross is progressing. Knowing that all of you are thinking of Ross and wishing him well is wonderful.
August 5, 2002 9:00 PM--Today was pretty frustrating. Ross was moved by ambulance from Kentfield to Marin General for his cisternogram. The doctor was there and all was ready but someone had neglected to order the radioactive isotope required for the test. None was available, so Ross was sent back to Kentfield and the test postponed for a week. The doctor assured Betsy the hydrocephalus was not a threat to his health, but it's not easy when you've got yourself all ready for a particular action, to have it fall through because of missed communication.
Betsy said Ross had a good day, otherwise, with therapy, time up in the wheelchair and also sitting--supported--on the side of the bed. The speech therapist noticed his eyes were tracking much better today, so recovery continues, slow but steady.
Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and good thoughts as well as your encouraging notes to Ross, his family and Katie.
August 4, 2002 9:40 PM--Ross was up for a couple of hours today in his wheelchair. He spent the time outside with his mom and dad, Katie, and friends Shannon and Jon, who is heading home to Boston tomorrow. Betsy said Ross's eyes were definitely contracting in the bright light, so they put some dark glasses and a hat on him, but it was really good for him to be outside.
Tomorrow morning is the cisternogram to determine the extent of hydrocephalus and where to place the shunt. It could last as long as three days and will be performed at Marin General Hospital. From what I understand, Ross will be shuttled back and forth between Kentfield and the hospital for the series of xrays.
Please keep Ross in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow and throughout the days he'll be undergoing the tests. I'll update here as soon as I have any news of the results and resultant action.
August 3, 2002 9:00 PM--It's been two months since Ross's injury. I just talked to his mom and she said he had a good day today, though it was too cold and windy to take him outside. They did wheel him to the waiting room for a short while, and Betsy said when he was sleeping today it was a sound, untroubled sleep. Though he is still in coma, he has come so far in the past two months. Please keep Ross in your prayers as he works through the difficult labor of recovery. I can't help but think it must be very hard work to heal so many terrible injuries.
August 2, 2002 9:30 PM--I picked up my son, Jon, in Larkspur today at the airport shuttle after his flight out from Boston and we went straight to Kentfield. Katie and Rusty were there. When we arrived, Katie was talking to Ross and he was watching her face so intently! He's very thin but finally beginning to gain back some weight, and I can't get over how much better he looks than when I last saw him at the hospital in Santa Rosa. He still has scabbing on some of the deeper abrasions on his legs and one spot on his back has been slow to heal. It's still difficult to realize how badly Ross was injured and how amazing he has survived.
He had his usual therapy sessions today, including time in the wheelchair as well as standing. Plus, Rusty said he took Ross outside for a bit in the wheelchair. It was just a gorgeous day in Kentfield.
I can see why Ross's mom and dad are so impressed with the care Ross is receiving. There was constant activity in and out of his room, and everyone is just wonderful.
Ross goes to Marin General Hospital Monday for the cisternogram. This is the x-ray that will help doctors determine the extent of hydrocephalus and the placement of a shunt if it's needed.
I hadn't seen Ross for awhile--not since he's been at Kentfield, but there is such a sense of him just waiting to break through this thing. He's obviously aware of the people in the room, of all the activity going on about him. When Jon talked to him, his eyes followed each move Jon made, but his really intense stares are for Katie. When she is near him or talking to him, you can tell that every bit of Ross is focused on her face.
Please remember Ross and Katie, his mom and dad and sisters, in your prayers and keep him in your thoughts. When I look at him, I am reminded that healing from such traumatic injuries is very hard work and he really needs all your help.
August 1, 2002 8:00 PM--Ross was tired and sleeping tonight after a long day--when the nurse did measurements of his legs this morning, there was some concern he had swelling in one leg which might indicate a blood clot. So it was off to Marin General Hospital to make sure he was okay. Tests were all negative and he was back at Kentfield and resting by this evening, but Betsy said the process of loading Ross from the bed to the gurney to the ambulance, doing all the tests and then going through the procedure to get him back in his bed at Kentfield was pretty exhausting.
He'll be going back to Marin General for tests on Monday. Please keep Ross and those who love him in your thoughts and prayers.
July 31, 2002 8:15 PM--Ross was pretty tired today after three days of intensive therapy, but Betsy said he still seemed to follow therapist's instructions quite well. She noticed when the speech therapist asked Ross to close his eyes, he did a very extended blink!
He was also up in the wheelchair a couple of times and Betsy had him outside for about an hour, around noon today. It was just a gorgeous day and I imagine that felt pretty good to him.
Therapists also had him on his feet a couple of times for up to ten minutes. He's fully supported, of course, but the changes in position are very important to his recovery.
Thank you so much for your notes, your good wishes and kind thoughts, and especially your prayers for Ross's health and recovery.
July 30, 2002 8:30 PM--Ross had his first wheelchair ride outside today. That must have felt wonderful to him, after so many weeks indoors. Betsy said therapists had him standing on two different occasions: in the morning for eight minutes and in the afternoon for ten. She said Ross is definitely more resilient and alert the past couple of days.
The speech therapist who worked with him this afternoon said she noticed a definite response from Ross when she touched him around his eyes, something she hasn't noticed before.
Betsy said the x-ray is scheduled for Monday. It's a two day procedure that will aid doctors in placing the shunt to deal with the hydrocephalus.
She also asked me to thank all of you who have donated to the Ross Dillon Hope Fund. Your generous contributions are very much appreciated.
Please keep Ross, his fiancée and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you, also, to those of you have written such wonderful notes of encouragement in his guestbook. I just printed up a stack of pages and mailed them to Betsy for Ross's book at Kentfield.
July 29, 2002 9:00 PM--Ross had a really busy day today. Therapists had him up in a chair twice, once for about two hours. They also had him standing a couple of times, with support, once for eight minutes. Betsy said even after all the activity he was wide awake this afternoon. In the past, that much exertion would leave him exhausted.
He's been scheduled for the x-ray...I'm not sure what it's called but Betsy said it requires an infusion of dye through a lumbar puncture. X-rays taken over a couple of days will show the doctor whether or not his basal skull fracture has totally healed and exactly where to place the shunt for the hydrocephalus.
Betsy said he looks really good, there's no sign of fever and his movements are much more natural. He's defnitely moving his arms and hands a lot more.
I printed up more pages of guestbook entries and mailed them to Betsy for his binder at the rehab center. Your messages are wonderful, and so very much appreciated. Please keep Ross, his family and fiancée in your prayers and thoughts.
July 28, 2002 9:30 PM--Today Betsy reported that Ross was alert, his eyes moved from side to side and the left pupil continues to be more equally dilated with the right. He moved his right arm a lot and when the nurse shaved his face, he tried to move his head away as much as he could considering he still has on the collar.
The speech therapist spent some time with him, but because it was the weekend, there wasn't as much therapy scheduled.
I've been absolutely amazed by the number of people who visit this update page on a regular basis. Thank you so much for checking on Ross, for thinking of him and for your prayers.
July 27, 2002 8:00 PM--Still no visit from the neurosurgeon, but hopefully he will get to Ross this weekend. Once he examines him, he'll probably need to do his own testing before making decisions regarding further surgery, so Betsy wasn't sure what the week might hold.
Betsy said Ross had a good day. He's no longer running a fever and hasn't for a few days. He's moving his right arm a lot since getting the splint off.
She said his left pupil is closer in size to his right and Rusty felt that Ross was tracking better with both his eyes today. These are small steps, obviously, but steps that continue in a positive direction.
Please keep Ross and those who love him in your thoughts and prayers. Your words of encouragement, your notes and calls are very important to Ross, Katie and his family.
July 26, 2002 8:15 PM--The neurosurgeon was unable to check Ross today but will see him this weekend. Ross finally got the splint off his right arm. He had a dislocation fracture of his right elbow that took forever to heal, but his mom said he was moving his arm quite a bit today. It probably feels really good to get the splint off.
He's going to need a special type of x-ray (I forget the name) done with a dye that will show whether or not his basal skull fracture has healed.
Betsy said therapists had Ross up on his feet today and also in a chair. They continue their work with him as he continues to heal. Recovery is a slow process, but it has been very steady and always forward. Please remember Ross in your thoughts and prayers.
July 25, 2002 9:00 PM--I just got off the phone with Betsy. Ross is much the same. The neurologist will be seeing him either tonight or tomorrow regarding the hydrocephalus, so we won't know anything for certain until after he's examined Ross, as to when surgery for the shunt will be performed.
Therapists had him up in a chair again today for half an hour...his pulse goes up when he's sitting, but Betsy said he looks good, his coloring is a lot better and she and Rusty are really pleased with the care he's getting at Kentfield.
Therapists put the splints on his ankles today for about three hours. They help to keep the tendons he's not using, stretched out and ready for walking.
If you're new to this site, please take a bit of time to read the wonderful entries in Ross's guestbook. Just go back to the first page and click on the guestbook icon at the bottom. I look at them daily but today I've been printing them out to add to the binder that's with Ross at Kentfield, so I've reread a lot of them...those messages are so wonderful and inspirational. I keep thinking of what Ross's response will be when he can pick that book up and read the encouraging, loving notes from so many of you.
Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, your prayers and good thoughts for Ross, his family and Katie. Your support is more important than you can possibly imagine.
July 24, 2002 9:00 PM--Therapists had Ross out of bed a couple of times today, including ten minutes standing. They use a frame to help support him but it's all part of the process of getting his brain to function properly again. Betsy said they also leaned him to one side and had him put his weight on his left arm, which was a new procedure.
His blood pressure, fever, etc. are normal and he's tolerating the food well. They've upped the rate they were feeding him--Ross lost about 25% of his body weight during the first weeks of his injury, and if you're familiar with the lean build of cyclists, you'll understand he didn't have any weight to lose. His weight has stabilized now and he's looking much better.
Betsy explained to me today that the word on his hydrocephalus is still not definitive...that will remain for the neurologist to determine. There isn't a date set, yet, for the surgery to implant a shunt. In the meantime, he's taking Tylenol to control pain--therapists can tell when he's in pain because his heart rate goes up.
I'll be printing up the current entries in the guestbook for Ross in a day or two, in case you wanted to send him a note. Also, he can receive mail at the rehab center. The address is at the top of this page.
Thanks to all of you for keeping Ross and those who love him in your thoughts and prayers.
July 23, 2002 6:20 PM--Just talked to Betsy and she said Ross was very tired today. He slept a lot, even when he was sitting up in the wheelchair. His pulse was down, which is good as it has been high at times. His feet were cast for splints today. They're a preventive measure to keep the tendons from tightening up during recovery.
I asked Betsy about the kind of therapy they're doing with Ross. She said therapists spend two or three hours a day working with him...for instance, a speech pathologist who uses various therapies to work his mouth and tongue and improve his ability to swallow.
Results from the EEG were normal, which is good. Surgery to implant the shunt in his brain to control the hydrocephalus should be performed next week.
Recovery isn't going to be a quick process, but at least, for Ross, it has been steady. Please keep Ross and those who love him in your prayers and thoughts. This is the time when they need your encouragement and good, positive thoughts more than ever.
July 22, 2002 8:30 PM--Tests today show that Ross definitely displays signs of hydrocephalus which is fluid accumulating on the brain. It's caused by the original injury--as damaged cells are flushed away, they can clog the regular "drainage system" in place for the normal fluids that regularly circulate through the brain.
This will require another surgery to insert a shunt to drain the fluids off and reduce pressure. This pressure could be causing Ross's lack of response in some areas. In spite of this problem, he continues to show daily improvement, though he still remains in coma.
Please keep Ross in your prayers as he faces yet another challenge in his recovery. Your encouragement and good wishes mean so much to Ross, his family and his fiancée.
July 21, 2002 8:45 PM--Ross is running a fever again today. Betsy said the fever is either a result of brain injury and/or indicative of an infection. Doctors are ordering X-rays of his sinuses tomorrow, hopefully to rule out the possibility of infection. He'll also have his CT scan. Betsy said Rusty and a friend spent quite a bit of time with Ross today, giving him commands, ie: Squeeze my hand, and he was able to respond really well. We'll know more tomorrow once the EEG results are in and he's had the blood work and other tests completed.
Thank you so much for your continuing prayers for Ross, Katie and his family. Your caring means so much to everyone.
July 20, 2002 5:00 PM--Ross had his EEG last night but Betsy said they probably won't have the results until Monday. Today was quieter because of the weekend. Nurses did get him into a wheelchair for awhile and Betsy said he appeared to be sitting better than yesterday.
He's showing some "posturing" with his left arm, which is an involuntary movement associated with brain trauma, and that may require a splint to prevent further problems in the future.
His mom said she feels that Kentfield is really a good place for him right now, that, though the process is slow, he'll continue growing stronger and healing more each day. Still, it's absolutely heartbreaking to see him looking so healthy and knowing the long struggle lying ahead of him.
It was 33 years ago today that man first stepped on the moon. I keep thinking of Ross, taking new steps each day out of the unknown and back to the familiar, healing and working through the difficult process of recovery from such a serious injury. I have no doubt he'll come back to us, but it's going to be a long hard journey.
Please continue to remember Ross, Katie, his sisters and parents in your prayers. Your good thoughts and words of encouragement mean a great deal to all of them.
July 19, 2002 7:00 PM--Ross had a really, REALLY busy day today at Kentfield. A number of therapists worked with him and also had him sitting in a chair for two different extended periods, They also had him standing. Though he's still in coma, Betsy said she's very sure he's aware of what the therapists are doing with him.
Tonight he'll have an EEG to look for the possibility of sub-clinical seizures that might be occuring and interfering with his recovery. He'll have a CT Scan on Monday to check for any fluid buildup in case doctors need to install a shunt for drainage. In the meantime, he continues to heal and grow stronger. Please keep him in your prayers. Thank you again for your wonderful notes and words of encouragement.
July 18, 2002 8:30 PM--Betsy said Ross's first day in rehab was "busy." The doctor said she had expected him to be more responsive and is ordering further tests to determine whether or not he has any fluid accumulating on his brain. His feeding schedule has been improved to add more of the nutrients his brain needs to heal, and they are also bringing in a specialist to address the one remaining abrasion that is very slow to heal. Betsy said she feels really good about Kentfield. In her words, Memorial ICU had the task of saving his life...rehab will help him recover. They have plans to get him sitting up and standing, even though he's still in coma. It sounds as if rehab will be very aggressive as compared to the process of healing while in ICU. Please remember Ross and Katie and his family in your prayers.
July 17, 2002 8:00 PM--Ross is resting comfortably on an air bed at Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital. Betsy said it's such a relief to finally have him there. Today the staff was explaining what all to expect during the time Ross is in rehab. He'll need your prayers and encouragement now more than ever as he gets into the difficult work of recovery.