Oh my goodness, I never thought the words 'synthetic skin' and/or 'skin graft' would be part of our daily vocabulary. But they have!
For 9(!!!) weeks, dad has been patiently waiting for today. We've all been in knots and pushed to our very end, waiting for this day to come - the day he gets real skin placed on his open wounds.
If you've been following my updates on Facebook, you know some of what's been going on, the important highlights, but since today was so significant, I thought I'd try to give a thorough-ish update here, between all my yawning and heavy eyelids. (please forgive my grammar and spelling)
Tomorrow, (Wednesday) will be 9 weeks since the accident. It seems odd in so many different ways to say that; but nonetheless, 9 weeks. In that 9 weeks, he's had a total of 5 surgeries. The first to were to clean wounds and set broken bones. The remaining 3 were to assess the open wounds and to try to get some closure on them, whether it be with synthetic skin or real skin.
With the first surgery, synthetic skin was placed on his right amputated toe, but when they looked at his left calf, they saw too much dead and dying muscle. So they were unable to make any progress there.
The second surgery, a few weeks later had the same attempt but was also a slight let down. The calf was still looking "unhealthy", so they placed synthetic on a small portion and left it at that.
After that particular surgery, he was told there couldn't be much, or any movement in that leg for 7 days.
At the end of 7 days, they took the bandages off, only to discover his own skin had grown faster than they anticipated, and it attached itself to the sponges and bandages that were packed in his leg. This made for unexplainable amounts of pain for dad, and also made his leg go back to square one since they essentially had to cut all the growth off.
Everyone, especially dad, was so disappointed, as you can imagine. It felt like a huge set back. After that followed an infection and more waiting.
Fast forward 3 weeks and that brings us to today; the 3rd attempt to get that skin!! I visited with dad the night before and he had tears in his eyes, telling me he coundnt take another let down.
I requested on all the social medias that the prayers be sent fast and furious! We needed that leg to be ready for some real skin.
After almost a 3 hour surgery, the doctor reported that things went smoothly! She said it was like clockwork. The leg was very ready for skin, the wound was smaller than she anticipated, and therefore took less skin from his thigh. It was all such great news! The prayers carried us through a successful day and what a great day it was!
Where we go from here - he won't be allowed to move his leg at all for another 7 days. It has to be very still in order to heal. His 'skin harvest sight' is also on his left leg, and that was purposely planned so he'd only have one critical leg instead of two.
As of tonight, the area where they took the skin is bringing him the most pain, and they said that's normal. That part will stay wrapped for 2 weeks as it heals.
His right foot also received skin where his big toe was amputated. It's a much smaller area and doesn't look to be as lengthy of a recovery.
After 7 days, they'll unwrap the calf and see what it looks like. There is concern of course; infection and the possibility of rejection. If all looks normal, they will start changing the bandage often and watching it daily. The surgeon anticipates a 3 week grey area, meaning, within 3 weeks, we'll know for sure if his leg has accepted it completely and if so, we should see significant growth.
At the end of a successful 3 weeks, the possibility of him getting to be weight bearing MIGHT be there. (And by weight bearing I mean, letting his feet touch the ground when he's in the wheelchair)(we are talking baby steps)
Another slight concern are all his broken bones. (18 of them) As of now, none of them seem to be giving him a lot of pain but he hasn't been weight bearing AT ALL, so until he starts actually putting pressure on his body, we won't know.
His right arm has healed really well and he has very good usage in his hand. We were originally told he would have no use in it, but just this week he started practicing writing his name! He has 2 fingers that remain numb and his elbow gets painful from time to time, but other than that, his right arm/hand is doing great!
His left foot has 4 breaks around and below the ankle. That foot remains very swollen so it's definitely on our radar as far as how it'll handle being walked on.
There were 6 ribs and 4 vertebrae broken. They've been X-rayed a few times and seem to be healing slowly but surely. He was released of his back brace last weekend and that was a huge milestone for him because he truly hated that thing!
His right hip was broken; it doesn't bother him now, but again, he hasn't stood up in 2 months, so we'll see.
There has been talk about his 'next step', as in where does he get to go when he leaves this particular facility....
The facility he's at is AWESOME. We love it there. It feels like a hospital but on a much smaller level. They only have 2 floors, the first floor is for the more critical patients (like dad) who still need help with mostly everything. The second floor is for rehab patients who are less critical but still need therapy multiple times a day. Y'all. We wanna be accepted to that second floor when the time comes. Apparently there is a very long waiting list to get in...and we want in!!! I'm sure there are other options or facilities available, but we'd really like for dad to be able to stay here. His therapists know him and his injuries like the back of their hand, plus they are incredible!
We're probably at least 3 weeks away from making that decision, but if y'all could start praying for a spot for him, that would be stellar.
This was a lengthy update to let y'all know we have never been happier about some skin, but I did want to give out some details for a number of reasons, the biggest being prayer! I've said it a million times already, but I'll keep sayin it, it's been the only thing that's gotten us this far. Every day I become a bigger believer in specific prayers as well. We can make miracles come to life if we're all praying together!
So to wrap it up, the next 7 days will be crucial to healing. Prayers for healing, no infection, skin acceptance and a successful bandage change.
He's still always open to visitors if you're local. His spirits are good, but as you can imagine, he has his down days just because he wants to be at home so bad. A visit from a friend is always helpful. We so appreciate everything that people have done for us! The gift cards and snacks and a few meals here and there, they've all been great! Thank you so much! We've been blessed beyond measure; we love y'all.
Let's bring this man H O M E!