15 February 2020

02.15—Real Progress!

On Friday Henry and I traveled by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Orthopedic Center for an appointment with Dr. Moon, the original surgeon who took care of his broken body. After x-rays and examination of the blood work the doctor told us the hip infection was "superficial" and not a problem with his full recovery. To say we were relieved would be an understatement and we went back to Kindred Hospital very happy indeed!

It's too soon to know what the next steps will be but I imagine once the antibiotic protocol is complete and Henry can withstand the physical therapy we will be released to the acute rehab facility (we are hoping it will be California Rehab Institute in Century City). This is great news!!

It's the weekend and Henry is resting and taking visitors while I do the laundry and rest for the week to come. I am grateful for the many friends who expressed concern and kind, loving thoughts for Henry and me.

Be fierce and thrive...!

—Ph/H

13 February 2020

02.13—Update

On Friday we will transfer to Cedars-Sinai for a consultation with his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Moon, who will examine the infection in his left hip. We don't know how long we will be at Cedars but we are hoping for a positive outcome that would find that the infection is superficial and not connected to the metal in the leg and hip. We are anxious but hopeful.


We often spend the afternoons watching Netflix or Amazon Prime to relax and get our minds off everything that is happening. After 30 years I enjoy just sitting with him quietly, watching a movie and just being together.

Henry had a very hard workout on Wednesday. He was able to take six hop-steps forward using a walker. He didn't get a lot of sleep the night before as the hospital is very noisy, but he once again rose above his pain and exhaustion.

Today is Thursday and I expect PT will give him more challenges. We met with the sales rep for a prosthetic company and he will make a brace for Henry's right foot, while it is getting stronger he needs support to help him walk on with that leg.



Be fierce and thrive...

—Philip

12 February 2020

02.12—Positive Update

Very positive progress for Henry over the last two days. On Monday he was able to hold himself upright with the parallel bars and stand on his right leg. Tuesday he surprised me by sitting up on the edge of the bed and using a walker was able to lift himself without aid and stand for a period of time with some weight on his right leg but supporting himself with his arms. This is a major accomplishment for him and I was in tears as he stood there and could look be in the eyes. It took all his strength to do this six times standing for about a minute each time. There is considerable pain in his ankle and knee but it is tolerable for him for a short time. His physical therapy team encourages him and he responds to them easily even when he doesn't feel like doing anything.

Naturally, I am very happy with his success and I can't wait to see what happens each day. Thank you again for your constant empowering thoughts and prayers for him. When I look back on the last 103 days and the terror and pain we both experienced, I don't know how we would have gotten through it all without your loving kindness toward the two of us. 

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/H

PLEASE NOTE:
I am aware some of you are unable to post comments to this weblog and I apologize; I will try to fix that user interface. When you write your post don't forget to click on the "Publish" button on the lower left of the comment box. If you are reading this on a computer rather than your phone; click on the title of the post and go to the post page at the bottom of the post you will see the comment box. I know this is poor design...I am sorry! 

10 February 2020

02.10—A Good Weekend

It was a great weekend: Henry had a visitor, Brooke, from the Beverly Hills Hotel on Saturday and on Sunday early morning our good friend, Pirco, visited on his way back from a morning walk on the beach. Then in the afternoon, Eva brought him a meal of ham and cabbage and we got a cherished visit from Térence who came in from Paris on his way to a conference in Las Vegas to see Henry. Térence and Henry are like brothers and I could tell the visit lifted his spirit and made him so happy. For me it was a great comfort to see my friend of 20 years who brought us much love from our family in France. 

Visits from friends over the weekend fuels Henry for the week to come and give him the energy to work hard during the week. This coming week will be one for hard physical therapy and healing. On Friday we go back to Cedars-Sinai for a meeting with the orthopedic surgeon.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/H

08 February 2020

02.08—Update

Henry has an appointment with his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Moon, on 14 February at Cedars-Sinai. Dr. Moon will decide at that time what the course of action will be to clear the infection. He may be admitted to Cedars at that time or sent back to Kindred for treatment for the infection.

Henry continues physical and occupational therapy while we wait for the results.

Be fierce...and thrive

—Ph/H

06 February 2020

02.06 Latest News—Day 95

I've been absent from the weblog for a reason: Henry and I were waiting for more information to share with our friends and family. Over the last ten days Henry developed an infection on his left hip; on Sunday the site burst and drained a lot of infected debris; once drained, the wound-care doctor looked at it and decided to take cultures and start Henry on a regimen of antibiotics. 

This is potentially serious. Henry will be transported sometime soon back to Cedars for the orthopedic surgeon to look at his hip and perform a CT-scan to see if the infection is attached to the hardware in his hip and thigh. If it is then he will need major surgery to remove the hardware. There is a possibility that the infection is superficial and can be treated with antibiotics. If there is surgery it could add many weeks to his recovery. He is progressing with physical therapy rapidly and this would put a stop to that. Needless-to-say we are both anxious but hopeful that the infection is not related to the metal implants. Our attitude during this time is positive. Of course, your support and love carry both of us and we welcome your notes, videos, and comments along with your prayers, best thoughts, and chants.

He will remain at Kindred until we have a plan from the orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai.

Be fierce and thrive!

—Philip

31 January 2020

01.31—Day 90

It’s been 90 days since Henry had the accident at Sunset and Foothill. I can’t pass that intersection without a sense of dread and sadness. 

Henry is doing well with physical therapy and though there are bad days there are more good days. Visits from friends help a lot and afternoons after 1 and before 4:30 are a good time to visit. These visits lift his mood and he’s able to refocus the next day. We often pass the time after lunch watching Netflix binging on a series or enjoying a movie. 

Sometime in the next two weeks he will be moved to an acute rehab facility where he will prepare to return home. It’s going to be a long process but Henry will return to the full life he had and desires. 

Be fierce and thrive
—Ph/H

29 January 2020

01.29 Short Update—Day 88

Kindred Hospital dining roomThis week is going well. Henry’s PT includes standing for 70 seconds as well as arm exercises. The new stain on his leg causes new pain but he’s able to tolerate it and complete his PT. He also wheels through the halls of the hospital and we can sit outside in the sun. 

He was also fitted with a compression sock for his left leg to prepare it for the prosthetic lower leg. 

Most hospitals spend less than $6.50 per patient per day on raw food (i.e. before it is prepared). Here at Kindred I estimate that cost to be lower than $5.00 per day per patient. There may be some flux—higher and lower— but that seems to be the average cost. Much of the food is processed and I imagine frozen to reduce staff and time in the kitchen. This is not unusual across the American healthcare system. Some are much lower! 

Be fierce and thrive
—Philip

25 January 2020

01.25 Day 84

Yesterday we found out that our insurance will cover our preferred rehab center. Now Henry has to get in shape to withstand intensive physical therapy for more than three hours at a stretch. He spent a couple of hours in the wheelchair and wheeled about a tenth of a mile around the parking lot of the hospital; this strengthens his arms and builds endurance. In the afternoon his PT, Scott, had him up and standing several times for over a minute which is the longest time to date he’s been able to stand. His knee is painful but he needs fewer pain meds than a week ago to tolerate the strain. He still needs to be lifted and supported but he is standing! I wish I could show you video of his progress, he is amazing and so focused on getting well. Henry is an inspiration to me.

I am hopeful. We are beginning to see the distant end to his immediate suffering; I know it will take him many more long hours of therapy to understand and overcome his limitations.

This is a painful journey for both of us. I try not to anticipate the future anymore knowing that anything can happen and to try and be prepared is useless. The best I can do is to focus on the present and take care not to judge what has happened. To breathe and not judge.

Henry is fierce and thriving.

—Ph/H

22 January 2020

01.22 Afternoon Update

Today was a very good PT workout both in the bed with his legs and learning how to push and pull himself up and into the wheelchair. He powered through it and never complained. Scott and Michael then took him to the gym (he wheeled the chair: that’s the gym in the picture) and put him on the cycle to stretch and strengthen his right leg. This was very painful but once again he did it for about 20 minutes. After they stood him up and put him back into the chair. 

He sat in the chair during speech therapy and practiced various sounds and vowels for 30 minutes. He is sounding better and better but I think this is going to change his voice permanently. He always had a raspy voice but now it will have more rasp and vocal breaks. But he still sings to himself and me though and I love the sound of his voice... 

He is exhausted after these two hours and his legs are both on fire with muscle pain. We are determined to move to Acute Rehab in ten day or sooner so he knows there is a lot of work yet to do.

This is day 81
—Ph/H

20 January 2020

01.20 Day 79 Brief Update

I haven’t updated this site for a few days; over the weekend he was pretty out of sorts and not feeling his best. This passed today after a very productive but painful physical therapy session with Scott and Michael. Later, Minjy came in and gave him a little pep talk and explained that he would have to work hard and work through the pain.

No one can relate to the pain Henry is going through; all I know is whatever he is going through he has already gone through worse. That he survived the accident with all his injuries is amazing and a tribute to the doctors’ skill and his will to live.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/H

16 January 2020

01.16 Day 75

I carry two cameras with me all the time. My mobile phone, of course, and my trusty Ricoh GRII that I carry every where in my pocket. It’s a great camera and out of the three cameras I own this is my personal favorite; I’ve made over ten thousand photographs with this camera. While I don’t publish photographs of Henry here in the hospital while he’s recovering, I do make a lot of images here and at Cedars that I use for documenting his care. The photographs you see on this site are for illustration.

To you who have written me about a book: yes I am writing a book about our journey. I started that journal on the day of the accident; I started updating my weblog with his status on 2 November. These are two different points of view and compliment each other each adding context to the other. As you can imagine both the weblog and the book are far from complete.

Today the therapists showed up early and had him dress in pajama pants and a sweat shirt (from The Beverly Hills Hotel). Then they showed him how to slide himself into the wheelchair. He then wheeled himself into the gym again where his PT helped him stand using the parallel bars. He was able to lift himself but needed help standing. He was able to stand for about three minutes before having to sit again in the chair. Once he gathered himself again he was able to stand twice more with help from the PTs. After this exercise Henry sat for about 30 minutes in the wheelchair while we visited with the staff. I was so proud of him. 

He’s beginning to become more independent and do things for  himself again. This is very rewarding for both of us as I become more of an onlooker and his cheerleader. 

Be fierce and thrive!

—Philip HOPBELL

15 January 2020

01.15 Henry’s Progress—Day 74

The last two days were very physical for Henry. Yesterday was a strenuous session sitting up and learning to use a dressing stick. He’s having to stretch and use his left arm and shoulder which were smashed in the accident and are now in the painful process of healing. At the end of the 30 minutes he was exhausted and somewhat frustrated.

Today after stretching out his leg muscles and shoulder he was able to roll over to the right and left side without help. Eventually he was able to sit up on the bed and dangle his legs over the edge. The therapist then transferred him to the wheelchair and allowed Henry to wheel himself down the hall and out the front door so he could sit in the sun and coolish air. While this seems a simple thing it is in fact a major accomplishment for someone who has been inside and flat on his back for 74 days and nights. After getting outside the PT stretched his leg again and then let him sit quietly outside where he and I spent some time talking and enjoying our time.

It is impossible to describe or even to imagine the pain, both physical and emotional, he is going through each hour everyday; the drugs don’t completely abate the sensation but he rarely displays despair. I am so proud of him.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/H

13 January 2020

01.13 Day 72

Today PT started again and Scott, his therapist, sat Henry up on the edge of the bed again and put some weight on his right foot. Henry handled the exercise very well and sat up by himself for about 15 minutes. He had to sit himself up and he did it without asking for help, but it was a struggle. I’m so very proud of this man and his strong will.

After laying down again Scott worked on stretching his right leg muscles and ankle. After about 30 minutes he was exhausted. Tomorrow he will get in the wheelchair again and go to the gym. 

He also had speech therapy. The therapist told him to take time off talking as the strain was too much for now. He talked all weekend and needed a break.

This is exhausting for both of us, I won’t lie to you. I leave at the end of the day too tired for words and yet I have to work on writing and answering emails for another two or four hours depending on how much time I get during the day.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Philip


11 January 2020

01.11 Day 70

Not much of an update today. The weekends are very slow and without physical therapy. I did exercise his legs and massage his right leg to loosen the scar tissue. I also moisturized the skin on both legs.

The kitchen at Kindred Hospital had a fire this morning and they had to serve cold meals all day. I ordered fried catfish, hush puppies, and greens for him from Cafe Creole. The fish was good and the greens excellent. Earlier his friend Tim came and brought him 16 bottles of high protein drinks. His doctors want Henry to take in 90 grams of protein a day. The drinks provide more than enough protein since the hospital diet is short on high quality proteins.

Henry’s spirit is strong and he’s doing very well. Please keep sending him videos and messages as they give his morale a boost.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/H

09 January 2020

01.09 Day 68

Today was a slow day after so much work yesterday: Henry experienced a lot of pain and didn’t get much sleep. Much of the pain I understand is nerve pain and is caused by the nerves growing back. But today he did sit up on the edge of the bed again and did some balance exercise. He also put some light weight on his right leg and foot which are very tender.

Tomorrow we go back to Cedars-Sinai for a check up with the plastic surgeon and perhaps meet with the Orthopedic doctors. We’ll travel by ambulance.

One of the doctors told him he needs to eat 90 grams of protein a day and so I’m looking for cases of Premier Protein drinks in Chocolate, Carmel, and Oreo flavors. I’m going to the Target that is local to the hospital.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Philip

08 January 2020

This Happened Today...

This happened today...I watched in awe as Henry was sat up and then transferred to a wheel chair. It was not without pain but after a short break sitting in the chair he wheeled himself the thirty yards or so to the PT gym. As he wheeled through the halls all the nurses and assistants yelled “Hi Henry” and applauded his effort. He was working hard but grinned at everyone and totally charmed them.

Once in the gym he tried to stand up using the parallel bars but the pain was too much to stand today. But he showed tremendous willingness to work through the pain. One of the PT said under his breath: That’s one tough cookie...of course yours truly cried with joy. As his reward we wheeled him outside to sit for ten minutes in the sun. 

What a great day!
Day 67
Be fierce and thrive!

—Ph/H

07 January 2020

01.07 Update

Kindred Hospital
Kindred Hospital
Here are the grounds in front of the Hospital. When Henry is ready I’ll be able to take him for a little sun. He sat up for the first time since Christmas Day but this time the PTs made him sit up on his own with very little help. He was able to sit straight up without support for five minutes and then lay back down on his back. I had tears in my eyes watching this man struggle then lift himself to sit upright...it was a great sight. Today he also exercised and strengthen the muscles in his left shoulder and arm. He’s getting stronger each day.

I also observed the wound-care nurse change the dressing on the wound on his left side and I couldn’t believe the improvement there; he is almost healed up completely and the wound is now superficial. At this rate it should be closed in two weeks. It’s impossible to say how long we will be here at Kindred: he’s making great progress but has a long way to go before he can go to final Rehab. He will become more and more independent each day.


A Word About Visiting...

I know many of you want to visit Henry now that we are out of acute care. Henry asks that you please be patient with him for another week or so as he needs to focus on rehab. His family was here for three days and he enjoyed seeing them and a few friends who have been with us since the first day of his hospitalization stop by, but visits exhaust him. When he is stronger in a week or so I’ll let folks know here on the weblog. Please text us or call before you visit as he often has appointments at Cedars and we will be away from the hospital with very little notice. Thank you for understanding.

Be fierce and thrive

—Ph/H

06 January 2020

01.06 Day 65

Today was a day full of milestones. Henry had his first hard PT session in the morning and exercised his legs, arms, and shoulders. It was a really good session with Scott his PT. Later in the day he had speech therapy and then Occupational Therapy which is centered on getting him strong enough to be independent. The big milestone is that he is now able to turn his body to the left and right and lay on either side in order to be cleaned and in preparation to transferring him to a wheelchair. He worked so hard he was exhausted after all the workouts and I know he will sleep well tonight. Tomorrow is another big day and Wednesday he begins to put weight on his right leg. I am so happy for him.

Today was also the last day of the visit from his mother, two of his sisters—Tiajuana and Tanya—and his nephew—Renze. He really enjoyed this visit especially seeing his mom. 

Henry is strong, fierce, and thriving...

—Ph/H
PS: To those who ask how I am doing I can say while I am tired and exhausted I am also well and happy. Yes, I’ve lost weight but I am eating well. Writing has kept me centered. I look forward to the day I can sit with my friends and drink wine and have a meal and laugh again...thank you for your love and support

04 January 2020

01.04 Waiting...and waiting...and waiting

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting


Waiting

02 January 2020

01.02 Afternoon...

The entire third world has better wifi than this place.

A really good day again. Henry had a 20 minute session with the physical therapist who worked him out hard with leg lifts and arm exercises. He was exhausted after the workout. Then the occupational therapist came in to work on his fine motor skills with his hands (he brushed his teeth and is doing some exercises to strengthen his right arm). Finally the speech therapist ran us through some vocal exercises to strengthen his vocal cords. Henry is talking more and is beginning to sound much more like him self. I can’t wait until I hear him sing again...he has such a lovely voice.

These good days are great for both of us, our morale is very high after these sessions. He continues to improve in strength everyday. 

He’s looking forward to seeing his family tomorrow.

Day 62 

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/H

01 January 2020

01.01.2020 A Good Day ...

Today is the first writing day of the new year! The posts on this weblog are just a small part of the writing I do everyday following Henry’s life in the hospital. Since the day of his accident I’ve kept a detailed journal of not only his recovery but of my own journey through this experience. I hope to be done with this journal sometime this summer and be able to report to you all with pictures and text Henry’s recovery. It will take years for him to fully recover but I hope he will be able to return to some sense of normal in the not too distant future. Until then I continue to write for hours everyday and evening.

Today he met with three doctors one of whom is his pain specialist who seems to have conquered, with Methadone, the persistent pain Henry has felt. The he had a 30 minute session with Scot his Physical Therapist who exercised his legs and arms. I was surprised at how pain free the right leg seems now and really surprised to see him lift his left leg so far in the air without much strain. This is a big improvement as it was the left leg that was amputated below the knee.

He then met with the speech pathologist who went through a series of breathing exercises that were akin to a Mindful Meditation practice that we both perform. She indicated that she often teaches mindful breathing and meditation to people in the hospital and I mentioned the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn She knew his work. I’m happy she is a practitioner of his work. This will be an important part of both Henry’s and my recovery.

Friends also visited today as well as our nephew Quinton. So far it’s been a good start to the new year.

Please call us before you visit as Henry may be tired.

In 2020 be fierce and thrive...

—Philip HOPBELL

31 December 2019

12.31—On Visiting

And no fake ones either...

12.31 On The Eve of the New Year...

Watching Wendy Williams with Henry
I don’t watch much TV but Henry loves Wendy Williams so we watch it everyday at 11AM. I like sitting next to him and laughing along side while we watch the celebrity silliness.

This is New Year’s Eve and Henry wants me to stay with him tonight even though there’s no place to sleep. I realized that he doesn’t know what the place looks like or what the accommodations are like here. Even at Cedars he couldn’t understand why it took so long to get fresh water and ice; I made a video walking down the hall 25 yards to get the water and ice and showed it to him, then he understood. I’m going to do the same thing here so he has an idea of the space. Hopefully soon he will be able to move around the space himself in a wheelchair. He starts PT after tomorrow but the therapist is stopping by today to see him. His spirits are good most of the time. He needs to begin to move and work his body and is impatient to begin. This is a good sign and I am happy to see it so soon after the accident.

Day 60

Be fierce and thrive
—PH/H

30 December 2019

12.30 Evening Status

Today was a long day...it’s early evening now and I am ready to wind down. Henry told me to come in late tomorrow but I told him I don’t think I can stay away passed 8 but he wants me there at 9...I’ll bring breakfast.

Henry told me that today was the best day because of the encouragement he got from the doctors and therapists. I am so happy and very relieved that his morale is improving.

Big thank you to Kenya and William in Amsterdam for the great videos. They make his day.

Tomorrow is the last day of 2019 and the beginning of a new year.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Philip

12.30 Update

Eating a lot of take out and diner food these days. I’m taking two multivitamins in the morning and another two in the evening to ward off anything that might make me sick. I’m sleeping at a Hotel nearby the Hospital and can be there by 7:30 every morning with a breakfast for him.

Today we met his doctor here at the Hospital who brought in specialists who will evaluate his well being at this time. He also met his Physical Therapist today who is going to work with both of us to exercise his legs. Both Henry and I are eager to begin and get moving. He’s morale is better today and he tells the doctors he is fine and wants to get out of the hospital. His speech pathologist will work on a program to get his voice strong again and I can work with him on that as well.

I can spend New Year’s Eve with him which is great since this will be an important milestone for us. A new year!!

Day 59

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/H 

12.29 Evening

KindredHospital
These are everywhere employees congregate or walk past when coming to work. Of course everyone becomes blind to these kinds of statements when they see them everyday. But Corporations are obliged to put up to show that they are training employees. We did the same thing when I was at Disney. It’s mighty hard to be empathetic when you have 12 or 15 patients to attend and care for on a 12 hour shift. Many of the staff are LNs (Licensed Nurses) who get their certificate after a year of training. RNs have to go to school for three years and many at Cedars had Masters degrees and even Doctorate degrees. But this is not about the nurses and care givers at Kindred: this is about the terrible state of affairs in the American Health Care system because conservatives and liberals alike can’t grok that health care should come before bombs and the Military Complex. 

Henry is being cared for because he has friends and family who love him and won’t let him languish in a hospital bed. I am grateful for all the support and love I get from everyone; without you I would be lost! 

Thank you from my heart and soul.
Henry is fierce and thriving...

Day 59

—Philip (Henry’s husband)

29 December 2019

12.29 At Kindred

This is a different environment than Cedars-Sinai where the level of service was superior to anything I could expect. Much fewer nurses here and very different skill sets. Of course it is the weekend and weekend staff everywhere is lower than the weekday staff. Henry is comfortable though getting used to a new environment has been a challenge. I’m still confident he will have a successful recovery here but we will have a better idea of the hospital’s capability this coming week.

I’m staying close by at a residential hotel in Culver City and it’s next door to a Dinah’s Chicken Restaurant...I brought him breakfast this morning from there and he ate it up. One bit of advice to anybody caring for someone in the hospital: bring stainless flatware so they can have a proper meal experience. I brought two spoons, a knife, and a fork. I hate plastic ware and Henry can at least feel like a human while eating. In American “health-care” we are dehumanizing people by using plastic and disposable food service because no one wants the cost of washing the dishes. I’m appalled by the really poor food service in hospitals in general.

He’s sleeping now. I’ll update this later today when I get a stronger WiFi signal (another pet peeve).

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/H

28 December 2019

12.28

 We arrived at Kindred in the early evening after a long wait. I hate arriving anywhere after dark because it makes everything seem bleak. He has not in the happiest mood and our friend Jean Kim and I went out and bought him some Bose head phones to cancel out the noise of the surroundings. Today he is in a Quad room, meaning three roommates but we are waiting for a bed to open up in the ward for him to move to a duplex or single.

This is the next step and he needs encouragement to keep his spirits up. We have music and your great videos keep him happy.

Day 57

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/H

26 December 2019

12.26 A Milestone

The Energy Vortex Amsterdam
On Christmas Day a few close friends gathered here at Cedars in Henry's room to celebrate with him. we feasted on finger food and and ate the delicious Asian Pears and cheese our friend Jennifer sent for us; there were cookies and a few of us drank a bubbly beverage and toasted to his health. Henry loved the visits and he spent lots of time chatting and watching old sitcoms Christmas episodes with Leigh, Eva, Tim and Quinton. Later Pirco and Jean stopped by to visit and chat. An exhausting day.

Our great friend, Kenya, in Ibiza and Amsterdam has several energy alters for Henry. This one has something very special! Puccini Chocolates which are the best in the world, IMO. This is sure to give him strength. In fact yesterday we hit a major milestone: Henry was able to sit up and dangle his legs over the bed with the fine help of the Physical Therapy team. We both cried because it was so great to see him sitting up for the first time since November 1. The goal is to do this three times a week and continue with the flexing exercises he is already doing every day.

Very few of us can imagine the pain Henry experiences and emotional energy it takes for him to survive each day. I can only watch and help him through whatever he goes through: sometimes tears and sometimes we laugh together but day by day he is improving and while it will take a long time for him to recover I can see in his eyes the determination, the will, to survive.

Day 55

Be fierce and thrive

—Philip

24 December 2019

12.24 Christmas Eve...

My lap is my studio
Writing has always been the way I ground myself. I've kept notebooks and journals since I was eleven years old and I still have many of these books. Writing gives me a rhythm to measure time. These days I write whenever Henry is sleeping or watching television here in the hospital. It's been the way I not only pass the time but the only way I have to make sense of what has happened to him and us. This is not just a record of events but of my emotional health as well during his recovery. Sometime in the future I'll look through this weblog and my digital notebook to discover our journey. I made hundreds of photographs as well so I can document our journey.

For the past week Henry has been able to sleep soundly through the night. He's managing the pain but it is still a major factor in his day. He does about two hours a day of physical therapy on his right leg. The nurses change the dressing on the wounds twice a day at which time we have to move him around and it causes him a lot of pain. For the most part the nurses are kind and gentle and I'm there to make sure he's comfortable.

Today is Christmas Eve and I'm grateful for his life, the best present I could ask for from anybody. He's received beautiful flowers and a wonderful box of fruit as well as other presents of love from friends and colleagues.

Both Henry and I are focused on the present and what it takes to get to the next minute but we look forward to spending time with all our friends wherever we may be in the future.

Day 53

All the best,

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/H

23 December 2019

12.23—Afternoon

Today the chef leadership from the Beverly Hills Hotel made a surprise visit to Henry's room and brought lots of food and treats for us and the floor staff here on the 7th floor. We shared some of these treats with the ICU nurses as well as the nurses on the 6th floor. I am so grateful for their display of affection for Henry. Thank you to all his beloved co-workers. Henry loves his job and the Hotel Beverly Hills where he has worked for 25 years. Thank you from us to you all. There was a huge amount of fried chicken and veggies as well as biscuits and of course treats! I know the nursing staff and clinical partners enjoyed the food as did we! 

The book and the bear are signed by his friends/coworkers at the Beverly Hills Hotel.


Be fierce and thrive...!
—Philip

12.23 Morning



0500 Cedars-Sinai
I woke at 5AM this morning and it was pouring rain...I got a strong allongé and walked a little in the court yard under a roof. We slept pretty well last night. Henry is sleeping through the night. Later this morning he ate a large breakfast of omelet and potatoes and a Boost drink. I went to the little coffee shop and had another café allongé and an omelet. The resident who is on the plastic surgery team changed the dressing on the skin graft and it looked amazingly good. I could not tell there was a wound there. The good thing is Henry heals fast.

So today we hope for some physical therapy. I'll give an update later today.

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/H

22 December 2019

12.22 Mid-Day Update

Henry had another good night of sleep. Since coming off the Ketamine his sleep has been undisrupted and peaceful. The pain in his leg continues to be a challenge but it's managed with strong painkillers.


Kindred Hospital on Slauson
I looked at a transitional hospital today that will get him ready for a long term rehabilitation facility. This transitional hospital is in South LA and is recommended by Cedars because of the good orthopedic care as well as the rehabilitation program. It's part of the Kindred hospital group and this one is a full hospital with ICU and clean operating rooms. I toured the plant today and I liked the vibe there: it is clean and the patients seem to be well cared for. I showed up unannounced with our friends, Pirco and Jean, and met with a nurse who took us around the building and showed us the rooms and labs. The place is very clean. I rubbed my finger along the door jams and the pictures hanging on the walls and found no dirt or dust. Too, there was no sour institutional aroma that one often finds in nursing homes. The vibes were good...
There are 80 beds and a large staff of nurses equal to what is at Cedars (5:1). I think once the insurance company has approved we will move there for the net 20 to 30 days before the transition to the residential long term rehab perhaps back in Beverly Hills. Henry is eager to begin...I also found a place to stay close by the new hospital since I won't be able to sleep in the same room as him. My plan is to be with him everyday at 7:30AM until he goes to bed at night and be his booster while in rehab.

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/H

21 December 2019

12.21 Day 50

I sat under this canopy last evening after sunset to relax with a medicinal drink and thought back on the last 50 nights here at Cedars-Sinai. I'm so grateful to the doctors and nurses and Clinical Partners who all supported Henry and me during our long stay, first in ICU and then here in the general hospital. Henry is alive because of the hard work the trauma team did on him when he came into the Emergency Room on November 1. It took 7 hours for them to stop the bleeding and clear his lungs of blood and fluid. The injuries were catastrophic and the first four days were very tenuous for him. I sat up with him and promised him I would be there when he woke up...But he would not be alive if it were not also for his strong will to live. When I asked him if the amputation bothered him he replied -No. I'm alive!- and that's all he needed to say.

Now 50 days into this he's ready to begin the process of healing and the rehabilitation of his body and mind. I know he is fierce and he has the will to thrive.

Day 50
Be fierce and thrive...
—Philip