Let's bring Tom home!
Organized by: Kelsey Booker
Tom has approved this information I'm about to share with you. On Wednesday, June 10th Tom was experiencing some numbness in his arm and some dizziness. Krissy, his fiance, called the ambulance to have him admitted to a small hospital in Harrison County Missouri. Unfortunately, the timing was rough as they were on the road for work where they inspect used trailers so his family couldn't be there to monitor the hospitals work. When Tom arrived at the hospital he had signs of a stroke none of the staff really seemed to acknowledge that though, blood pressure in the high 200's and a blood sugar way over 400, they decided the best route was to release him after an insulin shot and send him on his merry way. He continued on with work the following day experiencing light dizzyness but otherwise fine. On Friday June 12, He awoke not being able to move his body, the left side of his face distorted and slurred speech. Krissy again called the ambulance and he was taken to a hospital in Knoxville Iowa. In Knoxville, they concluded that the sensations he was feeling on the previous Wednesday was, in fact, a stroke. Because of the inadequate care and the carrying on of normal activities his symptoms were worsened, they are unable to tell if there was another stroke at this point or if this was the first stroke playing out its course. He was admitted to the neuro unit and had scheduled him for some tests the following day. At this point his mother and I ( his niece Kelsey) had arrived after driving up from St. Louis and he had seemed to be in good spirits, he was joking around, you could understand what he was saying but it was slurred, overall he seemed almost fine except for the slight face distortion and some weakness on the right side of his body. After seeing that he seemed OKAY we decided to check into a hotel that was on the hospital campus and sleep for the night after the long stressful drive. Saturday Morning we had arrived after eating a quick breakfast to see the physical therapist evaluating him, instantly we knew he had gotten worse in a matter of 12 hours. He was in a complete daze, we were all but unrecognizable to him, and he was completely unable to open his left eye. When they did a neuro examination on him he was able to say what year it was but everything else that he tried to say was incomprehensible. They immediately rushed him to have a CT and an MRA along with an ultrasound of his heart and his carotids. While the tests were being reviewed they transferred him to the ICU to be evaluated and put him on a blood thinner and some medication to help prevent another stroke, the test results concluded the stroke had evolved since he had arrived from Knoxville. They were also to able to give us a little more detail on what, in fact, had happened to Tom. He had an Ischemic Stroke which affected his cerebellum, Long term short he had a stroke that hit his brain stem, some arteries, and some blood vessels. After this terrifying news it was a watch and wait game, all we could do is continue the medication and pray he did not get worse, they checked all of his stats hourly along with a neuro exam in the ICU. Sunday we immediately saw improvements, he was able to try to talk, you could tell that things were working inside his head and he was comprehending everything you were telling him, it was harder though to tell us what he was wanting to say, they called this aphasia and said that through time this would get better and although it was frustrating to him currently it was great progress because that meant he knew that when the word came out it didn't sound right so he could work on correcting himself. This is an outstanding sign for what's to come in the future for his recovery. Today (Monday, June 15th) There were signs again of serious improvements. He called me Corrie (which is my mother's name) about 5 times, finally I yelled at him and told him if he called me corrie again I wasn't going to feed him dessert he quickly corrected himself and said, Okay Kelsey. He has constantly through this whole process called Mom and Dad exactly by that, Mom and Dad, everyone else was a 50/50, he knew who he was talking about but the name didn't always match the story (He talks about all of you quite often and even calls all of us by some of you!). His personality is still completely in place and every day he's getting a little better and stronger it seems. A few forms of therapists came in today. Physical therapy was able to not only get him to sit up by himself and move all four of his limbs, they were able to get him to stand for about three minutes with a walker and assistance, he was not light headed or dizzy which is absolutely amazing. Speech Therapy checked all of his swallowing habits and he's now got an unrestricted diet (as long as his blood sugar is okay) so he can have all the wings and grits he wants (that was his request on Saturday) he has not been shy about asking where his lunch is when we say we are going to get ours. Occupational therapy was able to get him to touch everything he needed to by command and confirmed that he hand not lost any sensations in any part of his body that they could see. With all of that being said it will more than likely be a long hard recovery for him, but with a lot of therapies I believe it will be a full recovery. He will be able to live a completely full and healthy life (EVERYONE is now on a diabetic diet, do you hear me?! :)) and be able to enjoy everything that he was able to enjoy before. At this point, we are doing everything in our power (so many papers!) to get some financial assistance for medical bills. We are also trying to get him home Hopefully sometime this week. When things settle down we will start making a schedule for his dearest friends to come and lift his spirits, at first the visitations will be limited on how many people per day, and how many hours they can visit with him, but everyone that wants to spend time with him will and he will be absolutely ecstatic, as I am sure seeing the people he loves will help speed up his recovery and give him great motivation to work harder, we just don't want to overwhelm him, and he will be very tired from such an intensive recovery. The doctors did say they are hoping before we transfer him that he will be "discharged" from the hospital and able to go straight into a rehabilitation facility for some intensive therapy. Keeping all of that in mind we are doing this fundraiser to help alleviate the costs of transporting him home, any of the insurance we can get him at this point will not cover it because it is a non-emergency medical transfer, but we need to get him home to you guys so you can help him get better. Anything past the cost of what we need to get him home will be used to help cover the remainder of his medical bills and any future medical bills related to this specific incident so that when he makes his full recovery he will not be thousands of dollars in debt. We've had many friends at home offering to throw fundraising events to help with medical costs and we will be glad to consider those when we get home and a family member can be present. If you're interested please contact me (Kelsey Booker) or one of his other immediately family members (Parents and Siblings) with a detailed idea and we will discuss it and help you in whatever way we need to, we would prefer that one of our family members are present to any money raising functions held for Tom, so they can be a representative for all of us (we all like to party too!) Anything helps honestly, a dollar is a dollar closer to being home. We will over the next few months need some help with getting things ready when he finally is ready to come home and anyone that prefers to help that way can get in touch with any of his immediate family also and they'll be able to let you know when and how you may be able to help, even if it's as simple as picking up meds for tom from the pharmacy. We really appreciate everything that everyone has contributed and all the love everyone is sharing with tom, every time we talk to him about all of his concerned friends on facebook and all the phone calls looking for an update and how much they love him, it puts a huge smile on his face. I personally and honestly believe that's what has given him the motivation and courage to do everything he's been able to do so far, and to not only achieve but exceed in any tasks his medical team asks of him.