UPDATE : APRIL, 20011
March 12, 2011 was a poignant day for the Killelea family– it marked the 5th anniversary of Pat’s accident. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, Pat was a senior at the University of Rhode Island when he took a trip to Colorado over spring break to go skiing with some friends. A near fatal accident on an escalator at the airport, in which he fell 25 feet, left him severely brain injured. After two long years in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, we were able to bring Pat home. This was only made possible by the support, both financial and emotional, of the friends of Pat – many who have never met Pat or our family, but have worked to help us build a handicapped accessible addition and provide a level of care for Pat that we would never be able to accomplish on our own!
Pat is still unable to eat and takes all
his nutrition and fluids through a feeding
tube in his stomach, he cannot sit or stand
on his own and is unable to speak or
communicate consistently. These are all
challenges that we currently are working
on to improve his quality of life – we are
making slow but steady progress and have
much hope that Pat will make many more
gains! We cannot communicate enough
how much everyone’s financial and
emotional support helps us continue to
find therapies that keep Pat’s body healthy
and continue to heal his brain.
Here is the latest update from
Pat’s younger brother Kevin -
Many apologies for the delay in an update on Pat! We know there are lots of people who use the website to stay informed. The following is my best attempt at covering all things Pat related that have been going on.
The addition to the house has been all that we could have ever wanted and more!
Pat has the best nurse in the world, Chrissy, who takes magnificent care of him. She is at our house every day during the week and takes care of Pat all day long, whether it’s giving him medication or assisting him in therapy. She has truly been a godsend for us (THANK YOU SO MUCH CHRISSY!).
It has been quite the challenge in getting Pat into the hyperbaric chamber, but we have recently found a company that manufactures a parachute-like sling that can drop him in with a lot less effort – My mom is meeting with the technician this week to see if it will do the trick - more to follow on that -
Pat continues to get better every day.
Although the pace is slow, we keep
finding signs of improvement.
Pat still loves to watch “Everybody
Loves Raymond” on TV and has a g
ood laugh over those silly episodes.
He does have his moments of obvious
sadness, but he really does seem to
keep a positive attitude. If you have
seen Pat’s smile recently, you know
he is getting better and there is great
reason for hope. We had a couple of
wild moments where Pat actually
spoke (the doctors think it was due
to the combination of drugs he was
taking to manage his spasticity,
although they can’t seem to get
it to occur again). My mom was
able to make a recording of it while
it was happening. You can search
Pat’s name on Youtube if you want
to check it out.
Pat’s upper body mobility is improving. While Pat isn’t yet able to communicate clearly with his hand yet, he is on his way. He has a sign board to indicate wants/needs and we’re hoping this tool will be a consistent device for him moving forward.
He is healthy and for the most part has managed to avoid any serious illness during the course of this winter. Pat continues to get supplements on a daily basis to improve his brain function. Mom still works with Pat on “recreational eating” and while it is a constant struggle, she has great patience. The interaction Pat gets with people directly during therapy and even indirectly (such as listening to Meg’s jokes or watching her dog Henry drive the family dog Brady crazy) is really great for him. He is getting opportunities to show us that he can communicate and eventually it will be clear and consistent. One such incredible occasion occurred a few months ago. We were sitting around in the living room when my mom put her face up close to Pat’s and requested a kiss. To everyone’s surprise Pat leaned his head forward and gave her one (which was followed with kisses for Minimeg and Anne). It was one of the greatest moments I have been lucky enough to witness. He is truly determined to get better.
We have been incredibly lucky to have so many friends to support us in this journey. Uncle Breeze is at the house every Sunday morning to help Pat ride the adapted stationary bike. This is just one of the many therapies Pat partakes in. Some others include speech therapy, Journey Forward (physical rehab and workout), a weekly massage with our friend Dave, taking him to the pool at Hogan Regional and neuro-feedback. Mom is still exploring other opportunities for Pat. He may end up in a clinical study in the near future, so keep your fingers crossed! There are a lot of new ideas/theories about brain injury and how to help people like Pat get better. We are always open to new ideas – so, if you see or hear something that may help, please continue to send it on to us!
Pat has his frequent visitors, which is really a therapy for us all. Jim and Helen Burns check in almost every week….Thank you! Jimmy and Anne have made their own life changes in order to be around for our family and we are so grateful for them (Jim cooks at least 80% of meals at the Killelea house and Anne will do anything she can to help, which includes working in the yard by herself for hours to pick up fallen tree branches).
Weekends at the house are amazing. We love all the guests and it is great for Pat to have people around. He enjoys every person’s company and the support they show when they walk in the door. We understand how busy life can be and it means a lot to us to have such great friends in our corner.
Summer is approaching and we have high hopes for what the season will bring. John Meinelt and his company Double J Landscaping has continued to make the yard beautiful for us. When the sun is out, come by for a brew and a game on the bocce court. If Brett, Chris or Jimmy are playing…feel free to kick them off because they probably have been going at it all day.
Again, the Killelea household loves visitors, so please come by. We are always around on the weekend and if you want to visit Pat during the week, give the house a call to find out when he is going to be around.
Thanks for your continued love and support. We look forward to hearing/seeing you all soon.