Sunday, April 22, 2007

Update April 21(22 to most), 2007

Well, first of all, a huge blessing and thank you to my beautiful sister, Mindi, for updating my blog when I was simply incapable of doing so last night. God certainly knew what he was doing when he made us sisters. You are my very best girlfiriend and I love you dearly.

Well, your prayers must be working today in the sense that we at least have newfound strength and peace to handle each day. Here is an update on today:

Saturday, April 21, 2007
Brian woke in ICU (or at least when they would let me in during their NAZI ridiculous visiting hours) in better shape in the sense that he was much more alert and aware than yesterday. ON April 20, he had been under anesthesia for 5 hours, and then they were trying to analyze him neurologically. He was groggy and out of it and sick. He was also in pain, which they were afraid to over treat thinking it would be too hard to analyze him neurologically. Anyway, in the end, he was better this morning, not hurting as much, able to swallow and able to motion better.

Brian is still unable to move his right side arm and lip/face. He is not able to talk more than pretty much “yeah, or no”. He can shake his head, he can answer yes or know and he wants so desperately to be able to communicate his needs, but he just cannot. Dr. Edwards this morning said not to be discouraged yet. He said that he expected lots of problems post-operatively, but Brian does not seem to be improving much with respect to speech throughout the day. He did, however, shift his standard response from “yeah” to “well”. I was so happy and proud of him. He is my hero and he is superman (just ask our boys) even when he is down. He is moving his right foot and told me through gesturing and yes and no questions that he felt as though some of the right side hand functions could come back. (He can feel, but just cant move his right side) Probably the most frustrating is the speech. Imagine knowing what everything around you was said, being able to read, being able to completely know how you wanted to respond, but simply INCAPABLE of getting out the words must feel. I can’t even comprehend. I know how disappointed and frustrated I am when I can’t figure it out and he is trying so hard to tell me something. Last night, he was trying so hard to tell me something and his blood pressure was slightly rising and he was getting upset. I could not figure it out. It had something to do with the medicine that he takes and what we maybe brought with us. He kept pointing to his hip. The nurses gave up, took breaks, and even told us that they were going to have to give him blood pressure medication if he didn’t calm down (I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt – they are ICU nurses and their job is to watch stats). Jan (Brian’s mom) came in and I was telling her about it and she said, “oh his pill box that he carries around every day” at which he said, “YES” with resounding relief. He wanted to make sure he was getting his Tegretol (anti-seizure meds). They assured him he was getting anti-seizure meds and they were taking good care of him. He was so relieved. I was so proud of him for thinking of it.

He was transferred today to the neurological unit – to a room called Neurological Close Observation Room (NCOR). They are awesome in there and so much more lenient on his visiting hours (can you tell I was struggling with that? I just want to sit with him and hold his hand. I don’t even have to turn on a light or a TV). Anyway, there are 2 nurses in the room for 4 patients. It is not very private, but it is where he needs to be until he gains some functions. Today, the NCOR nurse asked me about his Tegretol because guess what??? His tegretol levels are low. Can you believe it? He was trying to tell us that last night and the ICU nurses shrugged it off and said it was all being taken care of. In the meantime, he was temporarily being given a different seizure medicine, but as soon as he started taking things orally, he was not given that anymore and his tegretol levels had dropped, as he had feared while in ICU the night before. So, he is at risk for seizures, but they are working to catch him up on his dose.

Okay, so a lot to take in. Bottom line, he understands, tries to communicate and tries to move, but cannot speak more than a couple of words and can only barely move his right leg. He is supposed to meet with physical and speech therapy tomorrow. Speech therapy is supposed to have a communications board, which is a board that Brian can point to to express some basic needs. We are doing fine in the hospital, but it would be very challenging at home when his needs are more complex.

On a totally separate note, Brian’s mom, Jan O’Neill, who is here for support for Brian as well as his brothers and his dad and myself, was diagnosed a few weeks ago with Atrial Fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm. One of the side effects of this particular condition is weak, but rapid pulse, accelerated heart beat and changes in blood pressure. Her condition was reversed, but came back 2 days before they left for California. She has been experiencing some problems here with heart rate and weak pulse. It takes a lot of playing around with the medications, but her cardiologist is back in Peoria. Anyway, today she was in the ER at Stanford due to the above condition. They have adjusted her medication to control the heart rate, but she easily gets winded and needs to be very careful.

Anyway, we could use some prayers for the following:

The pathology that they are going to reveal early this week

Brian’s postoperative condition – speech, right side weakness.

Jan’s heart

Gavin and Grant to handle our absence (Gavin has been crying a lot for missing me)

For my mom, Karen, to be able to handle the kids and the challenges that come with them. She is doing great so far and I thank God for that and I bless her for that.

The ability to take one day/one challenge at a time

Angie, Brian, Gavin and Grant O’Neill


  1. Another new day - more good news. Brian - you are a trouper, (superman in your boy's mind). I guess patience is going to be a word in your vocabulary for the next couple of days - and I'm sure you'll be able to handle this. Just don't forget how much everyone loves you and is praying for you and your family. Angie - I can tell you some funny stories when john was on a ventilator and trying to communicate with his hands and writing and I still couldn't figure out what he wanted. You'll figure out what he needs. Jan - Hope the medication is working and you're feeling better. Hello to all of the O'Neills.

    You are all in our prayers and thoughts.

    God Bless

    Love you
    Jane & John

  2. Brian and Angie, we are all thinking about you and praying that the Holy Spirit gives you and your family the strength to meet these challenges. With God's lovng hand you are stronger than you can ever imagine.

    God Bless

    Mark and Sue

  3. Thanks, Angie, for taking the time to post these updates when you have so,so many other things to think about right now. It is a testament to the way you and Brian have lived your lives and care about others that you have so many people waiting for these updates, and that, even now in this hard time, you care enough about others to keep us informed. We are blessed to have friends like you. With thanks and love, John, Heather, Jack and Luke

  4. I am a good friend of Jan & Ed from way back beginning in HongKong. I have known Brian since birth and have followed the lives of all 3 O'Neill boys. Thank you Angie for keeping us all updated on Brian's progress. I am amazed at your faith, your strength and your positive attitude. God bless you, Brian and the boys. You have been and will continue to be always in my thoughts and prayers. Please let Jan and Ed know that I said hello. Jan, keep on truckin.
    Love to all,

  5. Angie:

    Remember our conversation this morning. "10 minute plan, one step at a time and babysteps".

    God bless you both. We are keeping the prayers coming.

    All my love

  6. Just wanted you to know we are thinking about you guys and you are in our prayers. Glad to hear Brian seems to be alert on his own needs even if the nurses aren't. Figures!

    We know God is looking over you guys and all of your family. two keep our little problems of life in perspective. I know God doesn't give you any more than you can handle. Just take each day as it comes and know you have our support as well as so many friends and relatives. (helps coming from a big family)

    Love to you all,
    Ken and Cindy

  7. I check this blog every few hours waiting for more good news, i just know its going to come. I think that brian being aware of his surroundings, knowing he was without his medications is remarkable. He knows more than we do and just needs a little more time to heal before everything starts to fall into place. Ive never known any great bible verses or had much biblical advice but i do know brian, he is one determined man angie, that strength in his right side will return. Hang In there, i think of you and your family and pray for you every day.

    We love you
    Lisa and kids

  8. Angie & Brian, I thank God for the wonderful things He has already done for you and praise Him for continuing to grant you all the desires of your heart.

    My grandfather's favorite scripture was Proverbs 3:5-6. I try to live by these words and they have not failed me. I recommend them to all of you.

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths.

    God is faithful; His mercies are new every morning (just as you need them He will supply them).

    My love and prayers are continually with all the family.

    I'm Charlesetta, Karen Taylor's Mom.

  9. Praise God, for the many little details, He is taking care of,
    step by step, guiding, and bringing healing into Brian.

    Praying for Jan also, that her heart is restored, renewed, the way God created it.
    To be able to be with her son, the reason she is there to begin with.

    God bless,
    we keep believing,
    looking forward to reading more Praise reports.
    Love you Marjo

  10. Hi Angie,

    I have been reading all the blog posts and I know that things have been slow going for you and Brian, but I am encouraged by the progress that he is making. I am sorry that I didn't get to see you when you were here and say goodbye and I didn't realize until tonight that today was Grant's last day at preschool.

    It was nice getting to know you at LMO and it would have been nice to be able to get to know you and your family a whole lot better. I just want you to know that we will continue to lift you all up in prayer and I am glad that you will soon be settled in Illinois and soon reunited with your children.

    Angie, you truly amaze me how you face adversity head-on and stay so strong through all of the challenges that are thrown your way. You are an inspiration to me on what a devoted wife should look like and I admire how you can be ther for Brian and care for all of his needs.

    If there is anything that we can do for you on this end to help with the move, please let me know and us ladies at SVBC will jump on it right away. Take care of yourself, Brian and those 2 beautiful boys and hopefully our path will cross again one day.

    God bless,