When Dave Hess was severely injured Nov. 20, 2002, after his all-terrain vehicle fell on top of him as he was loading it into his truck, his family started a Web page on the Caring Bridge Web site to keep family and friends updated on his condition.
The following are a few of the posts that document Hess' struggle to live. Doctors gave him a 2 percent chance of survival with the injury and complications he suffered in the accident.
* Saturday, Dec. 21, 2002 -- David is being brought out of the sedation he has been on for three weeks and it has not been easy for him. He awakes sometimes not remembering where he is and sometimes explaining to him doesn't register. ... I see the frustration in his eyes. ... His restlessness has set him back on the ventilator. He was down to two breaths per minute but is back to 10 now. ... Thank you all for your prayers which I know will continue. - Deb (Dave Hess' mother.)
* Thursday, Dec. 26, 2002 -- This will be a difficult update today. David did not have a good last few days. ... One of the fistula (hole in his intestine) began to bleed. They tried to stitch it, but being so inflamed they had little confidence it would hold, which it did not. ... Thank you all who donated blood at work. David has received 30-plus units so far. ... His heart is beginning to show signs of how hard it has been working. It began to beat irregular and didn't get the blood flow it needed. It was 4-1/2 hours before they were able to get it to beat normal. ... The basic tests they did yesterday were good and show no signs of damage or heart attack, so pray it is just another bump in this long road back. Love, Deb.
* Friday, Dec. 27, 2002 -- To all of you who enjoy the toys of the world, please respect them. David's was a freak accident but I have met three other families in the ICU who are here because of ATV accidents. Love, Deb.
* Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2003 -- Praise the Lord!!! I arrived yesterday to hear my son say, "Hi, Mom." You talk about joy and excitement. It was great to have tears of happiness for a change. I couldn't quit kissing him. The doctor said he gets an A+ for how he is doing on his breathing. His second words to me were when was I taking him home. I said the doctor hasn't given us a time frame. With all the progress he sees, it is hard to explain his insides have a long way to go. ... Love, Deb.
* Friday, Jan. 10, 2003 -- David stood for the first time in eight weeks yesterday. - Deb.
* Monday, Jan. 13, 2003 -- The big task for the doctor is to get the insides to start mending like the outside of his body. He will be trying something new today. Since David is out of the textbooks, as no one has survived what he has gone through, everything is experimental and it will be trial and error until they find the magical fix. -Deb.
* Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2003 -- Surgery went wonderful. The next week will be a tough one for David, as he has the drain tube back in his stomach and will not be allowed to have anything to drink, eat, no therapy or getting out of bed. ... Continue to send your witty notes, as they have made David smile and chuckle. - Deb.
* Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003 -- David's surgery went fine. He now has his Hickman line, which he will receive his nutrition through for the next year plus. He is going to have another surgery today as they will attempt to put a tube into his stomach that will help elevate some of the drainage from the fistulas, allowing the contaminants to have a better chance of being contained and removing him from the pump. - Deb.
* Monday, Feb. 17, 2003 -- This update is weighing heavy on my heart. I have done a lot of praying and crying this weekend. David has headed backward. ... Dr. Baxter feels he will need to be hooked to a pump and drain for at least a year, while he heals inside to allow them to perform the surgery to hook everything back together and close him. We are trying to focus on how very thankful and blessed we are to have David with us, but it is not easy to be looking at putting your son/brother/significant other in a long-term care facility at an age where he should be enjoying life. - Deb.
* Thursday, Feb. 27, 2003 -- Today marks 100 days since David's accident. He has come a long way in those 100 days. ... He now can get up and down by himself and has been walking about 60 feet round trip. - Deb.
* Monday, March 24, 2003 -- Hello everyone, it is finally me! I can't begin to tell you how much this has meant to me. The cards, the letters, the phone calls. It all helped me get through this to where I am today. Thanks to each and every one of you. Please keep it all still coming. I still have a long road ahead of me and I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you! I want to give a big thanks to all of my family. I can't even begin to imagine what it was like for them all to see me lying there not knowing what each day would bring. ... I guess you just sometimes don't stop to think how much the little things in life really mean until you have to endure something like this. It is truly sad that it takes something like this to actually make you think like that. ... Love, Dave.
* Wednesday, June 4, 2003 -- David is back in the hospital and is very sick. - Deb.
* Friday, Nov. 21, 2003 -- It has been a trying year for me but a lot of people in my life are dealing with a lot of things a lot worse than I am. I realize it was only a year and really looking back on it there isn't much that I missed that I won't have an opportunity to do again in the future. Love, Dave.
* Monday, Dec. 22, 2003 -- David will be spending Christmas and New Year's in the hospital again this year. He became very sick a little over a week ago, so to the ER we went. ... Love, Deb.
* Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2004 -- Thank the Lord for giving us back David with all plumbing back where it should be. Dr. Baxter and two other surgeons were able to put everything back where it should be and only in eight hours instead of the 12 they thought. He is going to be sore for a long time but has visions of all that food he is going to taste soon. Dr. Baxter said he would be sitting down having a steak with him before he goes home. ... - Love, Deb.
* Monday, Feb. 2, 2004 -- After the surgery I woke up with four incisions on my belly. Three run up and down and one runs side to side. ... The central line also is coming out later today. ... There is still a lot of pain in my tummy area. Not sure how long I will be stuck in here. It all depends on how well my stomach takes to food. ... Love, Dave.
* Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2004 -- I'M GOING HOME!!!!!!!! THE END! Love, Dave.
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