Live the Lion was created in an attempt to keep everyone up to date on Lance O'Cull and his road to recovery.
Lance was involved in a car accident near Morehead, Kentucky about 30 miles from where we grew up Thanksgiving weekend of 2010. He was airlifted from the scene of the accident to UK Medical Center in Lexington. The doctors told us that they could fix everything below the neck, but his brain was in God's hands. On December 22, after multiple surgeries, Lance was transferred to The Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia for an intense rehabilitation program.
It was there that Lance began to gradually emerge from a coma. Lance was discharged to home, in Vanceburg on February 17th, to continue his therapy with family.
On March 10th, Lance's 25th birthday, he stood on his feet for the first time in 103 days, with lots of help. On May 11th, Lance was accepted into Cardinal Hill's brain injury unit. There he impressed and amazed our family and friends, as well as his therapists through the progress he made everyday.
Between September 2011 and April of 2012, Lance was back and forth between Cardinal Hill's inpatient program and Shepherd Center's inpatient and outpatient program. He has had a couple minor surgeries to enhance his healing and a baclofen pump inserted to help with the tone in his body.
For the past year, Lance is back in Lewis County splitting his time with both parents. He continues to travel to Ashland 3 times a week and Lexington once a week. He is learning to walk again and we couldn't be more thrilled.
It hasn't been easy, Lance has had some setbacks and tears still fall. But he is up and running this marathon. And we are all running right along beside him.
Most of the blog entries have been made by myself, Chelcee, the big sister, Brock, our baby brother, and Dr. Johnny, our dad. Our goal is for Lance to finish this blog as soon as he is able.
God has been with Lance and our entire family, giving us strength. We give Him the Glory. He is the God of Miracles.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Yesterday, April 28th, marked the 5th month anniversary since Lance was injured. Sunday, November 28th; I'll not soon forget that day. It was the longest...and worst day of my life. Bad memory! In the wee hours of the 29th, as we sat tired and numb in a Chandler Medical Center waiting room, I recalled great moments with Lance. I savored his smile and his hugs but confidently knew that if his life were to end tonight in this hospital, he would be moving to a better place - an eternity with God.
Today, we are once again in Lexington, preparing to spend the night at UK Chandler Med Center. Lance has had a restless week; we watched him closely each day hoping that this was just some "emerging" behavior. Yesterday evening he was so engaged, so interactive, as we helped him prepare for the night. It seemed he would break out in conversation any second. I held my breath a couple of times as he was obviously trying to verbally share thoughts that were in his mind. I went to bed thinking "Tomorrow we may make some memories in this recovery process!"
Gena and I checked on him first thing, as we do each morning. We found him sweating profusely, even though house temperature was about 66 degrees. Then, as we attempted to cool him down, something happened for first time. Lance experienced a seizure. It ended a long 90 seconds later; we heaved a collective sigh of relief. However a few moments later, the seizure activity started again. We called ambulance and Chelcee helped as we prepared for quick departure. I rode in the ambulance to Fleming County Hospital where we were greeted by friends and wonderful health care workers led by a very caring man named Dr. Carrera. Enroute the medical crew, Brent and Larry, took great care of Lance. After stabilizing him there and running some diagnostic tests, he was transferred to our current location. Another fine paramedic, William, provided the hands on care in the transport ambulance.
Lance has been treated in the ER since our arrival. This is where he will be treatd overnight; the remodeled ER is very nice and the staff has been wonderful to Lance and to us. His room is more like an ICU room than a typical ER room The seizure activity stopped with medicines; he has EEG leads in place to continuously monitor brain activity overnight. Since this was a serious first time event, neurology has been very proactive in trying to get answers. A lumbar puncture was done to collect cerebrospinal fluid and test for meningitis. Clinical appearance of the fluid was favorable but final determination will be made with lab work/cultures. In the meantime he is being treated prophylacticaly with antibiotics. Also, Lance was intubated and is being breathing assisted with a ventilator. This sounds scary but should be a short term treatment with the expressed intent of monitoring brain activity while keeping him sedated and totally seizure free after having much seizure activity since the day began.
As I conclude tonight, I am humbled by each of you, your prayers, and memories......your memories that continue to keep Lance presented to God daily in prayer. I thank you and challenge you to make a memory with someone you love. Don't delay.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Lance made two trips to Lexington doctors in past week; last Wednesday he saw Dr Karandikar at Cardianl Hill and today was seen by Dr Owen at University of Kentucky after a CT scan was done. Both doctors gave favorable reports on his progress and noted that a full-scale inpatient rehabilitation is in future. It is still hard to predict when he will be ready and when it may begin, but obviously, you are praying, God is listening, and Lance is healing.
I've watched Lance take his first steps as an infant and run a marathon(one year ago this weekend). I've listened to stories about running 1.5 miles, eating a dozen doughnuts, then running 1.5 miles to the finish line in Krispy Kreme Challenge races in North Carolina and Kentucky (he actually won the 2010 Lexington event). Finally, after many months passed, Lance shared details of how he walked over a week on a lonely path in Turkey called Lycian Way. He took off in August and he traveled alone, both against published recommendations. All of these were interesting "steps in his life" but none brought more excitement than his three "walks" since the accident. The first two were with therapists Sue and Trish. #1 was 10 feet - from bed to family room door. It was slow and manipulated with the ladies manually moving left and right legs. # 2 was 30 feet - from his bed to the kitchen, where he rested on his forearms as he leaned forward on the counter. # 3 was 21 feet with Shauna and me alternating right and left legs but this time was different. Several times as we shifted weight to right foot, the left leg twitched and shakily moved forward - likewise with the right. Celebration followed, especially as we recalled the number of weeks we watched the left leg lay lifelessly on the bed with the foot turned in an un-natural position. Excitement and dancing now replaces some worry as we remembered fastening a velcro boot or bivalve night after night on that left foot and leg.
Today was another first. Of all the trips we have made in the van, this was the first one in which he actively looked out the window at the sites. I narrated as we drove to Chandler Med Center, especially as we moved along the streets of Lexington. We returned home a different route and he watched closely as we drove by horse farms on a beautiful spring day. While at the hospital we moved between buildings; he was enjoying the day so we stayed outside all we could. He took all the people, all the confusion, and the changing conditions in stride. This paragraph describes observations that are less tangible, but extremely important from my perspective.
Tonight as I lay down I feel very blessed. I am blessed with friends, and Lance is blessed with friends, and all of us are blessed with people who care - some we didn't even know before the events of Nov 28th. Max Lucado said, "The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones with the concern." I thank you for your concern; thanks for caring....and praying. I thank God for hearing our prayers AND for His miraculous healing power. All the glory goes to Him for what is happening right in front of our eyes.
Psalms 33:22 "May Your unfailing love rest upon us........since we wait with HOPE for You!"
Monday, April 11, 2011
Lance is doing great. We have continued with just standing and pivoting him instead of using the hoyer lift to get him in and out of bed. It gives him the extra exercise every day. The other day, I told him that I was tired and I really needed him to help stand up. Usually we count to 3 and then stand up, however, he was already on his feet before I even started counting. I think he really knows whats going on. He is becoming more attentive to the iPad and a couple music apps thats we've downloaded. Such as, a bongo drum, a piano and a guitar. He always moves his fingers and sometimes reaches out for the screen.
Lance has had several visitors this week. Old friends and college friends. I haven't been able to be there for most. But Dad has told me that he thought Lance really enjoyed them. Today, mom told me that Lance was trying to turn over. I haven't seen him for 4 days, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow, to see what all has changed.
There are so many people to thank every single day. People who are still... sending cards, and emails. and bringing food. and doing anything they can do to help. We can't express our gratitude enough.
ok, so if you came to the zumbathon and you ordered a red Dance 4 Lance shirt, they are here. I'm pretty sure that I've delivered them to everyone that ordered.
If you ordered a tshirt after the zumbathon, from Tara Lewis, at the Dental Office, or if you sent me an email or a facebook message, you were ordered a Live the Lion shirt, shown on the right.
I think that I've spoken to almost everyone about this. If I missed you, I'm so sorry.
The final order will be placed on this Friday. April 15th. No need to have money by then, but I need to have a final number for Impact to make them.
The smallest we can order is a child's extra small, which is a 2/4.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your size or if you have any questions.