Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 784 - Jul 22, 2010

I was thinking weird stuff today. I try not to do it, but sometimes it just happens.

So I was wondering...what do you think the doctors thought when Kevin was first brought in from the field? I have occasionally wondered if they thought there really was no hope for him. If they thought "Why bother? He's never gonna make it anyway."

I can say that the neurosurgeons here didn't believe he would ever wake up and that he would definitely never amount to anything, but it just makes you wonder - do surgeons HAVE to operate? Even if they don't feel it will help? Or do they get to make the choice?

I would say that it's people like Kevin that have to make these doctors feel good about their jobs. I know (especially in a war situation) that a lot of the outcomes aren't as good and I am just so thankful that they did the job - that they opened him up, dealt with all the broken bones, the internal bleeding, all of the burns and the fact that they had to cut out part of his brain.

But do you think they stood over the operating table though and said 'Well, we did the best we could so let's close him up and send him home to his family. I doubt he'll make it through the trip though".

Honestly, all of this is kinda morbid, I know...but sometimes I just can't help it. Sometimes I have to wonder what they thought. I know that I, myself, was ignorant to the realities. Truthfully, we weren't prepared for what had really happened - telling someone that their son has an open head wound can in no way prepare you for being told he had part of his brain cut out. But really - how could anyone say those words over the phone, right?

Ah well...just ignore me tonight. I honestly don't know why I think some of this stuff. I guess it's just because I do know what a miracle Kevin is and I am just so utterly thankful that the surgeons in both Afghanistan and at Ladstuhl (sp) really stepped up to the plate and did something that they probably thought wasn't going to make a darn bit of difference.

And I think tonight I just need to make a collective "Thank You" to all of the folks that helped on this journey; the doctors and surgeons, the nurses, the flight crews, the case managers and everyone else that I am just not naming, but that had a hand in keeping Kevin alive during the past 2 years!



Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Let's not forget all the prayers that went out for Kevin. Thank you to God for answered prayers.........AMEN

MorganM said...

I know the flight crew on the first MEDEVAC were very optimistic. It's incredible to see how far he's come from when he was first brought in. Still praying on this end!

GrannieEv said...

I personally know 3 cases similar to Kevin through my work with Soldiers' Angels. I think that now the medical staff has seen enough of these miracles that they are open to the possibility of another miracle. About making a choice, they do what they can and they do the very best they can each time. All of us are thankful when a miracle happens! Let's not forget to thank you and Breezy for Kevin's continued care!

GrannieEv said...

I feel the need to clarify my previous post - 2 of the cases are not like Kevin, much at all. These 2 wounded warriors have not made a recovery like Kevin has. They are alive and lovingly cared for by their families. Their families are thankful for each new day with them. With all of the trials you go through, you are truly blessed with Kevin.

Long-time RN said...


I can only speak from prior experiences in the medicaly field. Surgeons cut, it's what they do. If a surgeon doesn't recommend surgery, then surgery is most likely not indicated or necessary. What I found interesting with the neuro's I've worked with during years in the SICU is how many paint an outcome picture as a bit more gloomy than what they may actually feel will be the outcome. The brain is such a mystery, recovery so unpredictable. I rarely saw family pin a neuro down to a final outcome prediction unless there were repeated tests showing no brain activity.

No one could have prepared you via phone or verbally for Kevin's injuries. Again, speaking from past experience, we never expressed the severity of injuries to family over the phone; we were concerned it could effect their ability to get to the hospital safely while dealing with such news. We'd offer further explanation after family arrived to see their loved one.

Naturally questions arise about the gaps in knowing all that transpired from the start of this journey.

Kevin is a miracle! He's amazing, as are you, Leslie.

Anonymous said...

It truly is amazing! He is one tough guy! From all the surgeries and every other procedure that he's had to go through. It's really hard to believe. We watch the videos and see pictures, but wow- it is amazing!
I'm so grateful for Kevin and all who serve our country. Kevin shows us each day how strong and brave he is. He continues to be our soldier fighting each day for us! Maybe in a different way, but we all know how hard he works and appreciate it! Thank you so much for sharing all of you with us!
Take care,
Kathy in IA

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.....I think that when help arrived, the mindset of the medics is to do everything they can to keep the wounded alive until they reach the doctors. And you know doctors, they think they can do anything, and sometimes, they can! All in all, the military family is one that loves and looks out for their brothers on and off the battlefield.
I can say from experience, that the hospital staff in Landstuhl is second to none,...
I also believe that God has had his hand on Kevin throughout this ordeal. Kevin has made such strides in his recovery...and your family has been changed... and the hearts of everyone who reads your blog.
We love and pray for those who serve!

Scotty said...

Hi Leslie. There are two really awesome books that you might want to read about the subject of field docs/hospitals. One is called "On Call In Hell: A Doctor's Iraq War Story" by Cdr. Richard Jadick. The other which is really good is "Paradise General" by Dr. Dave Hnida. These both paint a very true and real story about what goes on in a field hospital and how hard the doctors there genuinely work to save their patients lives.

Jeremy Riegel said...

Leslie, I was not in the operating room during the surgery, but I was by Kevin's side in the ICU for nearly the entire time he was at Bagram. I talked to the flight crew who brought him in briefly, talked to the lead surgeon before the surgery and for about an hour after the surgery, met the flight crew that took him out of Afghanistan and to Landstuhl, and got quite close to the nurses who were caring for him in the ICU. I can tell you that they were all optimistic and reassured me that he would live, although they were not sure how far he would recover. I am quite confident that each of them did their best to provide the best care possible to ensure as full a recovery as possible. Kevin has come a long way since I saw him last, and I'm quite thankful for the great care he received in Afghanistan.

Also, please remember that through all this, you are not alone. I know there are some rough days and it seems like it's you against the world. Especially then, remember that there are lots of us out here behind you, and praying for your family. While we may not be with you physically, we are surely with you in thought and spirit.

Anonymous said...

AIRBORNE! If you know anything about the Airborne and about the Herd this should be no surprise.
Drive on!