Sunday, May 24, 2009

this is a history of the events as they unfolded..

Hi everyone who reads this blog. This is Gerry, Chris' younger brother. I have some very bad news.

Chris collapsed at home today (his kids were there) and was rushed to hospital. He has suffered a serious stroke and apparently is close to death.I am replying to his last post cause I know some of you will read this.I think you all mean a lot to my brother so I thought I would let you know.Please say a prayer for Chris.
Gerry Cariou
11:46 PM

Just an update everyone - what Chris has is a blood clot in one of the major arteries in his brain. It is not something the doctors can operate on due to its location. It is a wait and see game but he is hanging in there like I knew he would.He is conscious and able to speak although his situation is critical.

8:53 AM

I have just returned from the hospital and Chris said to thank everyone for the kind words and not to make a fuss.He is fairly lucid but very very tired, and he is slurring a bit, his headache comes and goes,but he doesn't seem to have lost any memory.

Chris was joking around even though he was very groggy...he thought that he'd be going home tomorrow..pfft..I tried to explain that he needs to just take it easy for a while.You'll be happy to know that he is teasing the staff..albeit in slow motion..but it's good to see that his personality remains intact.
I'm going back tonight after my daughter's dance's always surreal when events circumvent your routine..a great reminder that we should always embrace "ordinary" days.

4:04 PM

Hi everyoneas of around 9:00 PM May 17,
Chris was the same as what Donn describes albeit he was finally getting a bit of sleep.He is very tired and the time in emergency is starting to stress him a bit. It is very noisy and busy in the ward but they can't move him.As to treatment they are trying to determine why this event happened and to see if that helps them determine how to treat the clot, which remains near his brain.Wait and see for now...

12:48 AM

REPOSTING this from my blog FYI:

Ok just left the hospital and Chris is getting admitted tomorrow which means that he will be shuffled to a quieter ward so that he can get some sleep..aside from his nagging headache he just wants to sleep...he did sleep a little but he is very uncomfortable and restless and the IV lines are driving him crazy.

The Emerg was super busy when I got there at midnight..packed with people, beeping machines and anxious relatives helplessly pacing about. As you can imagine, it would be nearly impossible to sleep under such conditions.I told him that I loved him but not enough to donate one of my brains. Anyway, hopefully they can transfer him this morning so that he can get some real ZZZ's.The situation could be much worse so I am grateful for small mercies.

1:28 AM

UPDATE:Chris looks much better than when I last saw him at midnight..he has been admitted into the Medical Ward and he had his MRA today..the results of which will prolly be explained tomorrow..along with the course of which clot busters they will use?

From a layman's point of view, his spirits were up, he had some colour, he had slept, he could get up and go to the washroom..although he did see stars after..however he was much brighter today.I don't know if he is out of the woods or not because he is still on heparin and I don't know anything about the clot busting drugs that will be administered.

Either way he was joking around and it was very encouraging..hopefully tomorrow will be even better.

5:59 PM

Hi all - this is Chris' brother Gerry.

I just got a call from my mom. Chris has been experiencing more "symptoms" which is not a good sign. He has been rushed to the Health Sciences Centre in an ambulance. This is the best equipped facility in Winnipeg for this issue. I don't know anything more. This happened around 9:30 or so.

That is all I know - waiting to hear more back from my mom or sister who have gone to that hospital. - I may be on my way back to the Peg.

10:17 PM

It's 3 am I just got back..Chris had another TIA right in front of us and had to be intubated..he suffered some paralysis on his right side..the doctors decided to go ahead and try the clot busting agents which was very risky because he has been on thinners for 2 days and he had a lumbar fluid extraction..this is uncharted territory but they went ahead because there are two clots.

The first one has hardened and the second one that formed caused the latest TIAs and the effect was the loss of his right side...we waited and the doctor said that he had responded and had regained the use of his right side but he was still very susceptible to having a major bleed.

Basically they were trying to get Chris back to point B and once stabilized hope that the body would start deconstructing the first clot which is now hardened.So tonight he is being moved into the ICU and sedated so that his body can try to manage the powerful clot busting it is very touch and go but the return of his control of his right side is encouraging.

Now they are going to watch him like a hawk to see ifthe bleeding gets out of hand...which could be fatal. Again we can do nothing but wait and see how he does. This roller coaster ride is taking it's toll on his kids, parents and siblings...but we all remain hopeful that it works out.It's amazing because this afternoon he was bright and when we saw him this evening he was bugging us about rushing down to see him and then his eyes rolled up and he had a TIA right before our eyes.

The staff has been fabulous and his family was moved into a private heart goes out to his family..his beloved children are being brave and hopeful..Chris would be very proud of them as he always is..I'm hoping for some good news tomorrow but the next 12 hours will be very dangerous with all the powerful thinning agents circulating.

Hang in there buddy, you've got a lot of people who love you..hang in there...

3:19 AM

As of 10:20 AM there is no change and this means that Chris is not experiencing any internal bleeding form all of the clot busting agents.
Hopefully they can get him back to point B so that his body can deal with the first clot.

10:52 AM

UPDATE:Just got a call from his brother ans Chris has suffered another setback and the paralysis on his right side has returned they are rushing in to do another MRI...another hour to see the results..c'mon

Chris fight your way back to can do it..

12:05 PM

As of this evening he was breathing on his own, he did recognise his Mother, and now he has to make it through the swelling period...after that they can see what's what.

Hopefully he will be in the hospital for a few weeks and then on to rehab for a few months..which will be minimal if he is lucky.I did whisper to him that all of you were making a big fuss so hopefully that will be enough for him to snap out of it :)

7:48 PM

Wednesday MorningChris made it through the night without incident. According to his brother Gerry (who spent the entire night by his side) he is responding to questions via hand squeezes.

Chris' main threat now is brain swelling so he is under intensive observation but so far so good...which considering and hoping that the stroke phase has actually ended, means that Chris has rounded 1st base and is heading for 2nd.

Chris has an amazing family helping him and I am encouraged..I'm into the No News is Good News phase...hopefully that means that his recuperative powers are about to get medieval on his brain!

9:42 AM

Wednesday Afternoon..

The good news is that there is no bad news to report...which I interpret as positive.Let's hope that the swelling is looks like maybe, just maybe, the TIAs really are finished. I'm hoping that his family has a chance to catch their breath and regain their strength.

I hope that I can get a shift soon...I feel better when I can actually see him.If he is up to it, maybe by next week I'll bring his laptop so that he can see what fantastic friends he has out here...I did print a few pages to bring along and he'll be happy to see that the wise cracks and asshattery are back!

3:53 PM


No incidents last night and Chris is now out of the ICU but he still has a way to go get past the dnager of swelling. His parents and all of his brothers & sisters are there to support him...amazing family.I'm sneaking in there later this morning but I'm feeling a little more confident that Chris has entered a new phase...hope I'm right.

Keep those good vibes coming.

8:59 AM

This afternoon I watched Chris struggle..he is lucid at times but it's hard to tell how often our communication is getting through.

At one point he was very uncomfortable and he said something that sounded like he wanted to roll onto his other side.I said that we were 'dense' and that we couldn't figure out what he was trying to say..he opened his eyes wide and said "YES YOU PEOPLE ARE DENSE!" and we all burst into laughter.

It certainly proved that he was in the moment.I brought my Ipod and played Spaceship Orion for him ...he seemed to brings memories back and I talked it over with his family and they all said sure..I'll probably keep doing that.

Tomorrow should be a benchmark day and hopefully any swelling will start to subside and then the Doctors can assess what kind of challenges he is facing. I won't speculate about that I'll wait and let Chris show and tell us what he is really feeling...aside from being frustrated and mad and uncomfortable.It certainly seems as if he is in a different phase but that could all change in a heartbeat if the swelling subsides...which is what I am hoping.

Meanwhile his amazing family is cocooning him in a soft envelope of patient love and encouragement. It really is astounding. He is on to another ward where the neurologists can start deciphering the events of the past few days.I believe that he hears everything that we are saying and he is cognizant that when he tries to talk that it's a bit garbled and that is making him frustrated...therefore he WILL do everything in his power to rectify the situation...and he needs to rest, he looks so tired and he nods off, in and out, but Chris definitely showed up today.

I saw it with my own two eyes..he's in there somewhere and I have little doubt that in no time at all he'll be telling me off for blabbing about all of this...which is fine with me..bring it on big guy, bring it on!

10:33 PM

Please bear in mind that his outburst was very garbled and it appeared as though delivering that line took all of his strength...I don't want to be a wet blanket because it did prove that he was guess is that Chris is trapped behind the fog and that he knows what's what but can't smash through at will.

Today my hope is that he can communicate for more than a few seconds at a time.

4:49 AM


I had a little one on one with Chris after his sister left..he has been moved to a much quieter room on a different floor. Chris seemed a little calmer but his immobilized hand and arm have some swelling and he has a feeding tube.

He asked for his eye glasses, his speech is still garbly but he can get it out..he is still very within/ without..Chris dozes off after a few moments but he did seem a little more comfortable today?I put the headphones on him again and played music for him for about half an hour..poor guy I've been forcing him to listen to music I like for almost 30 years HA! Anyway he was trying to tap his fingers to Clocks by Coldplay and his eyes opened up when he heard the song "Within Without" by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

I told him that I knew that he could hear me and he squeezed my hand a little tighter. I wish that I could tell you more hard news.Maybe tomorrow. All in all, Chris seemed a little less agitated but he also seemed a little weaker..which you would expect from being stuck in a bed for a week..but the little squeeze made my day and I thought that it was better than yesterday.

10:05 PM


Laurie said...

I managed to get online specifically to see how Chris was glad he's hanging in there.

Give him my love.


Laurie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hop things are not worsening. Maybe even a little better?

Bags4Darfur said...

hey Donn.
Give that guy a sloppy kiss for me, would ya?