Saturday, February 28, 2009

Inch by Inch

Sorry it's been a few days since I've posted. I've spent much of my time during the day napping, reading The Monkey Wrench Gang courtesy of Andrew Cole, and trying to stay on top of emails. The last few nights I've started cranking up a fever just when I was going to put up a post, so, I passed out instead. In any case, there has been some good progress I think. In addition to improving my skills with the bedpan, during my wound care yesterday all the toes on my left foot were looking pretty pink, which is excellent. I'm very curious to see my feet this afternoon at 2pm when I take my next "shower."

My mom had to head home this morning which is a big bummer and will be really hard on her. Yesterday she went out to the grocer store for me and came back with an enormous yummy salad, a bunch of fruit, some chips and guacamole. Between that and the Taft family gift basket I'm living large on the food front. The hospital food is pretty good, it just doesn't come across as all that healthy.

My friend Morgan Putnam is coming in this afternoon and will be here tomorrow as well, which is pretty cool. He's one of my best buds from high school and is doing a phd program out at Cal Tech these days. Kid's wicked smart. He's nicern'n hell to and a load of fun, so I'm really looking forward to that. I just wish we could sneak out and take a few runs at Alta as long as he made the trip.

Getting back to my feet, last night was an unusual but exciting experience. I was getting ready to hop back on the computer so naturally I got real warm, and then my feet started burning. You know that feeling during a hot summer run when your feet are prickly hot and ready to blister? And you can feel the blood throbbing in every vein? Well, for the first time I think I felt that hot, burning, throbbing sensation in all my toes, even the big ones. On the other hand, I know that the mind can play tricks with this stuff so I'm not letting myself get too optimistic. In addition, even if I am getting blood flow, if the tissue has been sitting without blood long enough it may not recover. In any case though, that was the first time that keeping all my toes went from an abstract goal to a concrete possibility in my mind. So, let's keep our fingers crossed eh?

Thanks again to everyone for the flood of support, it's pretty overwhelming. For those of you who have sent me emails, I sooo appreciate it and am slowly responding as I have the energy.
I also can't thank everyone enough for the postcards, notes, phone calls, blog comments, views, g-chats, and everything else. I feel so lucky to have such a great support crew scattered throughout the country and the world -- all of you just blow me away. Thanks.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Something to look forward too

So, one of our good friends Anderson thought this would be a good picture to post...something to look forward to Chris...hanging out in Richfield and eating enormous amounts of food...I think that was his second sandwich that day ;)

Some Pictures

The blog was looking too wordy. We need some pictures. These are the only ones I have on my work computer. If someone wants to post some, send them to me or Allen and we will get them up. Childhood photos would be nice, preferable something embarassing to Chris.

Grand Teton Races - 2006
This is the year that I met Chris. I had done the 50 miler the day before and he won the marathon that year.

This is a picture of Chris, me and our friend Cole after a great run up Static Peak and back through Grand Teton National Park. We started and ended at the new Rockfeller Intepretive Center in the park.

This picture was taken on top of Death Canyon Shelf in the park. We did this run with our friends, Kris and Julie and it was a spectacular day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Clean and refreshed!

So today went pretty well so far. That was the first time I've ever needed heavy narcotics to take a shower, but it went pretty well. After I got washed down the nurses went on the attack, trimming away all of the dead skin from the blisters on my feet and left hand. It took a couple quick shots of iv painkillers to help me through the process, but it worked out okay. No real answers came out, other than that I will definitely require some skin grafting for my feet.

It's difficult to tell just how deep some of the dead tissue goes, but as we go along here there'll be more encounters with sharp objects to sort that out. I'm back on standard system-wide blood thinners again to try and persuade more blood towards my toes. Other than that, I've discarded a lot of tubes and wires. The catheter is now out so I get to practice my road trip peeing technique pretty frequently.

It's been so great to hear from so many people over the past few days. It's almost hard to remember what's going on when the phone is always ringing and the emails and comments are pouring in. I don't know how I'll ever be able to thank all of you for your incredible support through this but it all means just so much to me.

I feel so lucky to have such great family and friends. The efforts that have been made to clear schedules, make phone calls, travel down here, and take care of my business back home have been unbelievable. A very special thanks to Lori for being the best part of my life and for everything she's done for me. Without her I likely would not have gone to the hospital until it was far too late to save anything. She was also the voice of reason when I was unsure about coming to Salt Lake. I could never list all of the ways that she makes my life better, but those are certainly the most immediately relevant examples. I couldn't imagine a better friend and partner for all of the ups and downs of life.

Not sure what's on the schedule for tomorrow, other than some physical therapy. I'll get to stand up on my heels! Not exactly a thrill ride, but it'll be something.

Allen appears to have a misstatement of fact in the FAQs, I may have been a bit fatigued, but not tired. It's cool, just want to be sure that it's known that I don't endorse the use of the "t" word.

Mailing Address

University of Utah
University Hospital
c/o Christopher Lundberg
Burn Trauma 4th Floor Room 6
50 North Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84132

Answers to a few frequently asked questions

Are there people in the Salt Lake City area that are able to hang around and support Chris? Yes!!! Lori drove home on Tuesday and I flew home on Tuesday, but my dad is still there through Wednesday and my mom flew in on Tuesday and will be there until Saturday. Chris also has some high school friends coming to visit this weekend and maybe early next week. The bonus however is Chris has a really good friend (Andrew Cole) that is finishing up his residency at the same hospital, so that is a huge help from a support stand point. Plus, now Chris will be able to sit-up and e-mail, etc. more so he will feel more in touch with everyone :)

Did Chris really think the trip would only take 3 hours? No!!! That was my mistake...when listening to the story over and over again, I so how got it in my head that it was supposed to be a short trip and at the time, that made sense. Obviously, the day trip took longer than expected, but they weren't off by 20 hour (although it was quite funny that those that know Chris pretty well were not surprised at the possibility of a 20 hour miscalculation). I promised Chris I would clear that bad ;)

How is the Lundberg family doing? Well, about as well as could be expected. It depends on the time of day I guess. It was nice to see my mom for a second and that she was able to make the trip. It is also nice that her and my can be there together before he heads of to Kansas for work. I am so/so...I mean I am happier than can be that nothing worse happened to Chris, but when someone as important as a younger brother gets hurt in anyway, it is tough to deal with and all I want to do is help him get better and wish I could have been their to protect him in the first place ;)

How is Chris' friend? Derek is ok...a little tired, but nothing major. There are so many factors that could cause one person to ok and another to not in a situation like this. All I know is that when I talked with Chris on his birthday a week ago, he was tremendously excited about the ski and thought that Derek was the best skier he had ever met, so he knew he was going to have to do his best to keep up ;) So, my guess is although Chris is very fit, that his body just got too tired and he couldn't produce enough heat anymore in addition to his choice of socks, etc. It is just one of those things...on a different day; there could have been a much more positive result for an excursion like this.

From Lori

When Liz (Derek’s girlfriend) and I were waiting to hear from the guys as they skied out Saturday night, I thought about how I was lucky enough to have Chris in my life, even as I worried about him. It made me remember what someone told me about how you have to embrace people in your life for who they are and not try to change them. That’s a difficult concept at 3:30am waiting for a loved one to return. It’s easy to think that someone will change for you because they do something that could be conceived as dangerous and harder yet to think that they can’t change. Because if they change, they die a little bit inside.

Anyone who knows Chris knows that he is exactly who he should be, his truest self. It’s not stupidity and far from a death wish, but the other side of it, living life fully. People like Chris and Derek smile all the time; they are the best company in the world, totally positive, giving and grateful. I think because they get out and do long trips in the mountains, it soothes everything in them. Running and skiing to them is like breathing to others.

I just think Chris going to be okay, not right away and not without great expense but he will be fine. And back to doing what he does. I can’t wait to get him home.

Because it’s a blog, I’ll end with a quote:

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

Henry David Thoreau (who also has a sweet beard)

Just a note to those concerned with Chris’s beard, his beard was in not harmed in any way during his hospitalization. He did however get a little manscape-ing down there for the central lines. Pictures to follow.
Be well,

Cleaning Up...

It Sounds like Chris gets a shower today! a much needed thing. Then they will cut back the blisters to see what the tissue looks like underneath for the skin grafts, so this will be a big day for Chris. I am sure the shower will feel great and the progress towards "answers" will be good too :)

Typing With Fat Fingers . . .

First off, it's been pretty amazing to hear from so many folks over the last few days. Thanks to all of you, it really means a lot to me. As far as important progress updates, well, the big ones won't happen for a few weeks at the earliest. I might get pretty stoked about getting the tubes out of me femoral arteries so that I can sit up and bend my legs, but I realize that's a bit less exciting to most of you. So I'll try to post when something meaningful happens down here in Salt Lake, or when I head back up to Jackson or whatever.

The big question, I assume, is whether or not I get to go through an amputation as a result of the frostbite. Like Allen has noted, that's a difficult question to answer right now. I can say that my fingers are in pretty good shape, though swollen and blistered, so I ought to be keeping those I hope. On my left foot, the biggest question marks are my big and little toes, though all of the toes are somewhat vulnerable. The right foot is the bigges issue though -- at this point about half of my foot and all my toes are at risk. The extent of all of this depends on how I recover over the next couple weeks.

What I can say for sure at this point is that regardless of what does or does not get lopped off of my feet, I won't be slowed down. It's a setback for sure, but we've all had setbacks and dealt with them over time. This is just one more challenge. I had been hoping to race the Eugene Marathon in May this year, which probably won't be happening. It's probably a bit early to commit to a race right now, but I'll be aiming for something in the spring of 2010. I'll also try to put some updates about that up over the next few months.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The First Few Days

Over the last three days, all of the treatment that Chris has received has had a positive result. Unfortunately, that means very little in the long run. Although the discoloration in his feet has changed dramatically from black/gray to purple to patches of purple, and the feeling is returning to most of these areas, but that doesn’t mean that his feet, toes, and fingers are safe. We will know more after the next two weeks or so. Also, there will be issues of infection and blood clotting to worry about from here on out in addition to tissue damage. From an external perspective, the initial treatment has been very successful, but ultimately it will be the internal result that will matter the most. So, Chris is on the right track, but still needs things to continue this way.
Chris is currently struggling with caffeine withdrawal. He is unable to consume caffeine until the fate of his feet, toes, and fingers has been decided and any necessary surgical procedures have been completed. So, you could imagine what his head feels like right now. Therefore, it is difficult for him to make phone calls because of the pain in his head. Also, until this afternoon Chris has been limited to a laying-down only position, so e-mailing has been tough too. Hopefully over the next couple of days, his severe headache will improve and he will be able to sit-up and type and possibly talk on the phone.
If you would like to send Chris anything or visit him over the next week and a half, he will be at the University of Utah Medical Center: University Health Care 50 North Medical Drive Salt Lake City, Utah 84132. Over the next couple of days, we will let you know the address of where Chris will be staying in Jackson Hole, WY if everything goes as planned.
Thank you all again for all of your support during this difficult time and check back for updates.

Background Information

On Saturday Chris and a friend climbed into the Tetons for a back country cross-country ski that ended up taking 23 hours due to more difficult skiing than they imagined, a dramatic change in weather (the temp started at 40ish and dropped to -10ish by the end), and the navigation issues that go along with skiing in the back country. With the combination of the dramatic temperature change and the exhaustion of skiing for such a long period of time, Chris' feet and fingers went from sweaty to frozen and his body could not produce enough heat to unfreeze them. The doctors at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming hospital decided that the best chance of saving his right foot and toes, left toes and left finger tips was to fly him down to the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Upon arriving in Salt Lake, Chris was admitted to the "burn unit" and started undergoing treatment for the severe frostbite. This process is expected to take up to three weeks, including out-patient therapy. The entire recovery process (regardless of the result of the treatment) will take at least six months, but after the first three weeks, he should be able to leave the hospital.

Chris is in as good of spirits as could be expected, but he is obviously very concerned about the future of his feet and hand. The doctors tell him that in the situation he was in, he made the right choice by continuing down the mountain rather than stopping to build a fire, etc. which makes him feel a little better. Plus, he had a blast skiing with the exception of the frostbite and thinks that it was the hardest workout he has ever completed.

We are all thankful that Chris is alive and hoping that he gets through this with the least amount of damage and without any complications in response to the treatment he is receiving and throughout the recovery process.