A CaringBridge website giving updates about Ed's condition has been set up by the family. Use this link to go directly to Ed's site We're pasting in most of the updates below. The Rally for Ed held on November 9 was powerful and drew over 600 cyclists. Read about the event or see our slideshow.
January 2, by Ed Farrar. Back into the familiar, but different. My trip home was spent strapped into the back of a Ballard Cabulance with full on 4 point restraints, as we speared through passes opening and closing. Special thanks to Ballard Ambulance. They have been great ever since they picked me up at the scene of the accident, and if they had not been willing to come get me this week, I would probably still be waiting on the west side! The 'tie down" was necessary for me and my chair, but it does make you feel a bit like a cargo shipment!
Cindy and I settled into the hospital at the Wenatchee Valley Medical Center and immediately began to feel more at home than we have in weeks. However, there are always glitches when you try to do business on a holiday weekend. The little "detail" on this one had to do with finding a padded chair for daily functions and showers. Now this may seem trivial to most, but for a paraplegic with a barely healed pressure sore, the proper padding for a tender backside can be critical. The staff at WVMC (OT and PT) went above and beyond on New Year's Eve, and came up with a modified seat that saved the day. Then we started trying to find one of the actual padded chairs, and opened up the "Holiday Can of Worms"!
Turns out that this seat is a rather special item, and not available anywhere in the valley... so we call the manufacturer. "Yes, we have received the order, and yes, it has been approved.. but that chair won't be available for two more weeks"! Certain bodily functions simply won't wait two weeks! So, the staff at WVMC called Harborview. Turns out that although Harborview has many of these chairs around, they are all on "loan" from the vendor, and not available to be sent to Wenatchee. So... we called the vendor, and of course got the message: "Sorry to have missed your call, I will be out for the Holidays, and will return next Tuesday. Have a Happy New Year!". Fortunately, Cresap Orthotics came to the rescue and fabricated something on incredibly short notice! This kind of vulnerability is the reality that patients with Spinal Cord Injury must accept as part of everyday life. Something as simple as sitting on the wrong surface can lead to weeks of treatment for skin breakdown! I don't like these new rules, but that doesn't change them. I guess it is part of "growing up" in this new world!
January 1, by Cindy Farrar. Happy New Year 2009!! Ed rang in the New Year with his first night in the Wenatchee Valley Hospital Rehab. As you can see from the new photo, he traveled by Ballard Cabulance today from Harborview. Despite delays on the pass waiting for avalanche control to clear the roads, he arrived ready to meet the crew there and begin the last leg of his rehab before coming home. We leave behind some great nurses and techs at HMC, but we are both relieved to be back on home turf.
Ed spent his last few days in Seattle tying up loose ends regarding wheelchair fittings and therapies. We did manage to take a "Farrar field trip" to shop for vans and Ed was able to actually try out the ramps and special features available. What an interesting endeavor to transfer him from his wheelchair to my Subaru Outback. He is becoming so agile, he manages the move with finesse! We even stopped for (drive-up window) coffee on the way back to the hospital. Even though I was a bit nervous driving with my fragile cargo (Ed), it felt nice to be doing something as "normal" as running errands together. Slowly life is beginning to achieve balance.
December 30, by Cindy Farrar. And so the Seattle segment of this adventure will come to a close soon. I (Cindy) had so many plans for projects I wanted to carry out while here in the city. The home we own here is in need of TLC, but.... I have been placing all of my TLC "tokens" in the HMC meter in room 452. Haven't had any left over for much else.
After figuring out how to navigate the parking deck and halls of such a huge hospital, Harborview has become like a second home. I travel around in it's slightly scary decks and hallways like a veteran hospital dweller. Which I am. I have been haunting hospitals full time for 10 weeks now. I'm not sure that I remember what "normal" is anymore. When I am there, I want to get out and once I am out, I can't seem to get focused on much of anything but getting back in there! It's a repetitive circle. At the center of this circle is Ed...daily learning bits and pieces of how to function in new ways. The learning curve has been impressive for me as well. I know that in a short time, we will be on our own...back at home. Then I will be trying to recall things I should have been writing down :):) Now the real work begins!
As always, I am grateful for so many friends and acquaintances who have helped soften the edges of this event with such heartfelt letters and comments. When the dark clouds of dismay begin to gather overhead, I gather encouragement from so many well wishers. Thank you for that. Thank you for providing both of us (Ed and me) with a purpose beyond our daily stresses, angers, fears and struggles with the winds of fate. Who could have predicted that a web site set up to keep family informed would end up with a life of it's own? A personality of sorts. A receptacle for not just Ed's story but also the source of a continuity of connection from which we have all benefited. How impressive is that?!?!
December 28, by Ed Farrar. It is the beginning of my last week of rehab here at Harborview, and I am amazed that almost a month has gone so quickly. I have learned the basics of living as a paraplegic and have had very qualified therapists dialing in the right wheelchair geometry for me. They even pressure mapped my rear on the seats I will be using! Harborview is great at teaching patients basic skills as well as fitting chairs to people. However, going all the way to our home would be sketchy right now. So, I am fortunate to be able to complete my rehab at the Wenatchee Valley Medical Center Rehab unit.
I will be transferred to the WVMC Rehab on December 31 and expect to stay in-patient there for the first two weeks of January. This means I will have a completed bedroom and actual "handicapped" bathroom to come home to in mid January. Our friends (who are also our contractors for the remodel) have been working overtime to get this done. They have been amazing when you consider that the temps have been in the teens and single digits for much of the past month.
This next couple of days here will be spent putting together the nuts and bolts of wheelchair, transport, and the day-to-day tools I will need. A "field trip" to Absolute Mobility is on the agenda for Monday..I think Cindy has plans to tempt me with some very cool motorized purchases.
Yesterday, I learned how to change the wheels on my wheelchair all by myself.. yea, you have to think about that one for a minute! The key turns out to be a padded "workbench" for your rear, so that you have a good place to transfer to before turning your chair over on it's side and working on it. The other important thing is to remember to set the brake on the chair before spinning it over. Without the brake, this move can send the chair rolling out of reach! Even if it is only an inch outside of your scary stretched out body (plus grabber), it is still out of reach, and you are in a pretty hopeless situation. This is when family and friends (and the right workbench) are critical. The actual change is a snap. Someone realized the benefit of a "quick release" mechanism for the wheels and a small section of axle. The result is a pretty good parlor trick, as you pop wheels on and off.
There are almost as many wheel options for this new sport as there are for cycling, so a quick change skill will be handy. Not surprisingly, there are familiar names on these rims and tires- the same ones I have on my bicycles! It will be interesting to compare the price tags, since these will be "medical supplies". Then again, after 2 and 1/2 months in the hospital, it may not be wise for me to look at any "price tags" right now!
December 26, by Ed Farrar. Tubeless in Seattle. 'Twas was the night before Christmas, and here in the hospital I had been biding my time, tending my feeding tube with care. This "gift" had been placed so they could inject creamed food down there... with no argument from higher sources, such as my mouth! For those who have not seen a "PEG" tube, it is a plastic tube about 8mm in diameter that connects your stomach with the great outdoors. It is critical for survival when an intubated patient needs to be fed. The downside is that it has to remain in for at least 6 weeks, even when you no longer need it. During this time, it becomes a pretty grungy piece of plastic protruding out of your abdomen- something that suggests a breathing tube for "The Alien".
It was a joyful day when Dr. Al Smith sent me a text message that the "thing", could come out! So it was that early on Christmas Eve, the "GI team" (gastroenterologists), came to visit. They put a towel over my lower face so I would not get splattered, and then gripped the tube for a "solid pull". I caught a brief glimpse of my abdomen tenting up, and then with a "plughuf", the alien was born! I checked to make sure that gastric contents were not spilling out, and was reassured to see just a splatter (as promised- what's the matter?). So it was that I became tubeless in Seattle. This may sound silly to some, but being free of all tubes has finished a chapter in this saga! We all celebrated by getting me into Cindy's car and going out to dinner at Dr. Wagner's house. It was my first time truly out in the real world in over 2 months, and it felt GREAT! Clearly an opportunity to celebrate and ring in the holidays!
Things do get better.
December 24, by Cindy Farrar. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Farrar Family!
We hope you all have a warm and cheerful holiday filled with family and love. Words cannot convey the gratitude we feel for the care and concern we have been blessed with through this web site. Each and every one of you are special to us and a constant source of joy. Reading your letters has become a daily encouragement for Ed and I. Thank you all for your support of our family.
We will spend Christmas with friends and it's very likely that we will be able to bring Ed along with us. Just today he learned how to transfer from his wheel chair to a car seat....so, if the weather will behave, we'll be able to include him in our holiday celebrations. For that, we'll be grateful.
Cheers to all!
December 23, by Ed Farrar. Since the day-to-day routine has settled here, the updates may stretch out a bit. Of course the same thing happens to time itself after you have been living in a hospital for a few months, so please bear with me.
I am currently learning to live out of a wheelchair with a pretty painful right shoulder. This is worrisome indeed. I checked around the body here, and there aren't many "motors" left once the lower half goes on strike. Fortunately, it works fine once I am in the chair. It is the transferring in and out that is challenging. An MRI will fully diagnose this latest little present from the accident, and is in the works.
In the mean time, I am learning all about wheelchairs. You would not believe the array of custom fittings and materials! The goal is to fit the chair to your body and your neurologic level with a minimum amount of extra "stuff". Lighter is better, just like in bicycles. For paraplegics, a lighter chair means less wear on your upper extremities, and of course for cyclists, a lighter bike means you go faster up hills. Titanium is a favorite for chairs, just like bicycles, so I was searching out a titanium chair. This led to a conversation with the CEO of "Tilite" a top-line company. A pleasant surprise was that this company is located in Tri-cities Washington, just a few miles from Wenatchee! However, the really interesting piece of info was that they produce thousands of titanium bicycle frames that are shipped out to bicycle companies, then "detailed" and sold! You just never know how things might be connected! It took me a long time to learn that the same applies to people. Once this lesson is learned, you find less of your foot in your mouth!
December 21, by Ed Farrar. Well, Sundays are sleepy days around the rehab unit on most normal weekends, but the snow and ice storm here in Seattle has nearly shut down the city! The result is that many of the nurses could not get home last night, and almost none of the CNA's made it in today. Fortunately, I had lots of goodies to share! Once again I have been fortunate to find another "family" here at Harborview. The commitment of the nurses here is really something~ many have chosen to spend years working with patients whose lives have been turned upside down by tragedy. The reality is that hours are spent helping us learn all over how to do some of the most basic things in life. When your body will no longer go to the bathroom without specialized skills, you are pretty helpless. It is quite a simple reality: learn these skills from these "angels" or die from organ failure. The gratitude comes easy, and there is no humility.
On a day like today, Cindy and I have plenty of time to read Caring Bridge. Once again, we thank all who write in. Today the piece from Oscar Wilde was particularly moving. (The image of the wild Jeep ride was also enticing!)
December 20, by Ed Farrar. Christmas Season at Harborview:It is always bittersweet to spend the Holidays in the hospital. In years past, it was when I drew the short stick and ended up taking call, now it feels a lot more permanent. However, friends have made sure that we were fitted with trees and decorations! I actually have two Christmas trees, a poinsettia, and a Christmas teddy bear that sings carols! The decos have completely filled the only shelf in the room, and definitely give a jingle to the Puget Sound view that my window provides.
The goals for next week may include some time outside the hospital if weather permits. We keep getting snow and ice, which are not great for a newby in a wheelchair. Since I can't feel my legs, I have to be extremely careful in cold temps, and that may take some creative clothing strategies. Seems that all sense of "Fashion" has left my life right now- so bundling up to look like a marshmallow makes perfect sense regardless of what it takes! Cindy got online and found some pants that are made for those of us who "sit for a living", so I may get a bit more stylish in a couple of weeks. Right now it is definitely the baggies that work, as I have to slide them on while lying in bed (an interesting exercise in itself).
The good news is that the area on the backside seems to be healing, so I may get to do more of the therapy. Part of the protection for this is the return of some "buttock" tissue. I have been eating like a man who starved for 6 weeks (go figure), and now even my abdomen pooches out. This is mostly because there are no innervated abdominal muscles, but it is tough on a guy who actually has an "ab machine" sitting next to his desk in his office! Since I can't really tell myself to "suck it up", I will just remind myself that I must "just get used to it" regarding this new body, (and that I am alive to complain about it).
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season! Thanks for reading!
December 19, by Cindy Farrar. Hello from icy Seattle. Those of us who live out here in the NW know that Seattle essentially shuts down in snow and icy conditions. Cars crash into each other..few drivers have all wheel drive..the city doesn't own enough snow plows and sanders...people don't make it to work. Therefore, Thursday was a quiet day in rehab for Ed. This is probably a blessing as it gave his shoulder another day to rest. He participates in rehab activities Monday through Saturday with Sundays off.
We were able to have a lively visit with our office crew friends at the Wenatchee Orthopedics Christmas party last night via Skype. What a treat to see all of their smiling faces on our computer. I think it did wonders for lifting Ed's spirits. Thanks to all of them for setting that visit up. We wish we could have been there! I am sure the mystery gift exchange wasn't quite as cut throat as most years with Ed missing from the mix!
December 17, by Cindy Farrar. Problems, problems....Ed has had a worrisome day. His pressure sore has been healing nicely...looks great in fact. Unfortunately, he is experiencing increased shoulder pain. He suspects that this pain is somehow related to his collision with the vehicle. Perhaps a rotator cuff tear? The quandary is that he can't have surgery to repair it even if it is diagnosed as such. When you are relying on your arms and shoulders for all of your activity, you avoid surgery at all costs. So, for Ed, shoulder pain translates to more "down" time!
I made a cheery suggestion this evening that he may need to utilize a motorized chair ....that comment was met with an unenthusiastic grunt. Ed believes in man powered mobility...kayaks, bicycles, skis...manual wheelchairs. I guess I will have to take him on a field trip to the Absolute Mobility showroom. Yesterday, while I was shopping for and viewing some awesome handicap vans with "power everything", the owner gave me a demonstration on a "Jazzy" motorized wheelchair (which he also sells) and I envisioned Ed cruising the halls of Central Washington Hospital so fast that they would need to post "beware of flying Farrar" signs!
In the meantime, he rests (on his side) and dreams about all that snow falling in Wenatchee!
December 16, by Ed Farrar. Sidelined by skin. Skin is an incredible organ! It breathes, gives remarkable protection against the elements, and renews itself. Healthy skin is a treasure- for patients with SCI, it can be the difference between life and death.When an area of skin has no sensation, it can be damaged by simply resting on a bed or other firm surface, losing it's blood supply and breaking down.This can lead to large, dangerous wounds. OK, I know all of this, and I marveled at the skin part of the "Bodies" exhibit, but I never thought it would become so personal!
Since a certain part of my anatomy is lacking padding, I can no longer sit up in bed, and must be super careful as I transfer into yet another chair/cushion combo. So there was no therapy yesterday, and most of the day was spent in bed, rolling from side to side."
Typing on my side is OK, but the setback is a hard test. No one likes to be penalized when trying to do their best! The staff here say things should heal up, and eventually the skin toughens, as long as it gets the right care. I now have even more respect for my compatriots in wheelchairs. It turns out that we have to lift the weight off our tush for 60 seconds every 15 minutes...for the rest of our lives! That is why the triceps always get so buff in paraplegics!
One of the writers on the site asked about anger. Setbacks like this seem to add to the sadness of the situation, and to be honest there is more sense of a life lost...at least the life that was planned. I am fortunate to be amnesic for the accident, and that is a gift. I have also tried to grieve "bit by bit" so that it remains more manageable. As many have noted, there is ever-present spiritual comfort through prayer. Family and close relationships with friends are critical~enabling one to get through by focusing on "one day at a time". I also must remember that without my partner Dr.Vejvoda, and all the wonderful team at Central Washington Hospital, I would be dead.
Hope this helps explain.
Monday, December 15, by Ed Farrar. Harborview is beginning to feel like a bit of home, and we are getting to know some of our neighbors. Cindy and I are now going down to the cafeteria for some of our meals, and the faces become familiar. The stories follow, and some nearly bring you to tears.
Two of my neighbors are teenagers. I listen to the stories, and try to fathom why and how spinal cord injury creates such tragedy. A teenager who will have to live with impaired legs and arms is a dramatic cause for reflection. It seems so unfair. It is bad enough for a 57yr old guy to deal with, but I immediately am thankful that my head is OK and my arms work! It may have the ring of cliche, but when you are face to face with those worse off, it really does somehow change the way you look at your own problems.
We all do our therapy in the same gym, each gradually trying to get back whatever we can of lost function. The therapists here are incredibly talented and dedicated to working with SCI (spinal cord injury) and head injury patients. It is sad to realize that none of us will be returned to "normal", but each day I see the small improvements that will mean better function when we do get to return to "real life". Concentrating on these small steps is one of the ways that we all cope, and I think it really does work for life beyond HMC Rehab too.
Thanks again for reading!
Sunday, December 14, by Cindy Farrar. I left the hospital (after tucking Ed into bed) last night as the snow fell softly in Seattle. It was late, so the traffic was gone and the city was sparkling with new snow and Christmas lights. I felt a sense of peace as I drove along...enjoying my moments of contemplation. This new life we have acquired is a non stop roller coaster ride. Although I am no longer stressfully watching monitors and ventilator outputs at Ed's bedside in the CCU, (worrying that his next breath may be his last)...I still have my own "quiver" full of issues to deal with.
For example: Bringing home a newly paraplegic companion translates to having your "home" ready. I think it was somewhere around the second week of this adventure that I realized I needed to get busy and prepare the nest for Ed's return. WOW! I am blessed to have a group of friends and business partners around me who also very quickly realized what needed to be done and within no time at all, construction began at our house.
This in itself is a new education... to consider all the details that will make Ed's life comfortable and (even more important) independent. The ADA guidelines are clear cut and that makes decision making a bit easier. My dilemma is that I want it to be attractive!
Having distractions like a remodel are therapeutic for me. Although I never doubted Ed's ability to adjust to this life changing event, I had great concerns about my ability to not spin off into Neverland! We had just graduated our youngest son and life was looking freer for us.
Life lesson for the day: Expect the unexpected!
On the other hand...after 37 years together, Ed and I are still discovering new territories.
Saturday, December 13, by Ed Farrar. Wow! This Caring Bridge community has grown so strong that some of my patients and friends are using it as inspiration to quit smoking or go for a hike in one of my favorite valleys! You go girls!
Thanks to everyone for the advice re: grabbers. One of the items you leave here with is a custom designed wheelchair. This "grabber thing" has got me, and I now know one of the necessary modifications for my home chair: a "quiver" for carefully selected grabbers!
Yesterday, I made two trips to the cafeteria! It was great to be "out in the world", but it was also a bit of a reality check for living the rest of life rolling instead of walking. The main problem is being half as tall as most people. It is really quite enlightening to wheel through a cafeteria and try to collect something to eat. If you try it sometime, you will be amazed at all the foods that you can't even see!
Be honest here... how many of us use the menu to select food in a cafeteria? Of course not many... the benefit of having it laid out is that you get to really see what looks good, and what just might be "recycled" that day! Well all you see from a rolling chair is the tops of the trays- unless you make a nuisance of yourself and pull up on the bars. Salad bar is also out~ although with courage one might go "mystery dipping" for a bowl full of goodies! The other little thing I noticed was that they put a lot of the dairy products and half the drinks out of reach! (I know... there must be a grabber for that). The whole experience made me appreciate Cindy and my friends even more. It also underscored the worrisome decline in compassion that Betsy commented on yesterday. The image of a blind lady without help in a public bathroom was disturbing indeed, and one gets glimpses of this whenever out in a wheelchair.
If nothing else, my little adventure into the cafeteria will prompt me to remind those I know to open themselves to empathy when doing "daily life" next to a disabled person. It is a great opportunity to share the compassion God has given us all.
Thanks again to all who check in to Caring Bridge!
December 12, by Ed Farrar. The awful sound of "something falling to the floor". (aka: an inside look at paraplegia). One of the hardest things about losing your locomotion is the helpless feeling you get when something you need is just out of reach. This is especially true at night when you are tucked away in bed. It is amazing how organized you become about the bedside table! Imagine being "stuck" for 10 hrs and having everything you will need within arms reach. You get a little obsessive-compulsive--rather like that last review of what is in your backpack as you leave the car at the trailhead... but you are just going to bed instead of off on an adventure. Ugghh!
The cell phone just out of reach is one of the worst! It must be crudely comical to watch someone like me squirm and stretch, practically falling out of bed or chair to get that incoming call! The reality is that you learn that you now have to ask for help, and I am amazed at the kindness of those around me these days.Thanks to all of you who help a "chairbound" person get something beyond reach when it hits the floor. However, help is not always around and nothing is worse than dropping the nurses call light on the floor. When that thing hits, it has a special ring of finality! Early this morning I won a little battle with the floor when this happened. I realized that I was able to slide up in bed and reach the cord for the light at the plug in! This trivial victory now has me envious of Spider Man! There has to be some way to shoot out a sticky string, zap the thing dropped on the floor, and reel it back in. I now know there is a market for it, just have to find an inventor!
Now it is off to therapy...
December 9, by Ed Farrar. Hello from Harborview Rehab! This part of recovery is not as exciting as fighting for survival in the ICU, so the updates probably won't be quite as frequent as they were. To be honest, I am "relearning" to do the very basic things in life. If I could video tape some of this, it would be humorous, but pretty inappropriate for public viewing. Several of the "daily activities" are done sans clothes! Fortunately a 6 week stay in an ICU melts away your modesty! The side effect of this is that you can really concentrate on the task at hand without worrying about how you might "look" to your nurse and therapist!
Functionally things are going well, and even though I feel like a klutz, they tell me that I am ahead of schedule! Yesterday, after flopping around like a fish on the exercise mats, I got to do some "wheelies" in my chair! This is something I had learned as a child, and it is necessary to pop over curbs and uneven terrain. It was the first thing that I have done in the past 7weeks that I could call FUN! (ya gotta get it where you can!) Thanks again for all the support from the Caring Bridge community!
From Cindy: Those of you who have requested information regarding Ed's book "Leaving With A Smile" can contact Central Washington Hospital Gift Shop at 509-662-1511 . After a search through our house, I found some copies, and a limited number are available.
December 8. Good Morning! All is well in "Edsville/Harborview" We spent the weekend entertaining what seemed like a constant flow of visitors in Ed's room. I believe half of Wenatchee came to Seattle for shopping and visiting! What a treat for Ed! He dives back into full tilt rehab this morning and will probably have far more interesting news in the next day or so. I posted a photo of Ed taken in his room last night on the photo link. That smile is for all you readers!
December 6 by Ed Farrar. Greetings to everyone, and a "Thank You" from me to Cindy for being so great at daily updates. The internet here at Harborview is dicey, and my computer is trying to die, so it has been hard to keep writing. However, I get to read the Caring Bridge updates and messages everyday, and it is the stuff that keeps me going! I am watching the hospital "wake up" and desperately trying to get my email time in before the routine starts. Once the day nurses charge in with meds, and suppositories, you are pushed right into the "river of routine" here, and it feels a little like dropping into a spring run on the Wenatchee River~ but without a paddle!
I am learning how to make the top 20% of my body control the lower 80%. The turns and twists are amazing! The other reality is that everyone here has to learn how to deal with all that stuff that we eat and drink so easily for sustenance. "What goes in must come out" is a law of life! I won't go into details, but learning to handle this particular ordinance of the human body is a larger challenge than I ever realized before my injury.
Thanks again to all the wonderful people of the Caring Bridge community! Your support is one of the major things that somehow makes all this more tolerable!
December 4. Ed's assignment today was to work out on the mat table. He is being taught to move from lying on his stomach, into a sitting up position. He has a steady flow of doctors, nurses and techs as the day goes by. They are conferring with him about his recovery plans and putting him through tests for everything from physical therapy to cognitive testing to neurologic interviews. It seems they will leave no stone unturned and that is impressive. Ed is looking forward to spending more time up in the chair and moving around the department. Perhaps that will happen later this weekend. He is still in recovery phase regarding his pressure sores, so much of his time is being spent lying down on one side and then the other. Since that position makes it difficult to use a keyboard, his wonderful and insightful updates will be returning when he heals. In the meantime, I'll do my best to keep the ball rolling.
December 3. I couldn't resist posting an update for Ed's first full day in HMC Rehab. What a busy and productive day! He had two stints in a wheel chair and seems to have mastered the basics fairly quickly. Transferring from bed to chair is intimidating right now, but the competent staff reassured Ed that it will be second nature in no time.
Physical Therapy consists of relearning lots of daily functions from a new perspective. This morning Ed was expected to put on his own shorts... and he did it with finesse! What an amazing experience to see that such a simple activity as dressing can be taken on as a challenge. The team at HMC is professional and organized and we are so impressed by their optimism and smiling encouragement. They see this level of injury every day and they know just what to introduce next. WOW! I know that Ed surprised himself with what he was able to do today. I also know that he is exhausted and will sleep soundly.
December 2. Well Dorothy...we're not in Kansas anymore!!!! Ed and I arrived at Harborview this morning and found the pleasant surprise of an unexpected "private" room..for which we are very grateful. But...we descended into a state of "shell shocked" silence and tears as we understood that we have left behind CWH and all that is familiar to us. We don't know them and they don't know us....I think I will need to search out ways to bribe the nurses into the room with sweet treats and goodies. I miss our safe, friendly, competent, loving, fabulous CCU care at CWH. Life in the "fishbowl" was awesome! Enough said on that topic.
In the morning Ed will begin his rehab for real....just another patient...not Dr. Farrar....just Ed. I will be there holding his hand as much as I can...but this is like sending your child off to school for the first day...you tearfully send them off...alone. He'll be working hard, please cheer for him !! He will be lonely so, come visit!
December 1. Well, the big day has arrived. In the morning Ed will be bundled up in a Cabulance to make the journey over the passes to Seattle. Today I spent the afternoon collecting and bagging the vast amount of paraphernalia that we have acquired in Ed's room during our six weeks in the CCU. Each load to the car left the room barer and sadder as we realized we are leaving lots of friends behind. The staff in CCU has been so wonderful to put up with the ongoing Farra-thon that has ensued for the duration of Ed's stay. We hope we haven't worn out the entire crew with the stream of "well wishers" that we have inflicted upon them as they attempted to work around the flow!
Ed has spent most of the last few days reclining and shifting from side to side. Hopefully healing is occurring in the rear section and he will be ready for the increased demand on his time and energy as he "rehabs" in the upright position.
We will try to keep up the postings in the coming days as Ed adjusts to his new surroundings and challenges. Thanks to all of you for your continued care and prayers. It means the world to both of us.
November 30 by Ed Farrar. Another weekend in the ICU, and I realize that I am so in tune to this unique hospital environment that I probably could write a little book! The ebb and flow of energy and care giver effort is palpable. I know the specifics are probably not very interesting for most- (remember the old truth: Nothing is "REAL" until it is "PERSONAL"), and I hope that all who are reading never have the need to spend 6 weeks in the ICU to make it personal! However, you can rest assured that if you ever do become the "new admit" here, you will have nurses, docs, and therapists swarming in your room until your condition improves! It looks almost like the energy of bees moving their queen and hive into the newly occupied room with intense healing energy and effort! Quite a scene.
I will be moving to Rehab at Harborview on Tuesday, and my ability to keep doing these daily updates may be compromised. Hopefully, once I get a private room, I can get back online. I have been deeply touched by the response from the Caring Bridge community, and realize that this story has developed meaning for many that somehow transcends the specifics of my little struggles. I am thankful to be able to give some inspiration- it makes me feel like I can still be helpful in some way.
I have been sidelined by worsening of one of my pressure sores, (not enough fat around the "sit bones"), and will be unable to sit as much for the next couple of days, so this may be the last update until I get squared away at Harborview. Thanks for understanding, and I will write tomorrow if I can.
November 28 by Ed Farrar. Tube out--turkey in! I won't bore you with the anatomic details, but the key factor is that your esophagus is easily compressed by the trachea that lies just in front. When they put a tube into your trachea to get access to your lungs, the poor esophagus gets squished. The result is a weird way of living with two of the most basic human activities severely compromised. Basically you have to breathe through a straw (trach tube), and the enlargement on the end of that tube means you can only swallow food that has been pulverized in a blender... so you can hardly breathe and barely eat! This may be a great distraction from your injuries, but it is frustrating just the same!
I was able to get rid of my last trach tube on Wednesday. The result was that I was able to enjoy an actual Thanksgiving Dinner with my family on Thursday, and that was a huge morale boost. There is nothing better than breathing through your normal windpipe. Such is the slow road to recovery for patients who spend weeks in this intensive care environment with severe injury or illness. The care givers who help you here reflect the truism that "Attitude is everything", and I lean on them readily now. I will soon begin a process of redefining who I am. Some of the greatest lessons I have learned are that I need the care of other human beings, and the valuable relationship of that interaction. In fact, my perspective has changed a bit, and I would now suggest a different truism: "Relationships are everything" and "attitude is the fuel for where you want to go with those".
I would offer one other discovery for all the physicians and nurses who might be reading. Each of us is going to get really sick or injured as we go through life. After 25 years of being a "doc" my journey as a patient has taught me that the care I get now reflects the care I gave out when I was on the other end. Hmmm...
November 26. By Ed Farrar. Today brings another series of opportunities to keep moving out of the critically injured mode, and into "regular ole patient" mode. Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I will likely skip an update. Fortunately things seem to be steadily moving in the direction of improvement anyway, and these little "vignettes" will become boring if they come every day.
Yesterday, I learned more about my actual accident, and some of the details of the first three weeks here in the ICU. Based on a statistic we use in trauma called the "Injury Severity Score", I now know that the odds were against me surviving this whole thing. Although I was hit head on at fairly high speed, my partner Dr. Hank Vejvoda was cycling toward me and only a quarter mile away when the accident happened. What are the odds that a skilled spine surgeon is going to be first on the scene and help guide you back to a hospital that is only a couple of miles away when such a trauma occurs? We have another principle in trauma treatment called "the golden hour". If definitive treatment can be instituted in the first hour after injury, the survival rates are much higher. I was inside an operating room getting "fixed" within a little more than an hour, and had the important resuscitation almost immediately in the ER -- in short I was "golden".
I guess this is a long-winded way of giving "THANKS' first and foremost to God and then to all who were involved in taking care of me on that day, and it is appropriate to offer it out as part of Thanksgiving. This whole accident could have (and statistically should have) gone another way, and I would not be here sending out a "Thank You" note to the world! So "Thank you" to the docs who take care of me, and special thanks to the ICU nurses and Respiratory therapists who literally saved my life with their day to day care. Another Thanksgiving wish goes out to all of you who take the time to visit and/or write in to Caring Bridge! Your notes and thoughts provide the motivation to keep going! And... yeah, I'll throw mashed potatoes and gravy into this list as well.
November 25 by Ed Farrar. Monday was a red letter day in one respect: With a sliding board and good help, I made it into a wheelchair and all the way OUTSIDE the hospital for 45 minutes. Just sitting in the sun, gazing up at Saddle Rock was magical! The disappointing part is the incredible weakness imparted by Spinal Cord Injury and 5 weeks in bed! Turns out that injury to the spinal cord tells the brain it no longer needs to support muscle mass and therefore,we lose it over the entire body! Great! Rebuilding this is what rehab is all about.
A down side of this phase, is the presence of the tracheostomy tube, and the stuff generated by the lungs...Never thought I would ask someone to squirt saline into my lungs and then beg them to slide a skinny little suction tube into the trach and bronchi! You have a little "moment" when you aren't sure whether you want to gag or throw up! Fortunately, after the little tube wipes out the pesky "hocker", you can breathe again! This stuff is so weird that it should be on You Tube! Things are moving ahead- thanks for all the support!
November 24 by Ed Farrar. Yesterday was a big day! The picture changes so much each day, that I have indeed realized this is quite the adventure. I was able to spend a lot of time on the Caring Bridge website- what a resource! I was brought to tears reading from all who have taken the time to write in and share their thoughts, concerns and prayers. I wish I could write back to each and everyone! There seems to be an overall sense of healing that we have all plugged into, and as many have noted, it is helping us all to be connected this way. Please know you are deeply appreciated! Today there is good news and some hard news.
First the good stuff: the nurses came in yesterday and asked me if I would like some mashed potatoes and gravy! This blew me away! What a thing to say to someone who has not had food pass his mouth for more than a month! It turns out that it would all depend on my epiglottis! They had "capped" my trach, and if my epiglottis behaved normally, I could begin to swallow! The hard part was waiting to complete the "swallow evaluation". I had to put blue dye in 3 various food items, swallow a small portion and then wait for a couple of hours. Next, the respiratory therapist would guide a tube down into my lungs... if any blue showed up, the mashed potatoes I was now dreaming about would become "off limits" and I would fail the test! (this would mean that my epiglottis was not dropping down to cover my trachea as I swallowed). Well... after patiently going through this three times throughout the day, I passed! The mashed potatoes showed up and I was suddenly on the spot. I don't recommend avoiding food for a month to get this experience, but those mashed potatoes went straight to the top of my "favorite foods" list! I swear, there was an entire Thanksgiving meal in those lowly potatoes... complete with turkey and vegetables! The significance of this is that life without a tracheostomy is working. I am now just one of those old geezers with an oxygen tube in his nose for respiratory needs, and may be able to get the last trach tube out of my throat in a few days.
The Hard News: This has to do with the neurologic part of my spinal injury. There is always a great deal of uncertainty about spinal cord injury in the first four weeks, so we often avoid presenting firm diagnostic info. I have patiently waited and poured a lot of hope downstream into these legs, but they have not been willing to talk back. It seems that the result of this injury that will be the new challenge is the fact that I will be a paraplegic from T5 (fifth thoracic vertebra) down, and the injury seems to be "complete". As always I will appreciate all of your support as I learn to live in a very different way. I have great gratitude that I live in America, as there are many places on this planet where I would literally be marginalized off to a corner with such a disability. Here it will a different life, but one that can still be rich and rewarding. Wishing the best to all who plug in.
November 20. My goal for the weekend is to have Ed write his own update. He is not writing large amounts, but I will encourage him to give it a try. Perhaps even a one liner! Ed's accomplishment for the day was that he managed to breathe on his own for over 8 hours without tiring. He is challenging himself this evening with staying independent all night if possible. This involves a system called "trach cuff" in which he breathes without the ventilator and only relies on a cuff over his trach that supplies a 40% oxygen flow. We are so encouraged by this improvement. Ed's treat tonight was a visit from his hairdresser Gay Fuller who trimmed him up bedside. He looks "marvelous".
November 19. Ed's doctors have set a tentative goal of December 1 as a date for heading to Seattle for Rehabilitation Therapy. This date is subject to Ed achieving independence from the ventilator. He is now on a more aggressive program of decreasing passive pressure and increasing his own workload. Once Ed is able to be transferred to the Spinal Rehab program on the coast, he will require somewhere around 60 days of therapy. Making these plans and discussing the upcoming changes helps us to realize that we are moving forward. Ed has requested that I tell all of you how much he appreciates your care and concern and that he is sorry that he can't answer each of you individually. That is a project saved for the future.
November 18. Ed's CT scan was very informative. His cervical spine fractures look good and are healing nicely. He is able to go for brief periods of time without his C-collar. This is only when he is lying down, awake and not visiting friends. The collar is painful and so, he smiles as it comes off. As for his chest and lungs...he is still dealing with the trauma of a massive blow to his chest and that is part of what is hampering his ability to breathe independently. Broken ribs, old blood in his chest cavity, loss of the use of interstitial muscles, plural effusion, and having to learn to breathe in a new manner all exacerbate his condition. Good news this morning is that he sent me a text and said he had his best night thus far. He was able to sleep 6 hours and feels refreshed today. He has an amazing ability to find the positive and focus on that. On to another day of CPAP breathing exercises.
November 17. Ed is having another CT scan today. They will be looking at the status of his lungs as well as his cervical injuries. Hopefully we will see signs of healing occurring in his neck and chest. Ed still spends about 3 hours a day on his CPAP respiratory program and is managing to do the program with less and less passive air assistance. That means essentially breathing on his own for that period of time. He is exhausted by the effort. Good news is that he was able to be elevated to a 50 degree sitting up angle for a brief period of time. That made him quite happy to be sitting up. I would like to personally thank all of you for your kind considerations and worries regarding me. I want to share with all of you the simple fact that my strength and stamina regarding this event is not coming from me, but from God. My time spent in prayer is my source of energy. All of your prayers are so welcomed. Thank you for adding to my cushion of comfort as well as uplifting Ed.
November 16. Ed has had a very special visit from his "childhood through college" best friend Buford Davis this weekend. Buford traveled from Gainesville, Florida. His presence has meant so much to Ed. I see how sad Ed is that he must stay in his CCU bed instead of entertaining his buddy. Fletcher returns every weekend from school. Ed continues to mark his progress by the number of hours he manages to stay on his CPAP respiratory program each day. He is very tired from the effort. Please think healing thoughts and pray.
November 14, 2008. As this week comes to a close, I realize that we are facing yet another upcoming week in the Critical Care Unit. Ed has improved nicely with his general condition and pain tolerance, yet he still struggles each day in an attempt at increasing the length of time he is able to remain on the CPAP ventilator program. His progress is ever so slow. The trauma that his chest endured is still dominating the picture. Ribs heal so slowly. I pray daily (hourly) for healing in his chest.
A constant positive in this situation is the wonderful love and care Ed is receiving in the CCU. The staff there is amazing and I am so grateful to each one of those doctors, nurses and techs who are taking such good care of my husband.
November 13, 2008. Each day Ed strengthens his breathing just the smallest increment forward, but forward is the word. The challenge for his caregivers is to stay ahead of any pulmonary infections or pneumonias. The ventilator remains a constant in his respiration. Ed is having longer periods in the day where he is able to interact and engage in moving on with his recovery. He is attempting to begin the task of reading all of the wonderful letters and emails he has received over the past three weeks. He has mastered the dynamics of operating his” talking trach” and can contribute to discussions regarding his care and treatment.
Ed’s arms have continued to strengthen and his dexterity is such that he can “text” on his cell phone like a teenager. The texting is a great way to communicate without the use of voice. Physical therapy is done daily at bedside. Ed is still extremely fragile from his multiple broken ribs and vertebrae.
A high note for Wednesday was the removal of his nasal feeding tube and the installation of a gastric port referred to as a PEG. Taking food by mouth is not possible until better respiration can be achieved. Ed dreams of tasty fruit smoothies and other favorite foods.
Our family would like to thank the CaringBridge organization for this wonderful way to keep our friends and family informed of Ed's progress. We encourage all of you to support this web site. What a great service it performs for families everywhere.
November 11, 2008: Red letter day! Ed was able to have his "talking trach" installed today. What a relief for him to be able to express himself without writing or typing what he has to say. Ed continued on his Respiratory Therapy program and his individual Physical Therapy. He is making daily progress in the right direction. Ed has been able to fit in personal visits with some of his close friends in the last couple of days and we feel this is beneficial to his emotional well being.
Tonight a friend delivered chocolate chip cookies to the ICU in Ed's honor. Ed's room is directly in front of the nurses station, so he managed to snap a shot of the staff hovering around the cookie tin with his cell phone. Needless to say his sense of humor is intact!
Monday November 10, 2008. Although Ed continues to remain in the Critical Care Unit at the hospital, it's wonderful to be able to send out positive news about his day. He had a big day of activity. He was able to complete two hours of Physical Therapy in two separate sessions. This is mostly a process of moving his legs to keep them exercised along with small hand and arm activities. Nonetheless, he is exhausted after each session.
The other big workout he has each day is time spent on the CPAP Respiratory Therapy protocol. He managed a few hours today. Small workouts designed to strengthen his breathing. When he tires he is switched from continuous pressure to volume control.
The most important news is that Ed's nurse invested time in setting up his laptop on a support bracket that enables him to type. He has not yet checked emails or surfed the web, but he is using the word processor to communicate with his doctors, nurses and family. I was able to load up emails and CD's packed with pictures from the Rally for Ed held yesterday. He dwells on the pictures of the crowds as he tries to identify individual people, smiling hugely as he recognizes so many friends. He is overwhelmed with the love and support sent to him.
Sunday November 9, 2008. Hello to all, this is Ed’s youngest brother Doug. I am visiting Ed in Wenatchee this weekend and wanted to provide today’s update after an amazing weekend. We surpassed 10,000 hits on the Caring Bridge website and please know that the kind words, thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated and very meaningful to Ed and the family. Friends and supporters from the cycling and local community organized a “Rally for Ed” bike ride on Sunday. Over 500 rode the same route that Ed did the morning of the accident, finishing at Central Washington Hospital. It was a great time of support, camaraderie and community. All signed large “Get Well” cards and there were touching speeches with cheers and lots of hugs.
Ed’s swelling continues to subside and he was able to begin writing messages this week; increasing communication and even inserting some humor (speech is not possible with the tracheotomy). Progressive changes to his breathing therapy on the ventilator are challenging and tiring but a necessary step toward the next recovery phase. While my dear brother’s future is still full of risks and complex challenges, my time in Wenatchee was packed with positive input and blessings. The medical progress has been encouraging and he was incredibly uplifted by today’s event.
Ed was excited, alert and somewhat emotional during our morning visit and it was a special moment when Cindy and I clutched hands with him and prayed together. The hospital allowed a small group of cyclists to file through the ICU and briefly say hello following the ride. Ed, sporting his Slipstream Team cap and Converse high-tops waited with anticipation as the cyclists ‘clopped’ down the hall and bid him well. Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation go out to all in attendance and especially to the kind organizers of this positive event for Ed – The Wenatchee Valley Velo Club and Rufus Woods of the Wenatchee World newspaper.
Friday, November 7, 2008. I am happy to report that Ed is showing impressive improvement. He has maintained his assisted breathing on the CPAP for the last 24 hours. This is encouraging as it brings us ever closer to weaning him off the ventilator. His lungs seem to be strengthening. His doctors tell me that the preliminary healing of broken ribs is being established by 2 - 3 weeks after injury, so he is moving into a more comfortable phase with his chest. Ed is still in the critical care unit and will probably remain there into next week. Then he may move to a transitional care unit in preparation for eventual rehabilitation treatment.
On a social level, he is becoming incorrigible with his note writing. His humor and wit (not to mention his vast knowledge) is available to us all now that he has lost most of the swelling in his arms and hands. He is holding a clipboard and communicating readily. The sooner he can get his breathing regulated, the sooner he can have his tracheotomy adapted with a valve for speaking. In the meantime we do a lot of lip reading.
Ed is continually touched by the messages I share with him from all of you. He seems amazed that so many people care about him and love him. News of the "Rally for Ed" bicycle ride here in Wenatchee on Sunday was met with tearful gratitude from Ed. Bicycle safety is an issue near and dear to his heart.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008 Update from Cindy... Ed's brother Robert Farrar has been so gracious to keep all of you updated on this web site. I am very grateful that he is so talented in that category. However, I wanted to share some of the highlights of the last few days with Ed from my perspective. Ed has slowly shown progress toward becoming independent of assisted breathing and this progression is met with great cheer. He manages a few minutes longer each day!
Last night Tyler, Stephanie and I watched the election returns with Ed and he raised his arm in salute with a smile when his candidate won! Also, last night while we were together our youngest son Fletcher called and we put the phone on speaker so Ed could hear Fletcher's voice as well. Fletch shared his news from University of Puget Sound where he is a freshman. We all had a good laugh over some of the topics. Mostly centered around crazy, cheering students on the campus when the election results were announced.
Ed has shared family stories, news and jokes with us and smiles through them all. I have read with Ed, some of the wonderful cards, comments from this web site and letters that have been sent from family, friends, patients and strangers. When I read them to him he is extremely touched by the kindness, prayers and love expressed.
am convinced that Ed will fight the good fight in this situation and I have confidence that he will continue to impress me with the strength of character that I have always loved and admired in him. He is facing great challenge and intense pain with amazing fortitude.
Wednesday November 5, 2008 – Update from Robert Farrar. I will begin with a brief recap of yesterday and segue to today’s news... Tuesday – Began with an early morning gathering of the physicians intended to coordinate the specialists into a cohesive plan of Ed’s progress and care. Although he is still in critical condition, Ed’s medical team established a very prudent, albeit rigid, routine of rest, early stage physical therapies, and minimal in-room visitation. During the day he suffered a spike in temperature (fever), which required he be wheeled down the hall to get another CT scan of his lungs. The CT scan disclosed continued buildup of fluids in his lungs. No infection was found, so the fever spike was attributed to the body’s natural fight to heal. At times throughout the day his emotions ran raw, as he grappled with the harsh reality of his condition. Today brought positive news: In the context of his overall injuries and recovery challenges, Ed and all were buoyed by today’s development. The ventilator (breathing) system that Ed’s been on was supplemented by an additional breathing apparatus, which couples with the ventilator and works through the Tracheotomy to generate “continuous passive airway pressure” throughout his respiratory system. The benefit of this supplemental system is that it calibrates and feeds air pressure through the respiratory system, causing the lungs to cycle more air volume, which action, like exercise, begins the slow process of strengthening his independent breathing ability. The benefits are: he gets more oxygen into the blood, improved lung action promotes the elimination of fluids, he feels less anxious, etc. all of which combine to make him more comfortable. This is indeed good news as it indicates that he is approaching the ability to breathe on his own. While we wish Ed could simply sleep his way to recovery and bypass confronting such overwhelming obstacles, he has no option but to work his way through this terrible morass and today brought optimism. “But for the unquiet heart and brain, A use in measured language lies; The sad mechanic exercise, Like dull narcotics, numbing pain. Author: Robert Bernard Martin As each night we close by saying your well-wishes wash over Ed and help to keep his family grounded.
Monday November 3, 2008, 8:11 p.m. - Ed continues to be in critical condition, but he is increasingly alert and with this alertness comes the complications of his need to be involved in his care. While this is a positive progression, he is still a long way from being out of the woods and his inability to simply be a patient is causing significant stress on the hospital staff and his physicians. His efforts to communicate are hampered by his tracheotomy, which denies him his voice. Everyone who knows him can appreciate how frustrating, anxiety producing and stressful this is for him and his caregivers. In an effort to reduce stress visitation will be strictly limited. Tomorrow his team of physicians meet to develop consensus on his schedule of very preliminary rehab, rest and visitation. As the days become weeks, we (his family) appreciate the cohesive strategy that is taking shape. Ed's physicians and the hospital staff comprise a world-class team, who not only bring their professional skills to Ed's service, but also love and care for him as a long-valued colleague. These next few days will be viewed as early milestones in his recovery and each of your well-wishes and prayers are deeply appreciated.
Sunday November 2, 2008, 8:07 p.m. - Since news of Ed's accident was posted on this website, just 4 days ago, some 2,000 people have visited. Ed is truly much loved. We all take solace from this outpouring and are thankful for the medium that is CaringBridge. Ed continues to be stable and the consensus is that he is inching in the right direction, in terms of survival. On Saturday (yesterday) his doctors performed another bronchoscopy to evaluate his lungs and remove any recent fluid build up. While this is never a pleasant experience, the results were positive in that Ed has no respiratory infection, at this time, and the fluid removed was minimal. As many have noted in the guestbook, Ed's challenges are many; so as he moves evermore into awareness of the complexities and scope of his injuries and the implications they portend for his recovery, he is clearly anxious, at times in fear, and at other times agitated. The good news is that he is trying to participate in his treatment, which underscores for all of us that Ed's will is engaged. Having said this, his situation is so severe and complicated that doctors and family have decided to initiate a very strict visitation protocol to insure he is not over-stressed, while in such fragile condition. Please know that each and every communiqué of support, love and prayer is greatly appreciated. They not only help to support Ed, they are a boost to our family, his colleagues and friends across many continents.
Thursday, October 30, 2008 - 8:45am PST - Ed is showing signs of strengthening. Although heavily sedated, not out of the woods and in pain, he responds when spoken to and his spirit is strong. While he cannot speak, due to the tracheotomy, he smiles and expresses love for our being there, still has his wit, while at other times he is clearly down, all of which are perfectly normal. To our great joy he is intellectually engaged, which means he is in the fight. The tracheotomy is much more comfortable than was the respirator, which is significant, especially to his sense of making progress. Yesterday afternoon/evening have been very encouraging. Please read the following for the full recap. We will endeavor to update daily....
Background: On Wednesday October 22, 2008 at 7:18am Ed was cycling, as he does each day, prior to beginning what was to be a normal day of surgeries and patient visits. Tragically, he was struck by a private security automobile. Ed sustained 15 broken ribs, numerous vertebral fractures, and various other injuries. He is in very critical condition as we enter this the 8th day of his fight to survive.
We have decided to write a group broadcast at this point because we have been simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for Ed and our family, not only from the Wenatchee and Seattle communities, but from around the country and abroad, as news of this devastating tragedy spreads. Your love and thoughtfulness are a source of strength for Ed and for all of his family. When possible, we will update this site with news of his progress and any ongoing challenges. Thank you for your understanding that it could be months before any sense of normalcy returns to our daily routine. At this moment, life demands we give Ed our complete attention, so updates other than through this website, may be slow these first weeks of his fight.
Our entire family is grateful to you for your well-wishes, your prayers for Ed’s recovery and healing and for any flowers, gifts and/or food delivered to our door to ease our load. Ed remains in stable, but in very critical condition. Earlier today (10/29/08), he underwent successful surgery to insert a tracheotomy to ease his efforts to breath, reduce irritation and risk of infection. This procedure will ease stress immediately. His recovery will be a long, arduous and painful process. In short, Ed has a very big mountain ahead of him and we must, like Sherpas, support his effort.
We share the above both in deep gratitude and in an effort to bring you up-to-speed on the seriousness of our collective mission and to ask for your continued prayers. We must also ask your help in buffering both Ed and our family from distractions, such as unplanned visits, phone calls, etc. that siphon our focus and energy away from him and his recovery. We love you all, we need your support and we need calm and private space as we move through these next several weeks to insure we leave no stone unturned as we respond to the many complex issues and challenges ahead.
In lieu of flowers or other gifts, please send an equivilant donation in Ed's name to the: Wenatchee Valley Velo Club, P.O. Box 1991, Wenatchee, WA 98807
With love and appreciation, Cindy and family."
October 28. Local cycling enthusiast and orthopedic surgeon, Ed Farrar is still in very serious condition at the Central Washington hospital. Ed was hit while riding his bicycle about a week ago when the driver of a vehicle, searching for a clipboard that had fallen onto the floor of his vehicle, swerved into the wrong lane and hit Ed head-on.
October 24. Most of the Wenatchee outdoor community knows that Dr. Ed Farrar -- the cycling enthusiast, orthopedic surgeon, and father of pro-cyclist Tyler Farrar -- was nearly fatally injured by a car several days ago. That car crossed into his lane and hit him head-on. Ed had been in critical condition for several days. On top of that bad news is the terrible possibility that Ed has suffered spinal-cord injury, the extent of which is still not publicly known.
Those of us who know and admire Ed are pulling for him in our own way--some through prayer, some through positive thoughts-- in hopes that we can somehow influence forces greater than ourselves to intervene. There's a tremendous amount of goodwill in this valley for the man, the good things he's done for others, and the optimism with which he has lived life. Unfortunately God, karma, and little else about 'The Big Questions' are regulated by rules we understand-- Ed’s future and what kind of future mobility he will have are tenuous in deed. Keep those prayers and positive thoughts flowing – if such missives into the ether have some miraculous or mysterious connection to the outcomes of individual lives, Ed is both deserving and in great need now.
If you have news (and we're talking facts, not speculation) about Ed's condition or if want to leave well wishes, use the 'Comment' box below. We'll deliver these to him when he's well enough to appreciate them.