Dear friends, family, and colleagues of Will-
Thank you, thank you for your continued support of Will through e-mail, post, video, or other media. To you who have sent your thoughts, know that Will is buoyed by your heartfelt messages, so please keep them coming. The hospital staff collate all of the e-mails that are sent to Will via its website, and provide them to him each day or two. The positive energy that Will receives from these messages is tremendous, and they strengthen his determination to move forward with his life. I understand that there has been a lot of activity on Will's Facebook page, too, so that might also be a good way to send him a note, photo, etc.
Much has happened since my last mass e-mail update, most of it challenging, but all trending toward recovery. Over the past month, Will has undergone two skin graft operations for extensive wounds to his legs, and a third for additional wounds on his hips and flanks. Very likely he will have one more graft operation to address remaining areas of dead tissue. Thus far we have avoided major setbacks, such as secondary infections, which has enabled Will to put his energy toward healing, and as a result his body has made great progress. For example, Will's kidneys, which had failed acutely during his initial Group A Strep infection, have staged a remarkable recovery, and last week, after many dialysis-free days, the renal team signaled that they have no further clinical need to follow Will's kidney function. Other significant milestones include: the start of physical therapy, increasing Will's strength and range of motion; the start of occupational therapy, including the fitting of basic prosthetics, enabling Will to feed himself a few bites at each meal and use an iPad, for examples; and a few free-wheeling trips on a wheelchair or cardiac chair beyond the ICU, both within the hospital and outside on fine-weather days. Will's hard work on his incentive spirometer has paid off to the extent that he no longer requires supplemental oxygen, and his parallel effort to take in as many calories as possible through food has eliminated the need for a feeding tube. Will's effort through all of this has been heroic, and though he is exhausted, he is getting stronger daily.
With this progress, conversations among Will's family and caregivers have turned to next steps: where will Will go for rehabilitation? Today, Will will meet with a prosthetic professional, and we will understand our options better following that meeting. Given the importance of friends and family in supporting a patient through rehabilitation, I am personally pulling for Will to go to the Spaulding facility in Boston, yet there are a number of issues that need to be settled before we know if that is even possible. I will update you all again when we make our next move.
Additionally, I have returned to my family in western Massachusetts for the time being, and plan to return to Salt Lake City when Will is closer to being discharged from the hospital.
Again, thank you for keeping Will in your thoughts, and for your friendship and support through this crisis.