It’s Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight

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These words have never been truer, especially at this moment in time.

Let me introduce you to my brother, Gabriel, or as some of us call him, Gabe.

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Gabe is my younger brother.  11 years age difference between he and I.  Gabriel was born with a type of dwarfism known as Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia.  From the time he came into the world, he’s been a fighter.  He had no choice but to be, and he’s darn good at it.

His journey with dwarfism and the bumps in the road he’s encountered in his 22 years is a story in itself, however, that is not what I am writing about tonight.

Gabriel is currently in Critical Care ICU.

Needless to say, it has been a rough weekend for Gabe, my mom, step-dad and family.

Unfortunately, the road has just begun.

Gabriel was first diagnosed with Influenza A last Tuesday, January 7th.  By Wednesday, pneumonia was added to the list and he was admitted to the hospital for observation and care.  By Thursday, he was doing better and was released.

It is unbelievable how quickly an illness can take over ones body, because within hours of his release, Gabriel found himself back in the ER struggling for breath.

BiPAP wasn’t working for him.  He fought it tooth and nail.  Fatigue and panic were setting in and the decision to intubate him was made.  The combination of all of this landed him in the ambulance, Omaha bound.

I arrived at the Med Center shortly after Gabriel on Friday afternoon.  It was like a war zone with the Doctors, nurses, fellows, etc.

The Doctor explained Gabriel’s condition in the most forward fashion I have encountered.  Blunt.  Frank.  To the point.

To me, the information was overwhelming but refreshing.

              To Dave, overwhelming but welcomed.

                              To Mom, overwhelming and shocking.

 I can’t imagine a parent’s feeling of helplessness.  It hurts to see my mom and step-dad so concerned and overwhelmed.

But, they are maintaining.

Together, they are strong.

In basic terms, Gabriel is very very sick.  The doctor likened his condition to a bomb having gone off in his lungs.

                                 But, he is also in very very good hands.

Gabriel is on high oxygen support with the ventilator as he is unable to adequately breathe on his own. The Doctor explained on Saturday that he expects Gabriel to be intubated for multiple days due to the severity of his illness and the effect it has had on his lungs. At the time, Gabe was alert and understood what the doctor was saying.

As of today, they have him heavily medicated and sedated as he was using too much oxygen while awake.  Gabriel’s lungs are also too stiff from the fluid build-up, which makes it hard for him to inflate his lungs by himself.  Doctors are pressurizing his lungs with nitrogen to assist him.  This procedure poses a slight issue in that they are unable to follow normal formula’s due to Gabe’s unique size, but they are closely monitoring him.  We also have to limit people in and out of the room in addition to keeping noise levels down.  When noise levels are up and conversations are happening around him, his oxygen levels begin fluctuating.  The doctor wants him still, not agitated and resting.

Today, the doctor also said the healing process could take multiple weeks.

Gabe is in for the long haul and he’s fighting.

So, we wait.  We think positive.  We pray.

Keep my brother in your thoughts and prayers.  The outpouring of love that he and my parents have received already has been astounding.

On behalf of my family, we thank you.

Keep the prayers coming.

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