Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week from Hell (with pics)

It's one thing to sit down to write that we are frustrated because nothing has changed. It is quite another to write about things getting worse. Unfortunately I am doing the latter.

I don't even know where to begin - so many things going wrong....

First off, Brandon is still in the hospital. Since August 2nd, we have been waiting to get him home. He has not seen the kids since then and there is still no end in sight.

The doctors had managed to get the shingles under control, but the nerve pain it caused was so bad that pain management became the major priority. A Pain Team was assigned to Brandon to experiment with different medicinal cocktails so that he will feel more comfortable. They did succeed in managing the constant discomfort, but they were not able to impact the episodes of shooting spasms through his body...episodes that leave Brandon screaming in pain. The nerve endings are so sensitive, that a light touch can turn into agony - think of a small spark igniting an oil tanker.

With the introduction of all this medication came other side effects. In the last 2 weeks Brandon has become completely incoherent. There are glimpses of lucidity, but all in all he has mentally 'lost it'. He has hallucinations of things going on around him, he has conversations about things that don't exist, he responds to people that are not there, and he mumbles things under his breath.

As part of this, he also gets paranoid and angry. For example, he yelled at me yesterday because "Don't you hear Koby asking you to take him outside? Get up and take him! Why don't you take him? Get up already!!"

For all those who know Brandon, you know that he does not yell, and he is usually quite logical.

This has been the hardest for me. Before, at least I could talk to him and we could have conversations about what is going on with him and the kids. Now there is nobody to talk to because he does not even know where he is.

It was so bad the other day that the Dr's became concerned that it was more than medication. There was a danger that the shingles virus had spread to his spine and brain. So they performed a spinal tap and extracted fluid to be tested. Thank G-d it came back negative for infection!
Yet he is still not lucid. And that is scary on many fronts. By not understanding where he is, he is not fighting. When he does not hallucinate he sleeps...and the days go by.

Another new occurrence is fainting spells. Brandon has been passing out every time he sits up or stands up. 2 days ago he passed out 4 times. The first time he landed on the floor and hit his head - off to CT scan to check for damage...none was found. He did however land on his foot and it is so swollen that the Drs suspect a fracture - we are waiting for results. If he did not have strength to stand before, now there is no way.

And today we were hit with another bomb - the shingles are back! Not the old ones, but a brand new batch. So back to isolation we go...because that's all we needed!

I honestly don't know how much more he can take. He is so can he fight? I don't know.

I am posting pictures of Brandon - not for shock value, but because it is important to show how devastating this disease can be...even to a young, healthy athlete. This body has no resemblance to is a 'sick' body...and it is destroying my Brandon! So my priority is to get his mind back so he can fight to get back what is rightfully his...and get back home to his life.


  1. It is hard to express in words how I trust we are all feeling {friends of Brandon's} we are indeed VERY lucky to have you summoning the courage, to keep us all updated.


  2. Sending positive wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery. Stay strong.

    Josh O.

  3. We are so deeply saddened for you, Brandon, and the entire family. Our hearts just break. I can't even imagine how and where you get your strength and courage to do what you are doing. You truly are one of the strongest woman I know, the other being Arlene.

    I recently gave birth to our second daughter and since than haven't really had a chance to follow your blog. I will be honest, I actually feel very guilty for this. Although I have not been making comments I want to you know that Brandon is very often thought of and talked about.

    We wish this total nightmare would end already. ENOUGH is ENOUGH! No one deserves to suffer such pain (especially a guy like Brandon). I wish something could be done for him already. Tonight I will say a payer in hopes that your prince will come out of this and be able to return to his castle soon!

    With all our Love,
    Ryan, Naomi, Jordy, & Kylie Gerstel

  4. There is nothing to say that makes it easier. There is nothing to say that will make this nightmare go away. I know that my dear sweet son will fight with all he has even though he looks so frail. This is the toughest battle that we all have had to fight, but we are STRONG AND WE WILL DEFEAT THIS ENEMY.

  5. Im praying for my Great Friend and his Family. Stay Strong Tally, I know you hear it all the time. Lots of Love from The Metro's

  6. Tears fill my eyes when i read of your familes struggle...So terrible that things are still on the down slope...Thank you for keeping us updated, as I know that writing this blog must not be the easiest thing to do. Your strength and faith are truley amazing..And your deep love for Brandon and the kids is so apparent in everthing you do..keeping you all in my thoughts and daily prayers....also thank you for explaining your faith and how it gets you through.. Tammy Button

  7. We are praying for you.
    All our love,
    Angie, Lee and Cooper

  8. Darling,

    Your anguish is too understandable and we all learn from your deep wisdom.

    The symbolism of return this time of year is strong. The Jews returned from Egypt, Mitzrayim, the narrow place. Our grandparents returned from the horrors of mass murder , deprivation and degradation to live long productive lives.

    I only pray that the love you feel from family and friends helps you through this narrow place and that Brandon has the return we all imagine.

    Many hugs,

    Phil Dani Zavi and Joelle

  9. We are thinking of Brandon and your whole family. We made a special prayer yesterday for Yechezkel Chaim Ben Azeeza.
    Stay strong and as Aziu would always say..."let's hear good news".
    Love Ricky, Merle, Michael, Robbie and Daniel.

  10. C'mon. We're too young to be sick. Tally, we've never met, but I've been reading your blog for almost a year now. What a strong woman, wife and mother you are. Keep the hope.

    Andrea MacLean