Monday, July 25, 2005

Kung Pao Kitten



Everybody missed Jason.

Even the cat.

I Want a New Drug

Jason got sick this weekend.

Maybe it was two straight days of friends and dropzone and no naps after weeks of being in a hospital bed. Maybe it was the oppressive hot and muggy weather conditions. Or maybe it was the walking taco he ate -- a lump of ground beef plopped inside a bag of Fritos, topped with lettuce and salsa and an ice cream scoop of sour cream.

Jason spent the rest of the night shivering and clutching a trash can. His face was a light shade of gray and his stomach was all gurgly, so he took some tablets of Pepto Bismol.

After that, Jason noticed the part of the Pepto label that cautioned against taking it while on blood thinners -- another drug he's currently taking. A call was made to his brother's wife, a pharmacist.

It was no big deal, she said.

What was a big deal was his pain patch -- like the nicotine patch but with powerful narcotics.

Earlier that evening, Jason and I had already decided it was this pain patch that was making him so dizzy and nauseous. To lower the dose, we literally cut the patch in half and threw away part of it.

To me, this made perfect sense. Of course, I also believe that we should get warmer when we skydive at high altitudes because we're closer to the sun. So don't trust me.

I guess that cutting the patch in half can actually increase the dose, something I don't entirely understand. But, um ... whatever.

Jason ended up peeling off the whole damn thing. We flushed it so the cat wouldn't get into the trash and get all hopped up on goofballs.

So, for the first time since leaving the hospital, Jason was without constant pain medication. He does have a prescription for a patch with a lower dose, but he didn't yet have it filled. And the small town where we're staying doesn't have a 24-hour pharmacy. And the prescription was in his mom's purse. And she is in Indianapolis.

The lack of pain medication filled his sleep with fits and starts. Occasionally, Jason was overcome by the ache and cramps and stiffness and he would pass out from it all, his body sprawled across layers of pillows and sweaty sheets. His face was still, but his limbs were all awkward right angles. He looked as though he had lost a battle. Sometimes I quietly checked to make sure he was still breathing.

Today should be better. It has to be.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Like a Rolling Stone



Jason's home!

Not our home, exactly. He moved into a friend's house. And it's a long way from where we used to live.

But he's out of the hospital. He filled his lungs with summer evening air. And he saw blue skies for the first time in almost a month.

That means he's home.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

More on Bills

Because I'm a little bit of a sadist, I decided to do a quick calculation of what Jason and I can expect for future medical bills, based on the bill we already have.

So if the emergency room was $7,000 for about two hours of treatment ... multiply that by 17 days in the hospital and you get a grand total of

$1,428,000.

Wowee.

So if any of our millionaire readers want to jump in and help, you can donate to the Jason Yasuda Medical Fund at any U.S. Bank branch or online.

Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm Just a Bill



1 Cervical Spine Four-Five Views = $203.50
1 CT Scan Abdomen = $1,155.00
1 CT Scan Pelvis = $1,100.00
1 CT Thorax = $990.00
1 Emergency Department = $860.00
1 Doc - Critical Care (1st hour) = $300.00
1 Doc - Critical Care (1/2 hour) = $150.00
1 IV Initial Hour = $ $300.00
14 MG Morphine = $74.85
Etc. Etc. etc.

Less Than Two Hours in the ER = $6,743.95

1 Broken Boyfriend Getting Fixed in Emergency Room = Priceless

That's what I keep telling myself anyway.

Today the first of what's sure to be many bills arrived. It's from the ER in Richmond, where Jason was treated for less than two hours, before he was transfered to another hospital.

Nearly $7,000 for less than two hours. I looked at that bill and got so hysterical, I couldn't stop laughing. Like, "Yeah, lemme just grab my new Louis Vuitton clutch. You want that cash?"

Then I got REALLY hysterical and in more of a bad way. I started to think about the helicopter ride to the next hospital. The days Jason spent in the intensive care unit. The surgery. The food. The doctor and nurse hours. The medication. The wheelchair. The rest of his 17 DAYS IN THE HOSPITAL.

If it's $7,000 for less than two hours of ER treatment, what the hell are the rest of the bills going to be like?

Mother of God. It's enough to turn me Canadian.

I was already eyeballing everything the nurses used on Jason. In my mind, every tissue was $10. Every piece of gauze was another $30. Every bandage another benjamin.

And now I find out I was right!

I swear, if Jason wasn't being discharged tomorrow, I would be restocking his room with my own Kleenex, Band-aids and maybe a bottle of Advil and Jack Daniels to kill the pain.

Jason really is worth every penny, but MY GOD. This hospital stay is already using up every single penny we always wished we had.

Getting Better All the Time



Jason has been recovering so well, he is expected to leave the hospital on Tuesday.

This has already done wonderful things for his spirit. He's been in the hospital since July 2 and is getting tired of seeing the same four walls.

Though, honestly, he's a little scared to be outside the realm of constant care -- where nurses and doctors and PCTs and all sorts of people are available around the clock if he needs something.

I'm a little scared too. I still need to hold down my full-time job and won't be there all the time to bring him meals, help him get comfortable on the bed, keep him entertained, etc. And it's going to be hard. Up to now, he's had a full staff to assist him with the shower and empty his bedside urinal and things like that.

I keep telling him that we'll make it through this -- we have no other choice. But the more I say it, the more I believe it. The only road we have is the one that's ahead of us.

Unfortunately, this new step involves another problem. The hospital has warned us that once he leaves the facility, the bills will start coming.

Since Jason has no insurance, we'll need help with the bills.

For those of you interested in donating to Jason's medical fund you may do so at either of the following banks:

5/3 Bank - Any Location - Make payments out to Jason A. Yasuda Savings Account.

US Bank - Any Location - Make payments out to Jason A. Yasuda Savings Account.

To mail your donation:

5/3 Bank, Attn: Emily Praeter, 3484 Towne Blvd, Franklin, OH 45005.

I don't yet have a mailing address for the U.S. Bank account. I'll get that information up here as soon as I can.

We're also going to open a PayPal account for donations, and that information will be online as soon as possible. I've had a little trouble in this area, so it might take me a few days.

An enormous thanks to everyone who has already given so much -- visits at the hospital, meals, donations, phone calls, kind words, prayers and so much more. Your love and support has meant the world.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Cruisin' on a Sunday Afternoon




I went away for three days on a business trip -- and came back to find Jason rolling all over the place in his wheelchair, thanks to an intense week of rehabilitation.

He's now learned to get in and out of bed, into his wheelchair -- and down the hall, into the dining room, around the hospital, outside on the porch ...

Jason can now wheel over to use the bathroom. He can take showers in a special handicapped seat. And now he's on a regular diet (well, somewhat normal -- today we split some really decadent cheesecake), and has been sitting up to eat all of his meals.

Jason has some really ingenious items to help him with all this. The wheelchair itself is surprisingly easy to turn and move around. That slide board, in the back pocket of his chair, is used to easily transfer him into a car or onto the toilet. He also has this long metal claw, which can be used to grip things a few feet away that he can't reach. And he has this long stick with a loop on the end, which I call a leg lasso. He puts his feet through the loop and pulls on the stick to lift his legs -- he can't do on his own because of the broken pelvis and weak leg muscles. (Though I fear as soon as Jason is discharged from the hospital, the leg lasso might soon become a cat lasso.)

All in all, Jason is a rock star. Seriously.

It's been just two weeks since the accident, and he's already trying to learn wheelies.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Injuries




The collision left Jason with a shattered pelvis, five fractures in his back, a lot of internal bleeding and extensive bruising.

Last Thursday was the surgery for Jason's pelvis. Prior to the operation, the doctors weren't sure just how much damage was inside there and thought they might have to go back in later for a couple more procedures.

Thankfully, they don't. Three titanium screws put my boyfriend back together.

Also, because he'll be off his feet for so long, they won't be doing any back surgery, which is awesome. The fewer surgeries the better, right?

He is expected to walk again. It's just not going to happen for a long, long while.

Some Background



This is my boyfriend, Jason Yasuda.

Until recently, Jason was a full-time skydiving instructor at Skydive Wayne County -- with professional ratings to teach static line, tandem and accellerated freefall students. He is a very experienced skydiver with about 1,700 jumps.

On July 2, he was involved in a skydiving accident, a mid-air collision.

In that split second, Jason lost his mobility, his career and a friend, Sean, who died during the incident.

Jason has been in the hospital since the accident and does not have the necessary health insurance to pay the enormous medical bills.

He is now facing the long road of rehabilitation. He'll be living in a physical therapy center at the hospital for the next couple weeks. He will then be limited to a wheelchair for a very long time and will eventually have to relearn to walk.

Jason also won't be able to come home again. We have to move away from our apartment, because it is on the second floor of a building with no elevator.

And that's just some of the practical, physical stuff my boyfriend is facing now. His head and his heart will take far longer to heal.

Please think of him often and keep him in your prayers.