Our Michael Bartolo Blog

Michael Bartolo, Afghan War Hero was critically injured on September 6th 2013 in motorcycle accident.  He suffered multiple injuries and a traumatic brain injury which has left him in a minimally conscious state. He is unable to walk or talk and requires constant nursing care. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

UPDATE -4-1-20 - First, we hope and pray everyone is safe and this crisis passess quickly.

As a result of the virus, Michael and the entire facility he is in has been locked down have stopped all visitation. This has been so stressful for us not being able to be with him everyday as we have for the past 6 1/2 years. The staff has been so kind to briefly face time with us almost everyday. However, while this provides some comfort, it is also compounds our stress. As we often see the confusion and sadness in his face as we believe he does not understand what is happening, we watch him trying to say something and often see tears in his eyes. Which is truly heartbreaking. My wife struggles daily with not being able to help him with his daily oral and personal hygiene. As each day she would clean his mouth and lips and shave him. I struggle with not being able to help him by repositioning him in his chair. as we often see that he is positioned poorly and either leaning to one side or slumped down in his chair. We do understand that the staff is overworked and very unstaffed, so it hard for us to be too critical of them and we have to tactfully ask them to reposition him.

We do sincerely appreciate all they do to take care of our Michael. Many of the staff treat Michael as if were their son. Many call him their "baby" which is so sweet and heartfelt.

We also pray everyday that the virus stays out of the facility as it is so very dangerous for all the patients there, especially Michael.

We did get to physically see him 2 weeks ago as we were allowed to transport him to Lutheran for his monthly baclofen pump refill. We are hoping we can do the same this coming month as his next appointment is on April 22nd.

We are sending our prayers and support to everyone to stay safe and we all practice social distancing so we can beat back this virus once and for all. .

Sunday, March 1, 2020

UPDATE - 3-1-20 - Michael's health remains stable. We continue to take Michael home every day for his therapeutic visits. During his visits my wife takes care of some of his personal hygiene needs, she shaves him and cleans his mouth and throat. She also stretches his arms and hands and reads to him daily. I give him his haircuts and spend time with attempting to get him to follow my verbal commands and make sounds. He appears to lock in to my voice for brief periods and appears to be trying to follow my directions. It takes a few minutes for him to respond, however he definitely appears to be trying. 

We took him this month twice to Lutheran Hospital. One trip was for his Baclofen Pump refill and the other the more difficult and painful trip for Michael. It was for his Botox injections. The shots are into his forearms and hands to help reduce the contractions in his muscles.

As the shots are very painful, however it lets us know that his level of awareness has increased. He demenior changes as soon as he sees the Doctor enter the room. He become a bit agitated and even a bit vocal.The Doctor even commented that she sees the difference in awareness. Again while this is extremely difficult for Michael and emotionally draining for my wife to watch, it also provides us with fuel to our continued belief that he will recover to some point. Our continued prayers is that someday we will break through and he will find a way to communicate with us. Until that day we will continue to aide in his daily comfort and needs and be his ongoing support system.

Thank you for checking in and for your support and prayers.
Mom and Dad Bar.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

UPDATE 2-1-20 -

UPDATE - 2-1-20 - Michael's health remains stable. We continue to take Michael Home everyday for his short stay visits, something he appears to enjoy. My wife stretches his arms and hands everyday. She also cleans her mouth which is a challenge as he tends to bite down on the cleaning swab. She also shaves him and I give him a buzz cut haircut every other week. She has been reading to him daily and has read the first 3 Harry Potter Books over the last several months. He appears to be relaxed as she reads to him. Her commitment and diligence to Michaels recovery is absolutely amazing. I am convinced that Michael is for the most part aware of his surroundings, as each day when I return him to the Facility, as we arrive either in the Van or to his room, he lets out a loud moan almost like he is saying to me, take me back home Dad. Something we wish we could.

This month Michael has several Dr appointments, his neurologist has ordered a EEG for him, she wants to learn if there was any change as a result of a seizure he had months ago. Then he has his monthly baclofen pump refill and his next appointment is his quarterly botox appointment. That is the most painful treatment for him as his neurologist injects his hands and arms. The injections are to help with flexibility. It appears to have helped him.

My wife and I remain committed and vigilant in our belief that Michael will continue to recover. We appreciate everyone checking in along with your Support and Prayers. Regards Mom and Dad Bar

Monday, January 6, 2020

UPDATE -1-6-20 We Wish Everyone a Very Happy & Healthy New Year.

Michael health continues to remain stable. Not much new to report. We continue to take him home for his daily home visits. As a result of Michaels visits it has helped us in our belief that Michael is aware of his surroundings. Each day upon his return to the facility, Michael will often let out a load moaning sound and appears to be sad and a bit upset once we arrive in his room. As this is very difficult for us, it is also provides us with continued hope that he is slowly become more aware and one day begin to communicate.with us.

Once a month, we take Michael to Lutheran Hospital to have his Baclofen pump refilled and Now once every 3 months we also need to bring him there to have his botox injections to help him with flexibility.

Again we So appreciate everyone's prayer and support. Till Next month Be safe and Stay warm.

Mom and Dad Bar 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

UPDATE 12-4-19 - Michael's health remains stable. My wife and I continue to pick him up and return him every day for his short stay visits. My wife spends much of that time working with Mike. She shaves him every other day, she cleans his mouth and teeth every day which is very difficult for the hospital staff to do as he tends to clamp and bite down on the cleaning swab. She reads to him every day and has read several books to him over the last few months. It appears that he is listening, how much he comprehends is unknown to us. We both feel the more interaction with us the better his chances of gaining some level of increased awareness. I give him a haircut every other Tuesday, something that appears to us that he enjoys as he seems very relaxed during it. It is my belief that due to my wife's continued diligence with Michael he is further along than the Doctors ever thought possible. As always, we remain committed in our belief that someday he will break through and find a way to communicate with us.

We both want to extend our Best Holiday Wishes to You and Your Family and Wish Everyone a Very Happy and Healthy New Year.

Mom and Dad Bar

Monday, November 4, 2019

UPDATE - 11-3-19

Michael health continues to be stable. He had monthly doctors appointments for his Baclofen Pump and his Botox Injections. Unfortunately the Botox injections are very painful. yet necessary for Michael. He receives the injections in his knuckles and forearms. They are to help him with his flexibility. The shots have appeared to work.

There is a positive, yet difficult sign that Michael is often aware of his surroundings. Each time we take him to the doctor, as soon as he and my wife enter the doctor's office and especially in the exam room, Michael demeanor changes, he becomes somewhat agitated and appears to become stressed, as he knows what is about to happen. This is just one of many occasions that he has gained a level of awareness, something that the Doctors believed when the accident occurred that he would not become aware or conscious. 

My wife and I continue to take Michael home everyday for about 6 hours, my wife continues to stretch him everyday. Some days he cooperates and other days he resists. She also tends to some basic hygiene like shaving him and washing his face and moisturizing his skin. Something she prefers to do as opposed to having the aides in the facility do. I give a buzz cut haircut every other week. All of which that he appears to enjoy and to be relaxed with. .

His level of attentiveness and his attention spans varies day to day. My reads to him daily and has read several books to him over the last few months. My wife and I have been able to get him to turn his head and look towards us on multiple occasions. However not on a consistent basis. We have also witnessed him to react to what is on the TV and even appear to laugh at the appropriate moment. All of which helps us to continue to remain faithful and believe that we will find a way to communicate with him.

As always we appreciate  and Thank everyone for all the prayers and support and for you checking in on Our Michael.  Till Next Month.

Warmest Regards, Mom and Dad

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

UPDATE – 10-1-19 – Michael health remains stable. He appears to have become more aware and has become a bit more vocal. He is still unable to communicate, however He will of often moan loudly when he is distressed, especially when my wife works on cleaning inside of mouth. He will let her know he is not happy about doing it by moaning. LOL. However, it needs to be done as he tends to build up mucus on his tongue and the roof of his mouth. It also builds up in the back of his throat which causes him to choke and causes him to cough loudly. He has on a few occasions turned his head in our direction when we stand next to him and call to him. It appears that it takes him a while to process and follow the command. We pray that this will become more frequent and he will eventually follow verbal commands on a more consistent basis.

Michael has several doctor and dentist appointments this month. He has first dentist appointment with a dentist that specializes in TBI Patients. We do not know how the dentist will be able to examine him as he bites down on a anything placed inside his mouth. We shall see. He also has his baclofen pump refill appointment and his Botox appointment. The Botox appointment is the most difficult for Mike. It Is a very painful as the Doctor injects his knuckles and elbows. The injections are to help him will his contracted muscles and keep him be bit more flexible.  All the appointments are at Lutheran Hospital. We transport him via our Van which he appears to handle. We just pray they all go appointments go quickly and well.

As always, we appreciate you checking in on Mike and your continued prayers and support.
Regards Mom and Dad Bar