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. 

Monday, October 5, 2020

     UPDATE - 10-5-20 - Michael is well. We have been permitted to visit with Michael once a week for about 30 minutes. We however are required to go for a COVID Test each week and submit the results before we are allowed to schedule out visit. The visit is closely monitored by hospital staff however we are thankful we are finally able to physically visit with him. 

The weekly testing is difficult and yet another hurdle that we need to overcome to get through this. Like with everything else, we will do whatever we have to in order to help our Michael. He seems so what confused by us wearing the masks when we visit. However we believe he knows it is us. 

We are scheduled to visit with Michael on Tuesdays and we go for the COVID Test on Wednesdays for the upcoming weeks visit. 

Not much else new to report as our time with Michael is extremely limited making this whole COVID situation a nightmare for both my wife and I and especially for Michael. 

We pray for all of this to finally come to end and for everyone to Stay Safe and Healthy. 

As always we Thank Everyone for your continued prayers and support

Regards

Mom and Dad Bartolo 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

 UPDATE – 9-15-20 – This Month marks a sad anniversary for our Michael. On Tuesday 9-6-20 is the 7-year anniversary of his accident. Although it has been an incredibly long journey, Michael made some amazing advances. At the time of his accident we were told he may not survive, if he did, he may never emerge from his coma, and if he did, he would most likely remain in a vegetative state.

Well we knew and believed differently, we knew if anyone could push through, it would be our Michael. We were right. He is more aware of his surrounding and activities that occur around him and definitely to him. Regretfully he is still unable to communicate. We remain vigilant in our belief that one day he will find a way.

Regretfully Michael had to be transferred to S.I. hospital earlier this month as he was having a difficulty with stomach cramps. He spent about a week there and thankfully they were able to clear the issue. As this was overly concerning, there was a huge benefit to his stay at the hospital. My wife and I were permitted to be with Michael and stay with him as he cannot communicate. This is something that we have not been able to do since the start of the pandemic. The Nursing home still does not permit visitors. We both find this so frustrating and so stressful. This makes no logical sense at this point that a hospital allowed us to be with him every day for 24 hours a day, yet nursing home still does not. 

My wife and I took turns each day and switched places, so he was never alone. I had a very gratifying experience with Michael. I have not physically been with Mike for 6 months. When I arrived by his bedside, I called to him, he looked at me however, I had a mask on. I slide the mask down and moments later he gave me the biggest smile. I was happy beyond my words to see he knew it was me. as I was concerned, he may not recognize me. Another sign of his recovery.  

Upon on his discharge, he was transported back to the home, my wife accompanied him in the ambulance, however she had to leave his side at their front door. We have appealed to everyone we can, however to no avail, all nursing homes remain locked down by order of Governor Cuomo. My wife does get to accompany him to once a month for his visit to see his neurologist in Lutheran Hospital. However, she must wait for him to be brought down by the ambulance attendants and must say goodbye upon their return to the home.

Again, this makes no logical sense at this point. We pray that this policy ends soon. Starting next week they are planning to allow us to have a short patio visit with him once week at a socially distant space. We are not sure how he will react to this. Only time will tell.

We both pray for everyone to stay healthy and safe and as always thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Regards Mom and Dad Bartolo


Thursday, August 6, 2020

UPDATE - 8-6-20 - Hoping everyone is remaining safe, healthy, and are practicing social distancing. Once again, regretfully we do not have much to report as Michael's Rehab Hospital remains on Locked Down. We have not been able to be with Michael since 3/13/20.

My wife did have an opportunity to physically be with Michael yesterday 8/5/20 to go with him on his monthly visit to his neurologist in Bay Ridge by ambulance for his Baclofen pump refill. Just like last month, Initially Michael did not react to seeing her as she had her mask on. She attempted to get his attention to no avail. However when she quickly lowered her mask and called to him he reacted by turning his head towards her, and sadly began to appear to cry. While this was extremely distressing for her, she was also was very gratified that he reacted and feels that he still knew her. 

My wife said that Michael was also very vocal. We have found that He moans loudly when he is either stressed or unhappy. This is especially true when he arrives at the office and when he sees his Neurologist. She commented as well that she felt he has become more aware of his surroundings A positive step in the right direction. 

The facility does facetime us every few days, however while it is good to see him we are not sure if he understands as to why he is seeing us via the phone. We can only hope and pray that he is doing ok emotionally and physically. 

The facility is still preventing visitation. They are still very concerned with the spread of the virus as the majority of the residents are senior citizens who are the most vulnerable. They are currently offering scheduled window visits, we have opted not to schedule one. We believe it will be very difficult for Michael to comprehend and for us to gain his attention.  

They have announced protocol for Patio visits with Social distancing on 7-15-20. The protocol is the facility must be Covid Free for 28 Straight Days. 

Unfortunately we jsut heard TODAY someone tested positive so the clock starts AGAIN . We Now MUST Wait until 9-7-20 for the facility to be cleared. 

We believe that we are still months away from actually being able to physically be with Mike. We try to do everything we can for him and we try to stay positive and manage through this unbelievable situation. 

As always we so appreciate everyone's support 

Thursday, July 9, 2020


UPDATE - 7-8-20 - Hoping everyone is remaining safe, healthy, and are practicing social distancing. Once again, regretfully we do not have much to report as Michael's Rehab Hospital remains on Locked Down. We have not been able to be with Michael since 3/13/20.

My wife did have an opportunity to physically be with Michael on 7/1/20 to go with him on his monthly visit to his neurologist in Bay Ridge by ambulance for his Baclofen pump refill. Initially Michael did not react to seeing her as she had her mask on. She attempted to get his attention to no avail. However when she quickly lowered her mask and called to him he reacted by turning his head towards her, and sadly began to appear to cry. While this was extremely distressing for her, she was also was very gratified that he reacted and still knew her. 

The facility does facetime us every few days, however while it is good to see him we are not sure if he understands as to why he is seeing us via the phone. We can only hope and pray that he is doing ok emotionally and physically. 

The facility is still preventing visitation. They are still very concerned with the spread of the virus as the majority of the residents are senior citizens who are the most vulnerable. They are working on the possibility of window visits and at some point possible patio visits with social distancing. However this is still a long way off. 

We believe that we are still months away from actually being able to physically be with Mike. We try to do everything we can for him and we try to stay positive and manage through this unbelievable situation. 

As always we so appreciate everyone's support and prayers and hope and pray that everyone stays safe and healthy. 

Warmest Regards
Mon and Dad Bar 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020


UPDATE - 6-3-20 - Hoping everyone is remaining safe, healthy, and are practicing social distancing. Once again, regretfully we do not have much to report as Michael's Rehab Hospital remains on Locked Down. We have not been able to be with Michael since 3/13/20.

As I had shared, this is the first time in the last 6 years that we have not been with him every day. I cannot express how deeply saddened and how stressful this is for us, as we can see that because of Michael not being mentally stimulated every day his awareness is regressing. On the days that we do get to briefly see him via Facetime, he is most often asleep. We believe that his days and nights are now mixed up. Which further stresses us, as we believe because of his isolation that he may just be laying there awake at night staring at the ceiling which is causing him to sleep during the day.

This situation was further magnified as My wife was allowed to accompany Michael in the ambulance last week for his monthly visit to see his neurologist, however Michael slept through the entire round trip to Brooklyn including the doctors injecting his medication into his Pump.  

Sadly, all of this leads us to believe that now all our prior efforts to help him recover may be lost.

We pray everyday that this situation may change soon, and we can at a minimum, visit with him every day and shortly after that resume taking him home for his daily home visits.

Again, as always, we so appreciate your continued support, prayers and hoping that for us all that this terrible situation comes to end soon. Be safe, stay healthy and be careful.

Regards
Mom and Dad Bartolo 

Monday, May 4, 2020


UPDATE - 5-3-20 - Hoping everyone is staying safe and healthy. Regretfully we do not have much to report as Michael's Rehab Hospital is on Locked Down. We have not be able to be with Michael since 3/13/20. This is the first time in the last 6 years that we have not been with him everyday.

A very nice women who normally works as a nursing admin support person has been so kind to briefly Facetime with us during the week when she can. While we are extremely grateful for her doing this, it is also so sad for us, as we can often see the confusion on Michael's face as he is not comprehending why we are on the phone and not physically in front of him. The weekends are tough for us as we do not get the chance to see him.

We are hoping and praying that soon this nightmare will be over for all us. Please Stay Safe.

Regards Mom and Dad Bartolo

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. .