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. 

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

Friday, September 6, 2019

6 Years Ago...

Today marks 6 Years ago that Our Michael's Life changed forever. He continues his battle to recover. He has made strides that to some may seem minor, however when my wife and I reflect back we realize that he has come a long way.

His recovery having been granular slow and considering that we were told that he may never emerge from his coma and had a very low probability to actually survive, to today where he has become more aware, his eyes are bright and opened. He drifts in and out of sleep less and actually makes sounds when he distressed or upset. Especially when my wife or a aide attempts to clean his mouth and throat.. lol. We have witnessed him on several occasions appear to laugh (Smile) at the appropriate moment when watching a funny moment on a TV show. He also moves his mouth up and down as if he is trying to speak, however has yet to make the connection with his voice. We know one day he will. WE BELIEVE!

I also know he is aware of his surroundings as he often moans loudly in the van when he realizes that we have arrived back at the nursing home and often appears to have tears in his eyes when we need to leave for the day. He also is aware when someone new arrives to visit him. When his Aunts and Uncles how come to visit, he will lift his head and turn in their direction. AGAIN, HELPING US BELIEVE!

While all of this is extremely difficult for my wife and I deal with it, we however gain our strength and OUR BELIEF that Our Michael will continue to make strides in his recovery, We firmly BELIEVE that one day he will find a way to communicate with us. As anyone who truly knows our Michael, he will find a way on his terms and timeline. We will be there by his side when he does.

We continue to pick up and take Michael home everyday for his short stay visits along with taking him to his monthly doctors appointments in Lutheran Hospital. Thankfully his health has remained stable.

As always we so appreciate everyone prayers and support and for continually to check in on him.

Friday, August 2, 2019

UPDATE 8-2-2019 - Michael continues to do well, his health remains stable and condition has not changed. We continue to take him home everyday and to his monthly visits to his neurologist to have his pump refilled. My wife works with him on a daily basis and stretches his hands, arms and legs. I work with him to attempt to get his to communicate. It appears he tries as he often lifts his head and moves his jaw up and down as if he trying to speak. To us it appears that he has yet to connect to push sound from his throat, however we continue to Believe one day he will. He does however occasionally make a loud moaning sound when he doesn't like something, this often happens when I return him to the hospital at the end of the day. This is a very sad and difficult thing for us to have to do each day, as we wish we didn't have to leave him, however it also leads us to believe that he does have some form of awareness, which is something that is so encouraging for us. As always we appreciate you checking in and for your continued support. Till next month, Regards Mom and Dad Bartolo