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. 

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.

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. .

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