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, 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

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

UPDATE: 7-2-19 - Michael is doing well and his condition and health remains stable. Not much change to report. We continue to take Michael home every day for short stay visits. My wife works with him every day, she stretches him, reads to him and shaves him. Once a month we take him to Brooklyn to visit with is neurologist who refills his baclofen pump medication. This is the pump that helps prevent muscle spasms. She also has decided to reduce the amount visits for his Botox injections to once every 4 months. She was giving him shots once every 3 months. These shots are extremely painful for Michael. She was injects his hands and elbows. She decided to see how he does with reduced the amount of shots as she too feels for Michael's pain with the shots. His next scheduled Botox appointment is in October.  We appreciate you checking in and wish everyone a Very Happy 4th of July Holiday.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

UPDATE -JUNE 1ST 2019 - Mike is doing ok. He remains stable and in good health. Not much new to report as to why we have not posted recently.

We continue to take Mike home daily for 4-5 hour visits. He seems to enjoy being home with us as he is very relaxed. My wife works with him stretching hos arms and legs and shaving him. I continue to try to get him to say something, he appears to try, however has yet to be able to. We know someday he will. We take him to Lutheran Hospital once a month for his Baclofen Pump and Botox Injections.

All else status quo.

Thank you for checking in and prayers and wish you a wonderful summer season.

Mom and Dad Bar

Saturday, April 6, 2019

UPDATE 4-5-19- 

All is well with Michael. His health remains stable and there is not much new to report. We continue to take him home each day for daily visits. He handles the trip back and forth with no issues, in fact we believe his awareness has increased as he oftens appears a bit stressed and lets out a loud moan upon his arrival to the facility.

My wife continues her diligent effort of stretching him arms every day. This too let's us know he has become more aware, He does not enjoy her doing it and tries to appear to be sleeping so she won't disturb him. However she does not let that deter her. She shaves him every other day and cleans his mouth daily. He appears to enjoy the shaving, however does not like the mouth cleaning. She cleans the inside of his mouth as he makes it extremely difficult for the aides to do. Another sign of awareness.

Each month my wife and I transport Michael to Lutheran hospital for his visit with his neurologist to have internal pump refilled which helps him reduce any muscle spasms. In addition. once every three months we take him alos to Lutheran for his botox injections. the shots are in his hands and arms and help a bit to increase his flexibility in hands and arms. Unfortunately for Michael they are very painful. So sad for him to have to go through this in addition to what he goes through on a daily basis.

I continue to work with Michael in attempt to get him to say something. When I speak directly to him he appears to try to say something in return. He lifts his head in my direction and moves his mouth rapidly up and down which appears like he is speaking. We Believe one day he will.

We wish we had more to report, however we remain committed to our belief that he will continue to recover and someday he will discover a way to communicate. We will never give up as we know our Michael and know that neither will he.

We appreciate you checking in and wish you and your family a very Easter and Passover season.

Regards Anthony & Debbie Bartolo