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, 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

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

Thursday, March 7, 2019

3-6-19 UPDATE:  

Today my husband Anthony and I brought Mike to his routine Botox appointment at Lutheran Hospital. All was well during the trip into Brooklyn, relaxed, comfortable, sleepy.  Unfortunately Anthony was not able to park so he had to wait in the van while I brought Mike up to the office.  Once in the waiting area, I saw his eyes looking around and I guess he realized where he was. His head shot up and I saw slight agitation.  We were an hour behind schedule so his anticipation of what was ahead was increasing.  We were finally called into the room and he was Not happy. The doctor began setting up and when she came around to face him he gave her one of his "not to nice" looks! She even looked up to me with amusement and responded with "He really does not like me!!" He continued to focus completely on her so she suggested I play some of his favorite music on You-tube.  I did which began to distract him. The shots he receives are given into his hands, forearm and bicep. These as you can imagine, are Very painful but he got thru it.  Afterward, we had enough time to bring him home for a while.  I decided to leave him along to rest.

The highlight of the day was when his father came over to him to tell him when he comes home again tomorrow, he joked with Michael that he was going to put duct tape on me and put me in the closet so I can't bother with my stretching exercises etc. With that Michael picked up his head toward his dad and began to what appears to use as his smiling and laughing!  We have witnessed him do the same thing occasionally when we are watching TV at the appropriate time during a funny scene. We both took all these actions as a Very Good sign.  

Michaels progress has been very slow, however, he continues to surprise us and helps us to continue to BELIEVE and NEVER GIVE UP. Hopefully next month we will have another progress story to tell.

Thank you all again for your continued support and prayers.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Update: 2-1-19   This year we have decided to bring Mike home everyday instead of the 5 days we have been doing. Only on extremely cold days we stay with him at the nursing home.  He has been doing very well health wise and very attentive, and noticed on a positive note, especially with his father. When Anthony comes by his side Mike instantly knows and opens his eyes directly to him. He stays attentive and follows where Anthony stands.  HIs mouth begins to move as if he wants desperately to say something.  Maybe one day he actually will and surprise everyone! We are also doing well bringing him to his doctors appointments in Brooklyn using his van instead on the ambulance.  He handles the ride back and fourth very well and very relaxed. All these changes are doing Mike good and and helping to make our life easier!  We will continue to update you and a monthly basis with any progress.  Until then, stay warm and thank you for your continued support

Friday, January 4, 2019

Anthony and I had asked Mike to give us one Christmas present. To show us he is with us and can understand. We each stood on opposite sides of his and called his name to look at us. With a slight delayed reaction, this is exactly what he did.  He turned his head and eyes directly to me and then again to his father. This action is not something he would do on a regular basis.  On occasion he would turn his head only to one side.  We both couldn't be happier with this progress!

For the last three weeks, due to the holidays, we were able to bring Mike home everyday. His health has been stable and we noticed so much sound coming from him. We believe all the activity surrounding him on a daily basis is helping to keep his brain active and possibly connecting.

We continue to ask him to perform certain commands and when his father talks to him, Mike is appears to be very attentive. He has on several occasions has followed his verbal commands. He often appears to be trying to speak. he moves his jaw up and down as if he is speaking, however no sound. We believe he is trying to connect his voice and with the jaw movement. We will continue to help him break through. 

We see in him his strength and determination which he always possessed, trying so hard to communicate.  As we all know Michael was a fighter, and we believe deep down he is still fighting to come thru.  He is young and he has time on his side. Please keep your prayers coming and hold on to the Belief (which we have) that one day we will all see the miracle we've been waiting for.

Thank you all for your continued support and checking in on his progress. The Bartolo family wish you all a Very Happy and Healthy New Year !