Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Lackey Family reunion is coming up the first weekend in October in Martinsville. Unfortunately, Richard and I won't be able to join the family there this year.

This Lackey family picture was taken at Irene's wake in August, 2003. Richard and Mack are in the back row on the left.

If you click on the picture, it should come up enlarged.

Update: Mack's PIC line was removed from him yesterday. That means that Mack has improved and stabalized, so the doctors aren't expecting him to need it again for IV or other reasons. Mack is still on the 11th floor in a semi-private room by himself - for now. We hope that the next step for Mack will be for him to go into Physical Therapy to work and use his muscles again, particularly his left side. He's been very active on his right side for a while now. He is also off the oxygen line and is basically only getting regular air through the air tube he still has attached.

Have a good evening,

Ruth & Richard

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Belinda!

Today is Belinda's birthday and I won't tell how young she is - 29 and holding........yeah, that's it!


The doctor took Mack's neck brace collar off this evening before Belinda left the hospital, which is great news. She said that Mack went right on to sleep as soon as the collar came off. He's been very active with his right arm, hand and leg for the past two days. Mack has been reaching up and pulling his tubing so Richard gave Mack a piece of tubing in his right hand and Mack held on to it and tried to scratch his head with it. We don't know if that is considered a deliberate action or reactive action. The doctor's are looking for signs like that which indicate that Mack is starting to recover from his vegetative state. Maybe the new medication is also causing some of this kind of reaction in Mack. We hope so.

I had a dream this past weekend that Mack had scooted out of bed, stood up and started walking. It seemed so real - I hope that it was a sign that something dramatically good will happen soon. Maybe he will start talking soon too. We're hoping and praying for the best outcome each day, all the time. Miracles DO happen if you believe.

Much love, Ruth & Richard

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006 - Improvement Shown

Yesterday, September 22, was Jimi Manor's birthday. This is Jimi at our house in Chester, with Mack in the background,when he turned 7.

We wish Jimi a happy birthday with many happy returns.

(Sorry Jimi, I forgot you changed the spelling of your first name.)

This is Dale, Mack's step-brother, at age 13 in 1983, at Neuschwanstein in Germany. Visiting Germany, meeting relatives he never met before, and touring in Bavaria. This picture was taken at Neuschwanstein - one of Dale's favorite times of his life.

Today is Dale's birthday and he's a bit older now than he was in this picture - you can do the math.

Mack has been showing daily signs of improvement since he swas started on the Sinemet on September 15th.
* Sept. 16 - began regular head movement
* Sept. 17 - his mouth began opening, for more than a yawn
* Sept. 18 - Pronounced mouth opening and lateral movement of right leg.
* Sept. 19 - Another "low-oxygen" episode - return to ICU
* Sept. 20 - Licking lower lip, tightened mouth when Blistex was put on lips.
* Sept. 21 - Mack was put back to 11th floor from ICU, room 408; lifted head off pillow - appeared to try to scratch forehead, licking lips more, refused Blistex, not opening right eye as usual, lethargic at heart rate of 120-125 - appeared to look Richard's way quickly as he walked around the end of the bed to the other side.
* Sept. 22 - Found him in fetal position in bed, nurses did not put him in that position. Lifting right leg up - moving left leg more.
This is a recent picture of Dale (on left) and my brother Jimmie, at our house, Christmas 2005.

The prayers and support everyone has sent to each of Mack's family members is very much appreciated. Please continue to keep him in your prayers and continue keeping the faith and hope.

Thanks and much love,
Ruth and Richard

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Just for Smiles

Problem Name

The famous Olympic skier Picabo Street (pronounced Peek-A-Boo) is not just an athlete.... She is now a nurse currently working at the Intensive Care Unit of a large metropolitan hospital. She is not permitted to answer the hospital telephones. It caused too much confusion when she would answer the phone and say, ........Picabo, ICU.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This is Misty Jane Manor a.k.a. "Boo-Boo"

Mack has always had a soft heart when it comes to animals, particularly dogs. Two weeks after we had to put Gypsy to sleep (she had cancer), Mack brings Misty to our home. His story was that the owners were moving and had two dogs. They couldn't take both dogs and needed to find a home for Misty. Honestly, I was not ready to take on another dog so soon after Gypsy was put to sleep. I told Mack okay, she could stay until he found her another home providing that her shots were up to date and that the stitches she had from being spayed were removed. Misty was very apprehensive and afraid of me at first. As the weeks passed, she warmed up to us all and became part of our family. Of course, Mack pretty much knew this would happen once he brought her over here. Well, all I can say is that Misty has turned out to be a wonderful dog to have around. She's loving, active and playful, just as sweet as she can be and a great watch dog. Heck, we even have breakfast together every morning! I know that sounds rather silly, but I love my special time in the morning with Misty. She keeps me calm.

Richard said that Mack was propped up, sitting in a chair when he got to the hospital this afternoon. Mack is also showing signs of swallowing regularly. However, this evening, Mack had another low-oxygen episode on the 9th floor. The nurses, doctors and respiratory therapist were attending him as quickly as possible, but not before Mack's oxygen level dropped to the low 80's again. They got him stabilized and ran x-rays and tests to see if there was any blockage or something that caused this episode, however, we won't find out the results until tomorrow. In the mean time, they moved Mack back to ICU again. Seems that he makes one or two steps progress and then a step or two back again. I'll update again tomorrow or as soon as I have more info.

Crystal, I hope that you're taking good care of yourself and hopefully feeling better.

With Love to all,
Ruth & Richard

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mum Poodles

Isn't it amazing what you can do with flowers!

I thought these little guys were adorable.

Today is Sunday, September 17th. Mack has been moving his head from side to side quite a bit for the past few days. Richard said just returned from the hospital and said the nurse told him that Mack seemed more alert than he has been. I'm hoping that the new medicine they started giving him has a something to do with this improvement. We're keeping our fingers crossed and praying that this might be the miracle we've been hoping for.

This butterfly landed on one of the zinnias in the front yard this summer. We've been seeing lots of butterflies and dragonflies this summer due to the garden in front. The fireflies hang out in the back yard where all the trees are.

More updates later,
Ruth & Richard

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday, September 15, 2006

Good News!
Steven Morales, Belinda's brother, is back from Iraq, safe and sound. He's been through a bit of debriefing and acclamation training since he set foot back on American soil, but that's okay - he is back at home now. I know his wife, Julia, who lives in Tennessee, is very happy to see him. While he's on leave, they're planning to come to Virginia and Maryland to visit the rest of the family, sometime around the end of September. We'll be looking forward to seeing them and welcoming Steven back home.


Mack was moved to the ninth floor, room 222, yesterday evening. As of today, he seems to be doing okay there so far. We were a little concerned that he may have more low oxygen spells once he came out of ICU again, but so far, he's doing okay.

Richard talked with one Mack's doctors yesterday about starting him on Sinemet (levadopa-carbidopa), which is a drug used to treat Parkinson's disease, a disease of the brain that leads to tremors and loss of coordination. Brain Research of 2004 states that eight patients who had been in a vegetative state for a mean of 104 days following traumatic brain injuries were given Sinemet as part of a research study. All of the patients showed some signs of improvement within 13 days. Seven of the patients subsequently regained consciousness within a mean time of 31 days. More information about this research is available at

Mack was started on Sinemet (levadopa-carbidopa) today. We hope and pray that we will start seeing more improvement in him in the next few days/weeks and that he will regain consciousness soon.

The physical therapist put a brace on Mack yesterday and got him out of bed for a little while. He had Mack sitting up in a chair so that he could administer physical therapy to help improve his circulation and get his muscles moving again. Mack has actually been moving his right arm, hand, and right leg quite a bit lately. Not so much with his left arm, hand and leg, but he has been moving them somewhat. Mack has always loved to listen to music. Mack had a loaner CD player in ICU, but when he was moved to the 9th floor, we had to leave it behind. So today, Richard bought Mack his own CD player/radio today to keep him company. Yes, I made the Elvis CD and a mixed country music CD for him to listen to. We'll let you know his response to the Elvis CD later (grin). If anyone wants to bring a Rap CD for Mack to listen to, please make sure it's "clean", since there are other patients around whom we need to take into consideration.

I haven't been going up to the hospital to visit with Mack for nearly a week because I started coughing and feeling ill. Turns out I contracted strep-throat somewhere along the way according to my doctor. However, with medication, I'm working on getting better soon.

To my friend Susan Farrar in Jacksonville, Florida - thank you for the card and good wishes. It was good hearing from you.

To my cousin Mimi in Florida - thank you for helping me keep focused and sane throughout all of our trials and tribulations in the past year; and especially for doing it "long-distance". E-mails and cell phones are wonderful tools, aren't they? Better than snail-mail anyday!

To Jenny (Mack's little sister) and her fiance,
We want to extend our congratulations and best wishes to you both on your wedding day tomorrow, Saturday, September 16, 2006! May you have a lifetime of happiness together.

Please continue to keep your prayers going for Mack. Please stay tuned - more updates to come as they occur.

Wishing everyone blue skies and rainbows,
Ruth & Richard

(This rainbow developed in front of Dale and Jessica's house last Christmas Day. Isn't it beautiful? )

Saturday, September 09, 2006

September 9, 2006

These pictures were taken at Mack's great aunt Nancy and great uncle Finney's house in Martinsville, after the Lackey family reunion dinner in October, 2003. Most of Mack's grandmother Manor's side of the family live in and around Martinsville, Virginia. Cousin David Lackey (playing the piano) is an attorney and lives in North Carolina.

Uncle Finney had a bad fall earlier this year and has been in the hospital ever since as well. We are continually praying for him and Aunt Nancy and wish them both the best.

As I mentioned in the blog before, the entire Manor/Lackey family is musically and artistically talented. Everyone who was there and wanted to, played the baby grand piano while Kim played her guitar.

Mack's Aunt Elsie plays the piano with ease, especially gospel and rag-time tunes. Of course, Aunt Nancy plays her baby grand beautifully as well. Aunt Nancy (in red and black) is standing beside her holding her granddaughter. Uncle Finney (in the yellow shirt) is sitting at the bottom of the stairwell, next to me.

Mack has been on the 11th floor since the evening of September 5th, however, he's been having several "low oxygen" attacks since he has been up there. Richard, Belinda and I went up earlier yesterday afternoon to hang out with Mack and talk to him. Everything seemed fine for quite a while. Then, last night, around 9 p.m. he had another bad attack where his oxygen level started going down below 90. We got the nurse to come in and check him to make sure that he didn't have a blockage in his trach, and as she did, his oxygen level kept dropping below 90. Lori, the nurse called the respiratory therapist immediately, and between the two of them, they worked on Mack with oxygen and meds to help bring his level back to around the mid-80's within 15 minutes. At one point, while they were working on him, Mack's oxygen level went down to the mid 70's, which is alarming. I must admit, I was getting very anxious while they were working on Mack and stepped behind the curtain for a few minutes. I have a hard time with crisis like that, which is why I never aspired to be a nurse. Richard and Belinda stayed in Mack's room while they were working on him. Around 10 p.m. Mack's oxygen level was back around 93 - 95, so we got him cleaned up (clean linens and clothes, etc.) and settled back down to rest for the night. We stayed there to watch him until about 11 p.m. and his oxygen level was back to 98-100 before we left. This morning the hospital called to let us know that they moved Mack back into ICU again and that the doctor wanted to do a Brochoscopy on Mack today. They're also going to check to make sure that the pneumonia hasn't returned since he's been off of antibiotics for a few days.

Please keep Mack in your prayers as he is still VERY MUCH in need of them. We will update the blog as soon as we have more news.

Ruth & Richard

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

September 6, 2006

Mack was about 5 in this picture. He put BVD underwear on his black lab poundpuppy and thought it was hilarious. Of course we took a picture of it because we thought it was funny too. Mack loves to make people laugh and will do most anything silly to get them to laugh. Around the holidays, when the family all gets together, be careful when you're trying to eat dinner because Mack will start telling jokes, one after another, just to get you to laugh till your drink comes out of your nose.

Last night, they moved Mack from the ICU unit to the 11th floor, Room 404, near the nurses station. They still have him in a private room until the MRSA clears up. The gown and gloves are still required when you go to see him on the 11th floor. Mack had a bit of a rough night last night after they moved him so Richard and Belinda stayed with him until after 11:00 p.m. He was having coughing spells and had a hard time breathing until the nurse suctioned out his air passages. Mack is showing signs that he may be able to see a bit because his eyes follow you to his right when you move around. His eyes aren't following to the left yet. He's also starting to move his left arm more than before, so they've put a soft splint on his left arm in addition to the right arm soft splint. Since he's been in bed for so long, Mack's feet have started to show signs of "foot drop". The nurses have been putting a special shoe, alternating between his feet, to help that situation. The stitches in his head are due to come out real soon - probably in the next day or so.

That's all the update I have tonight. Thank you all for keeping Mack and his family in your prayers. We appreciate all the cards and well wishes from everyone over the past month. Thank you ALL so much.

Ruth & Richard

Jimmy and Mack playing in their Grandma Manor's back yard. Jimmy was about 61/2 and Mack was almost 5. Mack the clown, was doing "armpit farts".

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday, September 2, 2006

Mack's uncle, Henry, the artist painted the oil painting he's holding here. Henry is also a very accomplished guitarist and pianist. He once tried to play the violin, but Richard and a few other folks convinced Henry that he needed lots of practice and that he really should stick to the guitar and piano instead.

The entire Manor/Lackey family, including Mack, is very artistic and musically inclined.

Henry rides a 2005 Harley Softail Deluxe. Richard rides an electric-blue 2001 Honda Goldwing and baby sister, Carol Sue rides a Harley Sportster. Her husband, Kevin Bennett, rides a Harley 883 Sportster.

Richard's band, "Southern Cross" has played together for about 6 years. Richard plays the drums and they play mostly 70's & 80's classic southern rock. Their latest gig has been at Randzz this past weekend. Their next gig is the Rives Ruritan Club Steak Fest in Prince George on September 30th. This will be the 4th year in a row they've been asked to play there. The folks out there love them! Band members are Scott Seeley, Lara and Kevin Spain, Dennis Haraway, Rusty Holland and Richard Manor.

There hasn't been much to update regarding Mack for the past several days. He is still in a coma and in the ICU isolation room because of the MRSA virus he contracted several days ago. Richard and I went up there today around noon hoping to talk with one of the doctors to get an update, but no one will be available until Tuesday because of the holiday weekend. The nurse is going to shave Mack this afternoon, with Belinda's help, because we told her that Mack has never liked to wear a beard or mustache. It itches him.
I don't know who put Magic (Mack's magician puppet) in a neck brace, but we thought it was cute. Now all Magic needs is a soft arm splint, booties and a bandage on his right knee to match Mack's.

All the best to our friends and neighbors,
Ruth & Richard