Support for Adrian & Cassandra MacDonald

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UPDATE:  Today marks one year since Cassy & Adrian’s horrific accident that resulted in Adrian’s Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  It took the first 6 months for Adrian to become medically stable. Fortunately, Adrian was able to emerge from his coma, but still had a very long road ahead of him.  Adrian spent many months in a minimally conscious state unaware of his surroundings, very little mobility and being fed through a PEG tube.  After his repatriation from Kamloops Adrian spent 2 1/2 months at The Montreal General Hospital where they were (in our opinion) much too quick to move him into a personal care home.  Adrian moved to Maimonides in November 2020 and on top of everything contracted COVID soon after and was sent to their isolation floor for 10 days.  Thankfully for Adrian he showed no symptoms and did not get ill. 
Personal care homes are not equipped for the type of rehabilitation Adrian requires.  Adrian is loved my so many and no one was prepared accept that Adrian would not improve. 
The staff at Maimonides were not well prepared to tend to Adrian’s needs when he first arrived.  With Cassy’s dedication and constant communication, and with the help of the head nurse on his floor, the staff have stepped up and comment regularly on how much improvement they’ve seen.  Adrian often waves at the staff or gives a thumbs-up and sometimes flips the middle finger when he is not happy with them.
Over the past winter Adrian started physiotherapy with a private clinic that specializes in TB!s, Neuro-Concepts, and soon after added speech therapy.  The SAAQ (Quebec Insurance) was assisting with these pricey therapies but stopped any sort of contribution almost 2 months ago.  Although this has been appealed there has been no word from the SAAQ.
Over the past 6 months Adrian has been showing consistent improvement.  He is now able to communicate with hand gestures, laughing at television shows and giving Cassy kisses.  Adrian is also eating 3 meals a day orally and just this week has started receiving his medication orally as well.  Adrian has been working on drinking water from a cup, he is doing well, but for now they are not removing the PEG tube to ensure he gets enough water and remains hydrated.  Adrian’s therapists now consider him Ranchos Level 6.  Copy this link to see what the numbers represent: 
https://www.physio-pedia.com/Rancho_Los_Amigos_Level_of_Cognitive_Functioning_Scale
Now that Montreal is in green zone, Adrian is allowed to have additional visitors and he goes outside to the garden regularly.  The facility has also re-started their onsite therapies. Adrian participates in art therapy and music therapy sessions.  As a musician this brings back muscle memory for Adrian.  He has started to strum his guitar and tap to the beat.
Their dogs Daphne and Dexter continue to visit weekly (often twice a week now!).  Adrian pets his pups, throws Daphne balls and gives them treats.  Dexter is small enough to sit on Adrian’s lap for a cuddle.  I’m sure Daphne would love that too but she’s a giant!
A heartfelt thank you to everyone for donating. All your donations are going towards Adrian’s care and any specific equipment/ tools he needs, that the SAAQ doesn’t cover.  Thank you all for your positive thoughts and messages of encouragement.  Adrian’s recovery is a marathon, not a sprint, thank you for following him on his way to a hopeful recovery.  #MacBlueNeedsYou
UPDATE: Adrian had a barium swallow test which resulted in positive news.  He is now able to drink thicker substances and pureed foods (he has only had water).  Cassy has been giving him apple sauce regularly for the past week and Adrian can eat a whole container in such a short time.  Adrian now communicates when he wants more applesauce by using hand signals and can make a seal around the spoon.  Based on his progress new favorites will be introduced soon. 
Adrian has received his custom chair from Constance-Lethbridge!  No major adjustments were required and he has been using it for a few days now.  The chair is much more supportive and helps with support, digestion and may other things.
Their dog Dexter has started to visit along with Daphne, on Sundays.  Adrian is getting more and more comfortable having the dogs around and is noticeably happy when they arrive.
Adrian is now receiving music therapy at Maimonidies.  Adrian is a music lover and guitar player.  He strummed his guitar and tapped a drum. Cassy is working with him to tap to his favorite songs and he is slowly working on keeping up to Cassy.
Noticeable muscle memory has been coming back.  Adrian started swiping on an iPhone and opening apps without being prompted, using a lighter (without lighting it), going back to his smoking days and turning pages in a book.
Adrian’s strength is improving every day. The physiotherapy and speech therapy he is receiving from Neuro-Concepts is making a huge difference!  Unfortunately the SAAQ (Quebec Insurance) is still not covering any part of these therapies.  Cassy has contested this decision but there is no timeline for a resolution.
Thank you for being on “Team Adrian”.  All of your support is making a difference and contributing to Adrian’s recovery.  Please keep sharing their story.  #MacBlueNeedsYou
UPDATE:  Adrian has been progressing with his communication and strength.  Adrian had appointments with both a cardiologist and a neurologist at the end of April. The cardiologist did not see anything abnormal during the appointment but will have more information once all has been looked at more closely.  The neurologist has ordered an EEG to better understand any changes in brain activity since last summer.  After Adrian’s appointment with the neurologist, while he was waiting for the transport to arrive, he began vomiting.  It was decided that Adrian should be seen at emergency.  Adrian was seen by both an internal medicine doctor and a neurologist.  After a 24 hour stay, they think the vomiting was connected to transport and an empty stomach.  His feeing has been changed so he 
doesn't go as long without food.  This seems to be helping .  There was nothing alarming that showed up in any tests and his vitals remain good.  Maimonidies continues to monitor Adrian. 
Adrian has had a change in his feed as of the beginning of May.  He has started on a whole foods diet.  This style of feed uses whole foods and provides better nutritional value for brain health.  He is tolerating the change well. Adrian has also begun to work with an art therapist at Maimonidies.  Being an art therapist herself, Cassy has noticed an improvement is Adrian’s concentration and it continues to help with muscle memory. 
Adrian’s dog Daphne has been visiting every Sunday.  He has been more responsive to her with each visit and is now throwing a ball for her.  He requires some assistance to support his arm but has grasped the throwing motion. 
Unfortunately, there has been some challenging news from the SAAQ (Quebec Insurance).  They are no longer going to contribute financially to Adrian’s private therapies.  (and no public support is available) These therapies are crucial to Adrian’s recovery.  He has shown improvement with the support and expertise from the team at Neuro-Concepts.  These therapies cost around $1000 each week.
With your contributions to the GoFundMe, these funds directly help support Adrian’s physiotherapy and speech therapy. 
Thank you for all of your contributions.  All of your contributions continue to make a difference! 
Please continue to send positive thoughts/ messages of support and continue to share their story. #MacBlueNeedsYou
UPDATE:  Since the last update, Adrian continues show progress.  Adrian has attained the goal of walking in the walking machine at Neuro-Concepts for 30 minutes and has gained more strength through his trunk.  Adrian attended a clinic to have him sized for a custom chair that should be ready in a couple of months.  A current focus for Adrian is communication.  Under the direction of the SLP Adrian is working towards giving clear signals for “YES” and “NO”.  He is progressing well giving a thumbs up for yes, and is working hard at thumbs down for no.  Thumbs down is significantly harder, but he is showing improvement.  Moving to a rehabilitation facility is the goal and this style of communication is a key requirement.  His middle finger has been getting more exercise lately as he has been communicating frustration this way when he is aggravated or bothered. 
Adrian has also received his second Pfizer vaccine.  He was not himself for about a week, but it is natural for people to feel unwell after.  This is a sign of the body developing antibodies.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support and messages of encouragement.  Please continue to share their story. #MacBlueNeedsYou
 
UPDATE:  Adrian’s rehabilitation has been going well.  He is still receiving physio 5 days per week and is travelling to Neuro Concepts for two of those appointments.  Transport has been going well in his broda chair and he is now walking 25 minutes on the walking machine, building up to 30 minutes.  The speech language pathologist is also meeting regularly and with help from the SLP at Maimonidies Adrian is slowly working on swallowing.  With the use of a wonderful app, Adrian is starting to develop his communication by pressing YES or NO on the iPad and identifying pictures of family and friends (and their pets!). 
Adrian has been showing a lot more emotion.  Both happiness and agitation.  This is all a good sign.  He is also showing us two fingers, thumbs up and even the middle finger to show dislike.
The Mealtrain is still continuing for the month of March.  If you would like to send a meal please clickhttps://www.mealtrain.com/trains/wk828e to sign up.
Everyone’s support in all forms is so much appreciated!  Please continue to share their story #MacBlueNeedsYou

UPDATE:  Adrian has remained medically stable since his return from the Jewish General Hospital last month.  Since he has been back at Maimonidies, he has been receiving physio therapy Monday-Friday from the team at Neuro-Concepts.  Adrian has been working hard on his strength.  Adrian’s head control has been improving daily and he is now working on standing.  Cassy and the physiotherapist support Adrian in a standing position.  Everyday he has been able to extend his time in a standing position.
Adrian had his first outing on February 4th.  Cassy accompanied him to the Neuro-Concepts facility where he used their walking machine for the first time.  The innovative system allows Adrian to walk in a controlled fashion while having his entire body safely supported.  Adrian did well on his first visit and the team hopes to plan weekly visits for Adrian, increasing to two visits a week.
The speech language pathologist has now officially joined Adrian’s rehab team and will be working with Cassy and Adrian regularly. Adrian has been exploring his emotions.  He is smiling more often and laughed for the first time. 
Due to COVID-19 Montreal has recently enforced some very strict regulations.  The city has had an 8pm curfew for the last 3 weeks, and the curfew has been extended with no official review date.  As a result, tighter visitation is being enforced at Maimonidies.  Only 2 caregivers are permitted, 1 every 24 hours.  Cassy is there very long hours and Adrian’s mom is the second caregiver.
Thank you to everyone who has been supporting Cassy and Adrian.  Caring for their animals during Cassy’s long days, rides to Maimonidies and meals for Cassy.  The Mealtrain is still active for the month of February.  If you would like to send a meal please click https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/wk828e to sign up.
Everyone’s support in all forms is so much appreciated!  Please continue to share their story #MacBlueNeedsYou

UPDATE:  Happy New Year everyone.  With a new year came new challenges, but Adrian and Cassy are all about perseverance.  The weekend leading up to the new year Adrian wasn’t quite right, his heart rate was elevated again and had a very upset stomach for a few days (you know what that means!). Things were not getting any better and he became lethargic.  On December 31st Adrian was taken to emergency at The Jewish General Hospital.  Fortunately, Cassy was able to stay with him in emergency.  This proved to be the best trip to the hospital, if you can say that about a hospital stay.  The doctors did the most thorough work up including blood work, X-rays and CT scans.  They ruled out COVID complications, heart concerns, pneumonia and lung disease.  Adrian was severely dehydrated with elevated sodium levels.  After a couple of days in emergency, they admitted him for further observation.  During his stay they were able to re-hydrate Adrian, which brought his heart rate down and over a few days lowered his sodium levels.  Adrian was much more alert and was quite vocal.  He was even humming along when Cassy sang to him.  Cassy was able to meet with their nutritionist who recommended a change in Adrian’s feeding routine.  He is still fed through a PEG, but now he is receiving his feeds 3 times a day as meals, at a faster rate so he is able to get all of his nutrition without it being continuous through the day.
Adrian returned to his room at Maimonidies on January 7th and physio has started back up.  He will be getting physio from the team at Neuro-Concepts 5 days per week.  The Speech Language Pathologist will be brought in at the end of the month.
Thank you to everyone who helped out while Cassy stayed at the hospital with Adrian.  Thank you to everyone who has been sending meals through Meal Train (go to https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/wk828e if you would like to send a meal) and to everyone who has contributed to the GoFundMe. Your generosity is so much appreciated!  Please continue to share their story. #MacBlueNeedsYou

UPDATE: Adrian has finally had two straight weeks in his room at Maimonidies without any trips to the hospital.  He is becoming more comfortable in his new surroundings and as a result, his vitals have been stable, and he seems less stressed.  Adrian’s elevated heart rate has stabilized.  After consulting with the nutritionist, Adrian started on a new feed which is known to be more easily digested. This will help control his digestion concerns (which may have also contributed to his elevated heart rate).  
Adrian has been much more alert and bright eyed this past week.  He has had regular physiotherapy with the team from Neuro-Concepts and they have noticed that Adrian has shown improvements in his strength over just a short period of time.  A Speech Language Pathologist will be joining the team soon.  It has been challenging to find a SLP that will meet in person. 
Adrian was one of the lucky ones to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week.  He tolerated the first dose well, with no immediate reaction and no side effects.
Please keep sending you messages and positive thoughts and continue to share their story. The holidays will be hard and they need all of your support.  #MacBlueNeedsYou 

UPDATE:  On November 12th Adrian moved to Maimonidies, a long-term care facility in Montreal.  It was time for Adrian to move on from the hospital. From the hospital there are two possible paths: A rehab facility or long-term care.  Unfortunately, Adrian is not yet ready to actively participate in rehab and therefore is not a candidate for a rehab facility.  The move has been challenging and heartbreaking for Adrian, Cassy & family.  After a week of advocating to get Adrian’s schedule re-established, the team at Maimonidies was finally on board with his schedule.  On November 20th Adrian had an assessment with a private physiotherapist from Neuro-Concepts (an organization of specialists that specialize in TBI rehabilitation). Just as Adrian’s new physio schedule was being established, the following day his COVID test came back positive :(  Adrian was moved to the hot zone at Maimonidies for his (minimum) 10 day isolation period. This was a shock to all as Adrian was and remained asymptomatic.  All family members and the physiotherapist tested negative. On November 28th the doctor at Maimonidies became concerned that Adrian’s heart rate was high and sent Adrian to the hospital.  The hospital did blood work and ran many tests. Fortunately, there was nothing alarming and Adrian was brought back to Maimonidies that day.  Adrian’s second COVID test came back negative and he was able to return to his room on November 30th.
This was a lot of moving around for Adrian.  Due to the severity of his TBI it takes him a few days to become aware and comfortable in his surroundings.  Now that he is back in his room, he is able to resume his schedule based on the recommendations from his assessment, with the private team from Neuro-Concepts. Adrian’s new physiotherapist from Neuro-Concepts started December 3rd. A nutritionist and speech language pathologist will also be joining the team.  They will be working together with the Maimonidies staff to encourage Adrian’s progress moving forward.  
Thank you again for all of your positive thoughts and messages. Adrian is so lucky to have so many cheerleaders. Your donations are greatly appreciated.  This fund will be important now more than ever as the private team of TBI specialists are costly and insurance offers very limited coverage.
Please donate if you can and continue to share.  #MacBlueNeedsYou
 
UPDATE:  The last couple of weeks have been very emotional.  October was hard, full of anniversaries and special memories that Cassy and Adrian share.  The day they met, their first date, first kiss and Adrian’s epic proposal on Halloween. 
A meeting was held with family and Adrian’s team at Montreal General Hospital to discuss the next steps in Adrian’s care.  Adrian is medically stable and no longer requires hospitalization.  Unfortunately, Adrian is still not able to actively participate in intense rehab.  Adrian can communicate when he is uncomfortable through his breathing patterns and movements but is not yet showing clear, consistent communication that would make him a candidate for a rehab facility.  What happens next?  Adrian will be moving to a long-term care facility.  This is not the news we were hoping to report 3 months post-accident.   Care facilities are being researched for Adrian to continue his physio and speech therapies.  Additional therapists will be brought in to assist with Adrian’s hopeful path to recovery.  The coming days and weeks will be extremely difficult.  Please continue to share their love story.  #MacBlueNeedsYou

UPDATE:  Adrian's tracheostomy has been removed and is healing well.  The day after it was removed, he has a scare and was rushed back to the ICU.  This was a 24 hour visit, his breathing became very fast.  Fortunately, they were able to get it under control and Adrian returned to his room on the TBI floor at Montreal General Hospital the next morning.  He is now considered medically stable.  As we approach 3 months post -accident (October 30th), Adrian is still in the emerging consciousness state, he is awake during the day with his eyes open but is still unable to communicate.  It is uncertain if he is aware of his surroundings.  Adrian is doing a small amount of vocalizing (Ahhh sounds) and moving his arms and legs. Cassy and the therapy team are working with Adrian daily with the hope that he will emerge and start communicating.  Right now, small goals are in place to assess Adrian’s progress.  Cassy completed her neurological exam this week.  Her concussion is healed but the trauma of the accident along with the emotional distress of missing Adrian is weighing on her heavily.  Everyday life just isn’t the same for these newlyweds.  Thank you to all of their friends who have been tremendous emotional support and thank you to everyone who has donated.  Please continue to share their story.  #MacBlueNeedsYou

UPDATE: Adrian has slowly graduated from using a speaking valve in his tracheostomy for 3 hours each day to having a cork in for 12 hrs per day.  While he is breathing well through his nose and mouth, this has been exhausting for Adrian.  He has also been working on a tilt table at various degrees.  The tilt table mobilizes to a vertical position and helps with awareness, among other things.  Adrian started taking a medication for wakefulness over the past week and we are still waiting to see its full effects.  Adrian has been making progress since moving to the TBI floor at Montreal General Hospital, but this week was different.  There was little progress this week for unknown reasons.  It’s been a hard week for both Cassy and Adrian.  Montreal entered the red zone due to the rising number of Covid cases in the Montreal area which adds extra stresses.  Your positive thoughts, prayers and messages are needed now more than ever.  They help Cassy get through each day.  She continues to work with Adrian every day. With the help of friends, Cassy printed of pictures of Adrian with friends & family to collage his hospital room door.  The team knows how loved he is, not only by Cassy but by so many.  Please continue to share.  #MacBlueNeedsYou

UPDATE:  Adrian is still on the TBI floor at Montreal General Hospital. Last week Adrian's team of doctors and therapists had a meeting with Adrian's family. Adrian's neurologist noted that over a short time working with the rehab team, she was happy with the progress she had observed. He is currently following direction, though still not consistently. The team confirmed that Adrian is much more responsive to Cassy's voice. Their love for one another shines through. Cassy continues to work with Adrian everyday alongside his team. Adrian will be closely monitored over the coming weeks to assess next steps. Please continue to share their story #MacBlueNeedsYou

UPDATE: Adrian is now on the TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) floor at Montreal General Hospital. The team of rehab specialists began working with him on September 8th. The team works with Adrian Monday through Friday. Cassy has been shown the various exercises and continues to work with Adrian over the weekend. Adrian has slowly begun to follow Cassy's voice, moving his legs and squeezing her hand, though not always consistently. His neck collar was removed on September 11th, after 6 weeks. Thank you again for all your support. Please continue to send positive messages and share their story. This is just the beginning. Adrian and Cassy need you. XO

UPDATE: Adrian & Cassy arrived safely in Montreal the morning of August 29th via air ambulance. Adrian is now in the ICU at Montreal General Hospital. He remains unconscious. Adrian is breathing on his own, with the aid of an oxygen mask. The next step will be to move to the TBI floor at Montreal General. This is just the beginning of Adrian's road to a hopeful recovery. Please continue to send your positive thoughts and share this page. #MacBlueNeedsYou

UPDATE:  It has been three weeks since the accident occurred.  Adrian remains unconscious.  Adrian has taken some small steps in the right direction, responding when stimulated and tracking Cassy’s voice at times. The doctors remain hopeful that he will be able to wake soon.  Patience is our friend at the moment.  We are all missing Adrian’s jovial personality, infectious laugh and zest for life.  No one more than Cassy.  Cassy remains in Kamloops by Adrian’s side while family and friends visit for support.  Thank you to everyone who has donated, sent words of encouragement and prayers.  Please continue to share this page.  This is going to be a marathon and Adrian needs you.

With Cassy by his side, Adrian is fighting for his life on the opposite end of the country away from family and friends.  Newlyweds Cassandra and Adrian MacDonald married on a gorgeous whimsical day last August.  They planned their honeymoon for the summer of 2020, but due to COVID-19 their plans were postponed.  Adrian had the summer off from school and Cassy was working from home.  They decided to make the best of their summer and purchased a campervan so they could travel.  Together with their two dogs, Dexter & Daphne, they started their road trip.  They set out to Cassy’s family cabin in Winnipeg Beach, MB where they spent over a month enjoying living by the lake.  On July 24th Cassy & Adrian got back into the campervan to continue their travels west, making stops to visit more family and friends, with plans to be back in Montreal around their first anniversary on August 17th.  The evening of July 30th in Clearwater BC, they began what was supposed to be one of the last legs of their trip west, but sadly did not make it far.  They were driving on the highway when the brakes failed, losing control of the van and the van rolled.  Cassy experienced a concussion and required stitches in her arm & head, physically she will be okay.  Adrian was thrown from the van, resulting in head trauma and a fractured neck.  Adrian was taken by ambulance to the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, BC. He is being cared for and monitored closely in the intensive care unit.  Adrian has not woken; he is unresponsive and requires a respirator.  It is too soon to give more details on Adrian’s condition.  We hope to be able to share news of progress as we learn more.  What is known is this will be a long road for the couple.  Being so far from home adds more stresses and complications to an already difficult situation.
This fund has been set-up to assist the newlyweds with expenses associated with being hospitalized out of the province, lost wages, travel home and rehabilitation costs.  Cassandra is currently on leave from work while she remains in Kamloops by Adrian’s side.  
 #MacBlueNeedsYou
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Organizer and beneficiary

Becky Chisick 
Organizer
Winnipeg, MB
Rebecca Chisick 
Beneficiary
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