Sunday, December 25, 2005

Final Update

It is with great sorrow that I have to leave this last update on Alyssa. On December 15, 2005 Alyssa was called home to be with God. She went in for her surgery (Craneoplasti)to replace her bone flap in her skull on December 14. The surgery went well but shortly afterwards she had a grand mall seizure and they had to put her back into a medically induced coma so that her brain could rest. The following morning her brain died. She did not suffer.
She continued to help others even after she was gone by donating her organs and making a few families very happy for Christmas. We will miss her more than words can say as we have over the past 14 months. We appreciate all of your prayers and support over the past 14 months. We are now living in Haymarket, Virginia. We have new phone #'s if anyone would like to contact us. (571)261-3873. God bless you all, the Taylor Family

Thursday, April 21, 2005

We're HOME!!!!!!

Alyssa arrived home yesterday afternoon! She seems to be very comfortable and relaxed. It is a lot of work taking care of her but I am so releived that we are all home together. She has been smiling a lot and loves to watch her brother and her pets.

Friday, April 15, 2005

4/15/05 Update

We are still scheduled for discharge on Wednesday, April 20. Today she had a scope done because she has been having a problem with her tube feedings and today vomited some blood. I have not gotten any results from the doctor yet. She had the new feeding tube put in last Friday and I believe that it has something to do with it. The other option would be an ulcer. Other than this setback, she is doing good. The baclifin is working great and she does not have as much tone but she is very weak with no muscle strength. We have been working with her to build her strength in her neck so that she can hold her own head up. I am very anxious to get her home again. We are currently working on trying to find a wheel chair assist van so that we will be able to transport her. Thank you for your continued support and prayer!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

News in Court and News at Touro!

After a lengthy (9 hrs) and painful day in court in Biloxi- Rodney Drew Brock was convicted today on both counts of "Willfully Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor"
(meaning the deceased 16 yr. old Andrew Nation and 15 yr old Maggie)

The 23 yr old Brock was cocky and unremorseful throughout the proceedings - claiming that the underage teens he provided alcohol to (all of whom agreed he supplied alcohol on the night of the accident) were liars and concocting their same stories to protect their friends. The judge determined that he was guilty and sentenced him to maximum fines (unfortunately only $700 or so) and 30 days in jail (on his days off) assigned to help with incoming drunks- hopefully he wil be mopping lots!

It is expected he will appeal and the whole case will be re-tried in County Court.
His sentence there may be more harsh if he loses again - which he should- His attempts to portray himself as a Boy Scout were transparently a sham.
Some of the young people report that their lives and behaviours have changed since the accident.

On the medical front - Alyssa had surgery today to install a Baclifyn (?) pump to deliver anti-spasmodics right into her spinal column continuously. This will help her muscles not to be so rigid. We were all in Court far longer than we expected but surgery went ok and Alyssa was resting afterwards. We still expect for her to be discharged by next week if no complications ensue and she will be going HOME!

Friday, April 01, 2005


Alyssa is still recovering from surgery last week. She has had a couple of seizures since the operation but her medications have been adjusted and she should be ok. She has smiled for us a couple of times which was wonderful to see! Her new discharge date is April 7th. We are checking into trying a new medication that may help her spacticity. If it works then she will have a pump implanted which may delay the discharge date. We are not sure about that yet. Our plan is to bring her home next week.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Alyssa had surgery

Alyssa had a lengthy surgery on Thursday afternoon to install a "shunt" in her head which will control the excessive fluid being produced by her cerebral spinal system. Because of the nature of her recovery which entails acute nursing care- she has been moved to Touro's 4th Floor 427 until next week = when she is scheduled late in the week to return home with her family for further at-home rehab and therapy. She is able to recieve visitors and her scrapbook is with her for well-wishers to add to.

Friday, March 11, 2005

3/11/05 Update

Alyssa is adjusting quite well to her new home. They have been working real hard with her. She has 3 hours of theropy a day. She is still not responding consistently but is slowly showing signs of improvement. Yesterday we were able to get her to eat about a tablespoon of pudding. She has also eaten a few ice chips this week. The trick is getting it in her mouth since she doesn't open it yet. We have gotten another week extension from the insurance company and will continue to fight for more time. Please pray we will continue to get extensions and see improvements.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

3/1/05 Update

Alyssa is all settled in and doing fine. In the few days that she has been at Touro they have removed every intrusive thing from her (except for her feeding tube). Yesterday they even removed her tracheotomy! They have been getting her dressed and up in a wheelchair everyday and she has already started a rigorous schedule of physical, occupational, and speech theropy. She is in ward M6 (sixth floor) and room M616. She is allowed visitors from 4pm-8:30pm Mon - Fri and 12pm-8:30pm Sat and 10:30am-8:30pm on Sun. I placed a notebook on the wall for visitors to sign in so that I will know who came to see her while I was not there. Since I cannot be there everyday, please write any comments in that book, such as observations of her care or any activities that you noticed. And please, if Alyssa decides to wake up and respond to you in any way, please give me a call immediately! (My # is on the wall)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Alyssa is in New Orleans!

Aunt here: Alyssa was transported today to Touro Neurological Center for further rehabilitation- the move went smoothly though Mom reported she was agitated and seemed "mad" at all the upheaval...we do not know what she comprehends of wht is said- but Ann explained what was going on to her- The EMT that moved her had asked for the assignment - like many he has been touched by the plight of such a young and beautiful accident victim. Alyssa is breathing on her own and now will need things she has not needed for a long time - sneakers and the like! Ann will be shopping and staying here for a few days to get her all settled in. After that we will try to take turns in the limited visiting hours each evening We will try to keep posting here for future developments.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

2/15/05 Update

Alyssa is still about the same. She went to Keesler to see the doctors last week and yesterday she had a spinal tap done to test the pressure level in her brain. The fluid areas have gotten a little bigger in the center of her brain but we weren't sure if it was enough to cause any problems. The Dr was able to drain about 25cc yesterday and the pressure is not enought to warrant us doing another surgery to put a shunt in at this time. Her feet were X-rayed to see if everything healed ok. She is breathing completely on her own and only getting room air. We will leave the trech in because she is not able to swallow yet. We are working on moving her to a rehab center this week. We are leaning towards Touro in New Orleans again. We are just waiting on the insurance to ok it. She still does not respond but is moving a slight bit more. Keep on praying! For those of you who need my phone # it is (504)908-4293.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

1/22/05 Update

Alyssa is finally off of the ventalator! Last night was the first night that she went the whole night without any support at all. She still does not respond yet. She watches TV occasionally. Please continue to pray for us.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

1/11/05 Update

Well, we finally made it out of the Keesler ICU. Alyssa has been moved to Biloxi Specialty Hospital! We moved her yesterday after 100 days in the ICU. She now has a new doctor, a pulmanologist, who is consentrating on getting her off of the ventilator. It was quite a big change for her but she is adjusting quite well. She has her own room, which is quite cozy and the staff is very excited about having her there. They have already reduced her vent rate down to 4 breaths per minute and lowered the oxygen rate down to normal air. She was breathing all day today well above the vent. The next step will be to turn it to a setting that will alow her to breath on her own and will sound an alarm and come on if she stops breathing. The hospital is located on HWY 90 (on the beach) just east of the Beau Rivage. They have very liberal visitation hours and we are very excited about the possibility of more visitors now that she is no longer on the military base. If you would like to visit her and need directions, please call me at 504-908-4293.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

1/4/05 Update

Happy New Year! We pray that 2005 will be year of miracles for us. Alyssa has not shown any improvements. Her infection seems to have cleared up but she has not been as bright and respondent as she was. They have cut back on her pain medication but she hasn't woken up any more. She has not been breathing as much as she was but she still occationally breaths over the vent. Today we went shopping for a Long Term Acute Care Facility to move her. We looked at Knollwood Park in Mobile, AL which was very nice but they don't usually take head injured patients. We also looked at Biloxi Specialty Hospital, which is right across the street from the Beau Rivage. The insurance company is agreeing to work out a contract with them to give us 4-6 weeks there to see if they can wean her off of the vent. If they are not able to, than we will have to find a search again for another option. It will take a couple of weeks to get all of the paper work done to move her (that is, if they accept her).

Saturday, December 18, 2004

12/18/04 Update

I apologize that it has been so long since I have given an update. I have gone back to work and struggling to get through the days. Alyssa is no longer stable. She had surgery yesterday because they were going to put a shunt in to drain the spinal fluid from her brain. When they went in, they realized that her right side was full of infection. They had to remove the skull again. They have her on a lot of different antibiotics until they can tell what type of organizm it is. Today she started to have focal siezures so they put her on siezure medicine. This infection caught everyone off guard because she did not show any signs (fever, elevated white blood count) and she didn't seem to be any sicker. I will try to update again as soon as I get more information but right now it is just a waiting game for us. Please pray for us.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

12/8/04 Update

Alyssa is still holding her own. The last drain that was put in came out today. It was coming out on its own so the doctor took it out. He is going to do another CAT scan Monday and will probably go ahead and put the shunt in her head. She has been resting and her heart rate and blood pressure have gone down to normal. Her feet look good and are still healing. Tomorrow morning the local radio station 92.5 will do an update and have prayer and fasting for Alyssa. The listeners usually fast until 12noon so if you are able, please join us in prayer and fasting. Please pray for our whole family. As the holidays come closer, it gets harder to be without her.

12/8/04 Update

Alyssa is still holding her own. The last drain that was put in came out today. It was coming out on its own so the doctor took it out. He is going to do another CAT scan Monday and will probably go ahead and put the shunt in her head. She has been resting and her heart rate and blood pressure have gone down to normal. Her feet look good and are still healing. Tomorrow morning the local radio station 92.5 will do an update and have prayer and fasting for Alyssa. The listeners usually fast until 12noon so if you are able, please join us in prayer and fasting. Please pray for our whole family. As the holidays come closer, it gets harder to be without her.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

11/30/04 Update

Alyssa had another successful surgery today. They removed the pins from her left foot and fused together her right foot. She rested comfortably all afternoon. They are still draining fluid from her brain and there have been no other changes. There will be another update in tomorrow's Sun Herald newspaper. Please continue to pray for her!

Friday, November 26, 2004

11/26/04 Update

Alyssa had the CAT scan this morning. The left side looked better but the right side was worse. There was more fluid causing pressure on the brain. The doctor put another drain (ventriculostomy) in on the right side. He believes that he will end up putting the shunt in the middle of her brain which is more successfull than on the outside of her brain. She was resting comfortably all day. They were able to let her breath on her own during the whole procedure and she was breathing about 20 breaths per minute. We will get another CAT scan next week and possibly surgery to remove the pins in the left foot and fuse the right.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

Please remember Alyssa in your prayers tomorrow as you sit down to share Thanksgiving with your families. There has been no noticiable change with her this week. She has been resting well. The doctor is going to do another CAT scan on Friday and perhaps we'll get some good news. If nothing has changed with this scan then we'll wait another week or two and check it again. Thank you for your prayers and have a wonderful Thanksgiving! The Taylor family

Saturday, November 20, 2004

11/20/04 Update

We spoke to the doctor this morning. He is not ready to put the shunt in yet. There are still fluids on the outside of her brain but he wants to wait and do another CAT scan and consult with some colegues before he does anything. It is a very unusual and complicated situation. She was pretty relaxed today and sleeping well. She still cannot respond but seemed to focus pretty good today. Please continue to pray for our family as we struggle through this very difficult time.

Friday, November 19, 2004

11/19/04 Update

Alyssa had her CAT scan today. Didn't get the results yet. Spoke to the Orthopedic Surgion and he plans on doing surgery on her feet this week. If she has to have another surgery on her brain to put a shunt in, he will do her feet at the same time. The left foot will have the pins removed and the right foot will be fused together. I saw the optomologist today. He was able to do a good exam on her eyes. Her right eye has a scar on the outside which may fade a little. He also saw a lot of blood clouding her vision in the right eye. Once the blood is disolved, he will be able to see what kind of damage was done to that eye. It was probably from the airbag. I will know tomorrow about her next surgery.

Monday, November 15, 2004

11/14/04 Update

She can breathe!!!! Today we turned the vent all the way down for about an hour and she breathed on her own just fine! We had to turn it back up because the doctor wasn't there and he is a little cautious. He did let us keep it turned down to 8 breaths per minute (she was on 12) and she was breathing above the vent most of the afternoon. I'm going to stay on the doctors to be more aggressive with getting her off of the ventilator. She had the CAT scan this morning and it did show some fluids collecting on the outside of her brain on the left side. The doctor is still not sure what he is going to do so we are going to wait until Friday and do another CAT scan to see what changes. He said that she may have to get the shunt but he is not sure yet where he will need to put it. So we are waiting again! Pray, Pray, Pray!

Friday, November 12, 2004

11/11/04 Update

Alyssa has not had much change in the past few days. She had the MRI and she had the drain on the left side removed. We will have another CAT scan on Monday to see if she will need the shunt. It does not look like she will at this point. They were able to see a lot of stroke damage on the right side of her brain and trauma damage on the left. Her heart rate is still very high and it seems that she is having panic attacks. She is now on a new medicine that will lower her blood pressure and hopefully her heart rate. Yesterday she got to sit up for the first time in weeks. She did not care for it too much and her heart rate went up to 160 so we had to put her back in the bed. Please continue to pray for us!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

11/8/04 Update

Alyssa's CAT scan came out very good except for one thing! She now has some fluid on the top of the right side of her brain. The doctor said that it could be several absess, which seems a bit too early after the surgery and she probably would be sicker (fever and such)which would mean that he would have to remove the skull again and throw it away, get rid of the absess and eventually replace the skull with an artificial one, or it could be a collection of spinal fluid or blood. He wants to watch her for a couple of days and do an MRI tomorrow.

She hasn't changed much in the past 48 hours. Her heart rate is very high and we have to give her medicine to get her to relax. When she is awake, she is breathing over the vent and looking around. Her left knee looks like something is going on and we will see the doctor today about it. Please continue to pray!

Monday, November 08, 2004

11/7/04 Update

Alyssa is struggling with a very high heart rate right now. When she wakes up she seems very scared and agitated. We have been having to give her medicine to help her to relax and sleep so that her heart rate does not stay high. Monday she will have another CAT scan and we will see what is going on with the fluids in her head. She has a very low grade fever and is being treated with antibiotics to keep the phnuemonia away. Thank you for your prayers!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

11/04/04 Update

Alyssa's surgery went well! The bone flap was replaced with no problems. She looks beautiful even after all of the surgeries. There is a drain coming from both sides of her head. One draining blood and the other draining spinal fluid. We will get another CAT scan tomorrow to make sure everything is OK. We don't know yet whether she will need a permanent shunt in her brain. She seems to be waking up a little more and getting very agitated. Her heart rate and blood pressure rises and she has to receive medicine to help her relax and sleep.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

11/2/04 update

Alyssa is scheduled to have surgery Thursday morning. They did another CAT scan today and it looked much better. The drain continued to drain last night and all day today. The doctor believes that he will be able to replace the bone flap on Thursday. She continues to get stronger and is breathing above the ventilator when ever she is awake. Please continue to pray for her recovery. God has been with her every step of the way and is listening to our prayers!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Benefit Fund Info

A benefit fund has been set up at Hancock Bank. Donations can be dropped off at any branch and the account is listed under her name. If turned in to a Hancock bank outside of Mississippi, the teller will need to know that it is a Mississippi account.

10/31/04 Update

Alyssa is free from phnemonia. Her feet are stable and will need future surgery to reconstuct the bones in her right foot. Today she was doing some breathing above the ventilator. She is still in a coma but she is able to open her eyes and move her arms a little. The biggest concern at this point is her head injury. They have removed the right side of her skull and the swelling has gone down. She has developed a collection of spinal fluid around the outside of her brain on the left side. It caused her brain to shift over the right side. A drain was put in on Tuesday to releave the pressure. Today the drain stopped because her brain moved over against the cathader. Tomorrow she will get another CAT scan and possible another drain will have to be put in to releave the pressure again. Hopefully this week we will be able to replace her skull and find out if she will need a perminant shunt in her brain to drain spinal fluid.

Alyssa's Story

Alyssa was born on July 9, 1986 in New Orleans. During her eighteen years, she lived in Jackson, MS, Monroe, LA, Okinawa, Japan, Manchester, NJ, and then returning to New Orleans. She graduated from Ben Franklin High School in 2004. After graduation she moved to Biloxi, Mississippi with her mother, father and little brother. She began working at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino as a hostess at Cafe Jardin. She began her freshman year of college at Loyola University with hopes of someday becoming an attorney.

On October 1, 2004, Alyssa's life was changed. She was traveling home that Friday night after a long week of school. She was only 1 exit away from where she would be getting off of Interstate 10 when she was struck head on by Andrew Nation. Andrew was a 16 year old junior at D'Iberville High School and had spent the evening out drinking with friends. He was driving over 100 mph on the wrong side of the interstate with a blood alcohol level well over the legal limit. Alyssa was approaching the top of a bridge and was not able to see him approaching on the other side.

Only by the grace of God was Alyssa's life spared on that dreadful night. Andrew was not as fortunate. Alyssa suffered severe injuries to both of her feet, puncture in her liver, broken lumbar bone in her back, and a severe Traumatic Brain Injury.

She has remained in critical condition at the ICU at Keesler Medical Clinic. She suffered with a very bad phnuemonia and massive brain swelling.