UPDATE: “I didn’t think my heart could break any more than it already had, but nine days ago, Alee told me that she didn’t want to be the one that survived the fire.”
“Yesterday, at home and surrounded by family, Alee said that she is glad she survived. Hearing her say that just melted my heart and I believe it helps seal up a crack or two. I’m hoping that being out of the hospital and home with family will help her find her new direction in life. She still has so far to go before she is even physically healed and I know it will take even longer for the mental and emotional healing she needs.”
“I am so thankful for all the prayers, love, and support that our families have received. I don’t know how we could have made it this far without everyone. Seeing, not only Lebanon, but people all over the world send their prayers, kind words, cards, donations, and love has really restored my faith in humanity. Thank you to each and every one of you.”
Cards can continue to be sent to the P.O. Box I had set up for Alee.
P.O. Box 56
Niangua, MO 65713
UPDATE: “We had a pretty rough morning today. Alee was very emotional and is wanting to go home. She’s tired of being in a hospital. The rehabilitation hospital is better, but it is still a hospital. She’s sick of taking medication and being woken up all the time for this or that. We both had little breakdowns and cried a lot.
They are trying to wean her off the pain meds she is on and get her on one that she’ll be able to take at home and, also, trying to lower the dose of her anxiety medication. They got her started on an antidepressant yesterday. She has been pretty sore since her dressing change yesterday.”
“I absolutely hate seeing any of my kids in pain.”
“She seems to be doing a little better now. She sent me to get food for us and we are going to eat outside this afternoon. The nurses are talking to the doctor about the possibility of Alee going on a “field trip”. I told her the other day that we would go to some of the local wig shops when she gets out and try to find her a few more wigs. She wants to go now, so we’ll see what the doctor says.”
“I’m hoping the doctor will feel she is okay for the field trip. I think once she realizes she isn’t as restricted as she feels, she’ll start handling it better.”
UPDATE:”Alee is no longer a patient of Mercy burn unit. She has graduated to the rehabilitation hospital. Heading down to see her now.”
UPDATE: “Such an amazing day for Alee!! She walked 120 feet today. The physical therapist said that maybe Alee can go outside for her walk tomorrow. They exchanged her trach valve for the smallest size. She was talking almost nonstop today. She says the smaller valve feels so much better. They capped the trach for a while to get her to breathe through her mouth and nose. They sent the request over to the rehab facility on the 2nd and they are just waiting for a bed to open up for her!!! She was in such a good mood when River and I were there just a bit ago (had to leave for shift change). ”
“I sure did raise one determined daughter and I couldn’t be prouder of her.”
UPDATE: “Today makes four weeks. Four weeks since so many lives changed forever. Four weeks since my daughter, grandbabies, and their cousins were in the fire. Four weeks since all five of those babies died. Four weeks that Alee has been in ICU burn unit.”
“It still seems like a nightmare that won’t end. Alee is doing well and getting stronger every day, but I can’t imagine what she’s fighting in her head and heart right now. It is a pain no parent should ever feel.”
“Please say an extra prayer for all the parents that lost their babies, all the grandparents that will no longer be able to spoil those sweet babies, the aunts and uncles that no longer get to snuggle precious nieces and nephews.
Alee will be moved out of her ICU room in a little while and she’ll graduate to a stepdown room. Physically, she is healing at a tremendous rate. I’m hoping she is coping mentally and emotionally, as well. She doesn’t talk about the babies much. I think it’s still too painful. She has looked at pictures a few times and she’ll cry. I try to comfort her as much as I can, but I know it doesn’t make the pain go away.”
UPDATE: “Alee has had a long, busy, exhausting day today. She sat in her chair for a while, got a bath late this morning/early afternoon, they did her dressing change, took her catheter out, and cleaned her PICC line. She got most of her coverings off and just has some bandages stuck here and there. It looks to me like she is healing up nicely.”
“They got her speech valve and she spoke a little. Two of her new wigs were delivered to the house today and I went home to get them so I missed that by mere minutes and didn’t get to hear her talk today. She doesn’t seem to like talking because (Taylor says) she doesn’t like how her voice sounds with it.”
“She put on her new purple wig this evening and smiled as big as her face will let her. She loves it! I stopped in Conway while I was out picking up the wigs and got our “Prayers for Lebanon” shirts. I left hers at the hospital, but it will probably be a while before they let her wear it.”
“Tomorrow, she will have a swallow test. Depending on how that goes, she may be able to eat and drink soon. She’s so ready for that. She told us tonight that she’s “hungry, thirsty, tired, and wants to go home”.
I’ll be heading back to the hospital in a bit for evening visiting hours and if there are any changes, I’ll post another update.”
Keep sending the prayers. She still needs them.
UPDATE: “Sorry it has taken me all day to put an update on here about Alee. She had another bath this morning. She doesn’t like them since that is also when they clean her burns and do her dressing change. She sat in the chair for a little while today. It was very difficult for her to move, even with physical therapists helping her. They said she was doing great for her condition and that she’s been in bed for over 3 weeks.
She called me around 2:00 this morning to hear my voice. I absolutely love that she wants me to talk to her at night. She has started asking what time people will be there and she watches the clock in her room. I was two minutes late getting to her room after shift change because I had to wash my hands before I go into the burn unit and she was glaring at me and then the clock when I walked in.
She was doing really well today. She is still frustrated that she can’t talk and she gets a little mad when it takes us a while to figure out what she’s trying to say. They got the smaller valve put in her trach today, but it was too late for speech therapy to come work with her on talking. She was able to make very small, quiet sounds, but we couldn’t really figure out what she was saying by the sounds. She has the “ch” sound down.
She was having me go back and forth to the nurses’ station asking her nurse all kinds of questions today. She kept wanting to know when the doctor would be there to change the valve, when can she eat and drink, when she could shave her legs, and anything else that came to her mind. She swears one of the nurses gave her a drink from a cup into her trach tube and “it was soooo good”. The nurse says Alee is on heavy duty pain meds that can cause vivid dreams.
Alee is wanting a drink so bad. She kept asking for peach tea. When we left for dinner during shift change, she wanted me to bring her back a peach tea. I told her that I would get in trouble and not be able to come back to visit. She looked so sad. I asked her if she wanted peach tea more than she wanted Momma to come visit. She looked like she was seriously considering it. I should have told her that she can start calling peach tea in the middle of the night and see if it will talk to her.
Her sense of humor seems to still be intact. You should have seen the look she gave her grandad when he said he’s never seen an episode of Bones. Total disbelief and disappointment.
Kelley (her brother-in-law and the father of the other 3 babies that died in the fire) came to see her today. That was the first sign that Alee gave that she remembered us telling her about her babies dying in the fire. It was good for her to see Kelley. I think it really helped her a lot. She was so worried he was mad at her.
She had several other visitors today, too. My dad is in town until tomorrow and he sat with her this morning until I could get there. Her friend, Makayla was there for a few hours with us this morning. Taylor and a friend of his came tonight to see her. Megan and Anna visited tonight, too. They brought her several balloons and a stuffed animal. One of them was humongous and she really seemed to like that. The chaplain visited this morning and he gave her a stuffed animal. She held on to that one most of the day.
With the good, did come some bad. Her chest x-rays were cloudy today. They are going to have to hook her up to the special ventilator every few hours tonight for about 20 minutesnto give her breathing treatments and try to get some of the crud out of her lungs. Her heart rate was elevated again today. It was up around 130-150 all day. Fever came back a little, too. Her breaths were kind of shallow today and that may have caused the cloudy x-rays.
I asked Alee how she was feeling today and she tried mouthing her answer to me. I could not figure out what she was saying and we tried several different methods of communicating. Finally, she was able to write an answer. The writing was small, shaky, and letters were out of order and some were missing, but I figured out she was trying to say that she was disappointed.
I hoping that once they gave the speech therapy started and she can learn how to talk with the trach, that will help lift her spirits a little. She’ll, also, feel better when she can eat, have her peach tea, shave her legs, and see The Incredibles 2.
I told her that once I get off work tomorrow, I’ll be off until Thursday and I can spend even more time with her.
I’m sorry if this seems to be rambling or jumping all over the place. It’s been a long day and I’m very tired.
Please keep praying. She’s still got a long way to go.”
UPDATE: “Emotional and heartbreaking day. Alee is still off the ventilation and she is doing great with that. We told her today about everything. We also told her that her niece and nephews died in the fire along with Andre and Patience. She asked me when the funeral would be and I had to tell her that they already had the funeral. I had to tell her that she has been in the hospital for over three weeks. She asked me if her babies were cremated and I had to tell her yes. She started asking about a heart. I knew exactly what she was talking about. When my husband passed away, we had a glass heart made that has some of his ashes in it. I told her that my dad and stepmom said they would order and buy them for the babies if I can get some of the ashes from Taylor.”
“She asked the doctor when she could go home and he told her she still had a lot of recovery to do and that she would probably be put in a physical therapy rehab when she leaves the hospital. She asked if I would still be able to come see her and the doctor and nurse told her that I would be able to.
She asked to see pictures of the fire. She watched a few of the news stories about the fire. She said she doesn’t remember the fire, but she felt something bad had happened to the babies. We sat and cried together for a while. She asked about Bobbie and Ray (Taylor’s parents) and Kelley (her brother-in-law and father of the three other babies). She was afraid they were mad at her. We were able to video call with Bobbie and Ray and they assured her they love her and are not mad at her.
Alee still has a long way to go and I hope hearing this news doesn’t set her back in her recovery.”
Please keep praying, thinking positive thoughts, sending good vibes, juju, or whatever you’ve got to send. We need them so much right now.
UPDATE: “I’m at the hospital with Alee now. She is having a pretty good day, so far. She’s doing great with her breathing test. Now that I’m here, I’ve gotten a bit more detail on how they do this. She is still hooked up to the ventilator, but she is initiating her breathing. She has a pressure support set at 12. If I understood correctly, that means that if her breathing isn’t deep enough, the ventilator with apply extra pressure to make sure her lungs inflate enough. They’ll try lowering the pressure support tomorrow. It needs to get down to 0 before they can take her off the ventilator. The ventilator also gives her back up in case her body forgets to breathe.
The minimum goal for the breathing test is one hour. She’s been doing it for 2 hours and 20 minutes!!!!!”
“Her fever finally broke today, also, and her heart rate is nice and low today. She’s been interactive with me today. I’m starting to understand her meds a little more. Always challenging when you can’t verbalize what you want. We’ve watched a little Supernatural and she’s dozing off and on, but remaining nice and calm, for the most part.”
UPDATE: “Not much new to report on Alee today. Maybe I’ll have a little more information after I go see her tonight. She still didn’t pass the “breathing test”. Her anxiety kicked in and she starts breathing way too fast. She has been awake more today. That’s about the only information I have right now.
I’ll update more later tonight.”
Please keep praying, thinking positive thoughts, sending good vibes, juju, or whatever you’ve got to send.
UPDATE: “The nurse let me know that they had taken Alee off the ventilator for a short time this morning to see if she could breathe on her own. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to and they put her back on it. They will test her a little probably every day. Maybe she’ll do better tomorrow.”
UPDATE: “Alee was awake for a little while when I got back from my lunch. Her fever is back and they just gave her some ibuprofen for that. She is resting again now. She got another unit of blood this morning. The skin donor sites on her legs (from the first skin graft surgery) are looking good and healing up well.”
“I asked for a little more clarification on how the grafts are doing. The nurse said they are looking pretty good, but there are a few small spots that are peeling and not taking well. She doesn’t seem to think those will need to be done again since they are small areas. I hope they don’t have to do any more surgeries other than taking the trach out eventually and taking the feeding tube out.”
Please keep praying, thinking positive thoughts, sending good vibes, juju, or whatever you’ve got to send.
UPDATE: “Finally at the hospital with Alee. I hate being away from her. She is looking so much better today. It is amazing what a difference one day can make.
Her heart rate is back done and she seems to be resting comfortably thanks to the pain meds and sedation medications. Her temperature is still up. She had to get two units of blood yesterday.
They have upped the level on one of the sedation meds and lowered the level on the other. Their goal is to get her off the last one they added.”
“The graft on her hand is looking good, so far. They will be checking all the other grafts tomorrow morning. If all the grafts look good, they will start weaning her off the ventilator a little at a time. The good thing about the tracheotomy is that they can take her off the ventilator and put her back on it easily, if and when it’s needed.”
“The nurse said they have been talking about getting a psych consult for her since they are starting to let her wake up now. I hope they can get one in soon and they can get her on something to help with what is coming next. ”
“I spoke with a counselor today and he said we need to be prepared to tell her several times about the fire, her babies, nephews, and niece. He said a lot of times, in situations like this, they don’t remember you telling them. Knowing that makes it even harder for me too imagine telling her. I feel like we’ll be breaking her heart over and over. I don’t think I’ve really processed that my grandbabies are gone. I’ve put all my focus and energy into Alee.”
Please keep praying, thinking positive thoughts, sending good vibes, juju, or whatever you have to give.
UPDATE: “Alee is definitely responsive today. She is trying to talk. I told her that she couldn’t talk right now. She isn’t be able to talk because of the trach and the ventilator. She mouthed, “why?” She is raising her hands and arms off the bed. Her right hand and arm is moving pretty well. Her eyes have been open almost the entire time I’ve been in here with her.
I can tell she’s so scared and confused. I know she has so many questions and she can’t ask them and that is frustrating her.”
“We really need to be careful what we say to her or even within earshot of her. I’ve made sure everyone was careful before, but, now that she’s awake, we need to be even more careful.”
UPDATE: “Alee still seems to have tolerated the surgery well. Her temperature is up today, but not too bad. They had to give her another unit of blood this morning. They lowered her sedation medications. Her eyes are open and moving. She is moving her head very, very slightly and moving her mouth. I turned on her music and she started moving her right hand up and down a little. There for a few seconds it looked like she was smiling. I can’t be sure that it was a smile, but I like to think it was.”
“Please, keep praying, thinking positive thoughts, sending good vibes, juju, out whatever you believe in.”
UPDATE: “I am finally in the room with Alee. She did very well in surgery. They will check the new grafts on Saturday to see how they are holding up. Her heart rate is elevated and they’ll watch it tonight. Her temperature is good.”
“The tracheotomy went well. They will keep that in until a week after she’s off the ventilator. They may take it completely out or they may put a smaller one in. Once she’s awake, she won’t be able to talk while on the ventilator, but they can put a cap on the trach and she’ll be able to talk that way. Obviously, they won’t do that if they don’t feel she can be off the ventilator that long.
The gastric feeding tube will have to stay in place for a minimum of six weeks, but she’ll be able to eat and drink even with it in place. The doctor said she can eat as soon as she wakes up and wants food. “
“It is nice to be able to see her face without the tubes covering about half of it. As far as the nurses tonight know, they are still planning to start trying to wake her up some tomorrow.”
“Please keep praying, thinking positive thoughts, sending good vibes, juju, or whatever you’ve got to send.”
UPDATE: “At the hospital now. I just met with the PA. Alee is on for surgery tomorrow unless she takes a step backwards.
They got her on the regular ventilator and she is doing pretty well on it. She is still trying to breathe over it, but I’m told that is normal. Thankfully, she’s not overworking it. Her temperature is still a little high, but not too bad. She is still off the paralytic and doing well without it. They have lowered her sedation a little more, but not much. They no longer have the sedation monitor on her. They are changing the spot of her arterial line now.”
“During the surgery tomorrow, they will do another debridement and the tracheotomy as well as placing a gastric feeding tube. Once they are able to wean her off the ventilator, she should only need the trach for a week or so. The feeding tube will stay for at least 6 weeks.
They may start trying to wake her up a little on Thursday.”
Asking for continued prayers, positive thoughts, good vibes, juju, or whatever you have to send or way.
UPDATE: “Alee is looking better every day. Today, they placed a PICC line in her arm to get her off the IV. They don’t like to keep IVs in for more than 10 days. She is digesting her “food” better today. They have been able to keep her off the paralytic all day and she’s tolerating being off it. They lowered one of her sedation medications. Her heart rate was back up over 100 tonight. I mostly saw it between 104 and 130. It had been staying steady at around 80 the last couple of days. Her fever is also back today. It is down from what it was earlier in the day, but was still at 101.4 tonight. Her sedation level seems to be staying pretty close to the 40 that they are wanting it to be, though I saw it go up to 70 while I was there tonight. It didn’t stay up very long before going back down to around 40.
I’ll be meeting with one of her doctors tomorrow and we’ll discuss the next surgery and the tracheotomy. I’ll update more tomorrow.
Have a good night and continue the prayers, positive thoughts, good vibes, juju, and whatever else you have to send.”
UPDATE: “Alee is on day 11 in the hospital. Still heavily sedated, still on a ventilator. She has undergone one surgery and will have, at least, one more next week. During her next skin graft surgery, the doctors will be doing a tracheotomy, most likely. She still has no clue that her babies, my grandbabies and her niece and nephews died in the fire. She doesn’t know that they have been laid to rest already. She has a very long, difficult road ahead of her, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally, as well. Alee does not have insurance to cover even a fraction of her hospital bills. Every little bit will help, even just $5. If you can’t donate, please, please, please share.”
“At the hospital now. Alee had a rough night. She became unresponsive. They lowered her sedation and gave her a blocker for the pain medication and she was still unresponsive after an hour and a half. Her body started fighting the ventilator and she was hyperventilating. They took her for a head CT last night. The CT scan was negative. They put her on a paralytic drug and have her completely paralyzed right now. They, also, put her back on the VDR respirator. The last chest X-Ray indicated her lungs are in worse condition than they originally thought (damage from the fire) and there is a lot of fluid in her lungs. This respirator will give her a better chance of healing.
She has also been diagnosed as being past pneumonia and almost to the point of having acute respiratory distress syndrome and is on antibiotics to treat that. Time and prayer will bring healing.
She has also been given several blood transfusion because her body is not producing adequate hemoglobin and all the fluids are diluting her blood.
Keep the prayers, positive thoughts, good vibes, juju, or whatever you’ve got coming. She needs all she can get.”
You can help the family here: https://www.gofundme.com/malleck-family