Update from Mary

Mark is turning 54 years old today in the Critical Care Unit at North York General Hospital.

It’s not exactly a ‘happy birthday’ but we are certainly happy that he is still with us. He’s had a rough time these past three weeks, and he has survived it all. We will just postpone the celebrations for now.

Mark was returned to the CCU yesterday morning. He had been relatively unresponsive the last 2 days in his 4th floor room in Neurology. It was probably because his body was fighting an infection. He was very sweaty and coughing a lot when I left him Wednesday night. He spiked a fever yesterday.

He was intubated (assisted breathing) and hooked up to everything all over again. They also started a central line. He’s on antibiotics. Many tests have been run and more scans were done. CT scan of his head and abdomen were clear. The strokes haven’t progressed, thankfully, but have ‘evolved’ – gotten smaller.

They are waiting on cultures now to find the source of infection and that usually takes 3 days. His vitals are all stable.

He is resting comfortably, and is mildly sedated, due to the tube going down his throat. When he coughs it is a silent cough. Very disturbing. But it is a good strong cough.

His lungs are healthy. I saw him start to wake up today and saw the fight in him. His right hand is once again restrained because the nurses know he will try to take out any tube he can reach.

That’s my guy!

His neurologist told me today that he’s seen cases worse than Mark’s make a recovery. He told me how much of his brain has been untouched by the strokes, and not to forget that Mark is young and strong. It’s just going to take time.

He is very hopeful. I like this doctor.

That’s about it for now. I’m tired, as usual, but I’m hanging in there.

Let’s wish Mark a very Healthy and Happy Birthday, with thoughts of him getting better, a little bit every day.



Update from Blake

Hello Everyone,

Things got quiet from Mary’s end the last few days. I figured something was up. We texted some yesterday. This is most of our correspondence. I will try and see her and Mark today.

Mark is back in ICU. He spiked a fever last night and his heart was racing. They are going to take him for CT scan of head and abdomen at 1:30. looking for source of infection and to see if he had another stroke or if one has progressed. He hasn’t been responsive these last 2 days. He is also intubated and they put in a central line.

Things are better now. Scans showed no sign of infection and the strokes haven’t gotten worse. He has been sleeping these last few days because of the infection. He should be waking up to tonight or tomorrow but they’re keeping him in ICU for the time being.
They are still looking for the cause of the infection and waiting on blood work.  His original neurologist is continuing to give us hope for a recovery. I am wiped out just from today.


Update from Mary

What a long 2 weeks it has been. I am wiped out but relieved that Mark is out of the acute phase. He is now in a semi-private room on the 4th floor at NYGH. He no longer needs constant monitoring as far as blood pressure, respiration, oxygen and heart rate go. All his vitals are strong and normal, just as they have been from the beginning. His feeding tube is now attached directly to his small bowel. He had that procedure done yesterday. He had pulled the tube out of his nose a few times, and the tape was a constant bother. So there is nothing on his face to annoy him, because he is one angry and frustrated man.

His left side remains weakened, but not paralyzed. The doctor gave me little encouragement today that that would improve, but I’ve found the doctors in general there don’t tend to give much hope. It is the nurses and therapists who are the most encouraging and supportive people. They’re the ones who deal with the patients first hand and for much longer stretches of time. I will always have hope that his brain will recover what has been lost.

He was very sleepy today. I did get a few kisses when he was awake and he also said my name. It’s so sad to see that he has to be restrained both on his super strong right arm and his leg. He moves around a lot and there is a danger that he could end up on the floor. I take the arm restraint off when I’m with him, knowing that I have to keep his hand from fidgeting with his new feeding tube and his catheter. He hates that thing and it is coming out tomorrow.

He is still on IV fluids, and gets a shot twice a day of heparin. This is to shrink the blood clot that sits in his vertebral artery and is responsible for the strokes. They still don’t know why Mark formed that clot. He either has to get very worse or much better for them to do another CT scan and to run more tests on this heart.

But now that he is stabilized and is very, very slowly showing some improvement they are sure that the heparin is doing its job.

A good friend dropped off an iPod dock yesterday, so I brought it home to figure it out and charged up his iPod and tomorrow he will have music! I think a little music therapy will be a good thing for Mark. He is a true music lover.

The girls and I would still like to keep the visits to just family and close friends. This is an even smaller room, and the rule is still 2 visitors, although the nurses on this floor are far more lenient than the ICU nurses.

Visiting hours are 12 – 8pm. If you feel that you really need to see Mark, please contact me first. I need to space out these visits. Please don’t expect to have a conversation with him. We need to respect Mark’s dignity and privacy. Hopefully down the road he will be up and about and telling everyone a really great story.

Thank you all for writing and texting and leaving messages, and I hope you understand that I’m finding it very difficult to find the time and energy to reply to you all at this point. But I do appreciate everything that comes our way. Let’s keep sending the prayers and positive healing energy to our big guy!


Update from Mary

Hello friends and family,

Here’s a quick update. I’m very tired as you can imagine:

Mark was definitely more active and responsive today as compared to yesterday. Don’t forget that his strokes were absolutely debilitating. When he turns his head towards one of our daughters, focuses on her face, and listens intently on what she is saying, I feel like  – Wow! That just made my day. He managed to get a few words out, but it was extremely difficult and frustrating for him. He is still ‘kissing’ and blinking his eyes and nodding his head and squeezing our hands – sometimes too much! He is definitely in there.

His nurse showed me some physio exercises that need to be done for his weakened left side. I told him that I already started doing those yesterday and most definitely will continue. I am convinced that he will regain movement, and speech, and short term memory – in time. As his wonderful nurse Neil said today – we are not running the mile. We are running a marathon. We are, all of us, in it for the long haul. Whatever it takes to get our big guy back.

Mark was in isolation briefly yesterday and today, but that was lifted this afternoon. No C. diff or any other infection, so that’s a relief.

Because he is out of danger as far as the swelling on the brain goes, there is a very strong possibility that he will be moved back to North York General Hospital in a day or two. I’m happy that he will not need neurosurgery. He will still be in ICU for a while though. He needs constant monitoring. He needs more tests done as the specialists are still investigating as to why this healthy, young man had a series of strokes.

Today was the first day that a doctor told me that he is now in “Recovery”. The critical phase is over and Mark is out of the woods. I knew that this first week would be the worst and I was right. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. He still has weeks, months of recovery ahead of him. I know I have the patience for it, but I just need to keep my strength up. Having our family around us every day these past 10 days has been a huge support. I wouldn’t be able to carry on if I didn’t have our families at our side, and some very close friends. Thank you all so very much!

I would like to keep visits to just family for the time being. Let’s wait until we know which hospital he is going to be in and I will decide when the time is right to welcome more visitors. We absolutely appreciate all the well-wishes that come to us in many forms – phone calls, voice mails, Facebook postings, emails, text messages, etc. Each and every one is important and gives us more hope for Mark’s recovery. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

One more thing – Mark isn’t a smoker, but if you are – PLEASE STOP! You DO NOT want to experience this. Trust me.

Until soon,

Update from Mary

You may or may not know that Mark Silver suffered a stroke last week.
The following is an email that his wife sent out to family and a few friends late Friday night.
Dear Family,

I just want to send a little update about Mark. I come home and find out how many phone calls I have missed and I feel bad. I wish I could talk to you all but it’s physically impossible for me right now.
Thus the mass email! It’s wonderful to know you all care so much, as this is an extremely difficult and stressful time for us.

Today Mark was transferred to Toronto Western Hospital. It’s downtown at Bathurst and Dundas streets and it is one of the BEST hospitals here for neurosurgery.
He is on the second floor (take south elevators) in ICU (or Critical Care) in pod 107. Only two visitors at a time can go and be with him. This is a much bigger ICU than at North York General Hospital.

Today’s CT scan showed that there is some swelling in his cerebellum, where the last stroke occurred. He had to be moved because NYGH doesn’t perform neurosurgery.
It is possible that he may need it – they are talking craniotomy – if the swelling doesn’t subside. So he is in the best hands now for his present condition.

I’m happy to say that he has remained stable and his vital signs are all really excellent. He is fighting. So much so that his right hand has to be restrained because
he wants to pull all of his tubes out. (He has weakness on his left side.) He is responding really well to us. He knows we are there, and shakes his head in response,
and squeezes our hands. The other night when I visited him alone (very late at night) I said “I love you” and he responded by saying the same thing.
Last night he pursed his lips for a kiss! He has done that several times today also. Tonight at the new hospital, the nurse asked him what his last name and he answered loudly “Silver!”
He also spoke my name. You may take these little things for granted but considering Mark’s present condition these are HUGE milestones!

Just 4 days ago he was asleep for an entire day because the doctors didn’t know that he had had a new stroke, this time in his sleep/awake centre (in the cerebellum).
The docs immediately sent him for scans and found the new stroke evidence, and also the cause – there is a blood clot sitting in his vertebral artery in his neck.
That’s when he was moved to ICU. He is on heperin (blood thinner) to shrink the clot and prevent more damage. It’s working. He woke up! And is trying to talk and communicate!

I know there is a long, long road ahead of us and I have to believe that he will recover. He wants to recover! He gets so frustrated lying in that bed, it’s heartbreaking. I need to hear
more stroke stories that have a happy outcome. If you’ve got them, please share them!

So – if anyone is planning on visiting, just let me know ahead of time. I would like to be there when you come. I can’t possibly stay there the whole day. The nurses won’t let me!
I have to come home and recharge so I can look after Mark the following day. He understands that too.

Please come in with a smile on your face, no tears. The last thing Mark wants is to upset anybody. You will see him hooked up to IV’s, constant telemetry and blood pressure cuff,
oxygen tubes and feeding tubes in his nose, and a catheter. I don’t want you to be scared when you see him….he needs all of this!

I’ll be there with the girls tomorrow for most of the day, most likely from 1:00pm on. So will Mark’s mom and his sisters. We just take turns going in to see him. There is a very nice and very huge
lounge area for the ICU families, and lots of places to eat in this hospital. No Starbucks, but there is a Second Cup and a Timmy’s. Mark’s room overlooks the Kimbo Vietnamese restaurant on
Bathurst St. 😉

So very tired, worn out, and trying very hard not to be freaked out,

I saw Mark last Tuesday and he couldn’t wake up. I saw him again yesterday and he looked somewhat better. He was awake and you could tell he was aware of the people in the room but he is very much out of it. He just looks like he’s really sick and trying to fight off whatever has him in it’s control. You can’t talk with him. You can’t have a conversation with him and have him tell you how he’s feeling. He is becoming responsive but he’s like someone that has a fever and is too sick to talk.
The facility he is in appears to be much better. He’s in his own room with someone on the medical staff facing him the whole time.

I’ve had many people contact me to find out what is going on and offer their help in any way. I have passed this on to his wife Mary. She doesn’t seem to feel that there is anything that anyone can do for them at this particular point in time but she may change her mind as time progresses and maybe we can help as a need comes along. I’m sure it will. She is very thankful for everyone’s good wishes and wants to pass along how much she appreciates all the good energy coming Mark’s way.
When Mary goes home at night, there are countless phone messages and emails etc. I think she is overwhelmed by it all and doesn’t find the hours in the day to return much of it. That is why I’m writing this letter. I will try to pass along whatever news comes my way.
I have picked out of my address book anyone who I think wants to know and who I might have an address for. My contact list is spotty as far as email addresses are concerned. Feel free to pass this on to whoever asks about Mark or if you know someone that should know.
Some people have inquired about visiting Mark. The space is small and there is no room for visitors and in fact, there are supposed to be only two people at any time ever in there.If you think you have to, then you should, but keep it very short. If you aren’t 100% sure, then you definitely shouldn’t. This is intensive care. Totally not set up for visitors.
If you NEED to pass on a message to Mark’s family, then at this point you should probably do it through me. I’m just trying to keep the communications down to a level that they can cope with. I don’t mean to scare anyone off from sending their good wishes, just keep it brief and to the point and don’t expect a reply.
Here’s hoping,