October 20, 2020

Try and Keep Up!

Creativity Taken Seriously!

Ervin “Jock” Allen Covid-19 fight updated 6-3-2020

Photo from a 2019 NHRA RACE I got of Andie and Jock

An update on Ervin “Jock” Allen and his mom has come out. They both are battling the Covid-19 virus NHRA NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle We are praying for them both with all our heart. 💗

Saturday 8:30pm update:
Via Steve Johnson Racing
After some initial testing and seeing how he is struggling to breathe, the doctor determined Jock needed to be put on a ventilator.

His lungs have been working so hard, they will now get some time to strengthen.

He is getting some antibiotics for the pneumonia but the virus is causing additional issues past the lungs. In some simple terms, his body will start relaxing now and that should help lower some of his enzyme levels. As soon as that happens, they can administer some special new drugs that should help speed up recovery.

PositiveThoughts.

Steve

Update: May 11, 9:30 am
There are so many new procedures for doctors to consider to treat this virus at this level. Proning him, which means turning him on his stomach for 16 hours to help with breathing is something they are considering now. We will know tonight if that is the plan. Jock does keep waking up from his sedation, they need him still. So today they will give him more medicine to keep him still (Jock sure is a fighter). They have started the plasma transfusion also. They have also already ordered blood in case Jock should need a transfusion. This hospital seems to be quite proactive in their plans for treatment.

As a side note from a friend’s wife at another hospital is; blood thinning therapy. Some other hospitals have been trying this with good success. We are going to ask the doctor if this has or could be a consideration.

With much love,
Steve


Update May 12, 12:15 am cst:
Ventolators have a number scale for each action it performs. We were told when Jock and his mom (Ms Allen) came to UAB, both of their oxygen numbers were 12. I’m told the target goal on this one segment is Five or below. Reciently mom was a 10, and late yesterday (the 11th) was at eight. She also seems to be communicating through some eye movement.
Jock’s number is a 10. Other details on him are his white cells were real low and now with time and treatment they’re moving up slightly. His enzymes that were so high in his liver have calmed down. As for his lungs, it’s so important for them to gain strenght, so being on the ventolator helps that process (despite the many things we hear about a ventolator). Besides the lungs resting, the amount of pneumonia in his lungs needs to be reduced and the antibiotics will help with that.

They say this is all a process. So for all of us, we can visualize a scale and keep track of the numbers as we get them and kind of gage the day to day process for both of them. The update above seems to me to be positive. 🙂

Much love,
Steve


Update May 12, 11:00 pm: Jock is still in critical condition so please continue the prayers. Last night he had a tough night of coughing… even through his sedation so his oxygen was increased to 100%. The doctors also felt he needed to be turned on his stomach for about 16 hours. This procedure is called proning (I believe we have mentioned this before). After he was in position they were able to turn the oxygen down to to 60%. After the time frame they will turn him to his back again.
If things don’t improve they may consider doing a surgical procedure (ECMO) to clean and oxygenate his blood. This is like an external set of lungs that will externally do everything that Jock’s lungs are supposed to do. The hospital is very proactive and has already had a surgeon over to look at Jock and consult with the doctors so if this is his next procedure they will be completely ready.
On a side note, I sure hope we are keeping you all engaged with “our guy” Jock. Right now Jock’s biggest setback is his ability to breath. We feel the team at UAB (and every other hospital on the planet) is doing the best they know how to. So if you haven’t gone to bed yet, whisper a prayer of wisdom and strength for the health care teams everywhere treating… whatever they are treating.
Much love,
Steve


Update May 14, 12:35 am CST: Jock got a good report back from his ABG (Arterial blood gases)*. The report gives a great map of what’s been happening in regards to his lung function and breathing. For starters it shows the ventilator and the proning is helping his lungs and his breathing. So they will be proning him again for another 16 hours of lying on his stomach. In addition to the findings of that report, the ECMO (the external lungs) surgery has been taken off the table as of now…that is good. Jock also got a good report back from his blood cultures (negative) that states there is low probability of blood infection caused by bacteria or fungi. The doctors also said, the minute his liver enzymes stabilize, he has been approved for Remdesivir 🙂.

*As of 2020, Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral medication and is being tested as a specific treatment for COVID-19, and has been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. and approved for use in Japan for people with severe symptoms.

** Arterial Blood Gas test – in my understanding this measures the oxygen, carbon dioxide and the pH of the blood. It was all I could do NOT to ask, “How much does eating broccoli help the pH score in this test?” Sorry, I saw a place for a little smile and shared it, for those that know me, I hope it worked.

Much love,
Steve


Update May 15: Ms. Allen (Candace/Jock’s mom) Imagine this… Your mom has been tested positive for COVID-19 and has been in the hospital for about five days (April 27). From a web cam you watch a ventilator help her breathe for another two weeks. The emotions from your family as well as your own, really weight on all of you through this. Then on the 20th day, while sitting up in her bed, your mom begins to breathe on her own, moves her wrist and waves and even moves her leg when asked. As they say, “And the crowd goes wild.” Furthermore it’s been about five day without a temperature, she is off all antibiotics and blood pressure medicine as well as all her blood cultures are negative. Someone said, “We are all blessed”.

The rest of her story is still unfolding and we will keep you updated.

Update May 15: Jock The first thing is his chest x-rays look better than they have looked in a while. He was very stable through the night and his oxygen was turned down to 40%. All of this is quite positive. The doctors are still watch Jock’s fever going up and down. They really would like it if it stabilized at normal.

Here is a time line to consider.

4/24 Ms. Allen tested for COVID -19.
4/27 Positive results for COVID -19.
4/30 Went into the hospital in Jasper Al.
5/3 Transferred to UAB hospital.
5/3 Put on ventilator.
5/14 First major signs of healing

4/30 Jock tested for COVID -19.
5/2 Positive results for COVID -19.
5/8 Went into the hospital in Jasper Al.
5/9 Transferred to UAB hospital.
5/9 Put on ventilator.
May 20th a projected date we might see significant sign of healing.


Update May 16, Sir Jock: As you all might recall, one of the settings on Jock’s ventilator was a 14 (remembering five and below is good). After a few days, we reported it was going down to a ten… but then it went back up again. As of today it’s back to a ten. The doctors’ plan is to turn it down to eight and then their hopes are taking it down again to a five. The chest x-rays continue to look promising and another x-ray will be taken Saturday.

This is the seventh day on the ventilator so there is a good effort to get him weaned off of it. The UAB doctors also want to start reducing his sedatives and are ready for him to start waking up, however they really have to watch for chocking. It seems to be a delicate balance, so it’s comforting to know they are experienced at it.

His fever is still another concern because it does subside at times but then goes back up. There is some consideration that maybe he got the “worse strain of the virus” and that’s what is working on his fever more so than others.

Jock’s liver enzymes have improved so he got his first dose of Remdesivir. He can get one dose a day for up to ten days. Getting through the entire dosage is the goal so we just need to hope the enzymes levels stay right where they are.

Update May 16, Ms. Allen: Another positive day complete with a one hour and 30 minutes of breathing… without any help.

Much love,
Steve


Update May 18: Jock is still progressing forward. His ventilator is providing less and less support for his lungs and he is about off of the paralytics. All of his family and friends keep waiting to see his fever diminish and get back to normal – around 98 degrees. The doctor says, “He is doing better there, it’s just a low grade fever right now.” A few other check points that we have been watching is his liver and the enzymes which are still stable.

I believe they are getting ready to weaning him off the ventilator (just typing this brings a smile to my soul). However as we have written before, the balance of his controlled sedation and removing the ventilator for the first time is tough. If he can stay calm and tolerate some of this discomfort (boy is that a hospital term) it could happen sooner than later. I wish I could get in there and talk to him to coach him to be calm. It’s so important this happens asap. But that’s a tall order after having this tube in you for all this time. Stay tuned.

Update May 18: Ms. Allen (Candace/Mom) has her own path for recovery. We are told she has an addition internal issue in regards to some bleeding. They’re going to do an exploratory procedure with hopes they can determine what is going on. In addition to that, she has not been eating because of the ventilator and at some point soon she is going to need nutrition… which involves another procedure. As you can see, it’s tough to follow when it sounds like she is getting better and then we hear about a setback.

Much love,
Steve


Update May 18, 2020: Have you ever had someone tell you something, in this case the passing of Candace Allen and then you try to visualize what they are saying? Well that just happened to me … so I want to tell you what I “saw.”

Candace or Mom just came into Jock’s hospital room and told him to hurry up and get better. She came closer to him and gave him the softest kiss on his forehead and said how much she loved all you kids and her entire family. Then she grabbed both of his hands and said, (in a way only a mom can say) “Jock, I’m so excited and blessed right now. I want you and our whole family to know, I’m going to be a heavenly Angel… and go sit with your dad in heaven. Now I have got to go see the rest of you-all (the family) and tell them the same. I love you.”

Her brother Junior, “Give God the praise for the 51 years that he gave her to us. Praise God.”

Update May 18: Jock is still moving forward with his health. His main issue right now is when doctors try to wean him off the sedation he becomes very combative … I assume because of the ventilator. We all understand everyone’s body reacts differently to medication. So the doctors are changing his sedation medicine to another kind that has had great success with other patients with the same combativeness. After a day or so on this medicine, they will again try to wean him off the sedation and of course the ventilator.

Much love,
Steve

Side note: I apologize to anyone that was confused about my post/update from yesterday. I was trying to deliver some very difficult news in the softest way possible. Being blunt was just not in my fingertips.


Update May 20, 2020: After another phone call from UAB, it was nice to get another positive report about Jock’s health. So we wanted to ask the obvious, when can Jock have extubation? That is the removal of a tube, in this case from the larynx.

It turns out that it was a loaded question that they get all the time. The sedation reduction and his breathing trials must be successfully completed before he gets to the next level of recovery. We talked about the balance before and also the time it takes to find that balance. Bottom line is there is no way they can pin point the date of extubation. However listening and taking notes and then doing some research we kind of chatted about the 24th. I guess at this point we would love to get a goal that we can all think about Jock getting to. As a positive thinker, I’m hoping our thoughts make it over to Jocks psych. We hope you all think the same.

A few check points:
Temperature – 99 degrees
Blood gases – still good
Kidney – still good
Liver – still good
Blood pressure – no pills needed
Sedation – changing from drip to pill form

Much love,
Steve


Update May 20, 2020: These next few days will be focused on the transition from a drip sedative to a less aggressive oral sedative. Jock did have an allergic reaction to the new drug that caused his tongue to swell. This reaction put the brakes briefly on his progress. Now they are waiting for the swelling go down to move forward. Our hopes are, we will be able to have a conversation (one way) with Jock to tell his mind that he needs him to be calm as we enter the weaning of sedative procedure.

Hopefully you saw the lead story at 6:00 pm on CBS 42 Birmingham last night. If not it should be under this post. The goal there was to drive awareness and to hope for more education on this COVID-19. Specifically on best practices regarding possible prevention of contracting this as well possibly spreading it.

Much love
Steve

Professional drag racing technician battling COVID-19

Update May 23, 2020: Jock brought all the UAB medical ICU nurses a catered lunch today. Well not really, Jock. But our good friends (family) the Dalton’s sure did. Look at the smiles on these #frontline workers. Really makes us feel so good.
As for Jock, he has been in the same position for a while so his body is a little swollen. This means they have got to move him so that has to be the big job today. We were also told about the imaging of his lungs, again they were good so he gets an “that-a-boy.” Going to try some more breathing trials today too. Fingers are crossed that he keeps gaining some strength.

One last quickie … Did you all see the Go Fund Me page? It really did good. I want to run it by the other classes and racers and see if the fuel teams would consider helping. I sure hope that’s cool. #NHRA

June 1 after lunch: How about some good news y’all. Ervin Allen “Jock” has left the building. Let me explain. Jock got moved out of ICU (the intensive care unit) at UAB and into a new unit called “Special care”.


Update June 1: Jock and I were up so late and early this morning. He’s transitioning away from so many meds and having some issues sleeping. I joked about bringing him some eye covers. He save me a trip at three in the morning by using a dark towel. I just felt so helpless texting with him, trying to come up with a solution. His vital signs seem to be all so good. His heart rate was at 73 last night. Seems like blood pressure was 122/70. His breathing goes from being really good to needing some help from the ventilator. #comeOnLungs

Much love
Steve

7-20-2020 Update 54: It’s been 24 days since our last post on his checkup. Jock passed all the questions and physical stuff no problem…while Dominique and I sat in lobby at UAB hospital (I don’t have any hook-up with the new doctors). So after the “checkup” is where it all turned tough. Do you recall the picture in update 53 with the PEG tube (his feeding tube) coming out of his stomach? Every layer in his stomach and abdomen has to heal before the tube can be removed. They do an x-ray to help confirm healing as well as giving him a time frame.” Remember this was the only way Jock could eat after the tracheotomy. One of the by-products of the trak, after the release on the 10th of June was having to look and feel this tube every day, a major bad reminder. This check-up was all about getting past this PEG tube. So fast forward again, Jock came out and looked and walked like he was in some pain. Jock’s first words are, “Before I knew what was really going to happen, the doctor grabbed the tube and took it out.” As my brain processed what I heard and I looked at Dominique to confirm what Jock just said… I said, “Wait, took it out, the PEG tube? It has a huge plastic donut on the end (so the tube won’t come out of the stomach). No “local anesthesia?” He got nothing. I found some PEG tubes that can have the donut inflated and deflated externally, but not Jock’s (see picture of the actual PEG tube and the donut). No wonder the guy is walking like he is in pain. He didn’t even get the famous doctor line, “there might be some discomfort,” as he yanks it out. UGGG
After the check-up Jock has been walking, getting rest, doing some breathing exercises, making tons of calls both personal and business and of course spending time with his family. It’s absolutely heartwarming listening to his stories of just being grateful and happy to be recovering.
A buddy of ours Rick Elmore (see picture) said if we wanted he would fill in for Jock at the shop and the races until he can work again. That was a wonderful offer and Jock and I thought it would be a great idea since there was a race on July 11-12 in Indy. So after a few days at the shop Rick and I went to spend the 4th of July with Jock and the family. We ate and ate and got to hang out and see sir Jock in his mayor’s role. Anyone could see how much he is loved and how happy they all were to have him back.
On the 8th of July, Jock and Aaliyah came down to the shop and help orchestrate the truck and trailer load up for Indy.
To close, NBC sports is doing a complete story on Jock and his COVID-19 story, the city of Jasper is going to give him a key to the city, and he has been asked to present a few things at the #MMI conference at the end of the month. We even did some special version 3 shirts that take JockStrong to a little deeper level in society.
Stay tuned for info on his first return to the races and more info on our man’s recovery from COVID-19.

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