[July 8th, 2007] 12:15pm
The arraignment for Zach's attackers will be July 18th at:

Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse
(WEST) 100 N. Calvert St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Room 236

The room will be very small and will only last about 15 minutes at the most. The arraignment is supposed to be at 9:30 a.m. but they are all scheduled for that time so it's basically whenever they get to. At the arraignment, the defendants will plead "not guilty" and the first trial date will be set.

Parking is tough; you'll have to park on the street. Click here for driving directions.
[July 3rd, 2007] 9:30am
This is an email from Anna. I couldn't change a thing because she said it perfectly; Zach had a fantastic day!

"The best thing that happened today was that Zach "localized" for the doctors, meaning that when they stimulated (hurt) him, he brought his arms/hands up to where they were stimulating (hurting) him. This is a huge step neurologically!! Before, he would just move his arms inward a little to show that he felt pain but never touched where it was. So now he's showing that his brain is thinking at the higher level. The nurses and doctors were very excited, as were we. I'm so excited as I'm typing this."

"Also, he opened his eyes more today when i visited him during the early visiting hours and i told him to keep them open until his mom came at 5 and he did! His eyes were not half way open but not just slits either. He had them slightly open and was blinking with them open. We all asked him to do simple stuff for us like squeeze our hand, stick out his tongue, wiggle his thumb and he did them all like 70% of the time. Not sure if they were all just coincidences but he squeezed my hand ever so slightly, as if to tell me he could hear but he was too tired to squeeze really hard. It was very bizarre and very encouraging! Kim and T-bird were super excited. They got there first and were the ones that told me about it. Also, the nurse, Katy, said that when I was doing range of motion to his legs, she said she saw that he was looking down at me. Katy agreed that he seemed a lot more focused today. She was excited that Zach localized for her. It was a nice good-bye present for her since Zach is probably moving floors tomorrow morning."

"Taylor and I cleaned out Zach's room. It actually took us a while to move him out. He sure had a lot of stuff in that little room. It was bittersweet today because we had to say bye to our family of nurses, physicians, techs etc that we had grown with over the past 4 weeks but it is good that Zach is no longer in critical condition. We will never forget the love, care, respect and support that came from all the staff on Zach's unit. Staff members that didn't even have Zach as a patient would come into his room and say hello to us and tell us how they were very sorry and that they were pulling and praying for Zach's recovery. The whole family thanks the entire staff for Zach's care and for making us feel comforted and at ease during these painful few weeks."

--Anna
[July 2nd, 2007] 11:30pm
It's been a few days since I've updated this site and I love writing good news. Zach is doing wonderful. His first great day was Friday where he didn't have a fever all day. He's infection free, the pneumonia is improving significantly, and he didn't need the ventilator while he was sleeping at night. He's been like this all weekend, so let's hope this continues.

Doctors want to give Zach a spinal tap to make sure the pressure in his brain is ok. This is probably his last week at Hopkins before moving to a rehab center, so doctors want to be 100% sure that everything is stable with Zach before he leaves. What a great team of specialists!

On Sunday, Zach was moving around a lot; lifting his head, arms and legs stretching, and making his famous Elvis lip. When I came the room I said, "Zach, it's your buddy, wake up for me." No lie, he started to open his eyes. Needless to say, I was ecstatic! Anna got there a few minutes later, a little stinky from not showering all day**, and said she would be pissed if he woke up to me and not her. But truth be told, he most likely was just trying to wake up to tell me to stop touching his hand and to go get Anna.

**Zach: Dude, seriously, when you're not awake to tell Anna to shower, she doesn't.

I've selfishly included a picture of me and Zach (don't yell at me, Anna told me to). I miss our email conversations at work, our shared bitching about Baltimore drivers, and his amazing ability to be one of the coolest obsessive compulsive guys I know. It makes me so angry sometimes when I sit and think about what's happened to my good friend, for no good reason. But I'm so thankful for all of his friends and family that I've gotten to know because of Zach. And I can't wait for the day to celebrate and be happy with him again. I know YOU (the website visitor) miss him, too. If you have a story and a picture you'd like me to post about you and Zach, please email me and I'll post it word for word.

The outpouring of love and support has been absolutely incredible. People are still asking how they can help, and here are a few ideas:
  1. Give to the fund - rehab is going to be unbelievably expensive!
  2. Go to Neighbors' Night Out Fundraiser on Sunday, August 5th.
  3. Donate airline miles for his Dad in Columbus, OH and his sister in San Diego, CA.
  4. Gas cards or Visa/MasterCard gift cards for gas, food, etc...
  5. Food, but for now Zach's Dad, Mom and Anna are ok in that area.
  6. And of course, pray and/or send positive thoughts toward Zach!
[June 29th, 2007] 8:45am
Doctors performed a bronchial lavage, where they go into thru his trach and use saline or some other fluid to pull out his sputum and test it for infection (which all came back negative). They were pleasantly surprised to find his sputum was very clean. Zach has kicked all his infections and his pneumonia is getting better every day. The nurses told Anna that he did not like the bronchial lavage. He kept coughing and trying to sit up, making it very clear to the team he was uncomfortable. He was given sedatives to complete the lavage, but it's great that he is reacting so much.

He had a fever the other day (Anna thinks it's because his nurse Katy wasn't there -- he loves nurse Katy) but they are just giving him Tylenol and using some ice to cool him down. When first admitted, Zach's fever would shoot up to 105 in a few minutes if taken off the cooling machine, and now he's going all day without having a fever. Go Zach!

Looking back, he's made significant progress in terms of getting healthy. Soon he will be out of critical condition and working on waking up and healing his mind. Stay optimistic and keep praying for him to wake up!

Taylor sent me a letter from Kim thanking everyone for their love and support. Click here to read it.
[June 28th, 2007] 10:00pm
Neighbors' Night Out is a bold statement against crime. On Sunday, August 5, 2007 from 2 - 8 p.m., in honor of Zach, neighbors across Baltimore will meet at select bars and restaurants to drink, dine and send the message that we stand together against violence. (Participating locations are currently being decided upon). 20% of that evening¬ís profits will go toward the cost of Zach's lengthy hospitalization. Learn more »
[June 27th, 2007] 10:45am
So things are starting to level out for Zach and he's remaining pretty stable. His lungs continue to improve with each chest x-ray, and he's finished with his pneumonia antibiotics. He does have the bacteria in his sputum, but it's not the one that's super resistant to antibiotics. However, they have decided to let his body take care of the infection on its own. Doctors will be closely monitoring the infection and taking cultures daily to make sure he is ok.

Zach still needs medicine to regulate his heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs. Nurses gave him Tylenol for his fever only once yesterday and have been using a cooling blanket the rest of the time. Hopefully his temperature will stabilize on its own and not need the cooling blanket very soon. He's got a little ways to go, but improving every day.

An ultrasound on his arms and legs showed the small clot in his left arm is still present, but it's in a deep vein thrombosis so they will let his body take care of the clot on its own. Visitors should NOT massage his left arm because of the clot, but it's ok to move his arm to keep his joints fluid. It's important to message and do range of motion to his fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, toes, knees, etc. This helps his muscles stay limber and not stiffen. Stiff muscles take much longer to get movement back once he starts physically therapy.

Remember if you're visiting Zach to wash hands thoroughly before and after entering the room. And if you feel sick, don't visit! He's so close to being removed from critical condition and needs to be germ free to get there. We really want him to show us this week that he's starting to wake up by tracking movement with his eyes. He's opening them a lot whenever nurses turn him or suction his lungs. I think once he's in the coma rehab center he will make much better progress.

Momma Mia will be a happy pug this weekend; Anna is going to Frederick for a visit with her little girl. I'm sure Mia misses both Anna and Zach very much. Don't worry Mia, your dad will be there soon, too.
[June 25th, 2007] 11:30pm
Yesterday when Anna went to visit Zach she was greeted with a bright red notice over his door that read "Maximum Precaution," which was a little disturbing. Nurses told Anna that Zach tested positive for bacteria in his sputum (spit) that is super resistant to antibiotics. To prevent it from possibly spreading to other patients in the ICU, visitors had to wear gloves, gowns, face masks and shoe covers. Early tests from the cultures taken yesterday morning showed he may not have the bacteria, but they are still taking precautions. For now, no visitors besides family can see Zach.

His lungs are looking slightly better and he's no longer on antibiotics for the pneumonia. If the culture tests come back negative today, he will be off all antibiotics. If the test does come back negative, this will be the third time Zach's tested positive for something and then it turns out he doesn't have it -- proving Zach is the ultimate stubborn fighter and refuses to let sickness get in the way of his recovery. Keep fighting Zach!

Anna is meeting with a social working today about where Zach's next move once he's stabilized, since soon he should no longer need critical care. There are a lot of great coma rehabilitation hospitals in Baltimore.

As far as his surroundings, I've never seen a hospital room filled with more cards, pictures, banners and music. Anna found a remixed Sarah McLaughlin CD that Zach bought for her a few years ago that was composed by a bunch of progressive house DJs, which she assures me is "less girly" than the real CD.

I also talked to Pat who told me Zach is getting the best skin, nail, and teeth care from real professionals...Taylor and Anna. Apparently they had a whole system down for making Zach look his best with creams, files, lotions, Chap Stick -- you name it. Zach couldn't ask for more loving people in his life.