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The Miracle Man

Success Story: Scott Mikkelsen

Meet Scott Mikkelsen, the Miracle ManIt was early October, 2012, just three days after undergoing colon surgery and a partial removal of his lung for cancer. Scott Mikkelsen was recovering at home and soon began to complain to his wife that he was having difficulty breathing. “He was really struggling,” said Diana, his wife, and she knew she had to get her husband to the Emergency Department, fast. Scott was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and within a few hours the doctor approached Diana to deliver some very grave news; Scott was critically ill and close to death. “I really thought I was going to lose him. I thought this was it,” Diana said quietly.

But the Miracle Man, as he was later dubbed, had other plans.

“I had several close calls with death, but I wanted to live.”Scott said. Scott eventually overcame each obstacle one by one, but by late October, he was still unable to breathe on his own. So on November 2
nd he was transferred to Vibra Specialty Hospital with a tracheostomy (a small tube through the trachea, or “windpipe”) that was attached to a ventilator and a feeding tube in his stomach for nourishment.
Led by a multidisciplinary team, Vibra’s primary goal for Scott was liberation from mechanical ventilation. While their efforts were compromised by Scott’s pneumonia and underlying emphysema, the treatment plan was comprehensive. His nurses, pulmonologists and respiratory therapists worked tirelessly to help Scott move step by step through the ventilator liberation protocol. At the same time, physical therapists and occupational therapists worked with him daily, increasing his activity to help him regain his strength and working with him on self-care tasks. Speech therapists worked on improving his ability to speak and swallow, while dieticians provided the nourishment necessary to help him regain some of the 60 pounds he’d lost. Diana was at his bedside every day, providing a steady stream of love, support and encouragement.
The comprehensive approach and hard work paid off; several weeks after he arrived at Vibra, Scott graduated from the ventilator.  Having been unable to speak with the tracheostomy in place, Scott turned to his wife on the day it was removed and uttered his first words in nearly two months: “I love you, Diana.”
Today, Scott is home with Diana, where together they enjoy working in the garden, trying new recipes, and taking unhurried car rides through neighboring towns, simply enjoying the scenery and “trying to find the Oregon sun,” as they say together.
Thanks to his ability to move along the continuum of care, Scott, the Miracle Man, continues to progress every day.