Monday, July 31, 2006
We're not certain when Chuck will be transferred...we're still hoping today is the day. Please pray for good doctors (which we've been guaranteed at Dallas), gentle nurses, enthusiatic therapists, and nerves of steel for Chuck.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Chuck is progressing ... some glitches with nutrition...but steady forward movement. Everything else (lungs, wounds, spirit) is progressing.
Please continue to pray for healing. Also, pray for his next assignment...that the staff will be kind...and courageous enough to handle Chuck through rehab! God's blessings to all!
Saturday, July 29, 2006
My sister, Kelli, leaves this evening. It's been great having her here, as she's been a HUGE help with organizing everything. I'm going to miss her!
Kelli and Christy went to look at the hospital in Dallas and gave it half a star ... out of five. Thus, I've alerted the doctors that we do NOT want to transfer downtown...too loud and busy. It will be interesting to see how everything works out....Hopefully, we will be transfering to Baylor Specialty in Irving. I'll keep you posted as the drama unfolds ... thank God for sisters ... can you imagine Chuck in a noisy place?? That would set him back weeks.
The Millers and the Zapatas have arrived! They are here to support and encourage. Again, the blessings abound.
Friday, July 28, 2006
All looks good this morning. Please pray for nutrition. Chuck's j-peg tube keeps kinking...so his food gets backed up. Currently, nutrition is flowing AND Chuck is able to drink ensure and the like.
We're keeping the faith and encouraging you to do the same.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Tomorrow, we are trying"Take Two" of the assessment with Baylor Specialty hospital. They are sending someone to see if Chuck is ready to move OUT of critical care and into an accute care place.
We praise God for Chuck's wonderful improvements! We ask for prayers for his digestion and wounds.
Keep the faith.
As far as friends coming, I must quote my dear friend, Ellie:"The power of prayer is great, but the power of love and laughter is no slouch either." Indeed!
Prayers for today:
- Praise for all the support and love
- Praise for improvements in lung function and in spirit
- Please pray for a smooth surgery today ... that the skin adheres beautifully, that his skin heals, heals, heals. Dr. Young will perform the surgery. Pray for steady, gentle hands that bring healing to Chuck's body.
- Please pray for nutrition. I'm awaiting a meeting with the gatro doc. Nutrition is blocked currently ... not sure why. Chuck's stomach continues to swell.
Keeping the faith!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Chuck is continuing to gain strength. His lungs are stronger; his arms are stronger; his whole body is stronger due to better nutrition; and his spirits are a bit improved. The two concerns currently are his wounds and his gut. Yes, he is tolerating tube feeds. However, his stomach continues to get distended ... which pulls his skin taught ... which stresses the skin that we want to heal. As for his wounds, a new sore was discovered today ... not in a vital area like the one on his back, but nonetheless, a sore.
Chuck has had difficulty recovering from his last few surgeries. Please pray he flies through this one ... and comes out on the other end stronger than ever.
Keeping the faith.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Chuck's had a busy day: trach collar for 2 hours, occupational therapy, and sitting in a chair for almost 2 hours, x-rays every 30 minutes. I believe he will be doing the trach collar again this evening.
Surgery is officially scheduled for Thursday at 4:20. Please pray for steady hands, NO complications, speedy recovery, and no more skin issues. Please continue to pray for his lungs, his nutrition, his spirit, and his wounds.
I praise God for Chuck's fabulous improvements and pray for continued success.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Chuck's lungs look "good," according to Dr. Taylor. Of course, "good" is a relative term ... I think it means better than yesterday. Chuck did the trach collar twice today. The first time he went 1 hour and 45 minutes. The second time he went 1 hour and 15 minutes. Not too shabby.
Please pray concerning Chuck's pressure sore. It is directly over a vital piece of hardware. There is still "talk" about a quickie plastics surgery on Wednesday or Thursday ... but nothing has been confirmed.
I thank God for the amazing improvements Chuck has had ... my prayer is that he absolutely puzzles the doctors with his progress in healing.
Keep the faith!
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Paul, Mindy, and baby Esther arrived Thursday and gave us a big spiritual shot in the arm ... praying over us ... and calling others to pray. Mindy and Esther stayed through til today (a huge sacrifice to the Brouse family). Tod, Nicole, Ross, and Laura arrived Friday night. They've been a huge help ... full of encouragement and support. Then, Chris arrived this morning. First thing this morning, Chuck asked to see "the guys." What a blessing! (I won't go into detail concerning the now infamous apple juice incident. Just know that Chuck is still the same ol' Chuck ... but perhaps had honed his con skills a bit.)
The Brouses, the Kuennings, and the Davises did some comparison shopping ... going from motel to motel near the hospital. After much work, they picked a place and bought me a WEEK at an extended stay hotel. It has absolutely everything I need. Then ... they stocked my refrigerator! My cup runneth over. The only sad part ... is being away from Mom and Dad for a week. However, I'm super close to Chuck ... so I can sleep more AND still see more of him.
My dad, Dianne, and Shea all arrived Saturday night. It's soooo great having them here. Then, to wrap up the festive weekend, the crew bought Chuck's dad a birthday cake (today is his big day). We all sang happy birthday in the ICU waiting room. It was great getting to share something joyous in this place.
AND NOW, for Chuck's report: almost everything is improving, so praise for that. He does have a pressure sore on his back. It may require another quickie surgery...Wednesday or later. Please be praying concerning this new wound. Please pray it heals on its own ... that it looks better and better everyday.
Keep the faith.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
We are praying for full recovery; that God breathe life into every fiber of Chuck's being. Please pray for Chuck's lung compliance to improve. We are trusting in Jehovah Rapha - the God who heals.
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him...I'm trying to relax and feel satisfaction with God's perfect plan. Please pray for me to feel the peace that passes all understanding.
Keep the faith.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Chuck's nutrition is on target; his lungs look better today than yesterday; his spirits are up a bit; his wounds are stable.
Keep the faith!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Everything is stable ... and for that we are most grateful. We are praying for a supernatural healing. We are praying to a faithful God who loves and adores Chuck.
We are believing in Chuck's full recovery.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
There are mixed reviews from the doctors. Via Stacie, Dr. Shelokov sounded displeased and gravely concerned upon first seeing Chuck this morning. After he has met will all of Chuck's specialists, he will be calling me for "the big talk." I'm not sure what he'll have to say, but I do know that it is just an opinion. God is bigger than this whole thing. The only doctor whom I can fully trust is The Great Physician.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
- Chuck is tolerating the tube feeds.
- His spirits are quite low. Please pray as intently for his spiritual and mental healing as you do for his physical healing.
- His wounds look fine = no new issues.
Because Chuck is tolerating the feedings and has no new wound issues, Eric is satisfied. Dr. Shelokov returns tonight from a two week absence. I pray he will bring new energy and insight to Chuck's case. He'll charge in there and really take command ... I pray.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Eric's report today is wonderfully positive. Of course, I've been advised by very wise people to remain calm in the face of good or bad news. This is a slow and steady climb up ... with alternating rises and falls. Today's gentle rise:
- Chuck is tolerating some nourishment through his j-peg. They've rigged him up so that he has a tube going from his nose into his stomach. This tube pulls out gas bubbles. Then, the food is fed through the j-peg (which goes into his small intestine ... totally bypassing the stomach). For now, this is working ok. For that, I am calmly thankful.
- Chuck's wounds look good = no new issues. Note how calm I am?
Thank you God! Please continue to pray for Chuck's nutrition.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Dr. Biederman (kidneys) has created a concoction to trick Chuck's kidneys into pulling liquid into his cells so his body can release tons of liquid ... while at the same time keeping his chemistry somewhat intact so nothing goes wrong with the heart (truly amazing). The gastro doc (didn't get his name), has reinserted the nose tube in order to pull out gas from Chuck's stomach. At the same time, the nutritionist (whom I demanded, during my tirade, march herself up to the hospital on Saturday ... her day off ... ) graciously and patiently put together a new formula to put through Chuck's j-peg. His stomach is still a tiny bit bloated ... but no longer distended.
I must say, the staff did an excellent job yesterday of taking a tired, frightened, slightly insane wife (think Shirley McClain in Terms of Endearment), looking beyond her rants, and responding with loving kindness. Thank you, God! I am humbled and grateful.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
The x-ray series showed that there is no blockage in Chuck's intestines. This is fantastic. However, we are still left with the question; why can Chuck not tolerate nutrition through his digestive tract? Alas, for now we simply wait and watch.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Radiology has begun the intestinal x-ray series. They injected dye into his j-tube, and have been x-raying his gut every hour. This should provide the much needed answer to the question, "Why can't he tolerate food?" Hopefully we'll know soon.
A representative from Baylor Specialty Hospital came to assess Chuck. She agrees with me, that he is quite handsome. Aside from that, she thinks he'll be moved on Monday. She also believes he will be ready for rehab after no more than three weeks in their facility. They have an EXCELLENT wound care program, not to mention their ventilator program. Whew ... home stretch??
This will be his new address: Baylor Specialty Hospital of Dallas; 3504 Swill Avenue; Dallas, TX 75204. The number is (214) 820-9790 or 1-888-7BAYLOR.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
- two screws were removed
- all wounds were closed
Current concern: Dr. Young notes that his back incision keeps trying to "unzip." It is not healing nor is the bone (which has hardware attached to it). This is because he is not getting adequate nutrition. Please pray they figure out a way to feed my husband!! TPN (intravaneous stuff) is not going to take care of his healing needs. He has yet to tolerate food in this handy dandy j-peg. If he does not get adequate nutrition, his wounds will continue to open. Pray hard!
To locate the source of his digestive issue, a dye will be injected into his j-peg. Every thirty minutes, his gut will be x-rayed. Hopefully, the guilty section will make itself known. I do not know what happens after that.
His surgery is at 4:00. It should take about 2 hours. They will remove one screw, and pull together muscle and skin to repair the hole that the screw created. Further down his back (along the scar line), are two open areas. Dr. Young will clean the areas, remove any dead tissue, and try to close them.
Tomorrow at lunch time, someone from Baylor Specialty Hospital will come over to assess Chuck. This means his move is close!
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
- Chuck is not doing as well on the trach collar as he has been. Not sure why. No one seems worried about it ... except for me ... but I don't get to write the orders around here (thank goodness)! For now, he's using the ventilator. We're both sorely disappointed, but have received encouragement from the staff that this is not a set-back.
- Everything else is looking good! I need to take a moment to reflect on that ... because "everything else" is really quite fantastic.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
His breathing is moving right along. He went five hours this morning off the vent. He's taking a brief break, then back off he goes.
He sat in a chair for two hours this morning! I walked into the room, and there sat my BIG, TALL husband. Crazy, joyous sight to see!
Surgery has been scheduled for this Thursday at 4:00. It should last about two hours. Please pray for no complications, for speedy healing, and for fully-functioning lungs.
He's come so far! Just a bit further, and we're home. Which reminds me, we are opting to stay here in Dallas for rehab.
TONS o' love from us to you.
Monday, July 10, 2006
The screw poking up is not coming loose. It is at the part of his back that curves the most, so it sticks out farther than the others. They will remove the screw, and do some fancy plastic work to pull muscle and skin over that area. They will also remove the screw above that one as well since it sticks out a bit, too. This will not affect the stability of his rods. The surgery will have to wait until Chuck's front side is in better shape. He still has healing wounds. He'll be on his stomach for the surgery, so it must be in better shape. Now, if the screw breaks through the skin, all bets are off and he goes straight to the O.R. I'll keep you posted on his progress.
He has been on the trach collar for eight hours now. He'll get a break, and then back on he goes! His gut is still misbehaving. They changed up his meds, hoping to get his intestines to do their thang. So, GREAT report for breathing ... and decent report for the gut...he gets an overall B average.
Thanks for your prayers!
The screw issue is being watched carefully. There are two theories: 1) Chuck's skin is just too thin to cover the screws; 2) the screws are working their way out. To determine which theory is correct, Chuck has gone for X-rays. We'll know more later. There does not seem to be any huge concern, which comforts me.
Today the focus is Chuck's breathing and his gut issues. He has been on the trach collar since 7:30 and seems very relaxed. His stats are great = respitory rate, oxygen saturation, heart rate ... all perfection. Sadly, his gut is still giving him fits. It has grown lazy...just sitting there for seven weeks! His feedings have stopped. The plan is to give him a break, and then slowly initiate food into his digestive system again. This just takes time.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Chuck has a couple of screws loose ... quite literally. He has a pressure sore on his back (DANG!), and one of his screws is trying to peek through it. The screw is not exposed, which is good. There is another screw above this area that is also trying to make its way up and out. Before you ask, I have no idea what this means for his recovery. This may require another trip to the O.R. to remove the screws. As my dear friend Ellie says, "We shall see what we shall see."
Chuck is doing super fantastic on the trach collar. He did five hours earlier today. He's getting a two hour break, then he'll go on for three or four more hours. The hope is that he will go all day on the collar tomorrow! Thank you Lord Jesus!
The Raney family visited me today. Funny how God will send people at just the right time. I was a bit bummed about the pressure sore issue. The Raneys took care of me in my dispair...with food, laughter, hugs and kisses. Thank you God for Chris, Denise, and their PRECIOUS kids.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
This morning Chuck was able to stay on the trach collar for 4.5 hours. That's a RECORD. However, he dreads it ... can't stand it...deplores it. Please pray for a peace to wash over his anxious spirit.
Friday, July 07, 2006
"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity."
Chuck had an excellent day today. He got out of bed for about an hour! Mom tells me that everyone on the floor stopped by to see him. I can't wait to get a look at him for myself!
The word on the street is that Chuck will be leaving Baylor Regional late next week. We are still trying to figure out where to go. There are benefits to staying in Dallas, and benefits to coming to San Antonio. Once we have more information, we'll make our decision. For now, we'll savor this delicious ambiguity.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
- Nothing much happened today. Dr. Taylor goes back and forth on the decision to put in a chest tube. Today, he thinks Chuck is fine without it...so no chest tube. He'll reassess tomorrow.
- Chuck's brace was delivered, but not put to use. Maybe tomorrow?
- Chuck has been receiving some nutrition through his J peg. Once that goes well, they will stop the intravaneous feed.
- Trach trials have slowed down a bit.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
- The mold for Chuck's brace has been created. His brace may be ready tomorrow. This means he may get to sit up tomorrow! Please pray, as I'm sure this first time will be challenging and uncomfortable.
- The j-peg procedure went fine. Chuck will start receiving nourishment through the tube tomorrow. This should vastly improve everything ... swelling should stop, he'll have energy to exercise his lungs, he'll have the calories he needs to heal!
- Chuck is doing FANTASTIC on the trach collar. This morning he went over two hours. The respitory therapist plans to push him for three hours this evening. Please pray for Chuck, as this is torture for him.
- The chest tube will wait until tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Thanks for your prayers. Daily, your prayers are being answered. Daily, I forget to thank God for what he's done and what he's continuing to do. It seems I am constantly asking for more, but forgetting to celebrate my blessings. Here are just a few (as God has blessed me far beyond the word limit allowed on this post):
- Chuck's surgery was successful.
- Chuck has excellent doctors and nurses.
- Chuck's heart, liver, and platellet issues have been resolved.
- Chuck's infection has cleared up.
- Chuck's lungs are okay.
- Chuck is alert.
- Chuck is able to communicate.
- Chuck is getting nourishment.
This is the plan for this week:
- Wednesday he'll get the J peg ... or G tube ... funny thing I've discovered, there are a zillion names for the same thing. In any case, they are putting a tube into his stomach.
- Wednesday he'll get a chest tube (the fluid pulled off yesterday is already back).
- Chuck will be fitted for a brace sometime this week.
- Chuck might be able to sit up and dangle his feet off the bed. He might even get out of bed!
Please thank God for ... well, for everything. Tons of love to you all!
Monday, July 03, 2006
- No fever!
- He looks more comfortable with the trach collar. His time ranges from 20-30 minutes.
- Earlier today, Dr. Taylor was able to pull about 1 liter of fluid from around Chuck's left lung. This should greatly help with Chuck's breathing.
- Dr. Taylor is currently getting some samples, as well as a visual, of the inside of Chuck's lungs. He is checking for infection of any sort.
- The rumor is that we might be moving to a hospital in SAN ANTONIO!!!!! Of course, we are being cautiously optimistic. The social worker here is amazing ... oh so helpful. First, Chuck will go to a specialty hospital ... to wean off the ventilator. Then, onward to a rehab hospital. Eric feels comfortable directing Chuck's physical therapy from here. Of course, I will keep you posted.
Please pray for Chuck's spirits, and for the next step in recovery.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Chuck's looking a-okay. We've seen every doctor in the world ... but the one we really want to see. Do you suppose the constant harassment is getting to Dr. Taylor? This would be an example of how we continually assault the poor man:
- Monday: "Hi, Dr. Taylor. When can Chuck get off the ventilator?" (He answers, "Once he can tolerate the trach collar for longer periods of time.")
- Tuesday: "Hi, Dr. Taylor. When can Chuck get off the ventilator?" (He repeats the answer.)
- Wednesday: "Hi, Dr. Taylor. When can Chuck get off the ventilator?" (Same answer)
- Thursday: "Hi, Dr. Taylor. When can Chuck get off the ventilator?"... you get the idea... poor man .... We can't wait to see him today to ask when Chuck can get off the ventilator.
Chuck is tolerating gut feedings better; his wounds are healing; he has no fever nor signs of infection.
Possibilibities for this week:
- G-tube "installed."
- He might get to dangle his feet over the edge of the bed. This is huge!
Eric believes Chuck may be in his last seven days of the ICU.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
It is so good to see Chuck! Aside from looking like a crazed hermit (scraggly beard and long finger nails), he looks beautiful. His HUGE bruise (the hematoma) is gone; and two of his abdominal wounds are healed (one more to go)!
He is no longer running a fever. Whew! He is tolerating a "trickle" of gut nourishment. Of course, one of the FIRST things he wanted when I arrived was ... a popsicle. Cautiously, they are still rationing his intake of ice chips and popsicles.
I'm not sure about his lungs ... will talk to Dr. Taylor later today. Chuck gets very anxious when off the ventilator. His body handles it fine, and he could probably go for an hour ... but he gets too panicky. Please pray for this specific issue. He must do better off the vent before he can get food, liquids, etc. Any tips for keeping him calm? I tried to think back to my "terrified-of-flying-days." The only thing that ever really took care of that was becoming a believer. Suddenly, I was healed of my irrational, yet paralyzing fear. Please pray for Chuck to be freed from his fear.