Thursday, August 31, 2006
Okay - so my blessings and return to a somewhat sound mind: Shea organizing my trip home = calling in friends to pray over me and scheduling an hour-long massage; Charlotte, Miranda, Sandra, Ashely, Shea listening to me, crying with me, laughing with me (or at me?)... praying over me; Darrell for taking care of my inspection sticker; Sarah for taking care of my house and giving me wonderful company while home; Sandy for the ticket to Women of Faith Conference; meeting Kelli and Valerie at the Women of Faith Conference. You all helped to restore my sanity. I have not touched a themometer since returning to Dallas. Chuck thanks you.
Chuck looks stronger every day. This gives me greater confidence that these bumps in the road ... such as digestion and wounds ... are just bumps. Despite the bumps or perhaps because of the bumps, he's getting stronger! Thanks so much for your prayers. I praise God for his faithfulness ... for his timing ... for his plan.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Please pray that all goes well. Please pray that this procedure takes care of Chuck's digestive issues. Know this, Chuck is growing stronger every day - praise God!
Monday, August 28, 2006
I forgot one more piece of good news. The final wound on Chuck's chest is "resolved." His front side is healed, healed, healed. Praise God!!
On a positive note ... Chuck is getting stronger. He's ready to get up out of his bed! All of his wounds look better ... including the one on his spine. His arms are much stronger ... his fine motor skills are returning. I praise God for healing Chuck ... time and time again!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Here are the promised details ... some of which are still a little sketchy. I've yet to see an internist since my return to Dallas!
- Digestion: Chuck's intestinal system is still being funky. His bowels get bloated. Twice, he's been given the drug, neostigmine. It works beautifully for a few hours, then back to bloat. The G.I. docs are considering a surgery called a diverion ileostomy. This, like the j-peg and the trach, is reversible. The diversion ileostomy involves separating Chuck's lower intestine from the colon. The lower instestine would empty into a "sack". There are a few more "things" to try before surgery is needed. Please pray Chuck's colon gets to work!
- Wounds: nothing new to report. The proposed surgery involves taking a flap of skin (complete with muscle and blood supply) and attaching it to the area over his hardware. I spoke with Eric, and surgery is out of the question at this time because Chuck is too "sick." (I love it when they say things like that!) I insisted that he or Dr. Shelokov should come take a look at Chuck. I told him that he'd be shocked at how much stronger Chuck is ("sick" or not)! The wound vac is doing it's job. Chuck and I battle daily ... there's an issue of positioning in the bed. He wants to be up high ... which means he has pressure from the foam pads on his back = which is BAD. (Yes, you are only getting my side. I'm right, Chuck's wrong). I insist that he stays down on the sand part of his bed. Every time I leave Chuck, he gets a nurse or aide to move him up. Oi vey!
- Lungs: nothing has changed. I believe the clinical word for this is ... STABLE.
- Spirits: much improved!!!
So much has happened since my quick trip home! I won't go into details ... yet. Know this, God is busy at work ... restoring my sanity. Apparently, I needed a break.
Please pray for my niece, Celis (six going on sixteen). She was in an accident (while I was home). She fractured the upper plate in her mouth, her nose, busted out two permanent teeth and two baby teeth. Apparently she takes after her Uncle Chuck. Shea said Celis was tough as nails through the whole ordeal. She's a marvel ... just like her uncle. She's young enough that her battle scars will look "cool" and should earn her a great deal of respect on the playground.
Friday, August 25, 2006
- Chuck's digestive issues are still unresolved. He was given a medicine called neostigmine to help his bowels move. Thus far, it has worked. There's discussion of a possible surgery in Chuck's future ... more info later.
- Chuck's wounds look better. Whew. The wound that exposes his hardware already looks improved (after 4 days on the wound vac). There is discussion of a possible surgery in Chuck's future ... more info later ... are you seeing a theme yet? Dr. Shelokov is coming Monday or Tuesday to take a look at Chuck's back.
- Chuck's lungs are stable. I've not talked to a doctor yet. There were issues while I was gone with his heart rate increasing, his blood pressure dropping, and difficulties breathing. This was a brief period, but he's been resting since = no time off the ventilator.
- Chuck's spirits are much improved.
Alrighty ... expect a full report ... later.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I am making a quick trip home = arriving tonight and leaving Friday morning. Thus, there will be no blog update on Thursday. Wound-care comes tomorrow, so I'm hoping there will be something great to report on Friday.
Chuck's been off the ventilator for three and a half hours today. He's doing great!
Please pray for strength (physical and spiritual), courage, and healing.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
This is wound-care's plan. They have put a wound vac (like he had on his abdomen) on his back. The hope is that the vac will work it's magic ... like it did on his abdomen. At the Plano hospital, Dr. Young (his plastic surgeon) commented, "If he can heal like that on his front, he can heal like that on his back."
Shea reminds me continually ... God's mercies are new every morning. Do not go past today (do not collect $200) ... because He gives you everything you need to make it through today ... if I venture into tomorrow, I get in trouble. Thus ... I'm staying right here in today. Today is fine. Today Chuck is in great spirits; today he went six hours off the ventilator; today occuaptional therapy oohed and ahhed over his increased arm strength; today he got to eat popsicles and drink Sprite ... and today the hardware issue was discovered and addressed promptly. Today is just fine. Yes, I'm weak in the knees ... but I definitely feel loving arms around me.
Please pray for super-natural healing ... for today ... each day.
Monday, August 21, 2006
First, he took AND passed a swallow test. They put a camera down his throat, so we watched the whole thing on film. He was given several different consistencies ... to test his swallowing mechanism. All went well ... and he's been given the okay for clear liquids. In a few days, he may graduate to guel-type stuff. Yummy!
Chuck sat up for 45 minutes today! This was soooo good for him ... lungs, digestion, spirit ... they all got a lift.
Tomorrow Chuck will try going off the ventilator. We're all curious to see how he does. He could go 30 seconds ... he could go for 2 hours. Any amount of time is a plus.
God has been so faithful through this whole trial. Thanks for remembering us in your prayers!
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Tons o' love and appreciation....
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Aside from the fever, all is going well ... praise God!
Friday, August 18, 2006
DIGESTION: Chuck's gut has softened, and the swelling has decreased. Tube feedings have begun again. Hopefully, the decrease in Chuck's pain medicine will allow his digestive tract to function properly this time.
LUNGS: His chest x-ray shows improvement. He is not pneumonia-free yet, but he is better.
WOUNDS: All are on the mend ... no new concerns or issues.
SPIRIT: Chuck has long periods of clarity today. He was very active: he listened to a CD, checked email, surfed the net, and watched TV.
I praise God for all these wonders! Please continue to pray for Chuck's digestion, lungs, wounds, and spirit.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Chuck's gut is getting softer ... this is a good thing. Hopefully, tube feeds will start again tomorrow.
Chuck's lungs sound good, and he is taking deeper breaths ... all good.
Fly in the ointment = he's running a fever. They took samples of every fluid in the man's body ... and will be testing, testing, testing.
We are thankful for daily improvements, and remain hopeful. Thanks for your prayers!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
God's been busy with Chuck. As you will read, there are several PRAISE points:
Lungs - Chest x-ray shows improvement and Chuck's lungs sound clear (Thank you God). The docs have begun the weaning process once again.
Wounds - abdominal wound is completely healed (Thank you God); pressures sores are 50% healed (after only 2 weeks!); spinal incision wound ... ouch. The wound docs are not worried as it doesn't look worse. I am worried because it doesn't look better.
Digestion - a mystery. There are no obstructions in his intestines (Thank you God), but his gut keeps blowing up like a water balloon. Current treatement is to wean Chuck off the narcotics. Perhaps this will help things move along. Until then, he gets his nutrition through the vein.
Monday, August 14, 2006
No, no, nothing BIG ... it's just that Chuck must make another trip to BIG Baylor = an ambulance ride across the street. It's just that the ambulance ride may mean more damage to the skin on his back. He needs to go for a test to rule out bowel obstruction (pretty serious). I realized today ... I cannot protect him. It breaks my heart ... I keep thinking ... if I just stay by his side, I'll be able to shield him from possible infection, possible obstruction, possible pneumonia. Alas, I've not been able to shield him from anything. God is speaking to me ... trying to get me to turn control over to him. Please pray for me as I try to let God control this.
Please pray for the two of us ... for Chuck's health, for my struggle to release control.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
I think that should do for today's health report.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
Pneumonia is hanging on. However, it does not look any worse. (I think the doctor thought this last bit of news would be encouraging ... Boy, he has no idea what kind of person he's dealing with!)
For some strange reason ... (God!), Chuck's nutritionist came in to talk with me. Actually, she came in to check on his T.P.N. (intravenous feeding bag) She told me she's confident Chuck will get back to tube feedings soon. Then she crawled inside my head and commented: "You know, sometimes we have checkoff lists for our loved ones, and we don't feel safe unless they are meeting the goals we've set up for them." (Uh, yeah ... I know!) She further commented, "With Chuck, you've got to let go of your checklists. All of us here are going with what his body can do ... when his body is ready to do it." Wowwie, wow - does God have angels walking around or what????
Okay, I'm feeling worried because I cannot check off "pnuemonia gone" from my list. Please pray for Chuck's lungs. Please pray I rest in God ... that I feel the peace that passes understanding ... as I wait for Chuck's body to be ready to get stronger. Please pray I stop making checklists based on my desires ... and start paying better attention to Chuck's body.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
- He enthusiastically did occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy. Not too shabby! For physical therapy, they put his brace on him and sat him up in bed ... he must not leave that sand bed!
- His nutrition is giving him some fits. They've stopped his tube feedings and will use TPN feedings (through the vein) until Chuck's system clears out.
- Wound care is exciting to me ... to see the progress made in such short time. The wounds on his abdomen are great and almost closed. The pressure wounds on his back side are improving drastically. My main concern is the wounds on his spinal incision. There are three areas being watched. We're in limbo ... could go either way ... so let's expect it to go GREAT! They use provant on his spinal wounds twice a day. If you have time, do a google search. It's amazing therapy for wounds!
- Of great "relief" to me, the doctor says he's stable. I kept asking, "So, what does that mean ... stable?" It means he has some lumps and bumps, but all issues are being addressed and nothing is getting worse. Ahhhh, stable...my new favorite word.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
On a more serious note, the respitory doctor informed us that Chuck's chest x-ray shows pneumonia in his right lobe. The x-ray was taken on Sunday, and since that time Chuck has been on antibiotics. A new x-ray will be taken tomorrow. Please pray Chuck beats this quickly. There are several issues compounding the situation right now: 1) Chuck must stay flat on his back until his wounds heal. This makes it harder for him to breathe. 2) Chuck is still on some heavy duty pain medication. The medication makes it harder for Chuck to breathe. So, please pray for healing ... of lungs, of wounds, of pain.
Thankfully, Chuck is getting adequate nutrition now to help him fight, fight, fight.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
I went to visit Mr. Matthew Conner Roach this morning. He is absolutely perfect. I held him for a couple of hours and he barely made a peep ... just cute little baby noises. What a wonderful way for God to restore my spirit!! Christy looks fantastic. She's already up and walking. Jonah looks great, too ... very proud! Pray for this precious family as they all adapt to life with Matthew. Pray my adorable niece, Lindsey, adjusts well.
Stacie came for a visit! It was a boost for both me and Chuck. Also, Chuck received some therapy today ... whew. Dr. DeLeon (wound-care) took a look at his back. She is not overly concerned ... it is not infected. She expects Chuck will be ready for rehab in about a week. This is great, because it means she thinks his wounds will be healed enough to endure the activity!
God sent an adorable angel to care for Chuck today. She is his nurse-aide. Her name is Mirella, and I want her to take care of Chuck everyday!!! She has a very thick Russian accent ... and a very hearty laugh. She blew into Chuck's room and started barking out encouragement to him. "Chuck, who is this lovely woman at the foot of your bed? Your wife, no? The love of your life? Well, you must get better and go home to her! You must, Chuck, and you will. You will get better." Then she ordered me to write this on his board "Patient goals = Get Strong and Go Home." God sure is sweet to us... to send us such a bundle of energy just when we felt ready to drop!
Monday, August 07, 2006
As for Chuck, please pray for his spirit ... which seems adrift. I told him this morning that he must engage more ... he's not thrilled with that idea. Please pray for his mind to be filled with hope, with the promise of health, with the joys of life.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Good = Chuck's nutrition gets better with each day. The nutritionist has added banana flakes and protein to his meals. (His meals consist of a big bottle of Ensure-looking stuff). This delightful banana-protein combo is mixed with water, and is then "shot" into his j-peg via syringe. The banana flakes will provide some much needed fiber as well as some potassium. The protein powder will help with his healing. By the way, the man is up to 117 pounds! That's quite a leap from his typical 87 pounds.
Bad = the incision on Chuck's back looks "questionable" to me. He spent three hours on a regular bed Friday ... in order to get his new PICC line. Yesterday the nurse changed the dressing on his back, and I could see where his incision was pulling apart in some areas. Pray, pray, pray! Quick switch back to GOOD = Dr. DeLeon (wound care doc) is on the case. I feel she will be able to help his back heal. So ... this situation is a mixed bag. I'm trying to keep my eyes on God rather than the situation. He's faithful ... no matter the outcome ... God will take care of us.
It is boring here! It is very low-tech ... very quiet ... very slow ... seems like the perfect place for me. However, we are just waiting...waiting...waiting for Monday. In the meantime, I've been trying to meditate on: "Wait patiently on the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently on the Lord." It takes a great deal of bravery and courage to be patient!
Saturday, August 05, 2006
It has been brought to my attention that there's little lately addressing Chuck's health! Oops. Sorry about that ... I've been so preoccupied with the move and his new doctors. Here's the deal:
- Chuck has a staph infection; most likely caused by his PICC line (the line used to administer all of his drugs). The line was removed yesterday and placed in his other arm. He started antibiotics.
- His back and abdominal wounds are healing BEAUTIFULLY.
- His nutrition is going well - praise God! He has stopped the bloating ... but is still experiencing some nausea. The nutritionist is still tweaking his "food".
- Respitory is getting off to a slow start ... no time off the ventilator yet. They are decreasing his volume support daily. He started at 32 on Wednesday. He is down to 20. They typically wait until someone is at 10 before doing what they call t-bar trials (formerly known as trach collar) = time off the ventilator.
- It seems his therapies (physical, occupational, speech) will begin on Monday.
Good news: he desperately wants OUT of the place. I told him, "Good, do what it takes to get out!"
Please pray for his health ... healing from the infection, healing from his pressure sores, and that he keeps motivated.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Yesterday, he was on bedrest. Yes, I freaked a little. I found his internist and commented - a bit frantically, "Hey, what's going on? I thought he'd be up, doing therapy. He's going backwards!" She assured me that all was well. They wanted everyone (wound care, respitory, physical therapy) to assess him before doing anything that could potentially harm him (yeah, she knows how to get on my good side). By 5:00, everyone had seen him, and now he's good to go. Today should be his first official day of therapy.
I praise God for careful doctors. I praise God for the healing occuring with the wounds on Chuck's back! Please pray for his pressure sores (he now has three on his backside - one of which is quite heinous).
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Thank you God for delivering Chuck from critical care!
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
My sister, Shea, does not read the blog. I'm always taken aback when she asks what's going on ... as I assume once I put info on the blog then everyone automatically knows. So, she's asking about each of Chuck's issues: how are his wounds, his lungs, his nutrition, his spirits. As I'm detailing how each and every issue is improving, she dryly (she is the queen of dry) comments, "Hmmm, that's wierd. It's almost like all of your concerns are being taken care of ... like some supernatural force is involved or something like that. Wierd." Then we died laughing ... it's amazing to see God answer prayer so specifically...so specifically that one could miss it. Today I praise God for all he's done for Chuck!
Good news on "the decision" to move to the Dallas location. This morning I was praying for clarity in my decision-making. As soon as I got to the hospital, my two favorite nurses came to encourage the Dallas move... yep, the rumor mill is alive and well at Baylor Regional...news has spread of my infamous flip-flop antics. They came to say, "We hear you're going to Dallas. We didn't want to say anything until you were set, but that is the BEST place to go." They went on and on about the great staff, the state-of-the-art rehab stuff. One of them had a nephew go through rehab there, and she was in awe of the place. That was a quick answer to prayer!
We are "patiently" waiting for the perfect bed ... the perfect nurse ... you know, God's timing.