Thursday, February 3, 2011

three years later...

three years ago, dad was fighting for his life after his 4 inch ruptured aorta aneurysm. so many of you prayed, cried, and rejoiced with us during this difficult season. what a wonderful day it is to say prayers of gratefulness that the old turkey is still along for the ride.

thanks be to God.

Monday, June 16, 2008

monday, june 16, follow up appointment results

well, dad had his follow up appointment this morning with his kidney doctor, dr. patel. he said things are still looking good. woo hoo! he told dad he could get rid of the strongest blood pressure med (he's been on 3 different ones) that has given him the most side effects, so that is a welcomed relief! he'll be upping the dosages on his other two to counterbalance the effects of stopping the one.

dr. patel wouldn't tell them the percentage of functioning of his kidney (BOO!), but he said that all they needed to know was that as long as he was happy that they should be happy. so let's continue to pray that the levels increase as time goes on without the diaylsis process. that is a road that dad NEVER wants to drive his little black truck down AGAIN!

thanks for checking in on how things are progressing!

Monday, May 5, 2008

DRUMROLL, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

there were many moments, days, and weeks over the last few months that i feared i would never be able to write this particular blog update. so often i bit my nails and wept tears of sadness every time i logged on to share with you how dad was. as i sit here tonight, tears are streaming down my face...but for the first time, i'm crying tears of pure joy and thankfulness:

dad is no longer in need of dialysis. that kidney has finally decided to wake up.

we knew dad had a meeting with his kidney specialist, doctor patel, today at 10 a.m. to find out the status of his kidney function. to be honest, i had prepared myself for the worst. i was settled in the fact that dad might have to continue dialysis for years - 3 times a week - chained to tubes, a sterile chair, with an implanted catheter in his chest. so i was on pins and needles when the phone rang around 11. it was mom. i put her on speaker while reed and i sat in the nervous silence, waiting for the word.

"i have to be honest with you and tell you that i've been fibbing to you kids. dad hasn't been to dialysis for two weeks now. dr. patel wanted to see how his body (kidney) would react without the treatments." i gasped out of shock (and worry)! "in the hospital dad's one kidney was working at 0%-5%. we found out today that his kidney is functioning at 30%-35%." i screamed, "thank you, LORD!" and the tears began flowing down. we've all been a mess all day. shock, excitement, thankfulness, joy, relief...our load has been lightened.

another good thing is that they have cut 2 of dad's 3 blood pressure medicines in half as they try to wean him off of them. his blood pressure had gotten pretty low over the last couple of weeks, but it's been due to an overabundance of the medications. they also have tremendous side effects, so hopefully once the dosages are reduced, he'll feel much better.

he began therapy for his throat and tongue a month or so ago because he was having trouble from the ventilator that had been in for two weeks. he completed that with flying colors a couple of weeks ago.

he's been gaining weight on all things healthy: burgers, fries, and more of that good ol' texas cuisine that comes with a side of butter and fat. ha. and folks, the sweats and loose fitting clothing that had become the daily wardrobe are finally being replaced with those ever-so-good-lookin' wranglers, polos, and boots. praise the Lord for small miracles.

and i guess the truest example of his health is that he has, once again, begun aggravating the "you know what" out of our sweet little mom. wonders never cease. let's just all take a moment and thank the Lord we aren't on the other side of his teasing just yet because he's been storing up for months now! ha! we joke (now) that if dad had needed some attention, all he had to do was ask...he really didn't need to go to these lengths! ha!

obviously he's not out running marathons just yet, so it might be awhile before you see or hear from the old groundhog, but get ready because he's on his way up!

he is healing. his body is being touched by the hand of God in ways that we only could hope and pray. the Lord has heard our prayers, yet once again. and He's seen favor on dad's life.

we've always been amazed at the love that abounds in our family. we feel like a diamond in the rough. there have been so many trials, so many twists and turns, so many laughs...but our family has never been more thankful or stronger than we are today.

let the thanks begin.

God is faithful.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

tuesday evening, april 2 ~ thank you

we wanted to send this out to everyone personally, but we felt this would be a better way to reach you all, including those of you who we don't even know that have been praying for our dad. our words cannot express our gratitude:

We would like to say thank you for everything you have done for Terry these past few months. The overwhelming out-pouring of generosity, food, visits, phone calls and, most importantly, the prayers lifting him up to the Lord. It has been astounding. Truly, you have all been an honor to our Lord.

Our Dad has always been an amazing person to us. His quiet strength, wisdom, and sense of humor are things we have all admired. During this past month we have been able to see how much he is admired far beyond the walls of our homes.

Dad has made an impact on so many in his life. We wanted to let you know what an impact you all have had on him (and us) during his illness. He has been humbled at the thoughts and prayers that have been said in his behalf.

Dad continues to work hard each day, but he still has a good way to go. Please continue to lift him up in prayer.

On behalf of our Mom and Dad, we would like to say, "Thank You."

Mandy, Dane, Adam, Angie, Whitney, Reed, Kaitlin, Bentley, Berkley, Emma Claire, Banin and Strohm

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

wednesday, march 26

last week they sent off for dad's blood to get tested for his levels for them to ascertain how dad is doing on dialysis. if you remember, we were all praying for his BUN levels and creatinine levels all the while dad was in the hospital. these tests are all along the same line. for you detailed folks, they test his albumin, calcium, phosphorous, and hemoglobin. it helps understand more of his nutrition needs, electrolytes, minerals, etc., because obviously they all go hand in hand with the kidney function. we used to get these results on a daily basis at the hospital (sometimes twice), so it's been hard not knowing for several weeks, especially for those of us who have a bit of a control issue (who, me?)...ha!

good news is that everything seems to be within the parameters they need to be in for a dialysis patient. the only category that was a little bit low was his hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen to his blood), but this is due to his low iron levels (i'm assuming), which is due to his low food intake. this can be corrected! that's great news!

also, his BUN levels were almost where the doctor would be in the "okay with" zone! for those of you who remember, while he was in the hospital, his BUN numbers were in the 100s-150s (which are shockingly high). i read somewhere that over 100, the person could slip into a coma along with other things (phew - dad defied the odds AGAIN!).

dad's results from last week came back with it at 77. YIPPEE! i'm not saying that this is a number that would make one of us jump up and down if we had it, but for dad, it's great! they said they would be happy with it being at 70 or under, so he's not too far off! remember, the BUN measures the urea and nitrogen that are waste products of protein being broken down. it shows how much of the waste is hanging around in the blood due to the lack of the kidney/dialysis flushing it out. obviously, waste in the blood is poisonous and can make someone feel pretty crappy and out of it, so there are some unpleasant side effects to the number being high. dad's is lower than it's been in awhile, so that's all we need to know for the bottom line!

he went this morning for his barium swallowing test. we should find out the results of that in the next few days. it will help them understand why his throat muscles are hurting and affecting his swallowing (and desire to eat). he goes in this afternoon to the rehabilitation clinic for some physical therapy, etc. it's his first trip out there, so let's all pray it leaves a good taste in his mouth and helps him feel altogether better and doesn't wear him out too much.

so the focused prayers need to be:

kidney begins to function at or above 15%
he starts to eat more (affects EVERYTHING) and gains weight
physical therapy goes well
his spirits
he and mom get some good rest (some of his meds make him have insomnia - yuck!)

yesterday someone mentioned to dr. patel (his kidney doc) about whether they should plan on making dad's dialysis catheter permanent. dr. patel said he wasn't ready to do that yet...that he wants to still give the kidney some more time. he seems to still have good hope that sooner or later it WILL kick in. he was really positive about things...

pray believing.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

thursday, march 20

please pray for dad's weight to increase. he's lost weight everytime he goes back in for dialysis. they weigh him before and after, and he's not gaining any positive pounds between dialysis treatments. also, when he gets the treatments they take off several pounds in fluid alone so he needs to be able to counterbalance and actually overcompensate for the dialysis treatments. he's having trouble with his swallowing. his throat hurts and it's tough to get things down, so they'll be doing a swallowing test (barium) to figure out what's going on with his throat muscles.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

tuesday, march 11

just wanted everyone to know that dad's in a holding pattern with his healing; hence, why i haven't updated much. he's got about 10% of strength, endurance, etc., of what he used to have on a daily basis. it's just an extremely long and rough healing process. and obviously, like most of us when we're sick or ailing, we just need time alone to gather strength and to heal. it still hurts for him to talk, so he's pretty much "mute." it's just a quiet and contemplative time in our family's life, and there's not much change from day to day, so forgive my lack of frequency of updates, but when there are things to report or changes to address, i will definitely inform you all so you can fix your prayers on those things.

keep praying for his one kidney (5% functioning) and for the dialysis treatments and just for his overall mind, body, and spirit.

thanks so much for considering our family so much during this time and for being so understanding and selfless.

Friday, March 7, 2008

friday night, march 7

i'm writing from nashville. i must admit that leaving on wednesday was one of the worst feelings i've ever experienced. mandy stayed to help until today when she went home to lubbock. so now it's just dad and mom for the first time since this all began. they're experimenting with his diet. mom's just trying to get organized with his medicines and all of the paperwork and learning that this new season is insisting on. there's just a ton of bricks sitting on the backs of the two at 2624 shepherds glen. we would give anything to make it all better. but we're so thankful that dad is here with us. even now i can feel that horrible feeling i felt on the night when the aneurysm ruptured, and i immediately googled it and saw the words, "catastrophic" and "quick death." i'm thankful i'm now back at the same screen with a different set of emotions in my heart.

pray for dad's kidney. also, his dialysis center is saying that they'll only test his levels twice a month which shocked us. so mom is going to insist they check it more often. it's vital to know whether or not his levels are high so that we can keep things in check and not just be in the dark on his condition. his treatments have been longer than expected (sometimes he's there for 5 to 5 1/2 hours each time). and let's just say that it's like a bunch of pigs at a trough lined up in their dialysis chairs, so it's anxiety ridden and full of chaos which is the last thing he needs considering the circumstances.

pray, also, that mom and dad will be quick learners about dialysis and the steps they need to take with the newness: from his diet to all of the paperwork involved with insurance, medicare, etc. and continue to put yourself in dad's shoes when you pray for his emotions.
there's just so much on their minds. i can only begin to fathom...

keep lifting him and mom up in prayer because the next several days reality will really begin to set in now that it's just the two of them.

God has been so merciful.

Monday, March 3, 2008

monday night, march 3

dad got in some good rest last night...for the first time he didn't have any visits from nurses every few hours, so that helped!

he has his first outpatient dialysis treatment tomorrow morning for 4 hours. please pray that the first visit goes well and sets a positive tone for the following appointments.

more importantly, we're praying that his kidney goes from functioning at 5% to a minimum of 15% within a short period of time so that he can discontinue dialysis!

also, one of the many side effects of all of the medications and dialysis is a lack of appetite, so pray that he'll still get the important nutrition that he needs in spite of this huge thorn in the flesh.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

sunday evening, march 2

the old dog has come home. :)

he's so relieved to be out of that hospital...but he's taking it really slowly. he's quietly taking it all in. it's been the perfect weather day for him to sit out back and watch the wind blow the pine trees.

he's really enjoyed reading through everyone's cards and emails. he said he'll be in touch with everyone as soon as he's up and running which might take a couple more months...but i know you'll all be ready and willing once the day arrives!

more later...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

saturday night, march 1

tomorrow is the day! dad is coming HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

they've worked it out where he will do his rehabilitation during the day at healthsouth, and then he will come home at night so he can FINALLY sleep in his own bed! i can't imagine how excited he will be really difficult for both him and mom to adjust, but luckily mom is a good caretaker! there was a time when i walked into the house and i felt fear and sadness thinking that dad might not ever come home again, but now the rascal is almost on his way! what an amazing turn of events...

they found out the results of the imaging of the kidneys. the left one is dead (we had been prepared for this), and the right one is only working at 5%. in order for him to be off of dialysis, it has to be functioning at a minimum of 15%. now we know specifics, so now it's time to pray in a focused way about his right kidney.

i spoke with a nurse today and found out that they have not yet placed dad on a restricted dialysis diet. that's good news to his ears. he hasn't experienced any edema, so he just has to eat healthier and leave out the salt, so mrs. dash will be his new best friend! let's pray he won't ever have any edema, so that he can continue to be able to eat more of a variety, but at this point, he'll do anything to remain as healthy as possible!


dad's progress continues to move forward after his release from the hospital
kidney function raises upwards of 15%
dad will get some good rest
mom will have all the energy and rest she needs to be a full time nurse
the rehabilitation will go smoothly as well as his first visits to the outpatient dialysis center (tues., thurs., sat., at 5 a.m.)

God has been so merciful!

friday night late, february 29

one of the doctors (i think dad has 58 of them) mentioned that it might be POSSIBLE for dad to come home on sunday night or monday...home, meaning HOME. not the rehabilitation hospital. he said the decision will be made between the doctors and him and mom. it's basically a matter of whether he and mom think they can make a go of it on their own. it'd be pretty tough, but for dad's spirit's, it might do him better to just be in his own bed and space. so we'll see how the next couple of days go.

dad isn't eating much. this isn't good. obviously, dialysis makes him a bit queasy and he doesn't have much of an appetite due to the treatments as well as his meds. but the doctors all get a really worried look when they find out that he's only eating jello, peaches, half a cup of soup, etc. we all know it's important for his health to eat - even if he doesn't feel like it! so pray about this.

also, i was looking over the diet he will have to be on for dialysis and it looks almost impossible! no salt, no foods high in potassium or phosphorous (whatever that is!), limited amounts of liquid, etc...i don't think dad has a clue about this part. i mentioned that i would bring him up some low sodium campbell's soup tomorrow, and he looked at me like, "why low sodium?" and let's all think for a second about dad's lifetime "diet": cream gravy, fried pork chops, butter, steaks, potatoes, cheese, burgers, homemade french fries, bacon and fried eggs...shall i go on? i know we're all thankful that he's alive, but if we are honest, dad doesn't remember how close he was to death. he was paralyzed and sedated throughout the first half of the experience. yes, the past two weeks have been a reality check, but he was asleep through the really scary days. so the next few weeks are going to be probably the toughest time for him yet. please be praying about the transitions (food, emotion, lack of nursing care, being so weak, no cigarettes, and so on)...

after dialysis, they took him to do some kind of imaging of his kidneys today. this is the first real "view" they've taken of the kidneys. we haven't found out what they've seen yet, so we're all on edge waiting to find out. it's one of those situations where you want to know but you don't want to know. i'll update when we find out what the test reveals. his creatinine and BUN are still on the rise. his pre-dialysis labs had his creatinine in the 12's and his BUN in the 140s. not good numbers...

thanks so much for all of the cards and emails!

Friday, February 29, 2008

thursday night late, february 28

the surgery to implant the dialysis catheter went well.

earlier in the week, the doctors were concerned about some issues, so they decided to perform a colonoscopy on dad on tuesday. we all felt horrible he had to go through the process with everything else he's going through. during the surgery, they found a two inch polyp and promptly removed it. they sent it off to test for cancer. the results came back negative today. praise the Lord. they said if they hadn't had reason to do the surgery for other concerns, they would've never known about the polyp, and if it had remained in him, it would've turned into cancer within two years. God is so good. i hadn't included this information because we wanted to wait until we found out the results.

it's possible he'll be released from the hospital this weekend or early next week and will immediately be an inpatient at healthsouth, a rehabilitation clinic. his stay there will be between a week to two weeks. we're hoping that after the first half is over, he'll be able to come home to sleep and do his rehabilitation during the day at healthsouth. i know he just wants to sleep in his own bed and finally get some rest!

the kidney situation is still the same. he is scheduled at an outpatient dialysis clinic for tuesdays, thursdays, and saturdays. his treatments will begin at 5 a.m. and last approximately four hours. poor guy. come on, kidneys!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

wednesday night, february 27

i was driving to drop off some extra clothes at the hospital for mom today, and i felt like God almost stopped me in my tracks and quickly replayed many moments over the last weeks to me in my mind;

how thankful we are that dad is still with us. it was just a few weeks ago that we were uncertain of whether we'd ever be able to talk to him again, hear his jokes, see his smile, and tell him how much we love him. we begged and pleaded for his life to be spared, and God has granted our desires.

he is doing well. he actually looks really great in spite of the trauma in his body. i told him that in lieu of what's happened, he looks twenty years younger in his face (minus the hair shade). he looked at me like i had two heads. he's thoroughly exhausted and quite a bit troubled at the heaviness of his present reality. but he's thankful, as well. he knows the depravity of what happened to him and what faces him in the near future. it still doesn't make the pill easier to swallow. especially the horse pill called dialysis.

he's had a low grade fever for weeks now, and they've hit it heavy with antibiotics, but it remains. so they decided to remove the dialysis catheter to see if it was the source. they'll reinsert another catheter tomorrow afternoon, which they'll have to sedate him for. hopefully this will make his temp come down.

therefore, he won't be having a dialysis treatment tomorrow (as planned). his kidney levels were at their all time high yesterday and day before yesterday, so it makes us nervous that he won't be doing dialysis tomorrow because we don't want his levels to skyrocket even more (for obvious medical reasons). his creatinine was in the 10's and his BUN was in the 140s. he has been receiving more temporary drugs for sleep and cognizance this week, so i'm assuming they might be what made his levels rise (b/c his kidneys can't filter the drugs on their own), but the main point is that they've risen. we need them to be in the 30's-40s (bun) and the 2's-4's (creatinine). continue to pray. it's still feasible that his kidney(s) will activate themselves and the millions of filters they contain. so do NOT stop praying towards this end. it would devastate dad to be on dialysis for months or years. let's just say that dialysis is his arch rival. it's his lifeline yet simultaneously his nightmare.

he got moved into a bigger room today. he's "healthy" enough that he doesn't need to get a room in the ccu anymore. thank the Lord. his previous room was about an 8 x 10, and his new room is double the size. when they rolled him in there, he said, "i guess i didn't realize how small that room really was until now." it will help him breathe a little easier and not feel so claustrophobic and stressed.

he read through some of the comments, cards, and emails mandy compiled for him today. let's just say that tears were abounding. i can only imagine the encouragement and love they brought to his heart. i could tell by the look in his eyes that they meant more than we could ever understand. keep them coming. he'll need all the encouragement he can get in the near future. he'll count on you all as sustenance through these next big speed bumps towards his recovery.

visitation: he still wants just mom and his kids. completely understandable. it might be a long while before he's up to anyone else, but don't let that dissuade you from knowing how much your concern, support and love mean to him. i know you all just want him to get better, so whatever that entails, we're all up for it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

tuesday morning, february 26

sorry for the lack of updates over the past few days.

there haven't been many significant changes, but finally, after four or so days of no sleeping, dad is finally resting at night. i think he was in information and experience overload and was having a hard time in his hospital room which is about the size of a matchbox. mom has started sleeping in his room with him (she took a few days off of sleeping at the hospital), so i think that helps settle him and comfort him. sleep is obviously vital to his healing.

he's still doing dialysis. the kidneys are still in limbo. we're lying in wait to see if they'll still come back around.

on a lighter note: when he was a bit confused this last week, i asked him, "dad, what do you not remember?" his quick reply was, "how am i supposed to tell you what i don't remember if i don't remember?" it didn't take him long to show me who was still the quickest wit. "here's your sign."

things to pray for:

*appetite: he officially can have "real food" but he's not that into it yet.
*rest - they have to check his vitals so often that he might as well have a squeaky saloon door.
*his spirits
*the trip down to dialysis will become less overwhelming with each visit - he sits there for 4 hours completely uncomfortable and the entire event is a bit disconcerting.

he mentioned the other day that he doesn't want any visitors until he's all better, and he was very gracious and apologetic as he said it. what a gentleman! it's just all too much as it is, but mandy compiled several days of comments, emails, and some cards that we're ready to give him once he feels up to reading or can handle the emotion of seeing all of the care and concern that has been poured out over him during the last month.

thanks so much, everyone...

God is faithful.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

friday night late, february 22

today is just ending, so i apologize for the delay in posting.

what a whirlwind of a day: dad was moved to another room (out of the ccu) yesterday afternoon. we were excited about this at first, but it seems as if it might've been a bit premature. obviously, the attention he received went from 24 hour monitoring by one nurse whose desk was situated almost in his room to being one of several patients on a floor. we were a bit concerned about last night being his first night out of the ccu, so i went up to check on things around 11 p.m. and discovered that not only was he not being "cared for" to be so critical, but the nurse who had been on duty for 4 hours hadn't even read his chart. you can only imagine how that made us feel. i was telling her his numbers and she said, "you're telling me more than i know." thus, that became the theme of today.

bottom line is that they have him on a wait list to head back to ccu so that we can be assured he'll be taken care of. pray this happens shortly. several of the doctors we spoke with agreed he should probably be relocated once a bed opens up. apparantly, there were patients that had more "critical" needs that needed his bed. the ccu is the only place where you can be on the ventilator and dad was off of that...but that doesn't necessarily mean he was ready to have less care. they needed his bed for someone on a vent, so to sum it up, his move was due to overcrowding (we found out today). that was a scary feeling.

with dad not being in the ccu, the dialysis machine doesn't come to his room, he had to go to another floor for it. this part really shook him up because they came and got him really early this morning (his days and nights are still mixed up and confused) and no one would like getting awoken and shuffled down 4 floors in the cold and not knowing what is going on! poor thing had only moved from his bed to his chair once or twice - then they had him trucking up and down the halls of the was just all too much, too fast. it was slightly overwhelming to say the least.

so we (as calmly as possible) asked to speak with the patient liason to get things on the right course. we paged a few of his doctors and expressed our concerns as politely as we could. at one point one of them tried to make me "understand" that the nurses have several patients each that they are looking after and that it's not the same focused care as ccu. we promptly replied that "we don't care how many patients they have. he WILL receive the care he specifically needs."

so, we pray that sooner than later he can be moved back to the ccu so he will be able to be monitered more carefully as well as have dialysis in his room so he won't have to be taken to a different location. i think he was just thrown to the lions a little too quickly and a little too abruptly. he has enough on his plate to deal with physically than to have to deal with making such big changes all in a 24 hour period!

i've saved the good news for last! (yes, the day wasn't all muck)! after dialysis, his post-dialysis blood draw came back with the lowest creatinine and BUN levels yet! woo hoo! the BUN was in the 50s and his creatinine was in the 5's. which for those of you number junkies, his post dialysis levels had not been any lower than the 70s (bun) and the 6's (creatinine) the entire time. ideal numbers are lower than 25 (BUN) and .6-1.2 (creatinine) but dad's will probably never be that low again, so we're just praying for as low as they'll go! so those numbers are a great thing! i'm not sure what his levels will be in the morning (they stair-step back up which is expected - it's the see saw i've mentioned before)...but as long as the morning levels are lower than the previous morning's levels, then we're headed in the right direction (down)!

the rest of the gang is in this weekend. we wish the "real world" didn't exist and we could all camp out here together everyday to see mom and dad through until he's back to good health. it's times like these, though, that make us so thankful for the family we have and the love that's so evident between us all.


*a bed becomes available in the ccu
*that dad can grasp all of this new information that has happened - it's all "news" to him. what a shock to wake up to all of these bells and whistles and a 10 inch stapled cut in your gut and not remember anything about the past 2 1/2 weeks. i don't envy how he's feeling in any sense of the word. at the least, it's completely overwhelming physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. today he asked me the date (22nd) and asked what day it was when he got to the hospital (3rd). that was a tough moment to see the wheels turning in his eyes.
*kidney(s) begin to work on their own
*he gets rest - it's hard for him to get deep sleep in the hospital environment and with all the overwhelming facets he's having to deal with in his mind.
*mom gets rest so she can have the energy for both of them over the next bit of time.

thanks for all of the cards, comments, and emails. mandy's already started working on a compilation of them all so that when dad is better, he can read through all of your correspondence. it will be a huge blessing to him when he will most need it!

keep those prayers coming!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

thursday afternoon, february 21

today is a better day for dad's mind and spirit! woo hoo!

he's much more aware and alert. he's "coming to" finally. his confusion is waning, and he's already asking for some books and his cell phone. wonders never cease! (we're keeping the cell phone hostage for quite awhile longer, though)! the amazing thing is that he's YET to even mention wanting a cigarette - which is VERY interesting! obviously, he can't ever smoke again, but for someone who's had the habit for 40 some odd years, it's shocking that it hasn't come up yet, but when it does, let's just say i hope i'm not in the room! ha!

he's been eating some jello and had some juice, so that's his first "real food" in two and a half weeks. the poor thing has lost somewhere around 35-40 pounds (the dialysis pulled off about 35 pounds of fluid alone). they're going to continue doing some breathing treatments for his lungs because they still have some fluid in them.

the other good news is that he might be changing rooms today (or tomorrow), so he won't be in the CCU anymore. i'm not certain if he'll be in the ICU or if they'll put him on a regular floor. they still want him to have minimal stimulation because he was so overloaded with confusion and agitation when he awoke a few days ago, so we're taking it slowly. i didn't go up to the hospital yesterday or today because they still want it to be just him and mom for a few days, but he did tell me i need to try to sneak my baby into his room when he has some new digs. ha!

so it seems everything else is snapping into place except for those kidneys! they didn't do dialysis today. i believe they'll just be doing it every other day from here on out. keep your prayers focused on the kidneys! everyone knows how important this is...we do not want dad to have to be on dialysis much longer!

i said, "dad, you are in big trouble! you scared us more than you know!" he said in his low, joking, sassy voice, "bay-beh, i apologize." it's so great to be able to hear him tease again (although, i don't know if his nurses agree)!

God has been so good to answer all of our prayers with the outcomes pleasing to dad's healing. everytime we have asked for a specific thing, it has happened. so we have faith that if we keep asking for healing for his kidneys, that this one big specific prayer that has yet to receive an answer will receive one favorable to dad in time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

wednesday night, february 20

today is much of the same as the past couple of days with some slight changes.

they didn't do dialysis yesterday, and simultaneously, his levels rose (kidney functioning levels got worse) and were the highest they've been since dialysis had begun. the doctors keep reminding us that it's a long recovery process because all of his organs went through shock when he lost all of the blood and had the rupture (they had to clamp his aorta during the emergency surgery, so you can only imagine the strain that caused on the body when it didn't have blood pumping to all the right places).

they did dialysis this morning, so we're hoping this helps remove more toxins that had built up from the lack of treatment yesterday. we need the levels to go down. not up. that's the wrong way on a one-way street!

he's still having a hard time figuring things out. everything is still really confusing for him, which the doctors say is completely normal. it'll just take some time for him to figure out where the last two weeks went. they call it "CCU-itis." he kind of goes in and out. he's been going through some sleep deprivation now that he's awake, poor thing! so his exhaustion is in overload. he's been a bit agitated which is a given in his situation. because of all of these factors, only mom has gone up to be with him the last couple of days. the doctors don't want ANYONE in the room with him except mom, and she only spends a couple of hours at a time so that he can get as much rest and have as calm of an environment as possible...

i know i keep reiterating this, and i run the risk of sounding harsh and trite, but it's still been an issue: no visitors! we know everyone loves dad and wants to be there for us, as well, but right now, for all of us, prayers are the most important priority. and if you can imagine, we barely can keep our own heads on our necks, so please understand that if you can't get us on the phone, that we're overwhelmed and just don't have the energy to pick up. it's hard to relive every day over the phone after the day is done. that's a huge reason why i started the blog: we just can't be on the phone from dawn til dusk. please know we love you all, and that without your prayers and support during this time we wouldn't be where we are!

it is so comforting to get all of your emails and comments. all of us log on several times a day just to see if there are any new words from you all. they are a huge lifeline of support and normalcy that are exactly what we need during these trying times...

more tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

tuesday afternoon, february 19

the ct scans came back positive!

it seems that there is nothing of concern on either the chest scan or the stomach scan. what a sigh of relief. we've been somewhat worried about these scans for a couple of weeks now, so it's a great burden that's been lifted.

mom said that dad has been able to change scenery by sitting in a chair today. he was propped up by lots of pillows. his muscles are quite a bit atrophied, so it took lots of help getting him to and fro, but i'm sure it made him happy to not be lying down. he's also been quite the demanding little patient! he wants a glass of water so badly, but he can only have ice chips, so in his attempts to sneak in a drink, he snagged the glass of ice chips, put it to his mouth, turned it up, and there went the whole cup down his chest! apparantly he's not willing to accept all of these limitations just yet! at least he's still got that stubborness (wait...maybe that's not such a good thing)! ha!

i haven't gotten much detail about the kidneys yet, but i know they didn't do dialysis today for the first time in five days. i'll find out more specifics when i go up to the hospital this afternoon.

he only has his PIC line in, but all other IVs are out, and they finally took the tube out of his nose that he's been up in arms about.

oh, he did say to mom, "what happened with the super bowl?!"

Monday, February 18, 2008

monday evening, february 18

what a wonderful afternoon with another answered prayer...

for the first time in two weeks, we heard him speak today.

they decided to take his ventilator out without much warning. when i walked up to his bed, he said, "hi, whitney." i almost fell over! i had mandy on speaker phone, and he said, "hi, mandy." we were both so excited. i wanted to jump up and down and yell, "give me a "T!" (but i went the other way and fell apart instead!) ha! then we called adam...i didn't forewarn adam that the vent was out or that dad was speaking. i just put the phone on speaker, put it up to dad's mouth, and in his raspy voice he said, "hi, adam." i'm sure adam almost jumped out of his chair!

some of the funny things that he's said (even though i don't think he's trying to be's just coming out that way - things are still a little jumbled up!)...he's still too weak to be his 100% intentionally comedic self:

as he was rubbing his forehead and his hair, he said, "i'm trying to get organized. i have to hit the road." about ten minutes after he awoke, he said, "where's my checkbook?" (we all thought this was funny b/c one of our tactics in trying to wake him up was to say, "dad, we have your checkbook.") at one point, he was feeling his face and touching his nose and eyes and mom asked him what he was doing. he said, "i'm just getting reacquainted with myself." then mom said, "do you want a mirror?" and he said, "no, not right now." mom was on him trying to get him to stop messing with the tube in his nose and he said quietly, "could you give me a little bit of latitude here?" sounds like the terry we all know and love.

it was one of the most exciting times of our lives to hear his voice again. he's really confused still, but just to know that he is cognizant of mom and us kids is more comforting than we can explain. obviously, he has no grasp of time or understanding as to what has gone on, but he knows he's been really sick. he looked at one of the nurses and said, "thank you for taking care of me." he's just extremely tired and exhausted beyond anyone's comprehension.

so, that's another mountain climbed!

they, also, decided to take him down to get a CT of his chest as well as his stomach (which i mentioned in the previous post). so we're waiting on word of what they find in his chest CT, especially. in the first entry, i had mentioned that they'd seen some fuzzy spots at the beginning of last week, but couldn't clearly see his chest without a CT and he couldn't get a CT until he was breathing on his own. so we're praying, as i type, that there's nothing else detrimental (chest aneurysm, lung problems, etc.) that comes up in the xrays. we should find out the results sometime tonight, we're hoping. we'd like for the findings to be inconsequential so that we can keep moving forward with dad's progress and not have another bump in the road that he'll have to endure.

everything else remains the same, so keep your prayers focused regarding the kidneys, outcome of the ct scan, lungs, etc.

also, doctors are still asking for no visitors besides immediate family now, moreso, than before because dad is awake and that puts him into risk of overexertion which could compromise his blood pressure, etc. thank you all so much for respecting our family's needs in this matter.

praise God for His miracles.

monday afternoon, february 18

they decided to do yet another dialysis treatment this morning. everything is progressing but extremely slowly. he's making tiny little baby steps forward everyday with a few little steps back, as well. they'll be doing a CAT scan of his belly to just keep tabs of all of the post-op things and make sure things are looking right and working properly. it's still being mentioned that it's possible he MIGHT be able to come off the ventilator over the next few days.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

sunday night, february 17

i'm sorry for the delay of my update today. here goes...

they decided to do ANOTHER dialysis today. i'm not certain why they chose to do another treatment - today was supposed to be an "off" day - but i think i heard that it had to do with the fact that his body was handling the dialysis well? and obviously, it's really important to do the dialysis as much as the body will allow it to be done. i'm almost positive they'll take tomorrow off.

his kidney levels did the same stair stepping i mentioned previously - (they decreased immediately after dialysis but rose again overnight, but were slightly less than the previous mornings levels).

i haven't mentioned one area that needs really specific and intentional prayer that is interlaced with the kidney creatinine tests. we need to pray HARD for dad's BUN levels to decrease (these work hand in hand with his kidney creatinine levels)...BUN means blood urea nitrogen. i'll copy and paste an explanation so our prayers can be specific:

A blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test measures the amount of nitrogen in your blood that comes from the waste product urea. Urea is made when protein is broken down in your body. Urea is made in the liver and passed out of your body in the urine. A BUN test is done to see how well your kidneys are working. If your kidneys are not able to remove urea from the blood normally, your BUN level rises.

obviously if his kidney levels (creatinine) are high, then his BUN levels will be high as well (in most cases). the significance of both of these for you "give me the bottom line" folks is that dad's kidneys aren't functioning well. i think you've gotten that picture over the last several blogs. we all know kidney functioning is extremely vital, so i can't express enough how much your prayers are desired in this area!

dad is more and more "aware" everyday. he's obviously frustrated to not be able to talk, but boy, he's sure trying! he seems to recognize us. the doctors have mentioned that they think there has been no neurological effects from the organ shock and trauma from all he's endured over the past two weeks, but it never hurts to claim this in prayer!

it's possible they'll remove the ventilator over the next few days (pending many factors). i think this will remove a lot of his agitation and hopefully keep that blood pressure down!

specific prayers:

kidney(s) will begin to function (creatinine and BUN levels start to rapidly decrease)
blood pressure
he will remain as calm as possible
anything else that comes to your mind :)

the next few days will be a new ballgame for dad (and mom) with him being more awake. it's wonderful that he's finally awake, but with it comes the knowledge of knowing that he is aware of the pain, possibly confounded as to what has happened and why he's where he is, and the frustration that accompanies it all. it's hard for us to see him wanting to just jump up and run out of the hospital, but even harder for him not to be able to jump up and run and, also, for him to not understand why he can't! so, pray for everything this concerns.

again, your prayers are as much needed today as they were two weeks ago tonight...i will say this until i'm blue in the face because that's how much we covet and desperately need your is not in the clear. he is still very sick. pray hard. pray specifically for God to heal his kidneys - and his overall mind, body, and spirit.

thanks for the comments and encouragements! it makes me well up everytime i open up the blog to post and see how many of you have signed on to check on how dad is doing.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

saturday evening, february 16

the third dialysis treatment was today. it went well. his kidney levels continue to rise a few hours after the treatments, but they HAVE stair stepped down each day, so that's the direction we want to be going in...we're praying the levels take larger jumps down as the days progress.

he's been resting better today. he was a little agitated earlier this morning with all of the bells and whistles as they began the treatment, so his blood pressure shot up over 200, but it's now back down into the 150s, so that's a relief.

we just need to make sure his kidneys continue to output the toxins themselves and that they don't just let the dialysis do all the work for them...

they still have the ventilator in his throat, but he's been breathing on his own all day, which is a GREAT sign for the lungs! it's possible that over the next few days, they'll ween him off of that and be able to take the vent out. it all depends on how consistent his breathing remains. this is a direct answer to prayer.

they'll be taking tomorrow (sunday) off and not doing a dialysis treatment. i believe they'll be resuming the treatments on monday and giving them every other day.

Friday, February 15, 2008

friday night, february 15

the second dialysis treatment went as planned today. his blood pressure has been a little higher than we'd like, but i believe it's because dad is more aware and awake. he's moving his arms and legs quite a bit (trying to get up so he can leave the hospital - imagine that)!

we're still praying REALLY hard for the kidney function. his levels go down (which is what we want) right after the dialysis treatments, but they've raised back up as the day and night progress. they say this is to be expected, but what we want to see is for the levels to start evening out and not escalating a few hours after the dialysis is over...

still taking things day by day, all the while remembering where we were just a week ago. dad's come so far. it's absolutely amazing to see the progress just from last night to today with his movement and awareness. but we need those kidneys to follow dad's cue and WAKE UP!

friday morning, february 15

dad is currently receiving his second dialysis treatment right now. he's becoming more alert and aware as time passes. specific requests:

blood pressure
kidney function
alert level, awareness
pain level

we've been asked by so many people about visitation. right now, the doctors have requested the only visitors be mom and us (the kids). and even we have to rotate when we're in the room. so until furthur notice, we ask for just your thoughts and prayers. we'd love to be able to see everyone and everyone to be able to see dad, but in his condition, it's just not the right time. what's most important is dad's healing and recovery.

again, thank you for all of your comments and emails to dad and our family. we can't wait for him to get better, and when he does, it'll mean so much to him to read your words.

until later...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

thursday evening, february 14

he opened his eyes.

we heard word that his eyes were opened, so we tore off down the hall as respectfully as we could in the CCU, and sure enough, when we rounded the corner and walked in his room, there were those baby blues. finally.

obviously, he's still extremely out of it and drugged up. he kept his eyes open for the ten minutes i was in there. but he still is overtly weak, so baby steps.

the dialysis went well. they took off 4 liters = 10 pounds. what a bad way to lose weight! his kidney levels had gone up another big notch this morning from yesterdays levels, but after the dialysis, they went from the 8's back down to the 6's. the decline is a direct result of the dialysis. we just need to keep praying that the kidney(s) will begin to function on their own after the help from the dialysis. this is VERY important.

his blood pressure is in the 120s which is fantastic, and his heart rate is in the 80's. these numbers are, also, a direct result from the dialysis.

keep your prayers coming...

thursday morning, february 14

the first dialysis treatment has been bumped to this afternoon; the surgeon who will insert the catheter had a surgery this morning. all of the specialists on board are all glad that dialysis is beginning because they think it will really help "move things along." it's better to start it now than to let the kidney(s) get any worse. we're praying they'll have life left in them.

it's possible that his left kidney is "kaput." it was the one that was most damaged, traumatized during the rupture. i believe it was closest to the aneurysm. one of his doctors DID say it's possible that with the dialysis treatments, the left kidney COULD all of the sudden decide to work again. you just never know. pray this will happen. you can live with one kidney, obviously, but two is always better than one!

as i wrote yesterday, they'll do one dialysis treatment today, friday, and saturday taking sunday off. then they'll resume the treatments on monday, administering them every OTHER day until it's "no longer needed." we pray there is a "no longer needed" in the near future.

they mentioned it might still take two to three days for the all of the different drugs and toxins to leave his body once the dialysis begins. i must admit, we are all relieved, but simulataneously nervous concerning the treatments. but this is what will make him better, so we are anxious!

things are still critical. i say this not in a pessimistic way, but realistically, to keep you all aware that your prayers are still hugely coveted by our family. dad is still a very sick man. i've received several emails mentioning that dad is better. truthfully, he has taken positive steps, but he is FAR from being "better." i just wanted to clear that up so that we don't stop praying heavily. there are days full of highs. there are days full of lows. the past few days have been exciting because for a week and a few days, we were all afraid we'd never see dad move another just to see him twitch those eyes made our hearts almost burst. but he has many mountains left to climb. he is not in the clear.

but our God has proven himself over and over since that fretful sunday evening when this all began. He's gone so far to even place two longtime family friends as his nurses when he was being admitted for surgery and two afternoons in the CCU. He's constantly whispering His presence to our hearts.

mom is handling everything so gracefully. it's amazing how God is calming the waters of her storm; i'm not saying the waves don't threaten her frequently, but she trusts the Lord even still. her heart is set and determined for dad. i have no doubt dad feels her love, strength, and resolve. they've been valentines for 40 years.

it's beautiful to see...

more later...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

wednesday night, february 13

okay - start your praying engines. they've decided to begin a series of dialysis beginning tomorrow morning (thursday) and lasting through saturday. they'll do one treatment each day, each treatment lasting approximately 3 hours. they believe his kidneys are just struggling because of the high dosages of antibiotics, drugs, and the trauma of the surgery making them weak from lack of blood supply.

the prayer focus needs to be that once the dialysis begins, these first few treatments will flush all of the toxins and drugs out of his system - allowing him to have more strength to fight through - and that they will give the kidneys a clean slate and dialysis will be a temporary situation. we pray that his kidneys have enough life left in them to "come back to life" once they're cleaned out with the dialysis.

he's still at the same point of alertness (only blinking his eyes under his eyelids). he did move his head towards my voice today and he was moving his mouth around the ventilator. all positive signs.

surely once the toxins start to be flushed out, he'll awaken shortly within the next few days.


wednesday morning, february 13

the doctors are giving good thumbs up signs concerning dad's progress thus far. last night he was blinking under his eyelids attempting to answer questions. he still hasn't been able to move his extremities due to the paralytic and sedative in his system, so we're praying fervently that sometime today or tomorrow he starts showing some reflexes - he just can't flush out the drugs quickly, it seems.

he's still in really critical condition - especially his kidneys - his levels rose quite a bit today which isn't good. again, dialysis is possibly around the corner to help flush out his kidneys. so please pray for the kidneys. also, pray he'll make bigger steps towards waking up and for how he'll feel once he awakes. and it'll be critical for him to begin to take breaths on his own once they start turning down the ventilator.

i'll update later as the day goes on...we're so thankful for all of the prayers! feel free to leave comments on the blog because i'm sure dad will love to read them once he gets better. we've been overwhelmed with how much affection and concern has been poured out on our family during this time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

tuesday, february 12

the doctors decided to turn off dad's paralytic and sedation drugs over the last couple of days.

the rollercoaster has been full of twists and turns involving dad's kidneys and lungs. he had a small case of pneumonia along with a fever. at the end of last week, they were planning on turning off the paralytic and sedation drugs, but dad worsened for a couple of days, so it was postponed until the beginning of this week as his numbers stabilized.

so, beginning sunday evening, we've all been on pins and needles waiting for the drugs to be flushed out of his body and for him to regain awareness, reflexes, and movement. it's been a tense and high-stressed few days.

his kidneys are still having a tough time functioning to their full capacity. they aren't filtering the way they need to be, so that's effecting his body's ability to get rid of the sedatives and effects of the paralytics so it's taking a bit of time for dad to awake. if over the next couple of days his kidneys continue to decrease in their abilities to filter, then dialysis might be considered to help flush out everything and give his kidneys a fresh start. we hope if this needs to happen that his kidneys snap back into shape once the dialysis helps give them a boost.

some great things happened last night and this afternoon. at one point in the evening yesterday, dad fluttered his eyes open for a quick couple of seconds. my mom, sister, and his nurse got to see it happen. he also was attempting to move his mouth around...after this, the rest of the night and this morning were pretty uneventful. he was still pretty well sedated.

today, the doctors took him off of most of his IVs. he still has a small drip of morphine, saline, and his food is going into his belly. but mostly everything else has been removed. they're no longer checking his blood pressure continuously - they replaced the monitor with a cuff that will be checked hourly. his temperature is fine. his heartrate is in the 90s. he's still breathing with the ventilator, but as he awakens more, they'll begin to ween him off of that. so there was a LOT of positive movement today. prayers are being answered.

this afternoon, he started blinking his eyes underneath his eyelids. he would just squint them when we asked him questions like, "dad, blink if you can hear me." or "do you know how much we've missed you?" it was like a call and response. it has been an exhilarating feeling to see those sweet little movements after 9 days of seeing him immobile and so sedated. these are all AMAZINGLY positive things that are happening. true answered prayers. everytime i round the corner to his room, i'm hoping i'll walk in to see his eyes fully open.

the doctors are really pleased with the progress being made, although things still are very critical. his kidneys and his lungs need to kick it in. we still need to find out what the fuzzy spots in his chest are from a CT scan...there are a myriad of things that are still highly concerning; however, everything over the past 9 days has shown us that miracles are taking place all around us. it's also very important that dad takes the cue to pick up breathing on his own once the ventilator is turned down, and eventually, completely turned off.

wake up, terry. wake up!

Monday, February 11, 2008

from the beginning

on sunday, february 3, 2008, dad had emergency surgery for an abdominal aorta aneurysm that had suddenly torn.

he had been experiencing severe back pain and had been sick for a few days preceding the tearing of the aneurysm. at first, he and mom thought it might be kidney stones, so they headed to a local clinic. they were told it would be a two hour wait and a five hour wait at the emergency room. by this point, they think dad's aneurysm had ruptured. mom was beside herself because she couldn't figure out a way to make them admit him for an exam. she argued and "politely" fought back and forth with the triage nurse and receptionist, knowing it was vital for dad to see a doctor sooner than later. dad was in so much pain that he had to stay in the parking lot of the clinic because he was yelling at the top of his lungs and vomiting from the excruciating pain...thankfully, three different passersby noticed him in the parking lot in such agony, and they each (at separate times) told the clinic that there was a man in the parking lot that needed help. they finally realized it was more than a common flu or illness, and he was seen by the first doctor. from this point on, things went rapidly - thank God. they rushed him to the hospital via ambulance. once he and mom arrived, they confirmed that he had a ruptured aneurysm, and that he needed emergency surgery.

the surgery went as well as could be expected. shockingly, his aneurysm was 4 inches, 8 cms in diameter. it's considered pathological if it's larger than 4 - 4 1/2 cms. his was, obviously, twice the size. thankfully, his tear occurred in the back part of his abdomen, so it was able to be "walled off" to keep the bleeding from being more catastrophic. if it had torn in the front, he most surely would have died quickly after the rupture. he had to be transfused with 10 liters of blood, he had approximately 24 bags worth of an 8 x 11 ziploc bag of fluids, as well as 2 bags of platelets...the man is a champ! even the nurses have commented on how shocked they are of how much fluid they needed to replace.

they had to leave his stomach open because everything in his abdomen was so swollen. it would've been too risky to close it up and have everything continue to swell. his stomach remained open until tuesday afternoon. the second stitch-up "surgery" went well.

they gave him a paralytic drug and sedated him to keep him from exerting energy trying to breathe - they needed to give his organs all the rest they could so they'd have the best chance of healing...they also put him on a ventilator to help him with breathing.

we were told that the first 48 hours were extremely pivotal. his chances of survival were 50/50. he was admitted to the critical care unit on sunday night around 2 or 3 a.m. his organs were strained so much from the surgery and the loss of blood, that we were pretty much waiting to see how much damage was done and if anything was irrepairably damaged.

his blood pressure was fairly high (160s-170s) over the first part of the week. his kidney functioning deteriorated daily. his heart rate was oftentimes a little too high. and the levels of oxygen in his blood dropped a couple of times. he had a tremendous amount of swelling all over his body due to the fluids.

the other scary part is that they found some fuzzy space at the top of the page of his stomach x-ray (the bottom of his chest has the fuzzy part), but they can't get a clear picture of what it could be because it would be like sending him into a 'death trap' to do a CT scan at this moment...he's too unstable. they think it could possibly be another anneurysm in his chest, lung cancer or anything - it's just impossible to know without the CT scan. there's no definite answer of when he'll be well enough for the scan.

most of us had to go back home to work this sunday (feb 10) besides my sister and myself and baby strohm. my mom will not leave the hospital, so it has become our sleeping grounds (we rotate some nights). it's a horrible teeter-totter. i can only imagine how my mom feels. he's been a miracle to get this dad's a strong man, a fighter, and loves so deeply. i have no doubt he's throwing the biggest punches of his life so far. God has moved mountains on his behalf.

i'll update more in the next post.