- - - - Status Provided By Jill Businelle - - - -
Thursday, June 1, 2000
With another good day under way, the doctors are ready to start thinking about where to go next. Today they were able to take the oxygen level on the respirator to 43% and Greg was accepting the change. They also were able to take the morphine and ativan down to low levels. They will have to keep them at this level to help Greg with any pain and discomfort he might have. With the decrease, Greg has revived enough to process small commands such as open your eyes and open your mouth. Since he is still on small amounts of the drugs, he is not communicating or awake, but he is more alert than he has been. The next step the doctors are looking at is a possible CAT scan tomorrow. Since Greg is still in critical condition, everything will have to be perfect for them to be able to move him to the CAT scan room. Even though it is risky moving him, the doctors feel that with his improvements and the need for further tests, this is a good time to try. The CAT scan will help the doctors in locating areas around the lungs that may need additional treatment in healing. They will also scan the spine to reevaluate the injury.
Give much thanks to the Lord for the incredible improvements Greg has made. Also, lots of prayers tonight and tomorrow that God will guide, protect and be with the doctors, nurses, technicians and Greg for the CAT scan. As always, continual prayers for healing of Greg's lungs, kidneys and spine.
Thanks to God for the greatest promise of all,
John 3:16 : "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Friday, June 2
Greg did it!! He made it through the CAT scan without any problems. He went in about 1PM this afternoon and was back by 3PM. It was a big ordeal to move him. It took 3 nurses, 4 doctors and 1 very nervous wife! We still do not have the results of all of the CAT scan, but they did evaluate the chest scan. The main focus was on the lining of the lungs. The left side lining looked good and the right looked pretty good except for a small spot near the top of the lung. The doctors commented that it was much better than they expected. At the time, all the doctors agreed the spot on the right was too small to even consider treatment. After the scan and some additional thought, they thought about maybe trying a little more of the drug they used a couple of days ago to try to break it up. They will discuss this option more tomorrow. Since Greg handled the transport so well, the next step will be to try to schedule the tracheotomy for next week. Much thanks to God for seeing Greg through this big day. Pray that Greg will stay on this road of recovery and the steps will fall into place to have the tracheotomy performed early next week. Also, pray that the doctors reviewing the rest of the CAT scan will be lead in the right direction of any additional treatments Greg will need. As always, prayer for healing of Greg's lungs, kidneys and spine.
Jeremiah 29: 11-14 : "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, " and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you."
Saturday, June 3
Another good healing day! Everything looked good today except for his white blood cell count that went up substantially. His temperature, blood pressure and heart rate are all normal, he is oxygenating his body very well at the current respirator settings and they have not had to go up on any of the medications. The doctor did administer the drug to try to break up that small area in the lining of the right lung. It did not produce a lot of discharge as of tonight, but they will watch overnight to see if any more comes out. The current obstacle they are working on is pulling the fluid off his body. Before, Greg was too sensitive to pull off any fluid which caused a build up of fluid and swelling all over his body. Now, he is taking pulling small amounts off through the dialysis machine. If he continues to take it, we should see a decrease in the swelling in the next couple of days. Not a lot of activity from Greg today. He is moving his head a little, mouth and some facial expressions, but not much eye opening today. After his big day yesterday with the CAT scan, I completely understand needing a day of rest! Prayers of thanks to God for the many healing miracles we have seen with Greg so far. Now that Greg is getting so much stronger, we really need prayers that the kidneys will kick back in to functioning properly. Also, pray that the infection will subside and we can get the white blood cell count back to normal and that the fluid will come off without any problems. Finally, continual prayer for the lungs and spine to heal.
Philippians 4:4-5 : "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."
Sunday, June 4
Small set back tonight. They are still not real sure why, but Greg had trouble with his temperature today. It dropped to a scary level and the nurses had to work to bring him back to normal. Unfortunately, the increase in temperature was too fast and it caused some blood pressure problems. It was just too much for Greg to handle himself; so, they went ahead and put him back on the blood pressure medicine to help him until everything is back to normal. The nurse was hoping to have him back to normal and off the blood pressure medicine by morning, but we will have to see what Greg wants. Please pray that we can get Greg off the blood pressure medicine and back on track very soon. Also prayer that the doctors can find what is causing the drop in temperature and how to cure it. Finally, continual prayer for healing of the lungs, kidneys and spine.
Thanks to Tim Liston for a perfect sermon reminding us how to handle crisis. . .
Acts 27:29 : "Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight."
Monday, June 5
Good and bad news today. First the bad, the doctors feel there is another infection that caused the drop in temperature yesterday. They switched out all his lines this morning to grow cultures from everything to see if they can find the source. Luckily, Greg stayed stable all day. They were able to wean him off the blood pressure medicine and he has regulated his blood pressure at normal levels all day. His temperature has also stayed normal all day. His oxygenation has stayed at good levels. Unfortunately, the white blood cell count did make a big increase which means there is still an infection. They did not try to make any changes today to give him a chance to recover from the scare yesterday. Good news is that the neurosurgeon had a chance to review the spinal CAT scan. The doctor said the vertebra are in good alignment and seem to have been healing good. He feels there will not be a need for surgery. Thanks to God for that since Greg could not handle surgery any time in the near future. The doctor said once we get Greg stable and over all these infections, they will put a collar on his neck and he can start sitting up. We just have to pray that we get him over these other crisis soon. Prayers that the doctors will find the new infection and the cure. Thanks to God for healing the vertebra. Continued prayer for healing of the lungs, kidneys and spine.
2 Chronicles 16:9 : "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to
strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."
Tuesday, June 6
Today we met with the neurosurgeon to discuss the CAT scan results and Greg's spinal injury. One of the first things the doctor said was that he was very surprised Greg has made it this far. As sick as Greg was with the bacteria infection from the lake water and the A.R.D.S., he did not think he would make it. But, thanks to God for a wonderful miracle, he did!! The doctor once again confirmed that he did not see a need to operate on Greg's spine. The vertebra seem to be healing in alignment. The big question is how much paralysis will there be? The doctor explained that the initial assessment showed that Greg had some movement of his arms, but no movement of his fingers or lower body; in addition, he did have feeling all over his body. Since he had feeling all over, that means at least some signals were getting through the spinal cord. The doctor said that whenever there is anything getting through, there is really no way to predict what the final outcome will be. At this point, we will have to wait till Greg is alert to make any additional assessments. And the final outcome will not be known until he is finished with rehab which will be months to years down the road. The good part is that we already know that God is performing miracles by bringing Greg through the worst part of the sickness. We just have to keep praying and believing because God can perform another miracle by recovering Greg's movement.
As for Greg himself, he had a good day. His blood pressure, heart rate and temperature have stayed normal all day. They were able to get the oxygen level on the respirator to 39% and Greg stayed comfortable with the change. They were also able to pull some more fluid off which helped to decrease some more of the swelling. The white blood cell count went down 3 points today, but it is still at a high level. They still have not gotten back the results of the cultures, but hopefully tomorrow we should know more about the infection. Give lots of thanks to an awesome God for performing a miracle of healing on Greg. It is amazing to see how far he has come! We still have a long way to go; so, keep up the prayers, they are working! Pray for the doctors and nurses to locate the infection and treatment of the infection so we can get Greg over this crisis and on to the next steps of healing. Continued prayer for the healing of Greg's lungs, spine and kidneys.
Psalms 27: 13-14 : "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the
Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for
Wednesday, June 7
What a great day! The doctors were able to get the respirator settings to a record level. Everyone thought it would take another week or more to get him at this level, but he took it without any problems. What a miracle God has blessed us with! The doctors now feel comfortable with performing the tracheotomy. They are waiting for the final OK from the neurosurgeon, then they should be able to schedule the procedure. Just a quick note to explain the tracheotomy. Greg does still need help breathing at this time and the tracheotomy is easier on him compared to the current breathing tube in his nose. The tracheotomy is a temporary solution and should be able to be weaned off in the near future. After Greg is stable enough to move out of the ICU, he will go to VenCore which is a rehab that specializes in ventilator rehabilitation. They will work with him to get him weaned off the vent and breathing on his own. The white blood cell count went down another couple of points today. The cultures they took a couple of days ago are coming back clear. As long as Greg stays stable, they will continue to watch him closely and assume the infection is clearing on it's own. They stopped the ativan and are slowly weaning off the morphine. It should take a couple of days for the drugs to clear out of his system, but hopefully he will be more alert soon. They will have to watch and make sure he is not in any pain or discomfort, but hopefully they can keep him off the drugs. It will be nice to have him communicating again! If anyone out there is doubting if God performs miracles, then doubt no more. Greg is a healing miracle! We are not finished with the journey yet, but God has performed an amazing miracle bringing Greg through this life threatening illness. We still need continued prayers that God will keep on healing Greg's lungs, kidneys and spine, but also give much thanks for the miracles we have seen. Also, since Greg is becoming more and more alert, please pray that God will give him a peace and strength to begin to face the challenges he has ahead.
Lamentations 3: 21-23 : "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They
are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Thursday, June 8
Another good day. Not too many changes today. They continued to pull fluid at a pretty aggressive rate and also tried to lower the rate of the ventilator. Greg handled the changes pretty good for most of the day, but this afternoon he seemed a little stressed and tired because his blood pressure and heart rate would drop every so often. The wonderful nurses that we have been blessed with, convinced the doctors to slow down and let him heal and adjust to the small changes. So, tonight they are keeping his fluid level even and went back up on the rate a couple of points. Greg seemed much happier and will take the rest of the night to heal and get stronger. Greg has been on a rotating bed to help keep the fluid moving in his body so that it does not settle in his lungs and cause an additional pneumonia. The doctors are now looking at getting him off the rotating bed and onto a normal bed. They will still have to move him every two hours to keep the fluids from settling in one place, but he will not have to have the constant rotating which is good for him as he starts to become more and more alert. The current plan is for the tracheotomy to be performed on Monday. Keep the prayers up that all stays on the healing path and that the doctors are able to perform the tracheotomy on Monday. Continued prayers for the healing of Greg's lungs, spine, kidneys and that Greg will have a peace and strength to face each new day.
Matthew 6:34 - "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry
about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Friday, June 9
Big steps today. The medicine wore off enough this morning for Greg to start questioning what was going on. He is not able to speak, but he can communicate by nods and blinking his eyes. He did want to know what was happening and more about his condition. I explained where he was and what all the machines were that are in his room. He would listen and look around and nod that he understood. I did explain a brief summary of his injuries and he nodded that he was ready and wanted to hear more. He is still not ready to take on too much information, but he did show signs of being ready to face little bits of reality. Even though it is a scary step to realize the fear he is facing, it is also nice to know he made it to the point of being able to face these fears.
Not only was he ready to face mental challenges today, but he also was ready to face some physical challenges. This was one of the first days that he was stable enough to go through the full physical therapy. It was a little challenging for him, but he made it through the therapist doing range of motion with his arms and legs. He did have movement on his own of his arms and shoulders. Final challenge for the day, the neurosurgeon team was ready to remove the traction and put him in a collar. With the traction removed, he will now be moved to a regular bed (from the rotating bed) by tomorrow. By tonight, he was very tired and stressed (not surprising). The night nurse did go up on his sedatives a little to help him rest through the night. The white blood cell count did go down another couple of points, but it is still escalated. The doctors have not located an infection and want to continue to watch him for signs of an actual infection. Please pray that God will give Greg the strength and encouragement to face the fears and challenges he has ahead. Also, pray the doctors will be lead in the right direction to identify any problem areas and all needed treatment. Finally, continued prayers for the healing of the lungs, kidneys and spine.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 - "May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your
hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."
Saturday, June 10
Very peaceful day. The nurse today chose to keep Greg calm by keeping him a little more sedated. I think he probably needed the rest after a very stressful day yesterday. By 6PM this evening, he was coming back around. He stayed calm and relaxed the rest of the night. The nurse tonight will watch to make sure he does not become agitated. If he stays calm, they will try to keep his sedative off. The white blood cell count went down another couple of points. His blood pressure, heart rate and temperature have stayed at normal levels all day. Thanks to God for a nice, peaceful, healing day. Keep the prayers up for the healing of his lungs, kidneys, spine and to keep him calm and strength him to face the scary reality ahead.
Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) - Let us approach God with confidence, so we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Sunday, June 11
This morning they had to replace all of Greg's IV lines; therefore, they gave him an extra dose of sedative to keep him comfortable while they were working on him. The sedative kept him out most of the day. By tonight he was coming around a little more. When he is alert, he is very frustrated, depressed and scared. Lots of prayers that God will give him the strength to face the reality and challenges ahead. The white blood cell count went down another couple of points and his blood pressure, heart rate and temperature stayed normal all day. They have scheduled the tracheotomy for 3PM tomorrow. The time is dependent on all the previous patient's surgeries being on schedule. As of tonight, they were already behind schedule; therefore, there is a chance Greg's procedure will be postponed until Tuesday. Pray that God will resolve any scheduling conflicts and also that He will be there for the doctors, nurses and Greg during the procedure. Finally, continued prayers for the healing of Greg's lungs, kidneys and spine.
Psalms 56:3 - "When I am afraid, I will trust in You."
Monday, June 12
He made it! Greg made it through the tracheotomy without any problems. They took him to the operating room about 4PM today and it took about 1 1/2 hours before he was back in his room. The doctors put in the tracheotomy tube, put in a feeding tube in his side directly to his stomach and removed the tubes from his nose and mouth. Thanks to God for seeing Greg through another challenge.
This morning the neurosurgeons gave approval for Greg to sit up. That is a big challenge for a patient with a spinal cord injury. The big concern is blood pressure. The signals from the brain that help to regulate blood pressure are most of the time interrupted after a spinal cord injury. When the patient is sitting up, gravity pulls the blood to the lower part of the body and the body does not always know to push the blood back up to the other parts of the body. For this reason, the physical therapist puts ace bandages on his legs and a bandage around his stomach area to help keep the blood pushed to the upper part of the body. They will slowly raise him up in a chair at a rate of about 10 degrees at a time, stopping in between to make sure his blood pressure stays at a good level. The therapist will continue to do this daily so that his body can relearn to regulate it's blood pressure and get used to being in a seated position. Overtime and with therapy he will relearn to regulate his blood pressure and it will not be as big of a concern. Today they allowed him to sit up in his bed and his blood pressure stayed at a good level. It was the first time in a little over 6 weeks that he was able to sit up. Unfortunately, they had just given him a dose of morphine to help with pain so he did not open his eyes the whole time. Hopefully, tomorrow he will be feeling better and ready to look around. He is now on his way to recovery!! Pray that God will give him the strength to deal with the pain and fear of the recovery phase.
The white blood cell count stayed at the same level today. Wish it would have gone down, but happy it did not go up! They took him off of the continuous dialysis today. Tomorrow they will start hemo-dialysis which is dialysis given at an "as needed" interval. They will check the blood level each day and if the toxins are high, they will administer dialysis to clean the blood. This does not mean they have given up on the kidneys. There is still a chance that they will come back. Keep the prayers directed towards the kidneys, we know God can perform miracles!! The lungs are looking much better, but the compliance is still low. Please pray that the stiffness in the lungs will decrease and they will come back to their normal compliance. Thanks again to everyone for their prayers and support. Today was a big turning point in the direction of recovery. God has answered our prayers in such an amazing way! We are not done yet; so, keep the prayers up, they are working!!
Isaiah 58:9 - "Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for
help, and He will say: Here am I ."
Tuesday, June 13
It was a good day of recovery, finally! Greg was really challenged today, but he stayed extremely strong. The day started with regular dialysis. The new method of dialysis alone could be hard on Greg's system, but he did so good they were able to do the dialysis and pull off 4 liters of fluid! The doctors were amazed that he did so good. The next challenge was a change of the ventilator setting. They switched to a mode in which Greg would get regular breaths from the ventilator, but any breath he takes over the vent, will be his own without any assistance. That means more work for his lungs! They also decreased the peep to 5 which is the lowest pressure setting they will go. He accepted both changes without any problems. Next, physical and occupational therapy. They first did range of motion on all of his joints in his arms and legs. Then, they got him out of bed and into a chair to sit up at 45 degrees for 2 hours. His blood pressure stayed great the whole time he was sitting up. Dean (Greg's brother), Tracy (Dean's wife), Judy (Greg's mother) and I each got a chance to talk with him today. Yes, he actually was trying to talk. Some of it did not make much sense, but he is working very hard at mouthing words and every once and awhile you can hear some sound come out. (The tracheotomy blocks the wind from moving over the vocal cords, but every once and awhile a little would slip through.) The doctors say that he is going through a lot of confusion and depression from being stuck in the ICU for so long. He also gets very frustrated that we do not understand when he talks to us. Starting tomorrow, he will meet with psychiatry to talk about the confusion/depression and speech therapy to figure out a way to communicate (probably a letter board until he is ready to be removed from the ventilator). He is really on his way to recovery!! But, by tonight he was worn out and very stressed. His heart rate dropped a little a couple of times; so, the nurse gave him some medication to relax him and he went right to sleep. As soon as he fell asleep, his heart rate stayed fine. They also went back to the original ventilator setting for the night so he could rest. They will try the tougher setting again tomorrow when he is stronger.
I cannot help but be amazed at what a miracle God has blessed us with. Greg went from total ventilator support and not being able to be moved, to low ventilator support and sitting up. What a blessing!! Thanks to all of you that lifted Greg in prayers. We have a wonderful God!! Continued prayers for Greg to stay on the road to recovery with his lungs getting stronger, his kidneys starting to function, his spine healing and his confusion/depression being replaced by hope, faith and strength.
Romans 5:3-5 : "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our suffering, because we know
that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And
hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the
Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Wednesday, June 14
Greg took a day of rest today. He definitely deserved it after yesterday. He spent most of the day resting and sleeping. They did not let him take the full day off, though. Physical therapy made sure he did his exercises and he did sit up in the chair for about 2 hours. They left his ventilator settings alone today and let him have a day of healing and rest to get stronger. They will see how he is tomorrow and decide if he is up to another challenge at breathing more on his own. His blood pressure and heart rate stayed at great levels all day. Pray that Greg's rest today will pay off and he will be able to add one more challenge to his rehab tomorrow. Also, continued prayers for healing of the lungs, spine, kidneys and that God will bring Greg hope, peace and strength to mentally and emotionally face the reality ahead.
Isaiah 40:30-31 : "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and
fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings
like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Thursday, June 15
Today was a good day for Greg. He had dialysis in the A.M. and was pretty tired the rest of the day. The speech therapist came and tested to see how he would handle talking. They decrease the size of the balloon that is in the trachea so some air can move up through the voice box. The balloon is used to block the air from going past the ventilator to insure that Greg is getting the full amount of air. By decreasing the balloon, some air escapes and goes up through the voice box so he can talk. The problem is that he does not get the full amount of air for his lungs which can be hard on him since his lungs are still sick and weak. He was able to say 2 sentences before it became too much. They will continue to test him daily until his lungs are strong enough to handle the lost air going to the voice box. Since he had dialysis today and was very tired, they did not get him up in the chair, but he did do range of motion exercises.
Friday, June 16
Today has been a good day physically. They were able to get him up in the chair for about 2 hours and also do range of motion exercises. Physically he looked very good today with his blood pressure, temperature and heart rate staying at good levels all day. Mentally he is still struggling with depression and confusion. Please continue prayers for God to heal Greg's lungs, kidneys and spine and to replace Greg's depression with hope, encouragement and strength.
Psalms 34:18 : "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Saturday, June 17
Another good day on the road to recovery. Greg's physical state continues to get better and better. His blood pressure, heart rate and temperature have stayed at good levels throughout the day. His lungs are healing and getting stronger, it is just on a slow healing path. Greg had dialysis again today. It looks like he will have to have dialysis every other day. His body is handling it, but it is very draining for him. After dialysis, he wants to sleep the rest of the day. The main problem he is currently dealing with is the depression. Please direct prayers that God will replace the depression with hope, encouragement and strength. Also, continued prayers for healing of his lungs, kidneys and spine.
Psalms 69:29 : "I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me."
Monday, June 19
Greg has been doing much better in every way. They went ahead and removed one of the chest tubes on the right. There are still 2, one on the left and one on the right. They put in a perma-cath, more permanent catheter, that will be used for dialysis. The perma-cath is located on his right shoulder. This is a good step because now he will be able to proceed with physical therapy without any limitations. The previous catheter was located in his groin and limited lifting to 45 degrees so that the catheter would not pinch or catch anything. His white blood cell count went down a lot more. They quit taking it everyday; therefore, it was good to see the drop down. They were able to switch the ventilator back to the setting where Greg is taking some of his own breaths. They had to increase some controls so he could handle the switch, but they will watch and decrease them back as he gets stronger. His mental state has even improved. He is still scared and agitated at times, but his depression has improved incredibly! Praise God!! The doctors are all very impressed with his improvements and are starting to talk about the next steps of getting him out of ICU. There is still discussion as to where exactly he will go next, but there will have to be another step before T.I.R.R. We are looking at VenCor for rehabilitation to get Greg off the ventilator and breathing on his own. Once that is completed, he will move on to T.I.R.R. to start physical rehabilitation. Please, everyone that has been praying for Greg, stop and take a minute to thank God for the wonderful miracle of healing He has given to Greg. Also prayers that God will help direct the doctors in the decision of where Greg should go to finish his ventilator rehabilitation and that the choice and timing will be easily accessible with doors just opening up. Continued prayers for Greg's lungs, spine and kidneys to heal and his emotions to stay positive, hopeful and encouraging.
James 5:11 : "As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."
Tuesday, June 20
Today was a rough, but stable day for Greg. He was still recovering from the sedative they used yesterday while putting in the perma-cath. He also had to have dialysis this morning. That was 2 days in a row, but his body really needed it. The dialysis makes him tired, so it was immediately followed by a quick nap. The doctors were able to take out another chest tube. That leaves the one on the right, but they hope to have it out by the end of the week. The physical therapists were able to be a little more aggressive with therapy today. They made him get up in the chair twice today and made him help with his range of motion exercises. He has movement in both arms and they are making him use it in order make the muscles stronger. They also decreased the ventilator assistance a little more today so that he was having to take more breaths on his own. All that made for a full, tiring day. Please pray that God will give Greg the physical and mental strength to get through these very trying times of rehab and recovery. Also, continued prayer for healing of Greg's lungs, spine and kidneys.
Philippians 2:13 : "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to
his good purpose."
Wednesday, June 21
Today was the first full day of rehab. The doctors removed the last chest tube this morning, then the rest of the day was focused on rehab. He did exercises to strengthen his arm and shoulder muscles, range of motion exercises and sitting up in the chair. He is doing great with his biceps, shoulders and forearms. He is moving those muscles in both arms on his own. They are very weak since they have not been used in so long, but they are getting stronger each day. He did not like the chair today. They went up to 60 degrees and it was very hard on his body. He negotiated 30 minutes at 60, 30 at 45 and then back in bed. Each day he will try for longer amounts of time and soon his body will adjust to being in a seated position. They were also able to decrease his vent settings substantially. The nurse would come in and lower it by 1 point every so often and not tell so that Greg would not panic. The theory worked! By the evening, they had lowered him 3 points and he did not even notice a change. They tried for 1 more point and it became too much. Please pray that God will see that Greg is easily weaned from the ventilator and that he stays patient, strong and confident during his physical therapy. Continued prayer for the healing of Greg's lungs, kidneys and spine and that he will stay free of any other infections that could cause a set back.
Job 22:27 : "You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will
fulfill your vows."
Thursday, June 22
Small set back today. This morning Greg had a small seizure. Luckily, the doctors happened to be in his room when it happened; so, they immediately took action and gave him some medication to stop the seizure and any future seizures. They ran a CAT scan of his head and lungs and did a spinal tap to look for the source of the seizure. They will perform an EEG in the morning, then we should have the final diagnosis from the doctors. The preliminary conclusion is that it was a chemical imbalance of some kind that caused the seizure. Please pray that the doctors can locate the source and find the right treatment to help prevent any future seizures. On a good note, Greg is producing more and more urine daily. The doctors are much more optimistic that the kidneys will come back to full function over the next couple of months. Praise God for another miracle in the works!! Today was not a good day for Greg's emotions. The medications they had to give him, along with the already existing depression, were not a good combination. Please pray that God will open his eyes to hope, peace, strength and perseverance to make it through this. Physical therapy was put on hold today. With the seizure, tests, medications and dialysis, he was worn out and the nurses, doctors and therapists did not want to stress him any more. Pray that tomorrow will be a better day and bring us back on track for rehabilitation. And, as always, continued prayers for the healing of Greg's lungs, kidneys and spine.
Psalm 143:1 - "O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your
faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief."
Friday, June 23
Today was a little hard on Greg. The doctors identified another infection and his temperature went up substantially. He was very uncomfortable with lots of anxiety and fear. He would panic anytime anyone entered the room. The doctors gave him something for the fever and started him on an antibiotic to stop the infection. By the afternoon, his temperature was down and he was feeling much better. By the night, he was back on track. The therapists did not let the infection stop them. They were able to get him up in the chair for about 3 hours and he did his exercises that night.
Saturday, June 24
Today was a better day. Greg had dialysis this morning which was hard on his body. The main problem he is currently dealing with is anxiety and fear of breathing. When he is awake, he feels like he cannot breath which is causing him to over breath and use bad form. He is working on relaxing and relearning how to breath correctly. Please pray that he can find a good relaxation method to help him overcome the anxiety and fear of breathing. Also, continue prayers for the healing of the infection in his body, healing of the kidneys, lungs and spine and that his emotions will stay positive, encouraged and hopeful.
Isaiah 26:3 : "He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord."
Sunday, June 25
The day started bad with Greg having another seizure early in the morning. They have now started him on a regular dose of a drug to help prevent any additional seizures. Unfortunately, the drug has a sedative effect; therefore, Greg was very relaxed and worn out all day. That did not stop him, though. He did his exercises and got up in the chair for about 1 1/2 hours. The good part about the new drug is that he is so relaxed he is not fighting the breathing. The doctors were able to decrease the vent settings and Greg is doing great with his breathing. The doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists are keeping the vent changes a secret so that Greg does not panic and start over breathing again. Pray that they can keep his panic level down and continue to wean him off the vent. Another big prayer to add to the list: Greg is still fighting an infection that looks like it is in his blood. It is not too severe at this time, but it has the possibility of becoming dangerous if it is not stopped. They have had him on antibiotics for about 48 hours. His fever has stayed down and the white blood cell count is not too high, but it did rise a couple of points today. Please pray that the infection goes away soon! On a good point, the kidneys are still on the road to recovery, PRAISE GOD!! We are getting closer and closer to getting Greg off of dialysis. Please continue the prayers of healing of Greg's lungs, kidneys, spine and keeping his thoughts focused on hope, encouragement and strength. Now, a special prayer request. When Greg and I pray together, he always asks to pray that he will walk again; so, I pass this on to all of you. Please pray that God will guide the recovery and rehabilitation stages to lead Greg to walk again.
1 Peter 1:7 - "These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
Monday, June 26
Today was a big step in Greg's respiratory rehabilitation. The doctors tried changing the mode on the ventilator to a setting where every breath must be initiated by Greg. The regular setting has the machine initiating 8 breaths a minute and all additional breaths are taken by Greg, but this new setting makes Greg do all the work. They tried the setting twice during the day. The first time he went about 1 hour and then it became too much and his heart rate dropped a little. The second time he went about 2 hours and started complaining about being tired and having a hard time breathing; so, they went back to the assisted mode. His nurse calls this his interval training. They will continue to change modes on short intervals until he is strong enough to sustain breathing on his own. The rest of the day was good. He did his exercises and got up in the chair for a couple of hours.
Tuesday, June 27
Today has been focused mainly on the kidneys. Even though the kidneys seem to be coming back, they are still not functioning efficiently. That means more days of dialysis. The doctors had to put in a temporary catheter in his groin to be able to do dialysis today. They will watch over the next couple of days and then put another perma-cath in later this week. Due to the dialysis, they were not able to get Greg up in the chair, but he did do his exercises. Also, since the dialysis is very draining on him, they did not try to make any changes to the ventilator. They kept him in the assisted mode all day to keep him relaxed for the dialysis. Give thanks to God for the miracle today, the infection in Greg's blood seems to be gone. All cultures came back negative during the last testing. Please pray that God will continue to keep away all infections and heal Greg's kidneys, lungs and spine back to full function. Thanks Norm and Melanie for today's scripture.
Isaiah 41:13 : "For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."
Wednesday, June 28
Today was a very busy day. Greg had not slept for over 24 hours and was very nervous about the transport to the new hospital. The ambulance came to pick him up at 3PM and took him on the quick ride across the street to Vencor hospital. The ride was very exciting, but he made it. After getting him settled into his new room, cleaned up and over the anxiety from the move, he went to sleep. It was exactly what his body needed. He slept from 1AM till noon the next day and woke in a much better frame of mind.
Thursday, June 29
Today Greg woke with lots of questions. He did not remember anything from Hermann hospital, but did have very vivid images from dreams and hallucinations he had been having. He spent most of the morning asking questions and figuring out which memories were real and which were hallucinations. The rest of the day was spent with each area of treatment coming by to assess his condition. Physical therapy, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and the doctors all came by to check out his status. It was a very good day for seeing the road to recovery. First, respiratory therapy tested the passy-muir valve which would able him to talk with the trache. It was very hard on him, but he was able to talk. He was very excited to hear his voice again. He is not quite ready to have the valve in all the time, but they will continue to check daily until he is ready. Physical/Occupational therapy were next to assess his movement and figure out his exercise routine and getting him up in the chair. It will stay the same as it was at Hermann until he is stronger and ready to handle more physical challenges. Finally, the best part of all, he had the swallow test from speech therapy. They fed him apple juice and vanilla pudding with blue coloring to make sure he was swallowing down the right passage. Unfortunately, he did not pass the whole test so they will have to test again tomorrow. Greg kept asking all night when he could take the test again. After 2 months of no food, he is really ready to eat. Finally, he was blessed with another good nights sleep.
Friday, June 30
A hard day. Greg got dialysis this morning which wears him out. Speech showed up at the same time to do the swallow test again. They were able to test the first part, the apple juice, before realizing it was just too much with dialysis going on too. Luckily, he did pass the first part. After dialysis, he had physical therapy exercises and the second part of the swallow test. He passed the swallow test and had his first meal in 2 months that night. He cannot eat solid foods, so they prepare the meal and puree each item. He is now able to eat 3 meals a day as he feels able. After another full day of recovery and rehab, he got another good nights sleep.