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- - - -  Status Provided By Jill Businelle - - - -

Saturday, July 1, 2000
Today has brought a small set back. Greg was complaining about vertigo and nausea. Fortunately, the doctor was there at the same time and able to diagnose a possible inner ear problem. He started Greg on some medication and will have the Ear/ Nose/Throat team of doctors look him over on Monday. They also wanted to start an aggressive ventilator weaning today. They started with some small changes, but with the vertigo, it was too much for Greg. He asked if they could take it a little slower. They agreed; so, they went back to the previous settings until Greg is ready to start working on weaning. The rest of the day has been spent on resting and healing. I would like to take this time to again thank each and every one of you who has supported us through prayer, thoughts, cards, emails and gifts. We have come a long way and I know God has blessed Greg thanks to the prayers of each of you. Please keep them up. We still have a long way to go. Even though we are on the road to recovery, there are still many small set backs he will have to overcome, not to mention the hard work of rehab that is still ahead. Please keep Greg's healing in your thoughts and prayers. Continue to lift up the healing of his lungs, kidneys, spine and keeping his thoughts focused on hope, faith and encouragement. Also, pray that the doctors and nurses will be able to locate and treat the inner ear problem. I am updating the new hospital information on the website. Greg is still not quite ready for visitors, but he is getting closer. He really wants to wait until he is stronger and able to talk. Please keep looking at the website and I will let you know when he is ready.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10,15,16 : "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. .... All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."

Sunday, July 2
Sorry for the delay in getting the update to the website. Greg has been moved to another hospital as of Wednesday. We have both been very busy adjusting to the change.

Monday, July 3
Greg is still working on the problem he is having with vertigo. He is trying really hard to not let it set back his rehab, but sometimes the nausea is so bad, he cannot think about anything else. When it gets bad, he stops and rests until it passes. The doctors and nurses have been able to keep up with his exercises and vent weaning, but the other areas have been put on hold. It is too hard for him to eat, try talking or get up in the chair. The Ear/Nose/Throat doctor did come by to check on him today. He prescribed some medicine and ordered some more tests. Please pray that they will be able to find the source of the vertigo and the best cure to stop it. Also, continued prayers for the healing of his kidneys, spine and lungs and to have the strength and encouragement to work through the pain and discomfort associated with rehab.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 : "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

Tuesday, July 4
The 4th of July has been a very good day for Greg. The nurses have been working hard with him to eliminate the vertigo in his daily routine. They make sure that all movements are done slowly and controlled to make sure there is less of a chance of quick movements that cause the vertigo. Their effort has paid off. Greg went all day without any vertigo or nausea!! The best part of the day, Greg went all day on the non-assist mode for the ventilator! Actually, the respiratory therapist switched him over last night about 10PM without telling him. He went all night initiating all breaths himself! This morning he had a small amount of anxiety with the change, but the therapist was able to calm him down and keep him on the mode all day. The doctor was surprised he did so good for that long! He did not expect him to be ready for that much of a change; so, he modified the routine to put Greg on the non-assist during the day and assist at night to rest him. During the day they will continue to decrease the vent settings, then give him support during the night so he can rest. They are looking at him being completely off the vent in the next couple of weeks! Much thanks to God for a day filled with hope, healing and encouragement!! Please keep the prayers up for healing of Greg's kidneys, spine and lungs and keeping his thoughts focused on positive outcomes.


John 16:24 : "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."

Wednesday, July 5
Today was a pretty good day. Greg had dialysis this morning which really wore him out. He tried very hard to stay awake to be able to do his exercises and see the therapists. The big change for the day is that he went from pureed food to soft food. The meals look much better and taste much better. Pureed pancakes just are not the same!! He is still doing good with weaning off the vent, but he is very limited in the other areas of rehab because of his vertigo. Tomorrow he will take the short trip back to Hermann Hospital to have the perma-cath reinserted and a CAT scan of his sinuses. The doctors want to see if sinus inflammation is causing inner ear pressure which could cause the vertigo. Pray that the transport and procedures all go without any problems. Also, pray that the weaning from the vent continues smoothly and his lungs continue to heal to be able to do the breathing on their own. Finally, pray for healing of the spine, kidneys and continued strength and optimism.

Hebrews 12:1 : "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Thursday, July 6
Greg made his trip to Hermann Hospital without any problems. There is one concern that I ask everyone to pray about. The doctors believe there is a good chance for another infection because the catheter is located very close to the trach. They feel there is a chance for the secretions from the trach to drip down to the catheter. Please pray that this will not happen and Greg can stay free from another infection. The rest of the day was filled with rehab therapy. Greg was able to meet with the physical and occupational therapists. They did not try to make any changes to the ventilator today because of the transport to Hermann. Hopefully, tomorrow they will start back on the vent weaning. Please continue to keep Greg's healing and rehab in your prayers.

Proverbs 3:5-6 : "Trust in the Lord, with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and He will show you the way."

Saturday, July 8
Greg is settling into his rehab schedule. The days are very full with doctors and therapists coming in all day long. He has been working on building his upper body strength with the physical and occupational therapists. The speech therapist has him setting daily goals for wearing the passy-muir talking valve. It is very strange and hard for Greg to get use to; so, he sets goals to help him get use to the new, different feeling. He is currently trying to wear it for 30 - 40 minutes a day. He is able to eat and drink regular food and has been doing pretty good with it. He is still doing good with the vent weaning. No big changes have been made because they want to make sure he is really ready for the changes when they come. His vertigo has gotten better. The nurses have worked hard to limit the movements that cause the vertigo; therefore, he has not had to suffer for the past couple of days. Still do not have the results from the CAT scan, but hopefully by Monday we should know more about the diagnosis of the vertigo. Keep the prayers up for no more infections, healing of the lungs, spine and kidneys and positive thoughts.

Psalms 125:1 : "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever."

Monday, July 10
Sunday's main focus was God, family and rest. Greg did have one big change. The doctors decided to decrease his trache from an 8 to a 7. The 7 is a smaller tube which forces Greg to do more of the work on his own. He has adjusted to the change, but it takes more work for him to breathe. He has 2 more sizes to go. Next they will move him to a 6, then to a 4 which will be the level in which he is completely breathing on his own.

Today it was back to therapy and rehab. Greg is still working on being able to handle the passy-muir talking valve. The new trache makes it harder for him to adjust to the valve, but he is trying to learn. The big news for the day is regarding his kidneys. Since the chemical makeup of the blood stayed at a good level, he did not need dialysis today! Usually over 2 days without dialysis, the main numbers the doctors look at would increase substantially. This time they stayed at the same level. It was a small step, but a good one. The doctors still believe he will need dialysis again, but since the numbers did not rise like in the past, they believe their is a better chance the kidneys will come back to a fully functioning state. Our thanks goes to God for the hope this news brought. We continue to pray that He will keep the kidneys on this healing path. Greg's physical and occupational therapy are going good. He is really working hard on strengthening and improving his arm movement. His vent weaning is still on target. They have kept him as is on the vent settings to help him adjust to the new trache. Hopefully, tomorrow they will start back on weaning from the vent. Please keep Greg is in your prayers that his rehab and recovery will continue with God's guidance and grace.

1 Peter 5:7 :  "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."

Thursday, July 13
Good and Bad news over the past couple of days. Good news first. Greg has stayed at good levels and not needed dialysis all week. The doctors will check again tomorrow. If the numbers have gone down, then no dialysis all week. If they stay the same or go up, then they will do dialysis tomorrow just to make sure there are no problems over the weekend. The doctors are still optimistic that Greg will reach a point where he will not need dialysis at all. Our prayers stay focus on that day coming soon. The bad news is that Greg is having some stomach and intestinal problems. The doctors are not surprised. They feel it is due to the severity of his illness, medications he was on and being inactive for so long. Due to all of these things, Greg's stomach has slowed down. Luckily, the problem can be solved. It just takes a little time and Greg being uncomfortable until it is resolved. Since Greg is so uncomfortable and he is getting sick when moved a lot, parts of his therapy have had to be put on hold. Please pray that the doctors will find the right treatment for the stomach problem and Greg will find relief soon. Also, keep up the prayers that Greg will stay strong, encouraged and successful with his ventilator, physical and speech rehab.

1 Corinthians 13:3 : "If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."

Sunday, July 16
Not much has changed over the past few days. The doctors are getting closer to resolving the stomach problem. Greg is still having some nausea, but he has some relief from the bloating and discomfort. That has allowed some therapy to get back under way. The doctors have started back on the vent weaning and started pulmonary rehab therapy to help increase his lung capacity. Greg has also had a chance to focus more on physical rehab over the past couple of days. He has been able to do his exercises, try some new exercises and get up in the chair. He is still working with speech therapy on being able to wear the talking valve. It is VERY hard on him. The vent is still at too high of settings for him to comfortably wear the valve. Hopefully, since the vent weaning is back under way, the settings will be decreased to a better level in the near future. The kidneys are still an issue. The main numbers the doctors look at for kidney function actually went down on Friday, but still higher than normal levels. The doctors were glad to see the numbers go down, but still concerned that they were high. They decided to go ahead with dialysis on Friday just to be sure there would not be any problems over the weekend. Next week they will continue to check the numbers on dialysis days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) to see if it will be necessary to dialyze or not. Please continue with prayers for healing of Greg's kidneys, lungs and spine. Also include prayers that Greg's rehab will continue to strengthen and encourage him.

I am sure most of you have noticed my delinquency in preparing a daily website update. I have to apologize. I am still trying to settle into my new routine. Greg and I are working hard to create a scheduled routine; therefore, I am hoping to get back to regular daily updates. Thanks to everyone for staying in touch with us and keeping the prayers up for Greg's healing.

James 5:15 : "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven."

Monday, July 17
A big miracle today. The numbers looked at to identify kidney function were at a record level. They went up slightly after dialysis on Friday, but stayed lower than they have been. The doctors decided not to dialyze and will continue to check on Wednesday and Friday, but our prayers are on the kidneys staying strong and doing their job!! The best part is that Greg did not lose a day to dialysis. He was able to meet with the pulmonary therapist and physical therapist today. The doctors changed his medications around today in hopes of eliminating the nausea. They switched some medications and changed the way he took some. As of tonight, it seems to have worked. Please keep up the prayers of healing of Greg's lungs and an easy wean from the vent. Also, pray that the physical rehab will bring about more movement and strength daily.

2 Corinthians 1:5 : "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

Saturday, July 22
The best news of this week, NO DIALYSIS ALL WEEK!!!!! The numbers the doctors watch stayed at the same level all week. The level is still a small amount above normal, but they are staying constant and not increasing. The doctors are still not saying the kidneys are functioning. In fact, they believe Greg will still need dialysis again and that the numbers may even go up. We are praying for the numbers to turn around and start going down so that the doctors can see the power of prayer!!

The vent weaning has been on course all week. The doctors were able to get the vent settings down to the minimum levels. The next step is to start trache collar trials. That is to start Greg taking small intervals off the vent where he breathes completely on his own without a machine. The doctors hope to start that on Monday or Tuesday. Once Greg is off the machine, he will be able to talk. He has been trying to talk on the vent, but it is too uncomfortable for him. He is really ready to talk again without the discomfort.

Physical rehab has been going OK. This hospital is great at ventilator rehab, but not as good at physical rehab. They have very good rehab therapists, just not enough of them. We learned last week that each therapist has 27 patients to see a day!! The doctors have now put in a formal request that Greg should get up in the chair and see a therapist every day. This puts him at the top of the priority list for therapists. Greg is still holding at 45 degrees in the chair. He is taking it slow to make sure his body is ready to move to the next level without any blood pressure problems. His arms are growing stronger and stronger daily. The therapist can feel some small triggers starting at muscles in his wrists and triceps. Greg now must focus on getting those triggers into actual signals directing the movement of the muscles. He continues to do his strengthening and range of motion exercises daily. His main goal right now is to get his hands back to functioning. Please pray that God will guide his physical rehab to bring back movement to his arms, hands, legs and feet.

One big prayer request for this upcoming week. At the end of the week, Greg is to be seen by his neurosurgeon to reevaluate his spine. The doctor will confirm that the bones have healed and that the bones and tendons are strong enough to support the weight of his head. If they are, Greg will no longer have to wear the neck collar and can go on with rehab. If not, the doctor will want to discuss surgically putting in metal plates to help support his neck. Greg is very worried that he may need surgery. He does not want to have to go through that. Please pray that the bones have healed and Greg will not have to go through a very hard, long surgery.

Mark 9:24b : "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

Monday, July 24
Sunday was not a very good day. The morning started out good with the doctor putting the vent on the lowest setting possible because Greg was doing so good. The plan was to start trials of Greg off the vent on Monday morning. Unfortunately, Greg started having nausea and stomach problems again. The problems cause bloating in his stomach which starts to push up on his diaphragm making it hard for him to breathe. To help him out, they decided to go back up on the vent settings until his stomach was feeling better. Greg was a little depressed with the set back and not feeling good, but still did his physical therapy exercises.

Monday morning the doctors got right on the stomach issue. They will run tests over the next couple of days to make sure of the problem, but were able to immediately relieve some of the bloating to help with his breathing. The vent was held at the same level all day to make sure Greg stayed comfortable until his stomach is in better shape. Physical and occupational therapy were able to work with Greg today and he was able to get up in the chair for a few hours. The best news today was no dialysis. He is now starting the second week of no dialysis. Keep the prayers up that the kidneys continue to heal. Also pray for the doctors to find the problem with Greg's stomach and locate the right treatment. Continued prayers for Greg's therapy and healing of his spine.

Exodus 15:25 : "Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them."

Wednesday, July 26
So far this week has brought all good news. The doctors were able to relieve Greg's stomach discomfort, now dialysis and rehab is back on course. The doctors feel the stomach problem was due to some trapped gas and air in his stomach. They were able to relieve the pressure by intermittent suction of the gas from his stomach. They will continue to watch to make sure Greg stays comfortable.

The kidneys are looking better each day. The renal doctors ordered a 24 hour urine test which will be the true indicator of how well the kidneys are functioning. We should have the results of the test by Friday. We have learned that this test is going to be very important. TIRR (Texas Institute for Rehab and Research) is our choice for physical rehab for Greg. The problem is that TIRR does not take patients on dialysis. The 24 hour urine test will let the doctors know how to code Greg's kidney function. If the numbers are good, then they will say Greg is not a dialysis patient and he can get into TIRR. If not, well, our prayers and faith are on the kidneys being healed and this not even being a concern!!

The best news of all is that Greg was able to get to the lowest levels on the vent and stay there for a good amount of time. Since the settings were so low, he was able to successfully use the passy-muir talking valve. He kept the talking valve in for 3 hours!! After not being able to talk for 3 months, he had a long list of phone calls to make! He did not make it through all the calls, but got a start. The 3 hours went by too fast. He did good, but felt very tired afterwards. With the talking valve in, he is doing more breathing on his own which is very tiring for his lungs. He will continue using the valve daily to help build up his lung strength.

Physical and occupational rehab are still working with him daily. He is getting rehab twice a day now. The mornings are usually focused on getting up in the chair and the afternoons on physical exercises.

Today we scheduled his 3 month check up with the neurosurgeon. The appointment is for August 4th. Please pray that the bones have healed strong enough to stabilize his neck and the neurosurgeon will release Greg from wearing his neck collar and brace without the need for surgery.

2 Thessalonians 1:11 :  "With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith."

Sunday, July 30
We really had prayers answered this week. The results of the 24 hour urine test came back and even surprised the doctors. We learned that the same test taken about 6 weeks ago showed about 7% kidney function. This week it showed 28% kidney function!! Anything over 20% and the patient does not need dialysis; therefore, Greg is no longer considered a dialysis patient which will remove the problem of getting into TIRR. The doctors will check the numbers again on Monday and if they are still good, then they will remove the perma-cath. The doctors also expressed that they feel the kidneys will regain more functioning over the next couple of months. Our prayers are lifted in thanks to God and to all of you that prayed for this miracle.

Greg started trache collar trials this week. During trache collar trials they actual take him off the vent and have him breathe moist 30% oxygen air on his own. He is currently doing this 3 times a day for 30 minutes each time. They will watch him and increase the time as he is ready. The doctors want to take it slowly to be sure they do not stress his body. Until he is stronger, he is advised not to talk while on the trache collar. After he has build up more strength breathing on his own, then he will be able to talk and exercise off the vent. Greg is still able to use the passy-muir valve while on the vent to talk. It is draining on him, but he tries to use it for about 30 minutes a day to build up lung strength and endurance.

Please continue to pray for the 3 month check up on Friday with the neurosurgeon. We need to pray that the appointment stays on schedule without any problems and that Greg's bones have healed strong enough to stabilize his neck. Also continued prayers for the healing of Greg's spine, lungs and kidneys and that his rehab continues to strength and encourage him.

Ephesians 5:15-16 : "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."