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May 2000

 Monday, May 1
Unfortunately, there are additional complications. The spinal operation can not be performed until the more immediate problem of infection is overcome. Greg is fighting a very severe lung infection. As much as 75% of his lungs are likely infected. The next few days are going to be critical as doctors try to get the infection under control with antibiotics and steroids. We have been warned that it is probably going to get worse before it gets better. Optimistically, the doctors project that the infection should begin clearing up in the next week and in the following weeks they should be able to rid him of it completely.

Once Greg is healthy enough to proceed, the operation will be performed to set his spine. In all likelihood, this operation is still 3 - 4 weeks off, but once the spine is set, they will be able to ween him off of the respirator and begin focusing on rehabilitation. This also will be the first chance for them to remove his respiratory tubes and actually give him the opportunity to speak.

Tuesday, May 2
As anticipated, Greg's condition has gotten worse. The infection is still progressing and the heavy contaminates from the salt water have overloaded his kidneys. Greg has been placed on dialysis and the respiratory has been turned up to provide greater assistance with his breathing. Blood pressure and oxygen levels are not good. Greg continues to remain unconscious due to the heavy sedation and pain killers - they are trying to let him rest as much as possible so they really don't want him conscious anytime soon. They also have placed him on a paralytic, medication which "paralyzes" the body and is designed to prevent the body from fighting the artificial support systems.

Wednesday, May 3
Greg's "numbers" (Blood pressure, Oxygen level, Respiratory, Dialysis, etc.) didn't look good most of the day - until late evening. This evening things seem to be taking a turn for the better and Greg's numbers have all improved.

Thursday, May 4
A good day all around. Greg's numbers continue to look good and the infection doesn't appear to be advancing as quickly as before. They were able to turn down the respirator some today as Greg didn't appear to need as much help.

Friday, May 5
There were some complications today - Greg's blood pressure dropped significantly this morning, but they have been able to compensate and his blood pressure is again in the acceptable range. It appears that they are beginning to get the infection under control.  

Saturday, May 6
For the most part, Greg's condition continues to hold, although overnight one of his lungs collapsed. The respirator is taking up the slack for the time being, but the condition of Greg's lungs is the most immediate concern. All of Greg's "numbers" continue to look pretty good. The infection is holding now - it isn't getting better yet, but it has stopped getting worse.

Sunday, May 7
Unfortunately, today was not a good day for Greg. While the infection in his lungs isn't getting any worse, it hasn't started getting any better yet. The continued stress on his lungs caused his second lung to collapse this evening. This was immediately compensated for, but the situation with his lungs is now the most critical concern. His vital signs are stable and the dialysis machine is doing its job so there haven't been any additional complications with his kidneys. Greg continues to remain perceivably unconscious due to heavy sedation (this is to be expected and is even a good thing, they really don't want him conscious just yet).

Monday, May 8
The situation is worse. Greg's white blood cell count is climbing uncontrollably - indicating that the infection, or even another infection elsewhere in his body, is growing. The medical team isn't even sure where it is.  This is a life-threatening complication.

I just spoke to Jill and she asked that I please ask all of you to pray for Greg - we need a miracle here.

Evening Update (11pm):
We made it through the day - Greg's vitals are holding. They have removed and replaced most of his tubes and have run cultures to try and determine the exact type and location of the infection. Preliminary results should be available in 24 hours, conclusive results in 48. It's one day at a time. . .

Tuesday, May 9
As some of you may have heard, Greg actually went into cardiac arrest for a short period of time yesterday - this is in fact the case, but for the time being Greg's condition is stabilized. They had to add another chest tube overnight, but overall things haven't gotten any worse. It's been a good morning. I will post another update this evening or if conditions change.
Evening Update (10:30pm):
No real change since this morning - Greg's vitals are stable. His right lung is struggling a little bit and it is likely that overnight they will need to add a second chest tube on that side. We should have some more answers by early afternoon tomorrow - the preliminary culture results will be back by then, as well as the results of additional x-rays taken this evening.

Wednesday, May 10
There was very little change today - vitals are stable. The preliminary culture results are negative so far, so we don't know much more than yesterday. Greg's white blood cell count was somewhat escalated again and several counter-measures are in the works:   Firstly, they've decided to feed him directly through his stomach, rather than intravenously as they have been. Secondly, they are probably going to cut back or even discontinue several of the antibiotics - its possible that their high levels and extended use may be causing the white blood cell issues. They have not yet had to add a second chest tube to the right lung, but his lungs are still having a very rough time of it. We should know tomorrow whether the counter-measures are having the desired effect.

Thursday, May 11
Another good day! Greg's white blood cell count has dropped several points on its own. That is, they haven't made any adjustments to the antibiotics yet. They also took him off of the paralytic today to start letting his body try to resume functioning on its own (Recall that Greg has been on the paralytic since 5/2). The cultures are still negative, but they will continue to monitor them for next couple of days to see if anything develops. All of Greg's numbers are holding.

Friday, May 12
No changes today. The numbers continue to look good and vitals are holding.   For the time being - no news is good news. We'll see how the weekend goes. . .

Saturday, May 13
They had to put Greg back on the paralytic today. His lungs were simply fighting the respirator too much. They also had to go ahead and add the second chest tube to his right lung - he now has 2 chest tubes in each lung.  The only bright spot today was that Greg's white blood cell count has continued to drop. No critical change in vitals.

Sunday, May 14
Things are looking up! Although  they had thought they were going to need to go back to the paralytic yesterday, the were able to avoid this.  Greg's lungs appear to be getting stronger and they've been able to turn back the respirator several times already. Greg's lungs are oxygenating 100% on their own at each new level! Greg's white blood cell count is also doing great .  .  . it has dropped again, and is approximately half what it was just about a week ago (for those of you that understand these numbers, it was as high as 31.7 last weekend and is now at 17.4).  It looks like we may finally be making headway with the infection.

Evening Update (9pm):
Unfortunately, the good news this morning didn't last long. The rest of the day has been a real emotional roller coaster. Greg has gone into cardiac arrest three separate times today. His blood pressure is dangerously low and his lungs have required the respirator to be turned back up. Perhaps the worst of it is that the medical team doesn't know why Greg is having the heart attacks. But the real issue is still Greg's lungs - most of the other complications are directly or indirectly related to the problems with the lungs, and therefore they are still considered the most critical component in the equation.

Monday, May 15
Well the day is starting off looking good. Greg's vitals are holding and there haven't been any more incidents since early last evening. X-rays of Greg's lungs seem to show improvement and we may finally be on track to beating the infection. His lungs are definitely showing signs of getting stronger again and they've been able to cut back on the respirator once more. It is likely that they will discontinue the antibiotics later today or tomorrow - they seem to have done their job.

Evening Update (10:30pm)
I'm happy to report that today didn't turn on us like yesterday. . .  in fact, it got better! Greg's lungs are doing better all the time. They've removed one of the chest tubes and have the respirator down to 50%. Greg's white blood cell count is also leveling off - it's still slightly higher than normal, but well within the acceptable range. They are taking him down to one antibiotic (he's been on 5). As his lungs start to clear-up and resume their normal functioning, we hopefully will see his kidneys follow suit. Greg is still on dialysis, but his kidneys ARE still active and have a reasonable chance of recovering once the lungs are doing better.

Tuesday, May 16
Greg opened his eyes! For the first time since the day following the accident, Greg actually flashed his baby browns for a short interval. Everything else is much like yesterday - no incidents, vitals good, and his lungs continue to improve.

Wednesday, May 17
We haven't had a good morning. Greg went into cardiac arrest again. They've managed to stabilize him once more, but the consensus seems to be that this heart attack was brought on by the additional workload on his lungs. They've been gradually turning the respirator back over the last 2 days and Greg's lungs have been working really hard to keep up - apparently it was too much for his body to handle. The respirator has been turned back up and they will wait to assess his condition before they beginning trying to drop it down again.

Evening Update (1:30am)
The morning started out bad, but we ended the day with much hope. This afternoon the doctors found another questionable area on Greg's left lung. They put in another chest tube and relieved some pressure. Immediately his stats went up. Since that procedure, he has stayed stable, but still in very critical condition. Keep the prayers directed on Greg's lungs, kidneys, spine, stomach and heart.

Thursday, May 18
Very uneventful night - Greg's condition remained stable throughout the night with little change. The situation is still critical, but at least there haven't been any new incidents.

Evening Update (11:30pm)
We met with the doctors today. Greg's lungs are suffering from pneumonia from the lake water and A.R.D.S. (Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome). The lungs have shown a big improvement over the past 2 weeks, but they are still in very critical condition. The cardiac arrest spells he has been having are due to bradycardia - (lowering of the heart rate) - which is a side effect of the spinal injury. During this time, Greg has been heavily sedated to keep him still. This has helped in healing and fusing the c4/c5 spinal injury. At this time, spinal surgery is optional. The doctors will have to re-evaluate his condition after he recovers from the A.R.D.S. Due to Greg's severe condition, the recovery process will be very slow. We are looking at another 1 - 2 months of him being in ICU, assuming there are no other complications. Please give thanks to the Lord for bringing us this far and continue to pray for the healing of his lungs, kidneys and spine. In addition, pray that we can get the bradycardia under control.

Our Bible verse for the day, Psalms 34:15:
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.

Friday, May 19
Not much change. . . Greg had a little bit of a rough night but his condition, while still critical, continues to be stable.

Evening Update (12 midnight)
Today was overall a good day. Greg had some difficulty regulating his oxygen a couple of times, but by the end of the day he was very stable and at a better respirator setting then the beginning of the day. His lungs are getting stronger each day. We still have a long way to go before he is alert and breathing regularly, but we are heading in the right direction. Continued prayers for God to oversee the healing process.

Bible Verse: Romans 8:28:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Saturday, May 20
Today stayed a very uneventful day which to us is a good day. That means Greg took the day to focus on healing. One step closer!! The doctors were able to take out a chest tube, the first one on the right side. There are still 3 chest tubes, 1 on the right and 2 on the left. The doctors tried to revive him early this morning, but he became agitated. The doctors want to keep him still; therefore, they went back up on the sedative. They will continue to try to revive him during the upcoming week. He is still struggling with oxygenating his body, but he is doing much better. Luckily, they have been able to keep the pressure and volume of the respirator at safer levels. Continued thanks to God for bringing us this far. He has given Greg incredible strength to battle this infection in his lungs. We ask that He continue to strength Greg for the many upcoming battles.

Today's verse comes from a dear friend and co-worker. She is a recent cancer survivor and said this verse helped her through. Thanks so much Betty!

Joshua 1:9 :
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Sunday, May 21
A few challenges today. They have started trying to pull some fluids off. Greg does not like it very much. It is hard on him and his blood pressure drops when they take too much. Unfortunately, it has become important to try to take more off. They have increased his blood pressure medicine in hopes to help him out while they take more fluid. His lungs are still improving and his white blood cell count is still heading in the right direction. They started sealing the 3rd chest tube to be able to remove it tomorrow.

Today starts the 4th week since the accident. It has been a long journey, but God has strengthened and encouraged us every day. Each day I ask for a small sign of encouragement. I have to say God has given me BIG signs of encouragement through all the emails, letters, phone calls and gifts. Thanks to each and everyone of you that has added us to your prayers and thoughts. We still have a long journey ahead of us, but I know with all this support and God's love we will make it.

I would like to take this time to give a special thanks to our dear friend Chip Sherwood who has taken time to create and maintain this web site. He has done an extremely good job and been a very good friend to my family.

Continued prayers and thanks to God. Please add to your prayer that Greg will be able to handle removing the desired amount of fluid.

Matthew 18:19-20 :
"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Monday, May 22
A little excitement today. This morning they learned that Greg has a bacteria infection. It is not very serious, but it does require that he be in isolation so that the bacteria does not spread to other patients. He is not running a temperature and his white blood cell count has not gone up a significant amount; therefore, the doctors will just watch and make sure it does not spread. We are still allowed to visit him, but we have to wear a robe and gloves so that we do not spread the bacteria either. As expected, they removed the 3rd chest tube, but had to put in another chest tube on the right side. That keeps him at 3 all together, 2 on the right and 1 on the left. They were able to pull off a little more fluid last night, but have stopped to give him a rest. His color looks real good and the swelling in his face has stayed down. Give a special thanks to Lord for the doctors finding the need for the chest tube before it caused serious complications to Greg. They were able to relieve the pressure and keep him stable the whole time. Also thanks to the lab for locating the bacteria before it spread to other patients. Please pray that they can keep it under control and not infect the other patients on the floor.

Romans 8:39 :
"neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Tuesday, May 23
Today was fairly uneventful. They were able to get the oxygen level on the respirator to 50% and Greg accepted the change without any problems. The rest of the settings are still the same. He had a little problem with his blood pressure, but everyone is learning how to control it. Since he is still in such critical condition, any small change has a big impact on his body. It is like a very sensitive equation. If any 1 thing is off, (his oxygen level, the chemicals in his body, the pH balance, the fluid level,....), his blood pressure is effected. The nurses and doctors have done a great job at learning what Greg wants and staying on top of it before he becomes uncomfortable. Now it is a waiting game. We keep him comfortable and wait for the body to heal. He started becoming a little more active today. He was not fighting the respirator; therefore, they have agreed to let him stay a little more alert. He is definitely not communicating in any way, but there is more movement in his head and you see his eyes open occasionally. It is nice to see a little life back in him.

Thanks to God for another good healing day! Keep prayers up that Greg will stay safe from any other infections that could set him back. We are heading in the right direction, just want to keep praying that we will stay in that direction. Special thanks to Laura Jinkins for the Bible verse for today. She emailed this to me and put Greg's name in the spots that said he or him. Try it, it really hit home.

Psalms 91:14-16 :
"'Because he(Greg) loves me,' says the Lord, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.'"

Wednesday, May 24
Greg's problems with his blood pressure became more serious today.  At noon, when I left to go to work, I prayed with him that the doctors and nurses could find the source of the problem and the treatment.  At 5PM I got a call from the wonderful nurse liaison, Jackie, that the blood pressure was not looking good and she thought I should be there.  She said he was OK, but it was bothering her and she just thought I should be there.  I rushed to the hospital and he was OK.  The nurses and doctors had been able to stabilize him.  Also, my prayers had been answered and the doctors did have an idea of what is causing the problem.  They are leaning towards a new bacteria infection in his lungs since the white blood cell count went up again.  They did another culture which will produce growth results in 48 hours, but in the meantime, they have started him back on large doses of antibiotics. Hopefully, with God's guidance, they have picked the right diagnosis and antibiotic as they did with the first bacterial infection.  Please pray that God will guide the doctors in the right direction to find the source and cure for this new hurdle we must cross.

John 16:33 :
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."

Thursday, May 25
We had our weekly meeting with the doctors today.  They are still very optimistic about Greg's recovery.  Even though the new pneumonia may seem like a set back, they said they were not surprised it happened and Greg seems to be bouncing back much better this time.  Today, all his numbers,blood pressure, oxygenation and heart rate have stayed at good levels. They were able to bring the respirator back down to 60% oxygen.  They are still a little high on the blood pressure medicine, but he is doing so good they are working on weaning him off.  As of 5:30 tonight, he had been on the new antibiotics for 24 hours, so, hopefully by tomorrow, we can see some positive results on beating the infection.  Keep the prayers directed to beating off this new infection and keeping the lungs growing stronger each day.  Sometimes I forget that we need to pray for healing the spine, since the other problems are so obvious.  But I have to remember we still have that injury healing in the background.  So keep the prayers going for the lungs, kidneys, spine and blood pressure.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 :
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Friday, May 26
Today Greg stayed at a good stable level for most of the day. He did have one spell where some congestion from the pneumonia got clogged in the respirator. The lack of oxygen caused him to have a bradycardia spell, but the nurse and respiratory therapist where right there to save the day. They did a great job to relieve the build up and get Greg comfortable again. His blood pressure, heart rate and pH all look great! When he had his spell this morning, they raised the oxygen level to give him a little of a break. By tonight they had it back down to 70% oxygen and he was doing great! They have been able to steadily decrease the blood pressure medicine and he is accepting the small changes as they come. Give thanks for another day of healing and pray for help in removing the congestion in his lungs and, as always, remember the lungs, kidneys and spine.

Thanks to my cousin, Amy Roeh, for the much needed inspiration verse for today.

Psalms 46: 1-2 :
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea."

Saturday, May 27
Prayers were answered today. The doctors received the culture back from the lungs and they had picked the right antibiotics to treat the infection. Thanks be to God!! Since Greg had been on the antibiotics for a couple of days, the white blood cell count went down 1 point. They expect it to take several days before there is enough healing to really see a change in the white blood cell count. The doctors also tested a culture from the lining of the lungs and it came back with a bacteria growing. Thanks to God again, the same antibiotics would be used to treat this infection! We still have a ways to go, but it is nice to know we were heading down the right path. All of Greg's numbers have stayed in good levels for most of the day. One small episode but it was caught and resolved in good time.

Thanks to Taylor and Shannon for leading me to my inspirational verse tonight...

Philippians 4:6-7 :
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 

Sunday, May 28
This morning walking into the hospital, I said a quick prayer, "God, just give us one good healing day." Thanks be to God, He did!! The best thing that happened today, they got Greg off the blood pressure medicine without any complications! He did have one bradycardia spell, but he was able to bring his blood pressure back up without any help. They were able to get his oxygen level on the respirator to 55% and he kept oxygenating his body at good levels. The only thing new today is that the doctors are trying a drug to try to break up some thick fluid build up in the lung lining. We are hoping and praying this drug will work because the alternative is surgery and Greg is too critical to take into surgery at this time. If they can break up that thick fluid, it will give the lungs more area to expand. Give a special thanks to God for such a great healing day and extra prayer that the drug will work on the lung lining.

Thanks to Tim Liston for pointing me to the perfect Bible verse for today.

Isaiah 30: 19-21 : “How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Monday, May 29
Good news today. The drug they tried to break up the fluid in the lung lining worked! After giving it some time, a good amount of fluid came out the chest tubes. The doctors were very happy and the x-rays looked much better. They tried the drug again today to make sure they got all they could. As of tonight, there was not as much fluid being pulled off from the chest tubes. They will check the x-rays again in the morning to see if they should try it again tomorrow. Greg's blood pressure did go down slightly today. They think it was because of the fluid pulled from the chest tubes. During the day his fluid level in his body was build back up. The good news was that he was able to bring his blood pressure back up by himself without any help from the blood pressure medicine. Thanks to God for another great healing day and for leading the doctors towards this drug that has helped Greg so much. Keep up all the prayers and thanksgivings, God is listening and performing miracles everyday!!

Philippians 4:13 : "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

Tuesday, May 30
There is not much to mention about today, but I guess sometimes that can be a blessing. There were no real changes in Greg's condition today. The doctors did not try to make any big changes, but let him have a day of rest and healing. The good news is that his blood pressure has been staying at a good, constant level without medication and his oxygenation is looking good. As the scripture says, "Pray continually..." for the healing of Greg's lungs, kidneys and spine and for the doctors to be lead down the right path of treatment.

Psalms 34:4 : "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears."

Wednesday, May 31
It was another good day. Greg is looking so much better. No real big changes again today. The goal now is to start decreasing and removing the medicines and machines as Greg is ready. They lowered the respirator settings and decreased the morphine. Greg had accepted both changes so far tonight. Pray that Greg continues on this healing path and that God will guide the doctors and nurses in the treatment.

James 1: 2-3 : "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."