Today is October 30th. You've been in ICU 28 days today T. We never expected you to be in ICU more than 3 or 4 days. It's been hard on you. You have good days and bad days but through it all you have truly amazed me. God is good Terry. He Cares for you in so many ways. Daily I receive phone calls and text asking about you. Your friends and family stretch far and wide and they each one continue to lift you up in prayer. You are a blessed soul my Terry.
ICU day 16 was Friday October 18th. It's my birthday T. You know what I want for my birthday this year? I want to see your eyes open. I want to hear you speak to me in a strong voice. I want you to be better T. I came up around noon with my cousin Emily today. You were definitely doing better then the day before. You were more alert and you said a few words. The dialysis is definitely working to help clear your mind. I thought it would work faster then what it is but that doesn't change the fact that it's not. Patience is a hard thing when it comes to health. You have great patience though Terry. You haven't complained once, not even once. I'm amazed at you. I'm equally amazed at Chris. He is keeping things together. He is paying the bills, doing the laundry working and carrying for you. As a man goes T that's awesome. His spirits are always high and he is managing to hold on and trust in God for all that you two need. He is strong T and so are you. Thanks for making my birthday a happy one by allowing me to see your eyes and hear your sweet voice.
ICU day 17 was a Saturday. I didn't get to see you today but from what I understand you are a little more coherent than yesterday. Your dialysis machine had some problems today so you weren't on it the whole time. I think they may have even needed to bring in a new one. It's okay though. It's obvious its bringing down your toxic load. I hope to talk with you tomorrow. I'm coming in so Chris can go to church. He needs some encouragement.
ICU day 18 was a Sunday T. I was happy to see your eyes and hear your voice today. We had an interesting conversation today. You asked me about your house. You wanted to know if things were okay. I told you that Chris had been paying the bills and keeping things together. I told you that he had started his new job and that your home was fine. You told me that you were trying to figure things out. I asked you what the last thing you remembered was. The last thing you remembered was coming into the ER. So I started from the beginning. I told you that you had been in ICU for almost three weeks. That the meds they gave you cause amnesia and that's why you can't remember. You had a lot of confusion in your face but you handled it well. Your legs hurt more today and several times you had me ask the nurse, whom you called Barney and The Hulk, to help you. I was sad that you were hurting but glad to see my old Terry coming back. You struggled with your legs off and on all day. At one point they had just given you pain meds, I could tell they were working, but you were certain that they hadn't been given. I quickly realized that when you would close your eyes and dose off that your last thought was your first when you woke up. So even though you had been given pain meds and they were working your mind was stuck on a sort of loop. If the subject was changed and your mind taken off the pain you would be okay.You didn't want me out of your sight today. I think you might have felt a little confused and it helped to see someone familiar. You would tell me several times that you were figuring things out. You sure were trying to figure it all out T. I'm grateful to God that you are coming back around.
ICU day 19 was a Monday. I brought my little girls up after co-op. You had told me several times the day before that you missed your girls. I was happy to bring them up. You were more like yourself and I knew the girls minds would be set at ease to see the old Aunt Terry. Scotlyn brought you a paper plate pumpkin that she made in art class. You talked just a bit with them. It was enough that when we left they were all happy. I did mention to Chris though that your chest sounded really rattly and that you seemed to labour a little to hard to breath. He said that you were still having breathing treatments. Before I left the breathing treatment nurse was in and didn't seemed concerned. She just commented that you weren't having good enough coughs and that that was causing the rattle. I could see that but I still had concern. You were shivering a lot today. They put a warm kind of air mattress over you to help keep you warm. I wondered if it was the dialysis machine and the extra blood they were giving you that made you so cold. I asked the nurse and he said that yes the blood was cold therefor it was bringing down your temperature and causing you to be cold. I knew I wouldn't be back the next day due to the fact that I hadn't bought groceries or done laundry since you went in. Yikers! I kissed your head and told you I loved you and that I would see you soon.
ICU day 20 and 21 was a Tuesday and a Wednesday. I was at home those days trying to put my house back together. Chris said things were going fine and that you were sleeping a lot. I figured that was a sign that your legs were still hurting a bit and the that the meds were causing you to sleep more. They also got you up into a chair which really tired you out. A chair though! that's fabulous T. I'm so thankful.
ICU day 22 was a Thursday. I came up with the girls. They were excited to see you. As we rounded the corner I could see that you were sitting up. I looked at the girls with a big smile and said she is sitting in a chair. As I came into the room though I could see that you were hot with fever. Your face was red and warm. I exclaimed to Chris that wow, you had a fever. He said that you had just been given meds for it and that you had had a fever off and on for a the last few days. Your breathing was very labored and the rattle in your chest was worse. I noticed the all familiar pillow wrapped around your chest. I had seen this in so many of the other ICU rooms. It's a pillow they inflate and vibrate to help the junk break loose in your chest. You could barely keep your eyes open T. The girls were shaken. The last they had seen of you you where shivering but able to communicate. This Aunt Terry was leaps and bounds different. It had only been 2 days since we had last seen you. I was having a hard time holding myself together. I mentioned to the girls that maybe they wanted to go the waiting area. They agreed and Chris went to help them. I pulled up a chair and sat at your feet. I took your feet and rubbed them. How could things change so fast. You could see my distress. You began to talk in the faintest voice I've heard yet. I had to put my ear nearly to your face to make out what you were saying. You told me it takes time and that you had tried. I looked at you and asked, to get better? You shock your head and I said, you ARE trying T. Chris and the girls came back into the room. It was a busy day and there was no room in the waiting areas. I told the girls that they would need to be patient because I couldn't leave you just yet. I needed to find out what was going on. I took Chris aside and asked if he had spoken to the doctors recently. He said he hadn't seen them in the last 2 days. Terry, let me just say before I go any further that Chris has faith and a vision so strong and clear that he really has no concerns. Obviously he has concerns but not like me. He was content to just sit with you and know that you will be well. I on the other hand think I can do something. My faith is just not stable like Chris's. I can't always let things be and give over myself, my problems or my loved ones to God. It's a crazy fight and I'm such a bozo but I try. I'm sorry because in my anxiety I ruffled Chris. I told him I was concerned and that this wasn't right. He asked what exactly I meant and I told him that two days ago you were talking to us and now you are struggling for every breath and can't talk above a faint whisper. He then became concerned and we confronted the nurse. Poor girl kind of got caught off guard. I hope we made it clear that she had done nothing wrong but only that we needed information about what was going on. She was a good nurse. She immediately got on the phone and got us some answers. They weren't big answers but still something. We found out that your GI bleed was probably not there anymore. There were no signs of it so we could let that go. Your exhaustion was due to your body fighting to breath around this junk in your chest. You were off the dialysis because you needed to wear that vibrating pillow. Everything was being done to help you. We were told that it's not uncommon for patients that are immobile to have lung issues. It's also a two steps forward one step back and sometimes vice versa type of thing when your trying to heal from something so traumatic. The answers were vague but the lesson was as loud as thunder. God has this under control I don't need to interfere with the peace that Chris has in his knowing because mine is fleeting. I'll not do that again.
God has this under control my sweet friend. Know this and rest while he holds your hand.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Today is October 29th Terry. You have been in ICU for 27 days. I last left you at ICU day 11. Its been a little more than a week since I wrote that. A lot has happened this last week but I need to continue on my path to get these letters up to date. My memory is failing me and my notes are becoming scattered. Typical me.
ICU day 12 was a Monday. Jeremy and I came to see you. They had just given you some pain meds and you were snoring so peacefully. We stayed a bit and visited with Brother Terry Simmons and Brother Danny Grounds. I asked the nurse on staff how you were doing. I get the same answer nearly every time. She is doing good. Ugh.... I can tell something is not right. You are increasingly drowsy and sleeping. It's getting harder to arouse you. You did look good though in your snoring slumber so I guess I'll wait for a nurse that will give me the answers I need. I was complaining to Jeremy as we left the ICU about not getting real information when I spotted one of the kidney doctors I had befriended. I asked him about you and he said he was on his way in to examine you. He said your toxic load was continuing to increase. A normal toxicity in the blood would be 0-10. Terry, yours was 200. He said it's enough to pass the blood brain barrier. He said that he felt that might have happened earlier this morning. I guess you showed signs of confusion with your breathing, heart and brain function. He said although you were very swollen with fluid that the fluid was not staying in the veins. You were actually borderline dehydrated. He explained that the increasing drowsiness and sometimes verbal confusion is from the meds building up in your blood stream. Your system is just not doing as it should and dialysis is an increasing possibility. The kidney doctor further said that he was going to determine whether or not you should be put on dialysis by the sound of your heart. We were told that if heard a squeak while listening to your heart that would mean the toxins were in between your heart and the sack of fluid surrounding your heart. At the point he would order dialysis. I guess he heard the squeak because about an hour after we left I received a call to let me know that you would soon be put on dialysis. Your kidneys need the help T. Your poor body has been through so much. I'm glad for the dialysis. I know it cares a certain risk to it but your not yourself lately. You were here then you started drifting away from us. With everything I've been told this will clean your blood and you will come back to us.
ICU day 13 was a Tuesday. I showed up today and there was no dialysis machine. I asked the nurse about it and he didn't seem to know anything about it. I guess the orders hadn't been handed down yet. I hope soon because it's almost as if your under sedation again. Each day is becoming eerily similar.
ICU day 14 was a Wednesday. This morning I received a text from Chris that you were having tummy problems and that he had been kicked out while they tried to figure out what the problem was. I rushed around to get to you. When I walked in the room I could tell your belly definitely was swollen. I put my hand on your belly and commented to the nurse that indeed you were very much swollen. She replied "you should have seen her this morning!". Oh, my poor T. She said they had pumped a liter and a half of fluid off your belly. She said you were feeling much better but that they needed to figure the cause of this before the dialysis procedure began. The doctors assumed that your intestines were still not fully awake and that a medicine would be administered to wake them. We were asked to leave during this time because they needed to watch you in case your heart rate declined. I looked at the doctor and said, a medicine designed to stimulate and wake up the intestines has the possibility to stop her heart? He said yes, it's an odd thing. Odd indeed. But Terry you were just fine. The meds did their job and your little heart just kept on beating. Later on in the day we were once again removed from your room for what was called a sterile procedure. They where trying to put another port in for your dialysis but due to all the swelling they were unable to accomplish it. They said they would try again tomorrow. The machine is ready and waiting in your room so as soon as they are able to get another port in you will be hooked up. hopefully you will quickly improve and my Terry will be back to talk to me.
ICU day 15 was a Thursday. I arrived a little after noon with Susan Fisher. Your port was in your left chest, shoulder area. I was glad they were able to accomplish it. the sooner you get on the dialysis machine the sooner your toxic load is decreased and the better you will feel. Susan and I visited you for about an hour and a half. You didn't say much but you were a little more coherent than previous days. Just before we left they had asked us to leave so that they could hook you up to the dialysis machine. Finally! I hoped we would avoid this but know that it is upon us I am relived. You need extra help and I want you to get it. The last reading of your toxic level was 208 I think. God is definitely with you T. He sustains and keeps you. I hope you look back at all this and see those footprints in the sand. There is only one set right now but your on your way T. There is no better place to be than being carried by your Lord. I pray that soon you will be able to make your own footprints right next to His. For now T rest in His arms and fear not.
Terry, the date is October 20th. It's a Sunday. I think I'm going to try to get these letters caught up. I've been sitting here by your bed in ICU talking with you and I realize that there is no memory what so ever. I'm glad I started these letters but I under estimated the time and emotional toll it would take. I'm sorry I won't have one for everyday. I wish I would have thought of this a lot sooner. It would have made keeping track so much easier. It's okay though. I think between all of us you will have the memories you need.
Well Terry, I think the last letter I left off with was ICU day 3. Today is ICU day 17. I was always a week behind to begin with. I think some people reading these letters forget or don't realize that I am that behind. I think they think I am updating for that day. I hope this clears any misconceptions up.
ICU day 4 would have been a Sunday. There wasn't a lot of change that day other than you tried to wiggle your toes when they asked you to. You also nodded your head when the nurse asked you to let us know you were there. It was fabulous Terry. Who would have thought a nod would be the greatest thing in my life.
ICU day 5 was a Monday. I showed up a little later than I normal do. Brother Gary Evans was here keeping watch over you. When I came over to you I could tell you were in distress. You were moving your hands around. I knew it was something so I started asking you questions to figure it out. You were pointing what appeared to be up so I asked if it was about God. You shook your head no. I asked is it about Chris and again no. I had already asked you when I first came up to you if you were in pain so I didn't ask that again. I then asked if it was about you. You shook your head yes. I asked if it was about your legs, your ports, your time here. The answer was a head shake no to all. I then noticed you were moving your finger like you were tracing or writing something. I put my hand up to yours and it became very clear that indeed you were trying to explain to me by writing. I grabbed a pen and a paper and placed the pen in your hand. I put the paper up to the pen and you tried to let me know what was going on. It was scribbles but I managed to decide you were trying to make an S. An S? What could you be trying to tell me? You then patted your stomach. Ah, your stomach hurts. Finally! You had communicated a stomach pain. I was thrilled. My heart soared. You were in there and you knew what was going on.
ICU day 6 was a Tuesday. I received a phone call that they had taken you off the ventilator. The girls and I came up and you were able to barely whisper. It was a glorious sound. My heart was over joyed and the little girls were relived to see and hear something familiar from their Aunt T. One hurdle down. Praise God.
ICU day 7 was a Wednesday. Lisa and I where up here a little after noon. They had brought you in a tray of food to eat. You had definitely turned a corner for the better. We weren't allowed to help you eat. The nurse said from this point on you needed to do all you could so that your strength and health would return. It was hard for Lisa and I to watch and not help. You only ate 3 or 4 small bites. Your favorite was the tea. You gave up on eating due to the burning in your throat. The nurse decided no more food or liquids seeing as how you were coughing way to much. It showed signs of aspiration instead of swallowing. Your throat was out of practice and sore.
ICU day 8 was a Thursday. Glena and I were here most of the day. We were even allowed to help. So far we just sit back and feel helpless but today we got to help. They put a scope down your throat to see why you were coughing so much. It was interesting. Glena got to feed you blue applesauce and blue apple juice. Poor thing, you failed your test miserably. They really don't know why but your throat muscles are just not up to the task of swallowing. They had to put you back on a feeding tube. You gave us a scare early in the day. It appeared that maybe you had a clot in your right leg. They tell us it wasn't a clot but actually the opposite. Your leg began to bleed more than it had been. Glena and I were kicked out for almost 3 hours while they worked on you. They have been giving you a couple units of blood a day due to your wounds but today was a shock to your system. You required a few units more of blood to stabilize your system. You were tired and worn. Yesterday it had looked like everything was improving. You were off the ventilator, talking, drinking, eating and they said they felt like the kidneys were about to turn a corner. Your kidneys did turn a corner. It was just the wrong corner. We thought they were better but the kidney doctor says your toxin levels continue to rise. They want your kidneys to work on there own. They are hoping to avoid dialysis at all costs. I'm saddened that we are having to take a few steps back with the feeding tube and the rise in toxin levels but it's okay. God knows exactly where you are. No worries. He's got this under control.
ICU day 9 was a Friday. I wasn't here that day to see you T. It seemed like a regular day though. Not much had changed from the day before.
ICU day 10 was a Saturday. Again there was not a lot of change. Your wound on your leg has lessened it's bleeding. It's still not on a vac yet but at least it has slowed. Your toxin levels are still rising. I've noticed you are sleeping more. They have stopped doing physical therapy. It seems you are in a decline. Everyone says everything is fine but I'm beginning to get worried.
ICU day 11 was a Sunday. I was banned from visiting you today. Jeremy said he thought I might be getting sick. The update for today was no different really than yesterday. Your toxin levels are still up and they are in a holding pattern till something changes. I hear you were groggy and sleepy today. Your wound was about the same still bandaged and not on a vac. Your grogginess is concerning me a bit but after all you've been through I guess it's not out of the ordinary. No one else seems concerned so ill let it go for now. Your nurses do take good care of you. I'm not complaining but I am concerned. Your in good hands though Terry. The Lord has this under control. There is no place where you are out of his sight. He calls you by name. You are His child and He loves you dearly. We all love you T.
I'm not quiet up to date yet but hopeful that will be soon.
Remember God has this under control. No worries.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
ICU Day 3
It's Saturday October 5th your third day in ICU. It's been another great day for improvements. Early this morning around 5am your heart rhythm went from an atrial fibrillation pattern to a regular steady heart beat. You are also breathing extra breaths on your own over your ventilator today. On average you are breathing about 4 breaths a min on your own. Good job Terry. We tell you this all the time. Every time we get good news we tell you what a good job you are doing and how strong you are. You have your own personal cheerleaders Terry. The doctors also decided to discontinue the sedation meds. Your nurse said the sedation meds are short lived in the average body but for you it may take sometime to completely wake up considering your kidneys are not filtering like they should. I was a little disappointed that they decided to eliminate the sedation factor of your treatment. I wanted you to heal more before they allowed you to wake up. I didn't want you to be in pain. They have their reasons though. They want you to get stronger, not weaker. I agree and I understand. They say it may take a week to fully come out of the sedation. We were also told they expect you to remain in ICU for another 2 weeks. The doctors and nurses have really been dancing around this subject. I'm glad to have an answer but to tell you the truth I was a little shocked. Two weeks seems so long. Your care is more than time though T. Time is becoming an obsolete question and factor. It doesn't really matter in the long run. You are where you are and God is there with you.
Chris is being such a sweetheart to you. He loves to see your blue eyes. He asks you to open your eyes quite often and you do Terry. He wants to keep asking you but he is trying to let you rest. When you do open your eyes you still don't focus on us but we know you hear us. We know you are in there slowly coming back to us. Chris has been in good spirits today. Seeing your eyes is a joy to his soul. He continues to talk to you about who has called and who is visiting. He lets you know if he leaves the room, where he is going and when he will be back. He and I are very well versed in your treatment and care and continue to educate those that come to visit.
I've been in trouble a few times for being what Jeremy calls bossy and demanding. Jeremy says I'm being to overprotective. I've told him and Chris that I can't help it. It's my mama qualities kicking into overdrive. On one hand you have Chris who is sweet, gentle and accepting when he talks with the nurses and doctors and then you have, me. I need to know what, when, where, why and how. I feel out of control here and the more I understand about what is going on with you the better I feel. I'm still nice but I guess I need to work on it. This makes me laugh though because it's not my regular personality. But hey, a girl has to do what a girl has to do. I'll fight for you T. I'll protect you from what I can. The cruel irony is I can't really do much of anything. We know someone who can though. He is our peace our comfort and our hope. He continues to carry you in your time of need. He continues to watch and protect you like I only wish I could. You are His child and He does love you.
I'm blessed to be here with you Terry. I look forward to talking to you in the next few days my friend.
Remember, God has this under control.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
ICU Day 2
Today is Friday October 4th day 2 in ICU Terry. You have some improvement today. We were able to see those blue eyes of yours. Chris was delighted beyond belief. When you open your eyes Terry you never look at any of us. You look straight up. I've thought about this a lot because when you look straight up you also try to move your hand up. I can tell by the look in your eyes that your not exactly there when this is happening. It intrigues me though. I'll tell ya what I think Terry. This is just my own opinion and observation but I think that in your state of being in between you can see that, that is in between. I don't think your alone. I think you see something. The reason I think this is because you reach with your hands straight up. It's not an irrational movement. It has intent behind it. There is intent in your eyes to look straight up. It comforts me to know you are being watched and that you are never alone.
You went a long time with no blood flow to your legs T. It caused some of your leg muscle to die. We were told late last night that your body is trying to process all the dead muscle tissue and the lactic acid your living and traumatized muscles are giving off. It's a big load on your system. Your having a hard time with it and your kidneys are suffering. The doctor said you will need to be put on a blood filtration system. It's basically dialysis. They have not yet said how long you will need all this extra help. It's up to you Terry. It's up to The Lord. All is being done here to support and maintain your life. God is in control though and great strides are being made daily to prove His power and love for you. Just like when I came in today T. I was expecting to see yet another machine in your tiny room filtering your blood through yet another attachment to your body. Nothing seemed new. I looked around and realized it wasn't here. I asked the nurse if you had already been taken off the blood filtration machine. He said your kidneys decided to work last night and you didn't need it. Praise The God of all that is, was, and will be. Another jump in progress Terry. God is good.
Your friends and family continue to visit you and pray for you. Several have asked if they could help when Chris goes back to work on Monday. Crystal and I are putting a list together. We are so blessed to have you here Terry. I know this isn't ideal but I'm looking and searching for God in all that I see . It's hard not to ask why. It seems today I have done a lot of whys. I'll never get the answer but I do have comfort. Our God is amongst us all. He cares for us. I can see it daily in so many things through this trial. You would be amazed T. Nah, amazed is not the word you would use. You expect these wonderful things in life. You would probably say something like, don't April, God will never leave or forsake us. True T, very true. You talk with me even in your slumber.
Continue to sleep and heal my friend.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
ICU Day 1
I arrived to see you on Thursday knowing you would be sedated and on a ventilator. I thought I had prepared myself. I thought I knew what I would see. Terry, there was nothing that could have prepared me for the sight of your still, life supported body. A dozen different tubes, IVs, cuffs and patches used up every available visible space on your body. You were medically sedated. Your body had been through a lot and it needed to begin the repair process. A long sleep was the best way for the doctors to keep you stable. You were put on a ventilator to support your body and let it rest. I was under the impression you could breath if you weren't hooked up to the ventilator, but later on I realized that no, you couldn't breath. You were far to weak. I cried and stroked your forehead. Where was my Terry? Your body was here but you my friend were gone somewhere in between. In between a breathing life and a living life. Your soul was quiet. It lay sleeping while buzzers and beeps, from the room full of computer screens big and small, made my heart jump in a panic. I looked you over making sure nothing was amiss. Chris must have seen my distress. He explained to me what he knew about each machine and each attachment to your body. Your nurse was always on his feet. He checked every vital sign, every wound, every IV and every message from his computer. Vials and bags of fluid were filled and replaced. I was impressed with the care he was taking with you. It was as if you were the only person that mattered.
At this point, even early on, Chris had become friends with each person that laid a hand on you. Terry, he talked to you. He talked to you as if you weren't sleeping. He told you he loved you. When someone came in he would tell you. He said look at her, my beautiful wife. I can't wait to see her blue eyes. He was amazing. His faith steady and strong. He was your strength and peace while you lay helpless and sleeping.
The doctors were pleased with your surgery. They said you were stable but critical. There was a lot of talk about possible issues that could arise. They warned and at the same time assured us that all was going well. I guess it's a doctor thing. It aggravates me but I'm getting use to it. They are most impressed by your color. We all are Terry. It's a wonderful pink. Your legs and feet are warm and cozy. The first thing I did when I saw you was look at and feel your feet. The last time I had seen you they were purple and blue and ice cold. Life had returned to your legs Terry. It was a joy to see and feel your pink little feet. You should probably know that every person that has came to visit you has gazed upon and felt your pink little feet. It never gets old. It's always a reminder of how far you've come. Several visitors have came to visit and pray for you today. Our wonderful elders were there just before I arrived. Your support system is strong and it's growing daily. I've spent the majority of the day updating all the people who love and care for you. You are blessed T. Blessed with friends and family who are continuously praying for your recovery. Most importantly you are blessed to know the maker of the wind. God is truly around and about you.
Sleep away my Terry. God has this under control.