Saturday, September 26, 2009

Update #55 on Kevin

Yesterday, we drove to St. Louis and back to get some of our belongings that were left behind in Italy, including our dog, Brinkley. We left Tulsa around 5:30 AM. I am not a morning person. Angie is not a morning person. We aren’t used to seeing sunrises. So, as we were driving, we were wondering when it was ever going to come up. It was dark and there was fog surrounding us. For an hour, we drove through varying thicknesses of the low hanging clouds. We wondered if Kevin can see, was that all he could see right now? And for us, there is a cloud over the future. What seemed so clear a month and a half ago, is veiled in a hazy mystery. Around 6:40 we started seeing depth in the fog. We saw that the sun had been rising, but wasn’t high enough to break through. There were layers of perspective going back into the short distance. Then as the sun finally pierced the fog, we were able to see through it. In fact, I don’t actually remember the point at which we could see clearly. I remember it clearing. I remember when it was thick. But the actual point in time when all was seen again, I can’t seem to recall.

The fog that surrounded us right after the accident was so thick, I could hardly breathe. I couldn’t think about future plans, I couldn’t even think about the next day. Making minor decisions were difficult and making major decisions were practically impossible and seemed to knock our breath out. Now, it is still foggy. It is a little less thick, but we are wondering when the sun will come up. Kevin has made progressions, but its slow. Will he continue to improve? Only God knows. And we can only walk through it day by day. It’s faint, but it seems like I can make out some shapes of the next few days, maybe weeks in my mind’s eye. But only God knows if it is shifting fog, as opposed to actualities.

Kevin’s vitals seemed to be doing pretty good yesterday. He had some coughing bouts though. They were going to try and take him outside yesterday evening, but didn’t due to the coughing. They wanted to get his stats calmed back down. He repeated some leg movements Thursday night. That would be two nights in a row that his leg(s) has(have) been restless. I haven’t heard if he was doing it last night too. He seems to still be doing okay with the feeding plug. They have continued to monitor if anything gets left behind in his stomach or if he is digesting it all. Yesterday he was doing fairly well. They have his rate for getting food at 50. They have to work up to somewhere between 75-85 to be more normal.

Today is our dad, Bill’s, birthday. We will all be up in Kevin’s room later today with another cake to celebrate his birthday. This will be the third birthday we have celebrated as a family since Kevin’s accident.

Last night when we got back to Tulsa, we held Brinkley up in the window so he could see Kevin and the family could see him. It was a good thing for us to get our dog. Thanks for everyone who was involved in Brinkley’s adventure (April, Shauna, Carla, Echo and others who volunteered to help). He has already gotten to know, Annie, the dog at the house where we are staying. They seem like they will become fast friends. It meant so much for us to get Brinkley up there to see Kevin. He introduced to the breeder where we got Brinkley. He was the first one at our house to see Brinkley the night we brought him home. A couple weeks before we departed for Italy, Kevin took Brinkley for an afternoon. He bought him toys and snacks. Kevin loves Brinkley and we’re glad he’s back.

Please keep praying for Kevin’s complete healing. We have already seen Kevin improve and know that God has the power to continue the work.

Thanks for reading and thanks for praying,
Matt, Angie and family
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Update #54 on Kevin

Not much to update on today. Kevin did start having a fever in the afternoon. But they were able catch it and start cooling him off.

He had a couple coughing issues, but it turned out to be the angle of his head, which allowed his trach to tickle his throat.

Kevin was up in his neuro chair for several hours today. He would have went back in for a second time, but for his fever.

The respiratory therapist tried out the speaking valve, but when we got him, it was maybe too late. Kevin had already started to be worn out. He had some groaning, but nothing more.

The doctor said that he would be sending a specialist to look at Kevin’s right eye. The infection doesn’t seem to be getting better. He believes he has Kevin on the best medicine, but would like a specialist’s second opinion.

The lung doctor thought Kevin’s lungs sounded good.

Kevin has been doing okay with the feeding plug. They had restarted it last night around 5 pm. They had to stop it once during the night, but then restarted it again. He has been on it since, with the only exception being when he was in his chair.

A friend and fellow Team Expansion worker is driving our dog and stuff from Italy halfway to St. Louis tomorrow. Angie and I rented a car and are driving up. We leave around 5:30 AM. We will be picking up Brinkley at the St. Louis arch, then returning home! He will be a source of comfort for Angie, myself and the family!

After tomorrow, you should see more updates again! Thanks for reading and especially for praying,
Matt, Angie and family
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Update #53 on Kevin

Today is Jacob’s birthday. Jacob is Kevin’s youngest son. He turned 15 today. After school he came up to Meadowbrook and hung out with the family. For dinner, everybody chose something off the menu from Smashburger, a new franchise restaurant in town. They have two locations and are quickly becoming one of our favorite burger joints. Afterwards, he opened presents. We brought the cake into Kevin’s room and sang Happy Birthday to Jacob. Later, we took the cake back to the cafeteria, lit the candles and sang it again. This time, Jacob had candles to blow out.

They started his feeding tube tonight around 5 pm. Around midnight, they had to hold it off again for awhile, because he wasn’t digesting as good as they want him to be.

This afternoon, we took care of some logistical details. We had to do some things, so that we could move further with other areas.

The neurologist came in to inform us of the EEG results. She said that his brain activity was slow. To me, that is better than none. It would be interesting to see what an EEG would have showed a couple weeks ago. Are there changes? Are his synapses reconnecting and creating new paths?

Today, they moved Kevin’s ventilator out of his room. He hadn’t used it in over a week and a half. I guess he does not need it at all anymore.

Moving his feet and legs around some tonight. The interesting thing is that the movements are more random tonight. Usually, there is one movement and it is the same movement over and over again. Tonight, his legs seemed to stretch out. Then later his right foot was moving back and forth. A little later, he bounced his right foot up a couple times. In between two of the movements, he pulled his head straight forward from the position it had been in, which was leaning to the right.

Thanks for praying,
Matt, Angie and family
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Update #52 on Kevin

So Kevin is looking good with a fresh bath and a close shave.

His main doctor was in today and he told us that Kevin seemed to be doing well. His kidneys are doing fine, his white blood count is good, both of his lungs sound really good, and the right lung had trauma and pneumonia. He also said his stomach is making good bowel sounds.

Kevin does have pseudomonas, but is antibiotics were switched last Thursday to combat it. He has another micro bacteria (not sure if that’s how the dr referred to it or not, but it seems to be no big deal). Kevin’s antibiotics (he’s on two) is for both the pseudomonas and the other bacteria. His antibiotics for the C-Diff ended yesterday with its natural course, even though he was cured of it last week.

Kevin’s Physician’s Assistant said it looks like we have the GI Tract (gastrointestinal tract) thing under control now. The major functions of the GI tract are ingestion, digestion, absorption and defecation. There are still not feeding through the feeding plug, but through IV’s.

Yesterday, the doctor ordered new eye drops for Kevin’s right eye. It is red and filmed-over (the filmed-over is probably puss from an infection). It could be like pink eye, but could also could be from the pseudomonas that is in Kevin’s lungs.

We lost our second recliner today. Another patient’s room needed it. We knew this was a possibility since the day they gave it to us. But it was good while it lasted. One of us gets to sleep on the pink chairs that lean back. Hopefully, it will get comfortable with the addition of pillows.

If anyone has an extra car available, Greg could definitely use it. His car is now undrivable until there are some repairs. Call Greg to let him know if you have a loaner, at 852-0295. Thank you!

We are working on the two ways for us to get Brinkley and our stuff. Either I fly and it amounts to a whole days’ worth of travel (two flights there and two flights back) OR someone has offered to meet us halfway if we drive (either St. Louis or Memphis). If we drive we will probably have to rent a car.

Kevin’s heart rate has been dropping to a lower more normal rate. His rate last night was around 88-89 beats per minute. Yesterday and today his rate was in the low 90’s which was good. Previously, he was experiencing heart rates in the mid 100’s and 110’s before that.

There was a neurologist consult that came by yesterday and today. She ordered an EEG which was done at his bedside today. Not sure when we will hear the results, but if anything the results just give us a starting place. It will be interesting to see in a month, if he has another, what changes there would be. The neurologist doesn’t have a definitive answer on Kevin’s condition or prognosis. She thought it unlikely from his medical records that he would be experiencing alert moments. But then she continued to say, if we thought that he was to be the case, she didn’t want to stop us. Also, other therapists and doctors have seen things on their own.

Yesterday, I bought Kevin som nose hair trimmers. I knew he would want that area groomed. So today, after his shave, he was laying there in his bed, with his eyes open. I showed him the trimmers, told him what they were and what I intended to do with them. I proceeded to turn them on, so he could hear them before experiencing them,. I then inserted the trimmers into his left nostril. He did NOT like it. His eyes shut, his brows were furrowed and his face tightened up. I said, “sorry, sorry!” And then told him I would try the right nostril. He didn’t like that much better. I then told him that this was for interrupting our TV shows! No, I didn’t, I’m just kidding. I decided that I had done enough harrassment to him today.

Thanks again for praying and thinking of all of us (especially Kevin),
Matt, Angie and family

Update #51 on Kevin

“Do you like that show?” Kevin would say upon arriving 15 minutes into Lost, one of our favorite shows. I would pause it and reply with a simple yes. I would unpause it and less than a minute later, we would hear….”What’s it about?” I would repause it…..and then ask him, “Are you serious? You want me to go over the past several years’ worth of episodes for one of the most complex and intriguing shows on television?” He would reply with something like, “No, I just want to know what that guy is doing right now.” This would ensue and I would end up pausing and unpausing several times, that is until I would either stop pausing and just say something like, “It’s hard to watch this when you keep asking questions about it,” and he would say, “Oh.” Or someone would call him and he would lay on the couch on the phone the rest of the time the show was on.

The past several days, we have seen ups and downs. There was also some conflicting statements made to the family this weekend about the course of Kevin’s treatment. However, it looks like that is better and the family has been through discussions about it. It seems like when you are going through a situation like this, every little thing can feel like ‘the final straw’ and then it too lands on the camel’s back and you find out it didn’t break. Apparently, God means it when he says, “No temptation has seized you, except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” I remember learning this verse. It was in High School. I was attending a guys Bible Study. I was the only one in High School, the others were young and starting out in their careers. We went through a Navigator’s Bible Study. That verse has been so potent in my life.

Kevin’s heart rate has been great today. Right now, it is fluctuating between 88-89 beats per minute. Throughout the last week it has been between 100-111 bpm. He did expel many secretions today, but that is good and part of the process of getting off a vent and having a trach. Kevin is on two antibiotics for the pseudomonas, which is apparently a very common infection in hospitalized environments and as a result of having a trach.

Kevin’s main doctor returned today and was impressed with Kevin’s progress. He said we should continue stimulating Kevin as we have been. The doctor ordered some new eye drops for Kevin’s right eye, in case he has an infection in it like ‘pink eye’. It already looks better from the ointment and patch that is covering it.

On another note, the missions agency that Angie and I work with has graciously allowed us to take a ninety day medical furlough. As we approach the end of that ninety days, we will determine if another medical furlough is needed. We are so very thankful that we work with an organization that has the foresight and wisdom to include protocol such as this. This does not mean that I will not be working. I will remain Team Leader, and continue to guide our team as they are in various preparatory stages. If you would like to follow the ministry that God has led myself and Angie, just email us back and tell us you want to receive our general email updates.

We also have housing straightened out for now. Taylor and Kohl and staying with a relative, while Angie and I are staying with a family from church. Jacob can stay at either when he is not at his mom’s.

Thanks for reading and thanks for praying,
Matt, Angie and family
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Update #50 on Kevin

It was one month ago that we received a frantic call. We were in Italy and they told us about Kevin’s accident. Those first few hours were a blur. Sickening, stomach twisting hours that passed. We called and got what information that we could. We didn’t know what the future held.

Today, as we look back on the day of the accident, we see progress. It is slow. It is relatively small. And yet it’s still progress. There are things that Kevin is doing now, that we only dreamed about three to four weeks ago.

Not sure of the severity of Kevin’s pseudomonas. We have been told that normally pseudomonas usually causes green secretions and has a very pungent smell. Kevin’s secretions have been white or clear since around the first of last week. And there has not been a pungent smell yet.

There was a bit of blood in Kevin’s secretions during the past twenty-four hours. It could be damage to Kevin’s trachea or lungs from suctioning. Tonight’s Respiratory Therapist changed Kevin’s trach tube, so that it would be more controlled when he would be suctioned.

Kevin was wiped out yesterday after going outside for fifteen minutes. He was also in his blue neuro chair for around 7 ½ hours combined from two sessions in it on Friday. Today he had a very restful day.

Tomorrow, Kevin’s main doctor returns. We are thankful and we also have several questions. Kevin also has a neurological consult tomorrow too. We are interested to see how both of those go.

Tonight is the last night in the hotel. I think that we have situations lined up for those of us in the family from out of town (or country). Thanks so much for all the help and offers.

So for now, we don’t need more help towards housing expenses. But if preparing meals, delivering them or giving money towards meals is something that you would like to help with, we could still use help in that area. You can contact Jeff Congdon, if you would like to prepare or deliver a meal OR you can contribute to the Crosser account 4374300 at 742-DINE. Thanks for those that had contributed towards that in the past.

Thank you for praying with us this past month. We thank God for all the progress Kevin has made so far. Please join us in praying for the next month. Pray that God would continue to heal Kevin. Pray for Kevin’s caretakers to be at the top of their game. And pray for the family to lean on each other while leaning on God.

Thanks for your time, prayers and encouragement,
Matt, Angie and family
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