"Miracles are never wrought without prayer, felt need, and faith...they are the natural result of the Messiah's presence among men."
Bible Dictionary

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 29, Sunday

I've realized it's hard to get the word out to everyone about the blog. I apologize to those who are just finding out. The purpose was to keep friends and family up-to-date "en mass" without having to individually keep in touch with everyone, but that doesn't work if people don't know about it. So, if you follow the blog and know other friends of Stephen, maybe mention it...just in case they would be interested. Some days I struggle to find anything of interest, so I might have to stretch for something to say worth your time. If I imagine myself far away and not in the hospital everyday, I guess there are a million details to cover, but now those things seem as common place as everyday routines. I'll try to share more of them with you.

Because it is a three day weekend, Spencer gets to spend another night and go to rehab with Stephen tomorrow. That means I'm in the real world at home. I should mention Grandma Penny went home today. She has been here for a month and kept down the fort with laundry, shopping, school work, errands, etc. We are grateful for all the help. We have a couple of days on our own before Grandma Croshaw comes, so we'll see how we do on our own. I ran a few errands on Saturday to Walmart and the library, and I have to admit it's odd to be out among people doing regular things. I guess time as stopped for me and things are all out of place, but life still goes on for everyone else as if nothing happened. I wonder how many other people are walking around trying to keep up with regular stuff when things are anything but regular, and they might have a heavy load of care weighing them down. All the more reason to smile and be kind to strangers in the elevator, in the grocery line, or on the street. That being said, I'm never quite sure what to say when I'm asked how we are doing. I love to know that people are concerned and we are in their prayers, because it would be so much harder to do this without the support of so many of you. I try my best to let everyone know that we are doing well, truly we are doing well. Things are difficult, yes, but we are doing well under the circumstances. Sometimes I think I may not express myself convincingly, but that's just because I might struggle to find the right words at that moment. Sometimes I just can't go into all the details and just need a hug and a smile, and other times I might need to talk it out. I worry that I don't give everyone enough time, please understand.

Well, here's the real news about Stephen. This is about him after all, right? On Friday we loaded up in the rehab bus for a lunch outing with two other patients. We went to a old-school sandwich place in Phoenix. It looked like it came straight from Miami. It was fun for Stephen to drive around and get out. It was also pretty tiring, so he slept for a long time Friday afternoon and then for some reason on Friday night, he woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep, causing a little anxiety. So Spence got out the laptop and starting playing old broadcasts of BYU basketball games around 3 or 4 in the morning. I would of never thought of that...good going Spence. Saturday night he slept fine for Mark, so hopefully that was just a one time thing. Saturday he left the hospital with Treyson, Jake, and Ty to the pizza place across the street, (ssshhh! against hospital policy) and Sunday night we had a fun visit with Mark and Alexis and Annie from Idaho, plus Megan and Layne Varney. He also got to talk to Pres. Gulbrandsen in Argentine. His spirits were good and we had a few good laughs. He is just awesome and I am overwhelmed by how much I love him and all my family.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 26th, Thursday

Stephen is really disappointed right now...we just watched the Bulls lose it in the final minutes of the game, which is especially discouraging after the Thunder did the same thing last night. Not that Stephen is a big fan of Chicago or OKC, but he was looking forward to as much basketball on TV as possible. Bummer! At least there is the French Open to look forward to, but that is only on in the morning and early afternoon, so we have to squeeze it in at breakfast and in between therapies. Since he isn’t as tired at lunch time he has managed to keep his eyes open for a little tennis then too. Plus, the pulmonologist reduced his respiratory treatments to twice a day, so he has an extra half hour in the morning! So he has a pleasant distraction to look forward to every morning for awhile. Today the neurosurgeon came by and decided to order a few more xrays with the neck extended back and tuck forward, so we went back to radiology just when we thought we were going to bed. It’s a good thing, but doesn’t anyone in the hospital believe in letting patients get rest? We’ll be interested to see the results.
Our OT explained today that he thinks Stephen will have more consistent, stronger movement if he had more sensation because if he could feel his triceps, for example, it would be easier to “find them” in the exercises. That makes sense. As we learn more about spinal cord injuries, the more complicated and challenging it is. I am reminded that we need to pray as if It all depended on the Lord and act as if it all depended on us. That means we need to be involved with the family training and planning, not knowing the Lord’s plans and purposes but having faith in Him and letting Him know our greatest desires. We need to make we ask regularly for Stephen to be healed, have movement and sensation in his hands, chest, and legs and that he would be able to fulfill his mission, according to His will. I know the Lord knows my heart and mind without needing to pray, but prayer is the way to humble ourselves and worship Him as we commune reverently and then receive answers from Him. Please continue to include Stephen in your prayers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 23, Monday

It's Monday and the beginning of another week. We try our best not to count the days backward or forwards, because it makes time go by slower. This has only been 5 1/2 weeks from the beginning, a relatively short period of time compared to what we have ahead of us. However, we have lots of dates to look forward to, which give us motivation and a goal to work toward every day. There is the anticipated time to go home, 5 to 7 weeks, the best guess of the doctors and therapists. We still have to decide on a date for Sarah's baptism and Stephen's temple trip, which will be probably be around the same time. Of course we also have Stephen's mission report date to work toward. We have hope and faith in a recovery in a "miraculous time" and look foward to that happening. Everything else, we will just take in stride as we are faced with decisions, such as summer plans, home modifications, and equipment purchases. We will do what's necessary for the moment, those things will work out for the best.

Stephen had an xray today to look at the vertbrae and help decide when to take off the neck brace even for short periods of time to strengthen the neck. I'm getting used to seeing it on and it will be odd to see him without it. That was a different break in the day, kinda of big outing for the day...very exciting. It meant that he didn't get in his regular "naptime", but actually it seems like he needs less sleep and has more energy. That's an improvement. He is using less energy for breathing and coughing and has more energy to use for actual therapy and exercises. Now that he is doing so much better, we are starting to pray more for movement and sensation to improve and strengthen. Those who have seen him lately, keep on telling him he looks so much better, not that he didn't look great before....but he feels better too. That is a great way to start the week.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22

This is Sunday evening, and I'm back on the cot! Stephen had a great Sabbath day. Our young men continue to bring him the sacrament every Sunday and he has a "study time" with Spencer where they read the lessons online. He does his best to make Sunday a special day in the hospital. We were talking about attending mass at the hospital chapel. Maybe he can get out of bed early enough one Sunday to do that, since he usually sleeps in on his days off. Bishop Myers came by today and he was able to have his interview for a temple recommend. He is anticipating this and wondering about going as soon as possible. He was in great spirits tonight and we had quite a large family gathering in the common room, plus Senora Taft was able to visit again. Physically, he is feeling much stronger and has less coughing up secretions. His leg is less swollen from the blood clots and he has more appetite. Tonight when he was eating I noticed him reaching up and scratching the side of his nose...what a small and simple miracle!

I just have a few thoughts...for those of you who follow my babblings. We are learning about patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. I think the neurophysiologist and Carol, the head of the program whom I really adore, are both waiting for us to have a breakdown eventually. Carol keeps on asking me probingly, “How are you doing?”. I keep on smiling and telling her we are great. She keeps on telling me that I’m such a great mom and she loves Stephen. I will have to tell her one day that the only way that I’m keeping up with this day after day is because Christ is carrying us through it. He is strengthening us beyond our own means. Sometimes people think that we aren’t given more than we can handle, like Nephi 3:7, but that’s not it….Heavenly Father gives us more than we can handle on our own so that we can learn to rely on the atonement to make it through our trials. I know what it feels like to be encircled with His arms. I know that you do too, in your own lives and trials. That is how we come to know Him. I have always been a worrier, and this has cured me of worry. I know it is in the Lords’ hands and am peace to wait for His purposes to be revealed. I’ll admit, sometimes something will happen that will cause me to pause and remind myself to exercise my faith, like a muscle that needs to be strengthened regularly. That is where prayer, study, and sharing our testimonies with each other come into play. I can’t depend on spiritual witnesses from weeks ago, unless I have the spirit with me now to know that they were indeed from Heavenly Father. I need to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost through constant prayer, because Satan is just waiting to bring discouragement, doubt, and fear and we are constantly on our guard to chase him out. He can have no room in our lives during this trial. One of the ways to build our faith is to keep the commandments...quoting Elder Scott from Bro. Benson's talk today!

We love you all...good night!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19th

Today is the 5th week since the accident. Not an anniversary we want to celebrate necessarily, but one to recognize and remember. We had a little mini-celebration by walking/driving across the street to the barbershop so Stephen could get a much anticipated haircut, the first one in awhile. They did it right in the wheelchair, and it looks great. It was a legitimate barbershop and I felt a little out of place, being the only female, but I guess there is nothing better than watching ESPN and talking sports with strangers while you get your haircut. Apparently, it is the place to go with pictures of Shaq and Raja Bell, former customers, up on the wall. Thanks Mark for showing up and going with us, it was great to have some company. We also went next door and Stephen ordered a real cheeseburger and good fries. They tasted delicious, if only he had the appetite to eat them all. Therapies went well, and Stephen was luckily awake for a few visitors at night too. Physically, Stephen's lungs are doing great, the blood clots will dissolve in a few days with the medication. The medication is making his heart rate jump a little high, but that's not a big concern. So, Stephen is feeling good, and ready to do some work.

I am impressed with the "quiet dignity and magestic meekness" that Stephen is developing as he deals with this humbling and debilitating condition. I was reading about meekness in Matthew 29, and how we need to learn from Christ to be meek and lowly in heart. Christ was meek because he was never weary in well-doing, by being patient in times of tribulation, and by submitting His will to the will of the Father in all things. These are lessons we are learning. Stephen is learning real compassion for others, especially anyone suffering. He feels their pains internally and prays for them. He does what he can to be cheerful and kind to the other patients here, and they all seem to be in the same mindset. Suffering can teach us so much. After all, the meek shall inherit the earth. Let's all try to have more compassion towards others and have a great day!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18

Just one of those days....you know not enough time in the day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17

I am home tonight and Spencer is spending the night with Stephen in the hospital. He had an excellent sleep last night and was able to sleep in a little because his schedule started later than usual. So, we were off to a good start for the day. However, we had some tough spots during the day. His antibiotics are making him nauseous and he didn't have much appetite for lunch. That's a good thing, because he got sick during therapy and threw up whatever was in his stomach. They have another medication to treat the nausea, but he was avoiding it because the side effects would make him more sleepy. He also had a lot of coughing up stuff during therapy, which is difficult when we aren't in the room with the suctioning machine. So, he had to spit into washcloths all day. That really isn't anything too new or terrible to complain about, but the blood clots in the right leg discovered in the ultrasound this afternoon are a little frustrating. So, we are adding more medications to dissolve them, including twice daily shots in the stomach. He had a filter inserted under his kidney the second day in the ICU to catch any blood clots. We have known they were common risk from his legs not moving regularly. It's just a little frustrating that he has multiple blood clots and wasn't on medication to prevent them. So, something new to pray for...please pray that the blood clots will dissolve and start praying for Stephen's doctors. We are doing all that we can to be actively involved in his treatments and care, but we don't have medical degrees (although we might by the time this is done) and have to place our trust in them. We need to include them in our prayers, that they will be inspired to give him the best treatments and medications and that his body will respond to the medications. Thank you so much for all your prayers and concern.

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16th, Monday

Today we got to see what Stephen really is made of. He basically had a miserable night last night, with a high fever and lots of suctioning. They decided to do a chest xray and draw blood for a culture around 3 or 4 AM. (Can't really remember because the whole night was a blur.) Anyhow, he was able to drift back to sleep for a few hours after that. When we woke up in the morning, we had a OT session beside at 8:30 for half an hour. After that, the nurse and tech were able to help Stephen quickly get out of bed and in the wheelchair for PT at 9:30. He still had a fever, but had taken some tylenol and it was going away. The therapist and nurse told him that they would only do what he was up for and if he wasn't feeling good to speak up and call it quits. Stephen drove off to the gym and did it all, no taking it easy. I know he was exhausted, but he knows he's got to put in the work when it's time to work, and sleep whenever he can. As far as the fever goes, he still has it and his blood tests came back with a high white blood cell count, indicating an infection. The cultures aren't back yet. His lungs are good in the xray, so it probably isn't there. He is coughing up a lot of secretions, mostly due to an adjust in medications. We had 3 respiratory sessions today, lasting anywhere from 1/2 hour to 1 hour. It's all about keeping the lungs clear. If you are wondering what to pray for today, we want this infection to clear up quickly so the fever will subside. Of course we are very pleased to report day two of no oxygen!! Yes, he still is breathing oxygen, but all from room air...not from a tank...to be perfectly clear to those jokesters out there.

I have some great inspiration thoughts, but am too tired to think clearly now. I do want to say what a great chance it was for me to get back to some normalacy and teach the young women yesterday at church. I loved telling them about the temple and sharing my testimony with them about how excited Stephen is to get out of here so he will be able to go for his first time. For those of you who are able to attend a temple, think of Stephen when you go and take him there with you!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 15

This is another catch up for the last two days. Spencer was here on weekend duty, plus Uncle Mark stayed overnight on Saturday so Spence could go to his early (6 am) stake meetings, which he hasn't been to for the last month. So, Friday late afternoon Stephen took a nap, as usual. However, he slept on through the night, with a brief wake up for the Quarantas, who came to adjust his glasses. When he woke up on Saturday, he calculated a total of 16 1/2 hours of solid sleep. I have to admit, I'm a little jealous of the sleep. Saturday he hung out with cousin Dan Johnson, so Spencer and I could attend the temple. Thank you Dan! He didn't have any therapy on Saturday, so it was a day to just relax. The last few days he has had a lot of coughing up secretions around 7 pm, just like clockwork. Sometimes he can cough for a good hour, which is the best way to keep his lungs clear, but can really mess up the nightime dinner, visiting, and bed routine. We are really pleased with Sunday's progress. He was oxygen free for the day, with his oxygen saturation measuring in the mid-90s. That was our goal since the broncoscopy on Wednesday. Yeah! The pulmonologist also said that his breathing was getting stronger and more in the chest and shoulders than before. That is what we have been praying for. We are grateful for the progress. Thanks for all the comments and messages and a big thank you to the Chapples for the BYU basketball signed by the team! We had to examine it closely after you left to try and decifer the signatures. Very cool!

Friday, May 13, 2011

may 12

May 12, 2011
This entry will be for the last two days. Apparently Blogger is have some maintenance issues and was in read-only mode today, so it wouldn’t allow me to make a post. Sorry, I had a few followers calling me to find out the latest. I didn’t realize how important it was for you to get the minute by minute play-calls from rehab. I will try to give you more details. To us they seem a little repetitive and mundane, but for those of you who aren’t able to be here in person, I understand that it is important to know as much as possible.
On Wednesday (the 11th) we started off the day with a broncoscopy to clean out the lower left lobe of the lung, the largest of the six lobes. It is the lobe they have been concerned with all along. After the scope, it is sounding much better. To us a bronc seems like a miserable, invasive procedure that we would rather avoid, but to the pulmonologist it is a routine, no big deal thing. I’m starting to understand his point of view, because afterwards Stephen was up and feeling awesome and completely off oxygen. We went for a cruise in the wheelchair to the main building to get something to eat with another girl in rehab, Eden, and the PT therapist, Melissa, and Gus, the recreational therapist. By lunch time he was exhausted again and back on some oxygen, but much less than before. His poor nose is raw from the cannula and the scope, so they gave him a different cannula with a little well instead of the prongs. He continues to be on oxygen, especially at night when his breathing naturally slows down and after rehab when he is exhausted. The good news is his lungs are clear. Between the meds, the schedule, workouts, and basically the healing process, he is exhausted. We wake him up for dinner at 6:00 and hang out for a little and then start getting ready for bed. I know Stephen loves to sleep, but this is extreme sleep. That leaves hardly any time for him to make phone calls, read (even blog posts or facebook), or dictate notes. He knows all of you are out there sending your love and will eventually be able to send it back. It would be nice to spend some time studying espanol, and taking his finals, but we haven’t gotten there yet, he needs SOME downtime. Luckily it’s the NBA playoffs and it’s nice for him to catch a few minutes of basketball at night, just to keep things somewhat normal and escape from the hospital world.
He is making more progress with his fingers, thumb, wrists, and triceps. They are improving a little each day. It takes extreme concentration and effort to move his thumb a flicker, and bring in fingers in an inch. Last week he started just triggering the tricep, now he can extend his arm from his chest out to 90 degrees, pushing for more. His therapists are really pleased. He sat up the other day for 2 minutes, balancing with his shoulders, biceps, and neck. We are grateful to see the improvements, they are motivating and keep us optimistic and encouraged. A couple of days ago the toes on his left foot started flexing in periodically. The first time I saw it, I was totally aghast thinking Stephen was doing it, but it is involuntary. However, it is still interesting to the doctor and therapist, because it is different from a muscle spasm, which SCI (spine cord injury) patients deal with regularly. They said it was a signal getting through. So, we shall see!
Tomorrow (the 14th) marks one month since the accident. Time as gone slower for me than the last month of a pregnancy. With so much emotion, anxiety, anticipation, and exhaustion packed into such a short time, we have been in overload and a high adrenaline rush. The adrenaline is starting to calm down, and we are starting to settle in more with a day to day schedule. The challenge will be to keep up the motivation and optimism day to day. I have learned to have a constant prayer in my heart, and find myself talking to Heavenly Father about everything throughout the day. I know Stephen does as well. That is the only answer to find peace and joy in the midst of a trial.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 10

There are days that we are just so busy, I can't get to the computer and some days that I have to try over and over to log onto the hospital server. Yesterday and today have been those kind of days, productive and exhausting. Every time Stephen has a spare half hour he closes his eyes and takes a cat nap. He is still on oxygen at 5 liters, which is a pretty high level. Plus he has an oxymizer, which is a little circular reservoir to boost his oxygen intake. He has a bad spot in the lower left lung, that was heading toward pneumonia, but is getting better in every xray. He hasn't done any coughing up secretions for 2 days now, and his xrays show improvement. The plan is to make sure they are clear tomorrow, possibly meaning another "bronc" scope/cleaning. After that, they will wean him off the oxygen. His tiredness is related to the breathing difficulties,, so hopefully if we can get his lungs healthy and stronger, he will have more energy. He was breathing exercises to do in his so-called spare time to help him strengthen his diaphram and breath deeply. On other fronts, he is working on triceps, biceps, wrists, and fingers. His therapist is genuinely pleased with his progress. We've been told that if they are excited take it to heart, because they don't want to give you false hopes. He also said his trunk is getting stronger. In PT, he practices sitting up, by finding his balance point and using his shoulders, neck, and head to stay there. He is a little hunched over when he sits, but does really well. As we watch the other patients do a variety of leg exercises, I can't help but wonder how long until Stephen is using those machines. I realize it will be in the Lord's time, but sometimes I wish I knew the conversion rate between my time and His. I have learned to enjoy the moments as they come and to appreciate each small improvement as they come. I always like surprises, so I will just look forward to being surprised.

I was reading a great little book today by Camille Fronk Olson, entitled "Too Much to Carry Alone". I remembered this talk from Women's Conference at BYU years ago. She talks ago taking upon us the yoke of Christ, that our burdens may be light. She mentions that being a disciple of Christ is not praying that God be for us, but rather in praying that we be for Him. In all of this, we need to be witnesses of Him, and His love and plan for Stephen. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Thank you for your prayers! Please pray for clean lungs and less oxygen. Stephen loves all of you so much!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8th

Happy Mother's Day to everyone! I'm just about ready to hit the cot, but thought I'd better make an update first. Stephen's already tucked in and sleeping well, hoping to get in a few hours before they come wake us up for respiratory treatments, meds, and rotating. Stephen had a good weekend with Spencer and I enjoyed time at home, although I think I almost sleep better at the hospital (that might have something to do with hot air balloons flying over our house at 6 am and our dog). Anyway, when I'm at the hospital I have a "mama bear" mentality of protecting my cub and making sure he's getting the best care. When I'm not at the hospital, I'm bugging Spence to make sure he's drinking his protein shakes and doing his respiratory exercises. I know I've always been a little bit of a drill sergeant with my kids, and that's definately not changing now, although I am trying to be a kind and patient task master.

Stephen is doing well. We are staying on top of the respiratory treatments to keep his lungs clear. We continue to wait and pray for his muscles to start getting stronger to help him breath deeply. He usually spends a good amount of time at night coughing and clearing out secretions before he can sleep. That can be hard work and really exhausting. He won the admiration of Deb, tonight's resp. therapist, by all his hard work. He's also learned to get rest during the day and night, so he will have all the strength he can muster up for the therapy.

I'm so grateful to be a mother and thankful for all my children. I'm grateful for all that Stephen is teaching me through this experience. I am amazed by his courage and faith. What a lesson it is to be able to serve him in this way. I have learned to love him in the moment, just for who he is and nothing else. Completely unconditionally. I know the Savior understands the grief of mothers as they watch their children suffer, considering his own mother as she knelt at the cross. I know he has great compassion for us as we pray on behalf of our children with complete faith. Thank you for all the prayers you continue to utter for Stephen. We must continue on in faith, working hard and waiting for the hand of the Lord. Here's to the start of a great week!

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6

We ♥ Stephen Merrill fundraiser shirts are in! Call or text (480)242-7634 (Roger) or (480)313-7331 (Dusti) or (623)363-2536 (LaDawn Resendez) to order one! They are $15. Spread the word, WE LOVE STEPHEN MERRILL. Small, Med, Lg, XL, XXL.

Pictures are on "We love Stephen Merrill" Facebook page. We'll work on getting them on the blog as well. They look awesome! Thanks to everyone who put them together. We're going to give them to our therapists here in the rehab to wear. They go perfectly with the Chuck Norris poster in his room.

By the way, Stephen Merrill's smile once brought a puppy back to life!

We are back at rehab this morning and Stephen had some faint pulling in of his fingers on the right hand. Let's see if we can replicate it tomorrow!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May 5th

This is coming to you from the rehab unit, NOT the ICU! Yeah! In order to get here, Stephen had to endure another "bronc" treatment. That was his third treatment since Saturday, and the most painful part of this whole experience thus far. No pain, no gain, right? Anyway, his respiratory doctor, Dr. Sou, said he was clear to go back to rehab and they would stay on top of things there. So, we are adding in more procedures and therapies to an already very busy schedule. We have learned that this is going to be the biggest battle for us right now. Anyway, Stephen slept and slept and slept today. Hopefully, all this sleep will mean he's got lots of energy to get back to work tomorrow.

While Stephen slept today I had some extra time on my hands, which let me do a lot of reading. I spent a lot of time on lds.org reading talks on healing and faith. How grateful we are for the restoration of the priesthood on the earth. We continue to strengthen our faith and fortify Stephen's faith to receive the promises he's been given. I was also able to spend extra time reading the scriptures. I'll share just one in Mosiah chapter 24. "And I will ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders that ye may stand as witnesses of me hereafter that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions...and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord..so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord...Be of good comfort for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage." It is amazing how a scripture we have read and known for years suddenly has new meaning.

Thank you for all you've done, the prayers and fasting, temple attendance and putting Stephen's names on the various temple rolls. Please continue to do so, because the names are removed after 2 weeks. Also, please continue to pray specifically for Stephen's lungs and breathing. We sincerely appreciate all of your support.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 4

For awhile this morning we thought we were going back "home" to the neuro rehab unit. Yeah!! But the doctor decided to keep us here one more night to make sure we have this breathing thing under control. Basically, it's difficult for the nerves to send all kinds of messages, not just sensation and movement, but it also affects how Stephen regulates body temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation. He is learning how to compensate and adjust. Actually, we have come to realize how well he recovered in the ICU in Utah. Originally, the doctor had said it would probably take 3 weeks, that was assuming that he would have a tracheotomy and/or ventillator for some time and more respiratory trouble. His PT on Monday was actually shocked when we told her Stephen hadn't been "trached". She told him that she would remember him forever because of that, and he told her that she would remember him for more than that. She would remember him when all the doctors paraded him around and came to observe his remarkable recovery. So, perhaps the respiratory difficulties have come a little later than expected, perhaps they are brought on by more increased exercise and movement, but this will pass soon enough.

I need to go, but thought I would pass on another perfect General Conference talk from April. It has given us more understanding and might help you as well in your lives. The link is...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 3

Yesterday morning we had some good progress in OT. Steve, the therapist, was able to detect pronation and supponation in the wrists and faint movement in the triceps. Also, Stephen's sensation in his thumb is getting stronger. Those are good signs that the movement and sensation are improving below the C5 vertebrae. We are grateful for the good news, because the rest of the day Stephen was having difficulting with his lungs. The doctors were concerned with his oxygen saturation and mucus in his lungs. They were doing various treatments throughout the day to loosen the mucus and clear it out and eventually decided to move him back to the ICU to treat it aggressively. So we've been here since the around 1 am. The treatments are pretty brutal and once again Stephen is winning over nurses with his willingness to submit to all things without complaint. I will never be able to complain about anything ever again with a clear conscience after watching everything Stephen has been put through. We are still waiting for the cultures to come back. The worry is developing pneumonia, we are hopeful that they will be negative and we can move back to to the rehab floor. Our room is still there, decorated to the max, and I'm not moving anything out.

We continue to rely on prayer and appreciate all your prayers. We would like to suggest some things to pray for specifically. Please pray that Stephen's lungs will be clear and healthy and that the muscles and diaphram surrounding his lungs will be strengthened so he can breathe deeply. Also pray that the movement and sensation will grow stronger and extend below his spinal cord injury and that the contussions on his spinal cord will heal. We are grateful for your faith on our behalf and know that our prayers are heard.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1st, The Evening Post

Stephen had a great "day of rest" today. Last night he woke up around 12 am and was having a hard time coughing etc. The nurses were trying to clear his lungs with various treatments. Finally, after about an hour, he asked Spencer to give him a blessing to be able to sleep. Spencer explained to the nurse what he was going to do and immediately after the blessing he went to sleep. The nurse thought he probably would only last 2 more hours and then they would have to do it all over again. However, he slept all night and into the morning. The Stake Presidency came to visit around 9:30 and Stephen was still snoozing. Pres. Jones was able to give Spencer a wonderful blessing for which he was truly grateful. The blessing confirmed that all the previous blessings given to Stephen were given righteously through the priesthood and would come to pass in due time. He let us know that we have done everything we need to do and the rest is in God's hands. Once again, we were given a peaceful assurance from the Holy Ghost. Stephen finally woke up sometime during Spencer's blessing and was able to take the sacrament administered by the Pres. Pratt and Pres. Lewis and had a nice visit with them. After Spencer's blessing, I felt a load lifted off my shoulders and completely burden free for the rest of the day. It was nice to go to my ward for church and to have the chance to hug so many of you. It was also a joy for me to share my testimony of the things I know to be true.

Because there is no therapy on Sunday, Stephen was able to visit with lots of friends and family. Thanks to everyone who came up for encouraging Stephen and letting him know that you are rooting for him to get better. We realize its a little bit of a drive, but you have no idea how much we appreciate a familiar face around here. So now Stephen prefers to spend most of the day in his wheelchair out in the lobby and out of the room. We took of couple of walks and experimented with the "rabbit" speed mode (vs. turtle speed), even upping it to "drive 2". That was fun for us to try and keep up with him. Anyway, he was exhausted by bedtime and feel asleep immediately.
They continue to work to clear out the mucus and keep his lungs clear. They are also monitoring his oxygen saturation and heart rate. Right now an alarm is going off every minute for his heart rate monitor, so I can forget getting any sleep. Somehow Stephen is sleeping through it all. No fair!!

May 1st

I'm sorry to have missed a few days. We had a changing of the guard at the hospital, and I haven't taken the time since I've been home to spend much time on the computer. Spencer has been there the last two nights. On Saturday night even Nathan got to stay for the night. It'll be interesting to see how much sleep they got, considering the small fold out cot and non-reclining chair. Not that one gets much sleep in the hospital to begin with. But Nathan jumped at the invitation to spend the night with Stephen.

Friday Stephen was given a new wheelchair and did such a great job sitting up and driving around the hospital and outside that we were given permission to roam as much as we'd like. Freedom from the room! The doctor on Friday rounds told us that he was initially categorized as a "C4 complete" and now they consider him a "c5 incomplete" because he has some additional movements in his forearms -pronation and supponation. That was encouraging. This OT, Susan was really excited on Friday afternoon with his strength and improvement. Her eyes got big and she got the other OT in the room to look at his progress as well. So, those were some good moments in the day.

Saturday, Mark came to spend some day with Stephen while Spencer and I went to the temple. When Spencer got back, Stephen was having some respiratory problems and they gave him a CT scan to make sure his lungs were clear. They had to do some NT suctioning treatments, and broncho treatments. He was given oxygen and hopefully his lungs will stay strong. After all of that, he was exhausted and fell asleep early. Sorry to those friends who had planned to come last night, we'll find another day that works better.

Today is Fast Sunday again. I think every day will be Fast Sunday for the next little while, am and I am grateful for the strength that comes through fasting. We are planning to visit Stephen early this morning before our ward, and I will ask him what he would say if he were bearing his testimony. Oh, the things we have learned and know for a sure knowledge in such a short time!

I want to share a scripture I found in the temple yesterday, which once again has strengthened my faith. It is in Romans 4:16-22. It is too long to type, I encourage you to look it up and read it, perhaps it will strengthen your faith as well.