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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A slight delay

Well, Stephen won't be coming today, but hopefully Saturday or Sunday. Not that we are too surprised, but a little bummed. Basically, we need to make sure that his INR blood levels are therapeutic. He was taken off the coumadin for his procedure last week, and they are adjusting his levels according to the daily INR blood draws. That can be monitored from an outpatient clinic, but since it is a 3 day holiday weekend, we need to be sure his levels are stable before we go home. Today would have been a rush anyway...the van is still in route from Florida and should get here tonight or tomorrow. We still have a few things to finish up at the house too. I'm basically "nesting" at home, getting things just right before he comes home. The bathroom/door changes are looking great. The equipment has been delivered, except for the shower chair...which still needs to be worked out with insurance. There are shower chairs and then there are SHOWER CHAIRS. Apparently, we need the cadillac of shower chairs. It will work out. So, the extra days will get a chance to be completely ready. Plus, it will take us awhile to move out of that room...with all the stuff we have in there!

So, last chance to visit Stephen at the hospital!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Attention Friends and Family

This is Stephen's Aunt Robin. I helped set up this blog, but it has been a while since I've written as the primary author. I wanted to repeat something I left a couple of days ago as a comment:

To all of Stephen's friends and family: I purpose that on Fast Sunday in July (3rd), we have another intense fast for Stephen. I remember the high level of faith and prayers that seemed to be non-stop when the accident happened. I know that for most of us, those prayers have continued and our faith is strong in the blessings that Stephen has received. I know in my own home, Stephen is mentioned in every prayer! However, I would like to encourage everyone to check their faith levels on his behalf. He will be going home soon, but we also need to bump those nerves of his another step closer to recovery. Let's double or triple the intensity of our prayers. On July 3rd, everyone fast that the feeling and mobility will increase in his legs. Spend extra time in the scriptures and in prayer on his behalf. In preparation for Fast Sunday, please put his name in the temple closest to you. I remember in a blessing that Stephen was given, it mentioned the great power and faith of those petitioning Heavenly Father from both sides of the veil. Let's put everything we have in our hearts into helping Stephen in this healing process.

I remember hearing a story once from Scott Anderson. It was about a girl who was in an accident and through the faith of her friends and family, she eventually healed to a full recovery. This is our story... This is for you Stephen. We love you!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Birthday

Thanks everyone for your awesome birthday wishes, cards, and gifts. We are so blessed with great friends and family. Thanks for those who were able to come and visit at the hospital. It is nice for others to visit and see our home-away-from-home (but NOT for long!). We are counting down the days and trying to finish gathering our supplies and finish the house. Our van is on its way from Florida, hopefully it will be here on time. Everyone who was at the hospital was able to get there own "ELDER STEPHEN MERRILL" wristbands, the brainchild of Todd Shell. There are LOTS available for anyone, we'll start sending them in the mail to family and friends. Send us your address in the "comments" and how many you want...no limits. They will be a reminder of Stephen and help to remind us to "keep the faith". Thanks Todd for sending them to Argentina as well...I think that will be awesome for all the missionaries to wear them.

Thanks Robin for your comment yesterday. That would be awesome to have our faith united in prayers and fasting. Consider it a birthday gift to me (next Sunday's my birthday). Let's plan on it!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Birthday Party

This Monday is Stephen's Birthday. For anyone who wants one last chance to visit in the hospital, come for cake from 6-7ish at the Barrow Neuro Rehab at St. Joseph's Hospital, building 240 on the 2nd floor in the main gym. Let me know if you can come and need directions. Thanks! Genny 480-603-7809.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Report...back to Rehab

Well, after waiting around all day on Thursday without food or water, they finally got around to coming to get us at 3:30. Luckily Stephen was able to sleep most of the day, especially after very little sleep the night before. And of course, as I had joked about earlier, they came at the worse possible time...the NBA draft!! How dare they??? I guess they had some trauma patients earlier in the day and couldn't get to it until then. He had the TPA dripping through the cathether all day, which means they were unable to move that leg much for the whole 2 days. So, they put him prone again, this time his head was propped a little more comfortably than the first time. So, for the fourth day in a row we waited in the radiology waiting room....this time was a little longer than before. I watched Jimmer get the #10 pick and cringed because Stephen had been looking forward to this for weeks. It was just cruel. Then Spencer showed up with the kids and we ate dinner in the cafeteria and came back...and still waited. Finally the doctor came back and said he worked on it as long as he could with a variety of methods, which is why it took so long. They got out as much as they could, but some of it had been there so long it was too hardened and they were unable to get it all. The clots were very extensive, up past the hip and into the abdominal area. We were disappointed, after trying for weeks to get the doctors to permit him to go prone and then another week to get them to coordinate it. Spencer's frustration was really mounting when they made him spend another night in the ICU because it was too late for admissions to readmit him to the rehab...even though our room is there and we've been for months. Because of paperwork, he stayed another night and didn't get readmitted until 3:30 Friday afternoon. So, four days spent on the thrombolysis. I don't think our rehab doctor anticipated this at all. They were expected a few hours and he would be back. I'm thinking to myself, if blood clots are to be expected as standard conditions, haven't they experienced this before?? You can probably hear my frustration...good thing Spencer isn't typing this. I'm wondering how many doctors he spoke with today. If he could he'd probably check him out and take him home, we are losing confidence in the "best in the west".

So, I am gone for a few days delivering the rest of the kids to Kentucky to a Croshaw Family Reunion. Spencer is with Stephen at the hospital for the weekend...so go and visit if you are in town. Also, for Stephen's birthday Monday, we will have cake from 6-7ish in the main gym at the neurorehab. Text me if you want to come! 480-603-7809. Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another day in the ICU

Stephen just came out from the thrombolysis, step 2. They took him pretty early in the day and spent an hour or so "roto-rooting" and suctioning the blood clot out. They cleared out the clot in the femur, but decided to keep the cathether in for another day and increase the medicine to get the clot up in the pelvis and hip area. It stretches up to a few inches below the filter. So, back to ICU for the rest of the day. YUCK! At least Wimbledon is on, so that will pass some time. After that we can hopefully take a nap and catch up on some sleep that escaped us last night. Even though this is a hiccup in the plan, I am so grateful that we were finally able to get this done. The clot was more extensive than we realized and definately needs to come out. Please pray that the rest of the clot will cooperate tomorrow, be softened and thoroughly removed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Be Careful what you ask for

So, we have been pursuing a thrombolysis on Stephen's blood clot for a few weeks now and were excited last night when the order was written. So, today we heading back to radiology and met Dr Kay, who explained the procedure. The first step is to insert a cathether into the leg from behind the knee up and down the leg. The catheter has holes that feed the TPA medication directly to the clot locally. Anyhow, it has to basically sit there for a day (or two?) to break up the clot before they can go back in and break it up and suction it out. Those, of course, are laymen's terms. The procedure went well, no problems or complications. Stephen had to be pronated, which took a little bit of doing to completely turn him over on his stomach. Anyhow, we didn't quite anticipate the waiting part, which incidentally takes place in ICU. So, we have spent the rest of the day in ICU, this time the surgical ICU...which at least has private rooms compared to the Heart and lung ICU. We are experts at this now, but this ICU has it's own nuisances- it has a guard at the door that has to check with the nurses station everytime I want to come in. I laugh now when I think about how many people we snuck in Stephen's room in the Provo ICU. No way, No how, would that happen here. So, we are pretty bored in the ICU, cause Stephen feels fine...no respiratory problems or anything. I think the doctors are pretty bored too, because they are crossing every t and dotting every i, meaning ordering every test imagineable...ekgs, chest xrays, blood draw, ultrasound on his abdominal because his liver levels are a little elevated (they are always a little elevated), respiratory treatments, on and on. Leave us alone already! So, because they want to do the ultrasound on the abdomen, Stephen can't eat anything...and they are late with the ultrasound. He's got some chicken cordon bleu waiting for him....even if it's past 10 pm. Anyway, at least there's a good movie on TV. A trip to the ICU reminds us that we could always be worse off, there are so many families in the waiting room with those looks of shock that are so familiar to me. My heart goes out to them. I hope and pray that their loved ones will be healed. So, good night from the ICU!

Monday, June 20, 2011

We set a new record!

Thanks to some of Stephen's great friends we set a new record today...for the largest group of people escorting a "transport" to/from radiology. We had another ultrasound scheduled today for 8pm, but of course they showed up around 5pm, completely off schedule and as luck would have it, the same time 12 friends from high school (plus Kassandra from BYU) came to visit. So...they all tagged along for the hike to radiology. Stephen was on a gurney, and while we were waiting in the "parking bay" in radiology, he was completely surrounded by these great kids. The "transporter lady" said she's never had a group that big before and we couldn't all fit in the same elevator. So, well done guys!!! Thanks for coming and cheering us up! Frankly, hospital life is getting a little old and any visits are a welcome distraction. The amazing news it that after the ultrasound tonight, we got word that the doctor sent a consent form to undergo the thromolysis. We are flabbergasted! That only took FOREVER. So, Stephen will have to be weaned off the blood thinners first, which will take a few days. We are guessing that it will be the end of the week, it just better not interfere with the movie outing scheduled for Thursday afternoon or the NBA/Jimmer draft on Thursday. The irony would kill us!

We are busy getting things ready for Stephen to come home. Remodeling has started on the bathroom, thanks to some good friends and grandpa. The living room drapes are being lined with blackout fabric and the windows are being darkened to cool off the room. Yes, Stephen is moving into the living room and it will work out really well as far as space, but it has always been the hottest room in the house, so that will help out alot. There are supplies to be found, and equipment to be delivered, but I think everything will be ready.

We found a super talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in May 2000 at a CES fireside, entitled Miracles. I would recommend anyone interested going to LDS.org and finding it. I will just share a few thoughts. Elder Neal A Maxwell called this the "anti-miracle-mindset". "The rejection of miracles in the last days was prophesied. The prophet Nephi foretold that the gentiles would "put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain." (2 Nephi 26:20). He also prophesied that churches would be built up in which persons would tach with their learning, deny the power of god, and tell the people that if someone should "say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles" (2 Nephi 28:6). Some people reject the possibility of miracles because they have not experienced them or cannot understand them." I have witnessed miracles before and I think all of us have, it we can recognize them. I know that the day of miracles has not ceased. Later in this article Elder Oaks tells the story of a man trapped under a log by himself up a canyon in the winter and how he thought he would die, but later woke up and found himself sitting up on his wagon, with the logs loaded up and his oxen hitched up riding down the canyon. The story was about Marriner Wood Merrill, Stephen's great-great-great grandfather. We continue to hope and pray for miracles to be manifest in Stephen's life, according to God's time and will.

Now...one more item of business. Stephen's birthday is a week from today, June 27th. He will be 19. Anyone who would like to sent a birthday message or card...our address is 872 E. Taurus Pl. Chandler AZ 85249. Our email is genhome@cox.net. We will have cake at the hospital that night, and let those of you in town know what time!

Thanks everyone for your support. We are blessed to have so many great friends and lots of family.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Discharge Date

Today was another Thursday, marking nine weeks. In rounds today, Stephen's discharge was set for June 30th...in two weeks from today. That seems like just around the corner, and now I'm overwhelmed with everything to prepare to come home. Of course, considering that it is taking all week to set a date for the thrombolysis, who knows if the 30th will stay put in place?! Stephen's leg and foot are continually more swollen with the blood clot. Tomorrow we should nail down the procedure. Augh! It will be difficult to be the nurse/caregiver at home, but it will be easier to all be together at home.

When he is released, we will continue rehab three days a week at St. Joes or Healthsouth. That is one of many decisions to make in the next few weeks. At times the stress of it all can be overwhelming, especially when we can only talk about things over the phone, texts, or emails. I know that answers will come and solutions will be apparent. The greater question we face everyday, "When is it thy will for Stephen to be healed?", is something that we cannot decide or have any control over, so we put forth our efforts in doing what we can and having faith that Heavenly Father is watching over Stephen. Please continue to keep us in your prayers and exercise your faith in his behalf.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stephen loves skittles

Well, medicine is definately an art and not a science-quoting Kristen. We have a conglomerate of doctors...the neurosurgeon, pulmonologist, radiologist, internist, and neurorehab doctor trying to communicate with each other, first of all, and then decide about this thrombolysis treatment for the blood clot on his leg. The ultrasound last Friday showed that it was still extensive and it is getting more swollen. His INR number has been high the last three days as well (for those of you familiar with blood clot medicine and treatments). I would like to do it before we go home, so hopefully it will dissipate on its own, but that will take a long time and we don't want it to get hardened in the vein. So, they have decided to do another ultrasound the end of next week and evaluate the surgery then. Each doctor has a different input and approach, just like each artist has a different brush stroke. Thus, the reason for 2nd, 3rd, even 3th opinions.

Stephen was feeling good today, although he was a little tired. He took a late nap, which he hasn't done for awhile. The family all came up and brought skittle bingo, so we gorged ourselves on skittles...yum. After they left, I thought he would have a hard time falling asleep, but he told me he was going to say his prayers and the next thing I know he's breathing deeply and lights out. That means me too. They are trying to up Stephen's skin tolerance slowly, but increasing the time between his rotations. So we are up to every 3 hours from every 2 hours. As long as there is no skin breakdown, we can move up to 3 1/2 or 4 hours. That is where we hope to be when he comes home, because we will be the ones doing it...can't bring the nurses home with us! So that means he gets less interrupted sleep, much better for all of us.

D&C 84:88..."And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." Stephen's handwritten note on the side of the margin next to this scripture..."Got my back. Not alone." I continually pray that we will be blessed with administering angels, and I know that we are.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How Firm a Foundation

Today in Sacrament meeting, Bro. Marshall played a piano number and encouraged us to follow along in the hymn book. As I read along with the words from "How Firm a Foundation" I was brought to tears by the lyrics of these verses. It seems to be that the words of the hymns mean more to me than ever before and touch my heart more than any of the spoken words in the talks. I thought I'd share the words below...

In ev’ry condition—in sickness, in health,
In poverty’s vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea—
As thy days may demand, as thy days may demand,
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.

3. Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

4. When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

5. When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

Perfect, right? We had a good day and Stephen is feeling well. Let's hope for a good week!

Feeling Better!

By Saturday Stephen was feeling much better from the UTI infection. Yeah! Friday he was still a little nauseous and couldn't eat much and was a little tired in his therapy sessions. The PT thought it was time to get Stephen standing up for the first time, which we have been waiting to do for awhile. From a sitting position on the mat, they put a sling underneath him and attach it to a standing brace. His feet go on the machine and someone is bracing him from behind and on the two sides. Then they crank up on the sling and it pulls him up to standing. His knees are held in place on the machine and his elbows rest on a little table top. The first time he stood there for a few seconds and started getting dizzy, so they lowered him down and waited for a few minutes to try it again. The second time he lasted longer. We will continue to work on it. It's really good for him to be upright for circulation, muscles, bones, everything. The odd thing was his blood pressure went up as he did it, not down-like most people. Maybe because he was still a little sick. Anyhow, it was nice to look up at him (physically speaking-because we are all looking up to him) for the first time in awhile. It was probably nice for him to look at people from his regular height, 6'1". Actually, I decided to bring a tape measure and see how tall he is, because I think he might have grown some more since I saw him last at Christmas. He grew an inch his first semester at school, who knows maybe he grew another inch the second semester?! Friday night they finally got around to another ultrasound on his leg to check on the blood clot and evaluate the necessity of putting him prone to do the thrombolysis (cleaning out the clot).

Saturday Stephen felt really great and had a super visit from 10 friends. They all went down to the cafeteria, pushed some tables together and had a pizza party! Stephen ate lots of pizza even. Thanks guys for coming...I wish I had been there to see it. He had more friends show up Saturday evening, the Johnsons and the Remers. Thanks for coming everyone, it was great day! It was a great day for us to go to the temple and attend the wedding of Shirley and Darrin. Congratulations to them!

Job 23:10..."But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his stpes, his way have i kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips: I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food...for he performeth the thing that is appointed for me; and many such things are with him."

Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9th

Elder Orson F. Whitney said: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. … All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.” 5

We received more education today, as Stephen suffered a miserable day of fevers, chills, and nausea. He tried his best to do therapy, but couldn't do any afternoon work because he was shaking uncontrollably with chills, which caused his shoulder to hurt even more. They diagnosed a UTI and started antibiotics, which kicked in around dinnertime, so he could finally eat something. The worst part is that with this one infection, he is taking more pain medications, nausea meds, valium, and antibiotics. More meds usually mean he is more tired and has less energy. Anyway, they caught the infection early and it should clear up quickly. They had planned an ultrasound of the bloodclot, but he was in no shape to be transported to radiology this afternoon and that will be postponed until tomorrow. He has had chills many times in the past 8 weeks. We all know how that feels, but usually when we have them we can curl up and move ourselves to work them out. He just has to lay there and try to direct us how to help him the best, by putting on blankets, heating pads, cooling blankets, etc. He does a good job giving directions and asking for help with everything from putting on chapstick, getting a drink, to scratching his nose, but it would just be so much easier to do everything for himself. So, today was an endurance test and basically tomorrow has to be better.

One interesting thing from therapy...since he was miserable, his OT came in his room with some of the electrical current technology and attached the patches to his triceps to get his right arm to extend out from the elbow. As soon as he turned it on, his fingers on the right hand began to extend out straight completely from a relaxed fist. They did it over and over with every electric impulse. The OT was baffled and couldn't figure it out. He said he's never seen that before. Finger nerves are on the forearms, not on the triceps. They shouldn't have been moving. It was just very odd. It might be because he was had chills and was shaking so much, but who knows?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A trip home

Something is different about Stephen today! I walked in this morning and the first thing I noticed was a long, skinny, NAKED neck! Stephen said it felt great. We finally got the orders written up from the neurosurgeon but are still waiting about pronation. Anyway, he did well with therapy without the brace and can put it on as needed. That isn't even our biggest news of the today. It is kinda a shame that we had to use up two big events on one days. I wish we could have spread them out over two days...oh well. So we loaded up in the big BUMPY van with our therapists and their tape measures and drove home. Grandma and the girls were waiting for us anxiously. It was awesome to be home and just felt so wonderful to get out of the hospital. So we tried out ramps, doorways, tables, and equipment. We will have to make some changes and will try to make them the least invasive as possible. Basically, everything will work out on the main floor for Stephen to get around, with some "minor" remodeling. We had a friend and contractor meet us there to give advice and take some notes. Now the therapists write up a report for the insurance company to verify medical necessity for equipment and try to get them to cover as much as possible. The visit went really well.

The rest of the afternoon was a bummer after that, especially because his left scapula was in a lot of pain after the bumpy van ride. Plus he battle some nausea, chills and fever the rest of the afternoon and evening. That seems to be a difficult balance to find sometimes. We use the cooling/heating blanket to help adjust his body temp, but it can be difficult to know if it is just more than a regular tempurature regulation problem and not an infection and a valid fever. So we hope he can get a good sleep. We enjoyed a quiet night at the hospital with Grandma coming up to visit. We are glad she can be here for a few weeks. Spencer was able to give him a blessing tonight. He hadn't had one for a while, and seemed a little anxious about being able to sleep when he wasn't feeling well. It was a great blessing to here the reassurance again that God's purposes will be fulfuilled and will not be frustrated.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June 6th

We survived another weekend at the hospital! With no therapy scheduled, weekends have the potential to be long and lonely. There are some patients here who really dread Saturday and Sunday because they have few, if any, visitors and nothing to do. We are grateful for cousin Dan Johnson coming Saturday morning so Spencer and I could meet at the temple. He came early enough that Stephen slept for a lot of it, since Saturday does mean a chance to sleep in. We are also thankful for all of Stephen’s friends who came on Saturday, Sunday, and today. You guys are the best! Your visits are critical to surviving the hospital. Thanks for lifting his spirits and helping him laugh. It isn’t easy to keep the Sabbath when you’re in the hospital and can’t attend church, even though we do get the sacrament brought to us by members of our ward. Stephen and Spencer have done their best to study the lessons and read on their own, and even though boredom could be used as a good excuse to watch tv, Stephen has kept to our family tradition of no tv on Sunday. This Sunday we were able to ordain Nathan to the office of a teacher in the Aaronic priesthood, using a conference room down the hall. That will always be a memory for Nathan, having Stephen in his wheelchair in the circle with his hand on his head. Plus, the day ended off on a high when Bishop Brockbank called with some great encouragement to keep the faith!

We haven’t seen a lot of noticeable improvement recently in his movement and sensation. His left shoulder is usually very sore because it is weaker, and now it is taped from the shoulder down the arm. His right arm continues to be the strong side and is doing well. We haven’t yet taken off the neck brace but anticipate that happening this week. We need to strengthen up his neck muscles, so he will be prepared to go home without the brace. Today we visited the outpatient rehab here at St. Joes and were impressed with the equipment there (why don’t they have the same stuff for the inpatient rehab??). We need to check out our other option, HealthSouth in Mesa or Scottsdale, to decide where we will go after we are discharged. That is just one of many decisions we need to make before discharge, so hopefully that will keep us busy and distracted until then. It’s exciting to think about going home, but also scary and overwhelming. Please keep us in your prayers…that we will be able to prepare all the arrangements for Stephen to come home. Of course we hope that he would improve steadily until then, so we would need less extensive equipment and remodeling , but those things are out of our hands and we need to do all we can for Stephen in his present condition.

Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3

According to Stephen today is day 50 (and I thought we weren't counting). Today we got the go ahead to take off the collar, but are still waiting for the neurosurgeon to visit and show us the xrays. We also need the go ahead for Stephen to go in pronation, to lay on his stomach. Hopefully that will be soon as we continue to pray for progress and to waith upon the Lord for the promised blessings. Spencer shared two scriptures with me the other day that I felt was applicable as an illustration of how the Lord can fulfill His promises and restore all things.

Joshua 21:43-45
"And the Lord gave unto Israel all that land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers; and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the Lord delivered all their enemised into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass."

1 Samuel 30:19

verse 19 "And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughter, neither spoil, no any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1st

Happy Birthday Sarah! Stephen’s littlest sister Sarah turned 8 today and we celebrated at the hospital with cake and presents. She is looking forward to getting baptized as soon as Stephen can get home from the hospital. We also celebrated the last day of school, no more homework…yes!!! Now what do we do all day…oh no!!! Summer will be interesting this year for sure.
Well, we had a little bit of excitement the last two days, nothing too exciting, just a little different from the normal routine. Yesterday, Stephen was given 6 units of plasma in preparation for a procedure today to remove his vena cava filter. The plasma comes one bag at a time from the freezer, nice and cold. Tuesday morning they started the IV pretty early, anticipating it would take all day to do the transfusions. By coincidence and lack of communication, we also had a home visit scheduled for Tuesday. We were supposed to go home in the van with our two therapists and evaluate the changes to make for Stephen to come home. It would have been the first time Stephen has been home since Christmas and we were looking forward to it, even if it was only going to be for an hour. Anyway, we were going to try to squeeze the trip in at 12, in between transfusions. The first bag went in slowly at first, and then it warmed up and the second half went in quick. The second bag went in in 20 minutes, a very fast pace. So the nurses figured if he started the third bag at 11, we would have plenty of time to leave at 12. Well, the third bag dripped at a snail pace and took 2 ½ hours! So, the trip home was postponed until next week. Amazingly, bags 4,5,and 6 all went in at a quick pace. I guess we weren’t supposed to go home on Tuesday. Good thing I hadn’t planned a big welcome home. Stephen wasn’t too disappointed and he realized that the plasma transfusions needed to come first. If we had gone home, we wouldn’t have finished them until very late. Things just work out for the best.
This morning was the vena cava filter removal. It was inserted the day after the accident and would be a permanent fixture if we didn’t remove it by 8 weeks. It is lodged under the kidney to catch any blood clots traveling up from the legs. Since Stephen still has some blood clots and is at risk of more, they took out the one and replaced it with a different model that can be removed two or more years later. Stephen was semi-awake during the procedure and did really well. We finished around 11 in the morning and he was worried about missing PT. When they told him he has 2 hours of bedrest, he was pretty bummed but quickly nodded off to sleep. We got in some therapy in the afternoon and everything is back to “normal”.
I’ve realized that part of our responsibility while we are here is to share with others the joy and peace of the gospel, and maybe help them with their difficulties and bring others to Christ. This is including our therapists, nurses, techs, doctors, and other patients. We get to know these people pretty well, some of them too well, and we are given lots of opportunities to open our mouths and let them know what we believe and how we have faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and trust in His will and plan for us. I think that will by one goal for the rest of our time here. I know that hospital staff sees lots of patients, and some are memorable and others forgetful. Some of them have emotional responses to certain patients. I hope we can make some kind of positive impact on their lives, in appreciation almost for their help and service for us.