Thursday, January 31, 2008

It is well with my soul

Last week on the way to Temple to see Bill, Ruth, and Phil, the girls & I had a Christian CD playing. A very familiar hymn started playing in the midst of the more contemporary songs. The song was "It is Well with My Soul," by Horatio Stafford. I'd heard the story before, but just found a version to share with you:

It is Well with My Soul is a very influential hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss.

This hymn was writ­ten af­ter several trau­matic events in Spaf­ford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the great Chi­ca­go Fire which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the S.S. Ville Du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business. While cross­ing the At­lan­tic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with an­o­ther ship, and all four of Spaf­ford's daugh­ters died. His wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spaf­ford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daugh­ters had died.

The Spaffords later had three more children, one of whom (a son) died in infancy. In 1881 the Spaffords, including baby Bertha and newborn Grace, set sail for Palestine.

This comes from This Source.

The words to the song:

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Today Phil talked to the doctor so he could find out more details about what is happening. Bill is, for the most part "stable" as far as his vital signs and organs go. However, he has not been alert or responsive for over a week, and he has not been on any sedative medicines for a week. The doctor, as Phil told Ruth last night, cannot give a definite answer to Bill's destiny. However, she said likely he will decline. They have been giving him nourishment yet he does not gain any weight. The doctor's opinion is that the cancer seems to be much worse than was originally known, and is likely what is causing his body to not respond to the nourishment. They are still wanting to get him into the continuing care hospital as soon as a room is ready.

The doctor has not said that Bill will not recover. The doctors at Scott & White do not try to candy coat anything. At the very first appointment we had with Dr. Coffield, the surgeon, he told us that recovering from stage 4 cancer is nearly unheard of. He never gave false hope. He said we could try chemo and we could try surgery, but these were not promises of anything. They have told us that it does look like likely Bill's body will decline and will do so rapidly. Yet, they cannot say that definitively. Bethany said tonight, "But God can do miracles." We told her she is right, He can, if that is His will. But we have also been very honest with them so they know that this might be the time for God to call Pop Bill home to heaven. From the time we knew Bill had cancer, we have shared with them what this means. They spent the week after Christmas with Bill & Ruth and we told them then that we didn't know how much longer Pop Bill would be here. Last week Natalie said, "If Pop Bill dies, we know he'll go to Heaven because he's a Christian." Amazing that these little girls have such understanding of things as we sit and question it all!

If God chooses to work miraculously and heal Bill's body here on earth, that will be wonderful. But, if He chooses to heal him with His ultimate healing, where Bill can never be in pain or have any sorrow, then we must still say, "It is well with my soul."

We are hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. Though, the worst would only be for us missing Bill. For him, it would be an end to the pain he's been in for nearly a year now.

Enough for now. Please keep praying!

Friday afternoon: Bill

Just a quick post to correct something I'd said before. Bill is ON blood thinners, not OFF of them.

He is still not responding to anyone even though he has been off of sedatives for a week. They are still wanting to move him to the continuing health care hospital.

The doctor doesn't think he will linger in this state for a long time, though she said that there is no way she can know this definitely. He will either improve slowly, or will decline quickly.

Hopefully more info later.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thursday night update on Bill

I feel almost silly posting to say, "Nothing has changed," but that is pretty much how things are. They did yet more tests that had to be done to clear Bill for the continuing care place (I thought they had finished those), but the wait for a room continues. One of Ruth's brothers and his wife will be going to see her tomorrow and hopefully staying a couple of days.

Ruth is growing weary of the waiting game. She has never been fond of hospitals, so this is very wearing on her. She wants to know from the doctor if Bill is going to pull through this or not. Phil told her that with all the advances in medicine, there is still much that doctors don't know. He also reminded her that neither the doctors nor we know this, but God does.

Phil knows that it might be easier on her if he were there, but that is simply not feasible. We know that he'll need to take some more days off at some point whatever the outcome is with his dad. I told him again how glad we were that he is here now.

On Saturday either Phil will go alone, or we will all go, to Temple. If Bill is still in ICU, then Phil will go alone. If he has been moved, then we will all go.

Bethany & I are reading a Life of Faith Series about Kathleen McKenzie, a girl in the 1930's. She has just encountered a man who told her it was easy for her to believe God when things went the way she hoped, but that it wouldn't be so when "really hard times" hit. Her prayer was that she would trust God in both good times & bad. These verses are a great source of hope in times like this, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39

For those of us who have trusted Christ as our Savior, there is nowhere that we can be separated from Him and His love. Whether things turn out the way we want them to or not, if we are His children, then we can never be separated from His love. I've heard it said that the safest place to be is in the middle of God's will. I heard once of a lady whose young son had just died sharing that with someone. Another friend has just sent her daughter off for a semester of school at sea. She said, "She is safer on the other side of the world than she is in my backyard if that is where God wants her to be." It is hard to trust when we can't see the days ahead, but He has told us that no trouble or hardship will separate us from him, so we are clinging to that.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday Update

I haven't updated in a couple of days because there hasn't been any new news. Bill is still at Scott & White in Temple. Yesterday tests were run to verify that he was ready to be transferred, and Ruth was told that a room was available. The results weren't back until today, though, and by the time the results came back that he was good to go to the longer term rehab facility, they had already filled the room. So, it's back to the waiting game.

They have also found 3 blood clots, for which we do not know the source (I don't know if the doctors have any ideas or not, but I'm now twice removed from all the news as Phil gets it from Ruth, then I get it, so don't always know if I'm getting all the details). They are taking him off of blood thinner now. The tests they ran showed that there was some minimal brain damage, HOWEVER, they said they could tell this was old brain damage that had been there for some time. We think this makes sense as he has over the years become slower at understanding what we are talking about. We attributed it mainly to hearing loss, but this coupled with the hearing loss would explain his comprehension of things. His blood pressure today was up & down again.

I talked to a friend today who is a nurse. Actually, I asked her the other day some questions about the trach tube. She asked if he had a tracheostomy or a tracheotomy. I have no idea! She said with the "ostomy" the tube can be removed, but with the "otomy" it's permanent. She told me that the sooner they can wean him off the ventilator, the greater the chance for him to not need the trach permanently. Today I told her that Phil's greatest concern is that Bill is "not responsive." She said it is normal to keep them sedated with the ventilator and the trach tube to keep the patient from bothering it. She also said that when the nurses look for "response" it is not the open eyes and such, but they have places they touch the muscles to see if there is response to that. They open the eyes and check the pupils. So, it seems that him being sedated is normal. That doesn't sit well with Phil, though. This is the one thing that seems to bother him most about his dad's condition.

Ruth would REALLY like for people to visit her & Bill in the hospital. She has asked Phil to call her at her hotel room to save time on her cell phone. I just found an 800 # you can call to try to reach ICU. They can take a phone to Ruth in the room. It is 800-792-3710. If that doesn't work, the main number is 254-724-2111. You can e-mail me at for her cell phone number or her hotel number.

Please keep praying. Thank you!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Is January really almost gone?

This month has gone so fast. Funny how the days have seemed so LONG, but now we are at the end of the month.

Phil came home yesterday. There was no difference in how Bill was doing when he left. He hasn't checked in with his mom yet today. They were still talking about moving Bill on Monday or Tuesday. The doctor did tell them before Phil left that he thinks the reason Bill's breathing rate and blood pressure have gone up when he gets alert are that Bill is anxious about something. There is no way to find out what that something is, though. We don't know if he's thinking he is in a nursing home & not ever going home, or what might be going on in his mind.

If any of you live close to Temple, or could take short trip there it would mean the world to Ruth. It was hard for Phil to leave, but he can't jeopardize his job, and he has already been off for two weeks. We'll go up on Saturdays to see them, and the girls & I could go up during the week sometime, too. If some of you could drop in for a day, I know that would be helpful.

We made it to Sea World yesterday. Now, why was I worried about the weather? Haven't I learned by now that God is faithful & will take care of us? The day was GORGEOUS! It got into the 70's (felt hotter than that at times) and was crystal clear. So clear and hot that my girls have sunburned faces. Natalie's is the worst. I need to go see if my aloe vera plant is still alive & use some on her. I wore a short sleeve shirt, so was able to stay comfortable. The ones with long sleeves on (after all it had just been in the 40's for the past few days) were quite warm. And we were given a tiny bottle of water with no food allowed in the park & no concession stands open. Thus, I think every single car leaving probably stopped for drinks when they left!

Phil was home when we got here. He has said he is glad to be home. I wonder if he questioned that when a very over-tired 9 year old pitched fits last night over just about everything! WE are glad he is home!

Today is AWANA day. Bethany has not studied her lesson at all. We need to go do that. Last night I spent 45 minutes or so trying to detangle her hair. I finally gave up, after putting lots of oily glosser on it. So today it is rather, um, shiny, BUT the tangles came right out today! YEA!

The mountain cedar must be at an all time high. My throat feels swollen. Not fun! Time to take my vitamins!

Hope you all have a wonderful day! Please keep praying for Bill!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Night Update

Not much different to report tonight. Someone from the health care center came by & talked to Phil & Ruth. They will give him therapy as he is weaned off the ventilator. Also, they will provide physical therapy, as he's lost muscle strength & no doubt more weight (he looked so skinny the other day; it was sad to see him like that). Phil said the doctors are saying he might be ready for that move by Monday or Tuesday.

Phil should be heading home tomorrow afternoon. The girls & I will be at Sea World at a Cookie Rally. Did I mention it's Girl Scout cookie time?!!! Who, in their right mind, plans an OUTDOOR rally in January? Even in Texas we can have really nasty weather this time of year. On a good note, the forecast says it should be dry with highs near 70! A far cry from our wet with highs in the 40's this week. Of course, my friends in Wisconsin think 40 is balmy!

I have mentioned that I have not made a good single mom. I have forgotten to take medicine 2 different nights this week. I had forgotten how bad cedar pollen is this time of year. Also, I didn't realize how much pain my muscles had been in before I started taking medicine for the fibromyalgia. My body was screaming at me the other day & again today. I am going to go load up on everything & sleep well, I hope! I was a bear this early afternoon. We went to a friend's house so the mom & I could plan for a co-op class we teach together & the kids could play. My other friend, Kathy, (see, I have at least 2 friends!) let me pick up her girls so the girls could all play together. She also has been getting all the paperwork from our wonderful Cookie Mom, Linda, for this rally. Seeing friends really helped my attitude. I guess I needed REAL LIVE adult interaction!

Danette, the co-teacher, let me leave the girls while I ran errands then called to say, "Come over & eat with us when you finish your errands." She didn't even let me help with dishes! I felt so pampered! Her husband was working out of town for 8 weeks, and she has 4 kids at home (one is in college). I think she took pity on me tonight! Natalie is spending the night there, so I will go get her early tomorrow. Well, early for me.

I have actually tried to make a dent in our messy house. I'm hoping Phil won't be too shocked after living in a motel where your bed is made & towels washed & folded daily!

Please keep praying for all to go well. Thanks!

He's getting better

Today's bottom line is that the doctor said, "He's getting better." Praise God!

His liver and kidneys are doing great. He is on the ventilator right now, but is breathing too much, meaning he's trying to breathe more than the ventilator is doing. His breathing rate is too fast. That is the biggest concern today.

The doctor told them that Bill is almost ready to leave ICU, BUT not to just a regular room. He needs full-time round the clock care still. The doctor wants him to go to a Health Care facility in Temple. It sounds like long-term health care, which I suspected would be necessary after all of this. Most of you reading this know that Bill & Ruth live at Lake LBJ, which is about a 2 hour drive from Temple. So, he really needs to be near the hospital, I guess, rather than in something near their home.

They moved to a cheaper motel Wednesday. And I do mean cheaper. Phil said, "You know how some people get fixer-upper homes? This is a fixer-upper motel." The heat didn't work the first night. He said it was better last night. Sort of.

Phil is coming home tomorrow! YEA!!!! Not that I haven't loved having the girls sleep in my bed and poke their elbows in my ears, put their stuffed animals on top of me, and kick me periodically in the night, but it will be nice to have a large person who stays on his own side of the bed! Seriously, it will be wonderful to have Daddy home to return to some sense of normalcy (yes, go ahead & laugh as you know nothing is normal in our home).

Today we are going to a friend's house to plan for a co-op class. We start next Tuesday already. I am not ready, but will be by Tuesday. Tomorrow we are going to a Girl Scout Cookie Rally at Sea World. It's supposed to warm up a tad by then. We can only hope!

Thanks for continued prayers.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bill on Thursday

Today the doctors said that Bill had a lot of gunk inside he needed to cough up, but he wasn't able to cough. So, they did a tracheotomy. They took the ventilator out of his mouth, it sounds like, and will do everything via the trach. At least that's the way I understand, but maybe one of you who is more medically astute can explain it to me!

Also, they thought he was leaking urine inside, but discovered it was simply that the catheter had come loose inside (out of his bladder). They fixed that & he's doing well in that area.

The nurse said he is doing really well. Dr. Coffield, who performed the surgery, said that Bill is doing well. Also, they said the blood work shows that kidneys & liver are working fine.

More later when I hear from Phil.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gluten Free on Amazon

A piece of my life that seems to somehow control the rest of my life is a "disease" I have called Celiac-Sprue Disease. Normally it's just called Celiac Disease. It's an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat (in any form), rye, and barley. Oats have been questionable in the US because we rotate crops, so wheat could be mixed in with oats. There are technical explanations about each of these grains having a separate form of gluten, but I'm not a scientific kind of girl, so I can't explain it to you. I know that in a person with celiac disease, the villi in your intestines are destroyed. Villi are little hairlike projections (like little fingers) that help move your food & help absorb nutrients. Ah, nutrients, now we are getting to something I DO understand. Nutrients=food, and FOOD I understand! When you have celiac disease and are consuming gluten (oh, doesn't that sound smarter than "eating bread & goldfish crackers"!), your villi are destroyed and go "flat." In a picture of your intestines (it isn't gross, I promise!), rather than hair or fingerlike projections, there is just a flat surface. Honestly, I'm not sure how any food is absorbed when you are in that state.

Celiac disease USUALLY causes symptoms like being underweight, anemia, severe gastric problems, and a host of other things. It can also be a silent disease with no obvious symptoms, can be in someone who is overweight, and no other "comorbid" diseases. When I was diagnosed, I was not seeing the doctor for any CD symptoms. I was seeing her because the allergist told me that reflux might be causing asthma problems. This GI doctor went straight for an endoscopy to see what was going on with this reflux. Then she woke me up after the procedure with a question, "Is anyone in your family gluten intolerant?" I rolled my eyes & said, "Oh, no." But, that wasn't the answer to the question; it was just my instant understanding of what she was going to say. See, I was familiar with gluten intolerance. Bethany was tested for food sensitivities at one point and all the gluten grains were listed as moderately "reactive." She was on a gluten-free diet for quite some time. But, the doctor assured me that she was only sensitive because of her autism. He was sure she could not have celiac disease. I highly suspect she does, but no doctor has been willing to do an endoscopy on her. I am not convinced that blood tests are proof positive, and want a scope of her intestines. Anyway, I knew what gluten intolerance was, and thus began my journey with Celiac Disease.

Another day I'll share more about Celiac Disease and "comorbid" and "associated" illnesses. For today, I wanted to share with my gluten free friends that has GLUTEN FREE FOOD! They sell it in multi-packs, so it's like going to Sam's or Costco for GF food! I've just added a link in my link's list. If it doesn't work, just go to Amazon & search for Gluten Free. I earned a gift card to Amazon from Pampered Chef last year & used it to stock up on some yummy GF foods I'd never tried. There is a Dark Bread mix that tastes almost like Swedish Rye Bread. It is shear torture to tell a Swedish girl she can't have rye bread, but this has helped ease the pain. (hee-hee). Fair warning: I think everything listed on Amazon will cause weight gain! But they are OH, so yummy. Happy healthy shopping!

Wednesday afternoon---looking better today

Just talked to Phil briefly. He & Ruth are "hotel shopping" for a lower weekly rate hotel, so he didn't talk long. He said Bill is doing even better today. He's awake, looks at you, follows commands. He couldn't lift his head off the pillow (or didn't understand), so the doctor thinks he is still weak. Because of this, he wants to leave Bill on the ventilator one more day, at least.

It's nice to have good news to report for a change!

The girls & I need to get out to the library & buy some more duraflame logs. Our tiny little fireplace will not burn real wood. We've tried for 9 years now (wow, hard to believe we've lived in the same house that long), to no avail. So, we get jumbo duraflames. They work just fine for roasting marshmallows & making s'mores! Yeah, we have a house full of girl scouts & sweets lovers. Not looking forward to getting out in the cold, but we need to do it.

Hopefully we'll have more good news later. I'm hoping Phil won't need to stay in the hotel they find if Bill keeps improving.

I am teetering about my first Pampered Chef show for this year. It's scheduled for Friday night. The host is SO sweet & said if we need to change the date, that is perfectly fine. She said everyone understands. I need to get back to work (at my 2nd job; my first job is keeping me busy as my 2 "clients" seem to want me to work 24/7---LOL!), but not sure if I need to do that this week or wait. I'll talk to Phil tonight & see what he thinks.

Off to find warm clothes. I'm guessing the girls can't wear flip-flops today. You know in South Texas that's the shoe of choice year round!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday night update on Bill

I just talked to Phil. Today was a good day for Bill. He opened his eyes. He would look at them & follow them with his eyes. He responded to simple commands (blink eyes, squeeze hand, wiggle toes). Phil said the nurse asked Bill if he wanted an ice cream cone & he nodded his head yes! He has to get well enough to eat one now! Apparently, there is nothing wrong with the kidneys, as they appear to be doing their job just fine now.

I told Phil that I am not going to go back up there. Both times I've gone Bill has had REALLY bad days! I don't really think that has anything to do with it, but it is true that he had bad days when we tried to go see him.

It is cold (for us) in South Texas. Or Central Texas. Or whatever part of Texas San Antonio is really a part of. It was so warm at one point today that I had the air conditioning on in the car. Tonight we will have a fire in the fireplace. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr outside!

Keep praying for a miracle! We told Bill yesterday he has to get well so he can fuss at Ruth. Then Phil told him, "WE don't want to do it!"

If you don't have Ruth's cell phone number, please send me an e-mail to & I will get it to you. She doesn't always answer, but you can leave messages for her. I don't know if there is a phone in the ICU room or not. He is at Scott & White in Temple so you can also try calling there.

I think when my mom goes for surgery next month we need to tell the doctors that ICU is NOT an option! LOL!

More news tomorrow. After we sleep in. Without having to get up early. With no alarm clocks going off. And no meetings. And no trips. Except to the library. Good night!

Monday, January 21, 2008

This is tiring

The other day after we had lunch with our family & their friends, we were leaving & talked about calling Daddy and wondering how he was doing. Bethany commented, "I guess this is what it was like when the dads used to go off to war. Except now we have phones & computers." She's read a lot about events in the 40's with WW2 & dads going off to fight. I told her that dads and moms still go off to war now, and yes, it is nice to have phones & computers.

In my head, though, I thought, "HOW do families do that? How do they get through when one parent is gone for so long?" Maybe they don't all homeschool. Maybe they are just used to it being like that. All I know is I don't want to be a single mom! And hats off to those who are!

Driving to Temple from New Braunfels (where my parents live) should take about 2 hours. Phil can make it from San Antonio (even further) to Temple in under 2. Funny how that works! It took us nearly 3 1/2 hrs. today to get from Temple to NB. We were "parked" on I-35 in Austin at 6:30. Anyone who has EVER been on I-35 in Austin at just about any time of day knows what I mean. Plus, it rained all day. I was in my mom's cute little Buick Regal that rides so smoothly I tended to drive too fast going to Temple, but coming home it was S-L-O-W. We didn't get to our house til after 9. We are supposed to be up at 8:30 so we can get ready for co-op. The girls didn't get in bed & fall asleep til just before Midnight. Natalie's tummy is sick. My dad cleaned the car out for us today, which was very nice. Though, I feel like I get the "loser Mom" award for letting it get that dirty. I think he cleaned it so well that it scared the car. It was doing weird things on the way home, like the lights inside wouldn't stay off, and the electric lock was going off all by itself. This is one of those little things Phil would look at & would say, "I can fix that now," and go do it, or "I'll look at it this weekend," Or, "We have to take it in to fix this." He just knows how to figure that stuff out. If Natalie's tummy problems turn into the throwing up stuff, I'm toast. THAT is what Phil deals with so well.

I am quite tired & need to go put myself in bed. I wonder if this is how moms feel when dads go off to war. Or if this is how everyone feels when they have parents who are in dire straits in the hospital. I can only hope that mom's knee replacement will not be this involved. I'm not liking this yearly occurrence of having a parent in the ICU.

Good night!

Monday night update

We went to Temple today. I was able to see Bill, but the nurse would not let the girls see him. They did get to visit with Grandma & we took Grandma to the cafeteria for lunch. I'm sure she's seen more of that cafeteria than she ever wanted to!

Before we got there, Bill's blood pressure had dropped very low, but they were able to get it back up again. While I was there, it would drop low & the machine would start beeping, then stop, and his blood pressure would rise too high & the machine beeped, then it dropped to normal. They thought something might be wrong based on how his pupils looked, but tests showed that was normal. They do think his kidneys are not functioning correctly, but didn't have any test results before Phil & Ruth left the hospital tonight. The doctor did ask today if Bill & Ruth had living wills, in case Bill's heart does stop. He is continually "asleep" with his eyes half open. Phil asked the doctor & was told that Bill is not being given sedatives, so we are not sure what is causing him to be unresponsive. He did not even respond to voices or touching his hands. He still has the ventilator. They are occasionally switching it to "cpap" mode in which Bill has to do some of the breathing himself.

Right now this is just a day by day trial. We have to leave it in the Lord's hands as there is truly nothing we can do but pray and wait. Phil was ready for us to stay up there overnight, but then said, "If you stay tonight, I'll want you to stay all week." I might go back later in the week and stay for a few nights if my folks can keep the girls.

Thanks for continuing to pray for us.

Sunday night update on Bill

Tonight Phil said that the doctor discovered that Bill's gall bladder is full of "sludge" and they want to put in a drain tube tomorrow. They will give him morphine when they do this because it can be painful. I didn't realize he had not had morphine yet. That explains why he has been coherent when he was awake. Unfortunately, he's not been awake very much because his other meds keep him sedated so the tube in his throat won't hurt & he won't try to pull it out.

The girls & I will drive up there tomorrow. We'll stop in New Braunfels to switch cars with my mom. Phil has the van & I have the Buick (which is a year older than our oldest child!). Phil doesn't trust it to take a trip that long. I know Dad will have some blankets for us to toss in the back in case we get stuck anywhere. Praise God for cell phones now days! If we did get stuck, we could call for help. I think we know people all along the way from San Antonio to Temple.

I'll update tomorrow night when I get back.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday afternoon update

Phil said the dr. talked to them & said this is going to be a long road for them. Phil said he thinks the doctor is trying to prepare them for Bill not pulling through this. I may go up this evening, but they'd need a hotel room with bigger beds for all 3 of us, so we have to just wait & see now.

Today is AWANA day for the girls & we've not practiced our verses all week. Going to go do that now.

Please keep praying.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday's update

Phil said tonight that Bill was sedated all day. The doctor said on Wednesday, when I was there, that they keep him sedated because he needs to rest and to keep the tube from irritating his throat. Phil says he looks "really bad," but I know my dad also looked really bad in ICU. I don't know if the doctors think he looks "really bad" or not. They have told Phil & Ruth that Bill is very sick. Phil said they were going to start nourishment treatment today. I forgot to ask if they were able to do that. His blood pressure goes up sometimes & they give him meds to bring it down. It sounds like he is no different than yesterday. I see it as he hasn't become any worse, but Phil sees it as he hasn't improved yet.

Today the girls & I drove to Gruene, Texas just next to New Braunfels, to a restaurant called the Grist Mill. We met my folks, my niece Becky & her husband, Chris, my nephew Nils & his wife Katie, Chris' twin brother Jason, Becky's BFF (best friend forever), Paula (who is like another niece to me), and several other 20-something year olds on a weekend away from the big cities (Houston for most, Dallas for Jason). Nils & Katie live here in San Antonio, but as a youth pastor & teacher, who also attends all the youth events, we don't see them often. It was good to see this really great group of young adults. But, it's really weird to be in the "middle age" adult category! I became an aunt at 15, so I've never felt like an OLD aunt. Just was weird to be there & have my parents in their 70's, my kids in their pre-teens, these 20-somethings, and middle of the road me!

We got to walk around & sell some Girl Scout cookies today. Anyone need Thin Mints? Samoas? Between illness & Bill's surgery, this was our first time to get out to sell. We've done some phone sales & e-mail sales, but no others. Tomorrow afternoon before AWANA we need to do that!

Phil may come home tomorrow, but I really suspect if his dad hasn't shown signs of improvement that he will stay there.

I've been reading about a 4 year old boy dying of cancer for the past few weeks. Today his mom posted that he had passed into the arms of Jesus. 30 years ago today my 17 year old brother passed away. It just struck me when I read that little Julian had died on this same day. This family has a long road of grief and healing ahead. I am so glad they know the Lord. I am not sure how people go on without the hope that the ones they love are with the Lord and we will see them again.

Now to get these girls settled down! We had a sleepover last night & it seems Natalie & her friend Annie stayed up til 3 or 4 a.m. Not tonight!

Thanks for continued prayers!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Good News & Bad news

I talked to Phil around noon & they had taken the tube out of Bill's throat with the oxygen. He still had the one in his nose with oxygen. They were going to wait a couple of hours before letting him try to talk. When I talked to Phil at 4:30 he said they'd put the tube back in his throat because he was wheezing. I'm not sure why they thought he was ready to have it out since he has pneumonia & has a history of breathing illness (COPD/emphysema).

Phil had said he'd come home Sunday. Now he is saying he'll see how his dad is then decide if he's coming home or not.

Please continue to pray for all of us.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Better update today

Just talked to Phil. He said Bill is doing better today. He is awake, though still somewhat sedated. He still has the oxygen tube down his throat, so isn't able to talk. The doctor hopes to remove it tomorrow. Bill responded to the doctor's directions to "wiggle toes" and give a "thumbs up" sign. Phil sounded MUCH better. I didn't talk to Ruth, but she did call & talk to the girls earlier. I think we are heading in the right direction.

Your prayers & thoughts mean the world to us. Thanks so much!

Mom's Medical "Kneeds"

In the midst of my FIL going through this surgery, my mom saw an orthopedic surgeon for a knee problem she's had for 2 years now. He said that she has "bone rubbing against bone" in her knees and gave her 2 choices for improving this problem: Cut her leg off or have her knee replaced! She's going for option number 2. So, in late February we will start our hospital vigil in San Antonio, at Northeast Baptist where Dad has his surgeries.

NE Baptist is also where my sweet friend Stephanie gave birth to 3 children, the last child ONE YEAR AGO this Saturday! I know that because I was at the hospital to see dad and got to go see sweet Baby Elisabeth the day she was born. It was January 19th. That is the date my brother Steve died in 1978 (30 years ago this week). When I told Bethany that she sweetly said, "It's like one went away & another one came to us." Happy Birthday Elisabeth Noelle!

Friday is Ruth's (my MIL) birthday, so today we planned to take her out to lunch. We did take her to lunch----in the hospital cafeteria! Hopefully we'll be able to celebrate next month at some point.

I also found out today that my Sister in law, Robin, has to have surgery for cataracts. She's only a couple of years older than I am, way too young for this, but they think that the Lasik she had when it was a new procedure COULD have led to this.

I'm thinking that I really am going to be tired of hospitals before this year has had a chance to really start. I'm so glad that one day those of us who know the Lord Jesus will be with Him & have a new heavenly body! I'm hoping to have a thin one that doesn't have any medical problems!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not good news today

My folks, along with the girls and I, arrived at the hospital about noon. I'd talked to Phil earlier & he said Bill was about the same as yesterday. When we got to the hospital, we called (he was going to come down & meet us). He said, "Hold on a few minutes. We've got something going on right now." When he called back, he was obviously very distraught. Bill's breathing had become very difficult, so they opted to put him back on oxygen & also move him to ICU. They drained some "gunk" off his lungs (the nurse later said it wasn't much at all in there). They'd taken an EKG & chest x-ray this morning, too. They think he may have pneumonia (which is common after surgery, especially when you already have a problem like he does, emphysema). They're keeping him very sedated so they can keep a tube down his throat. He has quite a few bags hooked up on the IV. They are giving him quite a bit of antibiotic in case it is pneumonia. The doctors told us the x-ray did not look bad, but he could still have it. His blood pressure has been high (not normal for him), and he has a history of clogged arteries, so they are concerned that the could have had a heart attack. They did not have final results back from those tests when we left the hospital about 3:30. Phil will stay there with his mom. His cousin Shelli came in from Georgetown for the day, too, which I know was good for Ruth.

I am the only one of all of us who actually saw Bill. I thought it might be good for the girls to see him "just in case" they don't get another chance, but Phil & Ruth didn't think it would be good for them. The doctor said we'd have to ask the nurse, but really didn't think it was a good idea for them to come in because they could be carrying germs. I highly doubt they are right now after all the meds they've been on lately, but since Phil didn't think it was a good idea, we didn't even ask the nurse. So, we drove to Temple, sat in the waiting room, ate at the hospital cafeteria, sat in the waiting room some more, then came home, with me seeing Bill for about 5 minutes. I'm glad we got to go & see Phil & Ruth, but feel badly that the girls had to sit for all that time. They were SO good, I must say. I was really proud of them.

Ruth is obviously upset, but doing okay. I THINK she will leave the hospital & go to the hotel tonight. She asked the doctor & nurse if there would be someone there at all times. The doctor assured her that all the monitors that are on him now are also at the desk, and that in ICU the nurse has only 1 or 2 patients at a time. The two different doctors I saw were both ladies & were very understanding & helpful.

Phil isn't doing very well. I didn't realize he had not seen my dad with all the "cords attached" last year in ICU. He was afraid his dad was in a coma because he was non-responsive. The doctor told him they have Bill sedated so he will not feel discomfort from the tubes. I remember Dad wanting to yank those out, so I understand why they do this. We think Phil is now out of leave time, so these will be non-paid days off for the rest of the week.

We appreciate your prayers for all of us right now. We are still planning to go to Houston tomorrow (the girls and I) unless I need to go to Temple. We really have to wait & be flexible right now. I'll update later tonight if there is different news.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Infection has set in

Talked to Phil about 10 tonight. He opted to stay one more day. He may stay longer, but is not sure if he has any more leave time. He took off so many days at Christmas because of the flu/bronchitis that he's used up most of his time.

He said Bill had developed an infection. That seems to be pretty normal when people have surgeries these days. At one point they said his temp was 103. Phil thinks it was an inaccurate reading because it was very inconsistent with other times they checked. They are giving him antibiotics through his IV. He said Bill doesn't look good, and to prepare the girls for him not looking very good. My dad looked bad last year when they saw him before surgery, but Phil thinks his dad looks worse. I don't think Phil actually saw my dad before surgery because he (Phil) was sick. As my dad said, "Bill didn't look too good before surgery" because he had been sick for so long. Phil's mom will not leave the hospital room overnight. Please pray for continued healing & for his mom to be able to trust the doctors & nurses, or at least trust God to take care of Bill through them! She's had a family member in recent years who was given the wrong medication which has led to multiple problems, so it is hard to trust the nurses now.

My parents, the girls & I will go to Temple, Texas on Wednesday to see Bill & Ruth, and now also Phil. Thanks for your continued prayers.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Surgery is over!

Bill is out of surgery. They were able to remove several lymph nodes (they must have suspected or found cancer in those) & then the tumor with part of the bladder. He has about 50% of his bladder left. He did not lose much blood, so they didn't have to give him any. He stopped his blood thinner soon enough, I guess, that it helped with that. The dr. did not remove any of the prostate as he'd had Bill in surgery for 5 hrs. & didn't want to do more to him after that long. He's in recovery now. He is going to be moved to a regular room (not ICU), so Phil & Ruth will be able to see him around 5.
Thanks for praying!

Surgery just hours away

I am still awake. It is nearly 2 a.m. The girls were up very late & are having a slumber party in my room. It's the kind where they actually slumber, though! YEA! I'm putting together info for a Pampered Chef Meeting tomorrow night. Our Leadership Conference just ended & I have so much to share with my team. It's also keeping my mind off of the surgery for Bill just hours away from now.

Phil drove to Temple tonight to meet his folks. He's staying in the hotel with them (and then with his mom tomorrow night). They have to be at the hospital at 6 a.m. Pray that Phil finds a Starbucks! He'll need it! We don't know exactly what time surgery will be. I assume admission at 6 means prep will start at some point after 6:30. The surgery is 3 hours long. Please pray for guidance for the doctors. Also, if you can pray for Phil & his mom, Ruth, to be able to comprehend all that they will be told that would be great. They will be working on limited sleep. Phil doesn't hear well & Ruth just has a lot she is trying to remember with all of this going on. Between them, they should be able to take in whatever they are told. I believe a friend of Ruth's will be going up either tomorrow or on Tuesday. Then my folks & we will go up on Wednesday.

We appreciate all of your prayers!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

On the Mend?

Thanks for praying for us. On Friday, I got ahold of the doctor I saw on Monday & he called in some antibiotics for me. My throat has been quite sore, so I suspect I did get the strep, too. The fever has gone up a bit instead of down this weekend. So far, Phil has not relapsed. He is just having a tough time getting his energy back. The girls are feeling quite well. Kids are pretty amazingly resilient!

On Sunday, Phil will drive to Temple, Texas, to be with his mom & dad for his dad's surgery on Monday. They have to be at the hospital at 6:00 a.m. Phil doesn't do morning well. Maybe there will be an empty bench in the waiting room where he can snooze. The surgery should take 3 hours. I think he'll come home Monday night, but he may stay til Tuesday. My folks, the girls, & I will go up on Wednesday for awhile. Please pray that all goes well in surgery.

Did I mention that Phil's mom broke her wrist? She is now in a cast (or should be, I forgot to ask if she got it) so driving should not be as difficult as with the sling she had her arm in. At least this time it was just a "normal" fall. A couple of years ago she nearly broke her legs & hip when she tried to waterski---at age 69, after taking a year off. I can't even ski at 42! She hasn't been attempting any high risk sports lately. At least not that we know of!

This weekend is "My Buddy & Me" cookie selling weekend. Our poor girls have only sold cookies to their Grandma. They keep forgetting to call Mammaw (my mom). We got sick last year, too, and they couldn't get out to sell. My Buddy & me is when their dad, uncle, grandpa, brother---some male figure they know---takes them out to sell cookies. With Phil still recovering, then leaving for Temple, we think this will not happen. Unless Phil drops them at my parents' house & Poppaw takes them to his neighborhood tomorrow & Monday!

I am trying to get back in the swing of things with Pampered Chef. Our Leadership conference was this weekend. I have seen pictures of new products, but can't share them til I tell my wonderful consultants about them at a meeting on Monday. This always gets me excited! I didn't get to go this time, but I will tell you that there is nothing like a room full of women, and a few men, when new products are announced. As someone once said, "I never knew ANYONE could get that excited over a spatula!" We'll also know what the trip destinations are that we can earn this year. 2007 was the first time in several years that I didn't earn even the first level of our trips, and I am hoping to change that THIS year!

It is late & I must get to bed. Thanks again for prayers. Good night!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bill's surgery is set for Monday

My father-in-law, Bill, is set for surgery to remove part of his bladder (and the tumor that is dying in his bladder) on Monday, the 14th. This was originally set for this past Monday, but got moved. This will be in Temple, Texas. Phil will go with them & I'll stay here with the girls.

He talked to his mom tonight & found out they'd had to take Bill to the ER either last night or today (I can't remember which). He had some gastrointestinal issues, lost a lot of fluid & when they got him to the ER, his blood pressure was VERY low. They used an IV to put fluids back into him & he was doing well enough to go home. Their good friend, Joel Houston, had to help Ruth get Bill into the car. Times like this are when it's hard to live further than "down the road" from our parents. Mine live in a different city, but it is still "down the road" just about 35 minutes from us! Please pray for the doctors and for Bill & Ruth as they go into this surgery.

The girls & I are supposed to travel to Houston on Friday for a Pampered Chef show at my niece's house. They have both had strep throat, and I am hoping not to have it.

Thanks for standing with us in prayer!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

And we have 2 for the price of one....

Okay, actually, we have 2 for the price of 2, but that doesn't sound like a good title. Bethany has strep. After finally getting Bethany's mouth pried open long enough to swab her, we discovered, after the doctor came in & was waiting for the results, that the nurse forgot to take the swab to be tested! The dr. had already said from looking at her mouth & throat that it was strep & wrote the Rx for her. He asked if I wanted them to test it. I told him no since we already were getting the script. He told the nurse, "Make sure they aren't charged for that." Then he told me, "THAT'S why I wait on the results," so we won't be charged if they don't run the test. So, we'll pick up amoxil for her. Who will be next? Will it be Lori? Will Phil's last course of antibiotic be enough to keep him well? Will he have to take more time off of work & miss his dad's surgery next Monday?

Tune in next time for as the ......oh, wait, that's already been done. Just check out here if you're curious!

4 down & starting on round 2!

Bethany is feeling MUCH better after her bout with the flu. Natalie never got the flu, and we are so grateful for that. Phil is still very tired. I have run a low grade fever since Friday the 28th. Well, on Sunday, Natalie's throat started hurting. I thought it was just from mountain cedar in the air, so I gave her some motrin & sent her on her way to AWANA, a Bible Memory club for kids. I sent Bethany, too, as it had been over a week since she was diagnosed & appeared to be fine.

When the girls got home, after dropping off two friends (meaning they were in close contact to my kids), Natalie's throat was really hurting. She was crying & wanted to sleep in my bed. I decided she & I would see the doctor on Monday. My primary care doctor quit her practice, so I am without a PCP. Monday I called Phil's primary doctor's office & was told they had no openings with any of the doctors. Sigh. I didn't want to go to the allergist because it's a new year and that means meeting deductibles again. AND the allergist costs more. Though, I have a running tab with them at this point. Still, we needed to be seen. I ended up getting a 3:30 appt. for myself at the allergist & getting Natalie in to the pediatrician at 2:00. We live in a fairly large city. These 2 offices were not near each other. I was a bit concerned about the timing!

We got into see the pedi before 2:00 & were out by 2:15! Praise God! While we were in there the dr. swabbed for strep throat. Yep, she has it. Yep, it's highly contagious til 24 hours after medication. Yep, I sent her to be with other kids on Sunday. Mother guilt. I e-mailed the moms last night & haven't heard from them yet. I bet they are at the doctor and muttering about me. LOL!

The allergist said I look "viral" not "bacterial" right now. Isn't that a pleasant thought? He put me on prednisone for 5 days. I should be all buffed up in a few days. Oh, wait, at this point in life, it just means more fat. He said if I feel worse to call & they call in an antibiotic.

Bethany had a "tiny sore throat" last night, which progressed to a "little sore," which she says is more than "tiny." Today it hurts when she swallows. I'll wait til tomorrow to see if it's still hurting. Shall I send her out to play with the neighborhood kids? JUST KIDDING!

We are SUPPOSED to go to Houston Friday to do a Pampered Chef show for my sweet niece Becky (the newlywed). I hope we get to go!

I've been rather out of touch here. Hope this explains why!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Flu

Last week I posted that Phil was sick & we thought it was bronchitis. Well, it probably turned into bronchitis, but we now are pretty sure the initial instigator was the flu. Why, you may ask, do we presume this criminal guilty? On Saturday evening, my mother-in-law called to inform us that Bethany had wrapped herself in a quilt & was running a fever of 101.9. Also, she'd thrown up twice that day. This child rarely throws up. And, if you're read my past blogs, you know that God has special angels to handle puke for me! Once again it happened away from me. Not wanting to leave her there sick, and not wanting my father-in-law exposed to this, we brought her home. But, it was Saturday night, and doctors were closed til Monday. I took her into the doctor. They swabbed her nose (not a pleasant affair). The doctor was fairly certain it was NOT the flu, and, because IF it was the flu, and we didn't know EXACTLY how long she'd been sick, giving her tamiflu (antiviral for the flu) might not do any good. After the nose swab was tested, she came back & told us it was the flu & gave us a prescription.

On Friday I had been VERY lethargic. By Friday night I was running fever. I assumed it was whatever had started Phil's illness, but not really thinking it was the flu. I didn't feel like a Mack truck hit me, like I usually do with the flu. Still, my fever was higher than normal for me (when I am well, my temp is below 98.6) reaching nearly 101 (for me that is HIGH). After Bethany was diagnosed, I knew I had it, too. Natalie is not sick. Why? She had the flu shot. She is the only one of us who did. She has mild asthma, so they give her one as soon as possible. I have it also & should have gone to get a shot. Oops. I am thinking that maybe the fact that I take meds for the muscle soreness is what has prevented me from the horrible muscle aches. This has gone to my lungs now & I'm starting to cough & have tightness when I breathe.

Tamiflu is a horrid tasting medicine in liquid form. We told Bethany that. But, she did not want to take the pill when the dr. said it was a capsule. One dose is all we got into her. Really, I suspect she was past 48 hrs. into this before we even started the meds. Her temp is coming down, though she is still tiring easily. I had called & asked my allergist to call in tamiflu for me. They didn't have the call in yet when I got to my pharmacy, so I am just taking Bethany's. I know it was longer than 48 hrs. when I started taking it, but I paid $55 for that stuff & I'm gonna use it, by golly! LOL!

Right now what I am going to do is go to bed & rest up.