We’re still here . . .

Just when we all thought 2020 had generated enough confusion, dread, and frustration for an entire lifetime, along came September 18. Jon said everything went dark when he arrived by ambulance at French Hospital with only a faint recollection of being semi-conscious. We really believe he was very close to not pulling through. Truly, without our neighbor summoning 911, the EMTs swiftly coming to our home, Emergency Room personnel’s immediate action, and God’s intervention . . . Jon probably would no longer be alive on Planet Earth.

Kathryn has returned home to San Francisco. She was of immense help as she quickly stepped in to oversee my care, helping calm me, taking over household chores, and even assisting with the transfer of ownership of our seven hens to a trusted friend. That was especially difficult for her as she had developed a special bond with our friendly, productive chickens. At this time in our lives, we need to shed nonessential responsibilities and simplify our lives.

Laura assists remotely from Chattanooga making needed and sometimes critical phone calls on Jon’s and my behalf. Kathryn continues to help with the same. Liz and Todd have moved in with us and are helping establish a regular routine for Jon’s intravenous antibiotics which must be administered every eight hours. We have visits from Jon’s Home Health nurse, dietitian, and more as well as my weekly Palliative Care nurse visit. Medical supplies deliveries, too. Jon has upcoming doctor appointments, and Todd will provide transportation and accompany him. They are washing loads of laundry, sorting through items in our pantry, and shopping for food and other essentials. Liz is providing my liquid diet via my feeding pump, giving me bolus water injections in-between meals through my feeding tube, giving me nebulizer treatments in an effort to help with my increasingly thick, sticky mucus, and generally trying to make sure my needs are met. We have an essential oil diffuser and a humidifier running 24/7, too. As you can see, there are no dull moments in our lives. My grandmother would say, “Looks like you’ve got a 3-ring circus happening around there.” Each of us has been quite exhausted by midday, if not sooner. Additionally, Todd or Liz  have been responsible for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for Jon and themselves. Soon, our 3-year-old (going on 4) grandson, Finn, will be added to the mix!

Baywood Park Community Church where we attend will graciously coordinate some evening meal provisions. If you are subscribed to my blog and live locally, I will include you in an email with contact information. There is absolutely no pressure, but if you’re able and would like to participate, you’ll know how to do so. If you want to help and don’t receive my email today, please email me directly if you have my email address (not posting here to thwart potential spammers) or post a comment and I’ll make sure you get the details.

We appreciate your faithful prayers and uplifting comments as we continue to navigate through this most challenging season of our lives. I’ve always appreciated Jesus’ words as recorded in Matthew 6:34 (Revised Standard Version):

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Let the day’s own trouble
be sufficient for the day.

The Update We’ve Been Waiting For

Jon is Back Home!

I’m too fatigued to go into much detail but wanted you to praise God along with us that Jon arrived home before noon today. Two specialty RNs with Central Coast Home Health arrived mid afternoon to train us in administering his antibiotic every eight hours for the next six weeks and another RN will be here later tonight for more hands-on training. Follow-up medical appointments are in the works. Jon will be spending the night in his own bed.

We are so grateful for your prayers
and ask that you continue to pray
as Jon still has quite a journey
back to good health.

Update No. 3 concerning Jon . . .

  • Jon must spend a sixth night at French Hospital.
  • We are hopeful he will be released tomorrow (Thursday) morning to come home.
  • His platelet count was up slightly today which is a good thing.
  • The hospital used the opportunity to run a few additional diagnostic tests.
  • Still waiting on some lab test results.
  • Jon was queuing for 2:00 p.m. for the new PICC line but the procedure didn’t begin until about 3:30 p.m.
  • Home health nurse could not come to our house so late tonight to teach us how to push the prescription antibiotic into Jon’s new PICC line.
  • Since Jon’s staph infection is in his heart on a valve that has already been repaired, they’re not taking any chances on skipping any IV antibiotics or altering his infusion schedule. This is very serious!

Preparations are underway to make necessary adjustments so that when Jon finally comes home, we’re ready and able to care and provide for him and for me in the best way possible.

Thank you so much for your prayers,
words of encouragement, and
thoughtful acts of kindness 

that help bolster endurance
in such a time as this.

Update No. 2 concerning Jon . . .

My special man is spending his fifth night at French Hospital. He is, to put it mildly, very disappointed that he wasn’t released today. He is in the queue to receive a new PICC line which should happen tomorrow. We are also waiting on additional lab results to show more conclusively how the staph is responding to the antibiotic that’s being administered. His platelet count is still low but not quite as low as yesterday.

To paint a more accurate picture, the COVID-19 rules at French Hospital permit only one visitor per stay. So Liz is the only person allowed to go see Jon. No exceptions. Understandably, he is quite lonely and sad. We’ve all tried to remind him that he’s there because he has been very ill and everyone is trying to help him get better as soon as possible. 

Thank you for continuing to send your encouraging messages. Means so much. Your prayers are invaluable.

A special longtime friend stopped by yesterday to bring a bouquet of flowers and a card. The card is unique and meaningful at a time like this. Since a picture’s worth a thousand words . . . or more, I’m sharing it here along with a few of her encouraging words.

“I’m reminded that the tide
will never be so high
that HE won’t be able to keep us safe.
We may be a bit worn & wet . . . !”

Update No. 1 concerning Jon . . .

Here’s what we know so far, but keep in mind . . . information changes without notice.

  • Jon has tested positive for MSSA staph infection (staphylococcus aureus).
  • There is still fluid in his lungs.
  • They performed a TEE test yesterday (TEE – A transesophageal echocardiogram is a special type of echocardiogram. It is usually done when your doctor wants to look more closely at your heart to see if it could be producing blood clots. Like an echocardiogram, the TEE uses high-frequency sound waves [ultrasound] to examine the structures of the heart.) Jon was required to swallow a tiny camera for this procedure.
  • Jon’s TEE was inconclusive—the doctor noted enough shadow or “vegetation” on the valve to be suspicious.
  • This type of staph is known to cause infection on heart valves, especially heart valves that have been altered/modified—Jon had an open-heart mitral valve repair in 2004.
  • Jon had a PICC line inserted yesterday to prep him for a six-week round of home-health antibiotics, but we just learned that line will need to be swapped out for a different PICC line tomorrow.
  • He was moved out of ICU late last evening to a step-down room.
  • His blood platelets are low, but they’re not sure why.
  • His appetite seems to be improving—he ate a pretty good breakfast and lunch today.
  • He could be discharged as early as tomorrow. No guarantee.

This has all been very overwhelming. Kathryn arrived Friday evening. Liz flew in yesterday from Houston. Todd and our three-year-old Grandson Finn, will fly in on Wednesday evening. Without their help, I may have been put out to pasture by now.

Thank you for your concern, prayers,
and heartfelt comments.

Even though it may not be possible to respond to each of your notes, please know I will read each and every one. As I texted to a friend yesterday—

“If life here on earth gets any more ‘exciting’ than this,
I don’t want to know about it.”

A Call For Prayer

My husband, Jon, needs your prayer in a very desperate way!

Jon began feeling exceedingly tired on Thursday, September 17, and by Friday morning was doing very poorly and quite unresponsive. After texting our daughter, Laura in Chattanooga, Tennessee, she summoned two of our neighbors who immediately came to help and called 911 for the paramedics. He was transported by ambulance to our local French Hospital, was immediately tested for COVID-19, and when admitted, taken to a special isolation unit in ICU until test results became available.

Here’s the latest as of this morning. By the way, since I cannot talk on the phone, Laura has been fielding phone calls with the hospital and some of my medical professionals. Kathryn, our San Francisco-based daugher, drove here yesterday to help me. Liz and Todd, our daughter and son-in-law in the Houston, Texas, area are also assisting with communication and updating prayer lists.

An initial COVID-19 test came back negative last night. At the time, it had not yet been determined whether they would run a second test.

Jon has been diagnosed with Bilateral Pneumonia. Bilateral interstitial pneumonia is a serious infection that can inflame and scar the lungs. It’s one of many types of interstitial lung diseases, which affect the tissue around the tiny air sacs in the lungs. You can get this type of pneumonia as a result of COVID-19, although in Jon’s case, apparently not. Bilateral types of pneumonia affect both lungs.

Jon is on Antibiotics, Tylenol, and Valium. He will not be tested a second time for COVID-19 as his CT scan showed no signs of COVID-19. Laura was told that Jon is, so far, responding well to treatment. He is on oxygen, pain free, and resting comfortably.

I’ve had some difficult days in my life, but yesterday made all of the rest seem not so bad. Being unable to converse with anyone is extremely stressful. So grateful to our neighbors for stopping everything and quickly coming to help and for other neighbors who have also offered to assist. Thankful for all three of our precious daughters and caring son-in-law who are working overtime with barely a moment’s notice.

By now, my ship would have surely sunk without their help!

Because He LIVES . . .

We’ve all read the agonizing stories . . . 

  • Seasoned hiker in his 40s heads off alone, gets off the trail, slips and falls knocking himself unconscious. Wakes up with injuries and desperate for rescue. 
  • Exhausted mother leaves her young children home with her husband while she shops for groceries. She falls asleep on her way home and drives off the road leaving no skid marks. Badly injured, she is unable to summon help.
  • Prisoner unjustly incarcerated during a war with no way of communicating with the outside world that he or she is still alive.

In each instance, the distraught victims
cling to hope because of their
overwhelming desire to live
and again be with those they love.

During these times we find ourselves in and facing this progressive disease day in and day out, what sustains me is being CONVINCED that my Savior, Jesus, LIVES and clinging to the PROMISE of being with HIM for all of eternity.

Everything else pales in comparison.

Wikipedia – Gaither

Uploaded to YouTube 2012
Uploaded to YouTube 2017