Archive for June, 2006

6/28/06 11:59 pm

no real news to share except to notice that Mike cannot help but see the measure of your love through the unceasing flood of friendly faces checking up on him.  thank you for visits, some easy, some hard, some encouraging or surprising.  thank you for continuing to pour yourselves out for our family through cards, care, prayer, and meals.  we are dazed by God’s grace.  some friends stopped by today before heading out for a camp assignment this month.  Mike’s story will highlight Christ’s resurrection in our friend’s Thursday night talks every week in July.  it is an honor and joy to get to see how God would use Mike even and especially now.  May he be a witness to many.  May God speak loudly through Mike’s life.  (And pray for Bob as he delivers the good news of the Savior’s costly love to kids this month.)  How you love us is an incredible witness as well.  Thanks for such a gift.    -michelle

June 29, 2006 at 12:09 am 11 comments

6/26/06 10:35 pm

Monday is assessment day at Marianjoy where the therapists and doctors check in and summarize Mike’s weekly progress.  He did not make great strides in physical or occupational therapy.  He is still fighting the distraction and weariness that come with the leg spasms he is suffering from.  They are planning on using Botox to relax the muscles enough to allow him to concentrate and regain momentum.  Speech therapy is going well.  He has been swallowing liquids from a spoon and will hopefully move on to pureed foods next week.  Mike can say whole sentences clearly on occasion but for the most part can use only a few words together intelligibly.  We are concentrating on helping him strategize to help others understand him.  He wants to share long-winded thoughts and we must encourage him to choose key words to convey meaning to listeners.  His speech therapist did try a communication board but he did not use it in any reliable way so we are sticking to verbal speech right now.  The perk is that every time he speaks, intelligibly or not, he is using and strenthening the muscles which is the problem anyhow.  So we are only going in the right direction.  Mike is scheduled for 3 more weeks at Marianjoy and then on to a new “subacute” care facility where he will still enjoy therapy 5 times a week before we can look at him coming home.

So, a lot of information to digest.  I asked Mike’s doctor what to specifically aim our weapon of prayer at and he said to concentrate on the speech.  As his speech comes along he believes Mike will feel more satisfied, motivated and connected.  Please pray for just exactly that.  Also please continue to lift up Mike’s caregivers and therapists.  They are incredible and their enthusiasm, compassion and investment in him are evident.  Thank God for that!  Thanks for prayers, visits, and faithfully keeping with us for the long haul.              -michelle

June 26, 2006 at 10:47 pm 9 comments

6/23/06 9:55 pm WOOOHOOO!

YAAAAY!  The trach is out!  Finally!  Always take the time to celebrate.  God's gifts demand recognition!  (And I will further pursue some alternative communication helps with the speech therapists–i had only spoken briefly about that on Thursday with a therapist before our minor debacle.  Thanks for the suggestions!)  Keep praying!       –michelle

June 23, 2006 at 9:57 pm 12 comments

6/22/06 10:15 pm

I have had a few harder than normal visits with Mike this week.  He is full of things to say and I can't always catch what they are.  Sometimes i am elated and stunned at how clearly he says my name or hello or good morning or lay down.  And other times we struggle for a half hour trying so persistently to communicate one simple sentence.  It is draining and disappointing to both of us and i feel torn between pushing him to try to repeat it for the millionth time or begging to give up and quit the frustration.  Tonight after we both felt like cursing I remembered the truth.  And i told him.  "I praise God for what you say.  Whether I understand it today or not.  It is pure blessing to hear your voice.  I didn't always know I ever would hear your voice again.  My understanding, your clarity, will come."

I thank God again for where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.  God's gifts have been found sufficient for each step of this journey.  Thanks again for your sustaining prayer over this long haul.                     –michelle

June 22, 2006 at 10:17 pm 7 comments

6/21/06 2:00 pm

Mike has encountered a few difficulties over the last week, but he appears to be back on track with his therapy at Marianjoy.  If all goes as planned, his doctors will likely remove his trach this Friday, permitting the opening in his throat to close.  (With his ability to swallow being strong, Mike no longer needs the assistance which the trach was originally installed to supply.) 

His doctors are also taking some measures (possibly slightly more aggressive) which should assist Mike with the physical and occupational therapy directed at his leg strength and movement. 

Please pray that Mike's progress will continue, and that he will be guarded against despair.  And please try to visit Mike, if you are in the area, to encourage him.

June 21, 2006 at 2:18 pm 5 comments

6/14/06 6:00 pm

A quick update:

Mike is talking again, following the capping of his trach.  As before, not everything is understandable, but some words are, and it is good to note that he is speaking in full sentences — not content to answer "yes or no" questions with a yes or a no.  (Big surprise.)

In other good news, a swallowing test was administered, wherein a camera is used to determine how well Mike can swallow, and the results were very good.  So, Mike will be given small amounts of liquid to drink orally, and it is hoped that he will soon be ready for soft foods, like applesauce.  The taking of foods orally will strengthen the muscles of Mike's mouth and throat, which will assist speech and move him toward the eventual removal of the trach altogether.

Finally, a cast has been applied to Mike's left ankle, in order to remedy muscle spasm which has caused extension of his left foot and stiffness in the joint.  (I think this has been referred to as a "dropping" of his foot.)  This is the beginning of a series of casts which will fix the problem.

Looking forward to bringing you more exciting news!

June 14, 2006 at 6:23 pm 16 comments

6/13/06 1:45 pm

Mike's Monday assessment at Marionjoy provided just a little bit of information.  They are excited with his progress and are basically working toward all the same goals they were aiming for the week he transferred out.  So they are planning on capping his trach all day today to see how he does.  They are also working on swallowing with him and hope to do a test where they feed him blue-dyed apple sauce and then see if any blue stuff comes out through his trach hole.  If he keeps all the food in his esophagus instead of his trachea then he can move on toward eating!  They are also keeping an eye on his moods.  They are estimating that they will keep him at Marionjoy for five weeks which would take him through mid-July.  We are excited at his quick progress and praise God for his faithfulness.  Please pray for these continued goals.  May God bless you as you bless us!

June 13, 2006 at 1:47 pm 4 comments

6/8/06 3:55 pm enough and more

Sometimes Judas makes a lot of sense to me.  That's how i know i am in trouble.  In John 12 there is a story about this Mary friend who breaks a jar of expensive perfume (they emphasize it is pricey) on Jesus' feet.  His FEET!  Then Judas pipes in to say that  surely needier people could have made better use of the money this flagrant act wasted.  After all, it was money down the drain (I couldn't resist).  The story conjures up the word "extravagant" which also goes by lavish, unrestrained, wild, fantastic.  This is the only way I can describe God right now.

Lavish, unrestrained, wild, fantastic.  Extravagant with his love.  I receive more MoRE MORE than I need.  I receive food for every hunger, cards for every ache, gifts (books, bags!) for every lonely moment.  I have more resources and help at my disposal than I could ever need.  And i will admit that my self-sufficiency gets in the way of all this help but I have been trying to relax and share the burden.  I sometimes feel like I can handle everything–we are surviving–we are doing Ok with an impossible situation.  Yet God seems to want me to know that my "OK" is nothing compared to HIS "overflowing".  So he uses each of you to pour himself out upon our family.  So there is no moment where we don't feel soaked by his love.  Thank you, each of YOU, for that.

1 John 3:1
    How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

Meanwhile…Mike is wonderfully fabulously back at Marionjoy and I am so glad.  He is back to the rigors of his therapy schedule there and will quickly regain some of the progress he lost over the last few weeks.  Everyone working with him before was so encouraging and excited to receive him back and are quite certain that we will see Mike improve quickly.  He is alert and participating actively throughout the day.  His mood seems to fluctuate a bit and i try hard not to read into what might be going through his head.  That way I don't accidentally plant or project my ideas onto him.  He is entirely coherent and capable of his own thoughts without squashing them with mine.  Some days he seems relaxed.  Some days he seems distant and avoids eye contact.  I am not surprised that a coherent person in his position might experience a range of moods and i try to love him through each good or bad day and not take it personally.  I believe it is probably healthy to have visitors consistently however he feels and just keep visits shorter on harder days.

Please pray that Mike would allow God charge of his thoughts, peace in the process, safe travel for Mike's 3 brothers and Jim Hudson from California all in this weekend.  Pray for progress toward capping his trach again so that he would be able to verbalize again soon.  Pray for muscle tone, range of motion and plain energy to keep up with busy, stretching days.  Please pray and praise God for this continuous flow of gracious and compasionate caregivers who pray and celebrate right alongside all of us.  It is a precious privilege to see the unique job so many in this field do in investing themselves in a stranger's life.  They make an enormous difference every day and I thank God for how fortunate we have been in all we have met.

thanks and love,  michelle 

June 8, 2006 at 3:52 pm 8 comments

6/6/06 8:00 p.m.

Mike has been discharged from Edward, and he has returned to Marianjoy.  As he returns to the more intensive therapy offered at Marianjoy, let us meet his efforts in our renewed, intensive prayer.  (As if we had to ask!)  Bless you all.

June 6, 2006 at 8:03 pm 5 comments

6/2/06 4:30 pm

Surgery went well…no problems.  We are praying that there are no infection complications and that the shunt needs no adjusting.  Mike is still sleeping from surgery.  Pray that he is feeling good and encouraged as he wakes up.  Naps are nice and I am going try to snag one myself right now.       — michelle

June 2, 2006 at 4:32 pm 6 comments

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