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    Update Eleven

    June 25, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    Dear Family and Friends,

    My sweet husband seems to be doing well today. When I came in this morning, he said he was unusually sleepy. Shortly thereafter, he told me he had lost his oxygen tubes “about an hour ago” and couldn’t find them. Needless to say, I discovered the cause of his sleepiness, and also requested that from now on he push the nurse’s button when he finds himself missing something rather important like that.

    To those of you who have started visiting the hospital, thank you. The visits seem to be doing him well. Tomorrow afternoon, he will have plasmapheresis, so there is no sense dropping by then as he will be in another Benadryl coma.

    His biggest obstacle right now is complete neurological healing. Even though the neurologist was actually the first doctor to clear him for discharge {not that he is leaving soon; he still needs lots of blood healing as well}, his neurological problems seem to be delaying his healing. Specifically, his heightened sense of taste and smell, as well as a new gagging reflex, have made it difficult for him to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods. I have been trying to bring him homemade snacks that are nutrient-dense, things that are normally easy for him to eat, and he is really struggling with it.

    We are in a transition time here on the home front. Tomorrow, Si’s mom, Penny, who has been here, running my house for me while I’ve been basically in a daze, is returning home. I’ll still have Si’s twin and his family here {and my sister-in-law has also been an indispensable help}, but I know this is going to be a loss for the children, and also to my house, which has become accustomed to being clean. Penny has filled the gap in so many, many ways.

    A prayer for me would be, I think, perseverance. Up until this point, things have been changing quickly, for worse and then for better. But now there is this feeling of waiting. He cannot yet be discharged because he requires too much care, but the weeks feel like years with him away from us like this. An email recently reminded me of the verse that urges Christians not to grow weary in doing good, and I have tried to take that to heart.

    May the Lord’s blessings be upon you all.


    Dear Family and Friends,

    Today was Si’s last check with the neurologist, or at least his last in-patient check. The doctor says that he will see him in three or four weeks in his office, and at that time we will begin trying to wean from the weaker of the two anti-seizure medications.

    During the check today, Si was given news that I had anticipated, but didn’t want to worry him with yet, and that is the fact that, due to state law, he is no longer allowed to drive a vehicle. He will need to be seizure-free for a certain amount of time. This, of course, will complicate his rejoining of the working world, besides all of the other things he formerly did independent of me. However, God has worked everything else out, and I have no reason to assume that this will not also work itself out in time.

    An obstacle to his actually leaving the hospital that I just thought of today is that he still requires a 5L flow of oxygen. My understanding is that the fluid is still there around the left lung, but it also sounds like it is a possibility that he retained more fluid around the right after the initial draining procedure. He is fully oxygenated at the 5L, but he needs to be able to breathe normal air. Please join me in praying that the diuretics he is on will remove the fluid around his lungs.

    Tonight I am writing a letter to assist Si’s application for his employer’s catastrophic leave program. This is where other employees can donate their vacation hours to my husband. I had thought we wouldn’t need something like this, but this is the only way for us to keep our health insurance now that he has officially used up all of his vacation and sick time. I filled out all of the disability insurance papers, but that is separate from easily retaining the health insurance through his employer, for disability insurance does not change the fact that he is not putting in hours for his work. So I am praying for a smooth path on this one as well. I thank God that Siah has such good bosses that they think of these things and bring them to our attention!

    My super-mother-in-law flew back to Tennessee this afternoon. We were all saddened to see her go, but she was here for over two weeks, and I’m sure we’ve worn her out! She really did rescue us.

    I feel like we are now officially in the “long haul.” We made it through the initial crisis, and now the adrenaline has worn out. Also, the vacation-feeling the children had about all the visitors is mostly gone. Now, I’m tired and a bit lonely for my husband, and the children are showing wear in their own ways. I was up for hours with our two-year-old last night. It wasn’t past my bedtime, but it was definitely past hers. She kept saying that people make her sad, and then eventually she said that Daddy makes her sad because when she hugs him she has to be careful. Except for our 10-month-old, who is too busy exploring his new mobility to worry about all of this, I think we are all feeling the length and depth of this now.

    I keep thinking that when Si comes home, everything will be normal, but now I think I realize that it’ll be a new normal, not the old normal. The old normal involved, for instance, a husband that threw children in the air and drove himself to work. I’m sure that will return in time, but I was a little naive and thought it’d happen sooner and faster.

    However, not to dwell on the negative, we are still seeing the grace of God. Just yesterday I asked you all to pray for my husband’s appetite. Today, the hospital offered him a pill to increase it. He refused to take it, and then hid it in his salad. I’m glad, because now the Lord can get all the credit for the fact that Si cleaned his dinner plate this evening.

    I can also tell you prayed for my child who was refusing to eat, because she rediscovered her appetite as well.

    So thank you all. Thank you for not forgetting about us, but faithfully coming to our home and to the hospital. Si relishes your visits. I especially thank those of you who have come with the purpose of encouraging him in his faith. You know who you are.

    Love to you all,

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