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    Update Nine

    June 21, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    Dear Family and Friends,

    What a blessed, blessed day. Even the bad parts were good. The morning began with the news that I was off of my quarantine and free to see my husband. Yesterday evening, he was finally moved to his new room, and I made my way his direction.

    While I was there, Siah had a massive adverse reaction to his plasmapheresis. It was the first time this had happened, and it was very scary. His oxygenation fell and kept falling and I could tell he was panicking. There was not one, but two plasma nurses were in the room. They immediately gave him a shot of Benadryl, then ordered something stronger. The amazing part, however, is that while we were waiting for the next drug to come, they bowed their heads and prayed over him. I don’t think I have ever heard anyone pray with such authority. I felt honored to be there and witness God working.

    Needless to say, my husband is just fine. Again.

    We took our shifts today, with my aunt showing up at just the right time to fill a gap and even speak with the neurologist for me. Our prayers from yesterday were answered, and I think that the neurologist DOES have a vision for Si’s full healing.

    Other good news is courtesy of our wonderful case manager, Lauren. She is already pushing to get rehabilitation set up for us so that it is ready to go when he comes home. She, too, has a vision for full healing and restoration, and she wants him to have the right care to get him there. She told me today that she doesn’t know why, but her heart is really in this one.

    I don’t know why either, but it seems that God has granted us favor at every single turn. We are so unworthy of this and every day I seem to have new reason to marvel.

    The best part of the day was our mini family reunion. The children, you may remember, have not seen their father for over two weeks. Today was the day for their first quick visit. They were all so happy to hear their daddy declare his love for them. Nothing could have cheered them up like that visit. And I think it cheered Daddy up, too.

    I cannot leave off without first expressing my gratitude for all of the kindness and generosity of this community. We have received more cards, meals delivered, groceries delivered, and so on. Folks have worked in our yard. When I went to Quantum Chiropractic this week, the ladies there proudly showed me the bruises on their arms from donating blood in my husband’s name. The list goes on. I have learned a lifetime of lessons in generosity and thoughtfulness these past few weeks.

    Love to you all,

    Dear Family and Friends,

    Three weeks ago today I left our son’s seventh birthday party slightly early in order to take his daddy to urgent care. I never dreamed that this was the beginning of a long battle. Today when I read about the recall of Nestle products due to E.Coli, I was reminded to pray for these families. They are likely beginning the same long battle themselves.

    Though the battle is far from over, and though we have already been at it a {comparably} long time, my soul is no longer downcast, for there are many reasons for joy in this journey. Today was a day of “firsts.” Si took his first short walk down the hallway after three weeks on his back. {He’ll have vertigo for some time as lying for so long changes a person’s balance.} We had our first chance to speak privately about what we had experienced the past few weeks. We prayed together over a meal for the first time in almost a month.

    It’s the little things that I overlooked until now. I think that he and I have both learned how precious life is. A friend reminded me recently that tomorrow is not promised to us, that we are but a vapor. We have certainly been taught this firsthand, and I thank God that in His discipline of us, we gain perspective.

    My heart is full to bursting with love for all of you. I know I ooze my thankyous nightly, but it’s true! For instance, Si’s summer project was to install the garden borders in our yard. Obviously, that was not going to happen. But my dad, Si’s twin Jeremy, and three wonderful men from our church {Pres Brittian, Tim Cox, and Dave Washburn}, came and did the whole job this morning. What an encouragement to my husband to know that his garden is not falling into disarray while he is gone!

    I find myself thinking daily of the verse that says, “What is man that Thou art mindful of him?” What are we that God would take such care of us? I can only repeat my gratitude.

    Much love,

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  • Reply Brandy June 23, 2009 at 6:53 am

    I haven’t been keeping up with comments very well, but I know you are all curious. We do not know how Si contracted the E.Coli, though I did just pay last week to have our flock of ducks tested, just in case. Results of the culture are still pending.

    Siah had a rarer form of E.Coli called E.coli 0157:H7. This means that the E.coli tears up the intestinal lining while also manufacturing something called shiga toxins. This creates a sort of “perfect storm” in which, when the E.coli dies, the weak intestines open the door for the released shiga toxins to enter the blood stream. These toxins rip apart the red blood cells, which then form tiny blood clots, which are a perfect fit for the kidney membranes. His kidney failure was due to this clogging effect of the clots. His neurological problems, called TTP, was the same thing, only in the brain. He also had liver problems, because clots went there as well.

    Shiga toxins have a half-life of about 4-5 days, so if someone can survive that long, the body can begin to heal. At least, ideally this is so.

    E. coli of this type is generally a food poisoning. Our son was also sick around the same time, but the treatment from our alternative practitioner cleared it up within 24 hours. Si was at a disadvantage because his intestines are naturally weak, plus he became ill over the weekend and wasn’t able to see our regular physician and alternative practitioner until later in the illness. We do not know what my son and husband could have been exposed to without the rest of us eating it also.

  • Reply Rachel R. June 22, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Florence, I’m not Brandy, and I don’t know the whole situation, but I understand this to be a kidney infection, right? E.coli is the most common cause of bladder infection, which is generally contracted by the E. coli getting into the urethra. Once the bladder is infected, the infection can travel to the kidneys, as well.

    I don’t know if that’s Josiah’s situation or not, but it would be my first thought when considering E. coli + kidneys.

  • Reply irene June 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Hi Brandy,

    I just wanted to let you know I’ve been reading your updates and praying for you, Si, and your family. I’m so encouraged by your faith and the community that surrounds you.


  • Reply Rachel R. June 22, 2009 at 2:12 am

    I am in tears here at the blessing of nurses who will pray over your husband! What a good God we serve!

  • Reply Florence June 21, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Brandy, Have you any idea how your husband contracted the e coli?

  • Reply Anonymous June 21, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Dear Brandy

    It’s the first time I’ve been able to check in for about a week. So glad to hear of Si’s progress. God is SO good to us. Continue to rely on Him.

    With love in Him

    Meredith in Aus

    (PS. This reminds me of how God cared for our family in so many ways when my husband broke his back when our moving truck rolled over during our move in 2003. It truly is overwhelming to know God’s mindfulness and care of us. He was restored fully too. Even if he wasn’t, though, I am convinced that God’s goodness would have sustained us.)

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