Many things have been happening this week, so quickly that it has been difficult to do an update.
Due to our current doctor’s advocacy of Peter, and the Lord’s opening the way, we are planning to admit him to the Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation in Dallas for two weeks starting Monday, if all goes as scheduled. There, one of the finest rehab doctors in the country will assess Peter, and the family will receive intensive training for giving Peter optimum care when he arrives home. We are very excited about the Lord’s provision of this opportunity and want to make the most of it. We have met with the doctor there and understand her competency and passion for her calling in helping people with this type of injury.
Here is what you can pray for:
1. That the family will be rested, available, healthy and attentive, so that we can absorb a mountain of information and training.
2. That the doctor will be able to quickly intuit Peter’s condition and will have wisdom on the best course to pursue for him. (We’ve understood that every individual has a unique path to recovery and that no “cookie cutter” mold works for all patients.)
3. That Peter will progress in becoming more conscious as a result of their cutting edge methodologies. So far, his responses include finding with his eyes, and gripping our hands strongly. There are other responses as well that he appears to be working on.
4. That the Lord would continue to refire neurons and connections in Peter’s brain and that much healing could take place in a short stretch of time. We’ve heard of instances where, with the right stimulation, parts of an injured brain can suddenly “kick in” and resume function quickly.
5. Continue to pray that Peter will be medically stable and soon be trach free. His trach challenges are continuing to progress slowly.
Over the next couple weeks updates might be even more sparse as our family undergoes the training at Baylor. However, we will do our best to keep you updated with Peter’s condition and our prayer concerns as we journey ahead.
Thank you all for your support and prayers.
For the family,
Last week the doctor’s did a CT scan to see why Peter had been set back so much after the second trach was put in. We found out that the trach was actually too big and was pressing on a major artery. They changed it immediately and Pete is now back on track towards coming home! He continues to be given breathing challenges where they cap the trach and allow him to breath through his throat for as long as he can.
On Tuesday dad and mom are planning to meet with doctors from another hospital to discuss some possibilities for Peter’s next stage of care. We hope that we will be able to get the family trained and better prepared for Peter’s care when we bring him home.
Here are the things you can pray for:
1) Pray for Peter’s continued healing. Pray his brain will spark new connections and that he will become more and more conscious. We feel that if he were more conscious, we wouldn’t have so many issues (such as as the trach) to deal with because Pete would be able to take care of more basic bodily functions.
2) Pray for Peter’s ankles. We have been concerned because his ankles have become really tight from laying in the hospital bed so long. We are praying that he doesn’t get drop foot. We don’t want this to prevent Pete from one day walking again.
3) Pray for the family’s continued grace and strength through all of this.
4) Continue to pray against any infection that might come about due to Peter’s long stay in the hospital.
5) Continue to pray that Pete will get the sleep he needs, and that any congestion he has would clear up so these breathing challenges will be easier on him.
6) Pray that the breathing challenges will go smoothly and that he will make more and more progress each day.
For the family, Hope
We (Pete’s family) have been pretty thoroughly trained by the nurses and therapists to care for Peter at home when the Lord opens that door. As we look forward to that day, I’d like to share with you what an unspeakable privilege it is for us to serve Peter at this point in his life.
Andrew and I were discussing the other night the blessing that Peter has been over the years to our family. We now realize what a consistent and strong encourager he’s long been to each one of us. I guess it began somewhat inadvertently way back when Pete was a toddler and a frequent tag-along to his older siblings’ activities. He’d smile, wave, and cheer them on at soccer games, violin lessons, recitals, and so on.
As he got older, Peter warmed to his own activities: Scouts, basketball, piano, speech and debate. He’s always had his own life, secure in himself, with quite a list of his own accomplishments. But he never outgrew the role of family encourager.
So when Andrew moved up to Indiana to attend grad school, Peter drove up with him to move all his stuff up there. He has been out front as the family member keeping in closest touch with brother, making sure Andrew didn’t forget what an important part of the family he is even though he’s far away. When Caleb was making plans for marriage, Peter helped him prepare his new home for his bride. And when Beth went “off” to college, but kept living at home, Peter helped her with her chores at those frequent times she was weighed down with homework.
He’s been just as much an encourager to his parents and his church family. Since his accident, all sorts of jobs have had to be filled by others – things many of us weren’t even aware that Peter had been quietly taking care of: printing and folding bulletins early Sunday mornings, helping clean the church building, frying up breakfast early Saturdays with Doug for the mens book studies. (He never complained about not getting to sleep in on these Saturdays.) His service extended to many others in our church family; his broad shoulders have been used to help move a number of households. There is also a young boy of about 9 in our church (his parents don’t attend) who often sits with Peter because Peter takes such an interest in him and encourages him.
I guess a description that might paint the picture is this: Peter is like a classically educated Samwise Gamgee (from Lord of the Rings). He is always quietly helping someone else succeed. He’s brave when you are weak. He’s loyal when you’re discouraged. And if you get tired, he’ll help shoulder the burden. He just also happens to be a National Merit Finalist – a really smart kid. (Sorry, Sam.)
This is one of the many graces God has given our family in this challenging situation: it’s not at all hard to serve Peter. It’s always a blessing to get to serve one who has offered himself in service to the Lord and to others. Just as Peter has modeled service to us in the Lord, it’s easy for us to serve the Lord by serving Peter.
” . . . . But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. . . . I am among you as one who serves.” Luke 22:26,27
From Peter’s Bible again, through the book of James (his comments after each underlined verse):
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2,3 sanctification through hardship
“Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation . . .” James 1:9 rich in Christ
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 God gives and approves the tests. God does not tempt
“Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” James 1:18 Man is God’s creative masterpiece
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only . . .” James1:21,22 receive with meekness and do it
“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25 Continue diligently in the Word; it is the law of life and liberty.
“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:26,27 Faith shows itself through works
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have.” James 4:1,2 self-centeredness. The world the flesh and the devil, yet you are always responsible for your sin.
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” James 4:3,4 Unfaithful to covenant relationship
Every day Peter is given a trach challenge where they cap off the airway to his trach, forcing him to breath through his nose. He has had difficulty doing this the past few days, but today he made more progress than any of the other days. We hope Pete can continually make steps forward in this area so we can bring him home. We don’t know for sure why he has had such difficulty breathing without the trach. We think Peter’s neck muscles are so weak that he can’t keep his airway open in order to breathe through his throat or that he is not conscious enough to hold his head straight.
Because of this slow trach weaning process, we really don’t know when we will be able to bring Peter home. Hospital time schedules always change and we are learning to be flexible with that.
Peter has not been getting much sleep due to a lot of congestion and coughing. It is really difficult on his body because of the trach. As of right now he doesn’t have another infection but he is always at risk.
Here are the things you can pray for:
1) That Peter would get the sleep he needs. The brain’s natural time for restoration is during sleep and Peter hasn’t had much rest due to the congestion that is causing difficulty breathing.
2) Because we don’t know how soon Pete will be able to come home now, we need wisdom in our decision making about his care in this intermediate time between ICU and rehab.
3) Pray that Peter’s congestion will clear up. Coughing with the trach is really hard on Pete, and of course hinders his breathing.
4) Pray that Peter will not get another infection, especially so his body can focus on healing his brain.
5) Pray for our own strength and stamina throughout this process of Peter’s recovery. We are very tired.
6) Pray for continued healing in Peter’s brain.
For the family,
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” – Isaiah 43: 1b-3a
Until a few weeks ago, we used to have church visitors over for lunch on Sundays. I greatly enjoyed discipling the younger women at our church. And, I was busy collecting boxes to pack up Peter’s dishes and such before he headed off to college. On the verge of an “empty nest,” I was also looking towards finishing up my certification for National Association of Nouthetic Counseling (NANC biblical counseling).
Life today is very different, as you might imagine.
I was trying to explain to a good friend the other day what hospital life is like after six weeks. I’ll tell you as well: it’s like going to a new world every day. I mean like, through a wardrobe door. And, Narnia style, every day in a hospital is like a thousand years. There is so much that happens. It’s strenuous. People fight for their lives. You see sights and hear sounds that you never knew in the old world. There are desperate battles going on for your soul. You meet strangers who become friends and who will fight for you. You watch your loved one struggle to overcome his arch enemy, and you hope to hold a healing flask of oil to bring him back to you when he falls. There are mazes of paperwork to add to the obstacles in your path. . . . . And they keep it frigid in there—it’s always winter.
And then, finally, whenever you exit the hospital doors (back through the wardrobe) and drive away, you find that only five minutes have passed in the old world of home. There are still dishes that need to be washed, laundry that needs to be folded and bills that need to be paid, just as when you left home that morning, a thousand years ago.
When you are in the old world, you find that no one really can understand what has happened to you and how it has changed you, unless you can find someone who has also been transported into that same world via the wardrobe door and has fought the same battles. It can be quite unsettling.
And, really, as a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom, I am accustomed to have unexpected new assignments that were not necessarily of my own planning or inclination. The hardest part is missing Peter’s voice and fellowship. And the unknown.
There is really only one remedy for it. And that is the work of the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He’s not safe at all. But He’s good. And He will make us serviceable to Him, which is really what He has intended all along. He never intended us to be addicted to our own personal peace and prosperity. He has stuff for us to do.
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.” ~ C.S. Lewis in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”
“It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’” Isaiah 25:9
The doctors have been in the process of weaning Peter off of his trach. They put in a new trach over the weekend and there have been a lot of secretions from Pete’s lungs. He has not been very responsive since they made this change. It has been pretty difficult on his body. The doctors recommended he stay in the hospital until he can go home trach free, and we are comfortable with that.
Right now Peter’s white blood cell counts are doing really well and he is still infection free. With the longer hospital stay, we still need to be praying against further infection.
Here are the things you can pray for:
1) Peter is still undergoing breathing challenges with the new trach, and will be until they wean him off of the trach. Continue to pray these will go smoothly and Peter will make progress towards coming home.
2) That Peter would be protected from any further infections from his extended stay in the hospital.
3) That the plans at home for Peter’s care would continue to come together.
4) That the family would have the stamina and strength we need to do all of Peter’s care at home.
5) For Peter’s continued healing and for his brain to establish renewed connections with his body.
6) Pray that God would relieve some of the pain and discomfort Peter is experiencing so that he can be more responsive and progress quickly towards coming home.
For the family,