The doctors have determined that the main pockets of infection are on the outside of Peter’s lung, and that the bacteria is actually staph. Peter does still have pneumonia, he just has a staph infection as well which caused the pneumonia. The doctors have decided to hold off on the scoping procedure now that they know what specific bacteria they are dealing with until the new antibiotics have had a couple of days to work. In addition to the antibiotics, we are keeping some hot compresses on his chest to see if that will help things at all. Please keep praying we can avoid any more surgical procedures!
The doctors are going to do a procedure to scope Peter’s lung. If they determine the pockets of infection are bad enough, the next step will be major surgery where they would have to go through Peter’s chest wall. There is still a chance the antibiotics are doing their job, and that the scope won’t turn up anything serious enough that they would need to do the surgery. Peter’s fever is still high and his breathing is difficult, so he is definitely still struggling. Please be in prayer that the surgery can be avoided!
Last night the doctor’s put a drain in Peter’s left lung. It seems to be working some, but they don’t know how well it is working or whether they will need to do something more drastic. The drain will be monitored closely throughout the day to see how it does.
Peter seems to be in a great deal of pain. It’s hard to know the small ways we can help him since he cant talk to us.
Here are some things you can pray for:
1) Pray that the Lord would encourage Peter and that we would also know how to encourage him.
2) Pray for our stamina as one of us will be at the hospital 24/7 to care for Peter. Even though there are nurses at the hospital, we want to be there for him. Also the nurses cannot hear when Peter’s trach gets plugged so it’s important that someone is close by to suction Pete so he can breathe.
3) Pray that God would bring Peter through this quickly, and for complete healing.
UPDATE: Peter’s lungs have filled with fluid again and the doctors are looking at doing some sort of surgical procedure next. I think there are several options regarding what kind of procedure, but they haven’t decided on one yet.
Last night we took Peter to the emergency room and he was admitted to the hospital after the doctors determined Peter had pneumonia. The doctors did a procedure and drained a quart of fluid from Peter’s left lung and have him on some meds. Peter’s oxygen saturation is much better, but still not what it should be and Peter is being closely monitored. We are probably looking at being in the hospital a few days at minimum.
Please continue to pray that Peter can fight this infection and that he would not catch anything else during his hospital stay. Thanks!
For the family,
Peter has been removed from the waiting list and approved for rehab funding! They said that Pete is at a level 4 on the Rancho scale (which measures his cognitive function), and improving. The trach will still need to be out before he can get intensive therapy, so please keep praying that his trach can be removed as soon as possible. At least we know that he has funding for therapy though! We may possibly go back to Baylor for a short stint of therapy and assistance in removing the trach before Peter goes to his longer-term rehab facility. Thank you for your prayers, and we will keep you updated!
For the family,
I’ve been considering whether to post a story about Peter which includes some unflattering details about Doug and me. It’s such a meaningful story, though, that I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. It happened over three years ago when Peter was almost 16. Caleb had been nominated to receive an award at college, and parents were invited to drive up and participate in a luncheon honoring the nominees. It was a nine hour trip up from Texas to Tennessee, with a nine hour return trip home the following day.
Peter and Doug and I made the trip– an easy one going up, with discussion and music and fellowship. Having his mom and dad all to himself was an unusual occurrence for Peter, whose three highly motivated and active older siblings often seemed to absorb all the parental attention. We laughed and joked and enjoyed our time with Peter. Once we were there, Caleb was grateful for his family’s presence at the recognition luncheon.
The return trip home, however, turned out differently. Doug and I began to hear our Fort Worth duties calling our names, and the nine hour drive home seemed eternal. Fatigue set in; we had been quite busy the week before we left and just wanted to get home. At least I did. You see, even when fresh and happy, Doug and I have two very different philosophies when it comes to traveling. My aim is to arrive at the destination, home, as quickly as possible so we can get some real rest. This time my desire for my own pillow was overwhelming. Doug’s way of dealing with fatigue is not to push or rush, but to enjoy the task at hand. And, of course, being a normal married couple, we tend to caricature each other’s ways. It seemed to me that he was stopping every hour (to get coffee, to take care of the side effects of the coffee, to get water, to get food). Indignant, I felt sure that food must be his god. When my turn at the wheel came, Doug found me a slave driver unwilling to slow down for the sake of anyone’s comfort.
So at some point, (I recall it was while I was driving), Doug and I broke a time-honored rule in our home — the one about fighting in private and maintaining a united front before the children. We fought in front of Peter. Doug insisted that I pull over at the next exit, whatever it was, since I had passed up several beforehand in an effort to get more distance between us and Tennessee. So I did what he asked, and the exit happened to be at a bit of an armpit town in the middle of nowhere. The gas station was dirty, and the people in front of us wouldn’t leave the pump even though they had finished getting gasoline ten minutes earlier. At the Taco Bell we stopped at, the woman trainee didn’t know how to use the cash register and was apologetically batting away flies while two teenage boys (the cooks?!) wrapped tortillas in the back amidst great displays of customer disregard. You can imagine what all of this did to our already frayed nerves. We now had something to aim our anger at other than each other! Peter watched quietly in the background as we slid down hill.
At some point, something happened to Doug. His strong sense of mercy for those less fortunate than himself called his attention to the harried cashier. He perceptibly softened, reassured her, paid for our burritos and we all returned to the car. Once there, nerves still somewhat tense, he led us in prayer over our evening meal, “Lord, thank you for this food . . .” Now if you had seen the food being prepared, I am sure the same thing would have happened to you: all three of us began to laugh. We laughed and the tension melted away. We laughed until the tears ran. We laughed at the silly melodramas of life. And when we could catch our breaths, no one was angry anymore.
Next time we stopped for gas, I was still appalled that Doug and I had tarnished our example to our youngest. I turned to Peter and said, “Peter, I am sorry you had to see your parents in a conflict like that.” Peter turned his ready smile to me, his shining eyes gracious and kind, and his voice very deliberate, “Mom, what I saw was the grace of God.”
I have thought of this many times as we go through many therapists who have to figure out their approach for a patient who cannot speak, and as we try to assess daily what Peter’s capabilities are while he is coming to new cognitive levels, and as he has so many people who are eager to be in on helping him. Some days I can imagine that we are frustrating him by too many demands. And then other days, I am just as sure we must be boring him to tears, not stimulating him enough. When he looks back on this time, full of our ignorance and inadequacies revolving around his care, I am trusting that he will be able to say, “Mom, what I saw . . . was the grace of God.”
Lord, preserve that spirit in him.
“I thank you, Father, because you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children.” Matthew 11:25