Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A New Journey

"cough, cough" ...Ok blowing the dust out of here and have some new journaling to do...

A new journey of our lives began last Thursday morning, August 8, 2013.  We all got up as normal.  We had breakfast.  I took Michael to KZCO to work and Steve's plans were to keep irrigation running and haul corn from our big bin here on our place.

I had stopped at the store for groceries to have ready meals ready for the guys the days I would be gone to AZ with the girlfriends Sunday thru Thursday.  Steve came in the house and said..."I had another bad dizzy spell out in the field, lost my breakfast and I just do not feel good.  I just can't keep my train of thought.  When I stopped at the elevator, I was visiting with Lyle and felt like I was just not making any sense."  He wondered if I thought he was making sense?  I thought he was quieter than usual, but also knew he didn't feel well. He went back out to work and after a bit, he and Virgil came back in for dinner.  When he said the prayer, he would start a sentence..get about half way and then stop...then start another sentence for a few words ...then "Amen".  That was NOT my cute farmer.  He proceeded to tell his dad, "I'm sorry I got you out, but I just do not feel like climbing back in the bin and scooping corn.  We'll do it tomorrow, I'm going to go lay down."  I asked if he wanted to call the Dr. and he said, "You know what they will is they always do...."  He rested a while and got up, when back out for a bit and came back in.  I finally said I was going to call whoever was on call and see what she thinks.  I had him raise both arms and told him to smile and repeat a sentence.  No signs of stoke, but still no complete sentences and just not himself.  I got the call back and she said take him to ER.

We arrived at St. Elizabeth's about 6:30.  They were pretty sure he had a TIA and ordered a CT scan and said they were keeping him overnight for observation.  When we arrived, he signed all the paperwork, gave them his name and birthdate, etc.  He said he was feeling better (I think maybe relieved he was there)  They checked his INR and it came back 1.5  Yikes!  He needs to be up around 3.  I went home and prayed...and prayed...and prayed..then slept. 

Two weeks ago, he cut his right hand on the flywheel of an irrigation engine and could not get the bleeding stopped.  I was coming home from Lincoln and called around and finally got in touch with Steve J.  He was only a couple miles away and came and ran him to the Ashland Clinic.  The bleeding had stopped by that time so they cleaned him up and sewed him up with seven stitches and checked his INR and it was wonder the bleeding wouldn't stop...again, it needs to be around 3.  The said to stop the warfarin two days then take 6mg for 4 days and 8mg for two days and come back in for another check.  On the fifth day we were concerned that was too many days off and that low, so Wed night he took 10 mg.  Thursday morning...the stroke.

Friday morning, I took Michael to work at Region V and stopped by the PT clinic and dropped off the food I had made the day before.  I always take food to 'my kids' on Fridays and wanted to get it dropped off and talked to Cory a bit about what was going on...fully thinking I would be going in and bringing cute farmer home.  On the way out of town I get a call from him.  Are you on your way??  I said I was and wondered if he had a good night?  He said "I don't remember my name!"  I you know who I called me.  "Yes, I remember everyone else but I don't know my name."  I told him to take his finger and write it on the blanket like he was signing another paper..
"S..t..e..v...e..n......F...r...a..."...and out his name came...but he could not remember it again seconds later.  I got there and visited and I could tell it was worse that day.  He was slurring more..kind of like he just got out from the dentist and using less words.  When the neurologist came in and tested him, he didn't count then number of fingers right that he held up.  He ordered an MRI for that afternoon, but we already knew was a full blown stroke.  The speech therapist came in a while later and did some testing on him and it was obvious that he was having trouble with mostly nouns and completing sentences.  "Say the months", she said...he slowly did.  "Now say them backwards" 
"December".......he could not think of November...  With a lot of prompting, she helped him back through.  We agreed to meet with her the following Tuesday.  We know we have a lot of work to do.

SO many people calling and praying.  It is a hard thing to explain.  He had a stroke 10 years ago.  We have been through this before, but this was many ways.  There was peace sooner.  It is hard to explain.  Like an invisible cushion wrapped around you...holding you tight.  We both had it and it was going to be ok.  "Well, I had 10 good years", cute farmer said.  Not complaining, just matter of fact.  We were both SO grateful that he was, from what we can tell, physically ok.  Just not the words...

I brought him home Friday evening with Lovenox shots to give and some Lipitor for some high cholesterol concerns.  Before we got home, we stopped to check some pivots that his family had been running for us that day to help.  As he got out at each, I just smiled.  He has that could just tell.  The folks had picked Michael up and brought him home and Steve J stopped by.  He still couldn't remember his name.  I asked him "who is that?"..."Dad"....and "who is that?"....."Steve J" ..."Well if that is Steve J...then who are you...remember there are two Steves".  Then he remembered.

Saturday morning we get up and he said he slept good.  I asked him his name...thought for a second.. "Steve F..." I asked if he used the Steve J ..then I am Steve F...and he said "yes" . .GOOD, I'm thinking, new path!"  Later he could just tell me his name and he said he didn't have to go through the SJ path..he just knew. 

Kevin W, Dan K and Doug A came out and worked with him all day on Saturday.  I could tell he was doing better ...more words.  After supper I a Sudoku on your phone...keep your brain thinking.  He said that was easy...ya...easy for him... =)  Good!!  I had him text me a few times.  Didn't make a lot of sense.  He had tried texting to several people those days and made very little sense, but he is sure willing to keep trying.  Another thing he did was grab the house phone and try to dial his folks.  Couldn't do it.  He was struggling to remember their number...and then get it punched in before he lost it again.  Back to the cell phone.  What a blessing that is...but he keeps trying...he is determined!
By Saturday night, he was talking in longer sentences and stumbling less.  Off to bed hard working farmer.  Tomorrow is another day.  That is how we prayed to take this.  Today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow.  (One thing we laughed about...Michael comes up to Steve and said "What is the matter with you anyway?")  He is used to Steve teasing him a lot more...think he is missing's coming back, too, Bud.  =)

My Facebook post on Saturday:

My Cute Farmer had a stroke on Thursday. We have been through this before....10 years ago, but this time is different. The stroke is in the left side of his brain that controls the speech/ cognitive area. He is such a trooper. He is having such difficulty saying what he wants to say. The nouns do not come. It could be SO much worse and we both know that! We are SO grateful that his is fine...some words a little difficult to say and others...just what in the world do you call that...takes a lot of patience for my great visitor. But his smile comes through even that ...and just melts my heart. I'm right here with you..the best half of me. We have a Great God that knows every step we take and every thought we have and hears our every prayer and takes the best care of us. In 100 years, we will even smile at this....

Present Suffering and Future Glory
Romans 8
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What a comfort these verses are to me!!!

I woke early on Sunday morning and prayed for my cute farmer and for a friend that is having some struggles and got up to prepare for church.  Thinking about how we have to keep cute farmer a thinking...I wondered....There has to be some kind of app to help with quizzes or word games or something for stroke patients.  I googled the National Stroke Foundation and sure enough, an app bundle!!...also highly recommended.  After a little brain freeze on my part...and super early help from Brian, I purchased the bundle and promptly put it on cute farmers Ipad and iphone.  Working with it on the way to church he says..."this is too easy"...wait til you get home, my love, there are harder ones on there.  =)  He had improved so much even by Sunday morning.  He knew he was right away.
When we got to church he was visiting in the kitchen with a friend, sharing how he was having such a hard time remembering names and Mike stuck his hand out and said well, let me introduce myself, I'm George Bush.  They both got a kick out of that and later, Andy came up to him and said, "Hi Dad, I'm Andy F..."  =)  (He had asked me earlier if I thought it would hurt his feelings because he was dying to do it...I laughed and said "well you are your father's son...he will love it"..and he did.  =)

Even more improvement Monday (Aug 12).  More of the Ipad apps were getting easy and phone dialing was easier...still not down pat, but much easier.  Full sentences with little stumbling.  We had a Dr. apt , we thought, but come to find out, it was only to get his INR checked.  They did a finger poke, and we said we wanted an arm draw, as the finger poke was never as accurate.  She said we needed Dr's order for that so I asked if she would please get one for us.  The finger poke showed INR of 3.3.  The arm draw showed 3.0.  They wanted him to take 5 days of 10mg and 2 days of 12mg warfarin.  I was concerned and they said they would discuss it with Dr.Michels.  He called later and we had a good talk.  We adjusted down to 5 days of 10mg and 2 days of 8 mg.  We also discussed a home Protime monitor so we can check his blood...knowing it would not match an arm draw but may be a way to monitor week to week. Another question on my little list to remind me to ask...  =)

Tuesday cute farmer, again, showed even more progress...I am not noticing any "stop to think for the next word" today, especially when we are alone.  We got up, got ready for therapy.  He went out to shut off a pivot, came back and had breakfast, ran Michael to work and in for therapy.  I was excited for her to see him.  She worked with him on his worst day, which was Friday.  She asked him that day to name the months of the year.  He could do that...slowly.  Then she asked him to name them backwards..."December.....pause.."  He couldn't even figure out to say November.  Today we went in and he got them a little stuck at March..but 'found' it.  He could not write the alphabet correctly.  Got stuck at q and ended up writing quest then uvwxyz.  Breezed through much of it.  In one section he had to complete phrases and it said "You open a ______ and he wrote "bible"  She smiled and said "no one has ever written that before...but that is good"  He smiled.  I shared earlier that we knew something was wrong the day of the stroke when he could not complete the prayer at noon.  We shared that we had a peace about the whole thing and how so many people were praying for us.  To God be the glory in all of this!!!  We pray He uses every detail to bring Glory to Himself!!  She was SO pleased and he complimented her of the great job she does to be calming and comforting.  She explained to us it is like you take the same road to town every day.  It is so common, you can't remember passing the neighbor's farm or 'did I stop at the stop sign?' just know it so well.  Well "the bridge is out and they are not fixing it".   You have to find a new road...there are lots of are just not used to driving any of them, so you don't know the bumps and curves, etc.  Slow at first...can't find some maybe...but you find a new way, and when you get more used to it, you go faster and faster and don't even have to think about that road anymore.  He just knows his name again and doesn't stop to think about it now.  We are SO grateful and praise God for that answered prayer!!  Our buddy, Brad, came over for supper. We prayed ate and he encouraged us and we had a great time of fellowship.

We can't believe ....well yes we we can just feel the power of prayers being lifted up for us.  We are so grateful for that and how the Lord just meets our every needs, hour by hour and day by day.  We will rest in Him.  He has brought us though many things in our 40 years of marriage ...and He will carry us through this as well. 

," in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."


1 comment:

Sandy B said...

Thanks, Sandy, for sharing. Beautiful post...brought tears to my eyes at certain points. Thanking the Lord everyday that my brother is back and continuing to improve! :-)