Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hope and Updates

     I reported last night that Kari squeezed some hands with her right hand.  Evidently, that may not be quite right.  We're not sure.  We are trying to be accurate so as not to raise false hopes.  Then again our hope is not really based on each event, though we grasp every little positive thing we can and are overjoyed at every sign of progress.  Our hope is in God.  Through progress, waiting, even the set backs, we take comfort in God's love and power.
     We will be travelling to Denver tomorrow but will try to continue these updates from computers at the hospital.  The following detailed update comes from Shona Fowler who was with Kari today:

"I just spoke with Aaron and took some notes so I could try to accurately communicate Kari's progress today.  It is a privilege to be able to be here with Kari. She is such a trooper!  Her spirits remain good. She is so positive and encouraging with everyone and is working very hard. The nurses are requesting to continue to care for her, even though they are supposed to rotate to another floor, because they want to get to know her better! Even other patient family members are asking about her and commenting on how wonderful she must be! We can all
confirm that!

"Today I was moving her right arm around and she was able to twist (pronate) her right forearm, between the elbow and the wrist from a thumbs up position to a palm down position several times! This is the first day she could do this movement! She also is continuing to bend both elbows (right stronger than left), and has some shoulder movement, too. When lying on the bed or semi-reclined, if support is given at her elbow, wrist and hand, she can help lift her right arm up, rotate her arm in and out, and extend her shoulder to pull her arm down towards the bed. If the bed is up higher, gravity makes it harder for her to move and she fatiques quickly.

"Today the speech therapists put some blue food coloring on her tongue and had her work on swallowing it. They wanted to see if the saliva and food coloring would go down the right tube in to her stomach and not into her lungs. Kari could tell she was able to swallow it and when they
suctioned out the trach tube later to check, there was not any blue coloring in it!  We were all very excited! Tomorrow they will try pudding or applesauce (she preferred chocolate pudding) and if that goes well, they will try liquids next. They deflated a balloon in her throat to do this swallow test, and as a result of that, she could get enough air through her vocal cords (and
mouth) to produce a weak voice! She said she was trying to use some of her high school and college vocal training to isolate the air better through her cords to increase the voice volume. She did so great! She got to do this for around 10 minutes and the speech therapists were very
impressed.  Later the surgeon stated he is very optimistic she will eventually be able to have the trach removed and since the trach is well below the "voice box" he did not express significant concern about her voice after the trach removal.

"The surgeon also stated the spinal incision is healing well, the sutures will come out tonight, and if she promises to limit her neck turning right and left, she can leave the neck collar open in the front when she is lying in bed. She promised to be very good and apologized for her vigorous head shaking right and left recently. (I don't think any of us realized she needed to limit her neck movement a little more than she was, while she was wearing the neck brace.) After a little while with it off, she wanted the head of the bed up further so she requested to have the front of it strapped back on. It is just so nice to have that option!  The staff and care here are excellent. Aaron stated the surgeon is one of the best The analogy he and Derin came up with is this suirgeon is to spinal cord surgery as Derek Jeter is to shortstops in baseball.

"Kari is initiating all of her breaths today and the ventilator continues to give her pressure support which apparently makes it easier to take a deeper breath. They are planning to continue to decrease the amount of pressure support from the ventilator as they can, which will help wean her off the ventilator. She has significantly less secretions today, is swallowing
better and needs little or no suctioning.  Kari told me earlier this morning she was able to have a long talk with her brother Dustin (around an hour and a half) and she was so thankful for
that opportunity!  She stated they have a long road ahead of them, and it was so nice to talk and hang out for so long, one on one.  Later this morning, Aaron was explaining to her what he observed in his tour of Craig rehab unit.  He listed all the programs, the facilities, etc, and
stated they had a church there they could attend. She shook her head "no".  When he asked why, she stated she wanted to start her own church there.  Isn't that just like Kari! She is already figuring out how and where she will be able to continue to minister to others!  Aaron also made her smile when he stated they will need to get some sort of 4 wheel drive wheelchair or other vehicle so they can continue to go out into the national parks of California they love so much.

"Early this afternoon Kari wanted to tell me the details of the accident as she could remember them. I can't include them all here.  Aaron is creating a timeline to be posted on the website, but she did clearly see two angels with her there under the car, smiling at her and comforting her.

"Thank you for all your prayers and emails!  Again, she loves all the emails and asks us to read them to her.  Aaron will be leaving tonight to check out the rehab unit in CA.  Please continue to pray for God's clear direction in the rehab unit decision, for healing, for health benefit coverage and for Aaron's sick leave benefit concerns.

Also, keep praying for all those currently here on site:  Jerry and Karen Morris, Aaron, Dustin Morris, Sarah (Kari's friend from her church in CA), Derin and Shona, John Fusek, and Pastor Rick from Kari's church (he just arrived!). Everyone is so supportive and helpful!"


Anonymous said...

Hello to Kari, Aaron and families,

Thanks so much for the daily updates - we continue to uphold all of you in our prayers and will pray for continued physical and emotional healing as well as direction for Aaron as he checks out rehab centers.

Love and Big Hugs to all (gentle ones to you Kari!)

Linda and Jerry Lahti
Naperville, Illinois
aka "Scott's Mom"

pam and ron engel said...

Many thanks to those who are updating us on Kari's condition. I keep thinking about Aaron. I dropped by his mom's house the other day. She is one strong lady! So full of hope and optimism, I was cheered as I left. And dear Aaron, please take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to take a walk or have a cry or simply sit outside on a bench and breath in some fresh air. Your strength will be Kari's lifeline. We love you!

Blake Engel said...

Dearest Kari,

I'm always encouraged every time I read another account of how bravely you are facing each challenge as it comes up. You and Aaron are on my mind every hour of every day.

Keep on kickin' butt!

Much love,

Dria Ridenour said...

Since this seems to be the day for comments by the Napervillians, I'll add one more.

Kari and Aaron please know that you have our love and support. You are both so strong in your love for each other and faith in God. We are thinking of you often.

With Love,
Ron, Dria and Libby Ridenour

Katie (Bost) Heuer said...

It is so great to hear of your progress! I pray that you continue to focus your efforts on your strength and healing!

Love to you and Aaron,

Franki said...

Kari and Aaron~
I am so encouraged by the two of you, and your faith and committment to Christ through all of this!
I love you!

Jan (MOM) Barrett said...

Dear Friends from NNHS band,
It is apparent tht the ties that have bound the band-o's are great! You who are friends of our daughters, Kendra and Larkin, have proven that the times that are spent in rehearsals on the field and in concert, as well as the times in the school hallways and on the bus trips, bind friends for years to come. Know, Aaron and Kari, that those energies and prayers from your life-long friends are being sent through their hearts to yours! It is good to see the names of those friends on this cyberspace prayer chain. We are encouraged by the continued news reports. HUGS TO YOU ALL!
Love, Jan and Gary Barrett

Michelle's sister, Rosie said...

Thanks for all the wonderful updates. Prayers are sent, of course! Now, some smiles for Kari and family...
Subject: Don't Mess with My God!

God is sitting in heaven when a scientist says to Him, "God, we don't need you anymore.
Science has finally figured out a way to create life out of nothing.

In other words, we can now do what you did in "the beginning."

"Oh, is that so? Tell me." replies God.

"Well," says the scientist, "we can take dirt and form it into the likeness of you and breathe life into it, thus creating man."

"Well, that's interesting. Show me."

So the scientist bends down to the earth and starts to mold the soil.

"No, no, no." interrupts God, "Get your own dirt."

Remember Kari - the best sermons are lived, not preached!

Love and Light to you every moment...

Anonymous said...

Deepest thoughts, prayers and sympathies go out to Aaron, Kari, and the entire family and supporters. Some things in our lives happen and we can't ever explain them. We can never accurately understand why. However, there is always a plan that is bigger than us and always supersedes what we think is possible...

Aaron, your wife, family, and friends are in my thoughts.

If there's anything I can do to help, holla at me. I'm in Atlanta. or


Ian J. Garrett (Class of 97)

Anonymous said...

Michelle's sister Rosie, That story was great. Have any more? I got a good laugh out of it and I'm sure everyone else did also. Does anyone have some funny, thoughtful stories? LAUGHTER is the best remmedy and about now, we need a little laughter with our prayful tears and our HALLELUJAH'S Praise the Lord. With all my Love and Prayers Kim R-G (from Riverside, Ca. We all are right there with you).