Wednesday, August 31, 2005
None of us were seriously sick, wounded, damaged, lost, shot at, arrested, trampled by hippos, or otherwise incapacitated during the entire trip. I’m pretty sure that was a miracle. We had a mission to accomplish, and by God’s grace we were able to see it through.
Many things did not go as planned. Big surprise. But it was clear that God’s hand was guiding us every day. Did someone mention Divine appointments? On Friday the 12th, we were supposed to be in Addis but ended up in Bahar Dar because of a plane ticket mix up. We took the extra day to travel to an island in the middle of lake Tana to tour a couple of old monasteries, which turned into an opportunity to share the gospel with some of the priests there. By the testimonies of some of our team and the help of our Ethiopian brothers, several of them received God’s gift of salvation!
Kari mentioned to me that she woke up during the night Thursday and felt compelled to pray for us. With the ten hour time difference, we figured this would have been the very time that our team was talking with the priests, as close as we can tell. Our team talked on a number of occasions about God using Aaron and Kari as part of the team even though they were not physically present with us, and I believe this is a specific example of how God used them to minister along side us, as part of our team.
Our teacher training was an overwhelming success, thanks to five of our team who poured themselves into it. I believe we’ve been invited back every year to repeat the star performance!
We did a whirlwind of work with the Ethiopia Eden project so I won’t try to get into all of those details except to say that it was fun, we truly seemed to provide real help in many ways, and God blessed all that we did.
As some of you know, one evening while our team was praying for Aaron and Kari, I received a specific call from God to go to Denver and to pray over Kari for healing, which my wife Shary and I did this last weekend. Aaron mentioned this in a previous post and described it well – we don’t quite know what happened. It wasn’t clear what God did or what He will do in Kari’s body. Yes, I am disappointed that Kari was not healed immediately. But I continue to trust that God sent me to Denver for a reason. I did my part as best as I understood from God, and I will leave God’s part in God’s hands, where it belongs.
Blessings to you all.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Kari is still on the up and down with the pain in her stomach and shoulders. Mostly on the down, though. They found that she has a bacterial infection in her G.I. tract and a staph infection in her lungs. Those are the main culprits of her stomach pain and the increased fluid in her lungs. The doctors have also reworked some of her medications because the 8 or so drugs that they were giving her at a time (which all went into her stomach tube) were also contributing to the upset stomach. In the morning today she had a PET scan (which is similar to a CAT scan) which was a little stressful, but all in all went well. Her ventilator settings were incorrect for about 10 min, but all her vitals were fine. They had originally scheduled the scan to try to find the source of her fever, but her temperatures have been basically normal for the last 2-3 days. Even so, they went ahead with it because it was already on the schedule and with the pain that she's in it might reveal something. A shoulder specialist came in today to work on her shoulder to and give her PT a little more guidance. She was good. You know someone's smart when you really can't understand what they're talking about but they explain it so well that you feel like you do. Anyways, I guess the good news in all of this is that they seem to be getting to the bottom of all these issues and it looks like we're coming out of what has been a very bad 2 weeks and starting to move forward.
Today is also the second day of classes at Gage. I want to send out a big thank you to Melissa Wilson, the Elementary band teacher that shares my office and whose students eventually come to me, and also to Kate Hicks who is filling in for me for at least the first few weeks of school. From what I've heard so far, things are going great, but keep them in your prayers as the beginning of the year is always hectic, especially for a new teacher, or if you're (like Mel is) trying to do your own job while helping someone else. I guess the best thing I can say about the two of them and the other band directors in Riverside who've been helping is that I'm not worried about school. ****Quick note to any of my students that are reading this***
U R GONNA GET IT GRANDE STYLE IF U MESS AROUND WHILE I'M GONE, REMEMBER I HAVE SASI, SO I KNOW WHERE U LIVE (in a very deep and evil voice) HA HA HA HA HA HA HA--CUL8R
***Quick not to any teachers, parents, and administrators that are reading this***
THAT WAS JUST A JOKE, I'M ONLY TRYING TO BE FUNNY--YOU CAN'T GET MAD AT A GUY FOR TRYING CAN U??
Okay, well I guess that's all the news--thank you all for the cards, we're starting to get bombarded with them.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
It was definitely a great feeling to hear Kari speak for about an hour Saturday. Other than a few previous times that she did cuff deflation, (it has to do with the tracheotomy tube) this was the first time I've heard her speak since the accident. The other times were also only 2-3 minutes long and her voice didn't really sound normal. This time, they installed a "Talker," which is what the respiratory people call the valve that they put on the end of Kari's trachea tube. During the time that she was weaning from the ventilator, they put the one-way valve on which only lets air in, so when she exhales, her breath passes over her vocal chords, allowing her to speak. (Normally, the air would escape through the trachea before it reached her vocal chords.) Anyways, it wasn't exactly like her real voice--a little higher pitched and not quite as full--but none of us there were complaining.
Brett Noble and his wife Shary had also driven out for the afternoon from California to pray with Kari. If you remember, Brett had been given an impartation from an Ethiopian man for Kari's healing. I think the best way to describe what happened is that we don't know what happened. There were no outward signs from Kari that a physical healing had taken place, so we are all still waiting in anticipation of what God will do--or the realization of what he did do. After it was over, Kari said that she "had a lot more faith" and had been reminded of many of God's promises. Later on in the evening, Brett and Shary gave us gifts that the team had brought back from Ethiopia--a drum, a malachite turtle, pictures, coffee, chocolate (from Germany), Ethiopian money, and some great stories. A short summary of the trip will be on the Blog shortly.
As far as Kari's health goes, she still has ups and downs with her shoulder and stomach pain, and didn't get out of bed the last few days because of feeling dizzy and nauseous. She is still very frustrated about not really moving forward for almost the past two weeks. Reading your emails and letters has helped a great deal though, and some good friends of hers are here now, which is a great encouragement. Thank you for all that you have done to support us.
P.S. All the computer problems that I've had the last few weeks-(plus getting an iPod from my friends--you guys are the bestestest homeys ever) has almost turned me in to an Apple convert!
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Just wanted to let you know that Kari was doing a little bit better the last day or so. Her fever is still up and down, but mostly down now, and the pain in her shoulders, while still intense, seems to have been managed better. She is a little worried about the about of medications that she's on. Meds for Pain, Anxiety, spasms, sodium, potassium, blood thinning, lung secretions (2 of those), neurological pain, nausea, and I think even a few more I forgot about.
The main reason that I'm writing, though, is that Kari has had issues with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which causes her to have a panic attack when there is a loud noise a siren, or a screeching car. Today, someone dropped something in the hallway and it triggered panic in Kari and it took her about half and hour to really calm down. We are going to try to work through a couple things with a counselor tomorrow. When I talked to the Psychologist a few days ago, she said that usually over time it becomes easier to talk about and remember the accident, but in Kari's case it seems to have been getting worse. This is very frustrating to Kari and makes her feel like she's going crazy. Pray that the Lord would comfort her when she feels anxious. Thanks
Thursday, August 25, 2005
The first meeting of the school year at Gage is today, so I am really missing home. The Ethiopia team is back safely and from what they've told me they had an amazing time with God over there. Brett and Shary Noble are coming from Cali to pray for Kari on Saturday as they were called to do in Ethiopia. Pray that the Lord would grant them favor.
Overall, the last 7 days have been very hard on Kari. She is battling almost constant pain in her shoulders, and when her medications wear off, the pain is so intense that she will start shaking. The last few days, too, Kari has had an upset stomach, and the fever has never really gone away. At last check it was 101.4. It is hard to get in a rhythm and really progress while constantly battling pain, fatigue and nausea. Kari hasn't done a ventilator wean in about 5 days now, and we hope to resume that today. It will be so much easier to do things without having to lug the vent everywhere. The bone scan an shoulder x-ray did not show anything, which is good, but the doctors aren't really sure what is causing the pain. The doctors believe the blood clot has stabilized and will probably not move, so there is not much else they do for it other than try to be careful with her leg. She was up in the chair yesterday and today and yesterday we got to go outside which was great. Anyways, it seems like we have been moving backwards this week, which I know is bound to happen, so pray that we are able to get back on track with PT and OT and that Kari's schedule becomes more consistent. Thank you all for everything-
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Friday, August 19, 2005
I just edited the last blog to fix the spacing issues, so it should be easier to read now. Anyways, the prognosis on the blood clot is that she has to stay in bed and lying down until Monday, which is a total of four days. I think this has contributed to the resurgence of the pain in her shoulders, and last night I think was the worst it ever was. We also had a bit of a problem getting Kari's pain medication in a timely manner, as I don't think that they realized how much pain she was in because she cannot scream. After about 20 min of calling, with the same answer of "just a few minutes" I went out to the nurses' station to ask the nurse personally to come in and she told me that she had to finish her reports first. After she finally came, I questioned the nurse about taking over half an hour for anybody to come she didn't think I had any reason to be upset and was very rude to me, explaining that her shift was technically over and that she had a lot of patients. I know that nurses have a hard job and are very busy, but I also know that I had a right to be upset, especially after the nurse told me "don't get mad at me!" I was able to talk to the nursing supervisor, who was very receptive and apologetic to me and I hope this was just an isolated incidence of someone just being tired. Part of the problem too, was the timing of the medication, as it seems that it always wears off too soon. Please pray that the nurses are able to be responsive to Kari's needs and also that the doctors can figure out how to better manage her pain so as to avoid the ups and downs.
Overall, Kari has just had a rough couple of days. The stress and inactivity, we believe, have also led to some stomach pain and burning and a loss of appetite. The fever is back too, as it seemed to be always 101.something the past 24-48 hours. Hopefully by Monday, they will have everything figured out and Kari can start her rehab again with energy and stamina.
The big meeting went well yesterday, and the preliminary estimate for us returning home is November 18th. Obviously, that date could move a lot, but as for now, we're looking at about three more months. They also plan on starting classes on transportation and technology as well. At the end of the meeting, Dr. Balazy said that it was still early to be able to tell how much Kari will recover. It all depends on the severity of the impact, which was obviously very high. I seem to be getting that they don't expect a whole lot more function to come back, but wouldn't be too surprised if it did. Let's hope!
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Seeing Melissa and her family was a humbling experience. Even with all that Kari has been through, I cannot imagine what it has been like for her with all the pain, being healed only go back, and the doctors not knowing even what caused her condition. So, with all sincerity, I ask that you remember to pray for them. I honestly do not know what to tell you to pray for, but simply remember them and let the Holy Spirit intercede on their behalf.
Through all this, I was reminded of the lyrics from a few different songs by Jars of Clay.
I don’t know where
I don’t know how
I don’t know why
But your love can make these things better.
Exposed beyond the shadows
You take the cup from me
Your dirt removes my blindness
Your pain becomes my peace
O Come and mourn with me awhile
A broken heart a fount of tears
Ask and they will not be denied
A broken heart love’s cradle is
Jesus our Lord is crucified
O love of God, o sin of man
In this dread act your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our lord is crucified
He has hushed the law’s loud thunder.
He has quenched Mt. Sinai’s flame.
He has washed us with his blood.
He presents our souls to God.
In the last set, I get the image of Jesus presenting us to the Father as blameless and pure. Even with broken bodies, with lives that don’t make sense, and with uncertainty about his plan, God, through Jesus, sees us as pure, beautiful examples of his handiwork. One more song for you—an old hymn.
On Jordan's stormy banks I stand
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land
Where my possessions lie
All o'er those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day
There God, the Son forever reigns
And scatters night away.
No chilling wind nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore
Where sickness, sorrow, pain and death
Are felt and feared no more
When shall I see that happy place
And be forever blessed
When shall I see my Father's face
And in His bosom restI am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promise Land
I guess, pray for hope.
The next morning I went to church and afterwards we went to the Apt. to move. Everything went pretty fast and no one would let me lift anything, so it was about the easiest move I've ever done. On Monday Ryan, Vanessa and I wrapped up a few loose ends with the move, I went to the post office to change our address, and then I went to Gage to try to get things ready for the year. A few other teachers came by and helped me and I showed them things to show the sub. I also got a chance to talk to the administrators at Gage about missing first trimester and they were very supportive of me. The principal told me that as far as he was concerned, I could miss the whole year and he'd "hold my spot" for me, even though we both know that that isn't realistic. There are still some things to work out, though, so pray that things go smoothly with the district. I don't think that there's any way I could be that effective of a teacher with Kari here anyways.
It was very nice to be able to see everybody. I was able to hang out with some friends in Riverside as well as people from Redlands. I even got to see some of my former students :-) (Janie, Danny, Miranda, Amy and "K" tell everybody I miss them.) Still though, I'd say the whole experience was surreal. This was the longest I have been away from Kari since the accident, and seeing everybody made me all the more homesick for sunny So Cal.
I am happy to report though, that I was able to get done most everything I needed to do. I want to thank everyone that helped with the move and getting set up at school. There were 28 people that came over to the apartment Sunday afternoon. Most of them were from the church, but the crew also included two of my former students and a parent from Gage, two other teachers from Riverside and their husbands, and two couples from APU with whom we are friends. Many people spent countless hours beforehand packing up the apartment too, so when I got there, most everything was in boxes. Especially, though, Ryan and Vanessa made the whole weekend possible. From finding a great place for storage to giving me a place to stay, taking me to and from the airport, and running a few errands that I didn't have time to do, they pretty much worked as much or more than I did! They even sorted through the stuff we took to Kari's office and organized all the food from our kitchen to give away. I feel very blessed to have the support that I have had.
Hope to CU all soon.
As you read in my dad's update, Kari has had a bit of a rough time the last few days. She has had a fever fairly consistently since I got back on Tuesday and has simply not been feeling well. Not being able to get out of bed or even sit up straight because of the blood clot doesn't help either. Yesterday, the respiratory therapist changed her trachea tube (which was long overdue for changing) but he didn't call the nurse first to give her pain medication. Usually the procedure is done without any pain meds unless it is the first time the tube is changed, which it was. The whole process was very scary and painful for Kari, although it did go smoothly. After she was given pain killers, she did settle down, and I think the new tube, which is a little different design, is more comfortable overall. In a few minutes, we are scheduled to have her first evaluation meeting, which will include her whole team: doctors, specialists, PT, OT, nurses, psychologists, and administrators. I'll give you any new news that they tell me.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Monday, August 15, 2005
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Saturday, August 13, 2005
I will be flying home this evening to move out of our apartment and get things set up at school. Please pray that all the travel is safe and that I will be able to do everything I need to when I'm in CA. My Dad and Linda are going to be here while I'm gone, and Rob and Allison are going to take her to the movie room tonight. Rob and Allison will be here until tomorrow.
Kari is currently on her longest ventilator wean yet. She is supposed to go for four hours and she is already at three and change. I also have been cleared to suction Kari (getting the secretions out of her lungs) which means that pretty soon I'll be able to take her around a little more. Talk to you all later, and for those of you in CA, I'll see you soon.
"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes." Jeremiah 29.11-14
Friday, August 12, 2005
Even though I am not too happy with Sears Roebuck, Inc, I am not "officially" calling for a boycott. Now, as for what you come up with on your own..........well, I'll leave that up to you. And I do agree with Rob that the John Hancock Observatory is far superior to the Sears Tower. (For all of you that don't know of the great Rob "Le Doctór" Ridenwa, he is my friend from High School and College and was the best man at our wedding.) Anyways, the part that Rob left out of the story is that I eventually found out that the Sears people could've done what I wanted all along, they just didn't believe my story until I actually went back to the hospital to get all the clothes. (Yes, I had the receipt.) I know this story probably doesn't make much sense, but if I were to take the time to explain all the details, this post would be longer than the Cubs World Series drought. What you do need to know is that Kari's friend in Oregon and her co-workers were praying for me last night that I would have a "place to express my emotions." Apparently, God provided the middle management from the Sears in Littleton, CO as an answer to their prayers--I definitely was "expressive" with them! :-)
On a funny note, Aaron had a run in today with the company known as Sears
Roebuck Inc. (They will be filing for chapter 11 within the month)
Yesterday, Aaron purchased clothes for Kari for about $100 using half gift
card and half cash. As with most women when men pick out their clothes,
Kari was not satisfied with all of Aaron's selections. (Advice to guys:
jewelry and bath and body works; those are the only two gift options).
Aaron went back to Sears today seeking to return about half of his purchases
(Of course, he had also bought stuff for himself that he was happy with).
Sears then informed him that he would have to return ALL his purchases and
then rebuy the stuff he wanted with the giftcard if he wanted to receive
cash back. Upon calmly speaking to a manager, he had to come back to the
hospital and make an extra trip to Sears. Needless to say, he was a little
So, Aaron is calling for a boycott of all Sears products. This includes the
catalogue, the tower, and the hardware stores. I've actually heard that the
view from the Hancock building is better anyways...Thank you for your
Kari continues to feel a lot of pain in her right shoulder. This makes it difficult for her to gain strength during her physical therapy and sometimes even causes her discomfort when she is in bed. Please pray that God will heal this area so Kari's physical progress is not impeded. While there are many good things happening, all of these changes are new to Kari. She sometimes feels anxiety about these new activities (such as driving the chair!). Pray that her spirit and energy level will remain high as she faces her daily challenges.
Thank you all for the emails, cards, cd's, posts, and phone calls. Every day brings new ups and downs for Kari and Aaron and they are both uplifted whenever they receive support from their family and friends.
Kari's fever is basically gone, only coming back for an hour or so now and then. She is still very tired, and PT and OT both wear her out when the do her therapy. She got up in a power chair yesterday for a few hours, which made her pretty nervous, but she settled down shortly and enjoyed it. The chair still needs a few adjustments for Kari to be able to drive it on her own, but she reports that it is much more comfortable than the manual chair.
Apparently, Kari's right shoulder was slightly dislocated in the crash and moving around the last few days has given her a fair amount of pain. PT and Shona worked on it yesterday and it seemed to help a lot. Kari ventilator weaning program is going great. She was off the vent for 30 minutes two separate times yesterday and she is supposed to wean for an hour straight today. Pray for strength for her. We both miss home a great deal, but there is still so much work to be done here--Thank you for your prayers.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
during physical therapy, Kari got to go outside today for the first time since the accident. We also took her over to my apartment for a few minutes and she was in a power chair a little while for fitting. She should be learning to drive it tomorrow. All the moving has made Kari VERY tired though, so please pray that she has enough energy for all the things that PT and OT want her to do. Also, Kari told me to thank all of you for prayers and also to pray that her fever goes away. She is not nauseous, but her fever zaps her energy and just makes her feel bad. Its been off and on for the past few weeks, (more off than on the last few days) but today it seemed to come back with a little more consistency. Still, all the little ups and downs are just little adjustments to this long uphill climb, and I pray that the Lord would continue to sustain us. Many times it is hard to see the patients here that have more function than Kari. It very easy to think that the people that can use their hands and arms have it easy. Of course, there are a few patients here that would look at Kari and think the same thing and the many families that loose loved ones every day in auto accidents would probably give anything to have them back in any condition. We want to again thank all of you that have donated money, come to visit, and performed all the little (and big) favors that have helped to make life a little easier.
P.S. Remember to email me with the visiting info at firstname.lastname@example.org. Shona is still here and will probably have more news for you tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I'm writing this post to ask that you all add Brittany, Kari's roommate at Craig to your prayers. Brittany is 17 years old and from Peoria, Illinois and suffered breaks of C4-C7 in a diving accident. She has use of her arms, but not her hands and has been sick the last few days with fever, nausea, coughing and nose bleeds. Please pray that God would restore her body and also calm her fears and anxiety. Please ask God to allow her to rest so that she can focus on her rehab. Please also pray for her mother Sonia who is staying here with her. Ask God to give her wisdom with how best to help Brittany and also that God would give her peace about being here in Colorado, far away from family and friends. It is obviously very easy for Kari to understand the frustration and anxiety that Brittany has and for me to understand how it feels to see your loved one in that situation, so naturally our hearts have gone out to our two new friends. I ask that you would lift them up in prayer every time you remember to do the same for us.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Friday, August 05, 2005
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Good news today! Both Kari and I had our spirits lifted today by two different events. First, we found out that Kari will be moved to Craig Hospital to start her rehabilitation program tomorrow (8/4). This is a huge answer to prayer as Kari's spirit was feeling especially oppressed by having to sit and wait in the hospital without being able to do anything. Also tomorrow there will be a front page (at least that's what they told me) story on Kari in the Press Enterprise, a California newspaper from Riverside that has a daily circulation of 190,000 copies and an adult readership of over half a million people. Also an answer to prayer is that our apartment management has decided to waive the lease-break fee when we move out.
As far as visitors go, please simply call or email me to let me know when you are thinking about coming. I'll be able to tell you if anyone else will be there at that time and that way you can be planning accordingly. There is not really anytime that will be better than others, and there really is no way to tell in advance Kari's desire to see people on a particular day. I just don't have time to try to arrange things, but I can tell you who's going to be here once they decide on coming. Hopefully we'll be able to spread things out. Check back in a few days on the website though, as we might have a "Visit Kari" link up with a schedule and/or different email address to just handle schedules.
As always, please continue to pray as even amongst all the good news there have been so many difficult things that we could never have anticipated dealing with. What we need even more than help or encouragement is people that will try to walk beside us to help ease the pain and share the burden amongst the body of Christ.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
This is the first time I've written anything on the blog, so I first want to thank all of you who have been sending emails, cards, care packages and flowers, those that have donated money, and most of all to those that have been committed in prayer for us. It is very humbling to know that so many people are following along and helping to shoulder the weight of the situation. Anyways, I want to call on all of you to pray specifically that Kari's Pneumonia goes away quickly, that the transition to Craig Hospital (rehab) goes smoothly, that our apartment management would let us out of our lease without penalty, and that the Lord would grant us both patience and strength as we are both (Kari especially) getting a little stir-crazy. Most of all though, I want to ask all you to approach God humbly to ask him to heal Kari's body. We don't know God's timing or plan in this situation, but I ask that you would keep this prayer in your hearts for the many years to come. As you pray for this, remember that we don't have God's eternal vision--so it is in our human frailty that we bring this petition before the Lord.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Today they performed a bronchoscopy on Kari to check her lungs and suction out what the normal suction procedure could not. They removed lots of fluid, and though Kari still has problems with coughing, we hope this helps relieve her somewhat. Its hard to watch suction because it gags her again and again and takes her breath away. Also, she had a fever on and off all day, though its high was 100.4, a degree lower than it was a couple of days ago. On the other hand, when Shona was doing some range of motion work with Kari this morning she reported that shes gained more motion in her arms, especially the right arm. She can now turn her forearm both inward and outward. And today they sat her in a chair for about a half hour. Linda said that she really enjoyed it and looked happy and cute. The sitting up should also improve her breathing and help with fluid buildup.
There were more visitors today, especially from
I returned to
--Richard R. Guzman