On Tuesday afternoon, one of the nurses suggested to the doctor that Kari try a different kind of narcotic painkiller—a fentanyl patch. He also upped her doses of neurontin, a medicine for nerve pain and BuSpar, an anti-anxiety drug. By Wednesday morning, her pain level was down to a 5. It was the first time in a long time that I had been able to walk into the hospital in the morning and just say hello to Kari without her being in agony from the pain. We also had our second big meeting with the entire team on Wednesday morning which turned out to be much more enjoyable than I thought. Everyone was so frustrated with the inability to control Kari’s pain that we were all planning on that being the main focus of the meeting. Instead it was very encouraging and we were able to focus on all the progress Kari had made: getting off the vent, being free from infection, getting her appetite back, increasing her time in her wheelchair, and turning the corner on PTSD and anxiety. Our expected release date is still November 18th. Kari also got a new wheelchair that she can drive by blowing air into a tube. It’s pretty cool and a lot less frustrating for Kari than trying to use her arm. All the functions of the wheel chair can be controlled by how you blow into the tube—they call it “sip n’ puff” here. They have sip n’ puff cameras, fishing poles, and even guns!! (Well, we won’t be getting a gun, but it’s pretty amazing that they have them. Although, I’m not sure how safe I feel knowing that they’re out there!)
I wish that were the end of the story, but by 4:00 or so later that day, Kari’s pain had come back and she was basically where she’d been the last few days. Since then, it doesn’t seem to be as constant, but Kari will have episodes of pain triggered by spasms, bad positioning, or having to be moved that are as bad as any she has had. She also showed a few signs of having another infection of her GI tract. Needless to say, this is all very frustrating. Out of that frustration we both can get angry at God, but somehow, even though my mind doesn’t believe me, I know he’s still there. I am also getting the sense that there’s something that I need to learn through all of this that I haven’t yet. Of course to hinge Kari’s healing on learning what we are supposed to learn would be a gross oversimplification, and I’m not really sure what it is that I’m supposed to learn anyways. Maybe it’s not really learning at all, but the kind of shaping that only happens through experience; a sense of the breadth of experiences that different people have—not so much an understanding, just deepening. And while I know we have already been changed through all of this, probably for the better, it doesn’t always seem worth it. Sometimes, too, I feel that understanding and trying to sort this whole thing out isn’t really the point either. If I could understand it all, that would reveal it to be far too small a thing to be worth all this hardship. In a way, it’s a lot like how Abraham related to God. No scripture, official doctrine, churches, inspirational or devotional books, just his people and God. No real way around the difficult situations, the things that don’t make sense, the things that just plain suck. The safety net that I’ve always been accustomed to surrounding church and God doesn’t make much sense; here’s to hoping that what God is saying to Kari and I will make sense, in time.
Some other news is that we are going on our second outing tomorrow (Friday) morning to a movie. Hopefully Kari will be able to make it the whole time without being too uncomfortable. Also, Kari’s sister Cyndi, her husband John, Kari’s brother Dustin, and his three children Savannah, Sierra, and Colton are all here. It’s already been a fun time of visiting for both Kari and I. Also, remember our friend Melissa that I wrote about in the blog about a month ago? She had another successful surgery and was able to go home from the hospital being able to walk. The Logan family has been on this rollercoaster since January and I hope and pray that this is the last hill to climb-they definitely need the rest.
P.S. I just read through this whole entry and I realize that it’s a bit random and not very well organized. Oh well. If something doesn’t make sense don’t spend too much time trying to figure it out!