Friday, September 23, 2005

Update 9/22

Hello All—

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!


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear that Kari is still having so much pain. It is so hard to understand that with everything else Kari is going through, that she has to have this intense pain as well. But through it all, God IS still there. There is no questioning that! The new chair sounds facinating by the way. A praise can definitely be found in all the technology that has come around in the last 30 years that allows Kari to not only still BE here, but to be so mobile. Think how it would be if Kari was stuck in bed, in one room, never to leave. What a drag. Thank God for all the researchers that have brought the medical field as far as it has today. Keep the faith my friend!

kathy timmers said...

As I started reading today's update, I gasped aloud and Charlie came running over and asked me what was wrong-
with tears running down my face I told him "Kari's pain level is at 5!" Though later in the update we learned that her pain level went back up and another infection may be present, I am thanking God for the time she had in less discomfort and the good meeting that you all had. A glimmer of hope in the midst of all of the frustration and confusion- and I'm praying my socks off that the dos can figure out a way to get her on the right dosages to control her pain and help her body continue to heal (and will continue to listen to the nurses!!!). And that the movie outing is a fun distraction and you guys can enjoy yourselves.

I am so glad John & Cyndi & Dustin & the kids are there to be with you and love you and support you. I will be giving Jan lots of hugs to bring to you at her upcoming visit and wish I could stuff myself in her suitcase to come along....

We are off to Womens Retreat at Sky Lodge this weekend and there will be lots of prayers being offered up for all of you. Sky Lodge always makes me think of you two and what a special place it is for you and all of us. I remember my walk in the woods up there with Kari when she first told me about you, Aaron, and how her face just glowed. And Family Camp where she taught us "Blessed Be Your Name"- she told us it was your new church home's "theme song"- and how powerful the words were and still are. I always think of her when we sing it and hear her beautiful voice leading us (and I'm still doing the "guy part" underneath :-)

The prayer walk in the pine forest is my favorite part of the weekend and you will both be there with me in my heart.
Much love,

susan colby said...

The thoughts I had as I read this entry were....Wow....what amazing people you two are. There is so much strength, wisdom and inspiration in your words. I am so looking forward to my visit soon. It is so hard to hear about Kari's pain, I wish I could bear it for her, even if just for a few moments. I can only let you know that I am here every day, some days I wake up from dreaming about being there with you, so I know my spirit is there and trying to take some of the burden from you. My prayers and hope are with you. See you soon, love Susan

PS. Isabel really likes to pray for Kari. David and Kaleb too. They are all having a big birthday party this weekend. Kari, we will pray for you in the midst. Love you.....

heather velloff said...

"If I could understand it all, that would reveal it to be far too small a thing to be worth all this hardship."
So true, Aaron. I am guilty of trying to put a "reason" to everything...
I am praying for you both today and I am specifically praying for Kari's pain that it would be lifted.
All my prayers and love,

DesertPastor said...

So glad to hear about Kari's progress (and the entire team taking time to recognize all that) -- wow! The trust and patience that you both are demonstrating (and yes, you may well not see it as outsiders are)is SO encouraging, and an honor to God.

That said, don't forget that the scriptures are filled with "psalms of lament" too. It's okay to vent at God sometimes -- it's not a sign of weakness, but of faith that's authentic.

Kari and Aaron - blessings to both of you this weekend!

Jen Chesher said...

I'm not a very spiritual person, but I think that both you and Kari know how deeply I feel that there is purpose and meaning in life. I also realize with you that sometimes we will never know the justification for some of the painful things that happen in our lives. You are both icons of faith, remaining watchful for signs of growth and purpose and trusting that all will work out for the best in the long run.

I wish that I could be there more for both of you. Please know that I think of you both every single day, and hope that being a loving and caring friend can do some small, small favor in reminding you both that you are loved. I miss you, Aaron and Kari!

Jen Chesher

Anonymous said...

Dear Kari + Aaron,

I have been sitting on this a few days. So difficult to respond due to the pain frustration. There was a note of progress early in the week, and then a back slide. I am encouraged something worked even if for a time to bring the pain down, and that the doctors can continue to adjust and analyze to bring things to a better place.

Aaron, you mentioned, of course, frustration, as to the "why of it all". I am not going to try to answer that one. Still, I do see you hit on something at the same time. That would be, I believe you called it "depth and breadth". The intense pain takes one, I feel, into a rehlm of the spirit, refered to at times in the bible as "groans of the spirit". Time frames seem to fade away for those in pain making it hard to "look ahead". Even yourself, Aaron, the emotional pain can do that.

There are just times I don't try to use words. We share non-verbal music, also, as an outlet. I am working on a "better" tape for Kari that may take some time, but I do what to get something out this week.

Love / Peace / Strength,

Charlie +

Anonymous said...

Reading your updates brings prayer that cries from my soul. "Ease her pain, Father God. In your mercy, ease her pain..."

You are both remembered.

Keep the faith.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kari and Aaron
We have returned from women's retreat. you were in our heart and prayers all weekend. We just keep praying for relief from pain for both of you.
I can't wait to be with you. I was trying to find a way to bring a big fat Chicago pizza but airport security is too tight. You will just have to plan a trip to the Yessa compound to enjoy that. Can't wait.
See you Friday.
Jan Yessa

Larry Clawson said...

Dear Kari and Aaron,
Sorry, I had not checked on these updates before. Have been praying, though. Really sorry about the pain coming back. This probably won't be helpful now, but I am still having some pain, some of which is worse(about 3 level, at worst) now than a couple of months ago and I first went into the hospital July 12, 2004. My problems were blood and back infections, mostly affection the nerves going to the left leg. I had really bad pains until January. I came home from the nursing home in February, with home therapy for a couple of months and really started making good progress in June; started driving again in July.

So I pray first that your progress with the pains is much faster than mine and in the meantime, you keep working and praying yourselves for patience. You are already a head of my schedule in driving and going out; congratulations!

With love and prayers, Larry Clawson

Neurontin Prescription Information said...

My name is Karen Tobin and i would like to show you my personal experience with Neurontin.

I have taken for 4 months. I am 54 years old. Was taking 1800 mg per day for pain, numbness and scalp soreness. It helped immensely and right now am weaning off of it taking 300mg two times daily with no noticeable side effects.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
Drowsiness and dizziness.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Karen Tobin