Since my last update, Kari has been doing a lot of weaning off the ventilator. I think I last reported that on Saturday, Kari had done 7hrs 20min off the vent. On Sunday, she did 8, Monday, 8 ½, Tuesday 10 ½ and today she did 14 ½. It was only 9 days ago that she went for an hour and 15min, was completely worn out and begging to be put on the ventilator; today she told me that she feels like she can breathe better without the vent and she has to get used to going back on it. Tomorrow (actually today now) she is supposed to do 18-20 hrs, and then go for 24 on Friday. If she does 24 okay, they’ll extend it to 48 hrs. Immediately—meaning that by Sunday she could be off the vent. She has also been able to stay up in her chair 4-7 hours each day.
I am so proud of how she’s doing, especially since through all the forward progress with the breathing, her shoulder and neck pain has been almost debilitating. She is in basically constant and extreme pain now, which makes her shake, takes a lot of the strength out of her voice, and zaps her energy. When they are able to get her pain down, the heavy narcotics she is on usually knock her out pretty good. She hasn’t really been able to drive this whole week because it is too painful to extend her arm. The pain is caused by the overworking of her shoulder and bicep muscles which also inflames her tendons. Because the only muscles in her arms that work are her biceps, they tend to stay contracted, which, if you could imagine continuously flexing a muscle for hour upon hour, you can imagine leads to a lot of pain and inflammation. Also, her neck has been in a brace for almost two months now, so the muscles affected have become very hard and stiff from lack of movement. It is sort of a vicious cycle: less movement leads to more pain which leads to less movement. The good news, though, is that the reverse should be true too, and I have seen more of Kari’s old self—strength, determination, and desire to reverse this cycle and get moving more comfortably. I have been so proud of my wife with how she has worked so hard this week and has still been graceful in handling her pain. When her parents left on Tuesday, she cried to them, “I’ll try to get better,” and I could visibly see how much it pained her to see them hurting. “I’m sad because it just broke their hearts,” she later told me.
On the spiritual side of things, we’ve noticed a few trends in a lot of the emails that we’ve been getting. First, there seems to be a large number of children that seem moved to pray for Kari. We get emails almost daily in which the person writing it tells us that at bedtime or meals their child asks if they can pray for Kari. Second, a lot of people have been telling us of a sense, message, or word from God that they have gotten regarding us. All these messages have a very similar theme, and more specifically the same exact word being used all the time. I don’t want to say what it is, because I want the holy spirit to lead you in your own prayer, but the same words and sense that my father had from the very beginning are the same that keep coming up. Kari today told me that she has always felt this way too, and although I did not use that one word to describe it right away, it was also the overwhelming sense that I had that first 20 minutes waiting under the car for paramedics to arrive. As for the fear thing, we had a great prayer time with friends of ours from Cali tonight that dealt with some specifics of spiritual oppression.
Kari and I have accountability partnerships with this couple, and we were able to pray through the cell phone. What was really great was that Kari could talk, so our conversation was able to go deeper than would have otherwise been possible.
Lastly, in the days right after the accident, Kari told us that she saw angels under the car with us. At first we assumed that they were there to protect us, but as Kari was able to communicate more in the days to come, she explained to me that they were angles that appeared as children to take her home to God—but that she told them to go away so she could stay here with me. This week, Kari has seemed more herself, with the same spirit that I have always known her to have. And even though it hurts me to see her in pain, I am thankful more than ever that we can do this together.
May the grace of God be with you in abundance.