Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Series of Unfortunate Events

So... it's been a while since my last post. I often get comments about how much people enjoy reading the blog, only to feel guilty that I haven't updated in quite a while. The thoughts in the back of my mind are that I'm not going to update until there is positive news to share. However, this is not the life that I want to present. To me, that is one of the negative sides of social media. It's all about posting great and fun times in a person's life but is not totally true to all that someone is experiencing. So, here is my post on things that are not great and fun, but have definitely been our reality for the past 5 months...

As you know, Brad had all of his hardware taken out back in July. We were told that we would need several weeks to determine if this removal would help with Brad's chronic pain. Not long after the surgery, Brad got a severe UTI, which is common with paraplegics & he has had his fair share. But this one was the worst by far and we were told to go immediately to the ER. We were taken back to an examining/operating room to wait on the results, thinking the whole time that we would be able to go home later that night. However, the infection had gotten into his bloodstream, sepsis, and we had to spend several days and nights at the hospital. The doctors had to monitor daily to make sure that the IV meds were attacking the virus at an appropriate rate before we could go home. This all happened less than a month after the hardware removal.

After that, Brad was using the laptop at home on the couch. That night while he was getting ready for bed he noticed that he had a pretty good size burn on the side of his leg. The laptop battery on the cord had been pressing against his leg for about an hour resulting in a burn that took at least 2 months to completely heal.

Only a few weeks after the burn we went to Baton Rouge with my family to watch my brother, BJ, play soccer. That Sunday night after getting home Brad found that he had gotten a pressure sore from the lack of air in his cushion (his first pressure sore to date). We have adapted pretty well to the fact that checking Brad's skin on a very regular basis is now a part of life. I guess, though, that we did not check the 2 days that we were gone and a stage 2 pressure sore was the result. This has led to weekly visits to a wound care center, daily changing of bandages, 8 weeks of sitting at home on the couch (working from home) to get all pressure off of that spot, and not going anywhere we didn't absolutely have to for about 10 weeks to try to help the sore heal faster. Craziness!!!

Since this incident, just a few weeks ago, Brad was working in the garage with some tools and got 2 more burns on his legs. Sad to say, I was quick to get upset with him for not being more careful. Brad, being the patient soul he is, explained that he is having to correct 25 years of old habits (putting things in his lap, for instance) that he can no longer feel.

I can't even imagine having to remember and keep up with everything that Brad has to check on a daily basis. It would wear you down to hear all that he has to do everyday, simply as a result of the paralysis just to try to stay as healthy as he can.

There is good news in all of this, though. Because of the pressure sore the doctor was able to look at the laptop burn and treat it, as well as the burns that have just recently happened. I have already mentioned that the laptop burn has healed (still pretty dark though) and we are happy that the pressure sore has just recently completely closed in. However, this spot will be susceptible to skin issues later on so we will always need to be mindful of sitting for extending periods of time. Brad has also gotten a new wheelchair cushion because of the pressure sore so we are hopeful that this will help.

We have since found that the removal of the hardware did not provide the relief Brad was hoping for and the next step is to implant a spinal cord stimulator. This will be leads placed against his spinal cord with a receiver placed towards the bottom and side of his back. He will also have a remote to make adjustments to help with the pain he is feeling at that time. This will not stop the pain but block the signal of pain to the brain. He will have the trial version of this done on January 19 and we will stay over night for monitoring. If he feels that it has helped over the following week, the permanent version will be completed that following Monday. We have known all along that this would be a last resort option as we are now facing this operation. The surgeon feels very confident that this will help with Brad's pain a substantial amount.

God is moving and showing up in other ways in our lives, as well. We are very grateful for these things and for the knowledge that we are never alone (Job 7:19). He is the God who sees us (Gen. 16:13), the God who hears us (Ishmael: Gen. 16:11), and the God who is with us (Immanuel: Matt. 1:23).

Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers. This is very much appreciated as we still cope with a new life,  new expectations, and wait for prayers/miracles to be answered.

Brad did an amazing job on our Christmas card, as usual!!

This is one of her favorite spots!

How cute is he??!!

Merry Christmas!