Monday, July 09, 2007

Easter 2007

This Easter weekend was an exceptionally special time for the Powell/Anderson family. We will probably not forget the many aspects of this celebratory weekend for many reasons. You see, it was this weekend that my dearest friend Abby decided to not only join me in my annual tribute to breast cancer by participating in Race for the Cure. She organized a massive team of runners and walkers who all wore coordinating t-shirts for my mother. Gail Force took the streets of Fort Worth on a very cold April morning in bright teal and magenta shirts. It was truly a moving day for me in countless ways, but the truly most important aspect for all of us was that my brother and my father were able to join us and they too crossed the finish line for my mom.

We did it MOM!

Emma also strolled across the finish line bundled up quite fiercely as Papa pushed her in style. The endurance of all of the runners, not just the Gail Force team, announced to the world that this disease is something that has impacted thousands of people to the point where they desire to make a difference in fighting this awful fiend.

Since completing this race, my dear friend Abby's mother-in-law has been diagnosed with a relapse of her cancer after a successful 7 years of remission. She will get to spend some quality time with her children this coming weekend after a fantastic Alaskan cruise. Continue to pray for Vonda as she embraces what God has for her during this next phase of her life. They have decided to no longer pursue radiation treatment. Elevate the Boerger family in your prayers as the Lord works His will here. Pray that God will protect her from suffering as well as unite this family around her during this journey.

Papa and Jason also joined us for Sunday services and Emma looked absolutely as beautiful as a Southern Belle. Her Grandy sent the dress for her to wear along with the bonnet. The only think she is missing are her Easter gloves. Do you remember those? Were yours short or long? Do you still wear them on Easter? Confess. You do, don't you? It's ok. I had to really work myself out of a hat because that was what I thought you did. She is our little angel. We love her so and Nana would be so proud.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

4th of July - 2007 Part II

Jeremy was released to a regular room today and has had yet another successful day on many scales. He saw a physical therapist today and has also been up numerous times to move about the room for necessary procedures. He has kept all that he has consumed today down. Now, the quantity is not a lot, but we are thankful for any amount of food consumed. Continue to pray for the nausea that is plaguing him. We sat and laughed and joked about many things this afternoon and I heard him make many jabs and jokes - I heard Jeremy.

We received word from the doctor that the culture continued to grow another bacteria. The bacteria bacillus (?sp?) grew along with the staph infection that we mentioned before and they are crediting this second bacteria with the reason for the extreme high fever. That gave them satisfaction to know this puzzling answer. I had surrendered that we would not know and it would be ok.

Jeremy is still being visited by specialists, including the infectious disease doctor. We will discuss with him tomorrow about when Jeremy will resume his prior medication for the fungal infection. I would be very comfortable if they administered at least one treatment in the hospital before they released him to my feeble hands again. We will consult the NIH for when to resume this treatment as well.

He will work with the physical therapist again tomorrow and if all goes well we are going to see a release of him from the hospital. Pray for him during this waiting time. Pray for his strength to increase and his appetite to reappear. Eating equals strength and strength equals improvement and improvement equals return.

Thank you all for your calls and emails and thank you for respecting our rest at the hospital as well. Jeremy is an entertainer and would struggle not performing for an audience - no matter who, so it has been very restful for him in this recovery process. God bless you all as you minister in your own venues. Thank you for celebrating this miracle with us. We love you all and look forward to celebrating with you in person soon!

4th of July - 2007

We had too much calm, so a storm was in store. The problem was we were not expecting it this time. I secretly pride myself in being able to adjust to situations and challenges in order to best handle them. I even catch myself working through different results of situations and analyzing what I will do if "y" happens instead of "x". I know. Kinda disturbing. If you have not yet been a part of the group to be informed of our recent challenge, than take a moment to read this Powell update. If you are in the know, than scroll down until the current date to catch yourself up to speed. There's no need for you to reread the story you know. If you are fresh to the story, than read it segments. I have not had a computer for 4 days, so I had to cram it in one email. Precious prayer warriors, God came to us in a BIG WAY again. Please understand this important message here: if you are a skeptic that still does not believe that God did not necessarily have complete control of Jeremy's medicine working "all-of-the-sudden"; that God is a God that STILL performs MIRACLES, than make no mistake. This story WILL change your mind. If you are one of those readers of the Powell Update who is not exactly sure where you are with Our Creator and at the close of this message, you need to know the God who does these things, WRITE ME BACK. I WILL GLADLY, PERSONALLY, INTRODUCE YOU TO HIM.

Monday, July 2: Jeremy comes home from work to have lunch with his girls. He shares with me over lunch that he is all of the sudden not feeling so well. I told him that I would get him some medication and he declined. He called me around 3:00 and told me that he felt feverish and was coming home to crash for a little while. We settled him on the couch with a Tylenol and he slept for about an hour. He arose and felt somewhat better, but was still sluggish. We had dinner together as a family and eventually worked our way to our evening ritual. We usually put Emma down for bed with a series of steps and then immediately begin his nightly IV infusion. The infusion takes roughly an hour. As the hour began to close, Jeremy began to complain of a fever again. He began to shake VIOLENTLY. I got our heating pad and covered him with several blankets. He eventually vomited from the shaking and fever. The fever spiked to 104.1 and then broke. I left to go to the drugstore to get some Motrin and juice. Jeremy and I both decided that he must have a virus because this came on so quickly. We alternated Tylenol and Motrin throughout the night and he maintained around a 99.5 low grade fever.

Tuesday, July 3: Jeremy awakens me at 6:30 asking for blankets again. He was chilled, but not any where near the same shaking that he had the night before. I told him we were going to the doctor so that we could have a professional assessment. His fever spiked again to 103.7, so we packed the family up and headed to the doctor. Emma got to play with Jonathan and Katelyn for the morning while Mommy and Daddy went to the doctor. Dr. David treated Jeremy with caution and we are thankful for that because she does take such care for him. She decided not to risk writing off this fever as a viral infection and to instead attack it as if it were bacterial, just in case. Remember, with Jeremy, bacterial infections can become critical. She gave Jeremy a shot in the doctor's office of an antibiotic and sent us home with a prescription for doxycyclene. If you remember back in the lung infection and early back infection days, Jeremy was on doxy as we were still deciding as to whether this infection was bacterial or fungal. Doxy has a tendency to induce nausea and vomiting with Jeremy. So needless to say, we were not looking forward to this. ON the way to the doctor, we stopped at Sonic and bought Jeremy a large Sprite. He finished this by lunch time and crashed out on the couch still alternating Motrin and Tylenol.

Emma and Mommy decided to quarantine Daddy and we set up a playland downstairs. His fever moved between 99-102 throughout the day with moments of breaking off and on. He began to feel somewhat better and went downstairs to take a shower. He went back upstairs and Emma and I followed to go through our nighttime routine. After Emma went down, I proceeded to begin Jeremy's infusion again. Again, at the close of the infusion, Jeremy began convulsing violently complaining of fever chills. I took his temperature and it was 100.8 (note the placement of the decimal). So I was really concerned because I didn't think chills on this severity were normal for such a low grade fever. Then his lips began to turn purple. I called his mother and had her agree with me that it was time to go into the ER.

I called the Alexanders at 10:15 and asked that we bring Emma by on the way to the ER. Kristina offered to send one of them to get her. While I was getting Barney out for one more time and packing my purse to go to the ER, Jeremy arose from the couch and had a series of events that began to lead to a state of incoherency. Zack arrived and ran us out of the house and took care of everything for me - this includes getting my dog inside, getting my daughter and her bag packed for a night away, locking up and alarming my house. Have I ever told you guys how God continues to minister to me through people who SELFLESSLY and TIRELESSLY love on us with the love of the Lord? Amazing.

I drove somewhat speedily to the hospital and Jeremy's demeanor and alertness faded rapidly as we approached our local hospital. I feared coma or seizure, but not being a medical professional, I tried not to alarm myself because I didn't want to make it bigger than it was.

I arrived at the ER and ran around to heave my husband out of the car. His mobility was gone. There was a cluster of people standing outside of the doors to the ER who graciously came behind me and shut my car door as I carried my soaking wet husband into the ER. A kind officer took Jeremy's other side and helped me get him into triage. It was obvious to the people that he was already in a deep state of emergency. Let me tell you, this was the first of many small prayers running through my head that would be answered. I knew that waiting in the waiting room of the ER would be detrimental. I sat in triage with my no responsive husband FILLING OUT PAPERWORK. Oh you precious medical professionals, I think I would pay the extra money if you guys would help me find out a way in the ER for patients to receive treatment while dictating all of the crap that needs to be written out on all of those papers. I know insurance companies are to blame for most of it, but it is an ER!!! The E is for EMERGENCY. Ok, enough of that tangent for now.

Jeremy's condition RAPIDLY worsened in front of my eyes. He was sweating profusely and refused to let me get his sweatshirt off. His precious brothers, Clay and Zack, arrived shortly after I did and immediately went to work for us. I am sorry, but I am welling up with tears as I stop to tell you this part. Jeremy had completely doused my passenger side on the way to the ER and Zack took my keys and proceeded to clean up my car so that it wouldn't sit in that state all night long. That is a friend. I know you will read this Zack and think nothing of it, but really. Your love for my family is a strong testimony to your love of the Lord. Than Clay joins me in triage and helps me fight Jeremy to get his sweatshirt off and holds his brother's head as he struggles to expel more liquids from his body orally. You must know that this also speaks volumes of the Love of Christ that radiates through Clay. First of all, he was ill with an infection in his eye and really needed to be home sleeping and second of all, he is a sympathy yacker. Yet, he made it through this event.

I decided to demand attention and strongly stated to the ER staff that it was imperative that he be seen IMMEDIATELY. They got him into a room and my husband was completely gone from the man that you know by now. As he fought to escape the grasp of the medical professionals and myself, they were able to wrangle him down and proceed with assessing his vital signs. His heart rate was at 200, his BP was incredibly low, and his fever had spiked to 108.0 (NOTE THE PLACEMENT OF THE DECIMAL). Did I lose it? No. I couldn't. How would God respond to a person in hysterics? How could I help my husband if I couldn't hold it together? I immediate began praying even harder. "Only you, Oh God, can restore him from this state. ONLY YOU, OH GOD, CAN SAVE HIM FROM THIS DESTRUCTION. I cannot. These professionals cannot. I give him to You and ask that you hold me through this so that I can be a tool for your use as you save him again. I ask that you not take him yet. His ministry is only beginning and we know that you have called him to do great things for your kingdom. Don't take this man of God! Don't take this willing vessel! Not for me. Not for Emma. Not for our baby. But for You, oh God! But God, if this is his time, than please, PLEASE, PLEASE don't make him suffer!"

I can quote you this prayer because I repeated it over and over again FOR HOURS. They packed Jeremy in ice and the Q&A began. You remember, my husband does not have a normal immune system. I declared this to the ER professionals immediately upon entry of the hospital. I had to explain his condition to them about 5 different times. This quickly put them on edge. I could see the fear and concern in their eyes because they knew his condition was traumatic. I had to give his medical history along with explain what was going on with this PIC line in his arm. They relocated Jeremy to an OR in the ER and decided quickly to go ahead and remove the PIC line. This was after they had poked him numerous times to try and find a vein to begin meds and IV fluids for this severely dehydrated man. (Remember that sprite I told you about earlier? He had that and a Gatorade over the course of the entire day)

I have to admit that when the removed the PIC line, I winced - not because it was gross, but because I saw the progress we had made disappear with the fungal infection. They wheeled Jeremy down the hall for x-rays and a CT scan so they could assess the damage done to his brain from the heat of the fever. We got to the X-ray when your author stupidly remembered - All of the Sudden - I can't be here. I'M PREGNANT. They than ushered me back down the hall and my heart began to ache because I couldn't be with him. He was sedated though and didn't know where I was, so I had to take that satisfaction. X-rays came back with splotches, but I told them that they really needed to compare them to other x-rays. You see, Jeremy has lots of scar tissue in his lungs from previous infections. To an unknowing eye though, they appear to be spots of infection. Here's where it gets even better. It's after midnight. What day does that make it my friends? That's right - INDEPENDENCE DAY! Hooray! Government holiday! Did I mention the National Institute of Health is a government funded facility. So to wait until the start of a workday for this information would mean to wait until THURSDAY! So once again, I had to pray to the Lord to maintain them with wisdom on how to treat him until then.

Jeremy returned and would come in and out of sedation. His fever dropped to 105.1 and then about an hour later it dropped to 103.7. Can I tell you how happy I was to see that number on a thermometer. Than God began to give me glimmers of hope. His CT scan came back NORMAL. My husband maintained NO NOTABLE brain damage from this astronomical fever. Believer? You will be.

Wednesday, July 4: We eventually get to a state where we are ready to admit Jeremy to the ICU there at Harris Southwest. Did I mention that Clay, Zack and Randal were still there and were pretty much holding it together with me through this enormously trying time. They walked my frail pregnant body along with Jeremy's frail dehydrated body up to ICU. I know that I could have done this alone, but I don't know how except for added strength from the Lord. They were the added strength that got me through this and their love for my husband is phenomenal. Believe me gentleman, I have made Jeremy very aware of your sacrifice and his heart wept with gratitude.

They had some difficulty switching Jeremy from the gurney to the ICU bed and it was best that they left me in the waiting room. After the transfer, I went by myself for a one-on-one consult with the ICU General Internist - Dr. Jennifer Alexander. Can I tell you that once more, God provided a glimmer of hope. Although she was not quite familiar with Jeremy's disease, she had taken the time to briefly read about it before our arrival to the floor. I explained everything to her once more and saw her immediately begin to set her wheels into motion about how to properly address the most adequate care for my husband. The admitting nurse was named Jessica and she took such care to make sure I was secure in my settling in this room for the night.

The boys came back and had prayer with my family for the evening and then left. Zack came back with Abby about an hour later bringing me clothes and necessities to get us through the next few days and Abby sat with me because she knew I wouldn't sleep if I was alone. Every time a nurse comes in, I sit up because I want to know what they are doing. She sat up for me so I could rest. Again, the love of Christ radiating. I slept in 45 minute increments and then decided it wasn't worth it because I was still too distressed. Doctors began pouring in and the fishbowl that we were living in was unavoidable. Jeremy was the talk of the hospital. "Did you see the 29 year old who spiked 108? He's a miracle. There was no brain damage. His kidneys have returned to functioning!" This also was accompanied by nurses passing by our room and staring at him - I am not kidding.

About 7:30am, the next nurse took her shift and came in to begin some preliminary work with him. She shared with Abby and I that Jeremy shouldn't just be brain damaged, but he shouldn't be here at all. She didn't know anyone who had survived that high of a fever. Believer yet? You will be. As we wept with that reality, she also shared with us that the kidneys that had gone into failure had miraculously began to work again. He came in producing nothing and yet being pumped full of fluids. In that short amount of time, he began producing adequate amounts of fluids.

Jeremy began to arouse around 8ish and I was able to make eye contact with him and he acknowledged who I was. I shed a tear of joy. He faded again. About 8:30 he came around again and became aware of his restraints. I shared with him that he had been a little unhappy with being there, so we had to secure him to insure his stay. I shared with him that he had numerous tubes coming out of his body and I needed him to promise to not pull on them if I let him go. He told me he would be good and the nurse and I released him.

He received numerous guests early that morning and surprisingly conversed with Steve Tigner, a church member about putting. He remembers nothing from Tuesday or Wednesday. So you precious souls who came to love on us, I have told him a few times of your visit so your time there wasn't for naught. He later that morning had a neurological examination performed by Dr. Chin and passed with flying colors. AGAIN, A MIRACLE. He responded to vision and hearing stimuli as well as physical mobility. I was astonished.

He slept on and off throughout the day on Wednesday and concluded the evening with my explanation of what had transpired the evening before which left him silenced. He had asked how long he had to be there and I told him that they could keep him until October if they wanted because they saved his life.

Thursday, July 5: A new day begins. I slept about 4 hours the night before because of visits from the nurse and Jeremy detaching himself from the IV during the middle of the night. That was an ordeal - again one he does not remember and I am glad. ;0) However, my eyes were opened widely at 7am receiving a call from a NP from the NIH. We could now start making some further progress because we could finally get access to other medical records. Dr. Alexander took great caution to outsource many of Jeremy's conditions to specialist. As of date, we have seen a neurologist, 2 hematologists, an infectious disease specialist, a nephrologist, a gastro-intestinal specialist, along with a breathing specialist and numerous other consults. The NIH was very pleased with all that Harris had done with Jeremy and did not have any further suggestions. We did start getting test results back. None of the blood tests came back positive, but the culture on the PIC line revealed staph. This explained the convulsions. Every time I pushed his meds, I pushed this infection into his bloodstream. I felt horrible, but I have come to terms that it isn't my fault. God knew and God knew he needed someone to get that PIC line out.

Jeremy and I had a long talk about his current condition as I had to explain to him what had happened and I had to explain to him the most recent test results from Dr. Alexander. Thursday, we started to see residual effects from the high fever. The kidneys had completely repaired themselves and were functioning on their own thanks to intense flushing. However, the liver was beginning to fail and revealed itself as such with extremely elevated liver enzymes. His muscle enzymes were also elevated revealing damage. So again my prayer was big and specific for God to restore his liver and to do it by his personal touch on Jeremy's body. Jeremy and I took this as another hurdle and I surrendered again to God to heal him. I knew the specialist could set him up to a road of recovery, but I didn't know how. God did.

Long day of lots of doctors closed with Dr. Armstrong, our GI doctor coming in to explain how the liver was an innocent bystander of this traumatic event. He felt fully confident that this organ can and would repair itself after the infection began to push it's way out of the body. Jeremy had many good things come about on Thursday though besides this news of hope from Dr. Armstrong. He made it through the entire day without a fever reducer whatsoever. I knew we were on our way to recovery.

Friday, July 6: Jeremy and I slept in until around 8:00 after another night of every 2 hours. I went to my doctor's appointment to visit with our baby via measurements and heart monitors. I returned to Jeremy visiting with his mother who had surprised him from South Carolina. The doctor came in and shared with us another bit of miraculous news. Jeremy's liver enzymes had dropped DRAMATICALLY and his blood platelet level was on the rise. She would most likely let him go to a room today. He also began his clear liquid diet for breakfast. Jeremy was struggling with congestion and so she prescribed a Mucinex for him.

Jeremy's grandparents arrived around lunch and we all visited. Around 3:30 they began to allow us to pack for the transfer and they had the paperwork already complete. Just before they were going to take him out of the room, Jeremy's mother found a large splotchy rash on his shoulder. There goes our exit ticket. Dr. Alexander wanted to continue to monitor him and said that he needed to stay. Jeremy took it well. In fact, he just rolled back over and went back to sleep. They gave him some Benadryl and it went away immediately. However, he is spending one more night in the ICU.

Tomorrow is anticipated transfer to room and physical therapy. I will keep you posted. Our dear friend, Judy McDonald, from Alabama asked that I sing this song to Jeremy today and I did. I believe it and I know you do to. If you didn't before, you do now.

My God is So Big
So Strong and So Mighty
There's nothing My God Cannot Do!


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Powell Almighty

(Where it all began - the wall behind the refrigerator is this first picture. The change in paint color is where the wall is beginning to dry from the water spraying up from the hose that was on the ground. Yes, that is above our cabinets, above our pantry door)
(image 2 - Jeremy is taking a picture of the water leaking out of the foundation in the back of our house. The left non-brick area is our FIREPLACE. The wall is our living room connecting to the masterbedroom)

I realize in my random postings that I have not been able to share with all of you our destruction that has been brought upon our home. Most of you are familiar that our house was drastically remodeled on May 4th. However, many of you have not had the blessing of seeing the pictures. Let me tell you why I feel that even now is a good time to share. You see the demolition that has been done to our home in order to restore it has been left at just that. We are still in demolition mode. It is now July 4th - 2 MONTHS LATER. We have battled our insurance company to receive reasonable financial support from them. We have been through several different estimates of both construction and flooring professionals. We have written numerous letters to the company, and I will refrain from stating whom represents us because I will attempt to not be slanderous.

(This watermark is at our back door - about 15 feet from the refrigerator.)

Finally, this week, I nagged for another time and explained that we have not received any word from them in 4 weeks concerning my request for more $$ or my request for compensation for personal damage. The gentleman who is administrating the ordeal actually apologized and sent an apologetic gift to the Powell family because they had dropped the ball on our claim. I told him that I appreciated that acknowledgement, but more than anything, I just want my home back to normal.

(Our staircase leading upstairs is carpeted. You can see where the waterline was on the staircase was off of our main entryway. It is also about 15-20 feet away from the source of the leak.)

Many of the pictures you will see will be difficult to distinguish where the damage is because the water is either already vacuumed up or is hard to see. The flooring you will see in these pictures is no longer present. The majority of our 1st floor is just concrete foundation. In fact today, Emma and I spent much of our time on a picnic spread downstairs as Daddy recuperated upstairs from a violent virus. I want my house back.

(This wall is parallel to the entry way, but it is the garage side of the wall. Here you can see where the water was pouring through into our garage. It ran all the way out of the garage door. Hence why I thought something had spilled in the garage at first before entering the house)

We should be seeing some improvements in the next 2 weeks. :) We are thankful for our Noah-like experience.