One More Thing

November 30, 2010

First of all, thank you for all of your sweet comments to this blog. They encourage me each day. Just when I wonder if I need to post, someone encourages me to go on.

Mark’s infectious disease doctor wants to do one more laboratory stain of a remnant of his old mitral valve. Mark will stay in the hospital while the specialist and his peers examine this microscopically and hopefully determine the source of the infection. If they can conclude on the offending bacteria, then Mark will have a “PICC line” inserted into his arm. This is used as a long-term intravenous access for an antibiotic delivery for several weeks. The doctors don’t want to do this unless necessary as it is another artificial line that extends up his arm into his heart, which could pose another avenue for further infection. If it is not necessary, they definitely don’t want to insert it.

Mark and I deeply appreciate the consideration and careful evaluation that his doctors have given him all along the way. Some of them prayerfully consider each step they have made along this interesting journey. Your prayers have been a source of great comfort to them as well

So tomorrow we will probably have one more visit from Matt, our cardio-therapist, Jackie, who keeps everyone in line (including Mark) and Jessica, our forever smiling nurse. God bless you all!

No Visitors ~ No Matter What!

November 29, 2010

We all love Mark very much and he loves just about everybody he sees. Even in the hospital he has made a great new friends. However, he did over-ride the no visitor rule yesterday and it has been a set back. He has to make use of the time breathing into his little machine each hour and make at least 6 short walks each day.  It is so hard for him to turn friends away so please don’t ask. I don’t want to be the bad guy here either. 🙂

In answer to some questions: His fever has not returned. We may never know the reason for the original infection.

To clarify a statement from yesterday. Mark’s sternum is in two pieces, but wired together. Certain movements, like raising his elbows above his head to comb his hair or put a shirt on, are prohibited. He is learning new ways to do old things.

Thanks for your love and prayers. This is one of the most difficult things Mark has ever had to do. He is trying to balance his love for everyone with his personal health and healing. Love to you all from both of us. ~ Kristina

Monday ~ Day 5

November 29, 2010

Mark’s doctors have decided to keep him in the hospital one more day. They want to up his pain medication before they release him. It is important that they see how he manages everything with it in his system. He is still retaining a lot of fluid from the surgery and they would like to see that come off before he goes home.

When Mark does come home, his good friend Steve Kush is going to come and stay with him. That way if he needs a strong arm to lift him in bed he will be here. Mark will be sleeping on a wedge and a person tends to slide down to the bottom of the bed, even in the hospital. It takes two nurses to slide him back up since he can not use his elbows in any way. He still can’t put any pressure whatsoever on his chest.

Mark isn’t terribly disappointed about not coming home yet. He was concerned that he wasn’t ready, so he is fine with the decision. Meanwhile, I have got just about everything ready for his arrival. ~ Kristina

Closer to Home

November 28, 2010

Today Mark has accomplished everything except taking a shower in his list of goals to be released from the hospital. He is very nervous about coming home since he has so many people available to him for help at the hospital. This is really normal. You have a bed that moves at the push of a button and helpers show up (eventually) when called. While is has been projected that Mark can be release on Monday, we will know more in the morning.

I am really looking forward to having Mark around to cook and care for. It will be a nice time for us as he continues to get stronger and heal. The Christmas tree is up and lit to greet him as he arrives! It will be a good season in our life.

Moving Forward

November 27, 2010

Today the good news is that Mark continues to learn how to sit up from laying down position without using his elbows for support and holding his chest pillow upon standing without the help of his arms or elbows. Since his sternum is in two pieces, having been wired together with thin titanium wires, this is really important.

While we still don’t know what has caused his fevers Mark will probably get to go home on Monday or Tuesday. The hospital will have a home health nurse follow him with any necessary IV antibiotics should that be deemed necessary. They are guardedly concerned.

Personally, I am so blessed that Mark has pushed himself to so well. This afternoon he did 16 laps around the nurse’s station. He has made everyone’s job a little easier. We have had wonderful nurses. Jessica, David, Lindsay, Lynn and Veronica have been such blessings! As have Cameron, Felipe, Michael and Frank have been awesome doctors. Then there is Matt, Anthony and a number of other support staff.

Tomorrow is more patient education and lots of rest. As he feels better we are going to have to hold him back from over-extending himself. That is the Mark we all know so well.

Renewed Prayer Request

November 27, 2010

Last night Mark’s fever returned. The doctors were alarmed since it was a fever from an unknown source that destroyed his mitral valve in the first place. We are all hoping that it is the result of the surgical trauma to his body and not infection. It would be almost normal at this point to have some fever. They don’t want to give him antibiotics because they would mask an infection and prevent us from being able to identify it.

Mark is happy to have had almost all if the IVs and tubes removed except for a chest port. They can draw blood and give him further medication through this port.

Please pray that the fever goes away and stays away. That the infection will be gone and not attack any other organ. We covet your prayers! Thank you. ~ Kristina

Day Three

November 26, 2010

Mark smiled for the first time today moments after they removed his chest tubes. The decrease in pain was immediate. It was amazing to see. They removed 4 of his IVs during the night. Today they removed one of the lines in his arm. All of that makes for more comfort and the tasks of walking and sitting much easier.

I spent a good portion of the day there and am going to go back after a couple of errands. He is feeling so much better that he just called and told me the place is driving him crazy! This is good news to hear from anyone in his shoes. He still has a lot of pain but is taking everything available.

Love to all. ~K