Jul 23, 2012

One Miracle at a Time

It has been an uphill climb....step by step.....day by day.....city by city. But love abides and miracles abound!

I am back home in Salem, Oregon after first my nine day trip to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska and then a another full week stay in Seattle, Washington.

I flew up to Anchorage in late June (after my brother having been rushed to the ER on June 8th) when I was told that my brother, Doug, was not going to survive Bilateral MRSA Pneumonia which had then triggered an auto-immunological reaction resulted in severe brain inflammation and almost non-stop seizures (ADEM if not something similar). All of us, his children, and his siblings rushed to be at his bedside almost immediately.

My brother, Doug, not only survived, but placed under sedation with enormous amounts of propofol which created a medically induced coma, on a ventilator and with the use of massive doses of anti-biotics and anti-seizure medications, was kept alive for a full month and stabilized enough to medvac him from in Providence Alaska in Anchorage, to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. There, doctors were able to lower his incredible level of sedation doses enough to allow him out of that induced sedation of a deep coma into the progression of what most of us knowing as a waking coma.

I returned home to Salem long enough to take a deep breathe and revitalize myself with fresh air and the sunshine of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. It seemed like a challenge to allow myself 'real life' for even that day, but I was determined to shift the energies to one of full life and living with zest and away from the challenges of hospitals and worry.

Revitalized with even greater optimism, we drove to Portland, then onto Seattle where I would live for the next week, walking up and down Seattle's incredibly hilly streets multiple blocks (16-36 blocks a day!) over and over as I visited by brother, and his wife, my sister-in-law Rebecca, who while not only facing kidney failure and on dialysis three times a week, but had fallen her very first visiting day there at Harborview and broken her hip. Two loved ones in the same hospital on different floors in different wings. I tried to spend a minimum of 2 hours with each one to over 6 hours in one day..and always talking and encouraging, pushing positive healing energies into them with love, faith, and unending optimism.

It was so incredibly wonderful to be able to visit each one daily, several times each, and see the progress they made. My sister-in-law was standing by the day after her hip surgery, and was moved eventually to a rehab facility for physical therapy where she is improving daily.

My brother went (during my weeks stay in Seattle) from coma on full tracheotomy oxygen, to gradually awareness and more and more time off of their oxygen and into breathing room air. He began to open his eyes..without visual awareness, to opening them and looking directly into mine, into blinking on command, to frowning, to real true smiling each and every time I said something he could connect to.

Each day I greeted him, told him who I was, where he was, why he was there, and who loved him. As I recited the names of his wife and children I got the biggest ear to ear smile and I knew we had genuine contact.

Within that week, I got him to nod 'yes' and 'no' to some questions..."Are you in pain?" etc. He learned to wiggle a finger, then some toes, and finally he began to attempt the mouthing of words. It doesn't happen every time with every question, but that it has happened at all is amazing!!!

It has been a miracle in all ways. Not just his survival, but this incredible connection that has come through all of the layers from full coma to now.

And while we do not know what the future might hold for full recovery, or its time frame. We know that within a year, he will have more than he has now and even this is amazing and wonderful.

During morning rounds on Sunday, his doctors told me they were hoping to get him out of ICU and into a general care ward within a few days. All he needed to do was be able to go from 2 hours off the trach oxygen to 4 or 6 and eventually 8. By the time I left late Saturday, he had gone 8.5

His oldest daughter and her family arrived to visit and provide my ride back to Portland. We visited Doug's wife, Becky, first in the rehab center where she delighted in the antics of her beautiful grandchildren who had come up, to Harborview where within a few minutes Doug recognized his daughter, smiled at her repeatedly as she cracked jokes and told stories, to actually mouthing 'I Love You' after she said those words to him upon leaving.

It filled my heart to bursting and brought tears to my eyes. It is a waking miracle and it is more than enough ...well, at least for now!

(( ((( Love you, Doug)))))


Two Steps Forward/One Step Back:

We need to change this and let it be three steps forward, at least !!


My brother had a 45 minute seizure the day after I left. NOT good!

My mother-in-law got really ill right after I left home. One UTI after another. She was hospitalized had as many more kidney stones removed as they could. She has a self replicating bacteria called 'protea' that we'd never heard of that is unbelievable! Read my comment in comment section about the run around insurance and care homes have given us just to find a place for her for a few days when the hospital told us she had to leave there..insurance time caps.

Previous Posts about this illness of my brother, Douglas Savikko and his wife, Rebecca's need for the donation of a O+ kidney with high antibodies titers:

Latest Update on Praying for a Miracle
Praying for a Miracle
Two Steps Forward, one Step Back
Providence Alaska Medical Center
Providence, Divine and Otherwise
Song of the Hills and an Air Flight Medevac to Seattle
Salem to Sisters to Seattle
One Miracle at a Time

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska and all of her AAQI Quilting. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in the Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!


Susan said...

What wonderful news! My prayers continue...

Unknown said...

Praise be to God! That is such wonderful news!

Maritza said...

Michele, es una fantástica noticia!!!!! me alegro que tu hermano cada vez se esté recuperando....un beso

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Hello Michele. Thank God that things are looking better. We all continue to pray and think of you often. Best Wishes.
xx, Carol

Joyce Carter said...

Hi, Michele. I am so very happy for you and your family.This news is so great. I am sitting here crying while I write this. We have a wonderful Father and he performs miracles every day. So I am very happy that He has touched your family.I will keep you in my prayers. God Bless You and lots of hugs from me.

stitchinpenny said...

What fantastic blessings. I will continue to pray for the best outcomes.

Linda Lee said...

Praise the Lord for answers to pray! Please take care of yourself also. I know how difficult it can be for the caregivers also.

julieQ said...

Praise GOD FROM WHOM ALL Blessings flow and yahoo!!

antique quilter said...

great news I am so happy for you and your family....

KathyE said...

YOU and your family are incredible. I hope the miracle continues to develop. Love and hugs to all of you.

Crafts4others said...

I am glad that your brother and sister in law are both doing better. God bless.

Lynne said...

Again, all I can say is "Praise the Lord!"

Take some time out for yourself now, Michele, you've earned it!

Quilter Kathy said...

An amazing and inspiring journey that your entire family has travelled. Wishing you all the best!

Cherie in St Louis said...

I always grab a kleenex before reading your lastest posts. Simply amazing. Sending another hug from St Louis and still hoping and praying for you and your family.