Jul 17, 2012

Salem to Sisters to Seattle

What an amazing week! I flew back from Anchorage, Alaska to my home in Salem, OR spent a few days there, gave myself a spontaneous 'free day' in Sisters for the famous Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (more on that later!), and am now in Seattle, Washington.

I am staying here all week as I give support to my brother, Doug who is in Harborview Medical Center, and my sister-in-law, Rebecca after her fall in the hospital corridors that not only gave her a dark purple 'shiner', but broke her hip.

It was an extremely unfortunate accident, as a nurse was walking along beside her when she suddenly went down. It was another challenge to add to all of the others, but she is a trooper and is trying her best to not be too frustrated to have to deal with this on top of her husband (my brother) being in such serious condition for about a month and half, now!

I am so grateful that they are both doing as well as they are, all things considered. Becky had surgery Saturday morning and we were up here, and able to visit with her by Sunday morning. I visit every day, several times each, and walk between hospital wings and different floors connecting the spaces between them with full reports on Doug's progress to Becky, and lots of calm, positive, encouraging comments to my brother that I believe will sift down beneath the layers of his coma and reach his heart and bring him back up again to all of us.

He has made very good progress since he has been here. By the second day after being medevac'ed from Anchorage, they were able to get him off of all of the deep sedation. They did discover a great deal of infection and fluid in his lungs again..an ongoing battle but his body his working hard to fight it. His MRI was a bit better for the ADEM that has created inflammation in his brain and with the addition of a third anti-seizure medication, his seizures have completely stopped.

Yesterday, I was incredibly encouraged by my visits with him. As I talk to him, calmly and quietly and always in a careful and very positive way, I tell him where he is, what day it is, that he has been sick but is getting better and better every day. I tell him how much we all love him and that everyone he loves is just fine. I name his wife, his three children and his grandchildren..one by one, slowly and then repeat that they all love him so much, need him to come back to them and that they are all doing fine and so is he!

At one point, I asked him to blink his eyes if he could hear me and he did! To make sure it was not a random response, I carefully repeated it and he blinked again. I read his vitals to him (he is a doctor, himself) in the hope that since they are all pretty good, they would transfer/translate at some level of reassurance that all is well.

At another point when I shifted my movement, his eyes moved and tracked me and then stayed looking right into my own eyes. Oh, that was so wonderful!

I then go and visit my sister-in-law in her wing of the hospital. She was in dialysis and by a bit of psychological work on my part, I not only got her to eat a bite of scrambled eggs so I 'could tell her daughter that I really did get her to finally eat something' but I kept the chit chat going and got the entire breakfast down her. Oh, I am sneaky..good sneaky, but good!

As she was resisting starting physical therapy due to the pain, I reminded her that the sooner she could do weight baring standing and be able to sit in a wheelchair, the sooner they would be able to wheel her up and over to see Doug!

I walk back to the hotel for the ICU's quiet hour and then returned after fixing myself a lunch for my second visits with each of them This time my brother had just received notice of a second blood culture being infection free so he was able to have a pic line inserted in order to deliver medications more directly into his heart and its blood supply and not through his uncooperative veins where medications can often burn etc. as they go in. So, with Becky's legal consent they had arranged for the insertion of a pic line.

While waiting outside his ICU room for the procedure to finish, I looked down the hall and saw Rebecca being pushed down the hall in a wheelchair. I almost cheered! But it was ICU after all, so I just clasped my hands to my heart and then up in the air with a great big smile!

I got the protective gowns on both of us, gloves onto me, and into his room we went. By my pushing her, her nurse could stay outside the boundary and not have to glove and suit up along with us. I was able to get the wheelchair fairly close to Doug's bed and she made contact and talked lovingly to him. His eyes found hers and locked on them.

I was so touched and so very, very encouraged! It makes everything so worthwhile and I am so blessed to be able to be here in Seattle with them!

Next post:
The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and a lot of photos!

Linking Posts:

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

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!


Debi said...

I am continuing to pray for you and your family. Is there anything I can do for you?


Qué Dios le dé la fuerza necesaria para sobrellevar este duro trance.
Lágrimas en mis ojos al leer su post y alegría al ver que todo va mejorando.
Un abrazo enorme!

stitchinpenny said...

I continue to pray and this post seems to indicate the power of so many people around the world praying. I am so glad you were able to take a day for yourself and hope that you remember that to help others you need be strong yourself.

Susan said...

I'm so glad that you can be there to help and support your brother and his wife! You all continue to be in my prayers!

Marie said...

What a full load you have! I am praying for all of you that everyone is back up and running soon, very soon.

Mommarock said...

Bless you! I certainly approve of your sneaky in this case. Keep it up Sister!

Unknown said...

I'll keep you all in my prayers, and am so happy for the continued improvement of all those sick and injured!

p.s. wasn't the quilt show in Sisters amazing? We drove up very early from Silverton and loved seeing the town decked out in all the colorful quilts.

Cindy Ruth said...

Michelle-I found your blog during a google search on your brother. I was a pharmaceutical rep for 10 years, and used to call on your brother. I heard a couple of weeks ago that he was ill and in Providence (where I now work). I have always so enjoyed your brother and always get a laugh from his great sense of humor. I am so sorry to hear the struggles that both him and Becky are going through, but I am so happy to hear the support he is receiving from you and your amazing family. You are all in my thoughts and prayers for continued improvement of health.

Karen said...

Hello Michele ~ I'm so glad to read this news of your brother and his wife Becky. Sounds like it has been a very rough journey they have been on. I hope and pray they continue to improve and enjoy long lives together along with you and the whole family.

You have been in my thoughts and prayers, Michele. Take care of yourself so you can be strong for them.

Love & hugs, Karen

Maritza said...

Michele , qué buenas noticias!!!!, me encanta que tu hermano haya mejorado....un beso

Quiltdivajulie said...

What a wonderful post . . . despite the struggles, good things ARE happening!

julieQ said...

Good, Michele...good neuroi signs! Stay strong yourself dear lady! Hugs from Julie

Lynne said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. Our dear Lord hears and answers! Halleluia!

How's your MIL coping with you away again?

Sue said...

We are with you Michelle. Take care of yourself as well as your loved ones.

Nyima said...

Hugs and Blessings, dear Michele.
You and your family are in our hearts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful report. It brought tears to my eyes. Giving thanks and praise to God and continuing in prayer for all of you.

quiltmom anna said...

They are so blessed to have you there in their cheering sections. What an encouraging report. May you continue to be able celebrate steady improvements in both of your loved one's health challenges.
I am looking forward to hearing about your visit to Sister's. You sure do get around MS. Michele... I know you don't need much sleep- hope you are taking care of yourself too.
Warmest regards,

Patricia Reis said...

Dear Michele, I have been a patient of Doug's since I was a child. I found your blog and am so very grateful for your posts. Please extend to him that Mel and Katy Mains children are keeping you and your family in our prayers.

Michele Bilyeu said...

Patricia write me at michelebilyeu@with-heart-and-hands.com and I will put you in our caringbridge.org family/friends/patients update loop.

KaHolly said...

Oh, my goodness. I just found your blog this morning and I am overwhelmed with your challenges. My heart goes out to you and your family. I hope your brother is now on the mend and that his wife can gather the strength to recover from her fall!

Lori said...

Oh my goodness Michelle! I've been so out of the loop that I had no idea you were going through such an ordeal. May the Lord grant you patience and wisdom to endure each day and may he continue to strengthen your brother and SIL in the journey back to good health.

Magpie Sue said...

I haven't been on the computer much lately. My goodness, I'm so glad to see there's been some improvement in your brother's condition! But what a trial upon trial upon trial you all have been through!!! My prayers continue to be with you and yours.

Clare said...

I was wondering where you had got to so thought I had better pop over and see what's new. I really hope that the reason why you haven't posted for 5 days is because you're really busy and the news is good.