Jul 12, 2012

Song of the Hills and an Air Flight Medevac to Seattle (AAQI)

I am blessed to have received over 100 positive thoughts, prayers, and blessings from this quilting community, and people who simply did online searches for information on my brother, Douglas Savikko, and his wife, Rebecca Savikko, of Eagle River, Alaska. I have shared each and every one with family members. So thank you so very much!

My brother was rushed to the Emergency Room in Providence Alaska Medical Center on June 8th..the day after his 61st birthday. He had gone from having a bad case of the flu to be unable to breathe. He was diagnosed with Bilateral Pneumonia and then MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ) Pneumonia and ADEM (Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis) which remains as the primary place of battle...his brain and this inflammation that creates brain and life damaging seizures every time we try to bring him down from the extremely high dosage of medications that have been required to keep him in an induced coma to prevent damage from the seizures.

I flew up to Anchorage when we were told that he might not make it and was there for a week and a half.

See links to my posts before and during:
Providence Alaska Medical Center
Providence, Divine and Otherwise

I have since returned to my home in Salem, Oregon...and here is the latest on my brother and SIL:

Last night, Doug was transported by an Air Flight Ambulance service from the Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage to the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. His wife, Rebecca, was immediately put on a separate commercial flight to Seattle, as well. This was all decided upon and accomplished in one afternoon. Rebecca, remember is in kidney failure and needs the donation of an O+ kidney with high antibodies titers, herself.

My brother was still heavily sedated and in a full coma and he was transported by an impressive array of medical equipment, 2 paramedic air flight nurses, and the pilot. Our thanks to these air flight heroes who do their work so professionally, compassionately, and with understanding as to how the family left behind must surely feel.

I had just returned to my home in Oregon as other family members returned to theirs, leaving one brother, who stayed behind, to help Doug's wife, Becky, and one of their daughters (and her family) who live there in Eagle River, near Anchorage.

I received a phone call about 10 pm Pacific Time letting me know that Doug's medevac left at 4 pm Alaska Time (one hour earlier than ours) and was expected to arrive in Seattle at about 9:30pm Pacific.

Today, I learned that my brother did well on the trip with no repercussions or problems. The new medical team did an immediate assessment and began their own new protocol for lowering doses of sedatives and seeing if we can bring him down and out of the coma as they continue to treat him for MRSA which has now shown up again in his lungs. Two steps forwards and one step back, one day at a time.

He will be sedated and kept in the coma until he is physically able to have his doses gradually lowered without incurring brain seizures. He will be in full MRSA isolation (masks, gloves, and gowns again) in Seattle.

When I returned to Oregon and stopped to see my 96 year old MIL before heading to my own home, I knew that my husband was deeply worried about something, so then he told me that she had almost completely stopped eating, and was barely drinking anything during the week and a half that I was gone.

I was able to immediately get some fluids down her and then spent almost all of the next day with her. She wasn't alert, was hardly talking and it was a challenge to get her to eat and drink. Remember that she is in a really nice care home with only five patients.

But I got a fresh hard boiled egg (thanks to my chickens) and more fluids down her. I asked her flat out if she still had a will to live. She said yes. So, I let her know in my nice 'informative' manner what that meant ;) I told her I had enough to deal with worrying about Doug and Becky and she was not allowed to die on me! That did it ;) She did her best and every time she woke up, she looked to see if I was still there and of course, I was and I got a straw into her mouth and more fluids down her. At this point, she was so weak that she could not hold a straw on her own, much less a glass of water.

We got her a drs. appointment after they finally confirmed another UTI and brought her to the hospital and got her on an IV drip of antibiotics for the endless stream of UTIs. Got her to eat bites of fish, drink lots of fluids, and by the next day...she could again use her hands, eat and drink on her own.

I am now juggling my life and my schedule to find ways to continue to be there for my family, including my MIL, and still join my niece as she travels to and from Portland to Seattle. We hope to travel to Seattle this Sunday, when we will try to get my SIL, Becky to come back with us to Oregon. If she refuses, then I will offer to stay up there with her for a week, and come down when my niece returns to visit the next weekend. With her own kidney failure and now the horrific stress of my brother, her husband, almost dying ..well, it is all too much.

Another impossible to believe update:
9 pm...Just got a phone call. My sister in law, Rebecca fell at Harborview Medical Center and broke her hip! This is almost too much! Becky is the one who needs the kidney transplant and is in such precarious health, anyway. Please, please send good thoughts to her!! Having Doug be so ill has been so hard on her, but this is unbelievable on top of everything else! We are figuring out now what to do next, but she is scheduled for surgery on Wednesday, so far.

links since this post update on both Doug and Becky: Salem to Sisters to Seattle

Remainder of the original post so forgive me as I try to get into more light hearted talk at this point:

On the creative side, believe it or not, I still have one, I finished a quilt for AAQI, registered it and got it into the mail since I have been home. This is my July Quilt of the Month as I am now in my third series, it is important to me to still do this.

Done is good when it comes to quilts but not so much with people! I am determined no one is meant to 'be done' before their time and I just have to honor that time when it comes for all of us. Right now, it is me who is depleted and feel done in. Went to the dentists for a cleaning and as my teeth were being cleaned.... a tooth broke off.

Now you tell me why is it crucial I should pay $1,000 to repair a wisdom tooth (that broke as the hygienist was cleaning my teeth) when most people get them pulled out to start with when they are young.... and I am plenty smart with the other three by themselves to begin with? Ha. I told them I would take the matter up with my 'financial planner'. That would be my husband.

Gosh, life does so like to challenge me. Well, life..I am still up for it. I've taken in a hint of MIL's grumpy but I'm good to go and tackle more quilts and more hands and hearts!!!

Send me a big quilty hug...I need one!

shown above:
AAQI Quilt of the Month for July :
11,086 - Song of the Hills

The Bengal poet, Rabindranath Tagore, said of his beloved Himalayan mountains

"I touch God in my song as the hill touched the far-away sea with its waterfall."

Many blessings to Julie Sefton, an amazing AAQI supporter, for her purchasing of this quilt. This quilt and it's link at another of my blogs remains one of the highest rated search engine links for this cause. I am so proud of any and all of the work that I have been able to give to Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) 

Thanks, Ami Simms, for this amazing organization! And thank YOU, Julie, for buying my quilt. Knowing it went to such a creative and loving home meant the world to me!

Whether I am looking out at my beloved mountain ranges in Alaska, those of the High Cascades in Oregon, or dreaming of far away places...I love the hills and the mountains and all that they symbolize and represent.

I go to them for solace and reaffirmation of all that is and meant to be. Peace flows back into me and the exhausted and grumpy places ease withe the flow of the water as it cascades down, and into the sea below.

This quilt is awaiting assignment and it's officially scanning and will then be available for sale..online or in Houston. Make Ami and offer..you never know, she just might accept one before it is photographed and assigned ;)

AAQI Quilt of the Month for June...mailed right before I left for Alaska and my brother's health Crisis

10,680 - Ethereal
Another version of the one that was created, and mailed as a special request consignment quilt, and a similar one that sold at auction two months ago for $175. This one will soon be available for sale at the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI)

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!


Darlene said...

I'm sending lots of hugs!!

teri said...

Blessings and hugs all'round...

Cher said...

always wishing you the best and of course lots and lots of hugs my friend!
thank you for catching us up on what is going on with your family...positive energy, prayers, and whatever else I can send ...done.

Rene' said...

Sending lots of hugs your way......

Lynne said...

First and foremost, *hugs*

Lord, thank you for your loving arms around Michele. Give her the strength, the courage and the compassion to do what she must do. Be with the whole extended family as they go through these valleys and let them know that You are there with them, that you will never leave or forsake them. Amen.

Lynne said...

And I should have said, that art quilt is gorgeous.

Judy1522 said...

Sending hugs and prayers. Keep looking to the mountains. In Psalms 121 David talks about being helped by God when he looks to the hills.

Unknown said...

Oh Michelle, thank the Lord for your strength. i hope you can find the time to nourish yourself as life is throwing some really tough stuff at you at the moment. I send you big hugs as I wish there was more I could do...in the meantime many prayers for your family x

Annie said...

Sending you all the positive thoughts and virtual hugs that I can. Your latest quilt is gorgeous and I'm so glad to see that you manage to find a little time to do your quilting in the midst of this.

Linda Lee said...

As I was reading your letter to us, I thought of how heavy of a burden you are carrying right now. Then I thought of Job and how he stood firm before the Lord. I will continue to pray for you. Praying that the Lord give you the strength to continue to stand. Praying for the medical needs of Douglas and Becky. Praying for the entire medical staff that the Lord give them wisdom and clear direction. Praying also for your MIL and your husband.

" The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not hold you."

Glenda in Florida said...

Sending quilty hugs and prayers for you and your family.

Susan said...

You are no doubt wondering just how much you can handle at this point. Hugs to you, my friend, and my prayers go out to your brother, sister-in-law and mother-in-law as all.

Brenda said...

Take care of yourself, please. hugs and warm thoughts to you in this difficult time.

julieQ said...

Well darling Michele, you are certainly being challenged! Bless your heart for spooning nutrition into your mil...she may need an Iv. Many hugs to you!

Scrappy quilter said...

Ah sweetie, sending you many hugs, love and prayers. Know that you are in our hearts.

annie said...

Lord, have mercy unpon those whom You love so very much. Lift them up, give them strength, and the comfort only You can provide. For Christ's sake. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Sending lots of hugs and positive thoughts for healing.

Nancy said...

Many hugs and prayers coming your way. What an emotional roller coaster you and your family are on. My prayers will not cease. Sending hugs for you, too, and all your family. (( ))

Cyndi said...

Sending many hugs your way. You amaze me with your strength.

Anonymous said...

Many hugs and good thoughts for you and your family!

Heart said...

Please tell Becky & the kids our thoughts and prayers are with them. I am very saddened to hear they are having to go thru this they are wonderful caring people and my husband and I think of them everyday. We cherish all our memories and time spent in Alaska and it would not of been the same had we not of met them.. Thank you for sharing I have been trying to find what had happened when I came across your blog. I worked for your brother when he first reopened his office on his own in 93 I believe, time has flown by since then. Please tell Doc next time your sitting with him that Eric and Judy plan on bringing their daughter back to Alaska some day and it wouldn't be the same with out him there. Prayers to you and all your family.

Anonymous said...

Put your right hand on your upper left arm and then put your left hand on your upper right arm and squeeze. That is my hug coming to you from Michigan. I can certainly identify with you being depleted with needing to taken care of those you love and trying to take care of youself in the process as well as trying to stay on top of things at home. The best advice ai ever received is to take care of myself first so that I am able to take care of the others. It is hard to do, but it is very necessary.

My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your family.

Frog Quilter said...


Winifred said...

A million hugs Michelle. As they say it never rains but it pours. well it's certainly tipping down on you. I'll be lighting a candle for you & your family tomorrow. Take care. xxx

Finn said...

Sending love and prayers for the best possible outcome for all of you. Love the new quilt. Hugs, Finn

Sandra Coleman Clarke said...

Michelle, Wow your family has had so many health problems and I know the sil breaking her hip is unbelievable. I have prayed for your family before but tonight I will send up a very special prayer for all of you. You are being wrapped in prayer somewhat like being wrapped in one of your pretty quilts.


Cherie in St Louis said...

Michele, sending you a super big hug from St Louis, MO. Prayers for you and your family, too.

Daisy said...

Hugs from Everett, WA for you and your family. Remember God does not give you more than you can handle so hang in there. The Doctors at Harborview are wonderful so we will pray for them to heal both your brother and your sis-in-law. daisy