Sunday, August 31, 2008

Aug 30

When Mommy was moved to the step down, the ICU nurse's aide warned her, "You know, we really spoiled you, and here they aren't going to treat you as well." The nurse to patient ratio is now 1:4 and it takes a long time for the nurses to attend needs. The nurse's have even gotten nit picky about the ice packs she has to keep on her flolan, saying she needed to have brought her own was never an issue in the ICU.

Mommy is hardly eating as the side effect of a couple of the medications is nausea. The have started her on Ensure to get her nutrients. The cardiologist is still adjusting her medications to diminish the nausea and get her blood pressure steady. Her cumadin levels are now correct and she was taken off the IV blood thinner, heparin. She still receives the IV antibiotic once a day. He told us on Thursday that he was going to order a physical therapist to come and get her walking to monitor her O2 levels, but as of Saturday, a PT still hasn't come to see her.

The infectious disease doctor came by on Friday and checked her hickman site and said it didn't look infected. He stated that her first blood culture showed one bacteria and her second, a different bacteria. As far as I know, he didn't order another culture; his tone and body language said he is anxious to get Mommy out of the hospital and on oral antibiotics for two weeks, as it seems she keeps catching bugs.

PRAY FOR MOMMY'S DISCHARGE. She's not eating well, and seems to keep catching things. Pray for the physical therapist to be scheduled for her to get up and walk around, as that's the only thing she needs now to get out. It's a holiday weekend, but we are praying for a Monday or Tuesday release.

Mommy continues to get surprise visits, cards and phone calls. Thank you all for your prayers for her and our family. God has truly been working some miracles and we're certain it's because of the army of prayer warriors petitioning Him.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Aug 28

Some of you are asking for specifics to pray for instead of just "healing".

1. Mommy's heart rate needs to decrease. The medications for the heart that do this present more of a risk than benefit to her, so they are not an option. They are bringing the rate down with blood pressure medication; the only drawback is that it's lowering her BP as well....and that going too low is not good.

2. The blood infection needs to clear and not have affected her hickman catheter....this is the direct line tube to her heart that administers her flolan medication.

3. Mommy was already prone to anxiety, so pray that God will give her peace an not be anxious (something else that may be keeping her heart rate elevated.). She is given medication for this, but only at night time to help relax her so she can sleep. She just shared with me as I was leaving today, she's anxious in the mornings for me to arrive and hear the doctors' reports as they make their rounds.

Angele already posted the praise for the day in "Movin' on Up".

Movin' On Up

Praise the Lord. Our mom is now out of Heart Failure ICU and in a "regular" room in the Heart Center at the Cleveland Clinic. She has a corner room with plenty of windows and she's by herself so her grandbabies (Olivia & Avery) can come to visit and not disturb anyone! Here is her phone number and address if you'd like to send a card. She'll most likely be in through the weekend and depending on the infection, they will decide if they need to change her hickman (sp) cath. If they have to do that, she'll be in another week.

216-444-1466 Her direct number at the Cleveland Clinic

When she's released, she'll be staying with Stephanie. You can mail cards to her at
Wanda Carter
1265 Wittmer Road
Mansfield, OH 44903
This way, regardless of when she is released from the hospital, she'll be sure to get the card.

God is good. We'll post more later, I just wanted to get this on before I leave work at 3 and head to the hospital.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Aug 27

Not as stressful a day, but progress is being made. When I arrived this morning, Mommy was sitting in the chair and remained there until early afternoon. By sitting, her lungs can expand further and her oxygen levels were MUCH better....up to 97% from the upper 80s- low 90s range! The medications are working to lower her heart rate, but it's still a little fast. Optimally, the doctor wants to see her resting rate in the 70s - 80s, but will settle for below 100 considering what it was. Right now it ranges from 101-125. This is much improved from the 140s it had been.

She is completely off of the nitro IV and all heart medications are oral now.

After consulting with the "electricians", the team concluded that the shocking of her her DID work. They looked back through all of the EKGs and said that her rhythm was indeed reset, however, the shock did NOT slow the heart rate as the cardiologist had thought it would. At present, the electro team doesn't see a need to do any further procedures along the electric lines.

Dr. Eckman, the lead cardiologist fellow who manages the unit, has assured us that all teams are actively trying to diagnose everything they possibly can and not just medicate conditions. One doctor said it was like Mommy was in for a "tune up." Although she doesn't feel as well as she did say 6 months ago, she's much better off than when she came in last week.

Please continue to pray for HEALING. God has been answering your prayers in healing her, keeping her spirits up, and granting her tolerance for all the pokes and prods. The resounding thought I receive in all of your emails is "GOD IS ABLE".

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Aug 26

There were no clots and they were able to shock her heart, in fact they shocked it 3 times, however, that did not work.

Right now we are waiting for them to do another EKG. I don't know medical terminology, but they want to see if it's one thing that a electro-physiologist could go into her heart and "burn" out what is causing her heart to race so much, or if it's another thing, then they will try and lower her heart rate with drugs. One thing is for sure, her heart can not continue to beat at it's current rate.

Now some of her blood and urine cultures are coming back with signs of infection and they don't know if it's "surface" or not. They just drew a lot of blood and will start her on antibiotics.

As you can see there are many things in "play" right now. We are still trusting that God, our Great Physician, will heal her and direct the doctors here on the proper treatment.Continue to lift my mom up in prayer. Pray for my sister and I as it's becoming over whelming at times and we want to be strong for our mom and support her throughout this healing.

God Bless

Addendum: Most likely due to the infections, the swan catheter was removed this evening when the antibiotics were started. It was sent off to be cultured; so please pray that the infection was not right at her heart.

As Angele mentioned, it is getting really hard to be strong. Mommy is a true trooper and I told her that she's a strong woman as I would have been begging the doctors to sedate me for all she's had to endure. Physically, she had a rough day, but when we were leaving this evening, she seemed to be doing much better and had a few laughs with the nurses. Please continue to uplift us in prayer.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Aug 25

Today they determined that my mom's heart rate is irregular, and that the right side doesn't beat in unison with the left. Tomorrow they will have her swallow an echo ultrasound lead for them to see if she has developed any clots. Once it's determined if she has a clot or not (they will have to treat the clot if there is one) they are going to have to shock her heart to get it back into a regular rhythm. She will be sedated so she won't remember anything....he said it's a standard procedure they do all the time.

I don't the exact time this will be done since it just depends on scheduling. I know you continue to pray for her, and I ask that you please specifically pray that the shock will get her heart back into a regular rhythm.

God Bless & Thank you.Angèle

Aug 24

My God is an Awesome God!My mom continues to improve and your prayers are being answered each hour of the day. "He promises to hear and answer our supplications. Yes, Christ has become the medium of prayer between God and man." (Testimonies, vol 8, p. 178)Yesterday, the plan to increase her flolan didn't go so well since the pharmacy didn't send up the right concentration until late in the day and her swan catheter (Swan-Ganz catheterization is the passing of a thin tube (catheter) into the right side of the heart. The procedure is done to see blood movement through the heart and to monitor the heart's function in people who are very ill) was coming out and they could not get it repositioned to give proper readings. They tried late yesterday evening (around 9) and the dr. said he would just leave it till morning and most likely a new one would need to be inserted (this is done with the guide of of an x-ray). So, with that happening, and the night staff not involved in the titration (In medicine, titration is the process of gradually adjusting the dose of a medication until the desired effect is achieved) of her flolan, we really couldn't gauge her progress.I stayed with her last night and she had a couple rounds of good sleep (she does need to wear the oxygen face mask while sleeping, but she can maintain good oxygen levels during the day with the cannulas) but around 4 am she did have some anxiety. She asked for her Bible and was reading that and when the nurse came in she said that she was OK, things looked good, she had me there, she was reading her Bible and that she should just relax. She did go back to sleep and slept good between 5 - 7.She had her same nurse today from yesterday; Chyrese. Let me tell you, God has a plan. While my mom is there in Heart Failure ICU she is sharing God's word! Chyrese was questioning my mom about the state of the dead and our religious beliefs yesterday evening when I returned to her room which led to a mini Bible study by Pastor Valles (thank you) with her.This morning her dr. had to put in a new swan and that went well. They can get accurate readings now and her flolan was gradually increased during the day and she was given two pills to replace the nitro so she is being weaned off that.I left around 3 pm today (Steph came back to be with her through the afternoon) and I apologize to anyone whose phone call I have not returned, but I was able to sleep until a little after 9 pm. My mom said she felt comfortable enough to stay tonight by herself. I spoke to Steph about an hour ago and she said when she left around 7 pm my mom's pulmonary dr. had called in and was very happy with her numbers! If you get this email tonight, please pray that she has a good, full nights rest and that she will continue to tolerate the increased Flolan and decreased nitro. That her pressure will continue to come down and heart function will improve each day. Steph will go and be with her in the morning and Lynette and I plan on going when I get off work tomorrow. Please also pray for Bro. Lee & family (Harold Lee's brother). He is there in the Heart Failure ICU too. God is blessing him with improved health also.Thank you for your love, prayers and support.

Aug 22 and Aug 23

Hello Family and Friends,

Over the last week, life has been full of faith building challenges. Between getting Olivia's Kindergarten situation settled (Praise the Lord, she will be 100% mainstream integrated - she will NOT have to go into a Multi Handicapped room at all....that's a whole different story) and mentally preparing for my Mom's right and left sided heart cath, it was a stressful week.

My sister has sent out a couple emails that detail the events of the last two days. Those of you who are on her email list, please forgive the duplication. Her letters are in BLUE and GREEN and I've made interjections and addendums in red. :0)

ANGELE'S LETTER ONE - Continue to Pray for My Mom - Friday, Aug 22
Thank you all for your prayers. It has been a day that has seen many emotions. God was good and we were all in good spirits when my mom finally went in for her heart cath (right and left) around 1 pm. The dr. came out to talk with us and said it went well, but the pressures in her heart were very high and he was quite concerned. His words in fact were "I am not going to sugar coat this, it does not look good". The plan was to get a bed ready and move her over to the heart failure ICU and the pulmonary and cardiac team would work together over the next few days to figure out a med combination that would hopefully get her heart functioning better. I went downstairs to make some calls and when I returned my Aunt Alverda and Stephanie were coming back out of the "family room" with the doctor. In that short time, she began having trouble breathing and they wanted to put in a respirator but she refused. The doctor was checking to see if Aunt Alverda could go back with him and talk to her. She said when she went back there were over 15 people in her room and she looked very scared and not well. She talked with mommy and told her we all wanted her to have the respirator put in and she consented. (I later asked my mom why she refused and she said that she thought she was breathing a little better with oxygen and didn't realize how serious it was). [My mom also said that she was requesting to see her family, but they didn't want to have any family members to see her in that state. When the attending came in to see her on Sabbath morning, he said "we're glad we got to intebate you because we wanted you here with us"] A dr later came out and said he'd walk us over to ICU where they were still working on her. He was very kind and carried our things and Aunt Alverda said he was there in the room with her and he had said that my mom asked him to stay with her and he said he would. She assumed he was one of the dr's attending to her, but as we talked to him in the ICU waiting room he said that he was just walking by and he could see she was in distress and he went in to be with her and when she asked him to stay he did and he did not leave her. My mom later told us that he also prayed with her. We are truly convinced that was God sending an "angel" to be with her. Thank you Jesus for sending Dr. John Galla, to comfort my mom in her time of need. [Dr. Galla also told us that had she not conceded, he was going to order she be intebated.....the authority of a Dr. not even on her team - ANGEL indeed!!!]Around 6:30 they still had not called us to see her, so I called the nurse and she said in a couple minutes. A few minutes later her pulmonary dr. came out (she had been called in) and she explained that she wanted to remove the tube because patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) it can intensify that. She said they would up her medication because her health has significantly declined. She was better but still critical. We (Steph, Lynette, Pastor Valles, Sharon and Aunt Alverda - Avery wasn't allowed ) finally got in to see her and I hadn't seen her before but Aunt Alverda and the doctors said she looked a lot better. When I just told her nurse that we would be staying the night she said "she's fine" but I told her we would feel better staying. The nurse said that her blood pressure was over 200 when they first brought her over. She is on nitroglycerin and lasix to try and pull the fluid off and they have upped her Flolan (PH med).Sorry, for the rambling but I wanted to update you on all of what is going on and let you know that God is hearing and answering your prayers. Continue to pray that God will preserve my mom's life.I am unable to get a signal in the hospital, but as you can see they do have a computer, so I am able to email.Thank you once again for your prayers, love and concern. God is Good and I am claiming the many promises in His Word.
[As we were settling down for the night, I was reading my bible, following my yearly bible plan. I happened to read Habakkuk 3:19 Clear Word paraphrase "The Lord is my strength - whom shall I fear? The Lord is my light - of whom Shall I be afraid?" I made a notation in my bible the date and circumstance when I read this.]

ANGELE'S LETTER TWO - God Continues to Work, Aug 23
Again I thank you for your prayers. My mom had a restful night, the three (Aunt Alverda, Steph and myself) of us rotated sitting with her through the night and into this morning. She is able to have the oxygen nasal cannulas and not the full mask and her oxygen levels are good.I was in when the dr. came this morning and he continues to say how she looks much better. He said the course of action today is to get her off the high dose of nitroglycerin and find the right combination drug in pill form to keep the pressure down in her heart. He is a cardiologist and admits they want to aggressively treat the left side and the failure, but her primary diagnosis and main concern is lowering the pressure in the right side (the PH). So, he wanted to talk to her pulmonary dr. before he did anything and he wants to increase her Flolan. She had a chest x-ray this morning and he said the fluid is minimal, nothing to worry about (they weren't sure if she had aspirated into her lungs or had pulmonary edema).He is totally against her continuing with Toprol (sp), a drug she was put on 2 wks ago. He feels that caused a lot of the fluid retention and was not the right drug to use for her.The most promising thing he said and I am claiming it and know that God is working, is that he strongly feels that if they can get the pressure in her right heart under control, the left side will begin to function at a better rate. He feels that is why her left side is declining so rapidly due to the high pressure on the right. Only God knows what is happening and I pray that He will give her doctors the wisdom to treat her.She looked and sounded like my mommy this morning and I thank the Lord for each of your prayers. Please continue to lift her up and our family (traveling mercies as my dad is driving over from PA and my sister and aunt will be going home this evening). If she wants me to stay I will be with her again this evening at the hospital.Again thank you for your prayers and love. I have shared your love and concern with my mom.And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
Isaiah 65:23-25

Today of all days, my battery died in the parking garage (my Dad gave me a jump) and I was running out of gas on my ride home. I stopped in Ashland, Ohio, an hour from Cleveland for gas and my car wouldn't start. The attendants in the store said they weren't allowed to assist customers outside and they didn't even have jumper cables. I called Edroy to come to my rescue, and while I was waiting, I asked the Lord to lead me to the next "angel". I figured men driving trucks would be likely candidates, so the first man I saw driving a truck, I asked if he had cables. He said yes he did and would help me as soon as he used the restroom. I called Edroy and told him not to come. After only three hours of sleep, the Lord guided my vehicle safely home and we headed straight out for a new battery.

I add my thanks to all of you who have called and expressed your concern and shared your encouraging words and prayers WITH me. The hope and peace that has overcome me is very comforting. All of your messages, hugs, kisses, thoughts and prayers are being relayed to my Mom and family and we feel God's presence. Continue to boldly uplift your prayers before God's throne of grace.

Above all else, I emplore each of you to prepare your hearts for Christ's soon return. As I told Mommy this morning, this life doesn't matter...we are assured that if we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness....WHEN WE ALL GET TO HEAVEN, WHAT A DAY OF REJOICING THAT WILL BE!!!!!! Until then my heart will go on singing!!

1 Corinthians 2:9 Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.