He is out of the woods

As soon as we made it across the States to his hospital bed in that massive place

I was overcome with the smell of sickness, gloom, and death beeping along the layers of sheets and tubes.

Therein lain my dear brother, eyes swollen shut and breathing guided by the lifeline protruding from his mouth. Are you in there Mike?

Four days he would sleep, barely stirring when painful procedures ensued . . . then we knew: he is waking up! And out came the feeding tube with one sharp yank. Ouch!

It wasn’t long before he was demanding this and that, or so I am told, as the old cravings for smokes also awakened in his stiff, ace-wrapped frame. Let’s hope “the patch” holds him over.

I can hope for better days once he starts to move a little more yet I know better than that. He and his love/caregiver will have to figure out how to make it past this first major crisis since his stroke 6 years ago. Yet there were others with seizures from meds prescribed amiss.

Long term care sounds better to me but I am not the one in the driver’s seat even as my beloved and I returned home from our whirlwind Sunday visit. So glad there will be more days together, to come.

I saw her love for him and that was enough for me to let the “big sister syndrome” go. To just listen will be my way of showing support when she calls me now and then, returns my own.

Dear Mike, do find meaning in this broken phase of life: something to give yourself to and to care for the vessel albeit wrecked with pain and parts that don’t work right at all. Our Lord will sustain you and treasure you through the many hours alone when your body begins to spasm or shake. This I do know. He is there both inside and out of the woods you know . . .

I love you Mike. JJ

UPDATE: Mike woke up about 4 days later and was discharged home another 3 days thereafter, to be with his fiance. He was shaken up from not remembering those early days in the ICU yet is seeking a renewed direction for his life. This is good! Oh, and his insurance issues giving rise to medication issues and this medical crisis are largely resolved as well. Praise the Lord!

Freedom from Rain

Rainy weather working its foggy magic on a landscape is beautiful. A rainy day encourages introspection. Or at the very least a nap. I love the rain in all of its spirited and benign forms. But we have had rain day after day without much respite. This is rain of a different sort. Too much rain foments rot both above and below ground. Too much rain spoils blooms. Too much rain dampens the spirit. We have had all of the aforementioned. 

Deborah Silver

Is it the rain or the cold that gets to my weary bones far beyond the havoc it reigns in the garden landscape?

Perhaps the dry-out late in July that parches the land through the Fall is even worse, when my soul aches for a simple cup of relief?

How will I look back on this season of my own life where moments of respite, nourished from the right care gives way to occasional relapse and now tragedy?

Alas my dear brother, survived with me but not with our youngest, Rob, lies in a coma amidst the sterile hum of machines you could never repair

In your appliance servicing days let alone fix your own broken spirit from never quite fitting into the affections of our Dad but perhaps too much by our Mom?

What is Mike’s world like right now: can he hear the buzz, taste the plastic tube down his throat, smell the air now sanitized and finally free of cigarette smoke?

I ache for you as I did for Rob. You two never did get the advantages I had as the oldest nor fight long enough for better despite our childhood traumas.

Or perhaps that first year of my life cinched it when there was more love to give in both bloodlines . . . oh how I wish I could go back and carve more out for you!

The Lord grieves for us three as now you are now in the juxtaposition from time to eternity. It’s just not how He meant it to be you know.

I will love you forever Mike. Godspeed if this is the end. Go to your Maker and live at last, totally freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

A rain garden rises from the soil and rocks, bringing beauty and purification. Consider this a sign in the natural world of His creation that imitates the glory of a life surrendered to Christ.

Connected in Grief

Why is it that tragic news of a dear loved one has so many layers as we take it all in?

First there is the shocking disbelief that something so horrific could even happen.  But it did and it does.  The impact is not yet realized on this one for sure.

My beloved and I prayed several times as the news unfolded across the evening:  the details coming forth slowly, leaving more questions than answers tonight.

Then a little later when simply lying with my beloved for refreshment triggered my own symptoms of ongoing illness, the tears started to flow alas but not for me this time.

The words of bad news, of new loss and the crisis of loved ones unfolding hath opened  up old wounds from my own times like these in the past, when I had to travel quickly into a very painful unknown.

I cried some more.  Oh how I miss my little brother so!  I talked to him in the hospital when he was yet drunk and in the DTs of alcohol withdrawal.  Little did I know that he would become unconscious and pass away within 2 days thereafter of alcohol toxicity, multiple organ system failure.

Quickly my late Mother made travel arrangements for my brother and I, with me still shell-shocked from my former husband’s departure and death of my grandmother within 24 hours of each other, just 5 months earlier.  Travelling for another funeral out of state and into a lifestyle much different from my own was a culture shock on one level, a new loss to grieve, and a return to the drama of my childhood as well.  Oh how I wish I could have re-written it all!

My brother’s Memorial Service was bizarre:  held in the bar of a bowling alley with his people, his friends albeit fitting yet inappropriate just the same.  I wrote about it three years ago when I thought about the star that now holds the ashes of his once tender heart.  Many details are painful to recall here and to do so would be disrespectful to the memory of my now deceased Mother who was grieving in her own unusual manner at the loss of her son.  It was a painful experience for all of us to endure back then.  Some more sorrow got released tonight as it all came back to me again.

Robert, Rob, Lech, Colorado, Palmer Lake, deceased, brother
My little brother Rob. Love you and miss you Robbie!

My Intended Beloved had memories of his own to share this evening from the death of his sister, his late brother-in-law, and a distant relative too.  We don’t know how the current tragedy will fare as the night draws on into daylight for one weary family holding on, their loved one slipping further and further away from them.  Please join me in praying for each precious one.  The Lord knows who they are and what they need.  I don’t know either but one thing that I do know is this:  we do suddenly become connected to our brothers and sisters in Christ, even all in humanity when we tap into the suffering that goes on in life.  I do pray the Lord’s supernatural intervention in the situation at hand.  Only He can go beyond the layers which we now feel, we now see.

And in this we can all rest, Gentle Reader.  For the shortest verse of our Bible reminds us of His humanity too, His sharing and caring in our times of grief.  For Jesus wept too.  JJ

Jesus wept, John, 11:35, grief, Christian, suffering, crying out to the Lord, shortest verse

Navigating the Mine Field of Recovery

Those of you in treatment for a serious illness know what this title is all about:  trying to figure out what will bring recovery or remission without making you feel worse!  Oh yeah.  Patients battling chronic illness talk about “herxheimer reactions.”  That is where either die-off or some kind of healing crisis brings on worsening of symptoms and even new, noxious symptoms.  Not fun.  So what is a person to do?  Unless otherwise advised by your trusted healthcare practitioner, here are some things that have been helpful for me:

  • Slow down your treatment protocol or take a break in treatment.
  • Try only one new thing at a time and at a lower dose if possible.
  • Take binders such as benonite clay, activated charcoal, chitosan, and binders of heavy metals (e.g. Intestinal Metals Detox).
  • Drink extra fluids especially pure water.
  • Add some hot lemon water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • Eat bitter foods which help support liver and kidney drainage channels (such as select herbs, radishes, dandelion root tea).
  • Do what you can to keep your bowels moving at lease once every day, minimally!
  • Step up your preferred method of detox such as salt water baths, infrared sauna, colon hydrotherapy, and exercise as tolerated.  Even massage, physical therapy, and chiropractic care can help release waste products trapped in your tissues.
  • Add nutritional supports for detox as you can such as glutathione (or precursor of lactose-free whey powder), vitamin C-rich foods, and minerals (such as magnesium, Dead Sea salt baths, Celtic sea salt, Quinton Quintessentials, and the like).
  • Make rest a priority!  Healing takes a lot of energy!
  • Pray.  The Lord cares, hears, and will lead you unto Himself if we but call upon His name:  Jesus Christ.  There is no greater comfort than this Gentle Reader.

So this is where I am at these days.  Last month I had to take a nasty antibiotic for the same infection and it hurt me badly so I ended it at the short end of the recommended treatment range.  Then I stepped up nutritional supports before adding a new treatment.  I tried to add a new biofilm-buster when treating a gut infection and reacted poorly, so I will take a break from it for now.  This month I was able to tolerate hot lemon water with manuka honey which is a combo I have not tolerated in years!  Changing brands of glutathione helped me to start taking this critical element in the 3 phases of detox, yeah God!  Also, using a combination of binders has helped slow down some overnight convulsive episodes.  I hypothesized that killing infections  released  toxins inside of the bacteria and fungi targeted, contributing to an increase in episodes.  So these days I am really glad for the leading of the Holy Spirit, and a myriad of webinars from really smart researchers who suggested binders.  “Yeah God” for the relief that has followed.

Psalm, 7, 37, rest in the Lord, wait, patiently, Him, Lord, peace, Christian, healing

I guess then it is time for a nap.  No matter that it is a beautiful day outside.  Naps are a beautiful thingy too ya know.  Lord willing, I am going to get well!

Take care, JJ

 

The Price of Admission

Garfield2016-01-15

Garfield tells it like it is and that is the way I like life to be as well . . .  No pretense here, ever!  He must be chemically sensitive too?  I digress . . .

To get well from a serious illness, one consistently pursues recovery as if he or she is on a journey, not sprinting as if in a race.  My journey of late has included a trial of molecular hydrogen, nebulizing sea water to ease a chronic sinus infection, and experimenting with a Glutamate-Aspartate Restricted Diet (GARD).  Yeah it’s never just one thingy with me!

Some additional research and a consultation with my Doc suggested a link between the GARD, sinusitis, and latent Lyme disease that might be addressed with a course of antibiotic treatment.  Yes, IV or IM Rocephin may address all three.  Rat studies have shown that Rocephin can lower glutamate levels thus helping to raise seizure threshold.  Since I am a card-carrying lab rat anyways it seemed logical to go for a trial of antibiotics for a week then re-evaluate my tolerance for it during my next Doc appointment in 7 days.  Very likely the treatment will continue for several weeks.  Today was treatment day #1.

I began this process pressing forth to complete a lab test beforehand so as not to skew the results with the upcoming antibiotic.  The preparation required a restricted diet of only 2 foods for 24 hours, fasting, and some stressful sampling procedures all ending just one hour before the first IV treatment at the hospital.  The Lord sustained me as I assembled the kit and wolfed down a supremo salad that I had prepared the night before.  I left our home shortly after the FedEx truck picked up the completed test kit while giving our dog something to bark, bark, bark about.  The wings of my Savior, Jesus Christ carried me to the hospital on just 3 1/2 hours of sleep:  less nervous and ready to blast the heck out of whatever might be keeping me sick.  Let’s do this!

Not so fast though!  Just before heading into the Outpatient Clinic I had a violent expulsion of stool!  Whaaaaat?  Good golly!  Looks like the Lactulose test prep was taking effect all at once!  Now what should I do?  I was soiled through all of the layers of clothing I had worn to keep warm.  Fortunately this all happened in a hospital where they have linens and hospital scrubs available.  Alright so I cleaned up, put on the call light, confided my plight to one of the nurses, changed my fashion motif a bit, and returned to my chaise lounger a little wet, a little shook up from everything.  let’s do this?

The biggest hurdle for me in receiving the 50+ IV treatments and 50+ lab draws I’ve had these past 4 years has always been the needle stick procedure.  Virtually every time a needle either goes in or out it triggers massive convulsive episodes.  Fortunately Jennifer, the RN, has more tricks for poking rolling, spindly veins than anyone I have ever seen for care.  The first stick failed resulting in the usual shakes and shouts.  So we just waited until my world calmed down and I got a few more moments of the best distraction ever under my belt:  HGTV on the little swing-away monitor at my station!  Watching Island Hunters and the like has saved me from tears many times for sure.  (Such a treat!  We don’t have cable service at home.)

Gratefully the second stick was successful.  Gratefully there were no ill effects during the infusion just fatigue.  Gratefully I was able to run an errand to the meat market secretly in wet jeans underneath my scrubs before returning home.  Gratefully the nap came easily after showering and without seizure attacks.  The hell returned later in the evening but overall I got away with at least one fewer episode today.  God is good.  He carries me through so much!

I ask the Lord often why things always have to be so difficult for me?  I really don’t get any answers other than to know that He sees my suffering and promises to love me through it all.  That love is tangible in the graciousness of my beloved husband, Steve, who listens to my stories and sees me through the roughness that characterizes some part of every day.  Perhaps someday I will get to see why the “price of admission” for me to get through my life has been so devastatingly high.  This stuff ain’t for wimps ya know!  In the meantime I will carefully wrap the IV in my arm before showering, clean myself up, run more loads of laundry, and shed some tears along the way.  I am not alone and know what to do.  I have been through IV treatments before and so have many of my fellow sojourners.  We can do this!

At least now there is fresh bacon in the house.  And that Gentle Reader is a mighty good thingy!  I am sure Garfield would agree!  JJ