Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tuesday, October 31 -

Tom reports that they had at least 80 trick or treaters tonight, but that he was ready for them! Margaret did not do much today, considering the fact that this was the first day in over a month she was actually in her home with her husband. The phone apparently rang off the hook all day. Agencies, home health providers, doctors, nurses -- all calling to make arrangements for Margaret and to make appointments for coming to the house to deliver supplies and check on her.

Margaret has a bed set up downstairs and reports that it is comfortable. She said that it was wonderful to wake up this morning in her own house surrounded by her stuff and in the company of her husband. Exercise was not a priority on the agenda today for her. She mainly sat in her chair and only walked when she needed the restroom. However, her plan tomorrow will be notably different as she plans to walk and exercise. A physical therapist will also be visiting her at home twice a week. In other words, it doesn't sound as if she is going to "get out of" anything!! Hard work is still to come! Go, Margaret!!

A home health care professional ordered by her doctor came to the house today to check in on Margaret. One of her lungs is still not 100%, but time, oxygen, and breathing treatments will remedy that situation soon. She will go see the oncologist this Friday to see what he has to say. She also got in touch tonight with a reccommended Tennessee oncologist. They had a good conversation and Margaret feels comfortable with the new doctor's ideas and suggestions. Friday will see all of her records and information being sent to the new doctor in TN.

Tom will visit his neurologist next Tuesday, and Margaret will accompany him. Hopefully, that will be a good visit, as well.

Simply put, Tom and Margaret are together again. Tom is slept very well for the first time in a month last night, and he was able to take a couple of good naps during the day today. He reports that he will sleep even better tonight. They are both very slowly, yet methodically, easing back into a routine. This is very good news. Tom needs to sleep!!

Understand, please that Tom and Margaret's lives have been irreversbily changed over the past month, and they still have miles to go. However, it feels as if the toughest part of the journey is behind them now. We need to remain in prayer for these precious folks - prayers that yearn for encouragement, discernment, hope, peace, and especially healing. Write, call, and visit!! More tomorrow . . . .

Monday, October 30, 2006

By the longest possible route, Margaret is at home again tonight. As it turns out, the admission process to Manor Care was much smoother than the discharging process. Apparently Margaret and Tom were left waiting several hours before being released. Upon her official dismissal, she went back to Sutter-Roseville hospital to get her blood drawn by order of her oncologist.

Once she and Tom arrived home, they discovered that her oxygen machine had been delivered, but that none of the other supplies had made it. This upset both Tom and Margaret. She needs a walker, and she needs a restroom accessory. Neither arrived. This has been upsetting to say the least. They will follow up with this discrepency tomorrow.

The good news is that Margaret is elated to be back at home again with Tom. She will be sleeping downstairs for the next few days in order to avoid the steep staircase in their home. Tom will HOPEFULLY be sleeping more soundly at night with the knowledge that his bride is again under his roof.

Yet another step has been made in a positive direction for Tom and Margaret. The dictated journey that they both have encountered has been both unexpected and seemingly unfair. However, they continue to navigate this hairy course with grace and patience. May we all benefit and learn from the example they have set before us all. Amen! More tomorrow.

Grace and Peace

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday, October 29th -

It is late, late, late. Talked with Margaret several hours ago, and then my baby woke up with a cough and runny nose. So there you go, the blogger has revealed his identity. It is me, Tommy 3. The whole 3rd person thing was getting old, anway! Mom is going home tomorrow, although, nobody is exactly sure when she will be released time-wise.

Mom is a little aggravated, because nobody at the nursing home will give her a straight answer. Will she leave with a walker, or will a walker be provided for her once she arrives home? Will she leave with oxygen, or will it be provided for her once she arrives home? Who knows? Certainly not us! However, the good news is that she is definitely going home tomorrow, and the folks at Manor Care will send to the house her neccessary accesories!

Mom has some definite plans set in place. She will sleep downstairs for a few days on a blow-up mattress with a frame. She plans to work on the stairs - 2 or 3 at a time in order to build up her endurance. By the end of the week, she plans to be able to navigate the staircase in order to sleep in a real bed. The Kelly Girl service that has been secured for dad will stay in place, but with mom at home, they will have more direction, thus enabling them to be more effective. The Fair Oaks friends have been 100% hands on, and they have been working with mom to execute a workable plan to get mom and dad packed up and ready to move.

Mom plans to go to her oncologist's office in a couple of days to get blood drawn. After this proceedure, she will meet with the doctor for his two cents worth. She will need to follow up with her pulmonologist, also, for his okay for her to be released. In other words, mom is going home tomrrow, and is making strides to get the official okay from her doctors to travel to her new house in Jackson, TN.

The news sounds and feels exciting, but we are all still on pins and needles. Her health is still not 100%, and her situation remains volitale. God is good, though, and he has provided for mom and dad up until this point. There is no reason in the world why we should believe that He will drop them now. Their faith and our faith should strengthen at this point. Likewise, our prayers and their prayers should increase. I believe that mom and dad will be "home" in Jackson, TN by Thanksgiving, but a whole lot of things need to transpire between now and then.

I continue to encourage you all to remain in prayer for my folks. I encourage you all to stay in touch with them via letters, cards, phone calls, and personal visits. Personal encouragement means so much at this juncture in their lives right now. Elizabeth and I are eager to have mom and dad around the corner from us as soon as possible. Paitence is definitely an issue! If I could, I'd fly over there tomorrow and physically put them on a plane to bring them here. I know that is not realistic, however. God is in control, though, and we all must rely on his providence. Praise Him for her release! Trust Him for His deliverance! More tomorrow - and I promise, Margaret herself, will be blogging very soon! Thanks for the prayers and support! Goodnight! I'm hitting the hay myself before this baby wakes up again!!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saturday, October 28th -

What a bad break for Margaret today! She is excited about being released from Manor Care Monday morning, and tonight at 2 a.m., she like all of us, must fall back an hour, consequently increasing her stay by one full hour!! Seriously, though . . .

Not much new to report today. This was her last day of physical and occupational therapy at Manor Care. Sunday is an off day for the therapy staff. She has been pleased with her progress, but is still a little apprehensive about her early release. Plans for her homecoming are still sketchy, and yet she will use tomorrow to devise a strategy.

Margaret will be leaning on her Fair Oaks family to help her with the transition. The stairs in the house are a scary proposition, the absence of trained therapists will be difficult, Tom's needs and expectations will be tricky, and then there is the whole issue of the move to Tennessee. Please keep Tom and Margaret in your prayers. They are not out of the woods yet by any stretch of the imagination. The next couple of weeks will be very important. Stay in touch with them and let them know that you all are praying for them. Love to all of you, and there will be another post tomorrow evening!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday, October 27th -

Margaret worked hard with her therapists today in anticipation of her release this coming Monday. Things are still up in the air concerning her and Tom's immediate future. They are still working on coming to TN, but at this point, with her premature discharge from the nursing home, nothing is set in stone. Prayers continued to be coveted.

More tomorrow -

In the spirit of celebration for all the miracles and hard work that have given Tom & Margaret another chapter in their lives to share together, I give you a picture of my daddy goosing my momma in Old Sac. He is a rascal.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday, October 26th -

Drum roll, please! Magaret goes home Monday, October 30th! This comes as quite a shock as all were expecting her to be in Manor Care at least until late next week. Truth be told, if the insurance company had their way, Margaret would have been released today. However, the therapists pitched a fit and insisted that she needed more time to recover. This grace period was granted, thankfully.

Friday and Saturday will prove to be difficult days for Margaret as she will be working hard to get in all the work she possibly can before returning home. Plans are currently being made for her return to the house. By absolutely no means are Tom and Margaret out of the woods, though. Our prayers will need to remain strong and persistent. The stairs, of course, will be an issue. Taking care of Tom during the evenings also will be tantamount. As of this evening, the plan will be to keep Tom's healthcare worker during the nights. The Fair Oaks family undoubtedly will be on the scene helping and encouraging Tom and Margaret, as well. The very last thing Margaret wants is a repeat of these past few harrowing weeks. So, quoting a hokey sign seen outside of a Southern Baptist church recently, remember, "God answers knee mails!"

Margaret will still need to walk with the aid of a walker, but hopefully soon, instead of using it to move around, she can use it to hang clothes! They will immediately look to begin the process of packing their house and turning their attention to moving to Tennessee. Excitement is bubbling just beneath the surface for Tom and Margaret, and yet Margaret's early release is cause for realistic caution. The temptation will be for them to overdo. Both Margaret and Tom will need prayers that will encourage them to pace themselves -- but all of you already know that, don't you!?! There will definitely be another post tomorrow evening, so please everyone, stay tuned!

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; Margaret is going home Monday. Thanks be to God!
This picture has been trapped in my camera for a couple of weeks now. I left my card reader somewhere and was resisting the urge to just go buy another one. However, I have this silly love of computer accessories, I finally broke down today and bought a lovely new card reader that is much better than the old one anyway. I'm excited and can finally post this picture. Hooray.

Women at FOPC know who this is. This is Molly. Molly the Wilderness Moose.

In April, Kathy, Louise, and the fine women at FOPC brought me to CA to attend the Women's Retreat. My mother was the speaker that weekend, and my visit was a surprise for her. As she blessed the first meal of the retreat, they snuck me out with a big box of Sherri's Berries roses.

That weekend means more to me and my mom than those sweet ladies will ever know.

Momma and I already knew that her ca125 was elevated at the retreat. We sat up late and talked a little about the "what-if's" and a lot about the "what has been's." I got to listen to my mom talk about getting through the wilderness times in life. I know why I love her, but I got to see first hand why you all love her. It was a real gift.

So Molly and I just wanted you to know that she's been hanging out, reminding Momma of all the strong women in her life and how much they all love her.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wednesday, October 25 -

The immediate word from Margaret this evening is that she is sore, stiff, and tired. This, however, is good news! It means that she is working hard on getting released back into the real world! Margaret did mention that due to all of her extraneous activities during the day, she is sleeping much, much, better.

Today, the physical and occupational therapists had her working most of the morning and for a good portion of the afternoon. She is dressing herself without any assistance now. She is able to wheel herself into the bathroom. She is walking a lot, and today, began to use resistance bands to continue strengthening the muscles in her arms and legs.

Perhaps the best news from today is the report on her oxygen saturation levels and the rate at which her levels are recovering post exercise. Her saturation levels remain high and are recovering much quicker now after excerting herself. This is a huge step towards her complete recovery. Even though Margaret feels as if time is just creeping by, she encourages herself by remembering back to October 11 when she was struggling to even hold a spoon to feed herself yogurt. Fantastic progress, to be sure!

Margaret continues to be overwhelmed, amazed, and thankful with all the special phone calls, reassuring visits, and powerful prayers from her dear friends. For her entire life, Margaret has embraced the role of the selfless servant. Since the end of September, Margaret has been, in a word, helpless. This has been difficult for her on several different levels, and yet the outpouring of love and support that she has received from all of her families - Fair Oaks, Covenant, cousins, lawfirm, and beyond - has really sustained and encouraged her and Tom. As you all read this entry, please know how much your friendship, loyalty, and prayers mean to the Suttle, Jr. family.

There will be more tomorrow. Hopefully, in the next couple of days, this blog will contanin words directly from Margaret herself, transcribed by her personal secretary. Love to you all, and please continue to pray for healing, discernment, and peace of mind.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tuesday, October 24 -

There is not much new to report today. Margaret continues to improve in leaps and bounds. She reported this evening that she is sore due to squatting exercises. The physical therapist lead her in a series of exercises whereby she would stand up out of her chair, squat down, straighten up, sit down, and then repeat the exercise all over again. She was able to conduct this exercise 3 times in a row.

Her occupational therapy continues to become more stringent with each passing day. Tuesday found Margaret wheeling herself into the bathroom to use the commode and the sink - all by herself - but, of course under the watchful eye of the therapist. Again, normal, mundane activities that we take for granted, Margaret is trying to relearn. So far, so good!

Both occupational and physical therapists continue to try to wean Margaret off of the oxygen, and she is reponding well. Margaret is fighting to get released, and the recovery of her oxygen saturation level really seems to be responding! She is walking a tremendous amount each day with the assistance of a walker, and should she be released and still reliant on a walker, Margaret is up to the challenge. She insists that her pride will absolutely NOT get in the way.

Tom is hanging tough at home with his healthcare worker. He rides to the skilled nursing facility every day to sit with his wife. Around 4 each afternoon, he gets a ride home. This unfortunate situation in which Tom and Margaret have found themselves will eventually pass. Soon they will find themselves in Tennessee - right around the corner from family. Our prayers should mimick theirs - that God will see the Suttles through this difficult ordeal, delivering them safely to 49 Bethany Drive in Jackson, TN. God willing, they'll make it! More tomorrow, ya'll! Stay tuned!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday, October 23 -

After a slow weekend, Monday proved to be a much more productive day for Margaret. With the facility fully staffed again and ready to begin a new week, Margaret's therapists were back on the scene and ready to help her work further towards recovery. Margaret worked very hard today!

While still on a constant supply of oxygen, Margaret continues to improve. Prior to any exercise today, her oxygen saturation level was right at 98%. She continues to be on oxygen, because doctors would like to see her improve to 100% - when she will be breathing room air. Speculation leads many of us to believe that her continued attachment to the oxygen is merely precautionary, and yet Margaret remains patient.

The encouraging words from today's progress are that when Margaret exerts herself, her oxygen saturation dips but recovers almost normally. In other words, all you healthy folks quit reading this blog and sprint as fast as you can around the block. How do you feel? Winded? Breathless? Well, wait a minute. Now how do you feel? Catching your breath, now? Good, because that is normal! Margaret is in the same boat - her recovery time for oxygen saturation recovery is rapidly returning! Praise God! In addition to her oxygen saturation recovery, her heart rate is going down in tandum with her saturation recovery rate. Nobody is saying that Margaret is signing up for any marathons anytime soon, but she definitely is steadily bouncing back into shape!

The therapist bragged on Margaret today. In conversation concerning what needed to be accomplished while Margaret remained in the skilled nursing facility, she mentioned that she needed to be able to navigate stairs. So, off to the therapy gym walked Margaret! There she encountered a set of portable stairs with 3 steps. Margaret climbed up and down these steps three times with some effort but with magnificent success.

Each day Margaret faces enormous challenges that we consider to be automatic and perhaps even mundane. We don't have to struggle to bend over to put on shoes and socks each morning. However, until this morning, this simple, mindless, task has been extremely difficult - rather impossible - for Margaret. Yet, this morning, due to her undying commitment to recovery, Margaret put on her socks and shoes completely unassisted.

She continues to walk up and down the halls of Manor Care, slowly albeit, and yet with a determination that can only be described as inspiring. With each step she takes, Margaret is gaining the strength and endurance she will need to have in order to be safely released.

Your prayers continue to be coveted for both Tom and Margaret. Margaret is recovering in leaps and bounds, and yet every minute she is away from Tom, his condition continues to worsen. God is good, and He has a plan, and yet in times like these staring Margaret and Tom in the face, it is exceedingly difficult to believe that God actually planned this scenario. Faith becomes essential for us all in times like these. Faith plays a vital role in the lives of Margaret and Tom. If ever asked if either one of them are angry at God for dealing them the hand they have been dealt, both of them emphatically deny anger. They are perplexed, and often frustrated, but not angry. May their undying faith and belief in the will of God Almighty continue to inspire us all! Amen! More tomorrow - stay tuned!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

October 22, 2006

The weekend has been slow for Margaret and her physical therapy. Since the last post, she has made it to the PT gym for a workout, and yesterday, she said her legs were sore.

Today, Margaret said that after help out of bed initially, she was pretty much independent the rest of the day. She is in a wheelchair but can do her own transfers. The oxygen reports is about the same - she is still on 3 liters and her saturation is at around 97%. We would like to see her independent from oxygen soon. Since she did not have PT today, she said that she sat in her wheelchair and practiced her breathing. She reports that she feels that she can breathe more deeply tonight and is looking forward to PT tomorrow.

The visits have been happy for Margaret. However, we need to ask a favor. There have been instances of several people in her room at the same time, and as much as Margaret loves to see friendly faces, it does take energy to "entertain." We would like to just remind everyone that her strength is still building and please keep visits short and staggered. She says though to please let people know this without sending them away! That is the message then. She loves you all and thanks you for your prayers and support and if you stop by to say hi, know that she would visit longer if she could, but she can't just yet.


Friday, October 20, 2006

October 20, 2006

Tommy has arrived safely in Jackson, TN. He and Marty are very much looking forward to being able to move Tom and Margaret close to Tommy's family as soon as they are strong enough.

Today the occupational therapist had Margaret get herself ready for the day. Margaret transfered herself from the bed to the wheelchair, wheeled herself into the bathroom, and the rest is history. She finished getting herself ready as Tom arrived with his friend Gil.

A post physical therapy report wasn't received today, so we will have to catch up tomorrow.
October 19th-

Prayers will be coveted today for Tom and Margaret. Tommy 3 leaves tomorrow morning, and they will be alone without family for the first time in 2 weeks. Please don't question their resolve, however! It is just easier to endure a crisis or an uncomfortable situation when immediate family are close by.

Today, Margaret made progress in leaps and bounds. She got fully dressed today, as opposed to hanging out in a nightgown and robe. She walked 45 feet twice today during physical therapy, and her oxygen saturation level rebounded well within minutes of her exercise.

Margaret has been wishing for the magic button that exists in all of our minds. You know, the button that once pressed instantly fixes all problems and overcomes all obstacles in a flash? Realistically speaking, however, Margaret knows that such a button does not exist. And therefore she must rely on faith - a faith that defies all odds. She must rely on the same type of faith exhibited by Abraham when he climbed that mountain with his son. Abraham believed that once he arrived at the top of the mountain, he would be forced to kill his son of promise, in the guise of a sacrafice. Abraham's unrelenting faithfulness led to the ultimate salvation of his son, Isaac.

God instructed Abraham with no explanations but with the expectation of obedience. He submissively obeyed and was ultimately rewarded. God has put Margaret and Tom into a similar complicated situation with no explanations. Margaret and Tom are responding with the same resolve as Abraham. God knows best, and they, just like Abraham must blindly trust in the fact that God is not only just good, but that he continues to be in control and ontop of the situation at hand.

Keep the prayers coming! More tomorrow evening! Peace out, girlscouts!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wednesday, October 18th -

What a difference a day makes! Margaret has begun physical and occupational therapy. She has responded very well. After each exercise, her oxygen saturation level is checked - to see how low it drops and how quickly it recovers. Today, during the exercises, her level dropped to below 80%. And yet, upon ending the exercises, her level rose to above 91% in less than a minute. Pretty good show, if you ask all of us who have no medical degree!

Margaret is prepared to work hard. She says that she has things to do: take care of and have fun with her husband, teach her son how to make biscuits, get better aquainted with her new son-in-law, decorate her new house with her daughter and daughter-in-law, and spoil her grandchildren. According to her doctors and therapists, this is not a tall order. Her release is completely reliant upon her willingness to work hard. Go, Margaret! In other words, her release depends completely on her desire to get out. (Again - no medical degree)!

In Tom news, guess who is back? ELSIE!! Yes, Elsie the caregiver from Mississippi who dad instantly accepted, and of whom he was quickly fond, has reappeared on the scene. We had thought that Elsie did not want the job of caring for dad, but as it turns out, this was a huge misunderstanding in her office. In the span of 2 hours, Elsie has accomplished more than the other caregivers have been able to accomplish in 2 weeks. Praise God!

Tom and Margaret are going to be okay. Albeit, they will be okay in a different way than we and they had anticipated, and yet, God continues to be good. We just aren't sure of why he does what he does. Those of you with any ounce of faith, just remember this - God is. Tom and Margaret are okay. There are no explanations, there is no logic associated with their situation, but God is - He inroduced himself to Moses as, "I am." We either accept this or we don't. Tom and Margaret choose to accept this as truth, and their lives are strictly in his hands. For this, all should give thanks to God, Almighty. He is navigating their boat that has been seemingly out of control towards a course of destruction. However, the Suttle's will pull through. Believe it. (By the way, congratulations to Peter Graves and his bride - one down, 3 to go)!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Address for Margaret:

Manor Care Health Services
Attn: Margaret Suttle, Room 111
7807 Uplands Way
Citrus Heights, CA 95610
Tuesday, October 17 -

Margaret has moved to Manor Care, a skilled nursing care facility. Here, she will undergo rigorous physical and occupational therapy. She is still on oxygen, but hopefully, as she regains her strength, the need for oxygen will end. Tom was very excited this morning upon arriving at the hospital. The prospect of his beloved wife taking the next step to recovery had him very alert and positive today.

Margaret was transferred today around noon. Tom and Tommy followed along behind and had no trouble getting her checked in and situated. She is in a private room, which has her very pleased. Not much happened after she arrived which was frustrating for her. However, her day will begin tomorrow with an assessment from the physical therapist, and then she will be on her way.

It is hard to be a patient in a nursing home facility where she has conducted so many pastoral visits, and yet, Margaret is ready to get well. Please keep her in your prayers. She does not have a phone in her room, so she keeps her cell phone handy. Since it is a nursing home, there is no shower in her room. In short, Margaret really does not "fit in" at the home, and yet we know that she will be recovering and leaving the home very soon. Tomorrow, the family will get to talk with a doctor so that a realistic/predictable timeline for discharge can be discussed. This, however, is definitely a case of living life one day at a time.

More reports tomorrow from Manor Care.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Monday, October 16 -

Barring unforeseen obstacles, Margaret will be discharged tomorrow morning to Manor Care, a skilled nursing facility, for a couple of weeks of occupational and physical therapy. Her oxygen saturation levels are fantastic, her blood pressure is great, and her fever continues to remain normal! Praise God!!

She has undergone physical therapy that to the rest of us seems ridiculous, and yet, to Margaret, sitting on the side of the bed for a meal, and then walking to a chair to sit, is unbelievable! She is on the mend faster than expected. All should know that her determination is immeasurable, and her spirits are high. Keep on praying, ya'll! More tomorrow once the discharge is complete.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday, October 15 -

What a day! Margaret is in spectacular shape considering where she has been. Tom and Tommy arrived at the hospital around 11 a.m. Margaret was awake and very alert. The doctor arrived and checked her out and reported that she looked very well. He emphasized to her that if she wants to get out of the hospital sooner rather than later, she would need to work harder. This means that she needs to continue to eat well and cowboy up to her physical therapy! Margaret is anxious to take the next step - being released to the Skilled Nursing Facility - and the doctor basically indicated to her that this move was in her hands. She needs more strength and she needs to agree to more extensive therapy in order to leave the hospital.

The physical therapist arrived a few minutes before lunch, and she asked Margaret if she would be willing to combine therapy with lunch. The idea was that she would sit on the edge of the bed and sit up while she ate her lunch. It sounded like a fantastic idea until Margaret, heeding the words of the doctor, decided to take it one step further! Margaret insisted on trying to stand up by herself before eating on the side of the bed. The therapist enthusiastically agreed, and soon, Margaret was standing with the assistance of the therapist. She wobbled and swayed, however she was standing on her own! When she finally sat back down, the exhaustion was overwhelming, and in a flash, the idea of sitting on the edge of the bed to eat was a distant memory! Margaret's oxygen saturation level was measured after she had been standing, and it had fallen to around 87%. However, after lunch, approximately 2 hours, her level was measured again, and it was back to 94%. By the time Tom and Tommy left the hospital around 4 p.m. it was back to 97% and threatening to climb to 98%.

Margaret is determined to get home. She reflected today on her mother who broke her hip at the age of 93. Her mother was told that she would never go home again. However, Honey, as her friends fondly new her, was determined that she would see home again. And in fact, she did make it back home again. This memory of her mother has inspired Margaret to fight and make it back home to her husband.

The news continues to be very encouraging for Margaret. Tom, on the other hand, is struggling immensely. He misses Margaret very much and would move heaven and earth to be able to make things better for her. In the meantime, he continues to fight his home health care, and insists that he does not need any help. Tommy and Marty continue to bear the blame and the responsibility of this decision, and so far, they stand strong!! Your prayers are coveted!

Doctors say that Margaret will more than likely be discharged to Manor Care, a skilled nursing facility, for physical and occupational therapy, early in the week. It could be tomorrow, or it could be Tuesday, or even Wednesday. Regardless, her release from the hospital will not be soon enough for Margaret. She is ready to finish up strong, move back home, and travel to Tennessee to spoil grandchildren.

There will be more tomorrow as Margaret continues to improve. Please stay tuned, and thank you so much for your kind thoughts and sincere prayers!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday, October 14th -

Apologies for the late post. Marty flew home today, and Tom and Tommy were left holding the bag, so to speak! Upon arriving at the hospital this morning, Margaret was alert and in the middle of physical therapy. Today, she sat on the edge of the hospital bed and did "feet exercises." It was amazing to her that she was having to retrain her feet how to respond. However, as usual for Margaret, she did this seemingly minor, yet realistically difficult exercise with a broad smile on her face! Therapy ended, and lunch arrived. She was served more solid foods in the form of beef stew, green peas, and a roll. She ate most all of her lunch. All was well until Vanderbilt upset Georgia . . . ! (At least Mississippi State finally prevailed in their football game . . . )!

Margaret's oxygen saturation level was at 97% today - still shooting for 100%, though. Her blood pressure was good, and the doctor was very encouraging with his prognosis today. He said that she looked and sounded amazing. He ordered another chest x-ray, and it came back negative. In other words, Margaret is continuing to improve. There was, however, no talk about her discharge date today. We continue to hope and pray that it will be this coming Monday or Tuesday.

Regarding Tom, Elsie, the health care worker from MS, decided that she was uncomfortable navigating the stairs in the house with him. She has subsequently been removed from his case. Although, this is extremely disappointing, we pray that his new caregiver, Ava, will be received warmly. She is originally from Germany and was intrigued that Tom had spent 2 years over seas there. It has been fun listening to them speaking German - Ava fluent and dad trying to remember!!

Your prayers and concerns for our family continue to be coveted. Please keep them coming. The post tomorrow will come much earlier - hopefully!! God bless you all!
Friday, October 13th -

Despite the all the ominous urban legends associated with Friday the 13th, today was a spectacular day for the Suttle family! Tommy was finally able to make it to the hospital to see Margaret. The identical bald pates made for a good laugh!! Margaret was lucid and full of life today. While still on oxygen, she is making huge strides towards breathing on her own. Her memory has returned, and her mind is sharp as a tack. Her diet has been upgraded from thickened liquids to softened, sliced, foods. When Tom, Jr., Marty, and Tommy 3 arrived this morning she was eating a cup of yogurt by herself, indicative of her improved motor skills and her recovering strength.

Around eleven o'clock Pacific Standard Time, Margaret sat up on the side of the bed by herself as part of a physical therapy exercise. She continued to breath well during the exercise, although she did have a bit of a coughing spell once upright. The physical activity and aforementioned coughing episode sapped a great deal of energy from her, however. As a result, she was a bit winded and unable to eat much of her lunch. All was well, though - her nurses told her that her repressed appetite was completely normal and was more than likely due to her exhaustion from the exercise. In fact, they were encouraged, rather excited, with her phenomenal physical progress as opposed to being overly concerned wiht her inability to eat creamed mystery meat and sliced carrots!

As of 5 p.m. (PST), Margaret's oxygen saturation level was at an amazing 94%! Hopefully, by tomorrow, Margaret will be breathing on her own. If this indeed is the case, the doctor will discharge her to a Skilled Nursing Facility to undergo 3 to 4 weeks of physical and occupational therapy. Tommy, Tom, and Marty visited the reccommended facility today, and were very pleased with the staff, facility, and location. This facility is also one with which Margaret is very familar. She has conducted numerous pastoral visits in Manor Care and has been quite impressed with its operation. God's will be done, Margaret will be discharged to Manor Care as early as this coming Monday or perhaps no later than Tuesday.

Marty flies home tomorrow morning (Saturday, 10/14). Tommy will be in town until Friday, October 20th. Home health has been established for Tom, Jr. from 8 p.m. until mornining, and simply put, he is not a fan. However, we believe that he is warming up to the idea . . . . slowly albeit! (Prayers solicited)!

Surely there cannot not be a child alive that relishes the idea of wrestling away from their parents the freedom, independence, and dignity that they have so freely known and enjoyed. And yet, when those same parents, who have by way of example, taught their children the neccessity of caring for their elderly family members through words and actions wind up needing similar care; the children absolutely must lovingly respond regardless of how uncomfortable and difficult it might be.

God is good, and yet He continues to bewilder. More tomorrow evening - grace and peace, ya'll!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Thursday, October 12

Margaret is doing well. Her diet has been upgraded, and her oxygen needs continue to decrease. She was very conversational today and tolerated more physical therapy well.

Tommy got in tonight. He missed his flight in Memphis due to a accident on I-240 in which he was not involved. Consequently, he arrived 6 hours late and was unable to see mom tonight. This upset her, but they were able to talk on the phone this evening and will reunite in the morning.
Her spirits are elevated, and she is ready to take the next step - rehbilitation in a skilled nursing facility. This process, according to her doctors, could take anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks. Afterwards, she is looking forward to moving to the bustling metropolis of Jackson, TN! Dad is doing well and very excited about mom's progress. Tommy and I, too, are encouraged with the reports we are getting from the medical staff at the hospital. The fact that mom is lucid and able to understand what her doctors are saying is also incredibly reassuring.
The Suttle family continues to covet and appreciate the prayers that all of mom and dad's friends are offering on their behalf. More information and updates will be coming tomrrow as we will continue to monitor mom's condition! Thanks to all of you!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wednesday, October 11

Margaret is continuing to improve. Her lungs are clearing, her voice is stronger, and she is complaining about the food. You can't blame her really - hamburgers should just never be pureed.

The improvements to her lungs and the signs that they are successfully fighting the infection are wonderful news. Her ordeal has left her very weak though. She is unable to hold anything, turn on her own, and other simple motions. Physical therapy has begun, though, and she is determined to get her strength back.

Tomorrow, Tommy will fly in to be here a couple of days overlapping Marty and then help with our anticipated discharge of Margaret.

She is really enjoying hearing from everyone. Thank you for the notes, comments, and cards.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tuesday, October 10

Just another first person post to wish you all a good night from me and Elsie.

Elsie is the miraculous personal care assistant sent to us from Kelly Care. My dad has long needed someone to stay to watch out for him overnight, if only so that anyone else in the house can rest.

So now, I sit next to Elsie. She is a home health worker who is from - I kid you not - from Mississippi.

She and Daddy have a lot to talk about, and all of the sudden, something that can feel invasive and foreign, somehow feels - familiar.

Good night, all. I'm going to sleep. Say good night prayers that Daddy will get rest too.

Tuesday, October 10

Margaret has been moved from the ICU. She is in a room in oncology now, where they will continue to monitor and help her get strong enough to start rehab.

Tom has decided to have home health care for himself overnight now. It will start tonight.

Today Margaret is lucid when she is awake. After convincing her that she had never left Roseville and gone to Chicago, she was content to let the pieces fall into place over the next few days. She does not remember the past week except to the extent that she knew she was very sick.

We have started reading her your cards and emails, and she is grateful for all of your prayers and support.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Monday, October 9

Margaret was awake today. One of her first questions to Tom was, "How do I get out of here?" It was nice to have her spirit back. There were questions about what had happened and what would happen. It seems that even in just waking up after a week, she was already Margaret again, trying to organize her thoughts and plan for what comes next.

For most of the day, she held her own with just the oxygen tube in her nose. Her oxygen saturation levels remained good for the most part. The fever has not returned, and overall, she is doing well.

She still doesn't really need visitors yet. Even though the occasional friendly face made her smile today, it would just be too much to start having visitors right now. In addition to the rest, she also continues to need a sterile environment. Tom and Marty look forward to beginning to read her the cards that have been sent and the comments left here sometime tomorrow. Your messages do get to her, so please send them if you would like to!

The biggest piece of information learned today was that Margaret will need rehabilitation after she gets out of the hospital. This means that she will either have to go into a nursing home or have skilled nursing at home for several weeks. We are thankful that a relationship has already been forged with a home health provider recommended by the Presbyterian Board of Pensions. Tom and Marty will begin meeting with staff at the hospital tomorrow to try and make a plan to continue Margaret's recovery once she is discharged. The doctor said that her discharge should likely come in 3-5 days. When he said 3-5 days, it seemed like Margaret actually shot him a look, causing him to reconsider and lean more towards the 3 side of things. Who knows, though? Maybe she really is back and fighting, just like the amazingly strong woman we know she is.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday, October 8

Sorry for the delay in posting, and tonight, you get first person. I'm too tired to write in third person.

Tommy and I decided that it was time for one of us to go to California, so here I am. Dad is in bed, there is a pound cake in the oven, and we have good news.

Today they took Margaret off the ventilator. She has been awake some today. Tom said that Friday, the doctor who would be on call over the weekend gave him a checklist of sorts - rather, a chain of events - that if Margaret could reach this goal, then they would do that. The short of it is, she reached all her goals this weekend and they took her off the ventilator even sooner than the doctor thought would happen. She might move back to the oncology department tomorrow where there are fewer germs and nasties floating about.

Tonight, I had been here about an hour when the phone rang. It was Mom's nurse. She had Mom on the phone and she was asking to speak to Dad. Although she is still unable to talk much at all, Dad said that he did hear her say, "I love you."

Dad is making progress on post-hospital plans and making decisions about his own needs as well. Tommy and I will continue to try and help find them solutions that keep them safe, comfortable, and happy. If I get a chance this week, I'll attach some photos of their new house in Jackson, Tennessee. It is really nice.

Many thanks tonight to every driver, cook, slumber party attendee, and friend who has been watching over them, and for the others who have volunteered. Your support of not just Tom and Margaret, but our whole family is so very appreciated.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday, October 6

Margaret is now receiving 45% oxygen. When she gets to 30%, they can remove her from the ventilator.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thursday, October 5

Margaret is continuing to improve in the ICU while being treated for ARF, Acute Respiratory Failure. Michelle is her nurse today and provided us with a detailed update. It is always a relief to feel as though someone is taking the time and care to provide us with as much information as possible.

Yesterday, Margaret was on only 50% oxygen. This is down from 100% this past weekend. Her potassium was elevated, and in treating that, she in turn had a restless night. In order to let her rest today, they increased her morphine dosages to once an hour from every two hours yesterday. Her oxygen was increased to 60% this morning, but is already back down to 55%.

The morphine is being used as a sedative more than a pain killer. Due to the fluid in her lungs, they cannot use the normal sedative. When Margaret wakes up past a certain, she gags on the tube and becomes agitated. Therefore, they are trying to keep her a little more sedated in order to rest and heal.

Her chest x-ray showed improvements today. They have increased her dosage of Lasix to help remove the excess fluid. They were pleased with the outcome today.

She did have fever overnight, but it was gone by noon today. Michelle reported that Margaret's white count is down, so they feel like they are fighting a good fight with the infection.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wednesday, October 4

Conflicting reports today. Even though we have tried to cull calls to the nurses station so that Tommy and Marty can get accurate reports, the nurses yesterday and today have not been communicative.

Tom and Connie report that Margaret is off of the heavy sedation and can look at them when they are in the room. Her oxygen saturation levels continue to improve, but she remains on the ventilator.

The nurse that we finally reached tonight said that her sedation had not changed, but we think that is inaccurate information. She also told us that Margaret had not had fever since 12:00 AM this morning. This was after she told us there had been no change since we spoke with someone last night. We are praying that the fever information is an honest account of Margaret's condition.

We continue to try and line up continuing care for Tom at night. This professional care would also be in the expectation that Margaret is slowly improving and will need this care as well. Many of you know this should occur sooner rather than later. Tomorrow should hold an important decision in this matter.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tuesday, October 3

Today the report comes through Tom via the pulmonary doctor. There is some good news to share.

The cat scan showed no signs of blood clots in the lungs. Tom said that the doctors saw what they needed to see on scan and didn't see what they didn't want to see on the scan. This is good news.

Margaret is still on the ventilator. They started her on a liquid diet last night too.

The word of the day was "stable." We think it is a good word.
Monday, October 2

Margaret is still in the ICU. A ventilator is breathing for her so that she can rest more and get more oxygen. The nurses said she had a good night last night and that they have been able to turn down her oxygen levels some.