Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Here A Staple, There A Staple, Everywhere A Staple Staple...

Me with John and Jane White.
While in the rehab hospital and dealing with the effects of the Vancomycin allergic reaction, my parents and I felt compiled to have someone pray over me. We were not sure, at the time, what was going on with my body and felt it was a great idea to have one of our close family friends lay hands on me. Our long-time friend John White, president of Firefighter For Christ, was not available to come, so my mom and dad weren't sure who else to call on. John and his wife Jane have been friends of our family since the early 70's. John was a co-worker of my dad's when he first started on the fire department and was instrumental in my father coming to Christ. To this day, the Whites are dear friends of ours and continue to pray for me as I walk through this journey.

Roger and Meredith "Mer" Greear.
Years before I left California for Colorado, I had gone to a church with a large family whose patriarch, Roger Greear, is an ordained minister and president of River of Life Prison Ministries. I was still in contact with their family and they lived not far from where I was rehabbing. Roger was more than happy to come to the rehab hospital and pray over me. It was wonderful to have Roger come, even while his wife, Mer, was home ill herself. My family was so grateful for his time, prayers and friendship over the years. Not long after Roger came to pray, was when my doctor called in the infectious disease doctor and we had a path to recovery.

After arriving at my parents house, we received a call from an in-home nurse who was to train us in how to self-administer my IV and monitor my blood sugars for Dr. Faraday as part of my recovery. She would be arriving the next day to meet with us for an evaluation and to train us. The next morning, mom and I were greeted by a lady in her mid-50's who was no more than 5' 5" and drove a huge Hummer. This nurse was Sarah and she was, in moms terms, "A hoot."

Sarah was a very sweet lady with a strong, take charge personality. She came in the house each day armed with a rolling satchel filled with paperwork for following my case, latex gloves, syringes of saline, alcohol swabs and numerous other items for starting IVs. She said she had learned a long time ago not to try to carry it all and risk hurting her shoulders. Once we got started that first day, she was a great teacher. After the first time showing me how to prep, attach and start my IV, I was able to do it without missing a step the next time. So, this was now my job to get the IV started each day.

After having been at my parents home four days, mom and I made the trip back to City of Hope to have my staples removed in the outpatient clinic. Like all other times of going to see Dr. Femino in the clinic, we were taken to one of the smaller rooms to wait. This room was one that didn't have a window but was on the side of the building with all the windows. As usual, we waited a short time before Dr. and Helen came in.

Dr. Femino was genuinely happy to see us. He took a good look at all of the places my rashes were and went over what treatment Dr. Faraday was taking with me to counter act my reaction. We had a great conversation and he was pleased to see that everything was looking good. Then he examined the incision from my surgery and felt that it was doing great and thought the staples could be removed. My incision from surgery was very long. It extended from up the side of the hip closer to the waistline, down through the crease where your torso and leg meet and then completely across my private area. Some of the staples across this incision were beginning to itch, so it was timely that Dr. Femino agreed they needed to be removed.

So, Dr. Femino asked Helen, his nurse, to go ahead and remove all of the remaining staples and complete all the discharge paperwork and set me up for follow-up with him in six months. He noted that I had lymphedema, swelling of the leg because of lymphatic fluid. Since it was a Tuesday, the guy who created my wonderful plastic contraption I was finally rid of, Tim, was consulting in the clinic and Dr. Femino suggested Helen set us up with him to get a customized compression stocking to reduce the swelling. Helen complied with all of Dr. Femino's requests and we systematically completed the list through meeting with Tim.

Helen had become a person with whom mom, dad and I connected with spiritually. Helen shares our faith and from the beginning was praying for me and my family. Helen reassured me prior to surgery that she would be in the operating room and would be praying for me the entire time. I'm sure her prayers over me on the operating table allowed the surgery to go so well. Each time we have the pleasure of going to see Dr. Femino, we also look forward to seeing Helen and sharing updates of our lives in those brief moments, family pictures and all.

Sample of compression
stocking style.
In order to see Time, I was moved to another room. This time it was in the front corner with windows. It took about 30 minutes before Tim came in to this new room. Tim took all kinds of measurements just like before when we had the brace made. It was a short time with Tim. He had one compression stocking that matched my specifications and he would need to order another stocking for me to swap out every other day while the other was being washed.

Tim gave us a brief lesson on how to put the stocking on and all of the work it was going to take each time. The stocking was so tight (in order to move the fluid up the leg and through the duct it was supposed to travel through) that it took several minutes for us to work it completely to the top of the hip and wrap around the opposite hip to hold it in place. What an ordeal. But it was finished and mom and I were able to go back home.


"When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them." Luke 4:40

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" Philippians 1:3-6

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