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Rusty’s Story

For those of you who don't know, dad started experiencing flu-like symptoms on Tuesday December 17th while at work. There had been talk of some sort of virus going around at his office and dad shared with us that some of them had been sick for an entire week before starting to feel better. He stayed home from work on Wednesday and mom somehow even convinced him to go to Duke urgent care.They tested him for the flu which came back negative (that doesn't confirm he didn't have the flu) and sent him home to rest, after stating that if it wasn't the flu it was another virus causing his symptoms. Thursday he started feeling better and Friday he was even up vacuuming the house. Friday night his fever returned and it wasn't until Sunday that mom convinced him to go back to the doctor. At this point he was experiencing shortness of breath and several other symptoms that led mom to believe he should be seen again. Thank goodness she took him back despite the doctor's recommendations of supportive care because once he was seen on Sunday he was taken by ambulance to Rex hospital with a diagnosis of sepsis.

They eventually determined he was in septic shock with multiple organ failure. It took approximately 36 hours for the blood culture to grow the bacteria present in his blood stream. During this time he was treated with several medications including a broad spectrum antibiotic in an attempt to cover all possible sources of infection.

Monday(12/23/2013): Dad was in great spirit when we arrived at the hospital. He wasvery short of breath and looked extremely sick but he was making jokes,watching football, and of course worrying about work. Throughout the day webegan to see the infection wearing on his body so they sedated him which wasthe last time he was able to communicate with us. He was able to breathe on his own throughout the night but was intubated on Tuesday morning which allowed his body to rest and begin recovering as well as gave the doctor's the freedom to better manage his medications.

Tuesday (12/24/2013): The blood culture finally yielded the specific bacteria and more specific antibiotics were administered.  The intense strain of bacteria had already taken a great toll on all of his organs and their function was declining rapidly.

Wednesday (12/25/2013): This was the hardest day thus far. The family was brought in around 3am and we were told that his body would eventually give out, it was just a matter of time.  As our family gathered around his bed (breaking all visiting rules) and prayed for God's will to be done we each said our goodbyes. A few hours passed and we were still sitting in his room when a new doctor came on board. As dad's blood pressure surprisingly leveled off, the new doctor decided to reinsert his feeding tube to see what happened. Uncle Brink was right by his side "coaching" him to get to each new hour. As the day went on, Rusty refused to let go and it was great joy to tell him when it was 12AM and a new day.

For the next few days it was touch and go and every meeting with the doctors was nerve racking.  But dad has fought hard and refuses to give up.  And we have placed ALL of our faith, fears, and trust in the Lord.  The doctor's have on numerous occasions informed us that this man is in fact a miracle and there is no medical reason why he is still alive.

Currently, he's in ICU in stable but critical condition. He's still intubated but breathing on his own, still on dialysis, and still sedated. His lab work/results continue to amaze everyone and we are thankful for the daily improvements.

Due to his body's response to the infection, his blood was shunted away from his periphery to save his vital organs. As a result of lack of blood flow to his hands and feet, there is irreversible damage that must be removed in order to prevent further infection. That is our current obstacle with surgeries planned for tomorrow (1/2/2013) and Friday. Please understand that although this is shocking and devastating to our entire family and support system including all of you, we feel so blessed for dad's second chance at life after all we've faced over the past 11 days.

As a family, we believe that staying positive for dad is crucial to his health and recovery. With that being said, we ask that everyone continue to pray for his healing, the medical team, our family and for peace as we continue down this road to recovery. We love you all. Words can't describe how thankful we are for your love and support.

Latest Journal Update

One Year Ago Today......Christmas Miracles!

Very early on Christmas morning, one year ago today, we were told that Rusty was not going to live because of a medical diagnosis of Sepsis! Most of us had never even heard of this! We were in shock and unwilling to accept that news! Then, at some point in the morning, the Lord sent an angel to us in the form of Dr. Hollerich. He wasn't supposed to be at the hospital Christmas morning but showed up in the ICU. He said he could do something different and shortly afterwards Rusty was coming back to us! 
Throughout this year, we have felt the Lords presence daily in our lives! While it has not been easy for Rusty, he has shown courage and determination beyond belief! His positive attitude is a true reflection of his strong faith! God is so good and we are so thankful that He has a bigger purpose for Rusty than we can even imagine!
We are thankful for our wonderful family and friends who have encouraged, helped and loved us throughout this year. We wish you all much happiness in the coming year!

20 people hearted this



Jodie McClement
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU ALL! We loved seeing you! Jim and Jodie
LuAnn Seley Wooters
What an incredible post!! Thanks for being such an inspiration to all of us. You're an amazing family. {Hugs}
Wanda Mccorkle
By Wanda McCorkle
Miracles do happen and you and your family are living proof ! God is good!
Susan Shearin
By Susan — last edited
Our God is so good. Hope your Christmas have been full of love and wonder with that beautiful grandbaby.
Raymond Groseclose
By Raymond and Terry(Rhonda Williford Davis' sister) Groseclose--Asheboro, NC
Merry Christmas to Rusty, Bonnie and the girls and the rest of the family!! As a former friend from UNCW, I have watched with interest and amazement over the past year!! I know from reading and hearing from other friends who have seen Rusty, that he does not seek to be labeled as a hero, but I will say that he is an inspiration to many and certainly has heroic qualities!!

Here's to a wonderful new year ahead for the Wagstaff family! Also would you please give my regards and my sister Anna Groseclose Marsh's regards to Debbie Wagstaff. I knew her at UNCW and Anna knew her at NCSU. Anna now lives in Liberty, MO.
Pam Peeden
By Pam Peeden (Beck) — last edited
What A Difference That A Year Makes, Most Especially When You Have The Lord Jesus Christ In Your Life! God Has Worked So Many Wonderful Miracles On Dear Rusty! And, I Can Think Of No One More Deserving Than My Sweet, But Mischievous, High School Friend, Who Loved "Trying" To Get Me Into Trouble (Along With The Help Of Chris), And Sometimes Succeeding! Our Lord Had Dr. Hollerich In The Hospital's ICU Last Christmas For A Most Important Reason, To Save Our Very Ill Rusty's Life! God Was Not Ready, As Yet, To Make Rusty An Angel, As He Has Bigger And Better Plans For Rusty In His Lifetime! This Past Year Has Proven To Be Quite A Rough Road For Rusty To Endure! But, There Is No Possible Way That Anyone Could Have Shown More Courage, Determination, Faith, And Positivity Than My 'Ole Vaiden Whitley Classmate! I Wish The Entire Wagstaff Family A Most Happy And Rewarding New Year In 2015! This Year Will Be Such Fun Watching That Handsome Grandson Grow! Lots Of Love, Huge Hugs, And Our Precious Lord's Many Blessings To All Of You Each And Every Day!
margaret stauffer
By Margaret T Stauffer
Thank you for being such wonderful examples to all of us, your expressions of faith and devotion to one another are so meaningful to so many!
Patty Hinnant
By Patty Hinnant
You are so right, Rusty is truly a miracle! Your family's faith and courage are truly inspiring.
Phyllis Vess
By Phyllis Vess
Praise the Lord for Rusty's life. These miracles make us so much stronger and knowing about him and his faith encourages us so much. What a wonderful Christmas miracle. God is good.