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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

Celebration of Rusty's Life!

One week ago today, October 24, was one of the best days in our family's life!  So many people in our community came together to hold a celebration event in honor of Rusty. The Lord provided us an extremely beautiful day weather wise and therefore the golf tournament was fabulous! Stephen Ammons spearheaded this event and began the tournament with Rusty putting very close to the hole! Afterwards we made our way to the Wendell Parks and Recreation Community Center for a delightful evening of dinner and dancing and auctions. Mary Fish and Stephen had worked diligently with committees of friends to ensure the success of the fundraiser. With hundreds of kind, caring friends attending, they were able to raise over a hundred thousand dollars! Unbelievable! The Lord has richly blessed our lives and we thank God for life, health, family and friends! 

21 people hearted this



Susan Peoples
By Susan Peoples
It sure is good to hear from Rusty as I have missed the post. I totally understand as I know you are busy with medical appts, PT, etc.
you continue to be in my prayers and I'm so glad the special events went so well! I would have attended but I'm on western NC taking s break between knee surgeries,
Keep the faith and it's great to hear from you !
David & Candy Lewis
By David & Candy Lewis
To God be the glory both now and forever!
Always trusting and praising Him,
David & Candy
Debbie Allcoz
By Debbie Allcoz
I was amazed to see so many friends at the tournament. I can't remember a more beautiful day with so much food and fun!
I pooped out Friday night way before my brothers or Dad. Now I think of all the special people I didn't get a chance to talk to like Rusty's friend who drove from Chicago and big Ricardo whom I have heard so much about. I wish I had danced with Paulette, Rusty 's nurse from Rex that we all love and so many friends that I don 't get to see very often. It was truly a very humbling experience and one that my family will never forget. Thank you to everyone who made it possible!
1 person hearted this
Nikki Spearman
Unbelievable. ....What a wonderful miracle of blessings. ...I praise the Lord for all He has done...and for all the love you have been shown....We Are so happy for you both. ...love Lee and Nikki
Phyllis Vess
By Phyllis Vess
Unbelievable! But, so much love and respect shown. So good to know Rusty did such a good job of putting! God is good.....all the time.
Lane Bartsch
By Lane Bartsch
There's nothing Rusty's friends and family wouldn't do for him, he's an incredible person!!! Happy and blessed that the day's events were such a huge success! Always in my prayers!
Lane and family
Pam Peeden
By Pam Peeden (Beck)
Rusty And Bonnie, I Am So Very Pleased To Hear That The Fundraiser Was Such A Huge Success! It Makes Me Very Happy To Hear That So Much Money Was Raised For Such A Worthy Cause! I Am Just Grateful That God Provided Such A Beautiful Day, So That All Of The Hundreds Of People Could Come Out To Honour My Dear Friend From High School! I Would Have Loved To Have Been There, Rusty, To See You And To Watch You Play Golf! It Sounds As If Everyone Had A Wonderful Time! Even Though You Have Faced So Many Challenges, With More That Lie Ahead Of You, Your Life Has Sincerely Been Blessed! You Have A Wonderful Family, Great Friends, Your Health, And So Much Life Still Ahead Of You! You Are A Role Model For So Many People And A True Hero! I Praise God For Everything That He Has Done And Will Continue To Do For You! Please Know That I Pray For You And Your Entire Family Each And Every Day! Lots Of Love, Huge Hugs, And God's Many Blessings To You All From Leeds, England!
1 person hearted this
Rhonda Davis
By Rhonda Davis
It was so AWESOME! We could not have asked for a better weather and you have such a great support system of friends from EVERYWHERE! We enjoyed ourselves so much and saw friends from the past plus people in our everyday lives that we never thought knew you guys! Seeing UNCW friends was so awesome and I hope we can all get together again soon! Such a wonderful event!!