CaringBridge Is Funded by People Like You

Make a donation to CaringBridge

Honor Rusty with a tax-deductible contribution to CaringBridge today.

Click here to make your donation.

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

Our family is growing!!!!

Rusty and I just celebrated 31 years of marriage and I am sooooo thankful to have him here on Earth with our family!
The Sepsis Walk in Cary went well on May 2 and the Sepsis Team hopes to increase the numbers walking next year! Please keep this in mind for 2016! The goal is to raise awareness of the symptoms of Sepsis in order to save lives!!! ( We were told recently of a friend here in Wendell whose husband last Xmas was headed towards going septic.  She thought of Rusty and kept pushing!!!!! Thank goodness he was given antibiotics and with further BLOODWORK and exploratory surgery, infection was determined to be the culprit. Rusty and other Septic survivors continue to help save lives!!!)

We continue growing!
Brody, our grandson, is now 5 months old and his parents, Mary and David, just finished their 2nd year of Pharmacy School at Campbell.  Two more to go!!  Their wedding will be next July and Rusty will walk Mary down the aisle!!!!!!   
Our granddaughter will be born in Oct. to Meghan and Tom! They are currently in Boston with Tom playing for the Red Sox and Meghan working as a Dentist in various dental practices.
My mom and Rusty's dad are doing very well!!!  We have soooo much to be thankful for and EVERY day we truly appreciate the Gift of Life!!!  God is Good!
Blessings to all!
Bonnie and Rusty
13 people hearted this



NIck Russos
By NIck Russos
Great to hear things are going well. Rusty, you and family in prayers daily. Say hello to your dad for me.
1 person hearted this
Jodie McClement
Bonnie it all sounds so great !! Grandkids are the best! Love you all jodie
Stacy Poole
Look at all the happy things that you all have going for yall!! That is wonderful!!!!! You all are amazing and wonderful!!!! I know you and Rusty are enjoying your grandson and now a little girl on the way!!!! How exciting!!!!!! You are absolutely right, God is Good!!!! Take care and hope to see you soon!!!!!!!
Pam Peeden
By Pam Peeden Beck
It Is So Good To Hear From The Two Of You! Well, I Am Now Only One Year Ahead Of You On The Number Of Years Married, Even Though I Have Been Remarried For 4 1/2 Years Now! My 32nd Wedding Anniversary Gift From Scott, My First Husband, Was Him Telling Me That He Wanted A Divorce Due To All Of The Chronic Illnesses That I Have, One Of Which Are My Severe Migraine Headaches, That I Acquired After My Younger 34-Year-Old Sister, And Only Sibling, Committed Suicide, Just Two Years After I Lost My Precious Daddy To A Malignant Brain Tumor! I Was Distraught! However, I Have Always Heard That Everything Happens For A Reason! Graeme, My Second Husband, And I Had Been Friends On Facebook For A While! Absolutely No One Knew What I Was Going Through, As I Told No One! However, He Detected That Something Was Wrong With Me, As I Was Not My Usual Happy Self! So, I Broke Down To Him! To Make A Long Story Short, He Asked Me If I Had Ever Been To England, Which I Had Not! So, He Invited Me To England For A Two-Week Visit! And, That Was It! He Showed Me All Of The Attention That I Had Been Missing From Scott For The Last Five Years Of Our Marriage! I Must Admit, Though, That It Was Very Hard To Begin Dating Again And To Remarry At The Age Of 51! Well, Anyway, Happy Belated Anniversary To You Both! I Am So Happy To Hear That The Sepsis Walk Went Well! I So Wish That I Could Have Been There! Rusty Has Always Been My Hero, But Moreso Now Since Your Friend's Life Was Saved! Brody Is Absolutely Adorable! You Look None Too Proud In Those Photos Rusty! I Always Cry At Weddings, As I Am So Sentimental! But, If I Saw Rusty Walking Mary Down The Aisle, I Know For Certain That I Would Make A Spectacle Out Of Myself! Congratulations On The Upcoming Birth Of Your Granddaughter! Bonnie, Do Not Buy Out Wendell Of Everything Pink! Being Grandparents Is The Reward That We Reap From Being Parents! My Grandchildren Are 11 And 8, Jennifer's Children! Chris Does Not Have Any Children As Yet! But, Believe Me, He Is "Itching" To Become A Daddy! I Am Glad To Hear That Great-Grandma And Great-Grandpa Are Doing Well! We All Have A Lot To Be Thankful For! I Send You All My Love, Huge Hugs, And God's Many Blessings Each And Every Day!
Kristen Parham
By Kristen Parham
Happy belated Anniversary and congratulations on the exciting news of the new grand baby!!! So sorry I missed you all at the Sepsis walk but hope to be there next year...WITH FRIENDS! Love to you both!!!
Joan Fitts
By Joan Fitts
So happy for the entire Wagstaff family!!!!! --yes God is Good !!!! Thoughts and prayers continue to go your way.
Robin Kraha
By Robin Kraha
I am so happy for you guys. Rusty looks wonderful. Congrats on all the exciting news. We love and miss you guys!!!!
Betty Murphrey
By Betty Murphrey
God is good, all the time. He has performed miracle after miracle in your life, hasn't He? So glad to get the update and praise.
Donna Waszak
By Donna Waszak
So very excited for all of you!!! God's blessings are abundant!!!!!!
1 person hearted this