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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

Lace Up!

Rusty is doing GREAT! He drives us everywhere and has been working in therapy to be able to use his myoelectric hands! He has spoken to the youth at Cary Presbyterian Church and to members at Zebulon Baptist Church. He did a fabulous job speaking of his faith, family and friends! Also, he is trying to help spread the word on Sepsis and is the Honorary Event Chair for the 2nd Annual Step On Sepsis 5K Road Race and Walkathon. Please check out the website StepOnSepsis.Org. We would love for you to come walk with us!!!
(He's preparing now for his third speaking engagement as well as enjoying our first grandchild, Brody!)
We continue to thank the Lord every day for the gift of life!
God Bless!
Bonnie and Rusty

14 people hearted this



Kathy Gourley
By Kathy Gourley
John and I will be there!
Robin Wilson
By Robin and Candy Wilson
Hey y'all. Great update. So excited that Rusty is driving everywhere, speaking , inspiring others as he has inspired those of us who have known the challenges y'all have faced.
Wonderful to see Rusty talking about Sepsis. It was my Dad's cause of death back in 2007. We will put the walk on the calendar.
Rusty, we miss you at Empire!
Jodie McClement
By jodie
Bonnie LOVE your update! Sounds like things are going very well. That makes me so happy! Hugs to all of you! Jodie
Angela Kearney
By Angela Capps Kearney
So glad that someone has decided to bring sepsis to the forefront. My aunt passed away last August from septic shock. It should never have gotten as far as it did. They said she had one of the worst cases they'd ever seen. Thank you, Rusty, for being a part as the Honorary Event Chair for the Roadrace and Walkathon. We do need to get the word out about this terrible disease. Angela
Ruth Hudgins
By Ruthie
I got my e-mail from the Sepsis run and I am planning to go! I can't wait to see you all there!!! :)
margaret stauffer
Was so happy to see and hear you Sunday at Zebulon Baptist. You are so inspiring. Thank you!
Kay Michaels
By Kay Michaels
Hi Bonnie and Rusty! Thanks for keeping us updated on all of your good news. Just put the walk on my calendar so expect to see Dean and Kay at the walk. Dean dreamed that Rusty called him this morning at 1:30am. Must have been to update us on his progress. :) Congratulations proud grandparents. Brody is adorable!
Ken Partin
By Ken Partin
Keep up the great work Rusty. It's great to see what the Lord can do in people's lives.
Rossie Koss
By Rossie
Praise God! Keep it up Rusty- Touching lives
David & Candy Lewis
By David & Candy Lewis
The Lord is always good!
God's blessings to all.
Trusting Him,
David & Candy