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Chaplain Ken Beale
8/23/2016 Latest post:
Early on the morning of August 16th, Ken went into the Minneapolis VA Medical Center for a routine colonoscopy. During the procedure, he experienced chest pain which resulted in being rushed to the CATH Lab where they determined he had suffered a mild heart attack. It was believed that this occurred due to being off his Warfarin for 5 days prior to the procedure (blood thinner due to his 2012 Mayo Clinic Heart surgery). He was removed from the Warfarin in order to thicken his blood (for clotting purposes) should they find any polyps during the colonoscopy. They did in fact find and remove 3 which have been determined to be benign. The morning of August 17th, Ken felt similar chest pains which resulted in another trip to the CATH Lab, and another confirmation that in fact, he had suffered another minor heart attack. With 2 heart attacks in 24 hours, doctors determined to address the issue by rapidly thinning his blood to avoid additional clots. This in fact resulted in no more heart attacks and on Friday, August 19th he was discharged. With self-administered shots and prescribed meds at home, Ken was scheduled to return to the blood lab on Monday, August 22 to measure his INR levels and ensure he was back safely between the 2-3 level range ~ upon discharge, he was at 1.6 INR.
Ken arrived for his scheduled blood lab appointment on Monday morning and it was confirmed that his INR was safely back to 2.1 and no more self-administered shots were needed, only oral thinners. The night before (Sunday), while watching TV, Ken began to get a headache that progressively got worse in 24 hours. At his Monday morning appointment, he had disclosed that he was symptomatic with a headache and was advised to take tylenol every 6 hours. After arriving home, Ken had a headache that caused him to vomit, but insisted he was "OK" and continued his daily routine at home. Kens headache got progressively worse and pain continued to move down his neck. Around 9pm on Monday, August 22nd, Ken had violent vomiting, at which point his wife, Kathy, called 911. Upon the paramedics arrival, Kens blood pressure was high and he was transported, via ambulance, back to the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.
The emergency room staff ordered a CAT scan which was reviewed by the Neurological staff and found that Ken had a severe hemorrhage on his brain, in two separate locations. He was given 2 doses of FFP (Fresh Frozen Plasma) to help stabilize the "thickness/thinness" of his blood. This is really a catch22 in his situation, as too thick can potentially cause another heart attack or stroke, and too thin could result in more bleeding, causing the hemorrhage to grow/worsen (which in turn results in more pressure).
As of 4pm, August 23, Ken is stable and continues to be monitored in the MICU. His morning CAT scan concluded that there is no change in the hemorrhage, which counting our blessings is a good thing, because its not getting worse! His blood pressure continues to peak at times, where they are giving him IV drugs to lower. The next few days are critical in Ken's healing process, as the best case scenario is that the blood drains and reabsorbs back into his brain. Rest is imperative at this time, so if you choose to visit him, please keep the noise and amount of guests to a minimum at each time.
Kens family requests prayers that God gives the Drs wisdom in treating Ken, wisdom in finding the "cause" and comfort for his physical pain, since they cannot even alleviate it with certain medications due to the bleed.
We know that Ken has touched a lot of lives through his ministry and life, so any words of encouragement, posted photos, and just prayers lifted are greatly appreciated!
Please know that although we will try to update this as much as we can, no news in this situation is GOOD NEWS!! As his neurologist said this afternoon, "BORING IS GOOD!!"
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, this is a scary and trying time, however, as our family believes and was so elegantly written in Psalm 121: 1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains-- where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you-- the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.