I don’t really know where to start here but want to first thank each of you for the prayers and love you have shown Jim and I. Also for the help and gifts. Jim is so overjoyed to know how much people care about the situation that we are in at this time of our lives.
God has never left our sides even though at times things seem so very difficult. I’ll try to keep this short, but it’s hard for me to condense 17 months into a few brief sentences.
Jim had a massive heart attack that they said he should not have survived. He had 5 blockages and a large blood clot. They could not do surgery until the clot dissolved, so they put him on blood thinners. To me, it seemed like a ticking time bomb.
10/2 Jim went in for surgery in Fargo with Dr. Newman. During surgery he had 4 bypasses. There hope was that he would be like a new man afterwards. He went home on many different meds and blood thinners, and still seemed very weak and tired.
Jim’s legs started to go numb and paralyzed , while also still suffering considerable in his neck from an accident at work in 1994. Due to the unmanagable pain from the neck the doctors decided to perform neck surgery. He ended up with 3 metal plates and titanium screws. While still weak and not fully recovered from his heart surgery, he continued to seem to not really recover and get back to his regular self. During all of this his diabetes became worse and he was rapidly losing weight and unable to control his blood sugar levels. He is also told no more surgery for at least a year, due to too much anesthesia. He was still on many different meds at home and yet just couldn’t seem to get better.
9/7 Jim falls down and is in great pain. We went to the Bemidji emergency room where they give him meds to manage the pain and antibiotics to take care of the small pneumonia they find.
9/9 Jim goes back to the Sandford ER in Bemidji unable to walk at all. He is full of pain and is suffering from intense headaches. They took a CT scan to determine what was going on and they discovered large masses in his lungs. They couldn’t tell at that time what they were caused from.
9/10 Jim is admitted to the hospital at 2am. He continued to suffer with the severe headaches all night so bad that he just held his head in pain. They continued to administer meds without any relief of the pain. By the morning of the 10th Jim was so confused that he did not know where he was, or even who I was. He continued running fever and chills, and to suffer from the pain. The doctors attempted to do an MRI, but Jim was so confused and out of touch with what was going on that the were unable to get a good result. As he continued to get progressively worse he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, ICU. They did a brachoscope to wash his lungs and get a biopsy, but due to some error those labs were destroyed, they ended up having to repeat the test on the 12th. They sent those tests to Mayo in Rochester, but we were told it could take up to a week to get results. All the while they were trying to figure out what was going on, Jim continued to worsen. They suspected he could have fungal pneumonia, lymes disease or cancer. The infectious disease doctor said that they could not wait any longer to treat the possible fungal pneumonia, so they started him on IV meds, even though they were very strong and had many side effects. He had many doses of this med and the test did come back positive for the fungal pneumonia. The meds were very hard on his body though and began to damage his kidneys. So there was a consult with a kidney doctor. By then he could swallow again so he was switched to oral meds for the fungal pneumonia. They also discovered that during the times of his intense headaches he had suffered 4 different mini-strokes.
9/15 Jim is moved out of ICU and into a regular room on various meds for his heart and the fungal pneumonia. They told us that the medication he was on had destroyed his bodies adrenal gland and his pituitary gland, these control how the body functions and are the glands that run how the body works. This meant they needed to give him medication to replace what these glands would normally take care of. The doctors were having a lot of trouble keeping the IVs going and they found Jim had a blood clot in his right arm and right side of his body. Everything was seeming to get good enough to go home though, with limited ability to do anything and completely exhausted. He was also on many different oral medications. He was home on about the 19th of September.
11/6 Jim is so pale and sickly and is continuing to fall down more than ever. He had a doctor appointment this day and was so sick, he couldn’t really even function. His doctor admitted him to the hospital and continued with the same treatment as before. Things continued this was for a week, while Jim just kept getting worse.
11/11 His blood pressure drops dramatically to 63/40 and they are unable to help with any IV meds as his veins have all collapsed. He needs the meds very much so they admitted him to the ICU and finally get vein in the neck that they can put an IV in. They wanted to send him by helicopter to Mayo, but due to the weather the helicopter is not able to be used. The doctors at Mayo said to send him to Fargo, as they needed him to be at the closest hospital. Turns out this was all part of God’s plan as they had him in the plane and in Fargo in just 24 minutes. Jim was suffering throughout this ordeal and had started to swell in his legs and was so white and cold. When we got to Fargo, he was bleeding internally and the doctors figured he had been bleeding since July, but with all the meds and doctoring, it had just now gotten bad enough to be so dangerous. His doctor in Fargo said that if it had been just 10 minutes more Jim might have died. He lost ⅔ of his blood and they had to give him so many transfusions he gained almost 35 pounds in fluid. With this much fluid in his body it caused all kinds of other problems. He couldn’t walk on his own and could only move with assistance. They determined that the bleed had happened because of the reaction of the blood thinning meds and the meds for the fungal pneumonia. He is in the most pain I have ever seen him in, far above the 10 on the pain scale. Some of the pain is because of the intense fluid in his legs. He remains in the hospital for 17 days.
11/28 Jim is transferred to the S. University Hospital for extensive occupational therapy and physical therapy. He seems to be doing well in his first day and a half. The next day though he spikes a 104 degree fever and his blood pressure drops again. He is taken back to the other hospital by ambulance.
11/29 They prep him for another surgery thinking that there is another bleed, Jim is so confused he does not know where he is again or what is going on. The test they run though showed it wasn’t another bleed, it was a blood infection and bladder infection which had caused him to have the fever and confusion. He is given more fluids and is treated for the infections. He remains there until December 6th.
12/6 He is transferred back to rehab, where he still is working hard at being able to go home and be healthy.
The doctors are saying it will be 2-4 weeks of intensive therapy and rehab as he will have to completely learn to walk again. Jim has had to have assistance for all transfers, but he is starting to walk now with help. I am praying he will be able to walk when he comes home and that all his meds will work together to help and not harm him anymore. Once he is home we will have to meet with infectious disease again too, as he was supposed to be on the the fungal pneumonia meds and was only able to take the for 2 months. May God heal this as He is the only One who could take care of so many health problems. If anyone understands that it’s God who will do the healing, it is Jim. I am so proud of him, and his love and continually positive attitude. He loves and misses all of you and I do too. We are so grateful for all of our family and friends, God has blessed us abundantly and knows our future. May God bless you all and I will try to keep you updated as things move forward.