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On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, Kari underwent open heart surgery in Appleton. Due to post-operative complications Kari had to be transported via flight for life later that evening to University Hospital in Madison. Medical staff from Appleton and UW Hospital worked closely with each other to identify and implement a treatment plan as her situation had become critical.
On March 9th, doctors from UW Hospital performed another procedure to address the post operative complications Kari had experienced. In addition they continued to pursue an aggressive medicinal process to counteract some of the physical complications Kari was experiencing. Later that day Kari's condition started to improve, but her situation was still very critical.
On March 10th Kari's condition continued to improve and medical staff began to slowly reduce medications and life support systems needed to stabilize Kari's system. Even though Kari's condition was improving medical staff continued to proceed very cautiously as her condition was still critical.
On March 11th Kari made great strides over the last 24 hours. She had her breathing tube removed and was taking her first steps. For the first time since March 8th she has been conscious and able to communicate with medical staff and family. Her condition continues to improve and we are cautiously optimistic about her condition.
On March 14th Kari was taken out of ICU and moved to IMU, the cardiac wing where they kept close eye on her heart function and changing medication. There she also continued to take steps in the right direction, eating, walking and learning what the next steps will be on her road to recovery.
On March 17th Kari was discharged from UW Madison and journeyed back home with her husband. She has made many improvements and the final tests performed at the UW hospital has shown that she is making great progress.
That elation was short lived as Kari again found herself very short of breath and was admitted back to ThedaCare Appleton on 5/25/17. Again doctors were at a loss and Kari was once again flown to Madison on 5/31/17. She suffered from kidney and liver failure and had to stay in ICU for nearly 2 weeks. She had to have a breathing tube to help her breathe as she was in critical condition. They took the tube out 4 days later in hopes that she could breathe on her own but a servere coughing episode made them put the breathing tube back in a second time. Kari also had to have a feeding tube put in as she had no food since her stay at ThedaCare Appleton.
Family stayed by her side and prayed with their pastor until the day came that she could get the second breathing tube out and get her out of ICU. She was moved to IMU again where the nurses kept close watch over Kari and her vitals and made sure she was on the right track to recovery. She eventually had her feeding tube removed and was on a very strict diet, to help her swallow after all of the breathing tubes in the short amount of time. The staff at UW Madison has been amazing through this whole process, her nurse in ICU when she was initially admitted visited her twice after she was moved to IMU to check in on her and tell her about her journey in ICU.
June 14th, Kari discharged from UW Madison and went home to begin another long recovery process. So far she is on a strict diet of thickened liquids and low sodium/sugar/fat foods. She is on a lot of medications to help keep the retaining fluids off so we don't get another scare like the end of May. She doesn't have a voice at the moment but we are hopeful to get some answers with future appointments. Her kidney and liver function is recovering at a nice pace. And her strength and endurance is building slowly every day.
As a family we cannot put into words how stressful the last several days have been. We learned how fragile life is and how fast our world can be turned upside down. The last several days have reaffirmed the importance of faith and family, for we truly believe without God's love for us and for Kari we would not have made it through this difficult time. We know the road to recovery for Kari will be long, but we will continue to pray for her and we ask that you do the same. Any words of encouragement for Kari would be appreciated as we believe it will aid in her healing process. For those who know Kari we can truly say she is a survivor and her story is an inspiration for all. May God bless her.