Keith Weikel

Our grandson Connor set up this Caring Bridge account so that I might better inform friends and family during Keith's recovery with complications  from anterior hip replacement surgery on November 30th.   Actually the problems started weeks before when he was first scheduled for the hip replacement on June 16th.   Keith has had idiopathic neuropathy in both feet for 10+ yrs.  (many sleepless nights!) but we didn't realize he had no cartilage in his left hip until last June.   We normally would be back in Ohio, May thru September, but we joined the Medallion concierge medical program at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville  last spring.  .  We wanted him to have the surgery at Mayo where he would be managed post-op by several specialists who are familiar with his history.   However, he hurt his back working on the pool equipment so we had to postpone the surgery.  We went back to Ohio and he worked with a physical therapist there to heal his back.    We returned to GA for the hip surgery September 20th.   The 19th the surgeon's PA called to say the surgeon needed surgery so Keith's was postponed again until October 7th which was the very day the hurricane arrived here.   We evacuated to Kristin's home  in Houston.   Keith's new surgery date (the 4th!)  was not until November 30th.  Meanwhile Keith was becoming more and more uncomfortable and moving less and less due to the pain.   

During each pre-op testing - labs, physical exam, etc.,  our internist noted his progressing anemia.  Keith has had Stage 3 kidney disease for over 5 years (severe kidney infection 2002) so anemia  was not unusual.  But it had reached a point of concern and a bone marrow biopsy was performed.  Conclusion, he has MDS (lay terms: a lazy bone marrow) and post- op has started on Aranesp injections monthly or more.   We knew he would need 4-6 pints of blood for the surgery.  He had 3 the day of surgery plus a unit of platelets, and three transfusions since.   Rick and I brought him home on the 3rd.  Before noon on the 4th I called EMS and got him into the local ER to be checked.  They determined he had had a heart attack at some point post-op.  I had him transferred back to Mayo for a heart cath and stent on the 6th.   Tests post cath indicate no damage to the heart because blockage from clot (removed) was not complete(90%).   All good!  

However,  all this was a lot for Keith to go through.  We are both trying to wrap our head around the diagnosis of MDS which means frequent lab testing, possible transfusions, chronic anemia, etc.   For someone who has lived his life going 100 miles an hour 24/7, he is wondering where his "go" ,  "went"??  It is going to improve as  his labs stabilize and his stamina builds.  When his hemoglobin is below 8 he does feel like he's running on empty and, he is.   Hopefully the injections will kick in soon.  He had the first one only a week ago.  Meanwhile he is working hard to rehab his hip and generally get his strength back after so many weeks of relative inactivity.  

When it became obvious that his recovery was going to be more difficult and complicated than a routine hip replacement, Paul Ormond, CEO of Keith's former company, rallied the troops big time to help us.   Paul has extended any help we might need from the many resources of HCR and Keith's former employees have been pouring love and encouragement on both of us ever since.   It is impossible to adequately express our gratitude or how humbled we are by the kindness and generosity we have received.   So many times employees would tell me that Keith made them feel he was interested in their lives and when there was a problem "he always had their back."   We are both feeling very loved in return and it means more than words can express.   As a very young nurse and throughout my life I have observed and always believed that God's Grace is expressed in the kind acts we do for one another.   Keith and I feel we have been very blessed.  

He has been at Heartland Healthcare Center on the west side of Jacksonville since leaving Mayo the second time on Dec. 9th.   He has made amazing progress thanks to "HCR boot camp" at the center.   His desire to be home for Christmas has been a great motivator to work very hard in PT.   Thursday he is coming home.  We will swing by Mayo and he will see his internist, hematologist/oncologist, nephrologist, orthropod and cardiologist before we come home.   Right now we are not scheduled to go back down to Mayo till Jan. 10th and 16th.  That will be wonderful but could change.  Meanwhile we have an excellent internist locally.

Rick was here the week of Keith's surgery and cardiac cath/stent.  He left to go home to western NY before they got 3 feet of snow.  Kristin arrived from Houston and will stay through the holidays.  Rick's family is coming Friday for the holiday week.  Keith's brother Allen has been so supportive throughout the Mayo and Heartland stay visiting almost daily from his and Barb's (my sister-in-law is also a Barbara) condo on the beach in St.Augustine.  Our friends here on Sea Island and St. Simons have been very kind and supportive also.  We are so thankful to be embraced with so much caring and kindness at times like this when we feel the need for strength from others and  most of all from our Heavenly Father.    Thanks be to God.

I will add when there is an update.  In the meantime, blessings to all for happy holidays and a Merry Christmas and peace in 2016!!!



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