Tom's health journey is a long, ever changing story!!
HERE IS SOME BACKGROUND INFO THAT WILL BRING YOU UP TO DATE IN THIS BATTLE........
20+ yrs. ago Tom began his congestive heart failure issues, after a virus damaged his heart. Many procedures later, his heart settled into a sort of strange AFib arrythimia, but this was his norm, and he is still in AFib.
( the years between these two paragraphs held many surgeries, procedures and amazing touches from God.!!!)
3+ yrs. ago, he had his right knee replaced. 10 mo. later it became infected. This led to a chain of events including his kidneys needing weekly dialysis. I now have been trained to do his hemodialysis at home, 5 days a week. So, the knee surgeon took out his prosthesis . He endured HUGE pain for 8 wks. with a spacer and antibiotics in that knee, until the infection was gone, then they put in a new prosthesis and 10 mo. later that knee became infected also. We then learned that his body was carrying a bad infection., it was NOT the same bacteria as was in his knee. The BAD bacteria is antibiotic resistant and there is only one drug that will keep it at bay. It is not curable. (Please know that I am certainly not a medical expert, so I am telling you this story as I understand...LOL)
So, for the past 2+ yrs. he has been in and out of the hospital for a myriad of issues. (That knee has been reopened 5 times). In March 2016, he was still somewhat independent and driving. He took a ministry trip to northern Arkansas. On his way home, he had a blow out on a winding mountain, flipped the car, and rolled into a culvert. He was LifeFlighted to Springfield, MO, to the nearest trauma hospital. He had trauma brain injuries in 4 places and numerous other issues, most of which would eventually heal. Once his brain began to heal we find out there are some deeper issues as a result of the accident. He was diagnosed with Chronic Inflamatory Demylinating Polyneuropathy. (CIDP). big word, huh?? The way this plays out in his body is that his own antibodies are eating the protective myelin sheath from his nerves, all over his body, causing muscle weakness and pain. So he now gets infusion of donor antibodies every 3 wks.. They believe these antibiotics can "teach" his antibodies to behave!!?!
So, you can see he has multiple chronic issues.
So, on Monday, June 5th we knew he wasn't well, fever, swollen knee, pain. Took him to the Doc, who sent him to the hospital. They took fluid out of that knee to send to pathology and it turns out to be the BAD bacteria that lives in his body. This had never happened. .It spread to his whole body quickly, and he became septic on Tues., June 6.... and he FULLY coded. But this wasn't the day the Lord had chosen for him! The rapid response team was amazing and he went to ICU. It took 5 hrs. to stabilize him, and they weren't too sure they could. BP was very low, 50/20 and his heart rate was 240. Once he was more stable they took him into surgery to get the infection out of his knee and 2+ hrs. he was out. THAT WAS 3 WEEKS AGO. 9 days in ICU and now in a regular room. He has been weaning off lots of drugs that kept him stable and is now improving each day. But they can't leave things the way they are. This drug that is keeping the BAD bacteria at bay is only available in IV form. He can't stay on this drug, as it is THE ONLY ONE that will control this bacteria, and they do not want him to become immune to it, as it will be needed in the future. They feel if he goes sepsis again, his body would not survive it as he did this time.
So, they feel that the only decision is to amputate his right leg from the mid-thigh. We spent a week praying about this, considering all the options and it really was not a choice...leg or life?? Tom knows that God (and us) don't care how many limbs he has or doesn't have. We spent time with our family last weekend talking through the details....our kids and grands are amazing! #teamTDaddy. #take a knee. (Get it-double meaning, also meaning to pray!!)
We don't have a time frame yet, we have a limited window because of the antibiotics, so probably within the next 3-6 weeks. He is currently in the hospital and will be there for the next few months.
Our desire is to go to rehab prior to surgery, so he can get as strong as possible. He has torn rotator cuffs and arthyritis in his shoulders, so drastically improving his upper body strength is a real challenge. But we need for him to be as strong as possible. In order to go to rehab and not skilled nursing facility, he has to meet some strength and endurance requirements. So, he is working very aggressively to do that. After surgery he will need to go back to rehab to learn this new lifestyle.
This has been a Few tough weeks. We have seen God in the BIG and small. Please join us in praying for this next season and all that it will bring. Please check back for updates!
Our love to you, Tom & Gay Nell
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