Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It is Christmas Eve today.  I am not sure if anyone still reads this blog but if it helps family to stay up with us, I guess I will continue for a little while.  I do want to catch you up with some of the unfinished items.

First, on the 22nd we got the great news that our broker had sold the pickup for FULL PRICE.  A Christian publisher in Springfield bought it for his daughter who was attending OSU.  She even liked the OSU sticker on the back window!  Now we can look for a van in earnest.

We have heard no more on the insurance coverage on the chair.  Silence from both ODS and Care Med the wheelchair vendor.

We did get a letter from ODS that might indicate they had approved the standing frame.  Something was submitted to them Dec. 3rd from Care Med that they approved.  It might however be just a different charge for the chair.  After Christmas, we will call.

The other BIG news is that we DID receive a benefits letter from Social Security disability and Lynn will start receiving benefits in February.  We are so grateful because we are finding it hard to keep up with all the extra expenses of being disabled.

I know you are wondering if there has been any improvement physically.  The answer would have to be "no".
We wish and pray for some hopeful signs as we move into 2011. 

In spite of the above, Lynn continues to challenge himself to live life to the full.  This week he went visiting for the first time to his mom in Springfield.  Becky and Joe helped him up the stairs into her home.  Tomorrow we are going to Portland to spend Christmas day with my family and will be gone for a number of hours.  I know if these ventures are successful, there will be more of them.  In Rehab they tell you that it could take up to two full years for Lynn to fully reintegrate himself back into society.  Each of these "new" experiences helps with that.

Lastly,  again we wish to thank everyone for all your prayers, thoughts, actions and expressions of caring.  Each and everyone mean a great deal to both of us.  We hope that anyone reading this blog will have a blessed and grace-filled Christmas!  Love,   The Ellis'

Sunday, December 12, 2010

partial answers

There was movement this week on all our issues but no total answers.

First, transportation.  No bites on the truck but we did get to look at the van.  It was not outfitted for the size of Lynn's chairs but we got to see what they are like and that was cool.  The person who brought it - Mike- has been in a wheel chair since he was 18 and we got to talk with him a bit. He will be a wonderful resource when we sell the truck and we are ready to move into next steps.

Next, insurance and the chair.  Well, we are partially there.  Now they say we only owe $3,400 but our gal at Care Med, the wheelchair vendor, said not to worry she is working on that too.  I really don't understand it but  the numbers ARE getting better so we'll keep trusting.

I guess I was wrong about insurance saying they would cover the standing frame.  The proposal to them was only submitted this week.  I guess what the rep. said to me was that insurance companies usually cover it NOT that ODS, our company, would.  Another waiting game.

Finally, we got a letter from Social Security this week that was strange.  It was about setting up a password IF we were to get Social Security benefits but NOT to do it unless we got a letter saying we WOULD get benefits.  Why wouldn't you send this letter with your benefits letter and not bother if someone wasn't getting benefits.  Crazy!

Lynn and I went Christmas shopping today - in our kitchen!  Together we shopped online for our gifts.  It was lots of fun.  We do plan to go out once when school gets out but we could not do the power shopping trip we did in the past.  When the packages arrive, Lynn will become the official present wrapper as he couldn't be the outside decorations man this year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Waiting Game

There was no word this week on insurance's response to our challenging of the wheelchair benefits.  Lynn called Friday and the person handling our case from Care Med was not in that day.

There was no van visit as the individual bringing it by got terribly sick.  He has been in a wheelcair himself for 30 years.

There was no phone call telling us the truck has sold.

And , of course, most importantly, there was no change in Lynn's condition.

We are learning to be patient!

On the up side, Lynn and I tackled the driveway on Saturday and together, with Lynn using a blower and I, a rake, we managed to clean off all the debris from the hickory trees. We also decided the one that is dying inside is coming down this winter.  It creates such a mountain of work and it will over time be a hazard with large limbs falling in the big storms.  Lynn felt good, though, being out and caring for the place like he used to.

Joe and I have begun to feed the cows.  Our neighbor will take them off our hands after January 1 but in the mean time we are trying to push the hay on them to clear it from the barn.  Of course, they have no objections to such a feast!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Down side of Insurance

On the last entry I told you how it looked like insurance would cover a standing frame for Lynn.  Now we are not sure of anything.  Why?  Saturday we got our insurance explanation of benefits on the power chair and to our utter surprise and dismay it told us insurance was covering only $ 6,000 of the 19,000 bill. Gulp!  That is not what we had been told all along.  Care Med said insurance said they would pay 80 % and we had the other 20% (which we have already paid) The bill had been submitted to insurance for preapproval. Of course, it was a Saturday so phone calls have to wait until tomorrow.  We are so hoping this will just prove to be a mistake on the part of insurance.  Please keep this matter in your prayers.

We are still working on the driving situation.  This week Lynn could get to see a van that is all equipped for a person in a wheelchair.  The owner is considering a trade for the pickup, we think.  It is a hard time of the year to unload a used vehicle.

There have been some bad times with Lynn's muscle spasms.  We are still trying to figure out what triggers them.  There are nights when I simply canot get them to bend when he gets into bed.  They seem to have a life of their own and I actually talk to them when they don't cooperate.  If he was a complete paraplegic, he wouldn't be dealing with this part.  It is the oddest part of all of this.  Legs that move but not by choice.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Good News

I know I have not written in awhile but I do have some good news to share.  Friday Lynn got a call from Social Security Disability and it looks like they are going to approve him without much wait.  We were told in Rehab that this could be a long drawn out process that could last up to two years.  But his caseworker said he would be approved soon.  The power of prayer!!!!!  This money will help us with the extra expenses that come with the territory of being disabled. 

Also this week we found out that our insurance will cover a standing frame for Lynn.  This piece of equipment allows Lynn to stand upright for several hours a day if he would like.  The health benefits are huge.  He doesn't get to move around in it but he will be able to get blood flowing to his legs.

These two developments give us even moreto be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

We do have one prayer request.  Please pray that we will be able to sell Lynn's pickup soon.  It is a bad time of the year for used vehicle sales.  Once we sell it, however, we can begin looking for a used van in earnest.  It is possible too that we may be able to negotiate a swap for a van.  Our agent is looking at all possibilities and has inquiries out all over the state so we continue hopeful something will happen soon.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

No More Loaner

Monday Lynn got his very own wheelchairs.  The power chair was care of the insurance company and the new manual was our purchase.  The powerchair brought some need for adjustments in the house. It is much bigger and needed more room for manuveurs so there was some more furniture moving this weekend.  It really helped.  Another cool feature is that it raises up and then tilts back so it acts like a lounge chair.  We haven't tried it in the yard yet but it is supposed to make it safer to travel on grass and gravel.  The down side is Lynn's lower back tightens up in it.  We are making some cushion adjustments to see if that helps.

I love the new manual because the frame is made of lightweight aluminum and is so much easier to pick up and put in the back of the car.

Tuesday Jody Seward helped me get Lynn's pickup to Eugene  to sell. Now we have to get enough money out of it to be able to get a van for Lynn to drive with hand controls.

Thursday was our doctor visit.  We are going to halt therapy soon until we see what return Lynn gets.  Dr. Weller said there are signs Lynn is still healing and this would continue for at least a year.  He is doing all the things he needs to do at home in a daily exercise program to keep his tone and stimulate his muscles and she said that is more important right now than once a week therapy.

His spirits remain pretty steady.  Saturdays are the hardest, though, because that is when he remembers the chores he used to do around the place.  If you are reading this, we ask for your continued prayers.  All of this will always call for strength and there is power in prayer.  God bless!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Out on the Town

We're getting braver!  Friday Lynn wanted to go to a used car lot to see how tall trucks are compared to his wheelchair.  Result?  Trucks out, cargo vans move up on the list.  He decided transferring in and out would be too hard on his shoulders over time.  The big thing for me though is that we went out of town.  We realized driving to Albany that the last time Lynn had gone this way was the ambulance ride to the hospital on July 10th!  Amazing!  Lynn also went into his first store in a wheelchair while we were in Albany.  He was the only disabled person we saw. 

Then on Saturday he took the plunge and attended an indoor event - the girls' varsity volleyball game.  Each of these steps is important to his reintegration into society.  He is not quite so nervous about it now and he realizes being with others really helps him deal with what has happened. 

Tomorrow is a big day.  His own wheelchairs are being delivered. No more loaner chair that hurts his back!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Down but Not out

Last week I wrote that Joe and I both saw Lynn move his left foot several times.  When he went to therapy this week, however, he could not repeat this for her.  Did he move it? We believe he did. We'll keep you posted on this.

On the up side this week I can report progress on the bowel and bladder front.  Lynn started to take a probiotic once a day (this is the bacteria you find in Activia for an example) and a super enzyme at every meal.  This has really aided digestion and cut down on some of the problems Lynn was having.  He has a ways to go but this week was a positive step in the right direction.

Lynn is also beginning to take steps to get back behind the wheel again and achieve some personal independence.  He contacted a broker who will look for a buyer for his Mazda pickup.  Saturday I cleaned out the bed of the truck and vacummed the inside.  We plan to go and look at used trucks this coming weekend to see which ones, if any, he feels he could transfer into.  We have our eyes on Ford Rangers.

Your prayers keep us going even when we get shot down.  Thank you for your persistence!  Nancy

PS  The Gospel at Mass this week was about the persistent widow.  It is becoming my favorite!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Reason for Hope

I was in the kitchen Friday morning and Lynn called for me to come in to the bedroom.  "Watch my left foot," he said.  "I think I am moving it."  Now I had heard this from him many times before but the great news is that this time, he WAS moving his left foot voluntarily.  I watched him do it three times and I screamed for Joe to come downstairs and Lynn moved it for him too!  The movement is a small one but definite - no tricks of the eyes!  Lynn said also that he has felt his left top thigh muscle move since that time at OT and he was pretty sure he had seen the foot move too.  He was ready to test it by calling us in.  He is being very unemotional about it because he knows he may be told it doesn't mean a whole lot.  I, however, have sensed his body is continuing to heal.

I am the one who positions his legs each night in bed and there have been other signs.  His right leg has begun to have a small amount of feeling and to involuntarily spasm - a big change from pretty much nothing during rehab.  It also is warmer than it used to be.  If the right is waking up, you have to think the left must be too.
Anyway, please keep praying.  I just remember Jesus in Scripture admiring the persistence of the widow with the judge. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How is Lynn Doing?

This is a question I get asked so many times per day and I find it hard to know how to answer.  On one hand, we are adjusting amazingly well and are slowly but surely doing many of the things we used to do before: attend church, go for walks, work around the house, laugh, etc. But on the other hand, there are continued struggles with issues of paralysis that seem daunting.  For example, it is hard to imagine Lynn ever getting to eat anywhere but home ever again.

As you can tell this week our days were dominated by food - is he eating the wrong things?  too much? too little?  not at the right times? too spicy?? too greasy??  They made bowel management sound so easy in Rehab - the reality is something different.  So our strategy this coming week is twofold:  a food diary and research.  Please pray we can get this worked out because Lynn's freedom of movement is at stake.

So.. when you ask me how he is doing I am probably going to say he is hanging in there because the real explanation is just too hard to explain.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Glimmer of Hope

At Lynn's outpatient therapy session this week, we received a tiny bit of hope.  Joan, his PT, asked him to try to point his toes.  When he did, I believed I saw movement in his upper thigh on the left side.  Joan was still talking to Lynn at the time so she asked him to repeat it while she put her hand on the thigh to see if she could feel the muscle contraction. (Therapists don't trust eyes; they trust feeling a muscle.)  At this second command, Joan felt his muscle voluntarily conract.  However, on a third and fourth try, nothing.  So it is one of two things:  1. It happened but the muscle for lack of use, tired after the first two contractions or 2.  Both of us wanted this so much we imagined the situation.  Of course, we hope it is the first possibility.  Lynn continues to do the exercises and visualizing every day to stimulate movement.  We will keep you posted.

We also had our first post-Rehab visit with his paraplegia doctor - Dr. Annette Weller.  We had a list of questions for her and she patiently answered all of them.  Without going into detail - Lynn's biggest and ongoing challenge is NOT being able to walk - it is the paralysis of his bowel and bladder functions.  Dr. Weller was able to give us suggestions on how Lynn could get some freedom from constantly dealing with this.  She did say though that it could take up to a year before he could be totally comfortable with say eating away from home.

Lastly Lynn went to the Huskies' football game Friday night.  We snuck in the back way through a locked fence.  We were able to watch the game from our usual spot.  By the third quarter, though, Lynn's legs were getting pretty cold and the team had the game thoroughly in hand so we headed home.  It was the first time Lynn had attended a public event since the injury.  One thing he noticed was how hard it is to have conversation with people who are all standing while you are sitting in a wheel chair.  One plus is that babies like to sit on your lap.  Julie Harvey's, Trent, sat there contentedly for quite some time.  That pleased Lynn.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


The highlight of this week was to finalize the purchase of Lynn's chairs.  Insurance is buying him a motorized one because he has had surgery on both shoulders and his left wrist is fused. They believed this was his best option. At first we wanted to reject the offer out of pride but we were convinced by people who cared that we should accept.  Lynn can use this chair in the house and take some strain off his shoulders during the day. (They are already beginning to ache quite a bit from the constant use wheeling the manual.) Privately, we will purchase a light weight manual that he can use to be able to drive again and to use when he wants to go "walking" for his heart health.  Tomorrow they will deliver a demo model so he can see how the motorized chair works in our house.

We so wish that we could be reporting the return of some movement to his legs but we cannot tell you that.  He faithfully does the exercises they have given him and we hope through prayer maybe something will happen before the two year window.

I close with a little story, however, of God's grace.  This weekend had been a hard one for Lynn.  He had eaten something that had not agreed with him and the rain dampened his spirits too.  We were on our way to church with the rain pouring down and I silently asked God if he would give Lynn a little sign of His presence.  Would He stop the rain so Lynn could get into church dry?  Even as we came up Fifth Street the rain was falling but as we pulled into the parking lot and began the process of setting up the wheel chair, I noticed the rain had stopped!  Quickly he transferred and he got into church dry as a bone!  Just minutes later other parishioners walked up to greet him and their jackets were soaked as a downpour had caught them.  Thank you, God for letting our family know in big ways and small that You are taking care of us! (PS - we also left church without getting wet.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Week of Firsts

1.  Lynn's first doctor's visit post Rehab - This was with Lynn's GP, Dr. Hindmarsh.  No new information but we did get told his coumadin visits could now be a month apart!!!

2. Lynn's first outpatient therapy visit.  This one was hard because the PTs evaluation really showed no improvement in movement or feeling from Rehab.  The good part was that we did have the choice not to go to Eugene twice a week but to make the journey just once weekly.  Our goals will be to ensure the best exercise program for Lynn and to monitor progress.  Until there are signs of return, that is the most he can do.

3. Lynn's first venture downtown -  He hadn't had a haircut since the beginning of July and access to Buddy, his barber, is out so Deb Cooley got a new client.  Both of us felt a little self-conscious about unloading the chair in a downtown parking lot but the only way to get over this is to do it.

4.Lynn's first trip back to church - This went well.  His chair just fit down the side aisle coming back from communion.  People were so warm and welcoming.  Like # 3 we were nervous about it but hopefully being out will get easier and easier.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Inservice Week

Well, I have realized right off the bat that this blog has to move to a "weekly" because I don't have much time since I returned to work.  I decided that at least for awhile I will update it every Sunday.  This wasn't a terribly stressful week for me or Lynn because both Becky and Joe were here every day to help Lynn over the rough spots  Becky worked her tail off organizing literally EVERY room downstairs to accomodate Lynn's wheelchair existence.  Joe had to go to work in the afternoons but he helped load, pack and carry plus doing chores outside.  Becky leaves Monday but Joe will be home in the mornings until school starts at LBCC.

I left school this week at 4:00 PM so Lynn could start his workout program.  Every other day we loaded up and went out to Wiley Creek to spin around the sidewalks there for a half an hour (more is just too hard on Lynn's shoulders right now).  On off days Becky has cleared out room so Lynn can use the Bowflex on upper body exercises.

Another wrinkle we hadn't expected is that Lynn has to have his blood drawn and tested every week for 3 months because he takes the blood thinner - coumadin.  This is because paraplegics have a greater chance for blood clots.  This testing involves a trip to the doctor's office for what is literally only a 5 min. experience.  I want to see if a home health nurse couldn't come here for this.  Going places right now is arduous because Lynn's loaner chair is much heavier than the one he used in Rehab and I am already missing so much work for other doctor and therapy visits.  It won't hurt to ask.

There has been no change in toe or foot movement but I definitely have seen an improvement in Lynn's use of his hips.  The other curious thing we are going to ask the doctor about on the 21st is that Lynn's left leg (the more feeling one) always feels warmer  than the right leg.  They used to both feel uniformly cold but not now.

Well, there are some highlights.  This coming week Lynn sees Dr. Hindmarsh, his GP, and his outpatient physical therapist on Friday.  As always,  we ask you to keep us in your prayers!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Andy and Friends

Today Andy and three of his friends, Tim Matuszak, Rick Stock and Jason Enright, tackled some of the essential outdoor projects that were left undone after July 9th.  There is always so much to do on a place with acreage and Lynn had made a long list of "projects" before the summer began.  This great group of guys tackled several of the big items on that list.  We are so very grateful for their kindness.  It is no small thing to give up a weekend day off to do something for another!!!!!!!

While they were working in the fields, Lynn and Becky took on on reorganizing Lynn's shop.  If anyone who reads this would like a metal workbench FREE of CHARGE, it is yours if you haul it away.  It is 8 ft. 2 1/2 in. long and has several drawers and other storage areas.  There is also a wooden top that goes with it.

Tomorrow I start back to work.  This isn't too scary for me yet because Becky and Joe are here but it is another new phase of our transition to this new life we have.  Please continue to pray for us. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Wow!  I thought I had the house ready for Lynn's homecoming but I discovered last night and today that I had no idea the changes we had to make around the house and in our routines to make this work.  Fortunately Becky arrived from Albuquerque today to help.  Our first order of business was to clear the bedroom of everything but the bed and two nightstands.  That way Lynn can get around it in his wheelchair and I can more easily help him in the night.  Tomorrow we will tackle the bathroom  because, to make everything accessible, it is out on countertops and there is too much clutter everywhere.

Lynn was out in his shop also trying to figure out how to rearrange it so he can continue his hobbies out there.

All of this is hard work but we also all agree it is so good to have Lynn home!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

He's Home!!!!!!

I haven't written in a couple of days because it has been a whirlwind of activity.  On Monday I found a toilet that would accomodate Lynn's needs and the plumber said he could install it on Tuesday.  When Rehab heard this, they asked Lynn if he would like to go home on Wednesday instead of Friday.  All goals had been met and they were just waiting for the home situation to be ready.  Of course, Lynn and I jumped at the offer but there were many things to do.  I also was getting my car back from the body shop on Tuesday ( remember it was hit in the hospital parking lot).   The rental was harder to transfer into so I was glad about that.

Anyway, he is HOME after 46 days in a hospital!  It will be a new and challenging life so we ask for your continued prayers.  There are two questions everyone wants to know. 1.) Has he any movement yet?  The answer is no - not yet -but feeling has returned to some areas below the waist.  The doctors continue to say that we won't know for up to two years how permanent the situation will be.  They also say that research is discovering new things about the spinal cord every day so we could very well get help from a new procedure.  2.) How are Lynn's emotions?  I would say pretty good for someone who has experienced such a significant trauma.  There are times of why me? but 85% of our day he is focused on what he needs to do to living an independent and good life.

I do know what helps him.  It is knowing how many of you are praying for him and supporting him in so many ways.  That always picks him up so don't stop now.  We believe in miracles and God's healing touch so keep those prayers flowing. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day Visit Home

As I am writing this Lynn is sitting in the front room of our house watching ESPN.  It has been an excellent day visit and has totally convinced Lynn it is time to be at home.  If the toilet was ready to go, I think he would have tried to convince them to release him even earlier.  There are some bugs to work out with some of the rooms but nothing major.  We've told him his next four days is like at wrestling meet - we're shouting "short time" to let him know the match is nearly over!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Toilets and Furniture

I will spare you the details but yesterday and today I discovered that providing a decent toilet situation in your home for someone using a wheelchair is no simple matter.  After hours on the internet, conversations with plumbing supply outfits, the plumber, the contractor; phone calls to retail outlets; and help from the Rehab social worker, I finalized the details for the new toilet installation.  There is definitely a niche in this area for someone to provide good information to people like me.

On a simpler front, Joe and I, with the help of Sam Macklin, Joe's friend, got furniture moved around so that Lynn can navigate pretty easily through most of the downstairs.  When Becky comes home this Thursday, I will have her tackle what we didn't finish.

Lynn at Rehab is now working on the most advanced skills - wheelies over curbs, getting back into the chair from the floor, and managing showers on his own.  Yesterday was his freedom day from oxycotin - no more pain medication!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Homecoming Preparations

Today we kicked things into high gear to get home ready for Lynn.  On his part he met with both the PT and OT to talk about adaptive equipment needs so they can be ordered for him.

On my part I talked with a plumbing outfit and I am going there tomorrow to order what the plumber will need in the bathroom.  Tim Murray in the meantime tackled the kitchen door where Lynn will come into the house from the ramp Steve Thorpe and Joe Rosa built (God bless all these guys!)  Tim said working with this old farmhouse was quite a challenge as nothing is level (as my Dad found out when he helped us remodel 15 years ago!) but he did a great job.

I cleaned off the carport which was a job since Lynn had put many things there from a shed he had cleaned out.  The injury happened and he had no chance to deal with the stuff. God bless Dan and Michelle Tow for hauling away a bucket load of old motor oil and boxes of old canning jars.  I have some garage sale items if anyone would like to come and get them.

Mike and Debbie Aman helped get the garden in ship shape.  Aren't people wonderful in Sweet Home???!!!!

Friday Joe and I will move funiture that is in the way out onto the carport.

Things are coming together!  Thank you everyone for your love and support!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

O Happy Day!

It is official - Lynn will be discharged one week earlier than his original discharge date!!! Instead of coming home Sept. 3rd, the new date will be August 27th. We thought this was coming because he has been meeting all the goals set for him and he is ready to get back to normal living. No lie - we are a bit anxious about the prospect but it is time!
He will continue with outpatient therapy - not sure where yet.
We continue to ask for your prayers as we would like to see more feeling, and, of course, movement return. However, coming home is powerful medicine right now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Goals Reached

Sunday we made it to the DQ.  We had been signed off to do this for two weeks but never took the chance.  With our Art Museum trip fresh in our minds we went for a walk (or "wheel") and ended up at the DQ on 13th Street.  Ice cream never tasted sweeter.
Another goal was reached today when Lynn got signed off to get in and out of bed himself - no spotter needed!!!!

Tim Murray started on the door widening at home today so things are cooking there too. 

Happy Days!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Art Museum

Today Lynn and I went out on our first trip outside the hospital together! The U of O Art Museum is a short distance away and we went there to see the exhibits and have lunch. It was the perfect first outing because the museum is completely wheel chair accessible (even the gift shop was easy to get around); there weren't many people; and it was something Lynn really loves to do (look at art).

We did have to problem solve our way in. They were holding summer graduation ceremonies right in front of the musuem when we got there but we figured a way around all the people. We did have to endure the Oregon alma mater song and the "Go Ducks" cheer at the end of the program (sorry Duck Fans!) but people were friendly to us so my heart softened toward our rivals.

We returned without a hitch! It has been a good day!

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Experiences

1. Yesterday Lynn got to shed the hose he has had to wear since Corvallis. He can see the skin on his legs again!

2. Today he stood upright with the help of a machine for the first time since July 10th. It helps him to stretch out his muscles and allows increased blood flow to his legs.

3. We went to Mass together downstairs in the chapel here at the hospital. It was the first experience he has had doing a normal activity with non-disabled people.

4. Also today he showered on his own practicing the skills he will need when he comes home.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


1.  Finding out yesterday that Lynn would NOT need another surgery.

2.  A visit this AM from Dr. Kokkino, the top neurosurgeon at River Bend, to explain and answer questions about the decision not to operate.  We were blown away because he had never met Lynn and there was absolutely no reason for him to come and make a personal visit but he did! Lynn was overwhelmed by this kind act.

3.  The word that Lynn can make a day visit home next weekend!!!!!!!

4.  A new roommate, Tom, who will make the long evenings go faster with conversation.  Tom slipped on a rock during a rafting trip down the road and impacted his spine at level C-6. 

5.  A much smoother experience of transferring into a vehicle.

6.  And as always all the prayers, visits, phone calls, food, ramp builders, emailers, cards, blog comments - each act makes Lynn and I feel so very loved.  Thank you, God, for such blessings!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MRI results

The second post surgery MRI showed that Lynn did have a piece of disk still extending out from the T 11/12 area of the spine. It may have been there all along but was covered up by the inflamation and fluid surrounding the area after the initial trauma. The question was is a second surgery in order? Fortunate for us Eugene is becoming nationally known for the expertise of their neuro-spine surgeons. Two of them, as well as the surgeon, Dr. Marie Long, who was Lynn's original surgeon and respected in her own right, all agreed that surgery at this time is not in order. The "extension" is not impacting the spinal cord  and is not contributing to Lynn's current paralysis. Operating in the spinal cord area is always risky because the surgeon can cause further damage and since they can give Lynn no added benefits in doing another surgery, they won't. What they will do is monitor Lynn periodicaly through an MRI to see if there is any shifting of this piece.  Lynn is very relieved not to have to deal with more surgery and has confidence in the team of people who made this decision.

Meanwhile, Marti, our social worker, came in and shared a message of hope with him. She has worked here for 30 years and she said she has seen many people leave the unit in chairs who have later WALKED in to visit a year plus later. Lynn was so encouraged by this.

Soooooo....keep praying. God is a God of Faith, Hope and Love and is the Great Healer so we will continue to trust He is sending Lynn the best care providers he can have and all will be well!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Turning A Corner

Today was a much better day than the last four.  The withdrawal symptoms eased today.  They were still present especially toward evening but I think Lynn is going down the other side of this particular mountain right now.

It was a day of rest and visiting with Andy and his Aunt Willa and Uncle Fred.  No therapies.

Tomorrow he will have this third MRI.  I hope this will reassure all of us that there is no further problem with his disks.  Lynn hates these so, if you are reading this, please pray that he can endure this test calmly and in peace.  Thank you!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Flexibility Needed

Rehabs are interesting!  On one hand you are in a hospital setting with all that implies about structure and sameness -  meals are always at the same time, menus never vary, the blood drawers will come in at 5:00 AM, etc. (you get the picture!) However, you never can count on any day to be like the previous one.  For instance last weekend, there was zero scheduled for Lynn on Saturday and only a picnic outing on Sunday.  Today - a Saturday- he had 3 sessions of PT and 3 of OT on his schedule.  Tomorrow - thank goodness- he has nothing.   BUT he could have had a third MRI on his schedule Sun. but they decided to wait until Monday for that.  See what I mean?  For me it is hard to plan for anything ahead because even what I told you about Sunday might be different tomorrow. 

Today Lynn worked on two fairly new things - 1.  How to transfer from the mat to the chair without a board and 2)  more intensive work on wheelies (they are hard!)

He is still fighting nausea and those withdrawal symptoms.  Please pray that this will pass soon.

The third MRI is to take pictures of parts of his spine not yet recorded to see if there are any other danger spots.  This is to reassure Lynn and the doctors that the pain he feels in his back still is  muscular and not related to any discs.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Catch Up

Well, yesterday was the first day I missed blogging since starting.  I was at home doing a multitude of errands but our computer was on the fritz.  By the time it was fixed I had missed the opportunity to write.

Maybe that was a good thing.  The last three days have been a struggle. The doctors are bringing Lynn off his pain drugs and he is experiencing some withdrawal symptoms- loss of appetite, chills then sweats, nausea, and emotions close to the surface.  They are monitoring him carefully and I am sure it could be much worse.  It IS a GOOD thing to be going off this medication and I know in a couple of days it will be better BUT it is just hard to see him have to go through this. So many mountains to climb!!!!!!

On the therapy side, he continues to hone his skills.  He realized yesterday how to make transfers from the chair easier on him self and his therapist told him today he was totally on the right track.

He lost his roommate, Hector, today also.  He was a great roommate, loved baseball, on the quiet side, just a very nice guy.  Lynn was happy for him but also sad to lose a new friend.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

First the Positive, then a Prayer Request

Today was cook a meal day.  Lynn made the dish he knows best - spaghetti.  While doing so, he learned how to deal with hot water and grease when you are cooking sitting in the chair as well as hot water when you are cleaning up.  He did a great job and we had a delicious lunch together.

The prayer request is for his emotional health.  He still has  4 1/2 weeks to go before he is scheduled to come home and the toil of being in the hospital  is wearing him down.  You know what it is like - EVERYthing is scheduled and you NEVER get to sleep through the night.  One phlebotomist comes in every morning at 5:00 AM to prick his finger (as of today that will be every other day but still at 5:00).  He wants to see his garden, be in his shop, and maybe even just be alone.  I ask that you pray for strength, patience and peace for him in these coming weeks  ...  He knows he is not ready to be home but he longs for it.  Thank you so much!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

On the Road Again

Well, not exactly, but today Lynn did get into a car for the first time in 25 days.  He got to make his first transfer from a wheelchair into our Prius.  It is trickier than moving into a bed and will take some practice but as always I know he will be a quick learner.  He also got to see the damage to our car from the parking lot mishap of Sunday.

Eventually, Lynn will make a couple of day trips home.  I know he is looking forward to that.

One last positive piece from today.  They began to cut back his pain meds.  I'll let you  know if he does well with that.  It would be another sign of wellness if he doesn't need them as much.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Always Learning

One thing you learn real fast in Rehab is there is no rest for the weary especially Monday through Friday.  Just as soon as you learn to do a new skill, they challenge you to new ones.  Lynn reported today (I stayed home to meet with the "roof guy" to look over our leaking bathroom ceiling) that he tackled how to shower today and transfers in and out of bed leaving the chair in one place.  (Before they would move it to get it out of the way and give Lynn more room to manuveur.)  I guess we are also going to start chair to vehicle transfers this week.

You may have noticed that I haven't said much about pain lately.  That is because that issue seems to be firmly under control at this point. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010


As part of the reintergration process, Lynn and I went with one of the therapists and one other patient and his family on a trip to Subway and then over to the U of O campus for a picnic lunch. I think I was being watched to see how I worked with Lynn.  I must have passed because we have received permission to go out ourselves on the hospital campus. We have already scoped out DQ and the  university Art museum as 2 places we want to visit when we get the go ahead for off -campus trips.
On a side note, our brand new Prius was sideswiped in the parking lot by a young woman bringing a sick friend to the hospital. She was very shook up about it so I couldn't be mad.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Day Off

Lynn had absolutely nothing on his schedule today. It was very quiet around here with only one PT on duty. Several visitors did help fill up the day.

I also went to Sports Authority and got him gloves to use with his chair when he goes on longer walks.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Tonight I feel relaxed for the first time in three weeks.  Why?  I saw a health and confidence in Lynn from the moment I walked into his room this morning.  He was up , dressed, groomed and ready for the day.  In the gym he sat on the mat easily and moved with confidence in every direction.  In the afternoon we went out with Shannon, the PT, for  a long walk around the U of O area and he was enjoying the challenges he faced with moving his chair along the way.  He even began to learn how to do wheelies which is a necessary wheelchair skill to negotiate curbs and raised obstacles in your path.  As I left him today, he was talking to a former football player of his, now a coach, who called him from the Shrine Game to see how he was doing.  It had been a good day!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Today during PT Lynn's therapist, Shannon, did a test where you get poked in different quadrants with a safety pin.  When he first came in on the 16th of July, they did the same test.  Lynn scored a ZERO in EVERY quadrant from above his waist on down.  Today he had strong feeling  in every quadrant on his left side down to his knees and on the right side down to his upper thigh.  On Tuesday the doctor said Lynn could regain felling and motion up to six months after the event so we were cheered by this test after  only19 days.  Please keep praying that this will improve week by week.

We also moved out of the room for meals today and ate both lunch and dinner with the other residents.  Lynn is moving back and forth from his chair so well now that this is possible.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Remote report

Today was the first day I did not go to the hospital since July 10th.  Lynn was ready for me to stay home so he shared with me about his day.  From his report I missed a very busy day.  His PT took him outside the hospital for the first time.  He went around the block surrounding Sacred Heart and learned that in a wheelchair he must be very vigilant.  I guessed he almost biffed it when he underestimated a curb cutout situation.

He also met with the wheelchair makers and ordered his chair.  They had a demo model just like the one he is having made so they are letting him keep the demo until he leaves.  That was an unexpected blessing.

He also changed rooms AGAIN.  They were getting in three new patients so Lynn agreed to move. 

All in all he was pretty exhausted when I talked to him because he had been up and in the chair for all but one hour today.  I am hoping he does get a break this weekend.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Conference Day

Every Tuesday the team of professionals meet and discuss the progress of each patient and set new weekly goals.  Lynn had a very positive assessment.  His target discharge date right now is Sept. 3rd.  He already today began doing some things on his own.  He needs minimum assistance into his chair for an example.  He also was able to go from a lying position to sitting up on his own.  If I may brag, he is AMAZING!  Thank goodness he has stayed physically fit, especially in his upper body.

We learned today that he could also drive again even if he doesn't walk.  Cars can be adapted to hands only driving!  Boy, did that cheer him up.  No special bed will be needed.  They are getting him ready to return as much as possible to the life he led before.  That is their goal.

Another positive note was that Dr. Weller believed she saw tightening in his muscles in his inner thighs today when she asked him to try and bring them together.  She told me that healing could take up to six months so keep hoping that movement will move down his torso into his legs.

As you can see, your prayers for healing and strength are being answered.  God bless!  Nancy

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rest Day

Maybe Lynn did a little too much yesterday.  His back pain flared up so they decided to give him a day off of PT.  Again some problem solving was involved because his lower back pain seems to involve his neck muscles and how much he uses them to do certain exercises and activities.  As an example he moved his eating surface way up and that really helped him while he was in his wheelchair.  I love the way they tackle barriers to wellness in this place!

Another first today was to do his own grooming at the sink.

Maybe the big news is that Lynn is getting more and more feeling back between his waist and his knees.  This gives us hope that in time it may extend down to his feet and toes.  His team members rally us each day to say never give up hope.  We really have come to have much confidence in this place.  They are amazing.

Finally, Lynn moved rooms today so he can have more privacy.  He is now in room 582.

Thank you for all the cards, emails, visits and verbal support.  His spirits remain steady and hopeful.  God bless!  Nancy

Sunday, July 25, 2010

No resting on the Sabbath

Evidently there is a policy with medical insurance that once you come to Rehab you have to be involved in a certain number of hours of therapy each week. Since Lynn "lost" a day last Monday when they were doing his MRI, today was not a rest day. It was full throttle therapy. Add several visitors and he had a very full day.  This also marked his first meal sitting up in 15 days!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Good News!

Dr. Weller came in and suggested today that Lynn's PT try out a new cushion and a lumbar support pad for his wheelchair to see if it would replicate how he feels when he is sitting on the hard mat in the gym (by the way these are raised mats). And the good news is....IT DID!!!! His pain level in the chair went way down and he was up for over 2 hours with only a small, tolerable amount of discomfort, not pain. Hallelujah! We watched a little bit of a ball game together in the common room and went to the gym for OT in the chair. He may be able to eat sitting up by tomorrow or Monday at the latest we think. He just felt wonderful over this latest development.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Pain in his lower back has been, since coming to the Center, the biggest challenge whenever he is learning new things.  I think with a combination of the right medicines, time, and many prayers from so many people, his pain is being conquered.  Today he was able to lay on his back several times without significant pain.  When he was sitting on hard surfaces today in the gym area, the pain was better.  The one place it remains problematic is, unfortunately, when he is sitting in the wheelchair (though even that is better than 2 days ago).  This prevents him from being upright for more than 1 hour at a time.  The PTs and OTs are trying to problem solve with him why this might be.  PLease continue to pray that this lower back pain will be reduced to a level that he can eat sitting up and spend more of his day in the wheelchair.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's the Little Things! July 22nd

Last night Lynn had his first shower in 12 days and got to wash his hair. It made him feel so good! Good thing! He really got serious about his physical therapy today. Transfers to the wheelchair are going more smoothly and more often plus there is only one PT present now. Being an athlete and coach he responds quickly to instructions and understands body movement. I even got into the act and learned how to tip the chair back to give him pressure relief. Another good day!

PS My mom's surgery went well.

PPS Here is a better number for the Rehab Center. Dan Tow tells me the one I posted before doesn't work. 541-686-7400 Room 589

Thank you all for EVERYTHING!!! Nancy

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back to Back Good Days

Another thumbs up day. Lynn had been in a wheelchair before today but this was different. He was on less pain meds than before and still managed the transfer and he did his own wheeling (not sure that is what you call it though). His pain level was definitely lower. The PTs and OTs were very happy about his progress.
Thank you for those who called about visiting today. It wasn't possible but he sure did appreciate hearing familiar voices! Again I think weekends will be best right now but call. Each day is new and different.
PS My mom is having a kidney removed tomorrow and if you could keep her in your thoughts and prayers that would be great! Nancy


In talking with the charge nurse this AM, she suggested I tell you that it would be a good idea to call Lynn before you come to see him to see if it will be okay. There are things even in the after 4:00 hours that may prevent him from visiting with you. Again during the day on weekends  is better overall. Sorry this info. is ever changing and evolving.  Sacred Heart's phone # is on the previous post.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MRI and Progress

First - the MRI showed no further need for surgery and that the spinal cord is stable. PT and OT will NOT cause further damage

Second - this means a pain management strategy will be put into place so Lynn can participate in PT and OT as actively as possible. They put him on the same med he was taking for his shingle pain last year for an example.

He was able today to assist in getting on a pair of sweat pants AND he tolerated sitting on the edge of the bed and putting on his SHHS football T-shirt today. Huge jump from the past four days. It has been a good day.

He can have visitors after 4:00 PM. I have better directions. Follow signs to U of O. Turn right on Patterson. Parking garage is on the left. Take elevator to third floor skybridge. Go across skybridge to hospital. Follow signs to Elevator C. Push up button on Elevator but also push small black button on side of elevator. Inside select 5R button. Go through Rehab door. Lynn is in 589 Bed 2. (He is getting a roommate tomorrow.)

If you call Sacred Heart, the number is 541-341-3002. I don't know if that is direct to his phone or if you have to give his room number 589
Please keep praying; it means so much. Gratefully, Nancy

Monday, July 19, 2010

Late MRI - More news tomorrow

It is 6:30 PM. Lynn has waited for his MRI all day. Long story BUT he is in the test right now. It will be late before I get home so I am writing this now for those who check every day. Originally there was a possibility he would have to wait until tomorrow for the MRI so it IS good news it was done today. The waiting has been a lesson about the need for patience. Your prayers have sustained us. Love, Nancy

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quiet Day July 18th

The goal today was to relax and be pain free to be ready for the MRI tomorow. When I got here around 3:00, I would say that the goal had been met. His spirits were good and he was medicated enough to be comfortable. Yeah! His mom visited him for the first time before I came so that was good too. They have asked me to be here early tomorrow so I can speak to his physician team. Please keep praying.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - July 17th

The Good -  The OT helped Lynn put clothes on and he got out of his hospital gown for 3/4ths of the day.
The PT  and aides helped him make a successful slide move into his wheelchair and he took a tour of the Center.
I found out there is a public computer on the floor so I can blog during the day instead of waiting to come home.

The Bad - There was a higher level of back pain today doing these activities in spite of pretty heavy doses of pain medication.  The doctor ordered a post operative MRI to see if there is something visible causing the pain.

The Ugly - Sacred Heart does not do MRIs on the weekends so Lynn had to be transported to River Bend.  When he got there, however, inspite of a pain/med cocktail, he just couldn't take the pain in his lower back for the 45 min. he needed to be flat on his back and still.  They had to stop and send him back to the Center.  The plan now is for him to do this at Sacred Heart on Monday and be under sedation to go through the testing.

Me?  I can handle any changes this event brings except seeing him struggle with this pain,.  Please pray for the doctors that they can determine what is causing this and get a plan to get on top of it.

In gratitude, Nancy

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lynn's new home

This was a long day but a good one.  The transfer from Good Sam to the Rehab Center went very smoothly.  I was very emotional about leaving the wonderful, kind and caring people of the third floor Central Unit.  Lynn received such good and loving care there by all but it was time to go on to the next step.  At Rehab most of the day was taken up by different members of the Rehab team evaluating where Lynn is at to get a baseline picture and begin to set up tomorrow's goals.  These will be set daily and then each week they have a team meeting to discuss progress and then the next week's daily goals.  Many people in this Center have worked there for years and are outstanding at what they do. How do I know this?  Well, a blessing today came from a visit of Lynn's cousin, Marilyn, and her  husband, Tom.  Tom spent five weeks there 15? years ago after suffering a traumatic brain injury.  They were a wealth of information and assurance.

Lynn is continuing to show some small signs of recovery of feeling in the groin area and in his left leg.  The right seems stagnant right now.

I asked about visitors and the y said absolutely but here is what you need to know.

The first week if you were to come before 4:00 on a week day, the visit would last only 10 - 15 minutes tops because that is work time.  After 4:00 is best.  On the weekends, things are a little more relaxed especially on Sundays so duirng the day you may get to stay longer but after 4 is still best.

You would park in the parking garage for Sacred Heart Hospital off of Patterson street.  Take the elevator to floor 5R and follow the signs to Oregon Rehabilitation Center.  Lynn is in room 589.

After the first week this could change.  I'll keep you posted.

That's all for today.  Grateful for all of you!  Nancy

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We're on the Move! July16th

I am writing this later in the day because I had to wait for the official word that came late this PM that Lynn will be moved by a private transport company to the Oregon Rehab Center in Eugene tomorrow at 9:30 AM.  There he will begin intensive physical and occupational therapy to get him back home and on with his life.  It will not be easy.  Today he had two grueling sessions with getting into a wheelchair - one successful (afternoon) and one not. (morning).  In the PM session he was able to stay in the chair the longest he has thus far AND I was able to wheel him out of the room and around the center third floor unit one time.  He was exhausted afterwards but this kind of "work" will happen to him 3 times a day in Eugene.
Right now he continues to have more feeling in his left leg each day but he still cannot move his toes on that foot.  His right leg is still pretty paralysed and there is only a tiny amount of feeling.  He also reports he is feeling a little more in his groin area each day so that is good.

His first job at rehab is to stabilize his core area (trunk).  Sitting up in a wheel chair and doing exercises in it will help with that.  He also must strengthen his triceps because he will use his upper body strength for everything.

How is his mental state?  Really amazing given the circumstances.  He has such faith that God is traveling this road with him.  And,as I have said before, your prayers and well wishes sustain Lynn, our kids, and myself.

Visitors?  There will come a time where I know this will be important.  I will let you know through this blog.  Cards, emails, comments on the blog are shared with him and give him much happiness.

Got to go!  I need to get my rest to help Lynn.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Up the Roller Coaster Wed. July 14th

The strategy we developed yesterday plus all the prayers worked!  This AM Lynn was able to move into a wheelchair and sit there for almost an hour!!!!!!!!!!!  This was a huge step forward from yesterday.  He has not had any IV pain meds for almost 24 hours.  Remember this is a criteria for being discharged to the Rehab Center in Eugene.  The spasming in his back is much lessened.  Cold compresses all night and some heat packs this AM have eased the pain from spasms.  Plus a good conversation this AM with the neurosurgery nurse, Vivky Beck, really helped too.  What was happening is that yesterday when the back began to spasm, he was mentally thinking that he was about to relive the initial trauma event.  This, of course, caused him to tense up which resulted in more spasms.  Vicky explained the that the pain he was experiencing in his lower back was from the disc pressing on the spinal cord and that he would NOT experience the total seizing up of his body.  That was over because they did the surgery.  The relief on his face was striking.  Later in the conversation he explained how yesterday he dreaded the PT, Greg, coming in but now he would embrace and look forward to his arrival.  This was a HUGE!!!!!!! mental shift and I believe led to what he did today.  The new plan is for him to go to the Rehab Center tomorrow or Friday.  They have a bed open then.  My new prayer request for him is that he continue to progress here with his physical therapy and that his Fear of the "next step" will be minimized.  I will say this again and again.  The "thought" of all of you praying for him is such a help to both of us and to our children.  I can't imagine going through something like this alone.  God bless all of you!  Nancy

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sudden changes - July13th

This is going to be a roller coaster ride, dear friends!  When I got here this AM, things were not good.  Lynn's lower back was spasming and the pain was intense.  He had to be given IV pain medication.  He can't leave here until he only needs oral pain meds.  This was a set back so his surgical neurology team convened and a new plan was developed.  Goal # 1 - To stop back spasms.  Plan:  A regimen of oral pain medications and continued PT here to stretch and relax those lower back muscles.  Yesterday he was going to go to an interim skilled nursing facility in Albany, i. e. like the Mennonite Home before he went to REHAB. New Plan -  He will go straight to the Oregon Rehab Center in Eugene.  This is excellent news as far as Lynn and I are concerned as these are the experts with spinal cord recovery. We have heard nothing but positive things about the work they do there. To get there, though, he needs to NOT have to have IV pain meds.  So that is what we need prayers for right now.  Thank you so much.

PS  He continues to have more feeling in his left leg and foot but there is a slight improvement on the right - not much a little.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday, July 12th

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love, concern and prayers for Lynn and his situation.  It has truly held him up during this incredibly difficult, and life changing time.  Let me try to explain what happened.  In the early morning hours of Saturday Lynn experienced a ruptured thoracic disc in the T-10 area of his spine.  This is an extremely rare occurence (the neurosurgeon last performed this kind of emergency surgery 5 years ago!)
The rupture caused his body to seize up and evetually the discs pressing on his spinal cord caused first paralysis in his right side from above his belly button on down and then on his left side.   He was operated on to remove the disc pieces and the operation was completely successful from a technical stand point (no further damage to the spinal cord).  Right after surgery,however, he still showed paralysis from the waist down.

Why did this happen?  Lynn did nothing to cause this.  It was a combination of his skeletal makeup and the aging process.  It was not caused by any event.  The doctors keep repeating that so Lynn stops feeling responsible.  

Where are we as of today?  Well, each day there is some feeling returning to some parts of his lower body.  Is it enough to have hope he will be able to walk again? Not sure yet.  So keep the prayers of healing flowing!  He did survive two PT (physical therapy) sessions today.  PT right now consists of him tring to sit unassisted at the side of his bed for 15 minutes.  Tomorrow they will try to get him into a chair to do this.  His right leg has little feeling but his left leg is better.  No real toe movement yet and that is key I gather.

I hope this isn't more info. than you want to know.  It is amazing how grateful you become for even the smallest improvements, i.e. rolling into a new postion, for instance, with less pain and more fluid motion.  Things get stripped down to the very basics.

Again, thank you so much, all of you!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Unexpected News

Most of you know by now that Lynn had an unexpected disturbance to his life on the morning of July 9th. Two discs in his upper spinal column ruptured leaving him paralyzed from the chest area down. He had emergency surgery in Corvallis to clean the rupture, but time will tell as to the permanent damage his body has taken.

This blog has been started so Nancy can let us all know the progress Lynn is making through his recovery efforts. As of today, Lynn has minimal feeling in his left knee area and has been able to move his left foot ever so slightly. He is expected to be at the hospital in Corvallis for another two to three days and then transported to a rehabilitation center in Eugene. Please keep Lynn, Nancy and all their family in your prayers through this journey of faith, frustration, strength and the celebration of small miracles.