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.