Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update from David

Aloha to our Ohana,

By the time you read this update, Theresa will be in the recovery room at
Swedish Medical Center, having successfully undergone one more operation.
How do I know it will be a success since I'm still in the waiting room as I
type this?  Because everything has gone smoothly this morning and there
is a feeling of warmth and reassurance while sitting here that all will be
well. For this among many other blessings, I am most thankful to our Lord.

The purpose of this unplanned procedure is to attempt the removal of the
inferior vena cava (IVC) filter that was placed in Theresa's artery way back
in November at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu.  The IVC filter is
called for to prevent a fatal pulmonary embolism for patients at risk but
unable to accept anticoagulant meds for other reasons.  In Theresa's case,
this was because of the severe bleeding from her numerous fractures.

Normally, this type of IVC filter is removed as soon as it is no longer
needed and definitely within one month of insertion.  But for whatever
reason that was not explained to us, Theresa's filter was not removed in
Honolulu even long after the risk for pulmonary embolism had passed.  So
here we are, almost three months after the insertion, attempting a procedure
that is not without risk in order to prevent further complications down the
road.  To make things harder, the type of filter inserted in Honolulu, the
Cordis OptEase, is no longer in favor precisely because of its short
retrieval window and likelihood of attaching permanently to the artery and
breaking apart as it deteriorates.  The interventional radiologist estimates
the chance of successful retrieval at 20-40% however he may not be aware
that there is an even more powerful healer in the room.  I know Theresa is
in the best of hands and she will come through this as she has overcome
every other obstacle on her healing journey of grace, thanks be to our
Heavenly Father.

And sure enough, not fifteen minutes after writing these words, I was called
back to the recovery room and given the good news by the surgeon.  The IVC
filter had adhered slightly to the artery but with some gentle persuasion,
it came out without further complication.  I'm sure it also helped that
Theresa was in a very calm and serene mood this morning, her body sensing
that it was time to release this foreign body that had served its purpose
and was no longer needed.  By now, Theresa had awakened and was tired but in
good spirits.  In fact, when the nurse showed her the remnants of the
filter, Theresa asked if she could keep it to make a Christmas ornament.
Due to bio-hazard rules, the answer was no, and for that I am also thankful.

Returning to her room at Craig Hospital, Theresa was trying to get some rest
after the surgery but couldn't as she worried that the Lovenox anticoagulant
shots should be put on hold to prevent bleeding from the incision.  After
consulting with the internal medicine doc, the nurse tried to assure Theresa
that the shots were still necessary to prevent deep vein thrombosis due to
her mostly seated or prone position.  Theresa still wasn't convinced
(sometimes too much knowledge can be a hindrance) so I held her hands and
said a prayer as the nurse injected the meds into her abdomen.  After the
nurse left me to watch over Theresa, I could see her agitation increase
because she felt she wasn't being heard, and now the soreness of the
injection site was an additional roadblock to getting any rest this day.

So once again, I called upon our Lord for guidance and it seemed within
moments, there was another knock at the door.  This time, the visitor was a
Sister Carmen from the local St. Thomas parish who came to offer communion
to Theresa.  The Sister recited the communion blessings, followed by some
healing prayers and finally by the Lord's Prayer as I joined her in this
familiar and comforting praise.  Then she offered Theresa the Body of Christ
but not His Blood due to the fluid restriction still in place.  After bidding
us farewell, Sister Carmen moved on to the other patients leaving Theresa to
heal in peace.

Earlier this week, I was working on another update with descriptions of how
it's so wonderful to be reunited with Theresa after three weeks apart, how
we spent the best Valentine's Day ever, and how much she has progressed along
her healing journey.  But today's miracles trump those seemingly mundane
stories and it was important to let all of our friends near and far know
that our prayers continue to be answered daily.  Thank you for your ongoing
support and faith and we will continue to be thankful to our Lord for His
grace and healing love.



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