24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Happy Shopping Season to all of you! So first things first. We are over 5 months post accident and it is getting harder to count exactly how many days that is, so our blogs will now just have today's date at the top. I hope no one is too devastated because this will save me at least 5 minutes each time I sit down and try to count back those dang days!
These past couple weeks have been the best weeks we have experienced in a long time. Over Thanksgiving break, we were given the chance to head to Winona Lake to spend time with Derek's family. We packed as if we were staying until Sunday but we warned everyone we may need to head home earlier. With winter clothes, Derek's medical supplies, the wheelchair, etc. you would have thought we were heading to Europe for a month. We bundled up and left for Winona mid- morning. Of course we made the mistake of not packing a lunch and therefore were driving here and there trying to find a restaurant open! We settled on some good old McDonalds and continued our journey home. Derek does pretty good with longer drives. My mom found us a slightly used wheelchair cushion that we have put in the passenger seat. This is a much better solution than the pillow he was sitting on. As I have mentioned before, skin integrity is EVERYTHING and when you can't move your lower half, you can imagine how sitting in one position for hours can be hard on your skin.
Although things have been going more smoothly, we did have a slight scare last Wednesday morning. Around 3am, I woke up and noticed his knees seemed to breaking out in some sort of rash. I mentioned this to him and he said, "O ya I noticed that before bed!" Ha! I begged him to tell me next time he noticed such abnormalities but we quickly just fell back asleep. When we got up that morning, the rash was getting a bit worse. After calling both of his doctors and sending off pictures to our families members who are in the medical field, they all encouraged us to go to the E.R.
So, after finishing our coffee and getting ready for the day, we headed off to the local emergency room. According to the nurse, early afternoon is the worst time to show up at the E.R. because that is when people wake up and realize they aren't feeling great. Of course we showed up right at noon and got checked in. At this point, the rash was starting to spread and was now up to his chest. We thought it was may have been a tad dramatic of us to head straight to the E.R.but the nurse said it was good he came in because most doctors offices would have just sent us straight there anyway.
After sitting for 2 hours, it was finally our turn! According to the nurse practitioner, it was either 1 of 2 things. He was either having an allergic reaction to his antibiotic or one of the pieces of thardware (either spinal cage, arm plate, or jaw plates) were infected. Obviously, we were hoping for the first one! It isn't terribly uncommon for an infection in your hardware to develop within the first few months after surgery, so we were a little nervous.
The doctor was very surprised to hear we have already been on the medication for 2 weeks before the rash began. Just to be sure, he ordered blood tests to be ran, as well as an IV for some medication and hydration. If you think Derek is cute now, you should see him on Benadryl :) He got very sleepy very fast. I grabbed our jackets to make a little pillow and tipped his chair back so his head could rest on my lap. We then sat like that for 2 hours while I read the current book we are going through (Hope Heals- you should check it out!) and waited for the blood test results.
Around 5pm, we were told his blood tests look great and it was just an allergic reaction! We headed home around 6, very hungry, and very relived. That night, Derek slept like an angel! He had been having a hard time sleeping the past couple weeks and just not feeling great. It is crazy how much better you feel when you stop poisoning your body with medicine it hates!
We also had an appointment with our pulmonologist (lung specilist) last week. We were sent there to discuss Derek's blood thinner medication and where he could stop taking them. As you may remember, he was put on a heavier dose of blood thinners after his second incident with blood clots in July. The doctor was extremely informative and basically gave us two option. He could stop taking the blood thinners late January and take the chance of getting another blood clot. Blood clots can kill you, and since Derek cannot feel his legs (where the pain usually starts), it would be incredibly difficult to foresee a blood clot and get to the doctor's in time to stop it. According to the doctor, you have around a 10- 30% chance of having a repeat blood clot. Since Derek is not able to move is legs, his chances are increased. The second option is to stay on blood thinners for life. The benefit is obviously hopefully no blood clot. The downfall is that blood thinner makes your blood thin, therefore you bleed easily. The doctor said if he ever got a knot from bumping his head, we would need to go straight to the hospital to make sure he did not have a brain bleed. Obviously, as a 29 year old, he IS going to bonk his head or fall out of his wheelchair at some point, so this option is scary to us as well. We head back to the pulmonologist in January and are currently still praying about which option is the best.
On a final note, there has been something on my heart these past few weeks.
I was telling Derek how our society loves before and afters. We want to see how bad something was and then how beautiful it becomes! All within 1 hour...thanks a lot Chip and Joanna Gains! Well, unfortunately real life isn't quite like that. There are so many tears, celebrations, laughs, fights, and raw emotion that happens within that before and after reveal. And what if I was to tell you that our AFTER is sometimes really hard to imagine being as beautiful as our BEFORE? God makes all things new in His timing and we are leaning on that promise. We are also realizing there is always a little pain in this life. Whether it be big or small, none of us can avoid it. So what if our after isn't as wonderful as our before? Does that mean we just drew the short stick or God isn't still good? No. And honestly, I don't know WHAT it means at this point but I am praying that along this journey, we get the joy of figuring it out together.
P.S. Please continue to pray for Derek's blood pressure and heart rate. His blood pressure tends to be scary low and his heart rate slightly scary high. Also pray for our decision on the blood thinners.
We hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!