Archive | March, 2010

Dad’s Latest Setback

29 Mar

Dad seemed to be rocking along pretty well in his post-operative rehab. And then, a visit from an old friend … GOUT.

Dad now has gout in his heal. Rehab comes to a grinding halt as they give him his meds and wait for it to clear up. So the frustration continues …

A Technology Story …

27 Mar

This is TRUE, but I will withhold some of the names. HOWEVER, if you are a business person in Florence, you DEFINITELY need to read this:

Several months ago, Ebenezer’s need for a new telephone system felt the full fury of the technology team … And that is ONE team that solves problems!!! Robbie-Bob, Dean-Bob, Mike-Bob, and myself … SCARY!!!!
As we installed the new system, the fire alarm in Young Hall began to get an occasional dialer error. Of course we called our alarm company, who came out and said YOU HAVE A PHONE LINE PROBLEM … Gimme $100.
All four of us worked hard on this problem for the next few weeks, but our phone lines were FINE and we could prove it. As we finished the phone system and cleaned some things up, we tried a couple of different ways to get CLEAN POTS LINES down to the alarm, noting that NONE of the other alarms on campus were having any problems. We honestly thought this was a coincidence that started around the same time we started this install.
It all came to a head a couple of weeks ago. NOTHING we did could stop this pesky error … This was not a SHUT THE ALARM DOWN kind of error, just a pesky little chirp that had to be reset many times a day. Nerve racking to Omerea and our Weekday Staff, but the alarm was still functional.
I finally called the head cheese at our alarm company to talk to him about it. I wanted them to come out and help us. He said “Go switch the wires, unless you want to pay me to come do it.” I assured him that I’d switched those wires MANY, MANY times in the past few weeks. But that was his solution. “Call me back if that doesn’t work.”
That was on my day off, but I went up there and did what he said. And within 30 seconds of switching them, I duplicated the error. (At this point, we knew EXACTLY what to do to cause it to trip) I called him back and he said we had a bad board. No looking at it. No real conversation or consideration that we have very capable IT folks that had worked on this. No idea that I’ve done work like this for 30 years now (yes, even though I am a pastor. I’ve been running phone lines and control wiring since helping my dad DECADES ago. But don’t tell anyone!!)
That really frustrated Mike-Bob and me! Mike has worked on alarms for years. We decided that we would rather just buy the board and change it ourselves. And that we did! And after chasing all of the issues out of the new install (most of which were things done INCORRECTLY at the original install), we STILL had this phone problem.
So I called Lee at Simplex Grinnell. These guys did our alarm at the new youth building. I asked him if he would be willing to come help us figure this out …
His techs came out, chased a couple of goblins out of it, and finally discovered that it was in how the phone line was coming INTO the alarm!!! This alarm has been in the building, wired this way, for TEN YEARS OR MORE!! They said adding the new phone system pushed a tolerance that would force the alarm to be installed THE RIGHT WAY. IT SHOULD’VE BEEN INSTALLED THE RIGHT WAY FROM THE BEGINNING!!!
We re-routed the way the phone lines came in, and IT WORKED! Now, we’ve got to go look at the other alarms, because I just bet they are wired incorrectly as well …
The result of all of this: Simplex will be our alarm company from now on. They came out and HELPED US FIND THE ISSUE!! They were WILLING to come out!!! And they understood and explained how this thing was miswired by another company!
And, so far, we are living happily ever after …
The moral of this story is CUSTOMER SERVICE. That other alarm company seems to be too busy for us and just interested in collecting the monthly royalties they get off of our monitoring service. Well, all that is about to change …

Getting back on the horse

24 Mar

When Dad first went to the Cottage rehab (about 56 days ago), he made steady progress. He was walking, doing well in occupational and speech therapy. And as the fluid built up again, he slowly lost ground. THAT is the purpose for the past TWO surgeries.

NOW, its time to get back on the horse. Dad has a evaluation THIS MORNING at 9 am. Mom is convinced if he doesn’t show improvement that they will be forced to declare him on a plateau and send him home. There is NO WAY he could go home in his current condition. I believe, since his doctor said it would take a few days before we see a noticeable difference, and since he is still reeling from being knocked out for this surgery, that this must be a baseline. (I will be calling this morning to verify that with our case worker)
Regardless, Dad has to get back on the horse. And make progress. And yesterday, he was in pretty rough shape.

DDay + 1

23 Mar

Okay, we are one day out from surgery. Surgery did go well. Dad is still feeling the effects from being knocked out, but did NOT get sick last night. Well, he also didn’t eat anything, either. Dr Nelson has already written the order for us to go back to the Cottages at Brushy Creek (GHS rehab) and we already know it will be THREE O’CLOCK before that can happen. Transport and checkin red-tape, nothing wrong.

And now TIME will write the rest of this story. So far, so good. And my family, and especially my Dad, are VERY APPRECIATIVE of all the prayers, love, and support our friends and greater family have shown us over the last few days and months. Dad has either been here at GHS or at the Cottages since Christmas Day, and yesterday was his seventh surgery since Dec 26th. It has been a rough and wild ride. And hopefully we will see some smoother sailing in days to come!

Sitting in GHS once again

22 Mar

As I logged in to write this post, I just realized I’ve not posted in almost a week. I am sorry for that, just haven’t had the heart …

I sit here, in this same waiting room again. No news yet because Mom and Dad are still back in holding. His surgery won’t actually happen until around 1pm. Riding up here gives me plenty of time to think, and plenty of sights to see!! And the hillbillys were out today (I AM one, so I am allowed to say that!!)
In Laurens, this tough thug passed me and shot me a look that would’ve stopped a watch. Then I passed him back in traffic and saw why: There was a sticker on the back of his car that said “Lander Girl” and the tag on the front said “Diva” and I MADE SURE IT WAS A DUDE!! (At least, it looked like a dude!) If I was driving around in a car like that, I would give people mean looks, too!
The reality of all that takes place here today is pretty heavy: IF this works and makes a difference, Dad could really get back on the horse so to speak … If not, we have some difficult decisions to make. Decisions that could have a major impact on a lot of things.

A Visit from Duke

16 Mar

For the past few days, my little sis (Elaine Knox) has been in town with Mom and Dad. One of the things she noticed about the Cottages is people can bring their pets to visit with their loved ones. That gave her a big idea …

Dad’s best friend is Duke. Duke is a three year old black Lab who still thinks he is a puppy in many ways. He is about the size of a Shetland pony but thinks he is a miniature poodle. Anyway, Elaine wrangled Duke and took him over to Greer for a visit. He loved it, and Dad loved it! And I’m impressed …

What, exactly, are we doing here?

15 Mar

God put us here for a reason. And it boggles my mind that some would not want to know why … would not want to pursue His will, or even know it. And WHY?? Fear.

It takes great courage to trust God enough to follow HIS will and HIS guidance. Deep down inside we think we know best and ultimately we think ourselves to be the highest authority in our own lives. Our independence creates quite a tension in life.
What are we doing when we don’t seek God and His will? WE ARE FAILING TO TRUST. We are just plain failing.

A Difficult Road

9 Mar

Dad’s general condition has really not improved much. Now, there are a couple of factors that could explain it: They did remove the temporary drain which was only in for about 48 hours. he is really not walking well and has a difficult time grasping the fact that he cannot go home yet. Mom said he only walked 25 steps yesterday. This could be explained by the removal of the temporary drain. We will know soon, because the permanent drain will be installed on Friday (hopefully our last surgery for a while).

I had a long talk with Mom yesterday. I am really praying for her today, because she is barely hanging on. Its so hard for her to see the man she married 56 years ago now in this condition. Her goal is to get him home … period. No matter what it takes.
But the truth is, right now we are not seeing the same progress we saw when he first got to rehab over a month ago. In fact, he has regressed a little. Makes the road even more difficult. It raises questions, such as “was there damage done to the brain by the subdurals?” “How much more recovery can we expect?’ And various other questions that are very difficult to express.
So, today I am praying specifically for my mom, Janet Wike. Hope you will pray for her too.

Here is where is are …

4 Mar

Yesterday moved so fast I didn’t have time to blog. So here is what happened since the last one:

We had a run in with a nurse that was less than professional. Handled that with a 30 minute conversation with her supervisor yesterday.
Dad WAS finally able to stand a walk a little. And he is now back at the cottages. Dr Nelson was very pleased (as were we) with the temporary drain. We saw immediate improvement in his general condition and his mental sharpness. Now that they are back at the cottages, Dad just needs to show us his improvement on the field of rehab. And I think he can and he will!!
We DO have to go back late next week and make this fix permanent. Doc says this will simply be an overnight stay. EVERYTHING he said about this visit was accurate, so I have no reason to doubt! I do hate this couldn’t have all been handled in one visit, though. It is quite a disrupting circus to get Dad from rehab to the hospital …
Dad just wants to go home. I told him over and over again the way home is through doing EVERYTHING the doctors and rehab folks tell him. My prayer for him is that he will keep that drive going.
My prayer for Mom is that she will get more rest and take care of herself a little.

Yet ANOTHER update from Greenville Memorial Hosp

2 Mar

Yes, I sit in yet another hospital room today. Around the corner from the other TWO we had in the previous weeks. Dad had a good night, but we’ve already felt the full PASSIVE force of organizational chaos. And it is very frustrating.

I think Dr. Nelson is a talented surgeon, but really have not been able to talk to him much. What we NOW know is that they are going to walk Dad around some today and possibly still send him back to rehab tomorrow or Thursday, and make this drain permanent NEXT WEEK. Mom and I both misunderstood that last week in his office.
So here we sit, not knowing whether to start the wheels (as we were told to do by the case worker at the Cottages) or wait. Dr. Nelson said making this permanent next week would NOT stop dad from going back into rehab this week. And if this all plays out this way, we have ANOTHER hassle of getting readmitted to the Cottages for a week or so and redischarged to Memorial, do have to go through all of the hoops again.
So we’ve paged the case worker for this floor and intend to ask HER to get us some answers. Maybe she can get more info out of this machine that we apparently can …