Saturday, November 27, 2010


I'm sorry it's been so long since I last updated on here. It's been a very busy last few days and at times I feel a little overwhelmed.

From the title you maybe have figured out that yes, I'm HOME! There was a chain of events that happened between Tuesday night and Wednesday that can only be described as God's work that I honestly didn't dare to "talk" about until I KNEW they would happen. I guess I was nervous that if I talked about it, then maybe it wouldn't happen. In a way, I feel like that was me doubting God's ability. But I think it was also me being realistic that it wasn't my choice.

Tuesday night some girls from my bible study came to visit. Soon after they came in, Dr. Foster, the general surgeon who performed the last surgery in GR to clean up the wound one more time, stepped in to say hi and bring his cheer. He's a great guy; small, peppy, honest, kind, funny, and determined. I had just finished telling the girls that Keaton was possibly going to be going home on Wednesday. Dr. F walked in, said hi to the girls, cracked a few jokes, and asked if I thought it was time to go home. Of course! I asked him what he was thinking...just testing the waters...and his reply, "How about tomorrow?" WHAT?!?! Wednesday? That could only be the work of our Lord! He would never know that Keaton was going home on Wednesday and how he was just so confident and honest and just said it so simply. Oh, how the tears fell! I think the girls were just as surprised (am I right girls?). Wow! But I knew that was a whole day away yet and it just seemed that they would have so much to do before I could go home (don't ask me what, but I've kinda learned that sometimes hospitals move a little slow).

So I went through the night, wondering if I would be able to go home on Wednesday. I didn't want to get my hopes up. Went through another night of no fevers (PTL!) and woke up to the same docs coming in to check up on me (5am is sooooo early when you don't sleep all night!). Dr. Foster came in pretty early, I can't remember the time, and said it again..."Are you ready to go home today?" So he was serious! This was real?? He said they could send me home on oral antibiotics that match the ones they were giving me through my IV, my home health nurse could take care of my vac change on Friday (that was pretty easy to set up), and my fever and the redness surrounding the area of my wound were either gone or disappearing, which he said basically means that I was on the mend...why keep me in the hospital?? OH PRAISE THE LORD!! I could go home and join Kevin in discharging Keaton and we could be a family again! The tears came again and I thanked him and told him how God had blessed this, which he agreed to (did I mention how God has shown up through everyone??). So the next step was to get things rolling to get me out of there.

It took a while before a nurse came in to check in on me and I asked her if she knew if I was going to be discharged yet today...and in walks frustration...she said that the nurses disagreed with Dr. F because of my vac change on Tuesday (remember how I had been put to sleep for it? yeah, they didn't think I could handle the Friday change at home and wanted me to stay for that, just for a vac change??). I was instantly frustrated and thought, seriously, you're going to keep me here just for a vac change? I can do this at home! I can be strong for this! I have to because it's going to happen 3 days a week until I heal and I KNOW they can't put me out at home...I can be strong! Please let me go home! (So I didn't yell those out, but that's what I was thinking!). Thankfully, I had a friend who was there during Dr. F and the nurse's contradictory visits and she really helped me mentally through it, I was frustrated (thank you Heather!). Well, long story short, eventually, the papers came in and the nurses lost and I got to go home. It took a while, of course but Kevin and I were driving out of GR at 5:30pm and heading to Zeeland to drop off some things, pick up some things for Keaton and headed to Boven to see our little man!

We went through all the discharge procedures and even though it was late, we were home by 9:30pm and so excited to be together again! Oh Lord, how you blessed that reunion! I had no idea that that would have happened, and was honestly planning on hosting Thanksgiving in one of the conference rooms in Spectrum with my Hospers family around me...but I was able to go home all because of a doctor who knew that I was healing, believed that I needed to be with my family, and I honestly believe God's powerful hand guided it too! What a gift!

So, I should really summarize what's happened over the last week parents arrived with the girls on Thursday night along with my brother, his fiance (yeah!!! so excited for another Hospers sister!), my younger sister, and my twin and her two kids. Our house was packed, the girls ran in and oh did the tears flow...again such a blessing! So thankful for the innocence of little kids. They only saw the tears and asked what was wrong, to which we replied that we just simply missed them and were so happy they were home. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner brought to our home on Friday by our amazing friends in our church small group (Thanks again everyone! It was DELICIOUS!) and just enjoyed spending time together in our small little house (now we're even more inspired in the fact that we have to move to a bigger house!). Everyone, except my parents, left Saturday morning. My parents have stayed here to help with the kids and just life in general so that I can rest and heal accordingly.

I should also mention that yes, I had another vac change on Friday. The only thing I can take before it is vicodin to take the edge off, which works to some degree. A lot of people ask, "Does it hurt?" Yes, it hurts. A lot of people also don't quite understand what it is that I have come home with. After my last 2 surgeries, Dr. H (and then Dr. F cleaned up a little more) cut away the skin that had died and showed signs of infection by whatever it was that was infecting me. Do we know what it was? No, and never will. The cultures that they all tried to grow from the bacteria were inconclusive due to the fact that the antibiotics killed whatever it was that was growing and caused the infection. What they had to do was cut away 17 1/2 cm by 8 cm (and maybe 1 cm deep) of skin from my lower right abdomen. Is it pretty? No. Do you see it? No. It's covered by a black sponge that has a hose connected to it and is then connected to a machine in a bag that I can wear as a fanny pack (yeah, I know, stylish) or carry as a purse, which is what I do around the house. The sponge is taped quite well to my stomach so that it stays in place. When the machine is turned on, the sponge contracts and is constantly draining the wound into the vac in the bag where it collects the drainage. It's constantly working the wound to keep the blood flow going and keeping it clean. This is one of the most effective ways to heal an open wound, and I've been told by several doctors and nurses that my healing time probably triples by having this vac attached to me. Does it hurt? Sometimes it stings, but it's getting better. Do the vac changes hurt? Yes, but I've had an amazing home nurse who's gentle, understanding, patient, and caring, and has really been such a blessing to help me through the first few changes. I just concentrate on other things, we talk about whatever we can, and I take deep breaths and work through it. The first couple weeks will be hard, but as the wound heals, it will get easier. It has to heal from the inside out, and as it heals, they'll have to cover less and less of it with the sponge and eventually I won't have to have the vac on at all.

Now the biggest question is will this cause a scar. Yes. A considerable one. But this is the least of my worries, and as I look at it now, I see the scar as more of a reminder of how precious life is and how my Lord brought us through this time in our lives. Eventually I may have skin grafting done, but to be honest, I'm not worried about showing people my belly. I told the docs that I never was much of a two piece bikini wearing girl and that there are lots of cute tankini's now. They kinda smiled and seemed a little surprised that I wasn't worried about it. I guess that's just not something I'm concerned about. I just want this to heal and then be able to take care of my family like normal again.

So there you have it...that's where we've been at for the last week. It's been emotional, frustrating, exciting, and full of only the blessings that God can give. Keaton is doing great. Eating like a champ and growing like one too. It's a little hard to be raising a newborn and having to heal attached to a hose and machine, but I'm so thankful for my parents that I can ask to feed him so that I can go back to sleep. I do get tired if I'm up too much and I can't move very quickly because of the soreness factor, but I just take lots of naps and rest when I can.

I have my first recheck appointment tomorrow with Dr. H. I look forward to seeing him again and thanking him. I'm sure tears will fall. He was so concerned about me and I know that he wanted to do all he could to see that I was healed. What a gifted doctor he is! God gave him a gift and any patient he comes in contact with is blessed to be able to witness what that gift is.

I'll continue to update this blog as best I can. I haven't been the best at it due to the busyness of the weekend with family here and then trying to get on top of the pain, rest, and "regular" routine of being home again. I'm so thankful for so many people who want to keep up on how I'm doing and offering up prayers of healing to our God. He has brought us this far and I know that he continues to strengthen me and my family. The girls are doing great being back home and like I said before, I'm thankful for my parent's and the help they are offering each day. The Lord is faithful!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tired Day

Yesterday I was tired. I could hardly keep my eyes open to stare at this silly computer. I think everything had finally caught up with me (and being woken by 3 different doctors starting at 5am doesn't help either). I didn't see a lot of docs yesterday, except for probably the most significant part of my day, when they changed my vac for the first time. Dr. Hodgson, one of the wound vac docs, came in with all of his stuff and staff and started everything at 9am. They just gave me a stronger dose of a drug that I normally can take for pain and said that if it gets bad, then we'll give you more to put you to sleep. It wasn't horrible, but I think he could tell that I was uncomfortable and he said for the first time, it would probably be better for me to just sleep through it. So that's what I did...slept...again. What am I going to do when I have to get this thing changed at home?? We'll worry about that when we get there, right?

He said the wound is looking good, healing nicely and that's about it. I got a call from a company that arranges for me to have a home vac, which is smaller than the one in the hospital. It basically has a hose attached to it and as one friend said to me last night, I'll have a little friend to take everywhere with me (thanks, Kelli).:) For the rest of the day, it was just a matter of managing pain, which I don't have a lot of, taking naps, chatting with visitors (thanks for coming!) and not much else.

What does Wednesday hold? Well, I'm not quite sure. I'm not supposed to have another vac change until Friday and Thanksgiving is in there so I know it's going to be a little quieter around here (or that's what I've been told). Will I be going home soon? Not sure. According to some doctors, yes, but what's soon? So I just live one day at a time in my head and don't get my hopes up for anything until I talk to people who let me sign things that show I am on my way out the door. I haven't done any of that yet, so I'll make the most of my little cave here in downtown GR.:)

God continues to amaze me by revealing himself through the docs and nurses and situations that keep arising. I had more conversations again yesterday that just show how God's hand has been on us this whole time. Thank you again, Lord Jesus, for proving that you DO EXIST IN EVERYTHING!

"Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Monday, November 22, 2010

Keeping it simple

So I've decided to start up our family blog again. It's been hard to keep everyone in the loop through facebook because not everyone is my friend on fb:), even though you're all my true friends, but you know how it works. I was having a hard time trying to copy and paste the updates to emails so that my schools and other friends not on fb would know what's going on. I thought too about starting a care page, but I know some people shy away from them too due to logins and passwords too. So I hope this will be ok!

On to today's update:

It was a very uneventful day! Yeah! I haven't had a fever all day, and not even since Saturday night's surgery. What a relief! I've been pretty exhausted today though, even right now, having a hard time typing this up. I found out tonight that my white blood cell count is starting to go down a bit. It was at 28.21 when I got here on Sunday, today it was 22.85, but it needs to be down to 10.8. I'm still fighting something, but it's getting better. No, they don't know what bacteria was growing inside me yet. They took a culture from yesterday's surgery, but it takes 2 days to grow something so hopefully by tomorrow night or Wednesday we'll know, unless the antibiotics I was on kill it too. Praying for an answer because that's one of the big questions. What exactly did all of this??

My wound vac is doing well. I hardly felt it this morning and didn't start taking meds for it until later morning/afternoon. I'm now going to be taking more regular meds for it because it's pretty sore around the edges where my skin has been cut. I talked to Dr. Smith today who is also a wound specialist and from what I hear, a really good one. He was great to chat with and really listened to my whole story again. He KIND OF made it sound like I could be home by the weekend...NOT going to count on that though. He just made comments about how they are going to change my vac sponge dressing tomorrow (Tuesday) and then "if I'm around" on Friday again. I don't think he really knows, but he said they'll have a better idea of what they're up against when they undress it and take a look tomorrow. EVERYONE that I talk to says how amazing the wound vacs are and how quickly they make such a serious wound heal. I know that it's partially the vac, but a big part is my God and I'm counting on His guiding hand. Dr. Smith said that he thinks that by 6 weeks I should be ready to go without the vac and only have to put salve and a dressing on it. WOW! That seems so far away, yet it doesn't.

About tomorrow...I'm on a no food or drink diet AGAIN tonight from midnight to 8am. The purpose is because I think they're going to put me to sleep again, a little less this time, to take my dressing off. Apparently it hurts pretty good the first few times until the edges of the skin start to grow back and the nerves seal off. Yeah, not too excited, but it has to be done. These dressings can otherwise be changed at home by a home health nurse and I can take some pain meds orally before they do the changing.

I can definitely still have visitors, but I have to warn you that I'm in isolation right now. I had a bought of loose stools this morning, probably due to all of the antibiotics that I'm on, but that puts instant flags up to them and they have to take precautions that it may be something contagious. You can still visit, you just have to wear a yellow cover and wash your hands with soap and water before and after you come. Sorry for the details, but I thought I would warn you. I'm hoping that after a test is run that I can call this off...I hate the idea of being in isolation.:(

I thought I would clear the air about something else too. I did NOT have a c-section. Kevin said he's heard people ask or assume this too and I've also had to clear this up with a lot of people. Keaton was a natural birth, but I had an appendectomy 3 days later due to lower abdominal pain. I should really put it out there in a time line, but I don't think I can keep my eyes open much longer tonight.

Keaton has had a great day today. Kevin installed Skype on his work computer and got permission to take it to the hospital. He put it on him rocking Keaton and it was so sweet to see my baby boy nap in his daddy's arms. Oh, he's so big! Kevin said he's now 7lbs 1 oz!!! Can you believe that?! He's still taking occasional full bottles and some half or more. Just praying he can figure that out! Wondering if he's waiting for me to come home too.:) But so happy he's gaining and growing!

I'm thankful for an actual quiet day today. No surgeries, no tests, no opening anything new up, just resting and healing. Thank you Lord for showing up in the quiet times too. I need to rest because I'm going to just crash here with my computer wide open. Thank you so much for following our journey and praying along with us. We are so blessed to be part of this family of God! Oh, what would we do without our Lord?! Thank you God for staying by our side.