Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 58

Nicole was in ventricular tachycardia last night. They have it under control right now but they are watching it very closely. They are pretty sure that it happened because her blood volume is so low. They are giving her blood almost everyday now. Nicole had an EKG last night and is having a Echo today. Hopefully the Echo will give us some insight as to what is going on more fully. She is also needing insulin.

It looks like Nicole will be back in surgery this week. Dr. Morris will do homographs (cadaver skin) on her legs and left arm while her back continues to heal. Hopefully in the next two weeks Nicole's back will be healed enough to gain donor skin to graph some of her legs.

MRSA is still plaguing Nicole. Her face is nearly healed and now it is on her trunk. The staff told us from the beginning that there would be many infections she would be dealing with. I know in my head what they are saying but the complexity of it all is not computing. Not that I don't
comprehend, just that sometimes it is overwhelming. I feel as though my head is swimming in a fish bowl at times. People are talking to me yet one more item of business will not fit into the filing cabinet in my brain. It is too full.

Picture this. A beautiful filing cabinet sitting in the corner of the room. A plant perched a top. It looks well kept and in order. You reach over to retrieve it contents. The drawer opens and chaos spews out. The files are not in alphabetical order. There are papers every which way, facing up and facing down. Forward, backward, folded in half. It is no wonder I am having trouble
retrieving things. I have to write everything down. I used to not be this way. I used to keep my filing cabinet in perfect order. I could reach in with my eyes closed and find EXACTLY what I needed. One day it will be that way again I hope.

The clinic in Kansas has kept me busy all day today. I thought I was going to be able to get more accomplished at home to get ready for our garage sale. Hopefully tonight I will be able to get things going.

Day 57

Last night I flew into Kansas City. John picked me up. Oh my gosh. It was so good to see him, even though I had just seen him last weekend. Maybe it is because I know I will see him for 2 weeks. I talked a mile a minute.He just laughed because he says I always talk too much. (Not in a bad way)

We drove to Ladd and Sarah's to see them before we continued on the Wichita. Thanks guys for staying up late to talk. After hugs all around the first thing Ladd asked me was, " SO...Do you think this experience has brought you closer together or pushed you guys apart?" I looked at John and before I could answer John said, "I definitely love Angi more. I am appreciative for all Angi does and has done for me and our children. It is hard but we are strengthened by this." I think we have grown closer together. We have always been close but through this experience the closeness is so tangible. John you are my ROCK. Even when I am far away during this time you are just a phone call away. Day or night you are there to listen to my woes.

My first full day in Wichita. Salt Lake withdrawal. It was nice to go to church in the Rolling Hills Ward. The familiar faces were most welcoming. Thanks to all who said hello. Great to talk to many people. Tim and Teresa, dinner was delicious and a comfort.

My parents are on Nicole watch this week. They are able to go to the hospital each day while I am gone. Not the same as me being there but she will have someone to watch over her and not feel so lonely. Even though she sleeps most of the time.

Nicole's blood pressure slowly plummets today. They put her back on the medication and it does rise but not where they want it to be and when they take her off it goes right down. Not knowing why this is happening is frustrating. I know it is frustrating for the doctors also.

Her situation warrants that she stay in in bed so she had PT in her room today and only one time. Even though it is good for her to be stretch and get her motor skills to function higher I know she probably liked only having PT one time. It wears her out so much. They say it is like running a marathon. No wonder she sleeps so much.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 56

I went to the Unit today at 5am. I needed to go there that early to be able to spend time with Nicole before I attended the sealing of our friends. Karen and Wade.

When I arrived this morning I was happy to know Nicole's urine output was high with the help of a drug and her blood pressure was better also because of a drug. She still has 9 bags hanging this morning.

She woke fairly easily, although, Nicole is hallucinating frequently. They are not sure why that is happening. I wish I knew. If is very frustrating. I bet is it frustrating to her also.

I left mid morning to attend the sealing. I was so happy to be there to share in that day with Karen and Wade. What a special day. Karen's daughters Lisa and Mandy were in the temple with her. So great.

I went back to the Unit before I left to fly to Kansas. I was so glad to be able to spend more time with her. She is a fighter. even though all that is happening today she is fighting through it all.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 55

It has been such a crazy day today. When I came to the unit Nicole didn't even know me. It freaked me out. She is so disoriented today. Her blood pressure was only 79/20 when I got here. I saw they had her on Albumin again. 2 bottles later and her blood pressure came up some but still lethargic and disoriented. I hate days like this.

During rounds today Dr. Saffel is puzzled why Nicole's blood pressure continues to be low and why she is disoriented and lethargic. I hope he is good at figuring out puzzles.

Pseudomonas is knocking on our door again. Hopefully it won't take too many tries to find the right antibiotic to get rid of it. Nicole now has yeast in her blood. Not the most beneficial thing to be dealing with. As I am looking at Nicole's stats, I see her IV pole. There are 9 bags hanging right now. The same amount as was hanging the first day when we came on the unit. 2 days ago it was only 2 bags.

Dr. Morris put in Nicole's central line today. It is now in her neck. They had to reposition it twice to make sure it was in the right place so it can stay in longer.

When talking to John today he could hear the anxiety in my voice. He was so supportive. He knew my fear instantly. I am leaving to go to Wichita tomorrow. It pains me to have to leave her in this position. I know she is getting great care but it is nothing like a mothers. I know she is being monitored all the time at the nurses station but I feel so much better when I am there and can see, all the time, what is going on. I am glad my parents will be coming to the unit each day to check on her. And of course I can call, day or night, to hear for myself how things are going.

This evening, Diane and Nicole, (cousins) came by to see Nicole. The two Nicole's have a special bond. John's family reunion will be in 2 weeks. At this reunion both Nicole's have their pictures taken together. That won't happen this year but hopefully a picture will be taken before too long. I love these two women. I have seen Nicole grow up. She has always held a special place in my heart. We visited for quite awhile, so good to catch up. I am grateful for the words they left with me. Thank you for the wonderful fresh garden veggies and the delicious poppy seed bread. I can't wait to read the book you gave to Nicole tomorrow.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 54

Last night after I posted, our friend Karen, from Derby, KS, came by and paid us a visit. She was in town for Education Week and for her sealing. I was so glad she came. We had a really nice visit. Karen said some very insightful things to me last night. I am grateful for her and the strength she left me with.

Wow! Nicole walked 20 feet today. Not only did she walk but she walked fast. Well, as fast as she can. Man I was so proud of her. I was so excited to see that. Nicole was resting in the hall before she took a few more steps and she saw Scott her aide. The conversation went like this.

Nicole: Scott did you see that.
Scott: No, what.
Nicole: I went fast :)
Scott: Let me see you!
Nicole: Okay here I go.
She mustered all her strength and took a few more fast steps.
Scott: Wow! You are in high gear. That is awesome.

She beamed. She was so excited. And she was proud of herself.

Nicole is going to PT twice a day now. Walter was her therapist this afternoon. I love Walter, don't get me wrong, but I think he works her harder than anyone else. Today he was having her turn pop cans over and over. It helps get the skin on the hands moving in all sorts of directions. Nicole is competitive. She tried to race him. He was a good sport. Then he gave her another thing to hold and maneuver it around to move a bead from the top to the bottom. It was quite difficult to move around and get the bead to move. Walter stopped her and said, "I don't want to see that handle stop moving." She looked at him and smiled. She took a hold of the handle and just moved it back and forth, back and forth. I was laughing so hard. She was following his instructions about not letting the handle stop moving. What a ham.

After PT Dr. Saffel ordered Nicole to go outside again. It was such a nice day so I was glad to be able to do that. Scott was our escort. Nicole was hooked up to so many things that we had to take her pole out with us. You know the has her food hanging on it, her IV, antibiotics, bolus and so on. It was nice to get out for a bit. it was only 20 minutes but it was nice.

We had surprise visitors today. Stephanie and Christian came by. They were in a fire also, last year. What great courage and faith they have. I have drawn strength from them for the past couple of months unbenonst to them. Having them come by and speak to Nicole and I meant a great deal. To see how well they are doing and seeing how much progress in one short year they have made gave me great hope. Thank you both for taking the time out of your schedule to bring sunshine to our day. I hope to see you both again.

For all the good day Nicole had today by late afternoon all was not well in room 9. Nicole's pic line got infected so they needed to take it out. Not so bad but when the pic team came in to take care of that they couldn't find a good place to put it in. So, Dr. Saffel came in and put a peripheral line in. Then we found out Nicole has thrush. I had been saying for days I thought she had that but they were not listening. I am glad her nurse today listened to me and had it checked. For several days Nicole has been running a fever also. She is having some lung issues so they sent some samples to get cultured. Hopefully it isn't pneumonia. That's all we need.

Cafe Rio is my life saver. I stopped by to get some rice and beans on my way home from the hospital. (Sorry Tiffany, I had to do it) I needed comfort food. May I love their green sauce. It is so nice to lay in bed and eat that while I am blogging. I hope to sleep well tonight. I can hardly keep my eyes open to finish this. Good night.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 53

This morning I attended the Bountiful Temple with John's sister, Anne. So nice to be in the Temple today. It was great to be there together and share that time together. Thanks Anne for being with me.

We have spent 53 days in the Burn Unit now. You would think that it would get easier. You would think that we would know what to expect. Nothing is the same from day to day. Oh, the nurses and the aides are the same, there are only 3 doctors so they are the same. But can you imagine the feeling when you walk into your home and it just feels comfortable. The feeling is there. You know your routine. You know how your day usually goes. I would like a little sameness.

Well I guess the sameness comes in the form that Nicole has PT twice a day and Tank everyday. I can think that is positive. I will think positive of the other things that are not the same hoping that one day Nicole will become stable, she will be up-graded and she will heal quickly and get on the road to recovery.

Life will never be the same. We have always thought life is a gift. Everyday we feel blessed to have each other. Each day is its own challenge but what would life be like if there were no challenges...boring. But....Knowing we have health, happiness, our faith, each other, is what we live for.

Nicole's challenges that she has dealt with in the past are nothing like what she will be dealing with in the future. We, as a family, will be changed forever by this. Our faith has been tested and we have passed. We are grateful, in some weird way, for this experience. Some people say nothing can prepare you for things like this. I know that we have been prepared over the years by different things that have happened that gave us experience to handle this. I believe if we all look deep within ourselves we will find the strength to conquer all things. Even this.

Please God, Help us get though another day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 52

Here I am living my life moment by moment. Each passing second is a lifetime. Sometimes I feel myself grasping at air. I need something to hold onto but when I reach it all slips through my fingers like the air that can never be captured in the palm of your hand.

I find myself shedding tears 90% of today. On the surface nothing seems to be going right. I can't sleep (no surprise there) I am running late. "Late for what", I ask myself. Late for the self imposed time schedule of when I feel I need to be at the hospital. And when I do get there Nicole is going to the tank room early. Her meds have not kicked in and she is maxed out on what they can give her. This is going to be fun :(

I don't know why this day is so much harder than any other day. There is a nice cool breeze that is blowing in the valley today. It is overcast which I am glad for. I hope it rains. I am hoping for a giant Kansas thunderstorm. One that will drop buckets of rain everywhere. Maybe it will feel like HOME more.

I cannot wash Nicole's hair today. It is defiantly a hand holding day. She is holding my hand as much as I am holding hers. Now that she has a voice she cries out loud. That in itself is harder to handle. Before when she was crying, she was not making a sound. I could deal with that much better. You know how it feels when your child has fallen, skinned their knee and comes running into the house and what do you pick them up, hug them, kiss the boo-boo and make it all better. I wish I could do that. I just want to rock her in a rocking chair until all the stress and hurt goes away.

I can't even imagine what it is like to be going through this. The pain, the pain, the pain. No wonder she sleeps so much. I would want to do that just to make the world go away.

Each time I look at Nicole today I am reminded of the love she has for those around her. She always says thank you to nurses, aide, even the cleaning lady if she is awake. I am also reminded of the long, hard road she will face as the months and years go by. I hope she can handle it. (I hope I can handle it also.)

The pain seems never ending today. There are many things that cause pain such as turning in bed, wound care, diaper changes, physical therapy all but to name but a few things. I look at her with wonderment. Would I be able to endure such long suffering as well as she. I hope so. She endures things so well.

When I had lost it today for the millionth time, Nicole looked up at me and said,"I am sorry for your tears. I wish I could wipe them away." How I wish it were that easy. How I wish I could wipe away her tears.

I pleaded with Heavenly Father to please lift this burden form me. I know one day that will happen. This is a time for the refiners fire.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just Thinkin'

Laying in bed tonight I was just thinkin' 'bout all that has happened in the last 2 months. I just thought I would share with you some of those thoughts.
1. I am closer to my niece Tiffany. I am grateful for the relationship we have formed.
2. I see my son everyday. I am grateful he is close. I love to see his smile. I love that he has moved back home to be here if I need him. He has given up his own home which I know is a sacrifice on his part. I know he will be there in short order if I need him. I hope he knows that I will be there for him also. There is nothing better than knowing he is just a phone call away.
3. My relationship with my Heavenly Father has kicked into high gear. I knew I could rely on Him before but He has been my constant. You know the feeling when you kneel to pray and you pour your heart out and when you are done you feel a burden has left you. You feel heard. You feel that no matter what, everything will be okay no matter which way things turn out. That is how I feel each day. Nothing could be sweeter.
4. I never knew how much our ward members in Kansas cared. I am grateful they love Nicole. I am grateful for their prayers on our behalf.
5. I am amazed at the outpouring of love that people have shown us even those that don't even know us.
6. I don't know what I would do without our friends, especially Teresa and Tim, Rachel and Don, Susan and Byron, Jo and Alex, Lisa and Todd, Teri and Dale, Vicki and Zell. The calls, the notes, the emails. Supporting John or myself. Amazing.
7. The love and support the burn unit staff gives to our family is infinite. They are truly gifts sent by God.
8. Our ward in Utah has been there for us too. Many calls and notes. Heartfelt words and encouragement. Waves as I go by on my way to and from the hospital. Our neighbors daughter wrote a sweet note for Nicole and left it on our door step.
9. The caring people at Christian's work. Showing extra love to him and also donating dinner to the burn unit to show appreciation.
10. I don't know what I would do without our staff in Kansas. Deseree and Nancy have held the fort down for us in mine and our absence. If our staff wasn't as great as they are I wouldn't be able to stay in Utah and care for Nicole.
11. My parents who have stayed with Nicole so I could get a break. And other relatives who have visited Nicole and cheered her on.
12. Thanks be to our home teacher in Wichita and his boys. Danny is there for John and his boys are taking care of our yard. With John doing his job and mine it doesn't leave much time for yard work plus trying to sell our home and get things ready to be packed up and moved to our new place in Wichita. He really has his work cut out for him.
13. Of course my loving husband who has cheered me on, been my shoulder to cry on, shared in the joy of the small things and the large ones too. I am grateful that he above all is there for me, Day or Night. He believes in me. What more could I ask for.

Well, like I said, I was just thinkin'. Just want you to know that I am grateful for you. I may not know you but I am grateful that you care about our family or you wouldn't be here right now. I wish I knew all those who are out there. I see where people are coming from but I don't who they are. Well, whoever you are, God bless you and yours.

Day 51

As soon as I arrived at the hospital my phone rang. It was Liz, Nicole's nurse. Nicole was getting ready to go outside again. They wanted us to go with them. I was so glad I could be there for it. It is such a nice day today. Cool with a slight breeze, slightly overcast. What a nice day to be sitting outside.

During PT today she stood again. Drum roll please (rattattattat) Nicole took 8 steps. She had a PT guy and girl on each side as well as a walker. I was so surprised to see that happen. WOW! I was just about jumping for JOY! It was just like when your toddler is beginning to walk for the first time. So amazing.
Really busy morning for us. Right after PT Nicole had wound care. I feel blessed to be able to go to the tank room with Nicole. I am grateful to be able to see her progress and to be able to comfort her when she needs comfort.
With so much going on Nicole is just exhausted. She has been put back on Albumin to help her blood pressure. It is very low again. 90/24 As I watch her monitors I am mesmerized. All the numbers and what they mean. Sometimes I catch myself watching and 30 minutes have gone by. I wish that my will could make the numbers go up.
What do you think Heaven is like? Do you ever think about that? Do you wonder if there are animals there? What is the vegetation like? Are there carpenters and builders building homes and areas for families or do you just think about the kind of home you want and it appears? Do we even live in home? Where do we rest or do we even rest? Do we have too much to do to think about stuff like that? My hope is that we have places where we meet as families. My hope is there is a place for those who have had a long battle here on earth to rest a bit before Heavenly Father puts them to work.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day 50

This morning John and I went to church. Since we are in Utah there are no services because the Oquirrh Mountain Temple is being dedicated. Those living in Utah were able to go to a chapel and see the dedication ceremony. Beautiful! Before hand there was a dvd depicting many views of the temple as well as some of the inside areas that patrons could see during the open house. It was so nice to be able to attend that with John. We have had a very eventful weekend. I am so blessed that he was able to come here and share this weekend with me.

After church we went to Texas Roadhouse and met with Angi's parents, Jerry and Vicki, as well and Angi's brother and his wife, Jerry and Sandy, and another sister, Kim. We celebrated John's birthday with Christian and his store. So fun to get John up on the saddle and have Christian be the one to announce his dad's birthday.

Spending the rest of the afternoon with Nicole was so great. I know John was very happy to be able to see her progress. Nicole's upper body is doing pretty good except her left arm still. Some of the graph did not take so the healing is slow in those areas. She may have to have some of her arm re-graphed. Time will tell. Nicole's legs have yet to be graphed but that will happen maybe next week sometime. As soon as a donor site becomes available she will get scheduled.

John gave Nicole and I both a blessing before he had to leave to fly back to Wichita. I love the Power of the Priesthood. I am grateful for the words that were spoken of our behalf. God is ever mindful of us and our situation.

Many tears were shed when John left tonight to fly to Wichita. My only solace....I will be seeing him in 6 days.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, John

Today John is 51! I am so lucky to have been with him for 26 birthdays. I love birthdays. I love to reflect back on what I have done this past year or what the birthday person has done.

This year has been quite eventful for him. First, right after his last birthday we started a small clinic in Lehi, Utah. We moved to a new home there although we still have our clinic in Wichita, Kansas. We were coming to Utah so much to see and treat family and friends that we thought we might as well start a clinic there. We have traveled back and forth for nearly 1 year now. We both have grown a lot this year. Spiritually and mentally. Our life has taken a new path in a few areas. The growth we have seen is amazing. I couldn’t do a lot of the things I do without the strength that John gives me. He says that I give him strength. I suppose it goes both ways.

John helps to keep me grounded. He is so kind to me. I couldn’t ask for a better person to go through life with and eternity. He is amazing. He is kind and thoughtful. Loves me to death. Who could ask for more? I am grateful for all he does for me and the light he brings into my life.

I was so happy to wake up to him this morning. I haven’t slept so well in weeks and weeks. I actually slept for 11 hours. Can you believe it? I guess it caught up to me and I felt safe enough to sleep that long because John was there. He gave me a present too. (sleep)

Crazy the hand we have been dealt. I don’t know if I could handle it with any other company. I am lucky to be able to spend not only this life but our life after this one with my Johnny.

Top ten reasons I love Johnny
1. He loves me
2. He is kind and gentle
3. He upholds his priesthood
4. He believes in me
5. He smiles a lot
6. He loves our children
7. He is a perfectionist
8. He is caring
9. He is helpful
10. He loves God

We had a great day spending it with Nicole. Now is celebration time. I made reservations at Five ALLS. It is on Foothill Drive in Salt Lake City. You meal includes 3 appetizers, soup or melon, Salad, Your meal with a potato, a vegetable and your meat. Served with Bread. Then you get dessert. What more could you ask for. Good food and they even sang to John for his birthday.
On the drive home I couldn't be happier. I smiled all the way home. I have a lot to smile about. John being here. Christian being healthy and happy. Nicole improving. Our practices doing well. Great staff. (Thanks Nancy and Deseree)
I love you!

Day 49

John and I slept in. It felt so god to actually be able to sleep. I haven’t slept like that in weeks and weeks.

John hadn’t seen Nicole’s wounds for 3 weeks so he really wanted to be there today for wound care. He was amazed at how she was coming along. It is hard to be here each day and gage how it is coming. I t was so nice to see it from his prospective. He really thought things were coming along really good. Her left arm is still not healing as well as they want and there are a few more areas not taking. Probably from the infections but upper body is healing quite nicely.

During PT today Nicole stood again and actually took a few steps. HOORAY! She was so pleased with herself. We were not here yet to see that event but maybe they will have her try again tomorrow and we will be here to see it.

Uncle Jerry and Aunt Sandy came from Montana to see Nicole today. I was glad they were able to come. Sandy was in a car accident last year as she hit a deer. It put her in a coma for over a month and did quite to job on her body. She has had a difficult time recovering although she has great faith in God and He will help her though. Today during PT Nicole was struggling with the pain and Sandy was cheering her on reminding her that God is there with her. Nicole has great faith. I know she was pleased that Sandy said that to her. Jerry brought her a turtle balloon. So cute.

Sue, John’s cousin, was in Salt Lake City from California. It was so good to see her. We haven’t seen her in about 5 years. She stopped by and brought Nicole some cheery green balloons. Green is Nicole’s favorite color. She loves them. Nicole really loves all the balloons. She says she loves them because they dance in the air like she wishes she could dance.
Nicole is sleeping quite a bit again today.

John and I are going to dinner at Five Alls for his birthday. We are excited to go there as we haven’t been in several years. Next entry will tell you all about it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 48

John is coming to visit today. I am so happy. His plane is delayed in Wichita for 3 hours but that is okay. We will still have lots of time together.

Today is going to be my busiest day so far I think. Airport, Hospital, Lunch with John's sibs, Dedicating John's mom's new home, and a Wedding reception.

When I came to the hospital Nicole was just getting ready for wound care. There are days I don't think that very much. I have great respect for the nurses who do that day in and day out. Wound care is a very painful and they are trying to be as gentle as can be. They have great patience. I am the hand holder today. Usually I am the hair washer.

I picked John up at the airport and we went directly to Ruth's Diner for a lunch with his siblings for his birthday. It is such a great day out we sat outside on the deck. Lunch was great. Great food, great company. I also brought 5 little bundt cakes from Nothing bundt cakes in Sandy. 5 different flavors and we all had some of each.

John dedicated Janet's (John's mom) home today. She will be moving in to the home in 2 weeks. It was nice to be there with her and have John be able to do that for her.

Our next stop...the hospital. Boy was Nicole excited to see John. Her eyes were are big a saucers. BIG smile. Even though she knew he was coming is was a surprise anyway. Nicole put her hand on John's shoulder and said, "I have my daddy", then she put her other hand on my shoulder and said, "I have my mommy". Back together again. What a sweet gesture. John was able to "feed" Nicole some ice chips. She loved it.

Next was a wedding reception in Stansbury. For our sweet friend, Ranch Kellie. That is what we call her. We met her many moons ago at the Rockin' R Ranch in Antimony, Ut. Each year she returned to work there. Christian and her stayed close over the years. It was so fun to be there to help them celebrate. There were also many old ranch hands there. So fun to see Colter and Dianna there. Brings back lots of memories.

After driving back to Salt Lake we stopped again to see Nicole but she was so spent from the day that she was just sawing logs. We kissed her and prayed with her. See you tomorrow Sweet Nicole.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 47

47.....when I wrote day 47 I thought of the Days of 47. It doesn't really seem like that long ago we celebrated that day. Yet it seems like a lifetime ago. A lifetime ago is when I was planning our picnic for the 4th of July with fireworks at the river front. A lifetime ago is when I was talking on the phone to Nicole and she was so excited about riding on the Texas Roadhouse float on the 4th in Sandy and then watching the fireworks with her brother. A lifetime ago is waking to the phone ringing and receiving the news and yet it was just 47 short days ago.

Amazing what can happen in 47 short days. I have gone from crying all the time to now being able to smile at the little things that are being accomplished. I have gone from almost every night a sleepless night to sleeping almost through the night most nights. I have gone from standing vigil at the bedside hours on end to feeling like I can go for a walk and not have anxiety over it. I have gone from wondering if she will take another breath to being breathless from seeing her stand for 10 seconds.

Each day is nothing short of a miracle. Each day is a gift given to us by God. Each day is not taken for granted for this may be the last. Nicole is improving slowly but surely. But she is still not out of danger. So many things can still happen. So many things do happen.

I have walked each night this week. I have seen the fireball in the sky set over the mountains. I have seen deer grazing in a field so close to the road. Last night they were especially close. One was maybe 50 feet from me. They are so beautiful. So graceful. As I watched them I saw how they all look out for one another. A few are eating while one watches. They make noises to each other. Noises that tell the others it is still safe.

Why don't we do that for those around us. Who stands watch to make sure it is safe. Who warns others then it is not. Who is there to watch over others to make sure they all get back to the place of refuge safely. We need to be more like that small herd of deer. We need to look out for each other more. It doesn't take much. All it take is a kind word. A smile. A wave when walking or driving by. Then we know someone cares of we return to safety.

Mostly Nicole has slept again today. i was happy for that. The pain in her left arm and the neuropathy has been so painful for the last couple of days. Nicole's pain meds were changed to see if that would help but now she is zonked most of the time. Well at least the pain is under control.

Yesterday I put on the blog that I was seeing John in a week. Well guess what? His birthday is Saturday. I surprised him with a plane ticket to come here tomorrow! How exciting is that. Well I know I am excited. He is flying in at 10:30am and will be able to stay until Sunday. Celebrate good times, Come on!. Yahoo. I know he is so looking forward to seeing Nicole and she him but I am excited to have him close. I am excited to sleep next to him and wake up with him here. It doesn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 46

She sleeps so peaceful. Her eyes flutter, dreams are close to the surface.

Nicole tries each day to do her best in physical therapy. She puts on a brave face and works through the pain. Walter, her physical therapist is so proud of her today. She can do all her exercises with her right arm by herself. She can lift and do some with her left arm as well.

Nicole was back on full oxygen today. Her levels were in the 70's and nothing was helping. Respiratory even came and gave her an albuteral treatment. After being put on oxygen her stats came up but she is now on it until further notice.

My mom and my sister came to visit Nicole today. They read to her for an hour and then they went home. It is my mom's birthday so they went to celebrate. Happy Birthday, Mom. Thanks for the visit.

I can't wait to see John in a little over a week. It has been 3 weeks since I have seen him. It is lonely at home and at the hospital. I don't like to wake up or go to bed without him. I know he feels the same way. We don't talk about it because it just becomes harder. We dance around the subject. I hope to be dancing with him soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 45

Nicole's fever is mostly gone today. Good sign. She has rested better today which is also a good sign. As you know healing happens when we sleep. Dr. Saffel came in again to see her sites during dressing changes. He said they looked kind of soupy so they changed her dressings again to another kind to try and help dry those out. The graph site on her abdomen is looking great but her left arm is still a concern. There are areas that look as thou the graph may not take.

I am so happy Nicole can speak a little more. He voice really isn't getting any stronger yet but my skills of lip reading are not as refined as I am sure she wishes they would be. We both get frustrated when I can't do my job of reading lips.

They got Nicole in the cardiac chair today. First day since surgery. That is so great. I think she likes to be up and able to see better once the pain lessens from getting into that position. She has been in the chair for about 3 hours. Sleeping most of the time. She will be going to bed soon and then not long after that bedded down for the night. Which entails, hand and arm splints, medication, getting her situated with pillows around her, her feeding pouch full of liquid food, and a few other things.

Sweet dreams Sweet Nicole.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 44

I am apologizing in advance. This post is going to be short.

Nicole for the most part has had a pretty good day. She has had a fever on and off for two days. Today during dressing change Dr. Saffel said her donor sites look good as well as her abdomen although her left arm is infected. We are hoping she doesn't loose the graph.

Nicole had the swallow test today. They fished a camera through her nose to her throat to watch her swallow. She was so excited as she was sure she would be able to start eating. Well she first swallowed ice. That went well. Next came water. Pretty good too. Then the applesauce....Right into her lungs. NNNOOOO!

Well that was a bust. They will come back in 4 days to try again. Nicole is sad. I am sure she wants to taste things again. Well time will tell.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 43

I spent the night at the hospital again. Some nights it just draws me there. I wonder if I am there on the nights she needs me most.

Yesterday Nicole's nurse was Shaun. He is always so careful with her. Nicole needed extra pain medicine several times. He was so good about keeping on top of it. At one point we found out that she was not supposed to be rolled from side to side and the two previous days the nurses were turning her. It really upset Nicole to think that her new graphs may not take now. Shaun was there to comfort her. He said, " There is someone greater than all the nurses and doctors here and you have to have faith that He knows what is going on at all times. He could, if He wanted heal you in an instant. We all just need to exercise the faith that He knows best and will do the best by us. When you need something and no one is here to help you all you need to do is close you eyes and pray and He will help you. Shaun also remembered this quote he thought by Russell M. Nelson. "That it doesn't matter the position the person is in when they pray, it is the prayer itself." Shaun told Nicole even laying on her back to just close her eyes and He will be there listening.

Then Nicole said, "When I am alone and I need a nurse but I can't reach the button, I pray and when I open my eyes there is always a nurse there.'

Nicole has needed 4 units of blood today. Nicole's bone marrow has stopped working. That is why she has needed so many blood transfusions. Dr. Morris says that in many traumatic cases like Nicole's, that happens. Most of the time the marrow will spontaneously start working. I hope that is the case for Nicole.

She is running a fever again this afternoon and evening. It is quite high so they are taking it every 10 minutes. Her voice is getting stronger. It is quite and it tires quickly still but that is improving.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Baby Shower for Suz

This afternoon I went to a baby shower in Ogden for my friend Suzie. I was so happy that I was here for it. I don't get to see her often enough. I always have so much fun when we get together. Suzie is having a GIRL! I am so excited for her and Bill to be parents.

The shower was given by her sisters, Amber, Kelli and Rebecca. It was so fun to see them all again. I haven't seen Becca or Kelli in like 5 years or so. Nicole and I went to Amber's house in Jan and had a sleep over. It was so fun. We stayed there because we were going to Time Out For Women in Ogden. If you have never been to one of those they are so awesome. Something you will never miss again if you go once.

Amber and I visited for a while. It was so good to see her also. Both Amber and Suzie worked at our clinic in Wichita several years ago.

I love baby showers. Suzie received so many cute things. Madi will be fashionable, clean, and will be able to rock herself to sleep.

The food was awesome. Bar-B-Q sandwiches, Fresh Fruit with a yummy strawberry dip and really yummy Lemon cheesecake bars. So good.

Its not a party with out food. I am so glad to have been invited. Thanks girls. It gave me a few hours to get my mind off the things at hand.

Day 42


Today has had a great start. Upon arriving at the unit this morning Dr. Morris was there. He wanted to see the area where Nicole's trach was. Off came the bandages. Dr. Morris was very pleased to see how well it was doing. He indicated that the hole was half as big and it was healing great. I leaned over and whispered to him, "That is the power of prayer and the priesthood". He agreed. The nurse put bandages over the area and pressed lightly. Out came words that were not only audible but music to my ears. He ordered a preliminary swallow test.

In comes the speech gal. She is kind and gentle with Nicole. She moves Nicole's bed to a more upright position before putting a small piece of ice in her mouth. You can tell Nicole is loving it. Ice cold feeling in her mouth. She swallows. Down it goes. Sweet! Now for a spoonful of water. They say it is really hard to swallow water because there is no substance. Swallowing again! Wow I am so proud of her. Then the speech gal offers apple sauce. The expression on Nicole's face is priceless. She is so excited. Her eyes light up and she smiles. In her mouth goes a tiny spoonful. You can see her rolling it around in her mouth to enjoy every molecule. Down it goes. Nicole is loving it. When asked how it was she said she wanted the whole cup. Well she didn't get the whole cup but she did get 2 more tiny spoonfuls. I think she thought it was close to heaven.

Monday they will put a small camera in her throat to see how she swallows. Nicole will get to experience applesauce again AND a strawberry shake. Heaven, I tell you Heaven. Of course she will not get the whole cut or the whole strawberry shake but some is better than non.

I called John and put my cell phone on speaker. The nurse pushed on her bandages covering her stoma and she said, "Hi Daddy". John was so excited. Then she said, "I love you, Daddy." john said it was the best "I love you Daddy" in the whole world. I am so glad those 4 little words made John's whole day. It is amazing what just a few words said to someone does for their whole day.

It's kind of like a smile. You know when you are walking down the street or in a store and someone random person smiles at you. You smile back and it changes your whole day. You probably smile at someone first next and it makes their day. I love that.

I hope I can make someones day today. I know Nicole made mine when she told me she loves me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 41

I realized that I didn't post about a few things that happened when the internet was down at the hospital. For one, it was a very busy day for visitors on wednesday. John's mom. Janet, came by on her way back to Koosharem. They had a little visit. Christen from Wichta, flew into Salt Lake City today to visit our friend Suzie. They both came to visit Nicole in the burn unit today. I think they had a great visit. Christen read to Nicole and they had a little chat. Well, mostly the girls chatted and Nicole mouthed a few words and nodded. They stayed a short time when my parents and my sister, Kim, came to pay a visit also. All these visits is very tiring. Especially since she had been running a fever for a few days.

Do you ever have times when you don't know which end is up. Or even sometimes when you don't know if it is day or night. I have had those days. Especially the last few days. With the Internet being down I can't blog about my thoughts. And if I can't blog about my thoughts I forget them because the days and nights are like one long day. I sometimes can't remember in which order things happened.

I was very happy when I came to Nicole's room today. She was sleeping much better. I see that the nurse has hung a fentynal drip. I am happy about that. Her nurses this morning tell me she didn't really sleep last night because of the pain. Even though they gave her several different types of pain control meds her pain was not under control. That is why the drip.

On days like today when Nicole is sleeping more I have time to ponder and pray. I reflect back in time to days long ago. Some memories are just a flicker of time. Some memories come back so strong they play in my mind like a movie. I can stop and rewind or skip a part. I wish I could rewind to July 3rd and make this whole thing go away. Or push the fast forward button and skip over the part where the pain is so real for us. Or the physical therapy. Or the wound care. All of which carries its own pain for us to endure.

Do you ever wonder why the pain is so real? Do you ever wonder why God made it so that we can practically feel the pain when we flash back to events like this. Sometimes the smell of an event will fill my nostrils. I always marvel at that. It is like going into a file room and opening up a file and looking at it. Examining it seeing the contents, smelling the paper and then putting it back to be seen another day. We know where those things are filed. Maybe if we took them out a little more often we wouldn't have such pain when we do look at them.

Today at the hospital was the first day of the new Internet access. Everyone said it would be so easy. Well I am not a computer genius but come on..... It took me 4.5 hours to finally get on. It was so frustrating. Even the help desk guy couldn't help me. So, after many buttons being pushed, settings looked at, and being very frustrated and set my home page to Google and viola, it worked. Now why would setting the home page at Google be the key. Who knows. But I am gad to say I can record my feelings better now.

I was able to stop by my sister Dana's home tonight so I could celebrate my nephews birthday with him. Jeramy turned 8. Dana has big bouncy house and the kids love to bounce in it. It looks like so much fun. And she made a very cute cake except it was really cupcakes. Made in the shape of a dragon.

Well I am off now to get some ZZZZ's I hope it come soon and stays for a while.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 40

It was a long night. Not much sleep was had by myself or Nicole. It brought back memories of her having the flu once when she was small. Vomiting all night. Neither one of us getting much sleep. Snuggling on the couch together so I could be close to her and not disturb John's sleep.

Nicole's fever has quieted down this morning. Now she is struggling the other way. Her temp is 94.6. She is piled on with warm blankets. I really need to invest in a blanket warmer. I would love it.

Nicole had PT this morning knowing she was going to go to surgery this afternoon. PT is so painful. I can't imagine anything else that could be as painful. The stretching, lifting limbs, being pulled and prodded this way and that. I know it is for her own good but when I see her cry I just want to hold her. I brush away the tears just in time for a fresh set to occur. Just when I think they are about done PT starts somewhere else and so do the tears. I find myself tearing up with her. She mouths, "Don't cry mommy, I will be stronger". That just bring on the water works.

Surgery is always longer than expected and when we are the ones waiting it seems to take forever. Today is not exception. Although her nurses came in and cleaned her room while she is out and hearing them talk back and forth is funny.

I am always so glad to see the surgeon come back to the unit. It means surgery is over. Dr. Morris and I have a talk about what was done in surgery. Covered all of left arm. That was a big job. Covered what was left of Nicole's abdomen. That will be a great relief for Nicole since a lot of the tissue wasn't covered there which causes more pain.

Dr. Morris also took out Nicole's trach. We knew this might happen. She come the out O.R. on oxygen and when the nurses tried to discontinue it her blood sat went way down. Nicole can talk in tiny whispers. They will be encouraging her speaking but it does wear her out.

Even though the surgery went well Nicole is in more pain today then I think she has exhibited since this happened. I think because she is not on any editional sedation at all now. She got out of surgery at about 4pm and the pain was so intense for her that she couldn't sleep. She kept being asked to be turned from side to side. She just couldn't get comfy. I don't blamed her. If I had no skin on my back I would be miserable too.

Christian came to take me to Dinner. It was at the cafeteria but that is great by me.

We called for a blessing for Nicole. A man came about 10 pm. So nice. He was facing his own tragedy (his son was shot) and yet he choose to serve us. I hope his son is alright. Soon after Nicole falls asleep. It is so nice to see her calm and restful.

I take this as my leave also. I may need to return to the hospital so I better get some winks. Sorry the internet was down. I hope these two posts made up for it. I hope I get 40 winks. 20 would even be good.

Day 39

The email at the hospital has been done for two days.

Wednesday started off actually pretty good. Nicole's fever had broke which we are extremely grateful for. I didn't arrive at the hospital until late morning as I had to take care of things around the house. Funny how things just keep building up and then one day you just have to get in there and take care of it. Laundry, dishes, sweeping all doesn't seem to go away.

This update actually isn't going to be too newsy because the days run into each other and unless I write about it that day I honestly can't remember what happened which day.

Nicole is slated to have surgery tomorrow which we are happy for. The quicker she get covered by her own skin the quicker her recovery will progress.

Tonight Christian, Celia and I met up at The Pie. I didn't eat but it was fun company. If you have never been it is the best pizza. not just your run of the meal pizza. Gourmet is what it is but not too off the wall. While we were having dinner the unit called and told me Nicole had spiked another fever and was vomiting and for me to come right away. I was so glad they called. Sometimes they just deal with it themselves but I want to be there to help her though it. It is going to be a long night.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 38

I woke this morning thinking I was going to have a great day after all the greatness of yesterday.
John called me early to see if I was at the hospital yet. He had a knot in his stomach that something was very wrong with Nicole. I called the hospital to see how she was. Everything was fine. I soon found myself worrying. On my way to the hospital I prayed that all was fine.

When I got to the burn unit Nicole was in the tank room. I gowned up and went in. I knew something was wrong the minute I looked at her. She was in such distress. I could tell she is in more pain today. Her eyes are pleading with me to help her. I just want to scoop her up and hug her tight. I want to kiss away all the hurt like she is 4 years old with a skinned knee. But all I can do I hold her hand.

Not feeling well doesn't stop other things from going on around us. P.T. comes in to get her. She is a trooper and does her exercises. Ashley is here to spend a little sweet time with her and cheer her on.

After a while of being back in bed Nicole spikes a fever of 104. No wonder her stats where out of whack. "What is going on" is my only thought. I don't get it, yesterday was so great. Then I remember the words of the doctor the first day we were here. "This is a roller coaster ride. She will have good days and bad, She can seem fine one minute and the next is topsy turvy. That is why we will give her 50/50 chance and not upgrade for for weeks because we just don't know."

Well someone knows. I just need to have a frank talk with Him. I need to know.

As I pull myself together again I know deep down inside that even though He knows He won't tell me. That is my trial. To endure to the end. Endure in all things. Endure not only for myself but for my child. And my child needs to endure. We will do this together. We will stay strong. We will fight this no matter which way it goes. We will win. We will endure.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 37

I can't believe how blessed I am.

When I came to the burn unit today Nicole summoned me to her bedside first thing. As I got closer she motioned for me to come close to her face. When I got within inches she said, "I LOVE YOU!" I couldn't believe it. It was very quiet but the sound was there. I called John right away and she said it to him also but all he heard was breath. WOW! Amazing! I was so excited.

When Nicole went to the tank room I was able to get a look at her wounds. Many sights look really great. A few graph sites have not taken but that can be rectified. The only site that is finished right now is her right arm and hand. It looks so good. It is actually so good that it already has pressure bandage on it and not any bandages.

Nicole also went to the Physical Therapy room today instead of having therapy in her room. It is better for her because she has to sit up for all of it so it will help her lungs out immensely. She started by having he hands on triangles that are connected to a pulley system. As each arm is pulled down the other one goes up and stretches. Up and down go her arms. Slowly but in rhythm. Next she gets her elbows, wrists and fingers stretched. That is all for today. We saw someone else in there that was learning dexterity. He was putting pegs in holes. I guess that will be something we will be looking forward to.

P.T. exhausts us both. Nicole sleeps for the rest of the day. I probably would also given the chance.

The Lord has greatly blessed my life. He is watching over us each day. He is sending others to help John and to buoy him up and comfort him as we are apart. Thank you to those who are there for him. There is something to be said of service. Not only does it help the person receiving it but it also helps the person giving it. Both are being blessed.

Tonight I went to my sister-in-law Anne's home. She is so busy getting ready for a child moving away to school and a child moving back to Utah as well as two new grandchildren and heading up our family reunion, etc, etc, etc. I wanted to help her out today by finalizing the count and money and getting it onto a spread sheet. It didn't take a lot of time but it was one less money on her back since she is so busy. I was grateful that I could give that service to her and in return my headache that I had had all day vanished. Thanks Anne for the love you show me.

Sleep cannot come soon enough. I hope I can rest well.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 36

The air is crisp today. It almost feels like fall. I know it sounds weird since it is just August. Maybe we will have an early fall and winter. I hope it is not like last year. So much snow in Utah especially where our home is. It is in the path of American Fork Canyon. The wind rushes down the canyon each evening. I cool canyon breeze. It is so nice. It reminds me of the breeze in Kansas.

Sunday..I love Sunday. I love to hear the Christian music on the radio. I love to go to sacrament meeting. The songs that are sung and the words that are shared are always uplifting. I am grateful to those who speak each week and are guided by the Spirit to give the words that are needed for that day.

This morning Nicole's MRSA had spread onto her left cheek and her whole face looks so much redder. She is much weaker today. You know when your kids are sick and you can see it in there eyes. That is what her eyes look like today. Nicole is pleading with her eyes for me to do something. I wish I know what to do for her. I can't touch her today. Everything is heightened. Touch is hyper sensitive, sound is hyper sensitive, even the fan blowing on her hurts. She is so hot that she wants the fan blowing so she endures the pain.

I pray for angels to be with her to watch over her and to attend to her needs. I know that she has been constantly watched over. I feel them in her room sometimes. So many times I wish that I knew who had the privilege of being there with her. They are lucky and so is she.

Happy Birthday, Christian!

You were born on this day August 8, 1985 at 12:38am. What a day it was. We were so excited to have you in our family. We didn't know whether you would be a boy or a girl and when the doctor said, "It's a boy!" we were both elated. A SON!

We named you Christian not only because we loved the name but because it was a family name. What we didn't know until later is you name means, "Gift from God." No one fits that better than you. You dad was there every minute and of course so was I. Everything went as planned right down to the soft lighting and soft music playing. We wanted you to come into a peaceful world. Dr. Wall didn't even spank you to get you to cry. His philosophy is, "Babies breath on their own went hey are born. They don't need someone to manhandle them unless something is wrong and they don't breath." I loved that because I didn't want any harsh measures to happen. True to his word when you were born you just started breathing. No crying or fussing. You just looked around knowing you were right where you were supposed to be.

You were such an easy baby. Actually you have been quite an easy child to raise. You were always the one to keep the peace, the one who looked out for others, especially your sister. You were the one people looked up to in your quiet ways of understanding, wise beyond your years. You have been an example to those around you, even a quiet example. Not one to judge others even if you were being judged unfairly. You always kept your head high. Your were also all boy. Fishing, camping, hiking, soccer, bike riding. So many days in the summer you would pack your lunch, gather enough bait to last you the day, take your canteen and head to the river. Fishing, exploring, hunting for crawdads. Always bring home adventure stories to tell us. You didn't even care if you never caught any fish. That is a true fisherman.

As you grew so did your interests. You were so into cars. Your first was an Intergra, next came a Civic SI, then a Probe followed by and Accord. There also was the F-250 long bed, a 50cc, a Dakota Quad Cab, then a GSXR (boy was that thing fast). Now you have your baby. A Magnum SRT-8. What a sweet ride. I had so much fun going with you to Tennessee to pick it up. We had a great time driving that bad boy back. After all your blood sweat and tears to trick it out to its first show it went. The Auto-Rama. Your car looked so amazing glistening under the lights in the show hall. Your car won best of class. But the best part I think was when George Barris asked you if that was your Magnum. HE WAS IMPRESSED! He wanted to take some pictures with you in front of YOUR Magnum SRT-8. What a thrill.

Christian, On this your 24th Birthday I want to tell you how proud we are of you. How much you mean to us. What a journey we have been on together. How grateful we are that God put you in our family. How amazing you are. You my son are a gift. A gift we are so grateful for each and everyday. We are proud of you. YOU ROCK!

Day 35

Today dawned beautiful. I got up early in anticipation of Christian's birthday. Each year we always wake the birthday person up singing Happy Birthday. It was quite early when I got up and too early to wake Christian up so I got dressed and ran a few errands. I went to Costco to pick up his birthday cake. Vanilla and vanilla cheesecake filling. Yummo! Then I went to Smith's the get birthday balloons. I choose a huge one that played music. "Celebration". So cute. to go along with that ballon I choose 3 stars in different colors and a Happy Birthday balloon with balloons on it. Before I got back hom Christian had already woke up. I called John so I could put him on speaker and we sang to Christian anyway. It was great.

Christian spent part of his birthday in the burn unit with Nicole. I was glad he choose to do that. Nicole mouthed Happy Birthday to Christian. It was hard but I know that he really appreciated it. After Christian left I spend the rest of the afternoon with Nicole.

The grafts on her trunk are looking much better. The covering has all come off and the graphs are pinking up. Nicole's right arm is looking great and during the day all she needs is a pressure bandage. at night she is still wearing the hand and arm splints to make sure the skin doesn't contract too much. I think she is making strides in this area. Neoropathy still continues in her left leg and foot. They have ordered her a new splint to help that out.

Good news....The lung infection has finally responded to antibiotics. Her lungs are clearing. We are so grateful. The MRSA on her chin and neck is looking better but around her trach is still about the same.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 34

Some of you know that John's mom, Janet, is moving to Salt Lake from Koosharem. Yesterday in the afternoon two of my sister-in-laws and myself drove down to Koosharem to help her start packing. It was so nice to have a little girl road trip. It is about a 3 hour drive. When we arrived Janet had dinner waiting for us. It was delicious. Cantaloupe and a great homemade soup.

We dug in right way packing video tapes, dvd's, cd's, pictures and a whole library full of books. John's dad Bill was an avid reader and collector of knowledge. He has books from all areas of life, from travel to science, English to novels, biographies to skills he wanted to learn. I was so excited when John's sister Anne came across a handwriting analysis book. John has been so curious about that subject over the years and wanted to know more about it. I was lucky when Janet told me to take it home. We packed into the night. Well I didn't. the sister made me go to bed at 10 o'clock. It was a good thing because when I laid my head down I think I was out in 10 seconds. It didn't last long, I was up 3 times in the night and finally just got up at 5am. but what I did sleep was great.

We dug right in and packed more today. I think we packed something like 75 boxes. Much more to still pack but at least it is a start. I love these girls and I am so glad to have gone along. I got my mind off of things for 24 hours. It was good.

When I came to the hospital today after getting back to Salt Lake I found Nicole in her "transformer" bed. She was sitting up albeit asleep. I talked to her and soon she woke up. I was happy to see her and I told her I was back. I asked her if she missed me and she shook her head no. She didn't even realized I was gone. Well I guess that is good. I wouldn't want her to be needing me and me not be able to be there.
The MRSA on her neck is looking better. At least one of her infections is responding to antibiotics. Nicole's stats are better today, too. Ia m so grateful to the staff here. They are all so supportive and kind. They look out for every little thing. If it hadn't been for the very observant nurse a few days ago the MRSA on Nicole's neck might have goon un-noticed for a while longer and continued to go untreated. The doctors don't come in everyday so the nurses are the patients first line of contact. If the nurses don't catch something it may be awhile before a doctor actually see the patient. Again so grateful to the nurses here.
I am so pleased that Nicole is tolerating sitting up more. She sleeps through it but it has cut down on her coughing and secretions there fore helping to clear her lungs.
More balloons have showed up in Nicole's room today. They are so colorful. It really brightens things up to see them. I know she appreciates then also. I see her watching them dance as the air conditioning moves them about. I wonder if she wished she were as free as the balloons?

Thursday, August 6, 2009


"Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. Sometimes the very moments that seem to overcome us with suffering are those that will ultimately suffer us to overcome."
Joseph B. Wirthlin

Day 33


Yesterday afternoon Christian and I both got our hair cut. Then we went to Spankys to get a burger. Spankeys is in American Fork. It is right on the corner when you turn to go to the Mt Timpanogus Temple or American Fork Hospital. If you live anywhere close you should check it out. They are under new ownership so if you have been there before try it again. Christian had the bad boy. 2 patties with ANYTHING you want on it for 99 cents. They have a tons of stuff to choose from. I just got a burger but we had great cheese fries and onion rings. (ask for the Rachel sauce, its a secret but it has a kick)

Then we went next door to Sub Zero. If you have never been to one it is an experience. First they put the ice cream mix in a bowl. It all starts out vanilla. You can choose form regular 14% cream all the way down to yogurt and soy. Then they make it however you want. My choice, cinnamon with cookie dough. Christian's choice, strawberry with dark chocolate flakes. Then they take it over to the nitrous tank and they let it drip in to the bowl. It freezes it instantly. It is so awesome. They next mix it around so everything is spread out and voila you have the best ice cream.

Christian really looks out for me. He can see that I am spread thin. He tells me I have to stay in my own bed tonight or I won't do anyone any good. He is probably right. I call the hospital to get an update on sweet Nicole. She is resting all tucked in for the night. Thane tells me that if she needs me he will call. So I stayed at home, went to bed and slept for 8 hours!

A new complication. Nicole has MRSA. It is under her chin and by her trach.

The speech team came in today to see about Nicole's trach. They are hoping to get her on a button so that she can start using her voice some. The button still doesn't work. Now the team is wondering if there is more damage then they thought. They are calling for an ENT to scope her and figure out what is going on. I hope they can see what they need bedside without having to actually take her into surgery to do it. I guess time will only tell.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

DAY 32

Another night at the hospital. I am just as good at not sleeping there as I am at home. I am glad though that I stayed last night. Sweet Nicole had a bad night but I was there to comfort her. At last I feel useful. I was there to wipe away the tears from the pain. I was there to soothe her after a nightmare. I was there for her!

This morning I had a long talk with Nicole's nurse. It was really nice to talked to someone that really knows what is going on with her. Not just going in and seeing her but actually knows. I was able to vent some frustration and I was able to be sad. But the best part was hearing things from her perspective.

Liz: "I have worked here many years. I have seen many patients and as patients go she is doing great. Nicole's burns are very extensive but she is a fighter. I can tell. I love to be Nicole's nurse because even though she is in pain and everything hurts, she still lets me do what I need to do to help her and take care of her. She doesn't fight me like other patients do. She doesn't tell me to go away. She just nods her head knowing it will hurt but also knowing it is the best for her. I love it when I say I am going to do something and ask her if it is okay, she looks up at me with her sweet eyes. sometimes she lifts one finger as if to say 'one minute please' and then she nods. I think she is just saying a quick prayer that God will help her through this one more thing."

Please God help her.

Nicole is such a trooper. Physical therapy really works her out. Each day they come in and stretch each part of her that has been burned. Each finger, each joint, each limb. She makes fists, bends elbows, lifts arms. Hip movement, knee bends and ankle twists. Today they moved her bed into a sitting position. Who would have known a hospital bed could do that. I thought it was a kind of transformer, bed in disguise.

Nicole has lost so much muscle and some bone density. That is one reason they have been putting her on the tilt table. It helps to build up both of those ever do slightly. But today....
du du na na......With the help of physical therapy and her nurse she stood for 10 seconds. WOW! WOO-HOO. What an accomplishment. Amazing. Of course she can't stand by herself and the 10 seconds she did stand took everything from her but she did it. I was so proud of her to try.

At that moment I remembered all the times she was not afraid to try. She would try anything once. She loved the challenge of trying and succeeding and knowing she could do something and then not ever having to do it again because she didn't need to prove herself.

For example, both Christian and Nicole had been climbing at the climbing gym in Carrollton, TX for about a month. They loved it. It was there time with John. The gym is an old grain silo. There are areas inside and also outside. This day they are climbing outside. I cannot remember that the climbing difficulty was but there were grown-ups, as Nicole would call them, that couldn't get to the top. Nicole got it in her little mind that she could get to the top. John hooked her up, climber on (as they say at the gym). She started off so fast that I thought she would run out of steam before she got the the top which was 85 feet straight up. There she goes, so nimble, not looking back or asking for direction. 10 feet, 20 feet, 50 feet...higher and higher she goes. Then you hear it.....the bells ringing. That is the sign someone has made it to the top. People are clapping. She was just like a little spider. The manager came out and told us she was the youngest climber to ever get to the top. Nicole was 5.

She is full of life!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 31

Yesterday Christian went lake surfing at Jordonelle. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It is where you are inches away from the back of the boat standing on a surf board holding onto the rope. The boat takes off and you drop the rope. The boat is going like 15 miles an hour. It creates a big wake right behind the boat. That wake carries the rider behind the boat without holding on. Christian had a blast. I was so happy he went. It really helped get his mind off of things. Thanks Tracy.

I guess I am getting used to the noises going on in the unit at night. Each night it is getting a little better where sleep is easier to come by. At least I am not waking up every 30 minutes when the nurses come in for something. Nicole's nurse told me this morning that everytime they came in to her room she wanted to know where I was.

Nicole is still fighting the infections. It is really taking a toll on her stamina. So sleepy, yawn! I love to watch her sleep. She looks so peaceful most of the time. Sometimes her brow furrows, sometimes she frowns. I wonder what she is dreaming about. I hope it is nice. I hope it's a flying dream. She loves flying dreams. I think that she likes them so much is because she is free.

Ashley came today and brought Nicole some new books to be read to her. One book she brought was the story of Tikki Tikki Tembo which is very close to Nikki Nikki Timbo. The stories are similar. It is so awesome that she would go to the trouble to find a book like that. It even has a cd that reads the story to you. We are going to read it tonight. Thanks, Ash.

The unit is so accommodating. They brought me scrubs to sleep in tonight. "Better than sleeping in your clothes". YES it is better than sleeping in my clothes. I am sure John is laughing when he reads this because I love wearing scrubs so much I always say it is like working in my pajamas every day. So comfy and I feel right at home.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Day 30

Sweet Nicole had a pretty good day today. She slept more than normal. Nicole, after dressing changes was put on the tilt table again today. She was able to be at 70 degree angle for 40 minutes. During that time she had her usual physical therapy but she also had a visit. Our friends Rachel and Don from Wichita came. It was so good to see them. As soon as Nicole saw Rachel she smiled. They had a nice visit I think.

Rachel and Don also brought many fleece blankets from our many friends in Wichita. They donated blankets to the burn unit. Each person that comes into the burn unit receives a blanket. What a great gift to be able to give the unit. The blankets are something they really need because they go through a lot of them. I am amazed at how many patients some here. As soon as one leaves there is one to come in right behind them. A bed here is not vacant for long. Thank you too all who donated blankets. We so appreciate them.

Nicole's lung infection is still not responding. She was changed to another antibiotic. This specific bacteria a drug resistant. Her stats are better today. her blood pressure isn't quite so low. Every little bit helps.

With tank room today, tilt table, and a visit Nicole is just wiped out. She has slept more today than almost any other day. I am going to sleep here tonight. Some nights I just don't want to leave even though I know the sleep I get is very little. It is so worth it to be here. To be near her. To hear her breath.

The night time at the hospital is so peaceful. At ten o'clock they turn most of the lights out. Most every person has left. the only ones here are other parents or spouses that are also having a sleep over. The nurses talk quieter, all the commotion has ceased. You can almost feel the "helpers" here. What a sweet feeling.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"Don't worry about what people think of you,

Worry about what they think of themselves

when they are with you."

Day 30

I can't believe we are at the 30 days mark. I can hardly fathom someone being in the hospital 10 days let alone 30 and knowing it will be more like 90 plus rehab. Sometimes I feel like the mice in "Who moved my cheese." I go to the hospital and go home. I try to be aware of my surroundings but I find myself thinking about that book and realizing I may not be. If anyone notices that I am getting that way please tell me before there is no more cheese.

When I arrived at the unit today they were just about ready to do Nicole's dressing changes. That is always such a stressful time for her. I am glad I got there when I did so I could at least hold her hand and sing to her sweet soothing songs that she loves.

When her dressing changes are finished, physical therapy comes in to move her to a tilt table. That is a table that starts out flat and incrementally they tilt it more upright to help her build her stamina up for being vertical. When they moved her the tubes coming out from her central line got caught on something and was pulled out. It was quite traumatic. Once they got the blood under control 2 different nurses tried twice each to get a temporary line in but couldn't. The unit had to call the air med team to come and get a line in her until the surgeon can put another one in tomorrow. She was so brave.

Nicole's infections are not responding to antibiotics yet. They have tried 5 different ones. I hope they find something that will touch it soon. Nicole also is having neuropathy in her left leg and and foot. She has the sensation of needles in her foot and leg similar to when your foot falls asleep and then wakes up.

I loved being with her today. I was able to sing to her and just look into her eyes. They were sparkly today despite all that was going on. We both love to look in each others eyes. We communicate so deeply that way. I can read her so well. She is tired but she is a fighter. I wonder how much more fight she has left. Like the bull in a ring eventually he gives up. I hope she fights like a bull in this life and the next. Never giving up just moving on to the next Bull Fighter.

Happy Anniversary to Us

Today is our 25th wedding anniversary! I used to think as a kid when I got married I would soon need to marry someone else because I would run out of things to talk about. When I think of that I laugh and I hear John laugh too. I told him that once and he replied, "You will never run out of things to talk about because your mind never shuts off. It is always thinking up way to have fun or remember things we have done that you want to talk about." I made up a game when the kids were young called the "I remember when game." We would go around in a circle and say, "I remember when..." They then preceded to tell us a memory that had. Everything from what happened last week to things I had forgotten about. Today my favorite I remember when is when John took me to the Salt Lake Temple to marry ME for not only time but for eternity also. What greater memory could I possibly have than to marry my bestest friend. I love you Johnny!

John left last night to go back to Kansas. As he was driving up Parleys Canyon and then into Echo Canyon he felt impresses to turn around and go to the Burn Unit. It is not a short drive back he thinks but he turns around anyway. When he arrives at the unit there is Nicole, eyes wide open, waiting for him. She even mouthed to the nurse she didn't want her pain meds yet because her she didn't want to miss her visit with her dad. I am so glad her heeded the prompting to go back. He talked to her like any dad would. He lovingly put aquaphor on her lips because they were so dry. What a great visit they had together. Just the two of them. At ten o'clock pm I went to the unit to spend my time with her. I chatted with her about my day and all I had done to get John ready to go to Kansas. I received the report of how she was doing and we spoke of those things too. She wants to know what is going on and how she is doing. She has already had her nightly meds and pain meds so she is tired. I can't bring myself to go home so I get a blanket and make myself comfortable in my chair.

As I leave the hospital this morning to go home for church I am in awe of this valley in which I grew up in. The first 24 years of my life I grew up at the foot of Mount Olympus. I walked out of my front door and saw the same thing each day. When you see the same things each day you kind of take them for granted. I always felt the majesty of Mount Olympus and the vastness of the valley but this morning I looked at it with new eyes. Driving away from the hospital (which is in the far north-eastern part of the valley) I drove along the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains going South. The perspective of Mount Olympus from this angle is so different. It doesn't look all jagged and pointed. I can't see the canyon running down the right side of the peak. From here you can't hardly tell one peak from another. They are all running into each other.

I have driven this route many times but at this time in my life I have driven it 29 straight days. I am sure there are many people who drive this same route to work or to school each day. Yesterday I remembered driving along Wasatch Blvd before I-215 was built. We used to take the "short cut: off the Blvd down a very windy, narrow and steep road. Into Holladay and eventually home. I got to thinking how our lives are like a windy road, many twists, turns and steep areas. But that road too leads HOME. I am high enough still on the mountain to look out over the valley. As a child I remember driving along this range and looking out. There were not as many people here then as compared to now. You could visually see the towns in the valley because you could see the open land between them that distinguished them one from another. Today there is hardly a speck of land that is not built upon. From the north end of the valley to the point, from the Wasatch range to the Oquirrh's.

The valley is full yet there are so many beautiful sights. Besides the mountain grandeur there is the Great Salt Lake with the morning light glistening over the water. The 2nd saltiest body of water in the world.

There is also Bingham Canyon Copper Mine. When I was growing up it was called Kennecott Copper Mine. It is the largest copper mine in the world. You can even see it from space. it is 3/4 mile deep, 2.5 miles wide and covers 1900 acres. It is a beautiful sight on the Oquirrh Mountains.

As I continue my drive home I am overwhelmed by the abundance of beauty around me. not just the land beauty but also the beauty of persons around me. I love to look into the faces of those around me. I love to look into their eyes, which I think is the entrance to their soul. You can really SEE people when you look into their eyes. I love to see people give service to those around them from mowing lawns for others who can't or taking in a meal. Form picking up something that has fallen from anothers hand to holding the door while another walks through. Service is so easy when you see the beauty in it. Not only are you blessing the other person life but you are blessing your own.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Day 29

The love of my life has left for Kansas. I know he must go back there. So many people are relying on him. I can't hold him here.

It has only been a few hours but it already feels like a few days. As we were packing the van up with all his tools and stuff I was trying to be brave. I thought it would be better for him. I thought I needed to be the brave soldier. I just kept thinking, "I won't be seeing the love of my life for 27 more days." OUCH! My heart feels pricked.

Right as he was pulling out of the driveway I remembered he had still not received a blessing for himself since this whole ordeal started. He was going to have one last Monday but so many things going on with Nicole that time got away from us. I asked him to go next door to see if our neighbor was home. He said, "No, I want Rich (his brother-in-law) to give me one." We called around and found him. He was at a family reunion actually not far from where we were. He graciously agreed to meet up with us. He is awesome and we have great respect for him. John received a blessing for which he was truly grateful for. It gave him great peace.

What do people do who do not have Christ in their lives. I know I would not have the strength to go through this challenge each day without the knowledge of the living Christ. He is my Savior. He is my strength. He buoys me up in times of sorrow and He walks with me in times of strength. He is my light. He is everything in my life.

Tomorrow is John and my 25th wedding anniversary. We have never been apart one time for our anniversary. It will be a tough day. It already is just knowing I will not wake up to him whispering in my ear, "Happy Anniversary, Lover". We had an early anniversary present in May. John took me to Alaska. I guess John was inspired to use our points to go on a cruise. What a great time we had.

Please say an extra prayer for him to travel safely to Kansas. He is driving by himself. Also pray for his continued comfort, especially while we are apart.

Sweet Nicole is resting right now. She had a big day with physical therapy. They got her fingers of her left arm to touch her head. It was painful but something that needs to happen. The nurses all say she is so accommodating. When they are busy and she needs something she mouths for them to take care of others and come back later. If she toots and someone is in the room she mouths excuse me. The nurses want her to toot because it means her bowels are working. They just smile and tell her its okay.

Nicole is being transfused again today. The infections she is fighting is not responding to the 3 antibiotics they have had her on for 2 days so today they put her on two different ones. I hope to see some difference tomorrow. Fighting infections are taxing on the body.

Nicole was slated to have surgery on Monday but now she has been moved to Thursday. During her "tank" time, the doctor looked at her donor sights and they are still not ready. On a sight that usually takes, at the most, three weeks to be ready again, her donor sights are taking longer. This sight they want is her back. It has been 26 days. We are praying her cells will get a boost of healing power so she will be ready.

My niece Tiffany called tonight to see how things were going. I gave her the scoop. She commented to me that she thought by now things should be a lot better. I was thinking that too. I think here we are at 29 days. Why CAN'T things be better? Why can't they? They can't because it is not time for them to be. Yes, it has been 29 days but 29 days in the burn world is not really very long. Especially with someone burned as extently and severely as Nicole is. Each thing that a burn patient deals with is nothing like what we deal with. A simple bladder infection can turn deadly where we are just uncomfortable for a few days.

I wish things were different. I wish I had talked to her longer on July 3rd. I wish I had not been impatient with her that day. I wish she could have a clear mind, one that is quick and knows many things. I wish I could take away her pain. I wish for her a better life. I wish I could change the future for her. I hope she has a future.