Monday, April 28, 2008

Sailing On Very Soon

It feels like it's come upon us so fast, but here we are again, nearing the end of another phase of Mike's flight training. He's been in Advanced Flight Training here in Meridian since last May. He's hoping to wrap it up here by the end of the month. I say "wrap it up" like it's a quick and easy process, but that is of course not the case.

At the moment, Mike is flying in the skies over the Naval Base learning to 'bounce.' Bounce off an aircraft carrier, that is. They practice here on the ground for a couple weeks before leaving on May 9 for San Diego to land on a boat in the ocean [shiver up my spine]. After he lands successfully a few times (and gets catapulted off the boat a few times - think Top Gun) he'll then "get his wings of gold" as they say.

I am super excited to get the call that Mike has completed the boat landing thing. He'll be in the jet all by himself when doing it for the first time, so I'll be very nervous back here in MS. To get a better idea of what it looks like, here's a video of the students that have gone before him... I can't believe my husband will be doing this, but I'm so proud of all that he's accomplished!

If all goes well, he'll have a winging ceremony at the end of May. And then it's just like before: we'll be told what jet he'll be flying (this time it's for the rest of his military commitment) and then we'll be told where we're going to be living next. This could be lots of different places. I won't go into all the possibilities here. I'll just tell you it'll be either east coast or west coast. We are hoping for east and have requested it.

So, lots of stuff happening in our lives over the next month. We are looking forward to the next move!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Update

Dad mowed his lawn yesterday. A couple months ago, that wouldn't be blog-worthy news - but considering what he's been through, it's the best news I've heard all day! He's up, he's out, he's doing great! I can't say he's back to full strength, but he's doing very, very well.

After having tubes and wires and IVs for so long, he'll be glad to say goodbye to the last thing left... his feeding tube, which comes out Tuesday. He's down 35 lbs and still doesn't have much of an appetite. Some of his teeth are numb and he says his taste buds just aren't the same. He'll most likely be headed to work on May 1. He's hoping to have enough energy for at least a 1/2 day.

Thanks again for all of the blog comments cards, phone calls, gifts and e-mails you've sent to me and my family. And most of all, for your prayers. Thank you, thank you.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eighteen Months

I can't believe our little Abby Kate is a year and a half old. Although our lives before her are distant memories, I still feel like she's getting too big, too fast. She continues to surprise us every day with what she knows. She is a sponge, soaking up every word and action that she hears and sees. Just today around 11 a.m., she came up to me and said "I'm hungry." I'd never heard her say "hungry" before. It just came out without me teaching it to her just like so many other words lately. It is so cute.

However, I'm starting to get nervous about what inappropriate things she'll say without knowing any better. For example, one day she was at the hospital with me in KY. As we sat in the waiting room, she waved to EVERYONE that came by. As you can imagine, being in the Plastics Clinic you see all sorts of things. One man sat down next to us and was very friendly to Abby Kate. He had some sort of large growth on his cheek. AK pointed straight to it and said "ear!" Thankfully, it came out "Eeee!" Heat filled my face, but then he just laughed and said, "Don't you just wish you knew what they were saying at that age?" Relieved, I let out my breath and replied, "Yep, sure do!" ha, ha. Not looking forward to any future moments like those. :)

Speaking of hospitals, Dad is still at Baptist East. We're hoping he'll get to come home tomorrow. He's doing pretty good and hopes to get back to work (at least a half day) very soon. I just have to ask those of you that work with him... once he comes back, if he becomes short of breath or weak at any point, please call 911 (even if he's says no!). You can blame it on his very concerned daughter.

A Second Homecoming

Dad is coming home from the hospital (again) today! He's feeling good and looking good and is ready to enjoy the beautiful weather Kentucky is having right now. Dad, I wish I could be there with balloons and banners this time, too. But you know how much I love you! And I'll be seeing you soon. Make sure you take it easy and don't push yourself.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Doing Better

After a very scary couple of days, Dad is feeling better. When I left the hospital yesterday to come back home to MS, he was sitting up in his chair, enjoying his first meal of "real" food. The doctors are trying to regulate his blood thinner medication so he can go home. We think that might be another couple of days. He'll be glad to get back home and off this roller coaster ride of health. I know he'll be as scared as we are of another blood clot going to his heart, but the filter is in place to block 99 percent, and he'll be on coumanin (the blood thinner) for many years.

He feels good except that now he's having pain in his right knee. They took an X-ray today. We'll find out what's going on with that soon. He may have twisted it when he fell.

I have thanked God so many times for sparing his life that the prayer runs through my head over and over and over. Thank you for yours.

Here's a picture of Abby Kate and William playing in the "Carnes' waiting room." It was very comfortable and our family pretty much took it over for the last week.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Heavy Hearts

When you will someone to get better with all your heart and mind and prayer... when they progress and start to feel confident in their recovery... when you see them take bigger steps and bigger breaths... when you see them laugh and smile... when you know in your heart they're getting better... that's when another crisis seems to tear your heart into, leaving you nothing but an overwhelming sense of defeat and helplessness.

Dad woke up early Wednesday morning feeling short of breath, sweating and panicking. He had had panic attacks during his previous stay in the hospital and we thought that's what was happening. We called the doctors and set up an appointment for that afternoon. I left with Abby Kate to go back home to MS as planned around noon.

As I was driving down I-65 South, Mom was getting ready to take Dad to the doctor. She was helping him to the door to the garage and opened the car door as Dad felt he was going to have trouble walking even a few steps. He stepped down the two stairs to get into the garage and then passed out. My dad is 6'1 and 230 lbs. My mom is 5'1 and 100 pounds. You can imagine the effort it took for her to keep him from hitting his newly constructed face on the concrete or the open car door. Mom ran to the neighbor. He wasn't home, so she called my uncle who lives nearby. By the time he got there, Dad was conscious again. Uncle Dennis and Mom got Dad into the car and Mom drove him to the hospital. By this time he was very, very pale and really struggling to breathe. The doctors tended to him immediately and ran several tests. The doctor's initial thought was a blood clot.

Mom called with the news of his distress as I was approaching the suburbs of Nashville. I didn't know what to do so I stopped at a Shell station and was going to wait to hear the test results. But I couldn't stand waiting there not knowing what was happening, so I jumped on I-65 North and headed back.

I arrived two hours later to find out the doctors had discovered two massive blood clots that had passed through his heart. They now reside in each of his lungs. Unbelieving that he could have survived such large clots, the docs put him on oxygen and gave him blood thinner. They did a scan to see if he had any more blood clots in his leg. He had many. He had surgery this morning to have a filter inserted in a main artery in his stomach in effort to block those clots from going to his heart.

He's looking and feeling better now, but we are in a waiting period of 72 hours before he's no longer critical. Then it'll be two weeks before the doctors will feel like he's in the clear. He will have to be in the hospital for at least five days and will then have to go to rehab all over again.

He was doing so, so well and now this. It is so frustrating and heartbreaking to watch him progress so far only to fall so much farther back.

Please, please pray for him, my mom and my family. We are again optimistic, but scared.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another Great Surprise

We took Dad back down to the hospital this morning so they could downsize his trachea tube. We were delighted when they said they'd be able to take it out entirely instead of putting a smaller one in. This was such a relief for Dad (and us)! He now has a hole in his throat, but only has to wear a bandage over it for a few days and it will close up on its own very quickly.

He now only has the feeding tube left. That will come out in two more weeks.

He ate mashed potatoes with gravy today, but he says it's hard to eat because he can't feel his front teeth and can't open his mouth wider than an inch or so. As a result of all this, he's losing a lot of weight. He's lost about 35 pounds so far. He looks great, but it can't be healthy to lose that much so fast!

Abby Kate and I will be headed back home in the morning. We are excited to see Mike! We only have a couple more months left in Meridian (thank goodness!) before we'll be moving to (hopefully) North Carolina.

More to come on Dad, plus pictures!

Monday, April 14, 2008

One Painful Step Forward

Dad came home Friday! We greeted him with a few guests, some smoothies, banners and balloons. He's has done so well at home. He still gets tired pretty easy, but he's been sleeping well and walking around the house - up and down the stairs - with no trouble at all.

He had been drinking milkshakes and smoothies and soup through straws for the past couple of weeks. Today he was supposed to get the wires in his mouth changed to rubber bands. But when we took him to the clinic this morning, they ended up taking the wiring out completely!!! While he's so happy to have them out, he wasn't prepared for how painful it would be. They numbed his mouth, but told him it would still hurt pretty bad as they pulled the wires out of his gums. He's back home now and sleeping after taking his pain medication. I'm hoping he'll wake up feeling much better and even be able to enjoy his first non-liquid meal in weeks! (He's still on a 'soft' diet, however... mashed potatoes, meatloaf, soup, etc. But I know he's looking forward to it!)

We go back to the doctor tomorrow so they can downsize his trachea tube. Then he'll have it completely out by the end of the month. I've taken a few pictures, so as soon as I get back home later this week, I'll post them here so you can see how great he looks!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Tuesday Update

It's been four weeks today since Dad had his accident. I know it feels like even longer to him since he's been through so much. He is now most likely to come home on Friday morning. He is feeling great... the PT even had him dribbling and passing a basketball yesterday! He did very well as you might imagine. He should be dunking soon. ha, ha.

AK and I will now be heading home Thursday to be there to greet him at home Friday morning.

Thanks again for your continued prayers and support!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Saturday Update

Dad moved to a rehab center last night via ambulance. I think it's somewhere on Hurstbourne Lane. I talked to him on the phone this morning and he's feeling good. He didn't require oxygen at all last night and his levels stayed at 97 percent! He's getting pretty tired of his mouth being wired shut, but the doctors said he may be able to get it unwired in a couple more weeks and go to rubber bands. As it looks right now, he'll be at the rehab center until Wednesday. Abby Kate and I will be heading to KY on Wednesday to welcome him home and help out for a few days as he gets settled.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday Update

Great news: Dad gets to leave the hospital today! Right now, Mom is still trying to find a suitable rehab place. Turns out Dad is doing too well for acute rehab, so she must find some place besides a nursing home where he can have at least a week's worth of physical therapy. He's having to leave in an IV for the now prolonged need for his antibiotics and he still needs a health professional to care for his trachea tube.

He should be home after another week!

Please pray for Mom. She is very stressed trying to find a place for him and hasn't had much sleep in the past three weeks.

Mike's doing very well. He's parked on the couch for a few days, but he's healing fast. Abby Kate is keeping him entertained with her books and baby dolls.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thursday Updates


Mike started having abdominal pains late Tuesday after a night formation flight. He thought it was nothing until the pain didn't cease all night. Wednesday morning I cancelled the play date that was scheduled to be at our house that morning and took Mike to see the flight doctor on base. They sent him to the hospital for a CT scan which showed he had appendicitis. They scheduled an immediate appendectomy. While we waited a few hours for the surgery, Mike's pain kept increasing and all he wanted was to be put under anesthetic as quickly as possible. Once they finally drugged him up and took him back, the surgery was done laparoscopically within an hour. (Meaning they used a telescopic rod lens system which required three tiny incisions instead of one large incision. A much less invasive surgery.)

Afterward, he was feeling "6,000 times better" as he would say. He's doing well now and is back home and just a little sore as you might expect. He should be flying again within the next two weeks (hopefully).

Thanks so much for all the support from so many people here in Meridian, especially to Sarah for keeping Abby Kate last night while I stayed with Mike at the hospital. I owe you!


Dad is feeling better and better. I talked to him on the phone today and he said he might be getting out of the hospital tomorrow or the next day!!!! They're talking of sending him to rehab, but the time frame is still unknown. He has been enjoying milkshakes, soup and juice for the last two days. I think his first "meal" was cream of potato soup, a vanilla milkshake and grape juice. He said it tasted great! He still has the size 6 trachea tube in. The latest word is that he'll have the size 6 in while he's in rehab. Then they'll downsize it again before he goes home. They'll remove it completely a couple weeks after that.

I can tell by his voice he is feeling so, so much better. Thanks again for all of your prayers. He is well on his way to full recovery!

It's kind of ironic... my two favorite men, both in the hospital... each telling me to tell the other he was thinking of him and hoping he would get well soon.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Back to the Hospital

As if my family hadn't seen enough of the inside of hospitals, now Mike has been admitted for appendicitis. Enough already! He had surgery this evening and is doing fine. I just came back home quickly to let Junah out and I'm off to stay at the hospital with Mike tonight.

More details to come tomorrow.

Also, Dad's doing great. More details tomorrow on him as well.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tuesday Update

My dad spoke to me today. Clear and strong and full of breath! My heart leaped with gladness and relief. If you try to speak with your teeth tightly closed, that's exactly how he sounds. I could understand him perfectly, even on a cell phone!

He is doing really well today. They had him swallow water for the first time this afternoon and x-rayed him while he did it to ensure that it worked well with the trachea tube. It worked perfectly and now - even as I type this - he is perusing a menu as he will get to drink his dinner tonight. Hallelujah! The menu offers orange juice, apple juice, prune juice, tomato juice, coffee, sodas, milkshakes, oatmeal, a variety of soups, etc. It doesn't sound very appetizing, but to a man who hasn't eaten anything for three weeks... well, even prune juice probably sounds good!