Real Time Reflections from Five Years Ago #4

As many of you know five years ago at this exact time our family was enduring the greatest trial of our collective lives. The idea came to me on the day after the  Five Year Anniversary of brain surgery, February 12, 2009.

It is my intention to write of the memories and experiences that I had during those days over these next 6 plus weeks (corresponding to the number of days we spent in Rochester) in real time plus five years.

Karla suggested that I write blog posts that correspond to these days as well. I thought that was a splendid idea and so over these next weeks I plan to write regularly on my blog. I plan to use some of the text from these real time updates in the book I am currently writing.

This does not mean that I will necessarily be blogging every day but I will be writing every day and I will pass some of that along to all of you, if you are interested.

If you would like to receive these updates directly please subscribe to the blog following the simple  instructions on the home page of the blog and they will be sent directly to your email account rather than happening to catch it on Facebook.

I have asked Karla to write some of these blog postings as she was the one who wrote many of the updates in those early days after brain surgery and the massive complications that would follow. It was her attention to detail that enables me to tell the story with detail.

During the days that I was conscious the memories are still vivid and fresh.

February 17, 2014 (2009)

By this time we were five days removed from the brain surgery. I was not sleeping well at all. Five largely sleepless nights tends to drive a person a bit insane, literally. Health care workers refer to it as ICU psychosis. I also experienced a blocked catheter that had me desperately attempting to pull out the tube. The nurse came into the room and said everything looked ok but I knew better, for I was in a tremendous state of discomfort. She then moved the bag and for some reason there was instant relief. Nurses, your patients know what they know.  They should be listened to…unless they are accusing you of attempted murder (see yesterday’s update here.) In that case just ignore them cuz crazy is crazy.

As Karla notes in her posting from this day and night I was experiencing some paranoia once again. This time I knew that I was going to die from my persistent coughing. Let me tell you I can sympathize and empathize much more with people who have mental illnesses. Our reality is all we know. What else can we know? Barring any input of new information we only know what we know.

I love Karla’s last line in her posting from this day:  For today, I am holding onto the fact the God is holding onto us.  He will not let us go, regardless of how our lives look.

This is where we would find ourselves over and over again in this trial, and I am ever grateful to have a wife with this perspective on everything that came our way, including the life threatening blood infection that will be diagnosed tomorrow.


Karla and I standing atop Mount Nebo In Jordan overlooking the Promised Land in February 2011, as Moses did in Deuteronomy Chs. 32-33.

Karla’s posting from February 17, 2009

“We had hoped that getting out of ICU would enable Mike to get a good night’s sleep, but that was not the case.  With possible inclement weather approaching, I decided to come back to the hospital after dropping the boys off at the Krueger’s house (which was Karla’s home away from home about 30 minutes south of Rochester)  I got to witness first-hand the agitation and paranoia he has experienced every night.  The doctor said that there is still some of that blood pressure medication in his system and as soon as it is out the paranoia will go away.  Last night he was convinced he was going to die from coughing.

Mike also ran a fever last night and they are not sure why.  So, today he is having an ultrasound of his right leg to rule out blood clots.  He is having a CT scan to rule out intracranial bleeding, and he already had a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia, as he has a very bad cough.  As a result of the fever, and in my opinion, lack of sleep, he is not talking quite as well today.  Dr. Meyer gave his typical line, “This is to be expected.  Remember, it’s a long process.”  So, I’m expecting better tomorrow!

He missed the occupational therapist and the physical therapist, which will not make him happy.  They will both be back in the afternoon.  The rehab intake nurse was up and he is scheduled to go to rehab on Thursday, assuming a bed is available.  It will most likely be a semi-private room, which may help improve his speech.

For today, I am holding onto the fact the God is holding onto us.  He will not let us go, regardless of how our lives look.  God has used many scriptures and people to encourage us, so we’ll keep going for another day.”



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