Sunday, December 28, 2008

My New Niece

Congratulations to James and Jodi on the arrival of my new niece - Joashleiah Lynn. She was born at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, December 27, 2008. She weighed 6 pounds 6 3/4 ounces and measured 19 1/4" long. I now have 6 nieces and 4 nephews on my side of the family.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Tribute to My Dad written by His Niece

My cousin wrote a beautiful tribute to my Dad and she has graciously given me permission to share it with you all.

My Tribute to My Uncle

It’s always strange when someone passes, especially family members. My uncle passed away this last week. I wasn't able to attend the funeral so I have spent a lot of time thinking about the man that he was. One of my earliest memories of him was the first time I fished. I was about 3 years old at the time. We were standing on his back porch throwing the line into the pond below. I remember him helping hold the big rod and reel and then helping me turn the reel to catch the fish when I got a bite on my line. It was a small fish, but being 3 years old, I was just excited to catch a fish. I remember the times we'd stop by the house in Cincinnati on the way to Pennsylvania and how I watched the togetherness of his family. His family was a model family. Having been going thru rough times in my own family, I can't say I didn't envy the togetherness of his family. But I really respected him for it. He and his family gave me a model for which I hope to model my own family one day. They gave me a standard to live up to. For that I am very grateful. He was very much a gentleman. Last year at our family reunion I remember him leading us all in singing a couple hymns with Grandma---the last time we would ever all sing together with Grandma. I will never forget that. That was a very precious moment to me. I don’t remember him ever raising his voice--unless it was out of agitation regarding some idea or action in the world that went against the scriptures. I respected his love of and his respect for standing up for what the Bible says. I remember the last time I saw him at my Dad's in Colorado this past August. I made dinner for him and my Dad and Noalani one evening (I am so thankful I was able to have the opportunity to do something for him). He was showing us one of his loves--photography. (He was an amazing photographer.) Something on TV was talking about the theory of the earth's age and its formations millions of years ago. Without missing a beat, my uncle quickly took a stand for the foolishness of evolution's theories, even though he knew not everyone in the house would agree with him. I respected him for speaking out and speaking up for the truth. Although our family is often spread out everywhere and miles apart, I will never forget you Uncle Francis. You've impacted my life in ways you can never imagine. You will be very missed. I love you.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Our Five Kids

Samuel, Briana, Julissa, Alex, & Curtis
This picture was taken on Sunday, December 14, 2008 at cabin 15 in PA.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Capturing the Beauty of Nature

My sister wrote a beautiful tribute to my Dad about fishing. Not only did my Dad enjoy being out in nature, he enjoyed capturing that beauty by way of his camera. Just this past year we got Dad a new camera for Christmas. Below is a picture of my Dad looking at that camera. I have also included some photos taken by him. We can only imagine the beauty he is beholding now. We love and miss you, Dad.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Courthouse

'Twas here where it all began. A little over thirteen years ago, Jeff and I entered this beautiful courthouse to obtain our marriage license. Jeff took this picture on Friday, December 12, 2008 as we were heading back from town to the cabin where we spent this past weekend with my family.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Funeral Arrangements

The viewing and funeral for Dad (Francis L. Weingard) will be held on Saturday, December 13, 2008 at the:

Ronald McDonald Funeral Home
140 Cherry St.
Marienville, PA 16239

The funeral home is located at the corner of Rt. 66 and Cherry St.

The viewing will be from 10 a.m. until time of service

The funeral service will be at 2 p.m.

The graveside service will be at the Guitonville Cemetery.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. at the:

Western Colorado Holiness Chapel
20798 Hwy 92
Delta, CO 81416

For those of you that would like to send cards to Mom, you may send them to the following address:

Mrs. Alice Weingard
c/o A.W.C.
2161 Woodsdale Road
Salem, OH 44460

Monday, December 08, 2008

Home in Heaven

Dad went home to heaven this morning.

The viewing and funeral will be in Marienville, PA. I will post more when I know definite times.

Thank you all for your many prayers during this difficult time in our lives.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Saturday's Update

After the CT Scan of the brain yesterday, a decision was made to do an MRI of the heart. The CT Scan show more enlargement of the left and right ventricles than there has been previously. It also showed a shadow on the right occipital lobe, therefore the decision to do an MRI. The conclusion drawn from these tests was that two more strokes (Ischemic) have occurred. This type of stroke is where a clot has been thrown off by the artificial heart valves and gone to the brain. The increase of fluid is probably the reason for his being a lot less responsive and very sleepy.

The neurosurgeon was in and showed the scans to Mom today. At this point, with Dad having suffered two more strokes while being on blood thinners, a shunt placement will not even be considered now. The neurosurgeon and the neurologist will continue to watch him on a daily basis. Dad is also scheduled for another CT Scan of the brain on Monday.

With the heart throwing off little blood clots, it is the doctor's opinion that there is undoubtedly something wrong with his valves. The plan is to do a Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) where they should be able to see if infection has gone from his bloodstream to his heart valves.

Please pray that God's will be done in this entire situation.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday's Update

Dad continues to run a temp today, but I believe it has not been as high as last evening. He continues to remain extremely sleepy and not very responsive. He also had more episodes with his heart again last night.

The infectious disease doctor said that nothing is growing yet on the cultures done from Wednesday. But he also said that this doesn't mean we are out of the woods yet. Blood was drawn again today to start more cultures. He is concerned about Dad's confusion and plans to study his blood work today.

The neurosurgeon came in and told Mom that a CT Scan of the brain is scheduled for today. He feels that in looking over past scans that there is too much fluid on the brain. He plans to show Mom the films on Monday and discuss the possibility of putting in a shunt. He is thinking that Dad is just going to get sleepier and less responsive unless there is a shunt placement done. There is a high risk of another stroke if this procedure is done. Please pray for wisdom in this situation.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thursday's Update

Dad had another episode with his heart in the night last night. He was given an oral medication that has seemed to have taken care of the problem. So far today he hasn't had any more problems with his heart.

But he has been more confused today and didn't even know his name when asked. He is running a temp of 102.2 this evening and is not very responsive.

He has also been moved again to Room 3395, but he is still in the Cardiac Unit.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wednesday's Update

Dad had two more episodes with his heart last night where the heart rate was really high and the beat irregular. This was sustained over approximately ten minutes each time. He is back on an IV drip medication to try to get this under control. He is rather tired today.

More blood was drawn today for blood cultures to check to see if the yeast infection is decreasing. We should know some results in 24 hours in regards to this.

Dad was able to talk to Holly on the phone last evening for her birthday. He didn't talk for long and it wore him out, but she was very glad to be able to talk with Dad on her birthday.

Yesterday when asked, my Dad was actually able to tell them his name and birth date. This is a first in over 1 1/2 weeks.

Addendum: He had three more episodes with his heart this evening so will be on an IV drip medication all night.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

An Early Tuesday Update

In the night, Dad had an episode where his heart rate went really high and the rhythm was irregular. He is on a medication now that is seeming to get it under control. Somehow in the transfer from one hospital to the next, the information in regards to the episode he had like this before and the fact that he was on a beta blocker and aspirin was never passed on to the current hospital. So he had been without these medications since this past Friday.

We finally have information back on all 4 blood cultures and all 4 of them are positive for yeast. He has a full blown systemic infection going on. They are sending the cultures out for further testing. Knowing all of this they are now saying that it is going to take longer than 2 - 4 days to get this under control. At this point, they are worried that the infection could possibly attack one of his organs. A renal ultrasound has been done and at this point his kidneys look okay. And the echo cardiogram showed that so far everything is okay in regards to his heart valves.

Please continue to pray for Dad and Mom as they go through all of this.

Quick Update

I will update more later, but wanted to let you know that I have changed Dad's room number on the right side of my blog yet again. He had an episode with his heart in the night and has been transferred to the cardiac unit. I don't really know anymore than that yet.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Monday's Update

Dad remains in the neurotrauma unit. He is on an anti fungal medication to try to take care of the infection. So far they have been able to diagnosis the type of yeast in the urine, but have not yet diagnosed the type of yeast in the bloodstream. Hopefully they are both the same. If they are, the anti fungal he is presently on should take care of the infection in the bloodstream also.

So far his echo cardiogram looks okay. His heart valves will continue to be monitored and there will probably be future echo cardiograms just to make sure the valves are okay.

There is a possibility that things will improve enough in the next 2 - 4 days that he could go back to the rehabilitation unit. Until then, physical therapists and speech therapists will work with him where he is. It just will not be at the same level that he would have in rehabilitation.

As far as outward appearance goes, Dad is looking a little better today and is more alert today albeit confused. But he has been rather weakened by all of this and has not had the strength to eat much by mouth.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Please Pray for Dad

Dad has been transferred from the Rehabilitation Unit to the Neurotrauma Unit today. I have updated the address on the right side to reflect his new room number.

He had blood cultures done yesterday and it is showing that he has a yeast infection in his bloodstream. This is not good especially due to the fact that the yeast could go to his artificial heart valves and cause problems. He has been started on an anti fungal antibiotic.

He had another echo cardiogram done today, but I haven't heard the results yet. I imagine we will know quite a bit tomorrow being that it will be Monday.

Thank you all for praying. We serve a great God!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Day!

On Thanksgiving Day we traveled to my sister Holly's house for Thanksgiving Dinner. We had a really enjoyable time with her and her family. It was nice to let someone else do the cooking, but I did bake two pumpkin pies. I also made a cheese ball. Our five kids enjoyed playing with their five kids. They roamed the woods, fed rabbits, gathered chicken eggs, walked the dog, etc. Below are a few pictures that I took as we were driving down the road not too far from their house.

Just a barn in a picturesque setting!

We have arrived! My sister's log cabin in the woods. It was over the river and through the woods to my sister's house for Thanksgiving!

Our hostess for Thanksgiving this year.

The girls ready to eat before the boys.

We are about ready to eat!

The beautiful fall arrangement made by Heidi (my sister) and sent to me for my birthday!

We are all about ready. If only pictures weren't being taken we could eat!

Three of the boys must be hungry!

The boys getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner.

The delicious rolls that Holly made.

Mashed Potatoes

The broccoli/cauliflower salad that Holly made.

One of the pumpkin pies I made.

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Saturday's Update

Dad is getting settled in at St. Mary's Hospital. He is somewhat dehydrated so he has been put back on saline. The dietician was in and is changing his 12 hour night feed to a 10 hour night feed. He will still be getting the same amount of food, but will be off of the feed earlier in the morning in hopes of getting him to eat more breakfast. He is needing to get 25% of his calories by mouth throughout the day. His oral intake will be monitored closely and if he is not eating enough, he will be given a bolus feed once during the day. He is really needing calories in order to gain weight. He weighs around 36 pounds less than he did before the accident. And if you know my Dad, you will know that he didn't really have any weight to lose.

The physical therapist was in for one-half hour this morning and then she will be back in the afternoon for another half hour. She had Dad walk with the walker today. He wasn't able to walk very far because he is still exhausted from the trip over from Denver to Grand Junction.

The occupational therapist was in for one-half hour this morning and then will also be back in the afternoon for another half hour. Dad is having a lot of difficulty with his vision. Lyndi and Mom are going to see if there is any way to gets his eyes examined and get glasses for him. We feel it would help him immensely.

The speech therapist came in and was to be there for one hour, but only worked with Dad for a half hour as he was totally worn out by then. She will also come back in the afternoon. Dad is still having difficulty coming up with a lot of nouns.

Dad will have this amount of therapy six days a week. He is given a day of rest on Sunday.

For those of you that would like to send Dad a card, I have put the new mailing address on the right side of my blog.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday's Update

Dad is running a fever today. But the doctors at Swedish Hospital discharged him anyway and sent him over to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Co to inpatient rehabilitation. Lyndi drove Dad and Mom over to Grand Junction, Co from Denver. We are thankful that they made it safely there.

From what little Mom and Lyndi learned today, it sounds like Dad could be in rehab for several months. I imagine as time goes by we will know something a little more definite.

Until tomorrow,

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We will be having thanksgiving dinner with my sister Holly and her family. I have made pumpkin pies, pumpkin cheeseball, and pumpkin cranberry bread. Can you tell I like pumpkin? I will try and post pictures of our time together sometime in the next few days.
Unless a setback would occur with Dad, I will not post an update until Friday.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday's Update

Today the speech therapist was in to do another swallow evaluation and she told Dad he could have whatever he wanted to eat or drink. So he had one-half of a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup for lunch. And he is now able to drink water without it being thickened with nectar. He was really wanting 'real water' this morning.

Dad's physical therapist was in again today. She had him walk without his walker today. She had his elbow on one side and Mom held his hand on the other. He did well. His steps are short, but he is getting there. He was tired out when he was done.

As far as everything else, I believe it all remains about the same at this time. They do plan to send him to Grand Junction, CO on Friday for in-house rehabilitation unless a setback would occur tomorrow.

I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday's Update

Dad had a fairly good day today. He was able to eat quite a bit of breakfast and a little lunch. I don't know about supper. I haven't talked to anyone since that time.

Dad's really good therapist was in today and had him walk down to the waiting area. Then on the way back she had him stop and find his name and room number on the board and tell her which way he needed to turn to get back to his room. He was able to do this. The therapist said that Dad is stronger every time she sees him.

The GI doctor was in and everything is checking out okay as far as they can tell without doing anything invasive.

The neurologist was in and is pleased with his progress. She said that there are still groups of words that are eluding him, but she feels that over time it will come back to him.

The infectious disease doctor was in and said that everything is checking out okay. He just has to finish out the two antibiotics that he is on.

The dietitian is to come in tomorrow to decide what needs to be done in order to put Dad on nocturnal feeds through the feeding tube. This is where he will be fed through the feeding tube for 12 hours overnight. Hopefully, this will help in getting him to eat more food during the day. And it will also help him to be able to do more therapy/rehab unhindered by a pole, etc.

The internal medicine doctor was in and he is pulling Dad off the heparin. He will start the lovenox and coumadin this evening.

As long as there are no setbacks over the next two days, they plan to transfer him back to Grand Junction, CO on Friday for in-house rehabilitation. Lyndi and Mom will be driving him there. It is a 4 or 5 hour drive. Please pray for all of them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday's Update

For every two steps forward, it seems we go one step backward. Today Dad passed a lot of blood throughout the day. But his hematocrit levels actually went up today, so they believe that the bleeding probably occurred yesterday and was just passed today. It is believed that the bleeding was due to the ischemic colitis. He was pulled off heparin (the blood thinner) for most of the day. After coming to their conclusions, it was decided to go ahead and put him back on the heparin tonight. If all goes well through the night and tomorrow, they will take him off of it. And then he will go to the daily lovenox shots.

The reason for using the heparin before going to the lovenox shots is for exactly this reason. If bleeding occurs, he can be taken off the heparin and the effects leave the body rather quickly. Whereas once the shot is given, I don't know for sure what would or could be done if bleeding occurs.

All in all, it was a rather stressful day, but we are thankful that things were not as bad as they seemed at some points today.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Note of Praise

Dad has been up to sit in a chair three times today. They have also had him walking today. This evening he was able to walk with his walker without a support person. My sister said he was doing really well walking.

After walking he sat in a chair to eat his first real meal by mouth in six weeks. He was able to eat half of his pureed turkey, one-third of his mashed potatoes and gravy, a bite of applesauce and a half a cup of apple juice. He had to rest between bites, but it is so wonderful to hear this news.

Tonight as I stood in church singing "How Great Thou Art", I thought about how great God truly is. There have been many times over the past weeks where Dad has been unable to come up with proper names including his own, but he has been able to call out to God through it all.

Sunday's Update

Dad is less confused today. He still doesn't know the name of my sister that is there with him. Lyndi said that proper nouns are still eluding him.

He has been trying to piece things together today as to what has happened to him with help from my sister. But he can't remember everything long enough to put it all together.

The speech therapist was in this morning to do another swallow evaluation on Dad. She said that it is okay for him to have ice chips, thickened liquids, and pureed food. But we are now waiting on an okay from the GI doctor since Dad has ischemic colitis.

There is nothing growing as of yet from the cultures taken from the duodenum. The one doctor believes that he probably had a yeast infection in his intestines and that the white plaque that was found is what is left from it. So he is still currently on an antibiotic just as a precautionary measure.

The internal medicine doctor is pulling Dad off the medication (Provigil) he was being given to keep him alert during the day. The doctor feels this may be why Dad wasn't able to sleep yesterday and why he was so fidgety and agitated. The doctor feels that he is more alert today than he has seen him. He is happy with the progress that Dad is making.

Providing everything remains stable throughout today and tonight in regards to the heparin, they will pull Dad off of it tomorrow and go to the once a day lovenox shots.

Saturday's Update

Today Dad has been a lot more confused. He didn't know his own name or my sister's name. He also didn't know my mom's name. They actually took him for a CT Scan late today just to make sure there were not any changes in the brain. Everything checked out okay.

He didn't sleep at all today either. In my opinion, I think he was having trouble trying to go to sleep due to the fact that no one got him up today to sit in a chair or to walk. Things are mighty slow around that hospital Friday through Sunday in regards to care.

Dad was started on the low dose of heparin on Friday evening and is still continuing on it. So far so good.

There is a possibility that Dad may get transferred back to the hopsital in Grand Junction, CO this coming week. I will let you know if that happens.

Thank you all for your kind comments and your many prayers.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday's Update

Dad got himself up into a sitting position on the side of his bed. Then with the help of his walker and the therapist he got to the chair. The speech therapist was in again today to put the electrodes on his neck to stimulate the muscles in his throat. She also gave him applesauce to eat. He is more coherent today, but is still having difficulty with his attention span and memory.

According to this morning's CT Scan the blood from the brain bleed has reabsorbed. The swelling and hydrocephalus has not changed much. The neurologist (a new one today to Dad's case) feels that with time and exercise of the brain things will return to normal. We hope and pray that is so.

The plan is to start Dad on a low dose of Heparin today with a gradual increase towards the therapeutic level. If he can reach that level by Monday with no ill effects, he will be taken off of the heparin. He will then be given a higher dose of lovenox in the form of a daily shot until he can resume taking coumadin. Please pray that another brain bleed doesn't occur with the restart of Heparin.