The Wobbly Haitian Donkey Has Had to Revert to a Walker

Hi All:

I thought I would update you all on how the Donkey has been trying to progress.  As you know, I ended up in the hospital when I returned from Haiti with both congestive heart failure (caused by the infection) and the significant infection itself.  After 2 weeks in the hospital, I felt quite well and returned to work half days to let me strengthen my feeble legs.  The infectious disease specialists wanted me to go another 2 weeks on the IV antibiotic, which I did, but still had fevers, chills and the nasty rigors.  So, rechecked the blood cultures on Monday and have the same bug there, thus, we didn’t get him yet.

For this nasty bug there are two choices, one is $1000/week for my copay, yikes, and the other is hard on my kidneys, so no simple solution, but settled on the second choice (the kidney killer) as it has been around for 40 years plus and at least I know what problems it causes.  I also need my line changed, but with Corona, the hospitals are not doing anything but emergencies and this doesn’t qualify.  So will run this a while, check kidney function frequently and see how it goes

I am thankful that the kids have been able to care for me, change my dressings/ostomy regularly, helping me to wander on my wobbly legs with the help of the walker, etc, in addition to their regular jobs, especially Jenn, who has mastered the art of changing my ostomy.  Rachel just got here from Univ of Arkanas, which is shut down for an indefinite time and can relieve Jenn of many of her tasks and it is great to have the family all together for a while, especially as I lose some ground and like to spend some time with them.  

With all the Corona concerns, as of today, we have closed the office to prevent spread.  There are so many concerns and regulations that it is difficult to run the office.  So, will work on projects at home as I have energy, etc.  On an oxygen machine for the time being, hopefully that will go away with the resolution or the heart trouble and the infection. .  I don’t know if it is the residual of my chemotherapy or the new antibiotic, but I have no strength in my legs and they can suddenly give out and I go to the floor. This started a couple hours after I started the antibiotic but, after discussion with my Infectious Disease Doctor, the choices are slim and we will see if we can keep trying it for the month or so I have to put up with it.  One nice thing about the office being closed is that I don’t need to try to wobble away with my walker to see my patients…  

Spoke a bit with Dr. Moise yesterday. There is a panic going on there worse than the US as they have 4 cases so far. Everything, including the airport is shut down.  We have masks for surgery and the people have come to procure the protective equipment.  However, we have limited supplies.  Covid 19 has certainly activated the fear factor worldwide.  

As always, we appreciate your prayers, support and encouragement as we strive to be faithful to our Lord in His work, both here in the USA and at CSL, Haiti.

In Him,,

Bill, James, Jenn and Rachel

The Haitian Donkey Needs Prayer For The Future

Hi All:
As you know, I have been sort of out of commission for the last few weeks.  Haiti went well, though I started to develop fevers and chills and retain water on Thursday morning.  I was a bit short of breath, chilled (even in Haiti, yes) and knew an infection was starting up again.  I get these regularly from my indwelling TPN central line, this is only the 2nd while in Haiti, but it is hard to get the proper treatment under the limited conditions we have there.  We are praying about how I can make this a more tenable solution, so that if I get sick in Haiti, I can get back to the US quicker and start treatment.  We had started some IM antibiotics we had there, but they tend to cover gram positive bugs and this ended up gram negative, so no help. 


Dan, Margie and Tabitha dragged me home and I ended up going to the hospital for 2 weeks, most of which is a blur for me and a week ago today, I really was not sure I would make it as my mind was intermittently not coherent, my fevers all over the place and the kids were worried.  However, I clearly remember the lab tech poking me 16 times to get my blood, I kept telling her that the juicy veins on my forearms were deceitful, chemo had wrecked them but she kept trying in vain.  By God’s grace, I am back home, happy to get sleep without frequent interruptions for vitals, blood draws, etc.  I am sleeping more than normal, the energy level is not there yet, but thankful for the progress made so far.  While I was gone in the hospital, my family installed a chair lift to go up and down the stairs to my apartment, this has been useful, though trying to build up my strength level also.  The infection precipitated some congestive heart failure and I gained 40# in swelling all over my body, that, thankfully, has resolved, though my limited appetite is curbed even more with the lack of salt in the food.  The kids and extended family and friends have been extremely supportive and greatly appreciated as I try to get my scraggly Haitian Donkey legs back under my body and move around 

Due to the Corona virus situation, the scheduled team of Beth, Duane, Luke and Rachel did not go yesterday, as fears of the borders maybe closing might trap them there a while.  The unrest in Haiti seems to have calmed down some for the time being from a discussion earlier today with Dr. Moise.   Pray for wisdom as to how to proceed.  I am scheduled to go late April with the Dutch Donkey, his daughter and Tabitha, but there are so many questions unanswered on multiple fronts that we need extra divine wisdom as to how to proceed.  None of us want to be foolish, but we also want the work to progress for His honor and glory.

In His Service, Bill, James, Jenn and Rachel

The Donkey Comes Home!

All,

We have some exciting news to share. We just brought Dad home to his basement apartment in our house and he is sitting comfortably in his chair with his cat Pete nearby! Thank you for all of the visits, cards, emails, texts, meals, and especially those that sat with him day and night these past few weeks. Thanks also for the many prayers on his behalf, which God has answered. Please continue to lift him (and us) up in the upcoming days and months as there are many difficult times and decisions ahead. For now, he is just happy to be home and out of the hospital.

For those who would like more details, Dad still has the infection, but the antibiotic seems to be controlling the symptoms and he can continue the four week course from home. His vitals, including his temperature/fever, have all looked good for several days, so the hospital felt comfortable discharging him. Dad is alert and feeling strengthened, although still a little tired. For this reason, please do call/email/text Jenn or James prior to visiting him, just to make sure he is able to see you. We are also still not sure of when he will be able to go back to work at Georgetown/Sunset, nor what his schedule will look like, so that is another reason to let us know before you visit. As always, he welcomes cards/emails/texts of encouragement at anytime.

Please pray for strength, health, and peace for Dad during this time. Specifically, please pray that God would spare him from further infections for at least a time. Pray also for his kids, for Jenn and I as we care for him, and for Rachel as she lives far away and is only able to visit as her work permits, which is very difficult for her. We are thankful that she could be with him this weekend. Finally, pray for wisdom for Dad and the family as to what we should do and how he can continue to serve the Lord. Our God is able, even when facing Stage 4 cancer.

God Bless,

James for Rachel and Jenn

A Discouraging Day for the Donkey

Good evening, Dad has asked that we send an update to his faithful prayer warriors.  His days at Mary Free Bed (MFB) have been filled with Occupational and Physical Therapy, which he enjoys just fine (except for the squats!)  He is tired from the activity, but overall has been feeling “pretty good” and has also been eating a little for the first time in well over a month. 

Today, the blood cultures that were drawn on Saturday at MFB showed growth of the same gram negative bug, Klebsiella.  What the doctors feel this indicates is that while the antibiotics are working, the infection is “seeded” and Dad is still bacteremic.  In other words, the source of the infection is still there and active, which is most likely from his central line.  Even though he was doing fine, the doctors decided he needed to be transferred BACK to the hospital, so that he can work with Infectious Disease on a course of action, which falls outside the level of care MFB can provide.  Thus, Dad is now at St. Mary’s (Lacks – #405) where he will await a new plan of action.  

He has asked for specific prayer re: wisdom for the doctors and the decisions that need to be made.  Essentially, they could remove the port to clear the infection, but risk not being able to replace the line and Dad would not be able to receive TPN, his primary source of nutrition.  However, if they leave the port, he will continually be at risk for infection, which is also not a good option.  He is naturally discouraged, as this feels like a step backward, but we trust that God will cause all of this to work out for good and for His glory.  Will you join us in prayer for these matters?

We also want to thank all of the family and friends who have stayed at the hospital day and night, visited Dad, provided meals, cards, etc.  Now that he will not be doing therapy, he can have visitors during more times of the day, which always encourages him. Please let us know if you would like to visit.  As before, feel free to call, email, or text us “Kids”. 

Thanks to you all,

Jenn, James, and Rachel

The Haitian Donkey Breaks out of the Hospital, but isn’t Home yet…

Dear All,

We know that you have been praying for the Donkey, and we wanted to give you an update to his status so you that can continue to hold him up whenever he comes to mind. After several days in the hospital, the struggle continues with some days better than others. It helps keep his spirits up to know that people are concerned and praying for him as he tries to regain some strength and fight infection. Right now, he could use wisdom from his medical team as they try to diagnose and consider the best course of treatment as well as the ability to keep his spirits up when he feels more sick than usual. He was moved to Mary Free Bed earlier today in the hopes that he would keep moving forward but has had a slight relapse. He greatly wishes to stay here and would appreciate prayers for him to stabilize again.

Many people have been helpful in supporting him either directly with their skills or helping us keep helping him. We will keep this brief to be able to keep doing what we need to do for him, but we would also appreciate your prayers for us to be able to keep dealing with the ups and downs, the sleepless nights and staying healthy ourselves to keep being with him. Because of the demands of his therapy team here, we are asking that anyone who wants to express their care for him text, email or call one of us since visitors need to be kept to a minimum while he focuses on his treatment regimen.  

Rachel for Jenn, James and Tabitha (and all the rest)