Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ruthie update: 5/2/10

Hello, everyone. It's been a while since an update has been posted on Ruthie's blog, and so many of you have been asking how she has been doing since the surgery. Thank you so much for your continued concern, support, prayers, and love for sweet Ruthie and Will. She asked that I post some information so that you will be more "in the know" as to what's been going on and how to continue to pray more specifically at this point.

Ruthie's pain level remains high. She has noticed incremental improvement in this area from week to week, although differences are hard to tell on a day-to-day basis. The process has been extremely slow and, as a result, the pain is a continual struggle.

She also has had to be completely dependant on others for just about everything. The doctors have told her to not lift anything over 5 pounds, so she is extremely limited in what she is able to do for herself. Although it has been humbling to have to receive from and depend on others so much (and she is SO grateful for all of the help), it has been hard to have to have someone always there to do the smallest of tasks for her.

That being said, she has remarked again and again how blown away she has been by her precious husband Will and how he continues to serve her with such grace and love. He never hestitates to do anything that is needed, even if it is in the middle of the night, and never NEVER complains. He continually puts the needs of Ruthie above his own and has exhibited such a compassionate and servant heart towards her. She is so deeply thankful for this amazing husband of hers!

Some things that have been happening in the last couple of weeks:

*Will's mom came to help out for a week and, from what it sounds like, she was a rock star. She organized and cleaned their ENTIRE house (cleaned out closets and pantry, cleaned silver, etc) and did all of this without even being asked. Having been over at Ruthie's after Will's mom left, I can attest to the fact that the house looked absolutely beautiful. And if you know Ruthie, you know that having a clean and organized home is (in her words), her "love language." :)

*Ruthie's mom was also in town from Monday-Friday of this past week. It was wonderful having her there to help out, especially so Will could get out and do some of things he needed to do, knowing that Ruthie would be well cared for in his absence. Ruthie's mom helped keep the house clean and, in addition, took little Ellie on tons of walks. Ellie was quite sad to say goodbye to Marsha!

*Ruthie has been so incredibly thankful for her community of friends in Nashville. People have been providing meals for Ruthie and Will every other day. It has been wonderful to have one more thing to take off of Will's plate, and Ruthie has absolutely loved visiting with the people who have been stopping by. She also has so greatly appreciated the flowers and messages from numerous people who continue to speak encouragement and love into Ruthie's life. Being in Nashville - and in the comfort and peacefulness of her beautiful home - has been a tremendous blessing for her.

*When the weather has been nice, Ruthie has been getting out and walking in her neighborhood. She is walking a little bit further every day, and she has been encouraged by how well that aspect of her recovery has been going.

*Precious Ellie hasn't left Ruthie's side. She has watched over Ruthie throughout the past few weeks with the sweetest love for her. It is quite evident that Ruthie and her little furball have a very special bond.

*Will's 28th birthday is tomorrow (Monday, May 3)! Ruthie is really looking forward to celebrating Will and making it a very special day for him. :)

Please pray...

-for Ruthie's pain level. Pray that there would be continued improvement and that the healing process would be more noticeable on a day to day basis.

-for Ruthie's spirits. It's been difficult for her to not only be so dependant on everyone, but also to feel so unproductive day in and day out. Because she is so limited in what she can do, she has not had a creative outlet to utilize her amazing gifts in the way that she has been used to. Pray that God would work through this time she needs to take to heal to provide encouragement in place of discouragement and that her mind and creativity would be challenged in a way that she is not expecting.

Also, please offer thanks for the abundance of support and love Ruthie is constantly surrounded by, for her ability to walk more and more every week, and for no unexpected complications thus far in her recovery process!

And endless thanks to each of you for loving Ruthie and Will so well!

(Happy birthday, Will!)


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ruthie update: 4/14, 11:30 pm

Ruthie is home!!!! It is so wonderful to have her and Will back in Nashville. Strange to think that this time last week was the day of her surgery. What a tremendous blessing that so much progress has been made in the last 7 days and that Ruthie is able to be through it and on to the rest of the healing process. God has been gracious.

I'll briefly catch you up on what's been happening since the last blog post yesterday morning. Ruthie was finally discharged from the hospital midday and she and Will walked (yes, walked!) to their hotel across the street from the hospital. About an hour later, they noticed blood coming out through her neck brace onto the hotel pillows and sheets. Needless to say, Ruthie got a bit freaked out and a call was put in to their doctors at Mayo. The bleeding persisted, and, in order to find out what exactly was causing it, the doctor actually came over to their hotel room to check it out. Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing serious. The doctor believes that Ruthie either had a blister near her incision that popped or that the incision was rubbed a certain way to cause the bleeding. He doctor ended up putting 4 strips of tape across the incision to help it stay closed as much as possible (he didn't want to put a bandage over the whole incision so that it could air out and heal more effectively). The bleeding has continued somewhat, even tonight.

This morning, their friend Kelly picked them up from the hotel and drove them to Minneapolis which is about 1 hour away. From there, they got on a 2 hour flight to take them back to Nashville. The travel was pretty rough on Ruthie in terms of pain and discomfort. They were stuck in the back of a small plane with little room to move around...and to top it off, they were right next to the bathroom. Thankfully, the flight was nonstop and, in spite of the negative aspects of the travel, Ruthie was extremely excited to be coming home.

One of Ruthie's best friends, Leslie, picked them up at the airport with precious Ellie in the car (see previous post with photo of Ellie to see exactly how precious). What a perfect way to welcome them back! Leslie then drove them home and Ruthie was thrilled to walk into a house that had been freshly cleaned, spruced up, and decorated with flowers by some of Ruthie's girlfriends the night before. Ruthie expressed that she was so thankful for that...Lauren and Megan, thank you for spearheading that effort!

Ruthie is now resting at home and obviously just beginning to readjust to life here again. She is so happy to be able to be outside again after developing cabin fever in the hospital day after day. She is happy to be around her community and to be in her own bed with her sweet puppy and comforting home. She is going to try to walk a little more each day, especially if the weather continues to be as glorious as it has been. She will be wearing her neck brace for the next 3 months and is not supposed to be lifting more than 5 pounds for a while. When the 3 month period is up, she will get x-rays done and sent back up to Mayo. At that point, the doctors will decide whether or not to begin transitioning her out of the brace. If they decide to transition her out of the brace, she will at first take it off for 1 hour a day for a week, then 2 hours a day for the next week, and so on. So that process will be extremely gradual and slow, but will ensure that Ruthie's body is effectively building its strength along the way.

Ruthie and Will are excited to see people and are welcoming visitors! However, they requested that everyone send a text ahead of time to either of them just to make sure that Ruthie isn't sleeping and that it's a good time to stop by. They will be honest about whether it is or not.

Some prayers that Ruthie wanted me to pass along:

*Please pray that the bleeding would stop. Since the doctors want the incision to air out, this is especially difficult when Ruthie has to go places and is unable to cover it up.

*Ruthie's pain level is still pretty high, or "severe" as Ruthie called it. Please pray that with Ruthie now resting at home and not traveling, that the pain would lessen with each day.

*Pray against any infections or other things that would hinder the recovery process.

*Tomorrow (Thursday) is the 1 year anniversary of the passing of Ruthie's dad, Lloyd Lindsey. This is going to be an emotionally difficult day for her, and she is somewhat dreading it. Ruthie was extremely close with her daddy (hence the title of her blog) and she misses him dearly...the loss of him in her life is an ache that never ever goes away. Ruthie shared that even though her heart was breaking that her daddy couldn't be with her while she was going through the surgery and in the hospital this last week, she was so thankful that he didn't have to see her in this much pain. She said that it absolutely tore him up to see her like that. The last time Ruthie was in the hospital, there were times he had to leave the room because he became overwhelmed seeing her hurt so much. He loved his little girl to pieces.
Ruthie said that her mom recently received an email from a friend expressing that even though this particular date each year will bring mourning and sadness, it will now, with Ruthie's successful surgery, be an opportunity to celebrate new life and redemption and renewal. What a beautiful perspective. Pray that Ruthie would cling to that.
Even though tomorrow may be filled with many tears, pray that God would give her hope through those tears, that the sadness would not turn to despair, and that she would be comforted knowing that she is radically loved by One who understands her pain and enters into her suffering with her...all the while pointing her to a greater hope that someday everything sad will come untrue.
How we long for that day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ruthie update: 4/13, 9:45 am

Fabulous news to report this morning...Ruthie is being discharged from the hospital today!! Her doctors all came by this morning one last time to go over last details. She will be receiving an antibiotic around noon, and after that she and Will will leave! They will be spending the night in a hotel in Rochester tonight and then flying back home to Nashville and settling back in tomorrow night. Ruthie's mom, Marsha, left for the airport to fly back to Louisiana just a little bit ago.

Praise God for the progress that Ruthie has made and for giving her body the strength it needs to move into this next phase! We are excited to have Ruthie and Will back home again!

And a big THANK YOU to all of you who have been praying each day along the way. God hears the prayers of His children and He has so mercifully answered.

Please pray that the travel home would be comfortable for Ruthie, that her mobility would increase with each passing day, and that God would continue to give Will and Ruthie daily encouragement.

Finally, please pray specifically this week for Ruthie and her family as the 1 year anniversary of losing her precious daddy is on Thursday, April 15. May God meet them powerfully and bring them great hope in the midst of their grief.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Ruthie update: 4/12, 4:00pm

Just spoke with Will about developments over the past couple of days. He prefaced the conversation by saying things had been "uneventful"...which is terrific news to hear!

The doctors checked Ruthie's dressings today and they have been dry. They clamped the lumbar drain this morning in order to monitor for fluid leakage for the following 8 hours. Considering the dressings continue to remain dry, the drain will be removed in the morning. At that point, Ruthie will no longer have anything hooked up to her. The doctors have slowly transitioned her pain medication to oral medication which she takes every 3 hours.

Ruthie also has been more rested. After the doctor came in today for the morning rounds (which Will said was "very early"), Ruthie was able to fall back asleep. And Will got in a good nap this afternoon. Thank you for praying so faithfully for more rest for them both!

If there is no leakage and the drain comes out in the morning, it is possible that Ruthie will be discharged from Mayo either tomorrow or the next day! I will continue to update you all on those developments as they unfold.

Ruthie posted the following message on Facebook today this afternoon: "Just wanted to thank everyone so much for all the prayers! I am doing so much better - I have felt so much love, support, and comfort from all of your sweet messages, prayers and encouraging words! I feel so thankful to have such incredible support! So humbling!!!"


*that the drain will be removed tomorrow and that Ruthie will be discharged soon afterwards. They are ready to be home and to focus on the rest of her recovery!

*that the final cost of total hospital bill will be kept low. Every day at Mayo adds to the overall cost, so please pray that it would fall within Ruthie and Will's means. God is a provider, so let's pray faithfully for all of their financial needs to be met!

*that God would prepare Ruthie and Will's hearts for the next stage of recovery and their transition home, whenever that may be.

Praise God for the "uneventful" past few days!!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ruthie update: 4/10, 7:45 pm

What an encouraging conversation I had with Will tonight. He described it as the best day they've had since the surgery last Tuesday. He felt that everything became more steady and stabilized today. Some developments of the day:

*Ruthie had a decent night of sleep last night (about 5 hours or so) and has been able to nap off and on today a bit.

*She walked a couple of times and was planning on trying another walk again tonight.

*Her dressing has been dry when they've changed it today, indicating that the lumbar drain has been effective (it will stay in until Monday night).

*Her overall pain level throughout the day has been between 7 and 8.

*The doctor tested for clonus (see previous post from Thursday) on Ruthie's left side again today and couldn't detect it AT ALL. He said the he wasn't expecting this at all! This is a great sign of improvement. This doesn't necessarily mean that Ruthie will not experience pain in the future, but Will did remark that it could mean that certain aspects of her pain (for example, the burning sensation she has experienced in the past) may no longer be an issue.

These are all things to be incredibly thankful for. One of Ruthie's best friends, Katie, sent an email out this morning to a group of Ruthie's friends exhorting us to pray for specific encouragement for Ruthie today. I can't speak for Ruthie, but it sounds like this kind of day was an answer to those prayers and exactly what was needed...more restful and steady, hopeful rather than fearful, like the calm following a storm. Let's keep praying for more days like this and for Ruthie to be filled with hope and a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Today, the funeral for Libby's dad, Aylmer, took place in Louisiana. Apparently 2200 people showed up at his wake last night. Sounds like he was a man cherished and loved by many. Please remember Libby and her family in your prayers. May they feel the arms of God holding them tightly.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Ruthie update: 4/9, 10:50pm

Some better news to report tonight. The doctors were finally able to insert the lumbar drain. Ruthie is resting in her new room in the neurosurgery wing with Will right now and they are currently watching Benjamin Button and about to turn in for the night. It's been a long, hard day.

One highlight of the evening: Ruthie and Will were able to ichat with their sweet friends who are taking care of their adorable dog, Ellie. Ellie is definitely good medicine for the soul, so I hope that it lifted their spirits a bit to see their precious girl. Here she is...see what I mean??

There are many names by which God is known. Restorer. Healer. Comforter. Lifter of our Heads. Redeemer of broken things. Pray that Ruthie and Will would experience Him powerfully as such in these next days.


Ruthie update: 4/9, 5:30 pm

Talked to Will a bit ago and it sounds like it's been a very difficult day. The doctors have tried repeatedly to insert the lumbar drain, but the attempts have been unsuccessful. They have been unable to get the drain in just the right spot. The procedure is very similar to an epidural, so needless to say, it's been painful to have them try so many times.

Will said the doctors decided to take Ruthie to another room so that they could use a camera to help them insert the lumbar drain more accurately. Please pray that it works so that another surgery doesn't become necessary. Apparently there has been a lot of fluid leakage (Will wasn't sure if all of it has been spinal fluid) seeping out through the incision today.

One promising thing to report is that Ruthie described her pain as an "ache" while the pain is still there, it sounds a bit more moderated. I think the doctors have continued to make adjustments with her medication and provide more comfort for her.

Will passed along several prayers requests:

*Pray that the lumbar drain works and that they will be able to drain the fluid out without another surgery

*Pray that they can get everything (pain, fluid, etc.) under control and more stabilized day to day so that they can begin to plan to go home

*Pray for rest. Even though Ruthie got a little more sleep last night, it still was probably only about 3 hours. And Will needs some good sleep as well.

Hopefully will know more soon about whether the attempt to insert the drain has been successful.