Saturday, September 19, 2009

54 Days In Now, Where Is The Door?

I don't know if No News is Good News or not! It has been a few days since we updated on Clark personally. Our (Clark and my) spirits have been a little down. Seems like we are at a stand still and we are eager for progression. We just want OUT! Its been 54 days in the hospital now and no suggested date in getting out. I keep looking for good things and I know there are many more than I can visually see but I want to share at least one good thing from me. Clark has been VERY tired the past few days. Sleeping nearly every minute I'm in the room with him. Of course I think that is good as he must be healing during that time. I sit in the corner of his room, fully covered in a long plastic gown, gloves, mask, hair net, and booties. Sweating like no other, wow it gets hot in this plastic! Especially when it is hours and hours per day. From my corner, as I also work on my laptop computer, I glance over at Clark occasionally and find myself enjoying the moment. I see Jim over and over in Clark. It is like being with Jim again. You see Jim had narcolepsy so dozing and nodding was just a part of our everyday life. It was pretty frustrating when Jim was alive and falling asleep like that but I'd give about anything to have him back today, nodding all he needed. Even Clark's gestures and looks are much like his father's so for these moments, I give thanks.

Clark's white blood cell count went up to 19. That meant that he had an infection but that he had the power to fight it. The last culture they took for the bacteria in his blood, was negative however they will continue to keep Clark isolated and on treatment for a full 14 days of which we are now on day 9. They had taken most of the tubes and needles out of Clark as they felt that was probably a reason for contacting this bacteria in the first place. This also meant that Clark had to start taking food and medicines by mouth. Unfortunately, Clark became nausea and vomited for a couple days so they had to reinsert the feeding tube through his nose again. He has been feeling pretty good all yesterday afternoon and so far today. Dr. Schwartz is requesting that Clark be moved out of this room and into a room where more visitation would be allowed, hopefully building Clark's spirits by having company other than me. Eric Bischke and Logan Larson spent a few hours with Clark this afternoon watching football. I know they all enjoyed that time together and it allowed me some "me" time too. I went shopping at Cabela's.

Clark referrs to this "bacteria" as a disease. He emotionally went down hill when he first learned he had it. He had enjoyed a couple days outside and things seemed to be moving in the right direction and then BAM, he had Acinetobacter. Some of you have asked what this bacteria is called and I finally learned more about it. Here you go:

Acinetobacter is a Gram-negative genus of Bacteria belonging to the Gammaproteobacteria. Non-motile, Acinetobacter species are oxidase-negative, and occur in pairs under magnification. They are important soil organisms where they contribute to the mineralisation of, for example, aromatic compounds. Acinetobacter are a key source of infection in debilitated patients in the hospital.

Natural habitat; Acinetobacter spp are widely distributed in nature. They are able to survive on various surfaces (both moist and dry) in the hospital environment, thereby being an important source of infection in debilitated patients. Occasional strains are isolated from foodstuffs and some are able to survive on various medical equipment and even on healthy human skin. In drinking water, Acinetobacter have been shown to aggregate bacteria who otherwise do not form aggregates.

Acinetobacter is frequently isolated in nosocomial infections and is especially prevalent in intensive care units, where both sporadic cases as well as epidemic and endemic occurrence is common. A. baumannii is a frequent cause of nosocomial pneumonia, especially of late-onset ventilator associated pneumonia. It can cause various other infections including skin and wound infections, bacteremia, and meningitis, but A. lwoffi is mostly responsible for the latter. A. baumannii can survive on the human skin or dry surfaces for weeks.
Since the start of the Iraq War, over 700 U.S. soldiers have been infected or colonized by A. baumannii. Four civilians undergoing treatment for serious illnesses at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., contracted A. baumannii infections and died.

Acinetobacter species are innately resistant to many classes of antibiotics, including penicillin, chloramphenicol, and often aminoglycosides. Resistance to fluoroquinolones has been reported during therapy and this has also resulted in increased resistance to other drug classes mediated through active drug efflux. A dramatic increase in antibiotic resistance in Acinetobacter strains has been reported by the CDC and the carbapenems are recognised as the gold-standard and treatment of last resort. Acinetobacter species are unusual in that they are sensitive to sulbactam; sulbactam is most commonly used to inhibit bacterial beta-lactamase, but this is an example of the antibacterial property of sulbactam itself.
One thing that it being highly monitored at this time is Clark's vocal cords. He still has no more volume than a whisper which makes visiting a lot of work for him. In fact, he chooses not to talk much at all. They think the cords could have gotten twisted and are doing some testing on him over the next couple days. Talk of a surgery to correct it has been mentioned. There is still a slight issue with bile drainage but no plan of attack to correct at this time.

Its funny that Clark and I have each had to each overcome some fears during this long hospital stay. Clark was quite modest upon entry to the hospital but after this long, he doesn't care who sees his private areas, not even me. When nurses suggest that I leave the room for some procedures, he just tells them to send me to "my corner" instead. For me, well I am totally scared to drive in heavy traffic. I was palm wet at the wheel the first couple trips up I15 by myself. Kristin had done all the driving when we first got here but it was getting pretty hard for her to bring her two children to the hospital for the many hours we were here, so I told her I'd have to go it alone. When Jim died, I was told that the hardest thing I'd have to do is learn to do things alone or not do them at all. I refused to "not do things at all" so I have definitely learned to cope alone. I buzz up and down the interstate with no problem at all now. However I do avoid the morning rush hour which I'm not ready to tackle yet. Take me home to my country road!


Mills said...

I bet this has been a long 54 days. Keep on keepin on and we pray the the recovery process will speed up :)

Eric & Kate said...

Clark you look great in that picture! I will say, I'm dying to get my hands in that hair of yours...It's curlin' over your ears and stuff. It looks pretty good though!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving me the courage to live one day at a time and to realize all that God has given me. God is good! May he be with you as you recover. May he bless your Mother for all she has done and may he bless you both with strength and good health.

Janeanne said...

No one can imagine what it’s been like to endure all the events of the past 55 days. You’ve experienced wide swings of emotion...........fear, joy, enthusiasm, discouragement, pain, relief. Wish there was some way to make things easier for you. The good news is that you only have 5 days left in isolation. You’re 70% there. And, all indications are that your immune system (with the help of the medications) is fighting off the nasty A’bacter.

When my patience wears thin or I get frustrated, I breakdown the task into percentages. When you realize you are 70% of the way to your goal, the other 30% doesn’t seem so bad. When you look at the big picture........even if you have to stay in the hospital another 10 days, you are 82% of the way there. You’re in the home stretch......hang on!

I’ve also learned that the hardest time in any challenging or stressful situation is near the end. Clark, very soon, you will be able to walk out of there on your own two feet. Your mom will be able to go back to her daily routine in Watertown. It will happen!

Well, we got the raspberries planted yesterday. We’ll be getting some ever-bearing type later, after they are done producing this fall. When complete, we will have 220 feet of raspberries. The bed is 110 feet long and 8 feet wide. This borders on insanity.

Didn’t plant the bulbs yet, but at least have the plan figured out. There are about 300 to plant,and I may buy a few more. I’m planting them in with the raspberries, so after they bloom and begin to die back, the raspberries will be leafing out and will disguise their ugliness.

This is probably pretty, I’ll close. Hope you aren’t tired of my daily messages. I just want you to know that I am thinking of you and praying for your recovery every single day. Though we can't be there is person, we are in spirit.

Hope this day is VERY good!

Karla said...

You look GREAT! You've been through so much, and the finish line,actually the STARTING line is just ahead. Hang in there and keep your eye on the prize.

Thank God for football season, huh!

Wish I could have been at the Garage sale, and I heard Kate n Eric got yet another Bentley sire. Very cool, and I am jealous.

Have a great week, Clark!


Karla said...

PS ~ Meant to tell you, I finally printed the Super Clark blog the other day. Not the comments mind you, just the blog. 96 pages, WOW!!!

This blog will mean so much to you down the road. It inspires to all who are blessed enough to read it.


Anonymous said...

The Schuchard clan continues to keep a close watch and absolutely continues to lift you up in prayer. I know it's hard to tell, Rhonda, because you are there so much...but Clark is really looking better!! Looks like he's on the right path. It's a long path, no doubt, but it's the right one!

I'm so sorry that we were unable to attend the blood drive. Horse activities seem to "ramp up" this time of year.

We all survived BJ and Ashley's wedding and the fireworks show we put on at the house for the rehearsal dinner and family gathering was awesome! We'll do a replay for Clark when he comes home.

All our love and prayers,

Anonymous said...

Hey Clark... I bet it has been a long 55 days for you and the rest of your family... but keep on hangin on. I know you can do this...just takes a long time to recover and get things back on track.. Everytime I read this blog, it makes me wanna cry. I am so happy that you are still alive Clark, and everybody else is too! Keep strong buddy, I know god won't give up on you!

Rachelle Hauck (Johnson)

Austin said...

Clark, your story continues to be an inspiration to many. My sister and other family members continually ask how you are doing, and we are always happy to report. A few nights ago, Dallin said our pray and asked Heavenly Father to "Bwess Rark" (with some prompting of course). Just know we keep pulling for you and are excited to come visit as soon as we're allowed!

Anonymous said...

I know this has to be so emotionally draining for you hun. Just keep thinking though you are winning! You have not only won your life back but you won over so many people and inspired them in so many ways. That in itself is so amazing and there is not a day that goes by that someone isn't thinking about you and what you have overcome. You are an amazing man with an amazing family. Keep your chin up. I know it might be hard at times but you got through this crisis so far i know you can go the rest of the way. Rhonda, You are an amazing woman as well. I see where clark gets it from. I pray for your family and hope that clark gets out soon and can continue on with life as soon as possible. You all are again AMAZING people. =)

Tanizha Berg