Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Dandy Birthday Gift for Mother

Thank you to everyone who have wished me Happy Birthday by email, text, phone, or in person. I did have a great day! The one thing I wanted more than anything else was for Clark to be sewn up. AND HE WAS! Here is how it works. The opening is sewn from the inside first and there are several layers to sew. A few days ago they were able to sew all the tissue layer closed. That was a HUGE step forward. Then yesterday they sewed the fascia totally closed. The actual flesh we see, is still open but it will close on its own, HOPEFULLY! We think Clark is all done with surgeries, yippee! The remaining opening is stuffed with wet gauze, changed 2 times daily. This gauze keeps the flesh moist and also draws gunk away as it dries out. Its called wet to dry pack. They pack pads over the gauze and then Clark has a big Velcro strap around him that seals over the pack, keeping everything in place and tight. So all in all, it was a great birthday.

Several family members gathered at The Golden Corral for a great buffet supper to celebrate my birthday. I did however receive a call from the Dr. while there. He said the culture they had drawn for a blood bacteria had come back positive. Clark has picked up a "hospital" bacteria in his blood that is quite serious to himself and other patients. Not staff or visitors. It harbors in the openings, tubes, and IV lines when a patient has been hospitalized for a length of time. Clark did develop a fever from it too. Clark's white blood cell count dropped from a 7 to .1 in no time. Today they have come up to .38 but still are far from where we want them or where they have recently been. He is on two very harsh antibiotics which have already knocked his fever out and hopefully we will see a continued increase in the white blood cells. We are hoping the bacteria will be gone upon the next culture in a few days. Mean while, we have to take lots of precautions. Anyone entering Clark's room has to wear full gowns, masks, and gloves until this issue is corrected and he remains in isolation due to his low white blood cell count. The Dr. told me last night that Clark's transplant has been so unusual with his many complications. That if anything could go wrong, it did. Clark has been such a trooper through it all. The medical staff has gained knowledge in Clark's long suffering.Today has been a great day! They took the breathing tube out early this morning and we are praying he is done with surgeries so won't need it again. His incision looks pink and healthy. His fever is gone. He got up and walked in his room as far as the cords and tubes would allow him to go. His voice sounds stronger than I've heard in weeks. All vitals are great. He had his first bowel movement in weeks. Plus, we looked at the many pictures I've taken both here in the hospital since he was admitted and those pictures we took in SD when I went back for my father's 100th birthday party. Clark really enjoyed the pictures and had a lot of questions. Clark is looking forward to watching some football games tomorrow.

***Please Read*** For those of you with queasy tummies, I want to warn you that we ARE going to post pictures of Clark's before/after incision pictures. I think you will really understand more, once you see them. You will see what not only Clark has gone through, but also the Drs. Their stress level has to be horrendous! Be watching for the pictures in the near future but we want Clark to see them first.


solumca said...

Happy Birthday Rhonda! Glad to hear that it was WONDERFUL! :) i cried while reading the last 2 posts. I am so happy that he has come this far! I cant wait to see him again! Clark.. thank you for showing us what a true fighter you are, because it helps us all realize what we have in us AND what we can all do to help others.. even in such a small way like donating blood :) Your awesome! :) miss you and get well SOON! :)

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog and am so sorry for all your son is going through. When I was 16 I suddenly got severly sick and after a trip to the ER they figured out my liver was shutting down. I spent weeks in the hospital and luckily they were able to reverse the affects with medication. They think mine failed because my body couldnt process tylenol and I had been on a prescription tylenol for a kidney infection. When they caught it they said I only had a week to live had I not gone in. I am 27 now. I wish your son the best and hope that he can recover quickly!

Janeanne said...

Hi Clark. Great to see you on your feet and to hear that your incision is sewn closed! (Big tears of joy!)

Sounds like you've hit some other big milestones, too. Kick that nasty bacteria and you may be very close to busting out of that joint. Happy day!

The progress you've made in the past week is phenominal! Thanks be to Heavenly Father for His mercy. And, thanks Rhonda and Kristin for sharing your insights and information. We love and appreciate you.

Hope this day is good!


Gratitude Brings Heightened Awareness

"Gratitude is a Spirit‑filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things...

This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence."

Bonnie D. Parkin, "Gratitude: A Path to Happiness," Ensign, May 2007, 35

Eric & Kate said...

Hip Hip Hooray for LOTS of happy ~ positive progress!!! Love ya lots...

Anonymous said...

Hooray! We are all so happy for the good news! You are continually in our prayers Clark! We love ya!
-Shane & Beth

Anonymous said...

Hope you had a great birthday. You truly are a great mother being with you son the whole way through. The first time I met clark-he left an impact on me immediately. The second I heard that he was barely alive I nearly broke down. I could not believe what that text had said. I'm always here for the boys whenever they need to talk. I'm glad to see that clark is doing well. All the pictures of him awake, or standing in this case, makes my heart smile knowing that he really is a superhero. Hang in there Clark. We all know you are going to pull through and be back to the same old Clark you were before :)

Bart said...

Way to go Clark you are winning the fight. It is so good to see that lots of progress is being made. You are up on your feet moving about, all is looking great . Keep it up Super man. Love ya buddy Bart

john said...

Hello Rhonda, thanks for the update on Clark. Glad that he is progressing forward with the healing process and we're praying they will get this bacteria under control. Good to hear he is up and walking around a little. It takes baby steps in this journey but he will get to where he wants to be in the future. We are praying for him back in Watertown everyday. Happy belated birthday to you Rhonda. I just celebrated my birthday on the 11th also. I turned the big 50. Felt great, a year and half ago I was praying to see it come, since I was waiting for my Liver transplant at the time. I waited almost 9 months for mine. Clark is a trooper and a fighter, and he has been through a LOT. I was only in the hospital for a week,after the transplant, then spent 22 days in Rochester before they let me go home. It was one year ago yesterday when we arrived back at home. I had 59 staples in my incision and it is the mercedes emblem. Hope and pray Clark can heal quickly and start getting stronger little by little everyday. Make sure he gets lots of Calcium to keep him from gettin weak bones like me. Four months after transplant is the low time for calcium depletion, that's when I started getting my spinal fractures. Everybody is different when it comes to transplants and I Pray Clark has no complications. Anyway, Happy Birthday and tell Clark, Traci Hanes's Dad and Watertown are praying for Him and all of you , his family too. It is a emotional roller coaster ride for the entire family. Take care and God bless, if you want to read more of my journey it is on under johnhanescarepage. Bye from Watertown.

Jena Bracht said...

WOOOOOO!! Congrats on the closing of the incision!! You have come SO far Clark, it's really incredible! My thoughts go out to you every day, and I continue to pray for you and your family to be given the love, strength and support that is continually pouring down on you. WAY TO GO! P.S. - Congrats on the first poop! I did an extra cartwheel for that one. ;) Had to tease.

Taylor Gardner said...

We are so grateful and excited to read about your progress, Clark! Your story is truly remarkable and has touched so many. I was thrilled to hear about your closure and also to see the picture of you standing. I can't even imagine how good that must feel. We are thinking of and praying for you constantly. We love you!!

Ricky said...

Wonderful Clark!! keep up the great work love your brother!!

Anonymous said...

Clark, Rhonda, Kristin and Family,
Again, our Love, Prayers and Thoughts are with you at this time. God Bless and Keep you Always.

Thanks so much for ALL the updates.

Keep the faith, Clark, and know that Heavenly Father cares and hears ALL of our prayers.

Good news we got from Ron also. His tumor has not grown any and no more radiation and chemo for now. Yea, he is also going back to school and will graduate in Dec with is BA in Business and Finance. All that you young Stripling Warriors have gone thru in these latter days, Amazing isn't it. Just remember what your Mother has taught you as is days of old, as in the stripling warrior story.

Take care and continue to get well. We ALL send our Love, The Gullickson's--Duane, Patti, Jon, Nic, Ron and Juanita

Janeanne said...

Good morning, Clark. Hope you got to watch some football over the weekend. I'm trying to guess your team. The Vikings seems like a logical choice(?) When you are feeling up to it, type us a blog and let us know!

Looking forward to hearing about your next big milestone. I'm guessing it may be that you get to go home!

Here's a story that reminds us that our experiences are for our good.

Have a great day! Our love.


This Is Good

A king in Africa had a close friend since childhood. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation (positive or negative) and remarking, "This is good!"

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend had apparently loaded the king's gun incorrectly for when the king fired it, his thumb was blown off.

The king's friend remarked as usual, "This is good!" To which the king replied, "No, this is NOT good!" and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area near a Cannibalistic tribe. They captured him and took him to their village.

They were about to tie him to the stake for roasting when they noticed he was missing a thumb.

Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So they untied the king and released him.

The king went immediately to the jail. He proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. "And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this."

"No," his friend replied, "This is good!" "What do you mean,'This is good'? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?" "If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you."

- Author Unknown

David and Cori said...

I live in Arkansas and read about Clark from an article in the Herald (online). I just read and cried through this whole blog and so many thoughts come to mind. I keep thinking about how close you and your son must have grown these past 2 months, about how that will be with you both forever. I am a mother of 4 young children and hope and pray that I never have to go through what you have had to, but if I ever do, I hope I can endure it as you have. Your faith and hope is so amazing. I know God is uniquely aware of each of us. I happened to donate blood last Saturday at our Stake Preparedness Fair in NW Arkansas and had a very uncomfortable time of it. I got on facebook afterwards and changed my status to say that I was finished donating - too many bad experiences. After reading your blog, I know I will donate again, because who wouldn't want to have the blessing of saving lives. Thank you! God Bless you and Clark and the rest of your family.

Sheri said...

Outstanding news...between your blog and Bart Moeller filling me in (I work with him) the good news keeps coming and coming...

I will continue to say prayers for you all. Clark, I hope someday I get the chance to meet you. Keep up the good fight Superman!

God Bless!

Janeanne said...

Hi Clark. It's another beautiful day in which to experience more growth and recovery. Every day brings you one day closer to doing many of the things you used to do.
Keep moving forward.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said: "The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving."

Hope this day is good!

Karla said...

Rhonda ~

You're radiant face speaks volumes. Great birthday, huh! Kinda like when our kids make us birthday gifts out of Q-tips, cotton balls and glue and we save them forever because they are so special. I gotta say, Clarks progress has Q-tips beat for sure ;-)

Clark ~

Seeing you standing and vertical is the best of news. I remember our last visit and you kept saying "I just want to get up and get moving". Good goal, and you made it. Had to go through some trials and tribulations, but victory is SWEET !

Oh Happy Day. Love,