Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I got to the motel and asleep about 1:00 am. I awoke at 5:30 am, called the hospital to see how Clark's night had gone and learned that he had fallen asleep a couple hours ago and was still sleeping. I was so relieved. I decided not to go back to the hospital and let him sleep. I put on my SAME clothes from the day before, didn't even comb my hair (just crunched it up on top of my head with a clip), brushed my teeth and left for HOME. HAHAHA - SShhh don't tell Clark or he may not let me come back to the hospital. I didn't care cause I was going to be traveling and didn't want to impress anyone, I just wanted to hurry and get going. I left at 6:01 AM from Utah and arrived at home in SD at 11:22 PM. WHEW, pretty long trip alone but I pushed, and I pushed hard. I knew I had a lot to do when I got home. I stopped for gas and potty only 3 times, grabbed a burger once, and kept on going. Great trip!
I will be calling the hospital a few times daily for updates while I'm in SD. I was informed that Clark's white blood cell count has gone up 1 point, yippee! Not a lot but we will take it. Drs said it may come up slow at first and then take a big jump. We can only pray for that to happen. They said he is comfortable but seems a little depressed already. Kristin will be visiting him through Wednesday. But then she and her family will also fly home to SD for the BIG 100 YEAR BIRTHDAY BASH for my father. Again, we hope to include Clark by web cam if we have no technical difficulties. I'm hoping for a joyful celebration with my dad on his 100th birthday!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Clark is doing well. He was moved to an isolated room which is pressurized and we continue to wear gloves and masks to visit. His white blood count hasn't dropped in the last day but it isn't coming up yet either. He had a bad reaction to the Dolotin yesterday. The room was spinning, he felt nauseous, his body was shaking and twitching, he felt flush, and it was very difficult to breath. They immediately pulled it from his line and are going to put him back on Fentanyl. Hopefully this will keep his pain level down without the reaction.
Clark looked very gaunt for the first time. Even though he hasn't eaten in about a month, he didn't look thin because of all the fluid retention. Now that the fluid is coming off his body, you can really see how thin he is. We're glad that the swelling is coming down though because it means he's that much closer to being sewn together.
They inserted a chest tube into his rib cage about 4 days ago. Clark said this was so painful! His nurse, Dave, said that Clark was in so much pain that he himself felt physically ill to watch him. Dave said he has never seen anyone in so much pain except for maybe a woman in labor. I told him I have had two babies completely naturally and I bet Clark was in worse pain. Thankfully, the chest tube did its job of draining the fluid that was trapped there and they were able to remove it. Clark told them they could take it out but they would probably hear some words. I asked if they did hear any words. He said that it didn't hurt at all to have it taken out and now doesn't have any pain.
We hooked up the web cam on Clark's laptop and were able to make a couple calls to Kellen, and Carson, Jen, Roger, and Elliot. Clark's voice is very weak and labored so they couldn't hear him but it was still fun for all. Hopefully we won't run into any technical difficulties the night of Grandpa's party so Clark can join us through web cam.
The day before yesterday Clark actually stood up. They moved his bed into a chair position so all he had to do was stand straight up. He just stood by the bed, with help for a short time but even this much movement is very helpful to Clark. He was very proud of himself and felt very confident. Mom and I weren't in the room so Clark asked how far the waiting room was. He wanted to walk in and surprise us. Of course that was too lofty of a goal for now, but hopefully soon. He also asked them how long it would be before he could run. We're glad he's so optimistic. They will continue to work with him each day and aim for slow and steady progress. It has been weeks since his back has left a bed. I thought of what a great accomplishment it was for Clark to just stand. No steps were taken. He was supported the whole time. But still he stood. Often times we take simple acts like this for granted. Today, I'm grateful.
Thanks to Eric and Kate for the great pictures.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Print Clark Kimble's Appeal - This will open a Google Document. Download it first, then print.
What if you were living on borrowed time?
What if your life depended on the compassion and generosity of others?
You can help in the following ways:
P.S. What if Clark were your son? Your grandson? Your brother?
I had another great evening with Clark. We visited about his dogs (by the way for those asking about the price on his puppies), he wants $450 for the females (2), and $400 for the males (3). He said a lot of people were coming in to compliment him on his puppies as I hung an 8X10 picture of them in his room. He told me that he had slept all night the night before and had no pain. He asked me to find his shaver kit as the hospital uses straight edge shavers and Clark likes electric. We talked about a cologne of his that I sampled while cleaning his house the other day and it was GREAT! He knew exactly which one I was talking about. Said Dave had given it to him for Christmas, it is Vaquero and it means cowboy (available at fine Western Stores). I'll bet the chicks dig that one. We talked about the blog but he wanted me to wait to read the days comments until today. And then it happen, the funniest thing. It was 11:00 PM and time for me to leave as visitation hours end at 11. He got out his handy dandy alphabet board and began once more to type to me. He said, "I have lots of clothes," I replied, "I know you do, I just washed 18 loads for you", then he typed "they aren't going to let you back in here if you don't change your clothes". I laughed and laughed and laughed, nearly wanting to skip and whistle all the way out of the hospital. It was great having him pick on me. Let me explain. I didn't pack many clothes to come to Utah, thinking I wouldn't be here but a week (maybe). Upon going to his apartment and finding more clothes than a department store has and most of them dirty and on the floor, I gathered them and washed them. I figured that if I washed them, I could surely wear them. I was wearing one of his yellow t-shirts during a visit the weekend Dave had come down. Clark noticed it and I explained that I needed to borrow some of his shirts. He nodded okay. Since I didn't get back to Kristin's to change my clothes, I had to wear the same clothes the next day too. Who would have thought Clark was taking notice of what I was wearing. I didn't care. Then Clark had those sleepy days in which he didn't know I had really wore something different. Soo, last night I entered the room in the same yellow t-shirt (of course I had washed it), but Clark thought I had been wearing it for days. I left his room feeling so happy.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Clark is scheduled for surgery again at 2PM today. This time they plan to sew a Velcro strip to each side of his belly. This will allow them to pull the skins closer and closer together as the swelling reduces daily. Once the skins get close enough to stitch together, the Velcro will be removed and then finally sutured closed. Because Clark's white blood cell count has been extremely low the past several days, they are also going to do a "bone marrow biopsy" today. They expected that it should have been going up by now so they are looking for answers "why". They will do this while he is in surgery. They will enter into his hip and remove marrow. Some results will be back within 24 hours, other results will not be available for 10 days. One cause for this depletion of white blood cells could be medication and we are certainly hoping that will be the case with Clark and not something else new that we will face. We are also hoping they take the breathing tube out of his mouth today and we can again talk to each other. It was such a joy to hear his voice a few days ago even though it was weak and words minimal.
Clark has "thrush" on his tongue from all the medication. So not only is he very thirsty but a thick coating houses over his tongue almost making it hard to open his mouth. When he can open it, it looks like a taffy factory with taffy being stretched across the opening. I told him he probably doesn't know what food even tastes like by now its been so long since he ate. He shook his head no and pointed at the TV meaning he is watching all the food commercials on TV. I then asked him what he was most hungry for. He said, "the two for one steaks at Applebee's". He always orders that same meal when we have eaten there before. I'll be happy to take him to dinner at Applebee's when he is up to it.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Since things are moving along rather slow but positive right now, I felt it appropriate at this time, to introduce Clark to those many unknown new friends of Clark’s who have been following his blog. Thank you for doing so. Clark was born on July 27, 1985. He is one of eight children, totaling 7 boys and 1 girl. In order: Ryan Yoder, Kristin Purles, Clark, Myls, Wyatt, Fletcher, Bjorn, and Huxley. Clark’s father (Dr. Jim Kimble, a veterinarian at Lake Area Vet Clinic in Watertown) passed away in June of 1998 after suffering a massive heart attack at our home. Clark was a good student and a terrific wrestler. We hoped he would continue wrestling through out his high school years but with the strong work ethic Clark possessed, he quit wrestling to take on employment at Premier Bankcard where I currently work now.
Monday, August 17, 2009
I received the dreaded phone call in the middle of the night, from the hospital at 1:45 AM Monday. I tossed out of bed to grab my phone and it was explained to me that it was necessary to take Clark into surgery right away. I wasn't comprehending what they explained but knew it was important. Shortly after 4:oo AM I was informed that the surgery went well. Clark had been running a fever, was sweaty, pain level was 10 out of 10, his heart rate was increasing and they needed to take care of it right away. In surgery they found another tear in his intestines that they repaired then flushed the area with 5 liters of saline. This fluid that was leaking really eats things up so flushing it out helps a great deal. His heart rate was coming back down and things looked okay for now. Of course he was put back on the respirator again (necessary for any surgery) but they hope to wean him off it later today. Before surgery they explained to Clark that they would have to reinsert the tubes from the respirator and he told them he didn't care, anything to stop the pain if surgery would help.
I questioned if this tear and leakage was a reason the white blood cell count was so low and they said no. Whenever they do a transplant they give high doses of anti rejection medicine which depletes the immune system. They are giving him some medication to try to counter act it and bring up his white blood cell count, but it may take a few days to react.
Back to bed! Good night.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
He now has a tube running down his nose into his stomach to decompress it. This tube pumps fluid and gasses out to help keep the stomach empty. While inserting the tube, they found that he has a deviated septum and said he must have broken his nose at some time in his life, although he has no recollection of ever breaking it.
When he was first admitted to the ICU, they tried to get him to eat anything, even Ensure. He turned his nose up at it but drank it anyway knowing that he needed the calories. Ironically, today he said, "You know what I'm craving right now?" (My first guess was Dairy Queen.) "Pink Ensure. I want one right now." He also said that he really wants to play football.
Friday, August 14, 2009
They just recently learned of his
condition and came to the hospital soon after.
While playing tonight, the nurse came in and said, "I can't believe I'm looking at a guy with tubes down his throat playing cards!" The nurses mentioned Clark in their meeting saying that they couldn't believe he was on his phone texting and surfing the Internet on a laptop. They said that about 95% of patients who are intubated are sedated. But they're not Kimble's!
Clark called Mom back to his room when Dr Hutson made his rounds. Clark was anxious to know if he would be able to go to SD for Grandpa's 100th birthday celebration the end of this month. No way! No how! Dr. Hutson said Clark could come stay at his house and as long as Clark doesn't touch his gorgeous 18 year old daughter, he would take care of him while we're gone.
The Taylor family payed us a surprise visit from South Dakota.
Kim (6 months pregnant), Pam, Greg, and Stacey
And God, somehow you know that ship is me.
That someone out there still believes in me.
You’re changing all that is and used to be!
Oh, raining down, against the wind, I’m reaching out, ’til we reach the circle’s end.
When you come back to me again. . .
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I asked the nurse how the Wound Vac works. She explained that they stuff his opening and all the crevices with a sponge like material. Then this is covered with an adhesive which seals to the skin. There are tubes and suctions all throughout that keep it sealed and drain off fluid and infection. Pretty amazing!
Even though Clark has so much fluid on him, his skin is so dry. He asked for lotion so I gave him a little hand and foot massage which he thoroughly enjoyed. He asked Dr. Hutson, the hepatologist, if it was true that he couldn't have grapefruit. Dr. Hutson responded, "Absolutely not". He cannot have grapefruit or pomegranate or the juices of either ever again because they will cancel out his anti rejection drugs. Clark was disappointed because he loves grapefruit, but he can LIVE with that. Dr. Hutson also joked (but is serious) that Clark can't have sex for awhile either.
After so many days here, we have learned to make quick friends with the fellow visitors in the waiting rooms.
During surgery, Clark used 50 units of blood. Isn't that unbelievable?
Clark is a true believer in making donations. He along with Kristin, have donated plasma for many years. They both carry a big scar in their veins that they proudly wear. For those out there that are looking for a way to earn a little extra money, consider becoming a plasma donor as you are paid for it.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
they inserted the bolt. Also, where the many, many tubes
were in his neck. Glad to see those gone!
In my hours spent with Clark yesterday, we were able to have some happy times. As Kristin had mentioned, he wasn't happy with one of the nurses and I witnessed too the reason he may have felt the way he did. If he was going to complain about nursing care, he was speaking with the right person as he was talking to the head nurse. She told him they would talk with that nurse and Clark immediately began to aggressively shake his head no and his arms were swinging to gesture no. Clark didn't want her in trouble. He just asked that she didn't take care of him again. I laughed with them and told them to send single, young, blond nurses in. You can imagine we had fun with that conversation.
That afternoon, Clark motioned for me to bring him paper and pen. I stood by his side as he scribble words that echoed in my mind so many times before. He wrote, "Ask the nurse when I can finally have water"? Water, such a simple thing to ask for! A mother at her son's side, asking for water, and I couldn't help. I just confirmed to him what a humble boy he has been so far and to give us a little more time, the moisture of a drink of water will be given in due time. I couldn't help observe the dryness of his mouth. Then he generously offered me that nod of agreement that he'd wait.
So after the evening surgery, and during my final visit for the day. I couldn't help but chuckle to myself when I saw his nurse for the evening shift. Don't get me wrong, the staff at the U has been absolutely terrific, but since Clark has been taking notice to their care, I couldn't help but to watch also, and wonder what Clark was thinking. Now remember we had ordered a single, young, blond nurse for him earlier today. Humm, well this nurse wasn't exactly young, she definitely wasn't blond, red or brunette (so that leaves only one other color), we didn't need to find out her marital status, BUT she was a great nurse and that's all we care about. It was good for my mind to linger away and keep a laugh inside to myself. Clark was able to gesture to me that the attending nurse "Wade" was a thumbs up kinda guy and Clark really liked him. He was trying to tell me something more that I just couldn't understand. Finally Clark motioned for me to get a clip board with the alphabet that was nearby. Wow, it was the end of the day and my brain was dragging a bit but I watched Clark point at letters trying to tell me Wade was also his nurse "last night". Clark pointed at those letters so fast that I had to tell my brain to "gitty up". I'm so thankful for all the precious care Clark is receiving from everyone.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The respiratory techs will run tests to see if Clark is strong enough to remove the ventilator. If so, they will remove that tube when he returns to the operating room tomorrow. We were very excited to hear that because it is one of the most disturbing parts of Clark's condition right now. He gags and gasps which is hard to watch. It also prevents him from being able to talk, even though he tries hard to communicate with us to help him. Everyone assures us that one of his meds (the same one Michael Jackson over dosed on) also gives him amnesia so he won't remember how awful this time in Intensive Care is. Although that is slightly comforting, it still pulls at our heart strings to watch him struggle. Even if the breathing tube is removed the feeding tube will stay in place. This line runs through his nose so it's not nearly as invasive.
Clark had a terrible episode of vomiting in the night. He threw up three times and his hands were tied down so he couldn't call the nurse for help right away. The CT scan showed no evidence of any blockage in the bowels. The vomiting could be from his pain meds or from swelling of the bowels. Hopefully he won't go through this again.
He drew this shirt to show his support.
Monday, August 10, 2009
For now the liver is holding its own. Clark’s blood supply looks good which was the biggest concern. They continue to get rid of the extra fluid that has accumulated, which is normal at this point in the operation. Clark has developed a little bit of a fever so they are watching for signs of infection. Before they took him in for surgery, Clark was grabbing Dr. Schwartz’s hands and giving a strong handshake. He said that if Clark didn’t have a big hole in his belly you probably wouldn’t be able to tell he’d been through all this. He warned that it’s a marathon type experience, not a foot race or 40 yard dash. Everyone needs to prepare themselves for the long haul. Clark is making improvements day by day but he will probably be in the hospital for another 2 weeks. He will be waking this afternoon when the anesthesia wears off and will be back to the mental status he was at this morning. Dr Schwartz ended our consultation by saying, “All things considered, and given how borderline he was at the time of his transplant, we are very pleased with how well he’s doing but he’s not out of the woods yet.”
We’re excited to see and talk with him again. Even though some of this news makes us nervous, we will focus on all the positives, which are many!
- 1,427 Absolute Unique Visitors
- 10,468 Page Views
- Average Time on Site - 3:45
- 6,126 visits came from 12 countries/territories and 49 states in the USA.
They took the paralytic medicine off and reduced some of the medication that was keeping him sedated, so they could check on his responsiveness etc. They were very pleased. They were able to drained 2 liters of fluid, helping reduce the puffiness and swelling. They rotate Clark every two hours, stuffing pillows under his back and legs to avoid getting bed sores. We are heading back to the hospital early this morning. He will go back to surgery today to have his belly flushed and cleaned and to check that the attachments are functioning properly. It's doubtful that they will sew him together as he still has a lot of swelling and the skin cannot be pulled together. Now that he is awake and responsive we will be spending much more time at his bed side. We cannot have phones in his room but will respond to messages when we can. We haven't been allowed to take a picture of Clark because he has been unable to give his consent. We will ask today if we can if Clark says it's OK.
Many have asked what they can do to help and how to give a monetary donation. The financial department said that if we do any fund raising it has to be done in a certain way to prevent being dinged with taxes. We will find out more about this today and set something up if you're interested. If you would like to send a card, Clark will be staying with Kristin Purles. You may email her at email@example.com to get her personal contact info. Thank you.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I still have not had a chance to talk with Cate about the actual surgery because she ended up going into emergency surgery yesterday, then we were gone by time she was done. All reports coming from the staff in Surgical ICU are very positive. I was told by the nurse that Clark has the largest incision he has ever seen. This was due to the difficulty they encountered in getting the last vessel attached that we waited so long for on Wednesday night. So far this unique attachment is doing well.
Poke-a-hontas and his group went to Clark’s apartment to tidy it up and get any dirty laundry for Kristin and me to wash. He won’t be going home to his place because he will need constant care for awhile. He will be living at Kristin’s.
Huxley jumped in with Tonto to get home and ready for school. That leaves me alone for the trip back to South Dakota but I just might like that “alone” time. Looks like it will be several days before I can plan to go back home. I won’t leave until Clark is out of the hospital. Team Poke-a-hontas will leave for SD some time tomorrow. My sister Loy drove my car to Utah for me so I’d have my own transportation. Her son Blake got a load of freight to haul to Utah, so Loy and her daughter Mindee hopped in the semi and also headed home to SD this afternoon.
Kristin and I will be sooo excited for the progress reports we will soon begin to send. I can’t wait to see those brown eyes open and for him to begin talking. We will be reporting soon.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Dave, Myls, and Wyatt
Thursday, August 6, 2009
that the attachment was successful.
Step outside. You'll hear me from SD and all the other states!
On your feet everyone, join in the celebration!!!