Sunday, August 30, 2009

I visited Clark the morning we left for South Dakota. He gave me much peace about leaving him as he said he had just walked to the door and back, and sat in a chair for about half an hour. I was so excited I could have screamed. He said his legs really hurt afterward and asked for ice packs. He was also comfortable as far as pain goes. They switched his pain meds yet again to a form of morphine (Bishop kept requesting heroine, guess they took him seriously). Clark can push a button when he needs more so they are finally on top of it. He is also on an antidepressant which should help his spirits stay high. I think all he's been through was finally catching up to him. The two days before were some of the worst days and I was feeling guilty about leaving him in that state. This was great news though and I hurried out to call Mom.

While in South Dakota, we celebrated Grandpa's 100th birthday. It was great fun and Clark was remembered every step of the way. He was able to join us via web cam and all were excited to see him wave and give his signature thumbs up. They were also excited to hear the latest news right along with us as the doctors called to let us know that Clark's white blood count had tripled in one day! Yet again, tears of joy. They performed a test to see what consistancy of food he can handle. He was also able to eat applesauce and pudding, the first food to pass his lips in about a month. Still no water because he would not be able to control swallowing this. His white blood cell count continued to climb the following day but dropped slightly the next due to yet another surgery. On this, his 11th surgery, they cleaned him out and brought his incision a little closer together. They also found a small hole in his intestines which was leaking bile but they think this will heal on its own but they did insert a tube to drain the bile.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pizza Ranch Fundraiser

Save the date!

Monday, August 31, from 5 - 8 PM, owner Ross Olson of The Pizza Ranch in Watertown, SD is donating all tips and a portion of proceeds to NFT in honor of Clark Kimble. The Kimble family will be there so come say hello, eat some delicious pizza, and support Clark in his fight.
Hope to see you there.
Thank you!

Watertown Pizza Ranch
217 10th Street Nw
Watertown, SD, 57201
605-882-4040

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

South Dakota's Calling Me

Sunday night, nearly midnight and I was still at Clark's side. I believe the nursing staff knew I'd be leaving for South Dakota that next morning so they permitted me to stay a little longer past visiting hours tonight. I held Clark's hand as he quivered, shook, rolled his eyes, gasped for air, and wished for the first time saying "I gotta get out of here". It was so hard to see him having the reaction to the pain medication as it had to work its way out of his body. I knew I wouldn't see Clark for over a week due to my need to go back to SD, walking out of that room was very difficult for me. I ached knowing he'd be alone but in good hands. Lots of conditions could change, hopefully he will be sewn up, and even more so I am praying that his white blood cell count will begin to come up, all before I return. I rubbed his arm, assured him I loved him, then gave him a smile behind my mask as I walked away and waved good bye.

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!
As I pulled out of the valley of Utah I prayed for a watchful eye over Clark. I KNOW Clark has felt the warmth of our Heavenly Father's hand personally. I also know Clark will be well taken care of by the staff at U of U. I asked Clark who he would want me replaced with while I'm gone and he said without thought, "The Bishop". I know too, that Bishop Sampson has a deep and personal love for Clark and he will do all a mother can while I'm away.
Thank you Bishop Sampson!

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!

I'm such a lucky person! I have been blessed with the most wonderful father. He is our pioneer, he is our leader, he is who we represent, its his name we bear and its his spirit we want to magnify through our actions. We are LARSON'S and that blood runs very solid in our veins. As we sleep in tents on Friday and Saturday nights in Summit, SD I will end my days by giving thanks for my father's and my son's lives. Being in Summit, (the highest peak) I won't have to scream to my Father in Heaven as I initially did in Utah, but feel he will be able to hear my whisper.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

To Stand

A few days without an update! How are you all doing it? Like the music? We needed some comic relief.

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

...And The Bottom Drops From Under Us

The clicking stopped. You know that moment when you lose your stomach? You throw your hands in the air, squeeze your eyes shut, and scream? That's what we're doing now.

Clark's white and red blood cells and his platelet count have been low and have continued to drop over the past couple days. This raised caution flags to the doctors who immediately searched for a cause. Clark has a sever virus that is very rare and difficult as difficult can be. Whatever virus attacked his liver, is now causing his immune system to mistake his bone marrow cells for something foreign and is attacking them. The labs have not come back to secure which virus he has and it remains a mystery as to what caused all this in the first place. It will continue to attack Clark's body if they don't stop it now. They are changing some medications and will treat it as aggressively as they can. They are giving him immunosuppression in order to help his bone marrow come through this. It's a good sign that his white blood cell count is responding to this new medication which they started about three days ago. There is a risk that Clark's body won't start to produce the cells that he needs and that he would need a bone marrow transplant. We are all hoping that it won't come to this but they are getting the necessary people involved as a precaution. Dr. Susman described a transplant as plan F. He also said that "Clark's case is as bad as it gets but I feel confident we are going to make it through this." The liver is still functioning very well. They do not expect his liver to be affected again, but they continue to keep a close eye on it. The doctors warned us that even though Clark looks good, he is very sick and it's possible that he could get sicker before he gets better. They won't know until the end of next week if he will need a bone marrow transplant or not. Until then, we pray!

On the plus side, Clark was extubated tonight (the tube removed) so he can talk. Due to the changes in his medication for immunosuppression, he was put on Dolotin, a pain med, that he pumps with a button as needed. He will go back to the OR next week to be closed a little bit more. His attitude and spirits are still high. Tonight he said, "I don't care what happens, as long as I'm still alive!"

Super Clark Kimble Fund

After talking with the financial department at the hospital, we learned that receiving donations through an organization is best to avoid being dinged with taxes. NFT is a nonprofit organization, so direct donations to NFT are tax deductible. The foundation will keep a small percentage (whish is much less than taxes would be) but they will also match funds. Many businesses or places of employment will also match your donation. The National Foundation for Transplants has written this beautiful letter on Clark's behalf. I have provided a link if you would like to print it. You can also share it with the media to raise awareness in your community (if doing a fundraiser) about Clark's needs.

This is a direct link to Clark's page on the NFT site. Here you can make a secure donation with credit card using Paypal.

Print Clark Kimble's Appeal - This will open a Google Document. Download it first, then print.

Dear Friend,

What if you were living on borrowed time?
Clark Kimble is fighting for his life. This 24-year-old has always been the picture of health. But in July 2009, he became ill and was admitted to the hospital. After a series of tests, he was diagnosed with fulminant hepatic failure, a life-threatening liver disease. Doctors told Clark a liver transplant was his only hope for a second chance at life. Clark was immediately placed on the transplant waiting list at the University of Utah Hospital. His health quickly began to decline and the situation became dire.

Thankfully, Clark received his lifesaving transplant in August 2009. Although he is thankful for his new lease on life, he still faces a long road ahead, both physically and financially. In fact, Clark remains hospitalized as he recovers. He has undergone eight surgeries so far connected to his transplant.

Clark is one of eight kids and has been surrounded by family during the ordeal. His mother left her home in South Dakota to help care for him and will be traveling back and forth until he makes a complete recovery.

Despite his struggles, Clark is optimistic about the future and is grateful for the support of his friends and family. He looks forward to going back to work, exercising and having his life return to normal. But he needs your help.

Unfortunately, Clark’s hope for a new life comes at a very high price. A liver transplant costs approximately $500,000. And that’s only the beginning. Even with medical coverage, Clark faces significant expenses. For the rest of his life, he will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. The cost of post-transplant medications can range from $2,000 to $5,000 per month—and they are as critical to his survival as the transplant itself.

What if your life depended on the compassion and generosity of others?
The National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) is working with volunteers and supporters to help relieve the growing burden of expenses for Clark and his family. NFT has been assisting transplant patients with advocacy and fundraising support for 26 years. Your gift—of $25, $50, $100 or more—will enable NFT to provide Clark with the financial support he desperately needs.

You can help in the following ways:
• Send a tax-deductible donation in the self-addressed envelope using the enclosed donation form, via check or credit card. Please make your check payable to NFT Utah Liver Fund. Remember to write “in honor of Clark Kimble” on the memo line.

If you have any questions about NFT, feel free to contact the NFT staff at 800-489-3863.
Many Thanks,
P.S. What if Clark were your son? Your grandson? Your brother?

You Won't Get Back In If You Don't Change Your Clothes

Clark went through a four hour surgery yesterday. They did the bone marrow biopsy (results will begin coming in within 24 hrs for some tests others will take up to 10 days), placed a drainage tube by his right lung as fluid was building up there, and sewed the Velcro mesh to his sides pulling them together some. He remained intubated through the night but as I have said many times before, "we hope the tubes will come out today".

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

Quality Time With Clark

A couple days ago when Clark's pain level was at 10, he sent me a text to ask his Bishop from church to come give him a blessing for the pain and to soon be closed. Upon first entering Clark's room, I stood beside Clark's bed and he stared at me as if he wanted to tell me something, then folded his hands across the top of his head. I thought he was gesturing that the hole where the bolt had been was healing. He shook his head no and then typed out "blessing", I replied, "you want another blessing"? He again shook his head no. They typed out, "in the blessing it said I would be blessed to rest and tolerate the pain", then he smiled and typed all he has done is sleep the past couple days. We nodded to each other in agreement that the Lord has comforted him to sleep well recently and was so very thankful for Bishop Sampson and Eric Bischke for taking time in their day to administer this blessing upon Clark. I was able to keep Clark awake for about 3 hours straight. I read several comments from the blog to him, he continues to be amazed with all the support and prayers his receives. I thought he might be getting tired from me reading so much to him and asked if we should read more of his blog later? He gestured with his hands for me to keep them coming. He typed to me that the doc said "if his mom would rub his feet and massage his legs back and forth it would help with the swelling still in his feet". I said that one of those single nurses should be doing that. He shook his head no and pointed at me. I was thrilled to assist. I had such a great day with Clark yesterday!

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

Who Is Clark Kimble?

After the visitation restriction was placed and intubated again, it’s been hard to come up with updates since things remain pretty much the same as far as Clark’s condition goes. He is showing slight improvements daily, yet the fact that he is still open after the 15 hour transplant on August 06 holds back the encouraging improvements we are looking for such as eating, drinking, walking about, and not to forget his discharge from the hospital. Clark has undergone eight surgeries so far. These are full blown surgeries where he is medically paralyzed and under anesthesia, then goes to the surgery room for approximately 2 hours for a routine flush and examination of the area. We are thankful for this new method of “vacuum packing the incision” rather than closing him with stitches as you can see it has been necessary many times to re-enter his belly to assure all is healthy before final closure. Clark has had nearly nothing to eat or drink by mouth since July 15, as he was so terribly sick with vomiting prior to his hospitalization on July 28th (the day following his 24th birthday). He has been bed ridden on his back since August 05, only being allowed to shift slightly from side to side by the support of pillows to avoid bed sores. We are anticipating a few more routine surgeries before the swelling goes away and allows the skins to be pulled together enough for closure.

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.

After graduating from Watertown High School, Clark immediately moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. He began working for my nephews who own Larson Towers. It didn’t take long for Clark to prove his ability to work hard by not only climbing the communication towers but climbing also in skill and leadership. Clark was promoted to Crew Chief in no time, taking on a huge responsibility with his crew constructing new cellular towers, inspecting existing towers and updating where needed, or hanging satellites systems on exiting towers. Clark traveled all over the USA to provide communication for many of us who enjoy cell phones, etc. So next time you drive down the road and see those huge, tall towers with the flashing red beacon, Clark just might have been a part of it. Clark lives in Saratoga Springs, Utah, just one mile from his sister Kristin, and about 45 minutes away from the hospital in SLC. He is currently single but looking for his future wife. We have tried hooking him up with a few of the fine nursing staff at the hospital. Clark (and family) are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Clark enjoys watching sports both on TV and attending local events when possible. He loves the Atlanta Falcons and adores Lebron James. He also follows The Jazz. Clark owns 8 Italian Greyhounds, 5 of which are puppies and ready to be sold the end of the month. Anyone looking for a dog??? Clark has been a fabulous son. I’m so sorry he has had to suffer and take on this life changing illness. I know he can and will endure if he stays close to and follows our Saviors plan for him. To those we know or don’t know Clark, I want to encourage you to continue joining us on this long journey as it lightens our load knowing many of you are carrying the burden with us and your prayers will forever be appreciated. May we all become more like our Savior through the sacrifices we make at this time. Also, thank you to our friends who have taken food to our home in SD, given gifts of money, donated blood, become an organ donor, or helped in various other ways. We are still waiting to hear back from the Transplant Organization as far as fund raising or gifts of money to help Clark with the incredible expense he will face. As for now, the generous gifts of money that has already been sent to “me” to help with my expense, has been set aside for Clark. I am doing fine in that respect. I am staying with my daughter Kristin who lives 45 minutes away from the hospital. I now have my own vehicle to travel back and forth with. Luckily I was able to build a savings account that allows me to endure emergencies such as this without worry. My job at Premier Bankcard is secure as they are allowing me to use sick time while away.

I will be returning to SD some time next week to be a part of a HUGE, 3 day (August 28th, 29th, and 30th in Summit, SD) celebration for my father who will be 100 years young on August 27. My father is still very active, lives on our family farm in Summit under the care of my brother Blaine and his family, and still plays his accordion. The celebration will include my father playing his accordion while we dance and celebrate having been given 100 years with him. You can be sure that we will also include the new “Happy Liver Dance” which is one of the top hits on XM 20 on 20. If you wish to personally join us you are welcome to come to the Summit Community Hall on Saturday, August 29th beginning at 6:00 PM. Clark is disappointed that he will not be able to attend but through web cam, he will be included. I will possibly find it necessary to then return to Utah to be with Clark following my trip home for a few days.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Restricted Visitations Include Immediate Family Too

On Sunday morning, before Dave, Huxley, and Dylan headed back to SD, we all stopped at the hospital so they could say their good byes before hitting the road. The nurse pulled me to the side and said they were very concerned about Clark's white blood cell count as it was dropping even more. Visitation from relatives and friends had already been stopped and now visitation from even immediate family was limited to once a day until further notice.

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

The Gift of Speech

Clark had yet another surgery this morning. They washed him out again and while in there, they found a small hole in his intestines which they simply sewed shut. They have said that Clark wakes easily from anesthesia. He was waving at the doctors during today's surgery and even opened his eyes during the transplant. The surgeons gasped wide-eye at him and said, "What are you doing with your eyes open?" Of course Clark doesn't remember this but that would be pretty crazy.
On the phone with Bjorn (Corn Hole).
The most exciting news of the day is that Clark had the tube removed from his throat. His voice is weak and he talks with great effort but it is a sweet sound. He called Mom and Ryan first thing this morning and each were pleasantly surprised to receive the call. I asked him what his first words were and he said, "Ow, that hurts." Then Dr. Hutson said, "You're all done. Do you want some vodka now?" Clark said he feels like he has a big bugger or blood clot in the back of his throat. This is because he is swollen from the tube. He will not be able to have any food by mouth as long as he's open. He still can't even drink but is allotted two swabs of water every 15 minutes. He watches the clock very closely!

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.
Clark's white blood count is very low. In order to prevent any illness being brought into his room, all visitors have to wear a mask and gloves. They have also asked that visitation be limited to immediate family only until his white blood count comes up. He has so enjoyed every one's visits and we will let you know when you are welcome to come again.Dave, Huxley, and Dylan made yet another 18 hour journey back to Utah from South Dakota. Huxley has been a great babysitter and allowed me to visit Clark more often. While in Clark's room today, we received a text that said, "Crying baby." Only moments later the next text said, "never mind."

well i am here again

well i cant type too much yet cause i have cords all over my fingers just wanted to say hi and thanks to everyone

Friday, August 14, 2009

War

Clark's friends James and X came to visit him today.
They just recently learned of his
condition and came to the hospital soon after.

Clark asked for a deck of cards yesterday but hadn't had the chance to play yet. When Huxley came out from visiting Clark tonight he said that Clark wanted me to go back. He was ready. I asked him what he wanted to play and jokingly suggested Speed. His eyes got wide and he quickly shook his head NO. Then he motioned his hands to let me know he wanted to play War. Ya, that might be better as it's a little more simple with less skill involved. I told him I couldn't even brag if I won because he is the one laying in a hospital bed. We reminisced about the days and days of playing War on the bus with Randall, Katie, and others. We would play until it was our turn to get off, then each keep our own cards, and pick up right where we left off the next morning. The same game would go on for days.

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!

Reconnecting

Nope! No one has hacked into Clark's Facebook account, or stolen his phone. When we were here yesterday I asked him if he gets bored. He nodded his head yes. I asked if he wanted me to bring anything for him to do. He shrugged as if to say 'I can't do much'. I told him to think about it and let us know. Before we left for the night he requested a deck of cards, a computer, and his phone. Your wish is our command! He was already texting last night and as soon as we arrived this morning he wanted the computer. He looked at the blog and jumped on Facebook. It's been good for him to reconnect with the world and friends. I think he's a little surprised at what a celebrity he has become in his absence. Don't be surprised if you here from him. Maybe we can even get him to write a post in a couple days.

Tomorrow they will clean and flush his belly right in his room and he will take the tube out by late morning. They hope to get the swelling down enough to close him up by the middle of next week.
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.
Karla made her first visit to the hospital
since she is in town from St. George.
Preston, Karla, Carter, Cortlyn, and Kate.

The Taylor family payed us a surprise visit from South Dakota.

Kim (6 months pregnant), Pam, Greg, and Stacey

When You Come Back To Me Again

When You Come Back To Me Again
Garth Brooks

There’s a ship out on the ocean, at the mercy of the sea.
It’s been tossed about, lost and broken, wandering aimlessly.
And God, somehow you know that ship is me.
’Cause there’s a lighthouse in a harbor, shining faithfully.
Pouring its light out across the water for this sinking soul to see
That someone out there still believes in me.
On a prayer, in a song, I hear your voice, and it keeps me hanging on.
Oh, raining down, against the wind, I’m reaching out ’til we reach the circle’s end.
When you come back to me again.
There’s a moment that we all come to in our own time and in our own space.
Where all that we’ve done, we can undo if our heart’s in the right place.
On a prayer, in a song, I hear your voice, and it keeps me hanging on.
Oh, raining down, against the wind, I’m reaching out ’til we reach the circle’s end.
And you come back to me again.
And again, I see my yesterdays in front of me, unfolding like a mystery:
You’re changing all that is and used to be!
On a prayer, in a song, I hear your voice, and it keeps me hanging on.
Oh, raining down, against the wind, I’m reaching out, ’til we reach the circle’s end.
When you come back to me again. . .

. . . When you come back to me again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Surgery After Surgery

This morning, Clark underwent his fourth surgery in 7 days. They changed the dressings, cleaned him out, and closed the area by six inches on each side. While in there, they also found that the weight and pressure of his guts disrupted the connection of his bile duct. They were able to reconnect it and bile is now passing through the normal way. He was not effected much by this but it would have caused problems in the days to come. Hopefully this repair will hold or they will have to cut the duct higher up on the liver which is a more involved procedure. If problems are going to arise it won't be for about 7 days so they will watch this connection closely. They will also check it in a couple days when they go in again to clean him out, get some more fluid off, and bring muscles closer together. The hepatic artery is now pulsing and looks fantastic, even without meds to increase his blood pressure. This is a little bump in the road and he is still in a precarious position. Their biggest concern is that he is at high risk of infection as long as he is open. They are very vigilant about this so Clark is on a steady drip on antibiotics. Dr. Schwartz reported that, "Everything is going about as well as can be expected".

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.

Miracle Treat Day

I've been out here so long that I'm mixed up what day it is or even what time it is. Clark? Oh no! Last night he tapped a note to us on his handy dandy alphabet board telling us that Dairy Queen was giving donations to children in the hospital. He said he saw it on TV and he wanted us to partake. So today Kristin, the kids and I made sure we went to Dairy Queen to check it out. Sure enough, today only, August 13th, Dairy Queen will give $1 for every Blizzard sold, to your local Children's Miracle Network hospital. It would sure be awesome if you feel like a drive and a treat tonight, to go to Dairy Queen and order a Blizzard to help these little kids. Thanks Clark for getting us there.

Blood Donations Help

Here is how the blood donated in Clark's name helps. I know many have wondered and yesterday we got answers. The initial cost of a liver transplant is $250,000.00, that includes 3 liters of blood. Any blood products needed over that is charged to Clark at 100%. The 3 liters of blood will be taken off Clark's bill due to the many donations given in his name. Thank You! It also helps so many other people who are in need of blood for various reasons. We truly appreciate those who have already donated and ask those out there yet, who can donate blood, please do so.

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

Click . . Click . . . Click . . . Click . . .

Do you hear it? As of today, we are on an uphill climb in this roller coaster were on. It's slow and steady but we'll take it. Clark enjoyed a special visit from Jimmy Cooper, here all the way from South Dakota. Clark's labs dropped by half today, which is good. The doctors were extremely pleased and relieved to see this. His fever has also come down, and he is breathing with little assistance. He is scheduled for surgery at 7:20AM to be cleaned, drain more fluid, and bring the muscles a little closer together. Clark weighs 200 lbs right now with all the extra fluid and the wound pack, which is 30 pounds more than his usual weight.

They hope to remove the breathing tube tomorrow if Clark can pass a few tests. I know that Clark will love being able to talk again. He asked if he could eat or drink once the tube is out, "like a popsicle or orange juice". The nurse said he can have ice chips to start, then move on to clear liquids, then food as tolerated. The feeding tube will stay in place because even if he can eat a little, it won't be as much nutrition as he needs.
Clark's mind is obviously very sharp and active. He has an alphabet pad that he can type on. He is very precise with his spelling and accuracy. Even if we understand what he's saying, he has to complete the word or thought. I think this may be because he wants to prove to us that he knows what he's talking about. He expressed that he's worried about where he will stay when he leaves the hospital and doesn't want to be a burden on anyone. He thought he might stay with me for one week. Ha! Then he asked about his dogs, knowing that the puppies will need their shots soon and that Vicious is coming into heat. He wants to make sure she's separated and wants to have Bentley neutered. From his many hours of watching TV, he learned that Dairy Queen is having a fundraiser tomorrow to benefit children in the hospital. We'll be there!

Clark gave us permission to take pictures yesterday but the nurse said that because he's on anesthesia, it's not valid consent. Today, the floor nurse observed this conversation and said that Clark didn't need to sign anything because she could see he was giving his verbal consent. Pictures are rolling again! Too bad we missed the bolt.
Here you can see that his head is shaved where
they inserted the bolt. Also, where the many, many tubes
were in his neck. Glad to see those gone!

This is the fluid that is being pumped
from his opening through the wound vac.

This drawing is on the marker board in Clark's room.
It shows the "fancy" way the surgeons had to attach the liver.
The nurse said that all the doctors and nurses
who come in the room look at it and say, "WOW"!

When Can I Finally Have Water?

Visitation was over at 7:00 PM, it was 6:45 and I was watching the clock thinking I'd have to leave Clark's room pretty soon when the surgeon (Cate) walked in the room dressed in surgery clothing. I thought perhaps she had just gotten out of a surgery but she had come for Clark. Dr. Schwartz, the head surgeon on the transplant team, just doesn't rest. Cate said Dr. Schwartz was looking at Clark's cat scan (the one they did earlier today to view Clark's bowel) from his home. He didn't want to wait until morning so he was coming in for surgery right then. The persistence of these Drs. is incredible. Their day never ends. I placed myself back in the waiting room, wrapped in a warm blanket a nurse had given me because my body keeps acting up by getting cold and shaking when I get nervous. I did the same thing in the waiting room as I was doing in Clark's room, watched the clock. One hour, two hours, and no report. So I called the nurses station for an update, they had just finished. Shortly I was called to Clark's room, again his eyes open and watching TV. Its hard to imagine this kid had just been through surgery again. Reports on his bowel was positive. They flushed the insides again and all looked good. Clark was scheduled for 8:30 AM surgery this morning for that flushing and cleaning but now it is canceled. Sounds like next surgery will be Friday, but as you can see, things change quickly here. A great concern still follows that artery not getting enough blood through it. They explained that they might have to go in with a medication to try to dissolve an acquired blockage or they could try to roto router it, or in worse case another transplant. If the liver doesn't get enough blood, it will die and Clark's life will be at risk too. For now they continue to give the blood pressure medicine and we pray things progress soon. At least the blood flow has not gotten less, and we want more.

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.

In ending our day together, I told Clark he and I could play the game Pictionary when we get home. He again shook his head no, pointed at me, motioned with his hands to say no, and had a slight smile on his face. He was telling me he didn't want me for a partner because I was slow to understand him. We laughed and I took it with a grain of salt. I LOVE YOU CLARK!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Two-Way Communication

When we walked into Clark's room today he had a remote in his hand and was flipping through the channels on the TV! Wuuu Huuu! He looked like he had more strength and energy than yesterday. We also had some successful two way communication which was wonderful! He let us know that he could read the marker board on the wall in front of him. I offered to put up the pictures of the family that Fletcher brought from Clark's room at home. He shook his head no, got teary eyed, and traced his finger down his cheek letting us know that it would make him sad. He could also write with pen and paper. He pointed to his nurse, giving her a thumbs up, then wrote that he didn't like his nurse yesterday. He said he isn't in pain which is comforting for us to hear. The nurse explained all the beeps and alarms of the machines so we don't get nervous when they go off and can feel more comfortable being in the room.

The doctors have been watching the hepatic artery very closely since they suspected it was blocked. Right now it's working fine and they are very hopeful that it will stay open but there's still a risk that the it could clot off. The blood is slow to flow but does fill the right side of the liver up completely. They will run labs everyday and an ultrasound every couple days to compare and will know if it clots off. The left side is wide open and has a great blood supply going to it. As swelling goes down and the blood can flow more freely, they can take him off the blood pressure meds. He will return to the operating room tomorrow to clean things out, remove more fluid, and close the area up a little more. He will not be sewn completely shut as there is still a lot of swelling and they don't want to put pressure on the artery. The extra fluid is from the blood and saline received during the transplant. Clark received 50 units of blood. Average is 8 units!

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.

During transplant, there was a time when blood flow was cut off to a small wedge in the back part of Clark's liver causing that area to die. This explains the fever and there's no source of infection, although he stays on antibiotics as a precaution. This portion of the liver will go away and regrow over time. The rest of the liver is function well.
Bobby Konrady flew in from California on Saturday.
He visited Clark in the hospital, once while he was still under, and once when he was asleep so Clark doesn't remember him coming.
He drew this shirt to show his support.

Monday, August 10, 2009

How Much More Can Clark Take?

Heavenly Father, how much more can Clark take? We will do what ever thou asks, just make it clear to each and every one. We are sometimes ignorant yet willing, what can we do? Our hopes are lifted and then we are sent into despair and pleading that thou will let this roller coaster end. Please know we surrender to thee, let us trust in thee and accept the plan thou has and the plan we accepted before coming to this earth.

Dr. Johnson (the radiologist who did the angiogram) has just come to the waiting room to tell us everything looked as they thought. There is narrowing in the vessel where the attachment was made. The blood is flowing forward but not as fast as it should be. They are going to give Clark some medicine to increase his blood pressure over night, hoping to improve things. Best case scenario would be there is still swelling from the intense surgery and the flow will increase as the swelling decreases. Worse case scenario would be another liver transplant. Dr. Schwartz has looked at the angiogram, he is aware of options he has. He will make a decision to what he wants to do by morning.

Flow Artery Flow!!! We Trust In You!!!

Whew! I tried to Cowgirl Up but just wasn't able to do it. I took a chair right by Clark's bedside but with all the bells and whistles going off, it was way too tense to take so I moved back into the waiting room. I found myself just shaking in his room. My nerves where running away with my emotions. I'd rather make frequent visits to his room rather than a constant stay. The bolt was successfully removed this afternoon. He is still on a respirator and has tons of tubes and lines running all over his body.

Clark is doing well as far as the eye can see but Dr. Schwartz has some major concerns. He just visited Clark before I ran out with my tail between my legs. I was told that they are taking Clark to do an angiogram of the liver early evening because they are VERY concerned that the main artery going to the liver is not working. This is the one they had battled with so long during surgery too. If they find that this artery is not functioning, they may have to do another liver transplant ASAP. Clark would be placed in the #1 status again in the five state region and replacement of this liver would be soon. Results of this test should be available between 8pm and 9pm mst tonight. As you might understand, we are very worried again. On the good side of things, this angiogram is a very detailed study and will answer many questions the Drs. can not see for themselves. If all does look positive, it will relieve many concerns and we can comfortably move forward. We are praying that the results will be a confirmation of good things to come. Dr. Schwartz said to Clark, "you are doing pretty good and we are pleased but you almost died. You need to hang in there with us". Please Dear Father, I do beg that you would bring us the assurance of function and good results. Bless Clark! Fight Clark Fight...

"He's Not Out Of The Woods Yet"

Clark returned to the operating room today so they could clean everything out, check that the liver is working properly, and change the dressing. Dr. Schwartz, the head surgeon, came to talk with us for the first time since the transplant and explained Clark’s current status. He said that the insides are still swollen but they were able to bring the muscles slightly closer together. They will go back to the operating room in a couple days to “get some more stuff closed up.” From every other stand point Clark is doing exceedingly well and the liver appears to be functioning properly. He said it took a couple licks when putting the liver in because it was a little older and its time out of the body was a little longer than they would have liked. Because of this, it will take the liver more time to recover. He feels that if they didn’t use this one, Clark may not have made it. It was the only organ they had at the time and it’s better than the one he had. He said they could have waited to see if another one would have come along but he didn’t think there would have been. There is a chance that Clark could potentially develop problems in the future but they will watch for that closely.

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!

Print Blog Into A Book

The blog has been such a blessing for us and all others who have been following along. It has been therapeutic emotionally, a type of journal to record history, and a great hub for others to show their support. We are going to print it into a book when all of this is said and done. If any of you are following along and haven't commented yet, we would love to hear from you so that Clark knows when he reads it.

To leave a comment: Click on "Comments" on the bottom of each post. A pop up window will come up where you can read other's comments and an open text box where you can type your own. Then select to login if you have a google account, or select "Name" and type in your name how you would like it to appear. Then click "Publish Your Comment." If you have any problems you can email me at klkimble@gmail.com and I'll try to help.Current Analytics:
  • 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.

The Teardrops Fell

Ryan, Fletcher, Bjorn, and Bart said their good byes to Clark late Sunday morning and then headed back to SD. A couple hours later, Kristin, her husband Kellen, and their two children joined me at the hospital. Kristin and Kellen went in to see Clark. It wasn't long before Kellen came out and said, "Kristin wants you to go back there." I asked "is everything okay?" He said "yes, just go on back." As I got near I could see that Dr. Box was in the room hovering over Clark's bed. Then I could hear him asking Clark to follow some commands, one of which was to squeeze his hand. Clark followed all commands as needed. Dr. Box then looked at me with a HUGE smile on his face and said, "You can't complain about success." They are so pleased with his mental state. He is doing better now than he was before the comma was induced. I stood quietly beside the bed and returned a HUGE smile back to Dr. Box. Then I asked, "can I touch him?" "Oh sure you can, and you can talk to him too." I gently touched Clark's hand over all the wires in it and said, "Clark, this is Mom." He opened his eyes as best he could and looked toward my voice, then a river of tears ran down his cheek. He squeezed his eyes together and became a bit excited. What a wonderful feeling! Kristin said he had cried when she and Kellen first came in his room too. Kristin and I stayed at his side asking him some yes and no questions to which we liked all the answers. He said he is not in pain, he was comfortable with the temperature, and he could see us and knew who we were. He pursed his lips as if trying to say something but we assured him that everything was OK and he just needed to relax. He winced his face with emotion. He didn't like the cuffs on his calf's that constrict to prevent blood clots and fidgeted with each rotation. I told Clark I was going to go the waiting room while Kellen came back in since he hadn't been able to be with Clark much during the entire time. Clark shook his head no. I asked him if he wanted me to stay and he shook his head yes. Every time we stepped away from his bed, he reached his hand out to be held again. Kristin and Kellen had to leave shortly after as their baby McLane was getting a baby's blessing at their church that evening. I stayed for a some time more with Clark, then I left too to attend the blessing.

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 klkimble@gmail.com to get her personal contact info. Thank you.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Good Progress

After shopping for school clothes and getting Tonto's group ready to head back to SD, I spent the afternoon at the hospital. Clark is doing so well. The pressure in his brain is coming down. They aren't using as many blood products as expected. He is not as swollen as we anticipated either. In fact, his neck was very swelled yesterday and noticeably reduced already today. He does still have swelling in his hands and feet but again, this is to be expected. They talked about bringing Clark awake today but decided to wait until possibly Monday. With all the tubes etc, it is better that he rest peacefully so not to disturb the wires etc he harbors everywhere. Several family members visited Clark today and we all agreed that his color is even better. They did insert a feeding tube thru Clark’s nose and into his stomach so he can start getting nutrition today.

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.

Break Before the Awakening

I know you all have been waiting for an update about Clark. We haven't had a lot to tell since the last blog update because Clark is still heavily sedated and holding his own. The Drs. are very satisfied with Clark's post-op conditions, and we are too. In fact, they did an ultrasound of the liver yesterday and found it wasn't necessary to do the surgery originally planned. Visitation is limited to immediate family only, no pictures allowed until he wakes up. We have taken time to hang out with family since Clark is in such good hands and there is little we can do with Clark at this time. Weekends are slow so doubtful we will have much contact with the transplant team. We appreciate you staying in touch with the blog, but know it will be slow updating until we start getting response from Clark, which we hope will be by Monday. Won't it be exciting to see him with no tubes and his eyes open? I can't wait! For now, no news is good news. Keep praying for his recovery, we know it helps.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Even A Hero Needs His Family

We rested a little better last night after our celebration, knowing that we are over a big hump in this whole process. With excitement, we rushed to the hospital this morning to see Clark for the first time since surgery. Clark looked good. He is still in a coma and was chemically paralyzed to prevent any reflex movement that might harm him. We were warned that he would be very puffy because of the fluid build up and we noticed this mostly in his hands, feet, and neck. The transplant was completed late last night but he was left open, vacuum packed, for easy access and assessment. He will probably go back to the operating room today, which is common. His insides are so swelled with fluid that they couldn’t sew him up if they wanted to. It will take several days for the body to work this all out so they will drain and clean the area a few times a day. We aren’t allowed to take pictures but he is full of tubes and cords, and machines surround his bed. He still has the bolt in his head to monitor brain pressure. However, they haven’t had to give him anything to regulate it because he is doing well on his own. One of the surgical doctors said that Clark is doing everything they want him to do. We are anxious to talk to the transplant team today for more details about the operation last night and what to expect in the days to follow.

The rest of the family has arrived from South Dakota within the last couple hours. They are taking turns visiting Clark now. How comforting to have all the family together!

The Great American Race to Utah - Tonto VS Poke-a-hontas
Team Tonto (always in a hurry) arrived first after leaving 3 hrs behind Team Poke-a-hontas
Dave, Myls, and Wyatt

Team Poke-a hontas
Ryan, Bjorn, Fletcher, and Bart Moeller

The Happy Liver Dance

You asked for it? You got it!
video

Thursday, August 6, 2009

8:45 Report

These are the hands of Dr. Cate Straub.

We are going on 12 hours for this transplant. WHEW WHO! PRAISE THE LORD OUR PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED. Hear our rejoicing Lord. We shout with thanks and relief. The vessel has been connected and I screamed to waken those left in this waiting room. OUR SON will survive. I agreed to accept the ups and downs yet these last hours have been long. Stomachs had become queezey, nerves had caused a chill into our bodies. But we have passed the test, the doctors remained at Clark's side for 12 long hours so far. Only the liver replacement has been completed so sewing Clark back up is still left. Then it will be some time before we can see Clark and we will patiently wait. This facility is amazing. We have been treated with respect, kindness, security, and trust in their care. We had almost become petrified in our chairs as we were so concerned about the difficulty the Drs. were experiencing. But now we move about like ants as joy and relief excite us. I know the Lord loves Clark as much as this nation and he conquered the first part of the transplant. We again promise to accept the bumps to come in the next few days. We will serve Clark to the best of our capacity and glory as his eyes open and his smile assures us of his love for us. We have trusted in the hands of our Savior to guide the hands of the surgeons to the end. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
Tears of joy! Catching composure after hearing the news
that the attachment was successful.


Please pass the popcorn. WHEW WHO!!!
Step outside. You'll hear me from SD and all the other states!
We are doing the Happy Liver Dance. Crank up the volume!
On your feet everyone, join in the celebration!!!

6:45 Report

Dr. said things are going okay, not well. They are having trouble attaching two vessels due to the different antomy of the two livers. Instead of attaching these vessels to each other, they may need to attach the vessel of the new liver to Clark's lower aorta or intestine. This is not common but they have experienced it before. For this reason they need more time than hoped. So again, we wait. The waiting room has been packed since early morning but by this hour of the day there appears to be only one other family waiting with us. Thanks for hanging in with us during the long, hopeful day. Keep fighting Clark!
Yesterday, Cate drew this drawing of the anatomy of the liver as she explained this exact situation. The two vessels they're referring to are in the center of this drawing, the artery and the bile duct.

4:15 Report

Doc said Clark is doing fine. Things are going well. They are using some blood products but this was expected. They will be there for awhile yet. We continue to get closer. Keep trying Clark, Keep trying.
Another funny. Before Clark was put in the medically induced coma, I read the comments on the blog that had just come in. Of course we had been reading them all to him as they came in. It happen to be a comment from Susi talking about Adriann and her struggles while being hospitalized. I knew her condition was serious but didn't remember exactly what it was. I asked Clark if he remembered what Adriann suffered with? He confidently looked straight at me and slurred, "Yep, it was her ears". I laughed once he looked away, knowing that couldn't be life threatening. I actually am anxious to hear the stories he will tell in the next days. But I was warned that he may be a little cranky from the medications. Bring it on Clark!

2:15 PM Report

The cheer is still going on in the surgery room. Everything is going very well. They were taking Clark's liver out while we were on the phone. He said, "Clark's liver is small, not as bad as they have seen but then again he hasn't had years of abuse to it either". I understand it takes longer to get the old one out than to put the new one in, however we are anticipating several hours yet. I asked what kind of music they are listening to and they said, "a variety", then I warned them, "NO rapping". HAHAHA I did ask if I sent my camera to the surgery room if they'd take a picture of Clark's liver and they said they will see what they can do. So you just might be seeing it too.

It will be approximately 2 hours before I report again. Now is a good time to take a potty break, get a snack, or walk the dog. We know several people are watching for frequent updates today and we will give them as soon as we get them. It feels great to lighten the air with a little humor.