Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My nephew--please pray

A few of you keep track of my daughter's blog and may have noticed her post a couple of days ago asking for prayer for her cousin Steven.

Steven is an honors student in his final year of high school: a bright, musical and fun fellow. Last Monday evening he had a bit of a fever. His mom (my husband's sister and my close friend) had him into emergency here in our small town three times over the course of the next couple days. When he didn't respond to the antibiotics and continued to get sicker, they airlifted him to Calgary Thursday evening. His mom and grandma (my mother-in-law from Been Farmin' Long left immediately by car for the six hour drive. A niece lives in Calgary right across the street from Foothills Hospital and was able to be there to meet Steven when he arrived. Steve's mom, K, arrived about 2 a.m. By 5 a.m. they had Steve in ICU and on a ventilator.

Meanwhile we were on our way to Calgary for Jim's Irlen appointment. In keeping in touch with K, we decided to go to Jim's appointment first and then to Foothills. (We were completely willing to ditch the appointment if she needed us; we could always re-make it for a month or two down the road.) Jim's appointment went well. A couple of things really surprised me about it. One was how much more clearly he can read aloud with the colored lenses in front of his eyes. I guess it is hard to inflect a sentence correctly if you need to focus on one word at a time! There was much more fluidity (is that a word?) to his reading which was very cool. Also, his verbal spelling was faster and more accurate. Don't ask me how that could be; it doesn't make a speck of sense to MY brain. But I guess when given a word to spell, he gets a picture of the object or action in his mind plus a picture of the word--then he spells it. With the lenses in front of his eyes, he skips the step of getting the picture of the object. That is so weird I can hardly stand it! It's not like he's reading--it's all in his head! We expect to get his new tinted glasses in a few weeks and are quite excited about it. Of course, this has been somewhat eclipsed by concern over our nephew's condition.

After Jim's appointment we headed for Foothills Hospital to see K. We spent a couple hours with her. Her husband and their other son (age 16) arrived shortly after we did. We were in and out of the ICU waiting room so much over the next two days that it began to feel like home. Things have been very touch-and-go for Steven. If he hadn't been airlifted to Calgary he is unlikely to have survived thus far. Friday was a very bad day. They ran a lot of tests (some of the results are still coming in) and he almost didn't make it through the day. Saturday and Sunday were days of minor (but real) improvement. We had to leave Saturday evening (back to Hanna's) and home Monday.

Saturday they provided a general diagnosis of a Gram Negative Bug--a super bug of some sort--with the complication of sepsis. Today it looks like they've narrowed down the specific bug to Fusobacterium necrophorum. CT scans show clouding in Steve's lungs which improved slightly on Saturday and worsened again Monday. Most of his vital signs have stablized and his oxygen mix has been reduced from 60% to 30% (about 20% is normal air).

However, there were significant setbacks on Monday. Steve has an adenovirus which normally wouldn't be much of a problem, but in his weakened condition, it is complicating things and he is in isolation. His fever has been up and down along with the rest of his symptoms.

He is in critical condition. While there is reason to hope, the situation could still go either way. You know...any of us could die at any time, but we don't feel vulnerable most of the time. To see my 18 year old nephew struggling for his life has really reminded me of what we all take for granted most every day.

If you are able, please remember Steven and his family in prayer. This is what is sustaining them during this dark hour. God is real and He is holding them up.


Anonymous said...

Oh Valerie! I've heard you talk about Steven many times before and he seems a wonderful young man. My love and prayers to you and your family. *hugs*

Maripat said...

Hugs, Val. You and your family are in my prayers and thoughts. You know where I am if you need anything.


chrisd said...

I'm so sorry. Your sister in law must be exhausted. Keep us posted.

Bonnie said...

Hugs, Val. Hang in there. I'm praying.


Random Walk Writer said...

I know how hard it is to hang out in ICU. My prayers are with all of you.

Hugs, Val. You know how to find me if you need me for anything.