Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Update: 4: 30

She's continuing to improve a little bit everyday. Her cheerful demeanor stills radiates about her even through all of the life and death trials she has faced and is facing. She is such a remarkable example of what the apostle James meant when he admonishes us to "count it all joy" (1:2). I've heard other patients complaining and yelling at the nurses, but Granny never does. She's amazing...

This Thanksgiving was extra special. Why? Because, in a way unlike I've ever experienced before, I am thankful my grandma is breathing... loving... listening...caring... smiling... sleeping... ALIVE...


Monday, November 19, 2007

Update: 8:45 pm

She's improving little by little each day! Yesterday, she was actually disconnected from the ventilator for an hour and a half. That means she had oxygen available, but the added pressure she normally has wasn't present.

The extra fluid in her lungs caused by the pneumonia has been reduced SIGNIFICANTLY, but some fluid is still present at the very bottom of the lungs simply because of the congestive heart failure. This is really awesome! God is incredible.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

"A Challenge To Women" by John Piper

I want to be this kind of woman.

Please take time to read this excellent article.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Update: 7:45 pm

{Note: My dad wrote this on Sunday, the 11th, as an email for our church which he sent, but only now have I been able to post it.}

Dear Friends,

There is no way we can adequately express our gratefulness
to all of you for your love, concern, and prayer to God on
behalf of my mother, Virginia Hastings, over the past 15

At present she is still in the CCU (Coronary Care Unit, or
what is typically known at most hospitals as the Intensive
Care Unit) at the Heart Hospital of Austin. This week her
vital signs have been much more stable than last week,
particularly in comparison to the three days at the
beginning of last week when she was hovering on a thin
line between life and death.

Things are still quite serious as efforts to get her off
the respirator have not been successful so far. As best I
can tell, it appears that the doctors themselves may not
be entirely clear on what they think all of her underlying
health issues are, particularly with the heart and lungs,
though they are excellent physicians and have been trying
hard. The nursing care has been outstanding.

Mom does appear to be making gradual progress toward
getting off the respirator, but it has been a difficult
process. Because she had been on the breathing tube for 10
days, this morning (Friday) she underwent a brief
tracheostomy operation to switch to breathing through an
opening in the lower neck, which under the circumstances
is preferable to the breathing tube for several reasons.

We continue to seek your prayers, particularly for
improvement in her breathing ability. While quite weak,
when awake she is very alert to people and things going on
around her. Having been told of the outpouring of
expressions of concern and prayer for her has in itself
been a very encouraging thing to her. Obviously it has
been for the rest of our family as well.

We thank God for her improvement and we continue to trust
in Him for the outworking of whatever is His will in Mom's
life. And we thank God for all of you who have been such a
blessing as you have continued to uphold us in prayer.

"When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid."
--Psalm 56:3-4 ESV

Pat, for the Hastings family

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Update: 1:00 pm

She's slowing improving everyday. This morning she was moved to Cornerstone hospital which is a much smaller rehab hospital about 6 blocks away from the Austin Heart Hospital. It's designed for long term recovery which is likely what she'll need. At the new center she's still in ICU there. I'm headed off to visit her now.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Update: 10:30 am

Just wanted to quickly report two things:

1. She had a tracheostomy yesterday morning. It was a minor surgery to put the ventilator in her lower neck instead of going through her mouth. This reduces the distance, wouldn't hurt her vocal cords, allows her to close her mouth, and can be unattached easier. Hopefully, this will only be temporary until she can actually breathe on her own.

2. Now, a different lung doctor thinks that she has signs of Emphysema instead of Pulmonary Fibroses. Both of them are diseases smokers get which is strange because she's never smoked or been around smoking. There's quite a bit of difference between the two because with Pulmonary Fibroses, it's hard to take in enough air, but with Emphysema it's hard to exhale air back out. That would seem to explain why the blood gas test showed she wasn't getting rid of enough of those harmful gases like carbon dioxide.

Please pray for her strength and healing, the doctors wisdom, and for God's will to be done.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Update: 8:30 am

On Monday, Granny was breathing on her own for about 9 hours. Tuesday was similar. Yesterday, she was only off of the ventilator for about 5 hours because, even though her heart rate was OK, they ran a test on her bad gases and it turns out that when she breathes on her own she doesn't exhale enough of the gases that she's supposed to.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
~1 Corinthians 12:9-10

Monday, November 05, 2007

Update: 1:00 pm

I just talked with my dad and this is what he told me:

Granny is still quite weak, but her pneumonia is better than yesterday, though she still has a lot of lung congestion being suctioned out. Today the medical staff is much more actively working to test her to see if she's ready yet to breathe on her own so they can take out the ventilator. The congestion from the pneumonia may prevent that happening today but it appears they're making some real progress in that direction now. Praise God!


Update: 10:00 am

I found out yesterday morning that my grandma has a slight case of pneumonia. They've put her on antibiotics to hopefully get rid of it. Other than that, everything else seems about the same. Thank you so much for your prayers.

I love Psalm 93:

The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed in majesty
and is armed with strength.
The world is firmly established;
it cannot be moved.

Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.

The seas have lifted up, O LORD,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.

Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the LORD on high is mighty.

Your statutes stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days, O LORD.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Update: 11:30 pm

Since Granny is alert, Pat IV came to the Austin this afternoon to visit for a few hours. He spent about an hour in her room so that was really super! You could tell she enjoyed it a lot (and I did too). God is wonderful.

Update: 2:30 pm

Yesterday was heart wrenching. Granny's off of sedation, and yesterday she was alert, responding, and aware of everything happening. When Paul and I went to her room, she was happy. We told her everything that had happened during the week (except things relating to her being in the hospital). Of course, she can't talk because the ventilator is still in her throat, but she uses gestures and can write on a piece of paper to communicate. When Paul offered to sing a song, she clapped meaning "I like that", but my dad warned not to sing since there were other patients in the next room. Then Granny motioned towards the door meaning, "You can close the door so they won't be bothered." We all laughed when she did that. It was so awesome! =) We couldn't close the door though since nurses come in and out all the time.

I tried making poetry for her on the spot which was pretty pathetic. Here's two examples:

"Roses are red
Violets are blue
You are so special
Just like me too"

"Peas porridge hot,
Peas porridge cold,
You are so special
That I am told"

The reason it was so heart wrenching, was because of how... alive she seemed. Yet the doctor says that on the inside her organs (especially the lungs) are failing. It's so sad. But I know:

God is there to wipe off every tear.
God is there to love when I despair.
God is there to hold on to when I fall.
God is there to comfort every broken heart.
God is there always.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Update: 10:30 pm

I'm at the hosptial right right now, typing in Granny's ICU room. My dad is staying with her 24/7 and my mom, Paul, and I come here every evening and usually don't leave until after midnight. My dad is sleeping in the chair in front of me. He's completely exhausted.

Tuesday, I met this other family (a humongous extended one) at the hospital with girls my age. The grandfather had a heart attack and now family from across the country are coming here. He has over 30 grandkids and great grandkids. And he's not even 65!

Wow, I 've realized that having a family member in ICU makes me see the true priorities in life more vivdly then I ever knew I could.


Update: 3:50 pm

Well, actually they're trying to wean her off the ventilator now. Basically she breathes so shallowly on her own that as it is she couldn't survive without a machine to do it for her. They have to make her lungs breathe in more oxygen. But the doctors think her lungs have this disease (I don't know the name of it), and its cause is unknown. Some people just get it.

Sometimes it seems like everything is useless. But it's when the whole world seems dark that God shines most brightly. It's when life seems ugly that Christ is seen most beautifully.

"God's efforts are strongest when our efforts are most useless"
-Max Lucado


Update: 9:30 am

Wow, I didn't realize the gravity of what not getting the ventilator out meant. It's serious. You can fix her heart problem with a pacer, but there's no way to fix her lung. They're going to try another attempt at removing it today. Please continue to pray.