Sunday, December 30, 2007

Major Milestone

Today marks a momentous occasion for this recovering neurology patient. For the first time, I have enough strength and dexterity in my hands to type (with both hands!). For those who care about such things, even with my still-impaired movement, I am able to type at a decent 25 wpm (or there abouts). I'm so thankful for the proper keyboarding training that I received back when I was young. :-)

Here are a few updates that leads into some specific prayer requests:
  1. After receiving a third MRI last Thursday (Dec. 27), the neurology team has determined that my spinal cord injury was caused by an infarct (essentially a stroke to the spinal cord).
  2. A lot stems out of this diagnosis, perhaps most significantly is that there is no full recovery in the prognosis. Stroke patients all expect some permanent impairment.
  3. Yet, on the flip side of the same coin, if indeed I had suffered a stroke in the spinal cord, there is no logical explanation for the incredible recovery that has been witnessed in the past week. I had gone from being essentially paralyzed from the neck down, breathing by a ventilator, to being able to get up and walk on my own and type on the computer in a matter of less than a week. The neurologist claim that "spontaneous recoveries" this happens all time...which is quite a different tune than what doctors were saying a week ago. I believe the explanation is quite simple, there is a miracle-working God who's in control of this case. PTL!
  4. Because the doctors believe that I had suffered a stroke, they believe that I have a blood clotting disorder that caused it. The hematologists have ordered about 15 blood tests to see if I have any of the testable blood clotting disorders. The idea is that if my blood is prone to clotting, then such a condition may occur again...but the results may be far more catastrophic, and so treatment of this disorder would be in order.
  5. The attending neurologist who is in charge of my case is resistant to discharging me until he receives all of the blood test results back. This is especially frustrating because some of those tests may take upwards of a week to get results! All doctors agree that I am of stable enough condition to be discharged to acute rehabilitation...and my family and I are more than ready to go home to Loma Linda. We are eager to go, but we pray that the Lord will move so the attending would be willing to let us go.
So here are some of the specific requests that our family has at this specific time, we would appreciate you including these on your prayer list as well. (God has answered your prayers so far, there's no reason to believe that he's going to stop!)
  1. Pray that the blood tests all come back normal with no complications. If I have a blood clotting disease, I will need to take blood thinning medication for the rest of my life.
  2. Pray that the Lord will open the door that my family and I may go home to Loma Linda as quickly as possible. It will be of great relief to us psychologically and I will be able to receive the intense rehab that I need.
  3. Pray that the Lord will grant a full recovery. God has granted me healing that is miraculously above and beyond what is "normal" for any stroke patient, there's no reason why he can't heal wholly and completely. God is not in the business of only half answering prayers. Above all, may His name be glorified amongst the nations as the God who works beyond what medical science can do.
Thank you all for your continued prayer for my family and me. We have seen the Lord clearly through this entire ordeal, and we will be eager hear the Lord's explanation for why He permitted this in the Millennium.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

God's Manifold Gifts

I am having Addison transcribe this for me as I am a little too weak to do it myself.

I have been making gradual but definite progress everyday. I am thankful for all the prayers that have gone up on my behalf and I am sure the Lord is hearing and answering them. In the time that I've been in the hospital I have developed a thankfulness for things that I previously I may have taken for granted:
  1. The gift of movement - having become incapacitated I have come to understand how it feels to be a paralytic. (Read John 5) Now that I am going through rehab, I am amazed at the effort it takes to accomplish even the simplest motions. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made.
  2. The gift of breath - Every breath is precious. Having been on a ventilator with no sedation, having my lungs suctioned, and finally recovering from extubation, have taught me how true it is that life is just a vapor. I appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Even something as simple as our every breath is a gift from God.
  3. The gift of food - Having fasted for 6 days with no sustenance except for a tube dripping food into my stomach, I have never appreciated real food so much more than when I could eat again. Thankfully Jamba Juice was just across the street.
  4. The gift of "relief" - I was admitted into the ER because of damage to my spinal cord. One of the first things I realized was that I could not control my bladder. So, no words could describe the feeling of relieving myself after the catheter was removed today.
  5. The gift of family - My family have been at my bedside the whole time. Their presence has been a indescribable source of support. I couldn't have made it without them.
  6. The gift of friends - I'm thankful for friends that pray. I have been encouraged by the many notes, comments, emails, gifts, and visits. More importantly I have appreciated being constantly uplifted before the throne of grace.
  7. The gift of rest - It is important for us to take time for the Lord each day, each week. Let's remember to spend that time with Him, before He makes time for us to rest with Him.
I have been doing much better. Feel free to comment, email, or call. I'd love to hear from you.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Update on Al

(This post was written by Addison)

Hello everybody,

Thank you all for your prayers for my brother. Here's the latest update on him.
  • Extubated as of yesterday.
  • Passed the swallowing test and now is now on a liquid diet for one day.
  • May be moved out of the ICU sometime in the next 24 hours.
  • Able to talk quietly.
  • Even able to use his computer a little, by using the touchpad
He wanted everybody to know that he really appreciates all your prayers. We will keep you posted on the latest.

God Bless,

Monday, December 17, 2007

The End...for now

I just finished my Chemistry Final Exam, which means I am officially, entirely DONE with school...(for this semester. ;-) Leaving for GYC at 2:30am tomorrow morning.

See you there!

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Grade Your Student Teacher"

As a part of the conclusion of my student teaching semester, I have a special student teacher evaluation sheet that my students are to fill out for me. My heart was warmed with some of the student’s responses. I’ve tried to reproduce them with as little doctoring as possible (English class really is good for something).

If I could give my student teacher some advice on teaching, it would be…

• Don’t use hard words on tests, mmm…in class either. (From an ESL student who had just taken a grueling 2 hour final exam in which she needed explanations for nearly every question)
• I learn more from the Bible than I ever did at all. (I had to try really hard to keep from editing the English on this one.)
• That he should do it until he gets so old that he’s physically incapable of doing it. (Yes, a student actually wrote this.)

The things I like best about my student teacher are…

• I like that you smile all the time and laugh, cuz it seems you have fun teaching us. When you have fun I have fun. (*sigh* If they only knew… j/k! Amazing what a positive attitude can buy for you.)
• He tries to make things fun, he makes us think. Also he answers basically all of our weird questions. (This student wasn’t joking when she said WEIRD.)
• He makes the class interesting and able to understand (another ESL student)
• He explains things in 5 minutes that I’ve wondered about for years. And he’s cool, he never lectures us or hollers. (Even though I sure feel like it sometimes!)
• He actually listens and pays attention to the class. (Now if only the same could be said of the students…)
• That he’s not boring and we always do activities, not just lectures. (Ah…teaching methods are vindicated!)

I wish my student teacher would…

• Take us out more and teach other classes and have fun days like no school work LOL! (Notice: fun days = no school work.)
• Give me all A+’s all the time even when I don’t deserve them. (I’m sure many other students would concur.)
• Be younger and taller. (I think this one has got to be my favorite one of all...actually came from a boy!)
• Stay longer and teach us next year. (Awww! *tear*)

“If you are called to teach—TEACH. If not, go find some other less fulfilling profession.”
~Quote I heard during my education training for which I can cite no source. Apologies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I learned a new word from a medical dictionary this past week:

Hibakusha - a survivor of either of the atomic explosions at Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Why was this in a medical dictionary?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Trust not in human plans, Part 2

For those of you who care to know the rest of the story...

I went down to Chattanooga State College yesterday to enroll and register as I had planned. Remarkably, it was the smoothest enrollment process I've ever been through. There were hardly any lines, and the people were very helpful. I needed to present official transcripts in order to register for the classes I needed, but the person behind the desk simply waived that requirement for me for no apparent reason. I wasn't supposed to be able to get a parking pass until my bill was fully paid, but the lady at the Bursar's Office smiled and gave me a parking pass anyway. Not only that, a friend told me later that her sister had the most difficult experience trying to enroll at Chattanooga State. I'd like to believe that the Lord worked on my behalf yesterday, opening doors of divine providence.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Trust not in human plans

I'm the type of person who likes to have my ducks in a row. I don't like risks. I like to know all my options. I don't like surprises. I make detailed plans for my life far in advance. Ellen White warns, "There is danger of our trusting in human plans and methods. There will be a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith." I think the Lord wanted to teach me that lesson through a life experience this past week.

I had made plans months ago that I would teach at Laurelbrook Academy while taking a few remaining courses at nearby Bryan College this school year. Well, I found out this past week through a series of events completely outside of my control (note: I don't like things like that), that I will not be able to continue studying at Bryan College next semester. This places all of my plans in jeopardy. I may not be able to continue teaching at Laurelbrook, I may not be able to graduate this coming spring, etc etc. It seemed all of my well-laid plans were being destroyed in one fell swoop. But after some immediate research, it appears as though I will be able to take both classes that I need at a fraction of the cost (something like $4500 less) at Chattanooga State College instead. Of course this allows me to also fulfill my commitment to teach the remainder of the year at Laurelbrook. Problem is that between now and the time I leave for Christmas Break, there is no time to drive down to Chatt State to apply (it's a 1 hour drive)! It just so happened that the day after I found this out, my Chemistry professor at Bryan College cancelled a lab (definitely a rare occurrence) the following Monday which frees me to go apply for enrollment. Amazing how the Lord orchestrates and times everything just right for those who trust in Him!

Yes, even the most well-laid plans of man will be brought to naught. It's been a stressful week, and I hope I've learned my lesson!