Almost Home...


We are PRAISING GOD today! Thank God with us! My dad was released from the hospital early this morning. He came back to my aunt's house (where we've been crashing for almost 2 weeks!) to settle for the day.
PLEASE PRAY tomorrow morning (Monday)! My mom will be driving dad, and my grammy back home. Pray for managable pain during the car ride, no pukes, safety, and good weather! I know my mom is nervous about the trip. I think they probably all are. It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive. We will certainly all rest easy once my dad is back in his own home! He can't wait to get there, rest, and heal by his massive Christmas tree! We are rejoicing!
Today has been quite an emotional day. When I said good-bye to my dad, I just crumbled into his arms and wept. I feel like I have "Post-Traumatic-My-Dad-Had-Major-Heart-Surgery-Stress-Syndrome". BUT, I am thanking God my dad will soon be on his way home! And soon, we will ALL be together for Christmas!
THANKS FOR PRAYING! Please pray tomorrow morning, too! THANK YOU SO MUCH!


Day 11

Today is dad's 11th day in the hospital! Yikes-O. He is just "chomping at the bit" (says my mother) to get out of here.

Yesterday was a ROUGH day. I said everybody's Thanksgiving prayers must have fizzled out for Black Friday. It was certainly black for my dad. He was pukey ALL day. The pain was pretty bad on top of that as well. Once night fell, so did everything he had eaten that day. (IF you catch my drift.) Many of the nurses, the PA, and the head medical doctor all came in. They were worried, we were worried, dad thought he was gonna die. For cryin' out loud!

Anyway. Today things are much calmer. Dad is resting better, and feeling better. No pukies to report. We even had visitors, which always lifts our spirits! He has gone for his walks, and is now sleeping.

Mom and I are ready for a snack.

Thanks for praying, and continuing to pray!

THANK YOU from my DAD!!!

From our hospital to your's...oh wait! I hope no one else reading this is in the hospital! ;) Seriously, we have had so much FUN reading your comments!

When I first blogged, I had hoped for 15 comments for my dad. When I checked periodically, the number kept climbing. I was getting more and more excited as Thanksgiving day came closer. When I finally suprised my dad with his blog post, there were 113 comments! Whoa baby!

THANK YOU all so much for your sweet messages! As I've been reading them to my dad, there's been laughter, near tears, "aw's", stories told, and definite over all encouragement! What a priceless gift!

Thank you for participating and sharing your sweet love with my dad and family!

I am humbled and overwhelmed by your kindness to us today! With blog comments PLUS Facebook comments, we had over 130 responses!! WOW!

THANK YOU!


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Happy Thanksgiving Father! =)


This year, my daddy will be celebrating Thanksgiving from his lovely hospital bed! My mom and I will be spending the entire holiday with him, and my family wanted to do something special.

Please post a THANKSGIVING greeting to my dad! You can tell him anything you want. Whether it's why you're thankful for him, that you're praying for him, an iside joke, that you love him, or whatever you come up with on your own.
I am going to read all the posts to him sometime on Thanksgiving day! I know it will blow him away!
We are so grateful to all of you who have been praying for my dad! We are all humbled and overwhelmed by God's faithfulness to us through you.
Today we are THANKFUL for our loving God and THANKFUL for you! For those of you who know my dad, as he would say, "Our hearts are full and overflowing..."

Coke

Dad has been having another positive day of recovery! He went for another "long" walk, which is wonderful. After heart sugery, the lungs can get filled with fluid, especially when sitting in bed all the time. Walking is necessary to get the circulation flowing. My Dad is determined!

My mom got him a Coke today and said he's been talking quite a bit. He also ate a good amount of lunch! This is also a praise because for the past several days, we've just been spoon-feeding him about 3 bites of jell-o. Yay for real food going down, and staying down! Mom bought him an electric razor so she could shave him, too. Yesterday my dad was joking with the nurse about him being "good lookin'". A sure sign he is starting to feel a little bit more like himself.

We find so much joy in these little steps of progress. Seeing any glimpse of my true Dad is so refreshing! He's still got a ways to go in the hospital, but we want him to be completely OK before he's discharged.

His surgeon stopped by at one point while mom and I were out (We were ticked we missed him!). Dr. Bavaria reminded my dad AGAIN how difficult and SERIOUS the surgery was. I kinda got a little ticked and said to my Dad, "Why can't the guy ever say any thing POSITIVE?! We KNOW how serious it was!!" I think it's just upsetting to be reminded how serious my Dad's situation is.

WE THANK GOD FOR THE AMAZING PROGRESS THAT'S BEEN MADE!

What an incredible week for Thanksgiving to take place for our family!

Speed Racer

Praise the Lord! Dad developed a bit of a fever today. He knows that walking helps a fever go down, so he said, "Let's go for a walk!" Mom and I looked at each other like "Is he for real?!" We are so impressed with his determination and strength!

Dad walked all the way down the hallway and back. In the midst of the pain and everything, he pushed himself to do it! Go Dad! We are so proud of him!

SO VERY PROUD!!!

We also had some more visitors today which lifted dad's spirits!

PRAISE THE LORD!

Thanks God!!!

Thank you God for all those who were praying for my Dad last night!

God answered all of your prayers! We are so grateful to all of you for CRYING OUT TO GOD for him! Dad is thankful, that's for sure! He had a good night, according to the nurse, and my dad agreed. This morning we walked into his room to find him standing up! He had "bathed" himself (part of his PT) and walked to his bed. Wonderful progress!

Yesterday Dad had requested Starbucks coffee (of COURSE!) and so mom and I went there first thing this morning for him. (We just happend to need stuff, too.;) When we brought it in, mom told him it was decaf, so he didn't want it anymore. HaHa! :)

The pain is still present, but he is definitely able to rest much better. YAY! THANK YOU for praying! It really means so much to my dad, and to my whole family. I know I say that all the time, but boy do we mean it.

Cry out to God Tonight!

It's Saturday night, November 22. As mom and I were preparing to leave the hospital tonight, we were making sure my dad had everything he needed or wanted. We kissed him, and told him we loved him. Right before we walked out the door he said:

"Tell people to pray."

Us: "Ok. We will."

Dad: "Tell them..." (LONG pause, it's hard for him to talk.)

"CRY OUT TO GOD!"

Mom burst into tears and we went rushing back to his bedside. I asked my dad if he wanted us to pray over him right then, and of course he did. Mom grabbed his hand, I rested my hand on his leg, and CRIED OUT TO GOD for my sweet Daddy.

The pain is so bad right now for him. He told the nurse 10/10 and that's WHILE he's on a morphine pump, perkaset, AND motrine! I can not even imagine!

From my precious Dad's healing heart to your's,

Please CRY OUT TO GOD for relief from his pain and suffering tonight!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Strawberries!

This post is something that is just over-flowing from my heart. I know this whole ordeal is completely about my Daddy, but God is still taking care of me in such special ways! I am amazed by that! I thought it might be cool for those of you faithful readers to hear the neat ways that God is specifically watching over my every need, and even wants.

Most of you know this crazy "diet" that I've been on for almost 2 weeks. I am proud to say God has given me the self-control to stay ON the wagon for this whole time. I am so thankful for that! It's been extremely difficult to eat the way I need to right now in this hospital situation.

One night I was absolutely CRAVING strawberries. (Which I am allowed to eat!) The next day my mom and I went on our routine Starbucks visit. It was cold, the wind was blowing, and we just put our heads down and plowed down the block. All of the sudden I looked up to see one of those Philly fruit carts. I hustled over, and what do I see, but a whole little baggie of strawberries for only $2! It was the ONLY baggy of strawberries there! I almost jumped up and down! I took them to Starbucks and they were delicious! Thanks God! How cool is that?! I've been back to that same cart every day and there have never been strawberries again. I asked the lady about them one time and she looked at me like I was crazy! God knew that the strawberries would just make my day and He gave them to me!

There have been many more instances like that, but that's the one that keeps coming back to my mind. Another reminder of God's deep, intimate, personal love for ME!

I had my own special visitor today, too! (Thanks again, Roomie!! You're the BEST!) That really lifted my spirits. Dad had visitors too, but I had stepped out and missed them. Bummer.

Dad is sleeping well right now. They are still trying to handle the pukey-ness. He has a fever on top of it. He asked us to call the nurse because he wanted to go for a walk! I was AMAZED at this. He can't even lift his hand to put a spoon in his mouth, but he remembered that if he went for a walk, it would help his fever. Talk about strength.

I am so proud of my dad! He's such a fighter.

The walk really wore him out (from his bed to his room bathroom and back) and caused more pain, but he is determined. Wow.

Thank you for praying! We appreciate your continued prayers more then we can express!

Praise God for the strawberries in our lives!

Regular Room

My dad is in his regular room now. We are thankful because that means he is progressing well! They also took out 2 of his 3 drainage tubes this morning, which is more positive proof of his progression. Taking out those tubs is really painful. It gives me major creeps to even think about.
Every one on his level of the hospital is either here for heart or lung surgery recovery. They all drag along these drainage tubes behind them wherever they go. The body just fills up with fluids during surgery and they drain it, I guess. My dads hands are hugely puffy. He always looks at his hands like they're really bothering him.

One part of my dad's suffering is naseau. (sp?) He's constantly feeling sick, and many times actually does throw up. They are trying to get that under control, but nothing has really worked yet.

He does seem to be resting better this afternoon then he had been.

Thanks for praying!! We appreciate it so much! And if my dad could speak well enough, he'd certainly thank you himself!

The Pain Continues...

Well, we're halfway through the afternoon and making our trip to Starbucks. (Thus the wireless.) So far today, my dad has really had a rough morning.

Sadly, he thought that the nurses were trying to kill him. He was terrified. He was on such high dosages of drugs that it made him think crazy things, obviously. Thankfully, God worked it so two dear friends were in the ICU with my dad during that time. It would have been difficult for us to have seen that. At least we were able to be prepared for what we were about to see.

The pain is still absolutely horrible. He can barely move without just about going through the roof. Even a tiny burp is excruciating. It's very sad to see. We wish we could do something to help.

The good news is, my dad's progressing well. His heart is doing well! The pain from breaking his ribs, the inflamation, and finding the correct pain killers has made this process just awful.

More good news is that he is most likely being moved out of the ICU today! He should be in a regular room by tonight. That means his process is going well. We are very happy about that.

Lastly, by this afternoon dad was genuinely aware of us, and able to talk a little. He felt terrible for thinking the nurses were trying to kill him and kept apologizing. It was just a very sad scene! We're thankful that he is coherent!

Please continue to pray that his intense pain subsides! Especially when he moves rooms, that will be awful! Getting into a wheelchair alone is an enormous task! Please pray that his heart continues to heal well and the pain subsides!

Thanks a million for your PRAYERS, posts, comments, texts, calls, and encouragement! It all means so much!

So MUCH Pain!

When mom talked to the ICU nurse this morning, the nurse asked if my dad had a low pain tolerance. This, of couse, was hard for us to hear because we know that my dad actually has a very high pain tolerance! My mom informed the nurse of his past 2 heart surgeries and kidney stones. Since they now know that dad does have a high pain tolerance, they were able to better determine that he is in an incredible amount of pain!

Please pray for the pain to subside! We haven't gone back to the ICU yet today. We are still waiting for one of my brothers to arrive and then we'll all go together.

Other then the pain, my dad is doing well. That is great news! We just ache for him suffering so much. It's incredibly difficult to see him like that. He can not talk very much, and when he looks at us the pain in his eyes is almost unbearable. Sometimes it's hard to stay in the room.

THANK YOU for your continued prayers for my dad and my family. We can still feel God's peace and His rest in our spirits. We never cease to be amazed each day at how much The Body is wrapping their arms around us. A wonderful woman brought us a home cooked meal last night and that meant the world to us!

Thanks for praying, and I will post later today if I get a chance. (More then likely since I haven't gotten my coffee yet and NEED to go to Starbucks!;)

Throw-up

Mom and I were just in dad's room. We watched his chest moving, and it seemed a bit alarming. He was getting sick, and ended up throwing up. I can't imagine the pain of throwing up with all ribs being broken, along with the heart just having had been opened up. Mom and I left the nurse to deal with it and are back in the lounge with internet. The ICU is packed and there is no place to sit. We are feeling pretty tired and emotional. It's hard to see the man you love most in this world suffering so much.

To clarify from my ealier post, we are praising God they went in through his ribs. Though it is the most painful, going back in through his previous scar from his first 2 surgeries would have been incredibly difficult. They already went back through the scar tissue last time and doing it a third time would be a lot more complicated. Though it's a bad thing, it's the best scenerio for my dad!

Someone visited my dad while we were out, and we are disappointed to have missed a visitor! But, so thankful for the sweetness of the person to stop by!

He's OUT!

I feel terrible that I was not able to update you after dad's surgery was over. Our family waiting room closed at 9PM, and we got shifted to the ICU waiting area where there is no internet available.

Dad was in surgery until around 9:30 PM or 10:00 PM last night. It got to be really hard for us waiting there at the end! Finally an ICU nurse came out and we were allowed to go in and see him. It's always such a sad sight. And it's sad to me that I can even say "it's always" becasue of how we've been through this before!

It was a very difficult surgery. (That cracks me up when the doctors or nurses say that. What heart surgery ISN'T difficult?!) They ended up going through my dad's left ribs (EW.) and working on his heart that way. They cut all his ribs, so his incision is rather large on his left side. It looks like a shark bite! For those of you who know my daddy, that will be his "famous" line from here on out! HaHa!

We are absolutely relieved that it's over! The weight that we carried feels so much lighter today. God's peace completely surpassed all understanding yesterday, and it was the most amazing experience. We could all FEEL your prayers in a hugely tangible way. What an honor.

We thank you for praying!

I would ask that you PLEASE continue to pray! This first time I visited my dad this morning, the few words he uttered were "Pray. Pain. Wow." Oh it just breaks my heart that he's in that much pain. They say cutting through the ribs is the most painful heart surgery. He has his own pump for the pain medicine, but he's still suffering. Please pray for the pain to subside to he can rest easy. There's still chances for stroke, for the heart not to function properly and other risks, so please keep praying!

My dad is such a fighter! We are amazed at his strength even now. Last night after his surgery, though he was completely knocked out, the nurse said he had been trying to fight through the anesthesia to wake up! My mom and I chuckled to ourselves. Of COURSE my dad would be fighting!

For the rest of today mom and I will be sitting in the ICU waiting area. We have already met other families in there, heard some stories, prayed for others, and it's very sad. Every situation in the ICU is extremely serious, so we are watching for ways for God to use it!

Right now we are at Starbucks, where I am able to get internet. Once we go back over there, I can not update as frequently. I will do my best to keep posting! Once he's out of ICU, then I can update more regularly!

Again, THANK YOU from my whole family for praying for us. We are overwhelmed and blessed beyond blessed that you would choose to pray for us.

Praise God with us, and keep praying! We are blessed beyond blessed to be loved by such a gracious, loving and FAITHFUL God. I am carrying this song with me...

"Faithful one. Faithful to the end. Faithful. My true and gracious friend. You are faithful. FAITHFUL."

7:45 PM

The LONG wait is turning longer. My aunt just said, "Ok, it's starting to creep." We're getting a little restless.


Dad's been in surgery for 4 hours and 15 minutes. We have no updates, and do not know how much longer it's going to be. The family waiting room is slowly emptying out as their family members are done. We'll probably be one of the last families to leave.


I just saw a surgeon walk in and my stomach flipped, but he wasn't dad's.


Still waiting...
My Mama's getting anxious. So am I.

6:30 PM


Apparently our update nurse was off at 5PM, so we will no longer hear updates until dad's surgery is complete! It's only been 3 hours since his surgery started, so we have a ways to go.


I just got back from the hospital "cafe". For those of you who normally follow my blog: I am getting tired of salad, chicken, and plain coffee. Sigh. That was a completely selfish sidenote.


Moving on. Most of my family/friends here waiting with us are getting pretty exhausted. We are all in good spirits, but it's been a long day! I can't wait until the operation is over! We are feeling God's peace and His mighty presence!


Thank you for praying!

3:45 PM

I haven't seen my dad since my last post. After posting, we circled my dad (some family and friends) and one of dad's friends prayed. Hello tears. I decided to embrace the tears. All too often I try to hold myself back from crying. Maybe it's me trying to be strong. Maybe I don't want my dad to see me so upset. But today I concluded it's good to cry. I let the tears fall as I gripped my dad's hand with both of my hands and his friend cried out to our loving and powerful God.


Before they wheeled him away on the lovely gurney, I leaned down and hugged and kissed my daddy. We held each other and cried. It's a helpless feeling to watch my mom follow my dad's gurney down the hallway to open heart sugery. But, there is peace. Explanation? Our God, and all your prayers! There are people praying all over the world, and we couldn't survive without them. THANK YOU to all of you who are praying!


After the first time we said "good-bye", they called my mom back up for another hour with my dad. After my mom said "good-bye" for the second time, we all went to lunch, and then to Starbucks, of COURSE. We just returned to the family waiting room.


They have a huge screen TV that is updated every half an hour with details of dad's operation. His surgery didn't begin until 3:30 PM! That means dad will be under at least until 8:30 PM tonight, maybe later!


When I came back on and saw 12 comments, it just made my heart soar. It brought so much peace. It really means the world to my family and to me to know people are continually praying!


It's a hard day. It will be a hard night. Visiting him in the ICU is almost unbearable. No sense worrying. I know that, I just want to express.


And so we wait...

11 AM

They OR people are about to come get my dad. It's about 11AM. So, that means the surgery will be underway in the next couple of hours. The surgery will be around 6-8 hours long. It's different every time.

Dad met with the surgeon this morning, and he informed my dad that they will be going in through his side, instead of cutting open his original scar. We are glad about that!

I am getting close to tears, so that's all I'm gonna say for now!

I will try to keep you posted as we know things.

I am thankful for God. I am thankful for His love. I am thankful for His peace.

The Day Before

I am all packed. I am ready to go. I am waiting for relief to come so I can leave for Philly/NJ! (Relief for the babes, I mean!) Chail and I had a fun day of running errands and getting things done so Auntie can leave today! (Ok, I am going to stop talking like a KG teacher now.)

My dad checks in the hospital today at 3PM. They are going to do some testing, get his cumodin (sp?) levels worked out, and make sure he looks spify in his gown. We still do not know what time the surgery will be tomorrow! I will do my best to post as often as I can.

From my whole family, we all appreciate your prayers so very much! We can all sense God's presence and feel His arms around us. There are trying times.

THANK YOU!!

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Chail and I sent this to Grandpa's phone this morning! =)

Here We Go...

Hello everyone!Thank you for praying for our family! Thank you for praying for my precious daddy and his heart! My dad has the most giving, forgiving, loving, and huge heart out of any man I know. It hurts my own heart to watch him go through yet another physical heart surgery. It seems ironic to me that the man with the purest heart I know has had to have so many physical heart operations. I 100% wish I could go through this surgery FOR him. I would if I could. I guess God has chosen for my dad to endure this, and to learn things that I will never know.

We, as a family, are praising God that Dr. Bavaria will be his surgeon, officially! He has performed my dad's first 2 operations, and we feel confident in his skills. We are so overwhelmed with God's goodness in the insurance approving this, and allowing it all to take place. It has been a looooooooooooooong process for my parents. But, here we are.

This Wednesday, November 19, the surgery will officially take place in Philly, at The University of Penn hospital. We have no idea what time, or how long he will be hospitalized. Each surgery, the recovery has been longer.

We ask you to pray. Please pray. We value your prayers more then we could EVER express! My mom and I always bring colored 3 x 5 cards and write names/messages for my dad and put them up in his room as a reminder of the power of prayer and the power of The Body. We desire so much to reach out to other's in the hopsital as well. Praying with and for other families, other patients, and those that are going through similar situations is a huge ministry!

Please pray for my dad. I can not fathom how hard this is on him. There are so many aspects that are hard about this. He needs your prayers in an enormous way! Lastly, I will be frequently updating my blog during the surgery (if we still have internet access in the special family waiting room). You can check this for the latest info.

THANK YOU THANK YOU for praying!!!

With LOVE from our whole fam =)

As always, I am showing our lil love with his Grandpa!!


Day 4: Life as an Addict

You think I am kidding. I am not.

Hi. My name is Abby and I'm a bread addict.

For quite awhile now, one of my dear BFF's, Caleb, has been talking to me about my diet. He has been concerned about my "issues". You all know my issues. Why try to hide it? It's the facts of life, people. Along with him my mom, brother, and sister-in-law have voiced concerns. Fine. So...coached by Caleb, I decided to TRY a new diet (not a lose weight diet, a change-what-I-eat diet) It all started on Tuesday. I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into!

No bread. No unatural carbs. No sugar. No yeast. No gluten.

This eliminates almost my entire normal diet. I am now consuming lots of protein (mostly meats/eggs/nuts: I am not a meat-girl), vegetables (I've always hated vegetables), and a select few berries. (of which I had been WRONG about ealier today and just about had a melt down when I found out I could not, in fact, eat cranBERRIES)

Unless you've tried it, you have NO BLESSED clue how DIFFICULT it is to give up bread. That takes away my morning bagel, lunch sandwhich, and probably the worst of all, my lattes and coffee with flavored creamer. BAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH. I can not consume soy milk. Eventually I am going to try to introduce dairy back into the picture and see how I do.

No pizza. No pasta. No cookies. No cake. No lattes. No creamer. No grapes. No apples. NO NOTHING. AHHHHHHHHHHH.

I have literally been going through withdrawl. It's absolutely terrible. I get shaky, I get panicky, and boy do I CRAVE. I become evil. I become cranky. I just want to EAT MY BREADS. I'm an addict through-and-through.

The good news: so far, the issues have been minor to NONE. (amazing!) And I have lost 4 lbs! HA! That was a pleasant side effect! (Or a disgusting tribute to how much bread products I consume!) It's been worth it to see how this helps. I still have a few more days until my first complete week is done, and we'll go from there....

So yay. I have a lot more respect for recovering alcoholics.

Daddy

The ridiculously long drive TOGETHER from MN all the way to PA!
Father put together all my new furniture when the fam visited me here over Labor Day! He can build or fix ANYthing!

I miss my Daddy. I wish I could see him before his surgery. I wish that wasn't the next event that was bringing us together. It is what it is. We're pressing on. One day at a time...

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