Thursday, July 30, 2009

Aren't 3 year olds precious?

I really do love the age of 3. It is full of discovery and language. It's so full of laughter and love. And for Misganaw, it seems to be full of sneaky mischief, as well.

The other day I was lying down with him for his nap when I suddenly remembered I had to leave right then for a dr. appt. for the adoption. I ran and told Katie to check on him in a few minutes to be sure he fell asleep. So she did. She opened the door to find the little man half out the window! He had the window unlocked and opened and only his little butt was still inside. (It's right at ground level so very tempting, I'm sure)

That same night, Blaine and I were working hard trying to complete the inventory list when at 11:00pm I said to Blaine, "I smell poop."

He said, "Maybe Misganaw pooped." (He's still in pull ups)

So I went into our stinky room (did I ever mention that Blaine and I share a room with the boys? Yep, all 4 of us!) and what do I find. Misganaw did indeed poop and had it all over his pajamas, bedding and even painted some on the bedspread on our bed! His hands were covered with poop. Believe me when I say I tried to get a picture of this but couldn't find the camera! I just couldn't spend time looking for a camera when this was so gross and I didn't want him to touch anything. So I stripped him down and he had a lovely bath at 11:00pm.

After that, back to the inventory!

I have to share something about the inventory. What I was working on (just remembering it hadn't been done yet) was the Legos. We had a huge Rubbermaid bin of Legos. Blake was a LegoManiac back in the day and got Legos at every birthday party and Christmas. He also was a little OCD about his Lego instruction books and all books for that matter. He kept many, not all, but probably 1/2 to 3/4 of his instruction books which were in a bin in the basement and were pretty unaffected by the fire. I was separating the instruction books into piles of price points to get a total dollar price for the Legos. They don't make most of them anymore, of course so I was trying to find sets equivalent to the ones he had. $1900! He had $1900 worth of Lego sets just in booklets! And that wasn't all of them. When I told him, he was so excited. I thought he'd say, "Good, I'll take the money for them." No, he said, "I can't wait to open every box and build every set!" 19 years old, but once a LegoManiac always a LegoManiac, I guess!

Blaine did see the neurologist in follow up on Monday. He actually couldn't believe how well Blaine was doing and peeked his head in the door like 3 times before he came in saying, "Is this the same guy??" He hadn't seen Blaine since the first day at the hospital so there had been a huge change. He began a taper for Blaine off the steroids at that time. He also told Blaine that he'd had industrial levels of steroids and that most people who have had that much would be so weak they couldn't climb stairs or get up or down from a chair without using their hands. These are the kind of steroids that waste muscle not build them. They really do have a lot of horrible side effects but they do work wonders on inflammation and irritation. He also told Blaine that most people on this much steroids would be psychotic by now. They cause irritability in people sometimes to the psychotic level.

I can tell you Blaine is definitely irritable and he'd be the first to admit it. He's working so hard not to be but it's not easily controlled. So if you see him, please don't do anything to annoy him. Better yet...just stay out of his way! Just kidding! Sorry, honey I just can't help myself. If you know Blaine, he is the MOST un-irritable person you will EVER meet! Off steroids, that is. So this really is tough for me, especially because I have done some doozies in the past that would make most husbands pretty upset but not Blaine.

Like the one time I left the grill on and melted the vinyl siding on our old house. Or the time I was mowing the yard and caught the edge of the downspout with the mower and kind of ripped the whole thing off the house. Did I mention the gutters were brand new at the time? I realized that it happened but I was going mach 1 (which is how I do most things) and just couldn't stop quickly enough. Or the time the sunroof of the new Jeep was left open (by one of the teenage drivers in the house!) when I decided I needed a car wash in the middle of winter. You cannot believe how much water they use in a car wash!

This one deserves a paragraph of it's own. I first noticed there was a problem when water began dripping in around the part of the roof that covers the sunroof. I slid it open and more water fell on me. I panicked because the car wash was kicking into full rinse mode by now so I quickly pushed the button on the roof. Yeah, you guessed it...I pushed the full open button. The roof was only propped open at first, not full open. So it begins to ooo.....ooooo....pppppp......eeeee......nnnnnn....nnnnnnn. The thing is so slow so in the meantime I am getting drenched! Once it is fully open I push the correct button and it begins to close just as slowly as it opened. There's nothing I can do! So I start to laugh and think of who I can tell first that I did this. I called Blaine. He laughed too and I could just see him through the phone shaking his head at me. The leather was soaked and the car smelled for a few days but all is well. Blaine met me in the garage and helped me clean it all up...that is after I changed my completely soaking clothes!

He's just the most patient, slow to anger guy. Right now I'm a little hesitant to ask him what color paint he wants for the exterior of the house! ;) I told him, "Now you know what it feels like to be a woman with PMS." He immediately replied, "Now you know what it's like to be a man who's wife has PMS." I thought I was going to prove a point here!

All this to say, he talked to the neurologist yesterday because he had begun to have symptoms of electrical shock feeling shooting up his back when he looked down. There is a name for this but the long and the short of it is that the dr. wants him to DOUBLE his steroids for a few days. This symptom is a sign of irritation in the spinal cord and he wants to knock it out. So would you please pray that it works right away???? Blaine was really discouraged to have to increase the steroids since one of the other side effects is insomnia. The dr. told him to double his sleeping pill for the next few days, as well. Not sure how much he slept last night.

I'm going to shove a bunch of unrelated stuff into this paragraph because this is getting really long. We were told that they are shooting to have the house complete by mid September!! The heating, electrician and plumbing are all in there now and working hard. Next week, low voltage goes in and then they wait for the windows to be done. Then windows go in, then insulation, then sheetrock. If they keep working this hard, it will be done. We are so excited at this news! We NEED to be back home so badly for a million reasons.

Sorry, new paragraph...we are still working hard on the adoption. Our home study is done and is being faxed to AAI today!!! Yes, our fingerprints are done and back!!!! YEA! I thought this meant that we could put T on hold at that point (that's the way it is with CHSFS) but I was told that we needed our Dossier complete as well. UGH, when I heard that I felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach. But my fellow blog friends who've also adopted older girls from AAI assured me that I could do it much faster than most. I got my old Dossier (application to the country of Ethiopia) out and began replicating it. I spoke to a woman at AAI to see if what I was doing was feasible. I told her we wanted to have all this done and the referral for T by Aug. 22, when Bibi travels to pick up T's best friend L. She didn't feel it was possible time-wise. I told her we were VERY motivated to have it done so T would know that she had a family when her best friend left for the U.S. It's already going to be hard enough to lose her best friend. We want her to have some hope at that time.

So I wait to receive AAI's official dossier packet but will do what I can to get all my ducks in a row for when it comes, finish it and get it sent back.

So prayer requests for today - pray for Blaine that the steroids will be effective right away, the symptoms he's having will disappear and he can resume his tapering off of the steroids.

-pray that the house will indeed be done by mid-September and work would continue un-interrupted

-pray that if it is God's timing that we could get this dossier packet done and returned and approved in time for Bibi to travel so sweet T knows there is hope for her, too

Wow, if you made it through this long post a big congratulations to you! Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for caring enough about us to read this and pray for us. Some of you, we've never met yet you have reached out to us and for us. The internet does make this a small world. I remember when they first came out with the internet I said to Blaine, "Why would anyone need that?"

Thank you, Lord for the internet!


Friday, July 24, 2009

I want to live like this

Inspired again by Ted who left me an encouraging comment and is blessed to have Dr. Calver as a pastor, I have to share more about Dr. Clive Calver's book entitled "Dying to Live." I don't want to misinterpret anything in the book so for the most part I will quote directly from it. It's just that good!

If you are a Christian, do you feel like something is missing in your walk with Christ? Do you feel you need to do more for Him?

The other week at church we sang a worship song that said, "I'm alive because I'm alive in You." Is there something wrong in that statement? What does that mean really?

Are you working hard trying to be what you think God wants you to be? Are you satisfied with your progress?

"For far too long we have been presented with a version of the Christian faith that majors on what we get rather than what we give. The cross has been portrayed as the place where Jesus died for us and where we receive from him, but rarely is it shown as the location of our joint crucifixion with Christ."

Galations 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

Luke 14:33 "Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple."

Matthew 16:25 "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."

Ok, here it is. It's simple really. We do NOT live for Christ. We do NOT strive to do more and more for Him. We do NOT only come to the cross and receive.

When we come to the cross and receive the blessed gift of salvation, we must die to ourselves and allow Christ to live through us! That means that it's not about what you can do for Christ at all. It's all about what He can do through you if you are willing to let go of your desires, dreams, and goals and let Him who knows you and made you and has a huge plan for the world, live through you.

How did I miss that before? I've been to church since I was born but have never got that. Why? I'm frustrated by this.

I believe the church has been brainwashed by the American culture of "me first." "What can I get out of this?" "What's in it for me?" "I need...(fill in the blank)" "I couldn't possibly...(fill in the blank)"

When will this end? Is this why Jesus died?

"On the cross Jesus gave the supreme example of crucified love. Despite wrestling with indecision in the garden of Gethsemane, his conclusion was complete. "Not my will, but yours be done. (luke 22:24) There was no compromise. That is the character of the crucified life.

Not content merely to know what is right, such a life must always live out that understanding. It was love that took Jesus to a cross. There was nothing in His life that deserved punishment. His compassion reached out to us, so it is not surprising that He expects compassion and sacrifice from His disciples today. When we fail to lie up to His example, we discredit our Lord, and we can give the impression that Christians are no different from anyone else." Ouch!

So am I "alive because I'm alive in You?" No, I am alive because You are alive in me! Totally different. It's all about Him and nothing at all about me...that's the reality.

This is so convicting to me. But I know it is right.

If we all lived our lives this way...would our world look any different??

Sorry if this is super heavy but it is on my heart and busting to get out.

Oh, and I'm only 1/2 done with the book!

Tonight is Blaine and my 25th high school class reunion...yep we're that old! Better get ready.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our life in pictures over the last month

Misganaw rejoicing over what God has done for us.

Introducing...Hadley Anne, my great niece born June 25th with yours truly in attendance. I could repeatedly be heard saying, "You can do it, PUSH, push through the pain" to get this 9# 8.5 oz, 22 inch sweetie into the world. She's gorgeous like her mommy!

Blaine and Katie on her 17th birthday at the cabin. He's already pretty sick here and within 2 days he was completely unable to walk and had to be carried.

This is Blaine and the P.T. at Sister Kenny on his second day of walking, Friday I believe. The first day he needed to use the parallel bars to hang onto. This day he's moving his own legs but needs help with balance.

Here is the very same guy with Blake and Jake and De (not pictured) just one week after the previous picture was taken! They are putting drain tile in our retaining walls because we are putting a new deck over this area. Notice the new screen porch in the background. An improvement since the last picture I posted where this area was covered by a big tarp.

Is this an amazing God sized miracle or what?? Blaine went from not being able to lift his legs off the hospital bed, put any weight on his legs at all (he was a full transfer), wondering when if ever he'd get complete movement and strength back to well...working on drain tile in less than 2 weeks.

Yep, I've said before...he's a strong and determined man but even strong and determined men remain paraplegic and get around in wheelchairs. No, this wasn't about Blaine at all. It was completely the work of a mighty God who cares for and loves His children and is intimately involved in our lives. We are thankful for His mercy.

I had made the decision while lying in the hospital cot in the middle of the night that I would not continue with the adoption process unless Blaine regained his full ability. I absolutely believe that a person who is in a wheelchair can effectively parent a child. Without a doubt! But for us with our extremely active boys to add another child to our mix would bury me. I couldn't handle another child without Blaine's full recovery. I always think I can do anything (which is often pointed out by my family that I'm crazy!) but in this case, I drew a line in the sand. I couldn't do it.

God knows what I can handle and what I can't. Obviously, there is at least one more child who is to be our child and sooner than later so He caused Blaine to recover at record speed. He has a plan for us and the future.

I mentioned a book I have been reading lately. It is called "Dying to Live" by Dr. Clive Calver. He is an amazing man and if he's ever speaking somewhere nearby, you'll find me there. Previously, he was the president of World Relief and has a huge heart for the poor and the orphan. I have numerous dog-eared pages in his book and lots of underlines and stars all over this book! It's life changing.

I have lots to share from it but today something that is on my heart. He talks about the Christian life being an upside-down sort of life. It's a life of paradox.

"In the upside-down kingdom, you

-Are strongest when you are weak.

-Are rich when what you have is at the Lord's disposal, but you are poor when retaining control of wealth.

-Sin less when conscious of sin, but you are vulnerable when feeling invincible.

-Are most ready for heaven when serving God's business on earth, but you are least ready for eternal glory when serving your own interests."

I know this I jumped right into a deep, thought provoking Christian concept without warming you up to it. Sorry. I'll talk more about the basics of this book more next time. I'll just tell you...if we as Christians all lived our lives this way, the world would drastically change for the better. Sorry to leave you hanging...


Monday, July 20, 2009


We have really enjoyed having Blaine back home and being together once again as a family. The little boys have worked through their issues from the hospitalization and are again back to themselves.

So yesterday, Blaine is out at the house working on the sprinkler system. I know, I know...he's supposed to be taking it easy. Tell him that! Mihiretu and I arrived to see the changes that have been made. Blaine took a step backwards onto a tarp and fell down in agony. You guessed it...a big, long nail was hiding under the tarp in a piece of wood. It went right through his work boot and into his foot, hitting his bone. Ugggggghhhhhhh!!! It took some work to pull it out but he got it out.

We went into his internist this morning to have it checked out. Normally, he'd never go in for that but with the high doses of steroids he's been on, his immune system is very poor and is vulnerable to infection.

Fortunately, she thought it looked good and we are to watch it for signs of infection. It hurts like crazy and he is limping around on it. A bruised bone is painful! So once again, we ask for prayer for a quick healing and no infection. God did it once in a BIG way so I know He can do this small thing if we ask.

I have to is getting very hard to see Blaine not be whole and complete and in pain. Man we really could use a break from all of this. A good peaceful season must be around the corner. We need it. Also, pray that Blaine could slow down somewhat to a level that is safe. If you know him, you know he's not the kind to let grass grow under his feet. But balance would be good.

We did have time in the hospital (lots of time) to process and think and prioritize. We decided that once every 6 weeks we will be going away overnight to get away and re-prioritize. Also, Blaine has decided that the only way he will get to the gym is to go into work M,W and F at 9. Otherwise he gets too wiped out. Hey, he's the boss and can do this. So why not??? These are ways to keep him healthy.

The dr. said that 2 things predisposed him to this A.D.E.M. Vitamin D deficiency and stress. We all know we have had a lot of stress lately with the house fire and all that comes with that. We really, really, really need to be back in our house asap. We need things to be normal again. We need to be a family again. Pray it comes quickly. September isn't that far away, is it?

Misganaw keeps randomly coming up to me, wrapping his arms around me saying, "I love you. I'm so glad you're home, Mom." I'm so thankful that not only did Blaine get (almost at this point) his full abilities back, but that God saw fit to do it in record time. I really don't know if our family could have handled even one more day. God knew that. Thank you, God for knowing us and loving us!

I have so many things to write about and just not enough time at this point to do it. I've been reading a couple incredible books that are very challenging. Our hearts are fully and completely sold out for the orphans in this world. I know God will use us in some way to get the word out and ignite a passion in God's people for these precious, beautiful children who are really Jesus in disguise. Can't wait to have some time to share my heart on these things. Ahhh, for some time.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Home sweet home away from home!

Blaine was discharged from the rehab hospital on Monday. His recovery surprised all the doctors, nurses and physical therapists there. He has been so happy to be home and with his family. Of course, we are so happy to have him!

He continues on high doses of steroids to keep the inflammation from coming back. He'll be on this for a few weeks more before they begin to taper him off. They cause all sorts of side effects which are worse in some people than others. We are told that in everyone, they cause insomnia. Some nights he sleeps pretty well, some he sleeps very little. He was given sleeping meds but so far has refused to take them. So hopefully sleep will come one way or the other! Some people get very irritable and angry and a little crazy but not Blaine...alright maybe a little irritable when it comes to my driving! He's still a little numb in his legs and says that he's about 85% back to normal. His leaps and bounds progress has slowed now but we are thankful that he has recovered all that he needs right now. The rest will come. All to the glory of God!

I hope I have time to reflect on this whole last couple weeks by blogging about it. Sometimes it's the only time I have to think things through completely. It's good therapy for me. But for now I will say it has been wonderful to witness yet another miracle from God. He has been so faithful in answering our prayers and your prayers. Our faith has grown and our determination to get our daughter has intensified. I do believe that God has been preparing us for the challenges that are ahead in adopting this lovely child. I think we're very well prepared now!

This brings me to the adoption. We received a precious email from my new friend who is adopting the girl Blaine initially saw and fell in love with. The email contained a letter written by her daughter, still in the Ethiopian orphanage (care center) advocating for her best friend, T who does not have anyone to adopt her. She begs her mom and dad to please do their best to find her a family and that they can't live without each other. This is the girl we are hoping to adopt. So heartbreaking and sweet at the same time. No child should ever have to be put in a situation like this. No child should ever have to feel this fear of wondering if she will ever have a family, watching her best friend leave her for a faraway land.

They are traveling to get their sweet daughter August 24th. Our prayer request right now is that our home study could be approved by that time so they could bring her a package from us and let her know she has a family. She will be devastated when her best friend leaves for the U.S. and we'd sure like her to have some good news! Will you pray that our fingerprints will come back quickly so this can be a reality?

Our social worker actually came out to the house today and will work hard to get her part done as quickly as possible. She's a very sweet person and I know she will do her best.

Thanks and blessings,

Monday, July 13, 2009

Going home!!

We just got official word...Blaine's going home today!!  The rehab. doctor watched him at O.T. today and agreed to let him go.  Praise God!!

His progress has amazed everyone here.  Today he can balance on one foot and reach down to pick up something on the floor.  His balance is so improved.

Yes,  Blaine is a strong guy and we had excellent medical care which we are so thankful for but ALL the glory goes to Almighty God.  

Thank you for your prayers and continued prayers.  They mean more than you can ever, ever know.

We love you all,
Blaine and Laura

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Everything went well with me leaving Blaine alone at the hospital last night, thankfully! I called him this morning and he said he's doing great and can walk without a walker and can even bend down to pick things up. He failed that during his P.T. eval only 2 days ago!

Everyone knows that hospital food leaves much to be desired. Yesterday, Blaine told me just looking at the tray makes him nauseus. So this morning he decided to make the trek to McDonalds for breakfast. (That in itself should show you how despirate he was!) Well, he was cleared by P.T. for independent movement around his room but not the entire hospital and skyway system! He was making a break for it but was busted by his nurse and sent back to his room. Feisty boy!

He will wait until I get there and then I'll go with him.

I can't help but think back one week. I was driving him down from the cabin straight to Abbott. We were given a pretty scary prognosis on Sunday. Would the paralysis continue it's movement upward and effect his lungs so he would be unable to breathe? Would he have to be on a ventilator? Would he walk again?

Fast forward one week...he's trying to walk by himself to McDonalds! How great and loving is our God??? He has heard all of our prayers on Blaine's behalf and in one short and amazing week, healed him almost completely! The neurologist said it would take weeks for the myelin sheath to grow back but on the outside, he looks normal. His recovery has astounded every one who has cared for him. I must admit, it even astounds me from day to day.

God gets every ounce of glory for this great healing. There is just no other way to explain is a miracle.

Praising God with you today,

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Getting better

We have been having a lot of discussion about Blaine getting home sooner than later.  I told you yesterday that the P.T. recommends that he stay 7-10 more days.  Today he talked to her when he was having therapy and he explained that seeing that he keeps making so much progress every or at least every other day, he believes that his body just needs some time to heal and spinal cord and brain inflammation to decrease and then have some therapy also.  She said that she knows that at the end of her recommended time, he could walk out of here on his own.  If he leaves sooner, he'll need a walker.

He's considered a high risk for falls.  He has about 2/3 of his feeling in his legs.  When we first came in, he couldn't tell if a pin was pricking him or a dull surface.  He couldn't even lift his left leg one inch.  Now he's walking.  It's not regular walking but it's close.  He really has to concentrate on where his feet are because he can't totally feel them.  So it's a little slow and awkward but it's coming along and is much better even today than yesterday.  

Blaine doesn't care if he has to come home with a walker.  He just wants to come home.  

He is still counting on coming home on Tuesday.  I think it will work out, too.

He had a great and competent nurse last night and so I finally feel comfortable leaving him alone tonight.  Pray that it goes well.  I'm sure it will.  Mihiretu is having a really hard time.  Katie said she has never seen him so sad.  She and De didn't come down to the hospital yesterday and spent the day with the boys.  Mihiretu followed her around everywhere she went, even lying down outside the bathroom door when she had to go in there.  She found him at one point lying in his bed with his head buried in his pillow, ready to cry.  She didn't have the heart to take a shower and leave him for that long, so she skipped it and just cuddled with him.  So I need to go home tonight and spend time with them both.  

I am so thankful for a good nurse so I can do that.  She'll have him again tonight.

Blaine's eyes are much better and he hasn't had to wear the patch at all!!  The swelling in the brain must be going down.

He's come a very long way in a short time.  He has a way to go but we know that God will get him there.  

Blaine's Aunt came yesterday to care for the boys.  We sure appreciate her and the stability she'll bring them.  She said she'd stay the next week if we needed her to.  So we'll see how it goes.  I will sleep at home from now on and come here during the days.

Thank you for your continued prayers!  They have been effective!!!

Blaine and Laura

Friday, July 10, 2009

1/2 in a million

Blaine had a good day today.  Physical therapy and occupational therapy kept him busy and made him exhausted.  But it was good.  They have an amazing gym here for rehab.  It it huge and actually has a real car in it, a mock city bus, grocery store with fake food, a kitchen, stairs, a long patch of gravel and uneven grassy surfaces...all for practicing on.  He did well.

He's pushing to get out of here by Tuesday next week.  The therapists are done with their evaluation of him and have a team meeting on Monday to determine their course of action and how long he should stay.  Jenny talked to his P.T. and she is recommending based on her eval today that he should stay 7-10 more days.  Of course, Blaine is not at all happy or satisfied with this.  He's pretty insistent and I don't think he'll take no for an answer.  

His neurologist saw him tonight and is amazed.  A direct quote, "You have surpassed all expectations at this point."  That is all God!  We have prayed for a miracle recovery and He has done it.  Thank you,  Jesus.

I don't have time to elaborate on this but I have a new perspective on all of this that has happened.  A couple posts ago, I sounded what's around the corner.  Dave B., our friend and a pastor at our church gave me something to think about.  He reminded me about the life of Joseph of the Old Testament.  He's always been up there with my all time favorite Bible characters.  Anyway, the told me that there is never anything bad or negative written about Joseph in the Bible.  It doesn't say, "Joseph needed to learn patience so God sent him down to Egypt to learn some." or "Joseph was an unforgiving man so God had his brothers betray him in order for him to learn to forgive them."

I have been sort of beating myself up trying to figure out what we needed to learn since all these crazy things keep happening.  I thought that I must be such a stubborn person since I keep having to re-live hard times.  

Dave told us that that is not always the case and the reminder of the story of Joseph convinced me.  Other people have told me that but Dave pointed out a case in scripture and in that you can't go wrong!  

So even though we still do believe that Satan has tried to stop our adoptions, I am convinced that God allows only what He chooses and it's all for to display his glory or for the greater good of others.  I guess you can't have one without the other.  

So that's my change of perspective.  I went home yesterday to get a shower and had a CD on in my car.  The song goes like this:

"Healing rain is falling down,
healing rain is falling down.
I'm not afraid, 
I'm not afraid."

It repeats over and over.  I heard the Lord telling me that He is sending healing to Blaine and I don't need to fear what might come our way in the future.  

So I am no longer afraid...I shouldn't have been before.  I know better.  God tells us in the Bible so many times not to fear.  I guess I let our circumstances get the better of me.

So my husband was told that the chances of this happening to a person is 1/2 in a million.  I always thought he was 1 in a million!

I love him so much!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

My 3 pirates

This picture was taken last night when the boys came up to visit Dad. Since Blaine has to wear the eye patch because of his double vision, we decided to beg 2 more patches from the nurses so the boys would not see this as scary, but fun. Arrrrrrggggghhhhhh!


We moved

Blaine was moved over this morning to Sister Kenny.  He didn't get physical therapy at the hospital this morning because they thought it might be too much and hopefully he'll get it here this afternoon, if they have an opening available.

He is doing SO much better today.  Even the doctors who see him each day are so amazed at his progress...all the glory goes to God for this!  

He only needs a little bit of assistance with balance when he transfers from wheelchair to bed or wherever.  He thinks he can do it on his own and has been identified as what they call "a high risk for falls."  Clearly interpreted this means, "Stubborn guy wants to do things that he's not quite ready for all by himself."  He is close and honestly, given another day, will be able to do these things by himself if he continues to progress like he is.

The infectious disease doctor saw him a little bit ago and said it still looks like a contaminated culture in regards to the bad staph.  Nothing really adds up otherwise.  Apparently, the lab does have more of Blaine's cerebral spinal fluid and will reculture it.  Praise the Lord for this!!  He thinks Blaine is doing at least 50% improved over yesterday and yesterday he thinks he was 75% improved.  Add that up, won't you!!!  He predicts he'll be out of here by Tuesday next week.

One of the staff talked to me before we came over. She asked me if I'd been staying every night at the hospital and I told her yes and that Blaine had had such a bad experience at HCMC ICU when he was there.  She was so kind and caring to me.  She told me she'd be right back after she checked on something.  (There are no private rooms here at Sister Kenny) When she came back she told me that I'd be allowed to stay overnight so I would be comfortable with the situation and make sure I felt it was safe.  So Blaine right now doesn't have a roommate...except for me! So I'll stay tonight and we'll see.

My wonderful friends (Lisa, Denise and Kim) went last night to Let's Dish and prepared 12 great meals that now are sitting in our freezer to be used when we need them.  I am so grateful and will continue to need some help, I'm guessing through the middle or end of next week.  

Thanks so much to our family, our face to face friends and my blog friends for all the prayers and support.  Please don't quit.  We still need them.  We love you!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Overall Blaine had a very good day.  He walked well at physical therapy today.  Jenny was amazed how much better he did than he did yesterday.  The doctors are amazed at his progress, too.  We are so thankful for all of this.

We did have a little hiccup today, however.  The infectious disease dr. came in today and was perplexed about the results of Blaine's spinal fluid culture.  To keep it simple, the culture grew staph.  There are 2 types of staph, let's just call them good and bad.  Blaine grew bad. 

The reason the dr. is so perplexed about this is because if the really had bad staph in his spinal fluid, he'd be very sick with headaches, fever, etc. and he's not at all.  Secondly, when they looked at the white blood cells in his spinal fluid, there were only the kind of WBC's that are found when you have good staph.  They type that are always there when you have bad staph weren't in his spinal fluid.

He wonders if there was an error in the lab and they are doing some checking to uncover this. So please, please pray that they find that it was an error.  They did do some blood cultures today to see if there might be any staph in that to help figure it out.  

They might have to re-do the spinal tap to re-check it.  We really don't want this, obviously.

If it is positive for the bad staph, they'd have to put in a pic line and 2 weeks of IV antibiotics, which we really don't want!!  

So you know the drill...pray!!

He has a place at Sister Kenny and probably will move there tomorrow.  Praise the Lord!!  Can't remember if we knew that this morning when I posted last.

Laura and Blaine 

This is the day that the Lord has made

God brought this verse to my mind at 4 this morning.  The verse quickly turned into the song. Not the American version but the Ethiopian kid version.  Anyone who has adopted an older child from Ethiopia will recognize this:

Zeess is zee dee,
Zeess is zee dee,
Zat zee Lord haas meed,
Zat zee Lord haas meed.
I will lejoice (rejoice),
I will lejoice,
and be glaad een eet,
and be glaad een eet.
Zees is zee dee zat zee Lord haas meed,
I will lejoice and be glaad een eet.
Zees is zee dee (HAY!)
Zees is zee dee zat zee Lord haas meed!

Sorry, but it just keeps playing over and over in my head.  When Mihiretu came home he sang that just like that.  I love it!!

I though I'd try to update this morning and again tonight.  By evening, I'm so pooped I'm not sure I'm making any sense.

Blaine had a great night.  He is so much stronger now.  He can turn over by himself and did a couple times last night.  At one point he called to me, saying, "Look!"  I looked over to find him on his hands and knees in bed.  He couldn't do anything close to that before.  His leg strength is so much better and control, too.  This morning he can pick up both legs straight from the bed and also bending at the knee.  He feels the numbness subsiding somewhat today.  

The steroids are working but the glory goes to the Lord!  He is the One who ultimately brings healing.  Blaine's spirits are so much better and he's joking around.  I was forced to chuck a pillow at him this morning for a comment he made to me, if that tells you anything.  He laughed and laughed!

The main thing that is bothering him right now is his double vision.  He actually sees 2 complete, separate images.  He sees 2 of me.  Sometimes I wish there were 2 of me!  He told me yesterday, pointing at me and me part 2, "Which one is you, this one or this one?  Hmm, (Pointing to the real me) I think it's this one."

I asked him how he could tell (cause he was correct).  He said, "The other one is a little taller and fatter."  Man, did I laugh at that one!

He has to wear an eye patch so because if he covers up one eye, he doesn't see double.  He's sick of wearing it.  He also is kind of cross eyed.  All of this is from the swelling in the brain.  It will go away but he's asking for prayer for this.  Actually, this morning it looks a little better and now he says he only is seeing 1 and 1/2, not double.  So improvement again!

We talked last night about the adoption.  We are about 1/2 way through our home study right now.  He wants me to call them and tell them we won't be able to make the class on July 13 but we will be at the August class and that we are 4 weeks behind and will get back on track then.  I told him this was courageous and full of faith after all that's happened.  He said, "What else can the devil do to us?"  

He can do a lot.  I would never want to mess with him or taunt him.  It's not a joke as we have seen.  So even more we ask you to pray for protection for us, each one of us.  

We know that God will be victorious in the end but Satan can really mess things up in the meantime.  So please put us on your prayer list and pray for us every day until we get our daughter home.

BTW, Blaine tells me, "1 week...1 week at Sister Kenny is my goal."

Somehow I believe him.

Thank you and keep praying!

This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!!!"

Laura and Blaine

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Emotional rollercoaster day

This has been a really tough day (not all in a bad way).  Blaine had a good night last night and slept well.  He really didn't notice any further improvement this morning.  His legs seemed the same and the numb feeling was still at the same point in at his stomach.

We saw the infectious disease dr. again today who still feels Blaine had the swine flu and that it is the cause of this.  It is an unusual reaction for the swine flu so if you get it, please don't worry!  Any virus can do this...creepy, huh?

When the neurologist came in, she examined him and told us that she would like the rehab. dr. to come into see Blaine.  She is recommending that he go to Sister Kenny Institute for inpatient rehab and that he'd be there for weeks.

This really hit me hard because I thought we'd be coming home on Friday.  It's hard to be apart as a family so I was looking forward to being at our 'home away from home' soon.  I don't know how to do it all.  

Some of you remember that after the car accident almost 4 years ago now that after 11 hours of surgery to rebuild his face and femur, he spent a night in ICU.  They wouldn't let me stay with him and I though, "if every he will be fine without me in a hospital, it will be in ICU where he'll get great care."  He ended up being ignored by his nurse all night and actually thought he was going to die.  It was a horrible experience for him and I promised him that I would NEVER again leave him in a hospital.  

But I also know that I cannot stay away from my children for weeks and weeks.  I have to give up my control over that issue and trust that everything will be fine when I can't be there.  The dr. reminded me that when he had this bad experience, he could not communicate because he had a tracheotomy and now he can communicate.  True.  But I still don't like it.

I left the hospital (Jenny was here) to go meet with our builder about an issue on the house.  While I was gone, I realized that God seems to be working on my wanting to control.  I really don't think I'm a big control freak, but I do like to do things the way I think is best.  I guess that's a control freak!  

So as more control drips away from me, I need to put my whole trust in the only One who is completely trust-worthy.  

My plan now is that I will be staying with Blaine until he leaves the hospital and goes to Sister Kenny.  I will spend the day with him then and come home for dinner with our kids.  I'll sleep at home with the boys and after breakfast leave the boys for the day in the care of someone yet to be determined.  They are having a hard time, at least Misganaw is and I knew he would.  He doesn't adjust well to big changes at all.

My heart is broken for them as they must yet again undergo a huge transition.  Pray that they will not regress at all.

Sister Kenny is very well known for their excellent, cutting edge rehab.  This is the very best place for him.  He will receive 15 hours of therapy each week.  The rehab dr. thought he'd be there no more than 3 weeks, not as long as I thought it would be.  

Blaine went to physical therapy today and Jenny went with him while I was away.  She has been a tremendous help as she is a physical therapy assistant and really knows her stuff.  Blaine was up at the parallel bars and was told to walk and couldn't move his feet at all.  He was greatly discouraged and broke down.  I'm sure he is in shock because he's such a strong and capable man and he's been reduced to this.  

The physical therapist had to push his feet along but by the end of the hour, he managed to move his feet all by himself from one end of the parallel bar to the other!!!  Amazing, really!!  In just one hour.  Just think what they will do for him at Sister Kenny.  

It is usually very difficult to get a spot at Sister Kenny due to their excellent reputation, but Blaine's in!  Praise God for directing us to this hospital and opening up a spot for Blaine in rehab!

He is stronger today and was able to sit up by himself and not tip over.  He couldn't do this yesterday.  So there is progress.

We thank you so much for all your prayers.  Please, please don't quit!!  We still need them.

Thank you for your kind comments and emails.  You have no idea how much they mean to me.

We love you,

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wow, were do I start?  We've been on yet another huge roller coaster in the past few days.

I'll spare the details as much as possible but for some I'll say too much.  Sorry.

As Katie said in her previous post, we left the cabin yesterday morning and came straight to Abbott NW Hospital.  Blaine could not walk or stand at all.  From mid chest down, he was numb and his muscles wouldn't work.  They were amazing at the ER.  After an MRI was done, they admitted him up to the neurology floor.

The MRI showed that there was a demyelinating process taking place in Blaine's spinal cord. This means that the myelin sheath that insulates the spinal cord was decreasing (not sure if this is the best word) but you get it.  The neurologist did a very thorough exam on him and attempted to do a spinal tap but didn't succeed.  He gave us a preliminary diagnosis of transverse myelitis based on what info he had.  He told us that if Blaine was younger and got this, he'd have a better than 50% chance of a full recovery.  But Blaine was not young so you can figure that one out.  He is a great doctor and extremely knowlegeable and had a great deal of input.  Some friends came up and we all prayed with and for Blaine.  It was so encouraging!  He ordered 1,000mgs of steroids to be given once a day to him IV.  During that night, he found he could lift his legs much better than he could earlier.  Praise the Lord!!! Some improvement already.

He got a new neurologist this morning and for the week, handpicked by the previous doctor. She came in to see him and examine him today.  She re-diagnosed him with acute demyelinating encephymyelitis.  (forgive the spelling...little sleep)  ADEM involves more of the central nervous system than the transverse myelitis.  Blaine's entire spinal cord (front part, not the back) and the lower part of his brain are involved.  They are inflamed so the steroids are to take the inflammation down.  

When he woke up he also noticed that the numbness and 'weird feeling' had moved down from the level of his mid chest to his belly button.  More good news!!

The new neurologist told us that the ADEM is reversable and she thought he could have a very good chance of recovery.  I asked her, "So you think this is reversable???"  "Yes."

"Completely reversable???" 


I cried in the hallway.

She said that she had just told Blaine, "Don't change your plans."

The new neurologist later came in and gave us the preliminary results of the spinal tap.  She was surprised to find that he had 230 white blood cells in it.  She would have thought it would have been less than 100 if it was ADEM.  She told us that the infectious disease dr. would be coming into see us.

He did and asked Blaine a lot of questions and the long and the short of it is that he believes Blaine had H1N1 (swine flu) when he was sick last week.  He also believes Blake had it and that he gave it to all his wonderful friends who when he was so sick, took pity on him and came to play x-box with him and each one soon fell ill.  He believes that the diagnosis is still ADEM but the cause of the ugly virus is H1N1.

Hoping this all makes sense.

We have done a lot of soul searching these past few days.  We came to one conclusion.  

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

This is yet another spiritual battle we are in and the attack is aimed at Blaine this time.  The first time it was Blake (when we were adopting the boys 3 years ago), the house in April when we had the fire (which of course attacked all of us when we were beginning the adoption this time) and now Blaine (who was going to have his medical form for the home study signed this morning by his dr at a check up to say he was healthy and capable of parenting a child).  Instead we are here.

What does this all mean?  

It means that we wait on God's timing.  We were told that recovery would take 1-6 months. I'm betting on 1!  We'll continue when he's well enough to have that form signed legitimately.  

It has been so scary.  Katie is right.  It is unreal to see your knight in shining armor who can do anything and everything (and does) unable to sit up alone, move his legs, let alone walk or stand up.  Not knowing if he ever would is the scariest thing of all.  

We've been doing a lot of praying.  God is faithful.  He loves us and cares for us.  He walks beside us.  

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Katie: Please Pray for my dad.

This is Katie posting this time. I have never done this before but my mom asked me to say a few things. Everyone knows we went to the cabin for a nice vacation and break...well, it didn't exactly turn out the way we planned. No surprise to me, God seems to change up our plans in pretty dramatic ways. Anyway, over the week my dad developed more problems with this horrible cold that he already had. (or whatever you want to call it) His joints started killing him, his neck and back were causing a ton of pain, he couldn't go to the bathroom, and yesterday his muscles and joints in his legs started locking up, so he could no longer walk. Blake, his friend Jake, and my boyfriend Desean had to carry him to bed or the car or whatever he needed. He did go to the hospital in Grand Rapids but from what i have heard, the nurses there wouldn't listen to a thing my mom said. Thankfully they did help with one thing! They hooked him up to a catheter and they pumped out 1000 cc's. I don't know if thats how you say it but i do know thats a lot of pee!
It only got worse in the morning. By this time, he couldn't even lift his legs up a couple of inches. We rushed out of the cabin straight for the hospital in Minneapolis. They took him straight in and to this min they are still trying to find out what is causing it. From what i know, it has to do with his spine and the nerves. I don't know what the chances of it being completely healed from this or not, only God does. He is in control of all of this.

This is extremely hard on me to see my dad in the hospital once again, completely helpless. He's Blaine E****! He can do almost anything and everything in my eyes. To see him not be able to life his one leg in the air is heartbreaking.

I almost forgot! One of the hormones that he was on called levaquin, could be the cause of this. At the cabin, my mom looked on the computer at the side effects and my dad had pretty much everyone. A lot of people wrote in on how it has effected them for life. Scary!!

Please keep my dad and my family in your prayers. We will continue to keep looking forward and trust that God has a plan for us.

(Sorry for all my grammar and spelling mistakes! I'm not so good at this stuff...)