Thursday, December 18, 2008

On Tuesday of this week, Stephen had a doctors appointment with the doctor that saved his life (Dr Ritchie) when he had his massive heart attack. I was rather amused that Stephen does not remember ever meeting Dr Ritchie. Dr Ritchie was amused that Steve was asking him all kinds of questions trying to verify that he indeed did have a heart attack. Steve said over and over again, if this is what it means to come that close to death, it's not that bad. After his appointment with the cardiologist, Steve talked all the way home about how surreal it all seems. Like he never really did have a heart attack, that everyone over reacted to him and that he was just fine. I remember when I was told that I had cancer while pregnant with Stephanie - to this day. . . I'm not really sure that I did - I think that whole dramatic episode in my life was just a bunch of doctors over reacting. Isn't if funny how our minds work. Perhaps that is God's way of encouraging us to continue to run the race. Somehow you just "get through" with confidence, peace and stupidity!

Dr. Ritchie once again affirmed the fact that Steve could now do whatever he felt like doing. (I have noticed that Stephen doesn't "feel" like doing too much yet). There was nothing that could harm him - he was not going to have another heart attack - so I need to let him go. I think I am doing better at letting him go . . . well, at least until I see his shoulders sag and a slow step, then I take on my stubborn obstinate wife role that will not take "no" for an answer. Steve comes home and right to his Lazyboy chair! The therapist told us that it would take 4-6 months before Steve would feel like himself again.

As you can tell, our life is very normal again. When I look to see how many people are still looking at the blog, I am overwhelmed that over 100 people still read it a day. I honestly have to say that you have been my strength and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers, your care and support. I am going to discontinue the blog as the holidays approach. We do wish you a lovely HOLYday. Take the time to read Luke 2 with your families. Spend time with your friends. Make many sweet memories. Remember your childhood and let the joy of everything that you see, you touch, you smell, you taste and that you hear consume you this season. I have learned once again that life is beautiful -- Thank you for being a part of our life -

It is rather sad to discontinue this blog - for when I write in it, I feel like I am talking to each one of you and loving you with all my heart. God bless you. Jayna

Monday, December 15, 2008

Steve's First Sermon

Steve was flying on cloud 9 after worship services yesterday. He was supposed to preach on the Christian symbol (Chrismon) of the harp. However, for his first sermon back after his surgery and knowing all of the death, loss of job, catastrophe's, financial worries, cancer, sickness, heart, and family dynamics going on in our church, he decided to preach where he left off before the heart attack. The Sunday before his hospital experience Steve had preached on soaring with wings of eagles. This Sunday, however, he took that Scripture passage where the prophet Isaiah penned the words "Those who wait upon the Lord....shall soar with wings of eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint." Ending the sermon with sometimes God meets us not with the ectasy of soaring, or the empowerment of running/perserverance...but just to walk and not faint is everything - God is there. It was a very powerful sermon in my estimation - especially in light of everything going on in our life.

After Steve preached 2 sermons, went to Sunday School, he came home for 10 minutes and the telephone rang - so, to the hospital we ran as we watched Bill White's mother slip quietly into heaven. When we finally did get home, Steve was exhausted and in quite a bit of pain. But, he was happy. He stayed home and sat quietly in his chair for the rest of the day. Jayna ran to church for a couple of hours during that time frame, where Steve said "all I did was answer telephones"!

This morning Steve took it easy until 9:30 a.m. - now he has left to go to church. This is the first time he has left me home alone since the heart attack. In some ways it seems like life is back to some semblance of normality - and in other ways my heart is frozen with fear. I have noticed over the last week that I have been very emotional letting Steve go back to work. I have silent tears down my cheeks all the time - I don't really feel sad, I just cry. Trying to analyze myself I assume that I have some fear in letting Steve go back to work so soon. I fear alot. I know the Bible tells me to "fear not, for I am with you ....be not dismayed for I AM your God." I know this in my head, but my heart still fears. I try to rest on the fact the I have placed my trust in the Lord God, I know I have given this man I love to the Lord and to His work - boy . . . another thing to ponder. . . perhaps this is what it means to "walk and not faint" . . . . .

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

He must be feeling better, but I'm not

This very first week back at work Stephen has done remarkably well. I have actually been surprised that he is keeping up as well as he is. I thought he would go into work for a couple of hours and come home exhausted and fall asleep in his chair for the rest of the day. However, that has not been the case. Monday was a very very busy day as he met with the Finance committee most of the morning to determine how we were going to hold costs down and cut the budget to reflect a 0% increase. He went for coffee with a pastor friend that needed to talk. Steve also went to the Pastor Parish Relations committee meeting that night.

Tuesday was spent filling out paperwork for Rehab at Howard Hospital. (It looks like they want Steve to participate in rehabilitation on Monday, Wed and Fri for 6-8 weeks.) He continued to work on finances and to top of the evening we went out to eat with some friends.

Wednesday Steve met with the Pastors in the Kokomo cluster group and spent many, many hours (at least 6) working on balancing/cutting the budget until he was satisfied with the bottom line.

Today he spent working on his sermon for this coming Sunday. Yes, that is right, Steve is preaching this week. I wonder how he is going to do getting behind the pulpit after such an ordeal in his life. I can only imagine that he will look out over his congregation and begin weeping - for joy of being alive - for joy of still being useful for the Lord - and for joy of the overwhelming gratitude of all the prayers/support he has felt from this body of Christ.

I do have to admit that allowing Steve to get back into the swing of things has not been as easy for me as it has been for Steve. I struggle with the fact that Dr Coffey said that Steve could do whatever he feels like doing. Perhaps my stress is related more to the fact that I am not ready for him to go back to work so fast. Perhaps I am still "mothering" him or something. Perhaps my heart still fears that he will have another heart attack and I will loose him. I cannot set him free so quickly. I still want him to rest. I still want him to be home stress-free.

I am insisting that Steve take tomorrow off completely of which he has agreed to comply. I think we will sleep in late and wrap Christmas presents!

PS: I just read this post to Steve and he said "wow, it sounds like I'm doing better than I feel!" Ha.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's December 5th!

Well, this is the magic day - the day that Steve meets with his surgeon, Dr. Coffey, in Indianapolis! Neither of us slept last night. Stephen was coughing so much it kept both of us awake. We finally went downstairs and settled Steve back in the Lazyboy chair around 12:30 a.m., and at 4:00 we both were awake by his coughing. We couldn't go back to sleep. We got to Methodist Hospital an hour early. Dr. Coffey was very impressed with Steve's progression and healing process. Everything checked out fabulously - except for the bad cough. Steve is now on an antibiotic and some cough medications. It seems that Steve doesn't tolerate the cold weather as his lungs were "irritated" from the respirator/surgery. He just needs to keep his face covered while he is outside.

Dr Coffey has released Steve to Dr. Ritchie in Kokomo. We don't ever have to see Dr. Coffey again. That is kind of sad - Dr. Coffey was a really nice Christian man. Steve was delighted when the doctor released him to go back to work. Dr Coffey teased Stephen that he can now preach some "light" sermons (because he still can't lift more than 10 pounds). Steve can also drive and go back to work. Psychologically he feels like a new man just being able to care for himself.

We ventured out to our first real "social engagement" tonight to the District Christmas party at St Lukes UMC. We were there about 1 hour before Steve started asking for a pain pill. 20 minutes later he was ready to go home. Tomorrow we plan on staying pretty quiet and allow the antiobiotic to take affect. Then on Sunday we are hoping to go to church together for the first time since October 20th. Monday Steve will go into work.

Going back to work! I don't think our expectations are too high. We both know that Steve wears out very fast. I guess the only way we will know is to just let him get out there and see what he can tolerate. I don't think he will work full days. Tuesday of this week Steve begins rehab at Howard Hospital. We don't have a clue what that means. We have heard that rehab is exhausting - we have also heard that it is a waste of time. He was told however, that he must go to rehab every day Monday through Friday until - - whenever they feel he is "rehab-ed".

All in all it was a very good day. Psychologically we are elated at the fact that Steve is "well enough" to go back to work!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I've been singing a song all day long. I don't really know the song, except for a few words: "Mamma said their'd be days like this, there'd be days like this my mamma said . . . " Well, "mamma" didn't tell me their'd be days like this but the doctors and nurses told us that some days would be good and some days would be bad. Stephen had developed a cough a couple of days ago, but nothing too terrible. He went to Ad Council meeting on Monday night (still coughing, but figuring that the cough was a "side effect" to some of the medications that he is taking). Tuesday and Wednesday he didn't even bother to get dressed he was feeling so terrible. I can only imagine how it feels to cough right after open heart surgery. Not only is he coughing all night long . . . he also has the stomach flu. He is back to sleeping in his Lazyboy chair again and I'm on the couch.

Steve goes to the surgeon on Friday morning of this week. Hopefully the surgeon will release him to drive and go back to work some. I think however we are realizing the going back to work is a very loose phrase.

I have been struggling with my feelings and emotions this week . I have become a very "doting" wife that is not sure she wants her spouse to go back to work. There has been something very sweet about taking care of Steve. Something sweet about having him home. I really hate to give him back to his work - I have rather enjoyed having him around, listening to him, dreaming with him, cuddling up on the couch and sitting quietly by his side. As soon as Steve goes back to work, routine will settle in and the closeness, beauty, and cherishing each other's life will turn into the rat-race of living once again. There is not one moment that I don't think about the fact that "I almost lost" him. It rather depresses me to let our life go back to the every day stresses of deadlines, meetings, responsibility and work.

Oh well . . . I guess letting him go back to work is better than having to accept disability insurance. Anyway . . . we really don't have a clue what Steve will be like when begins rehabilitation - he may be home more than at work for quite a few weeks yet.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving is now over. . . my mind wonders how the homeless dinner went at church. It's so very hard to want to be "everywhere" and experience "everything" and your world consists of 2800 Rockford Lane. I can only imagine the frustration of being "shut-in" and not able to get out any more at all. I know that one day, Steve will be healed and our life will take on some semblance of normality. But, I know of so many people who cannot get out anymore. And, I think of thier spouses that are taking care of them. We call them on the telephone or visit them for 15-20 minutes. I'm not sure that is enough. There is something that goes on in my "shut-in" mind that makes me unsettled, or a little depressed. I cannot be doing what I always was able to do - even as the caregiver. I don't feel productive. I also get frustrated that I want to do things and volunteer to do them, then I am not able to follow through with the task because of the great demands at home, or feelings of being completely overwhelmed.

I know that God uses every experience to "grow" us into more fully developed followers of Jesus Christ. I pray that my compassion has increased for all the people who are confined to their home - and thier caregivers as well. Isn't it funny - you can hear things a thousand times, but until you actually experience it, you never fully understand. Our shut-ins need us. . . I will ponder how to "care" for these friends. Perhaps there is a new ministry for me through this experience.

We went to Steve's parents in South Bend Indiana for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a quiet, small affair - which was what we both needed. Today, however, Steve has a "cough" - for all of you who have had any kind of surgery, you know that "coughing" is not a pleasant thing. He also had a fever last night, so I am keeping him home. Our son and his family are coming for dinner tonight. That will be nice. Blessings on your day today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Shopping

Steve says that it is rather hard to wake up to a morning without having any purpose for that day other than sit, eat and sleep. I wanted to run to the mall in Indianapolis to get a couple of things to complete my Christmas shopping, so Steve asked to go with me. Steve started with gusto and lots of excitement as he got out of the car, walked in the front entrance to the Castleton Mall - walked into two stores for a quick purchase, then he started slumping over, then asked for a couple of pain pills, then about 10 minutes into our shopping experience, he begged to go to the car.

Since he was so tired, I took him to PF Chang's for a sit-down lunch. He had a hard time keeping his eyes open, but did enjoy sharing a meal with me. He said that he was feeling better after eating a little, so we walked into the Fashion Square mall. The hostess at Williams and Sonoma offered Steve an expresso. He said that he didn't drink coffee -whereas she said, well, you should, you sure are dragging! Of course I cut my Christmas shopping to take Steve home. As I turned the car toward Kokomo Steve begged to go to our son's house so he could lay down on the couch for a little bit before the long ride home. . . well, the "little bit" ended up being a 5 hour nap.

Today Steve was wiped out. He has been depressed that he is not bouncing back as fast as he would like. I keep telling him that it has only been 3 weeks since surgery, but he thinks that he should be doing better by now. December 5th is still the "Magic" date that he thinks he will be back in the saddle again - - today, he questioned that date for the first time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Life certainly is picking up pace for us - at least it did this weekend. Jayna's family came to Kokomo for Thanksgiving dinner. Steve did pretty well holding up through all that activity. We also watched the grandchildren on Saturday while our son and his wife went to the Notre Dame football game in South Bend IN. (Now, the grandkids wore Steve out more than the Thanksgiving dinner.) Jayna spent about 30+ hours working on the animated light show that Grace UMC will be debuting this next Saturday. AND... Steve's parents spent the night lastnight (Saturday) to spend some time with him on their way home from Branson Missouri.

We were hoping that Steve would be able to come to church today for the first time, but after such a busy day on Saturday, he was way to exhausted. I wanted to worship with Steve today so we "watched" church on the television. As it is our "pastoral" custom, we ususally participate in worship with our congregation and "watching" it just didn't "do it" for us. I am so thankful for a church body that loves the Lord and joins with our spirits to worship and participate together in adoration of our Lord. Participatory worship is a very valuable, precious, joyous thing. I sat there watching the television this morning thinking about what I would be doing if I were in church. . . . I would be processing with the choir - singing out without using my hymnal because the hymn is so familiar. I would catch the eye of 3-4 special people and sneak a little wave or wink as I pass them. Then I would look up in the balcony and smile at the 2-3 people that ususally catch my eye and smile back. I could hear Larry Newburgs beautiful pastoral prayer and smile as Phyllis Jean Smith came to kneel at the altar on behalf of her congregation. I could hear Pastor Chris talk about being thankful (I'm sure Pastor Chris' sermon was excellent for he is a very good speaker). Then, after church I would give (and get) lots of hugs and hear what is going on in the lives of our friends.

That didn't happen for us today by "watching" television. No one winked or smiled at me - I heard a pastoral prayer, but it wasn't delivered from my very own Larry Newburg - I didn't see anyone come to the altar - and the sermon this morning was "pre-recorded". I heard great music, but I really missed smiling at Barb Hobbs (our organist) after she knocked the offertory out of the ballpark. "Watching" worship, I missed all of the love, the joy, the comraderie, and the closeness that I feel when we come together and look into each others eyes to spur each other on for the week to come.

So, as Thanksgiving comes upon us and I was told that Pastor Chris asked us to tell someone in the church what they are thankful for - I am thankful for real, alive, warm, participatory worship with my friends. I am thankful for their smiles, their hugs, their support, their cards, they prayers, their love. Worship, now that is a real gift. Thank you, Lord.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Can Dec 5 get here soon enough?

I know it has been a couple of days since I've updated the blog - the truth is, we are pretty boring people in every day life! The last few days we have been up to . . . not much! Steve did venture out to the Men's Bible Study last night, and we have visited the church office a couple of times just to say "hi". We went one morning back to the hospital to have some tests. It seems that Steve has some fluid gathering around his heart, and they are keeping an eye on that. We also thought that Steve had developed a hernia where the doctor put in the heart pump, but that turned out to be excessive bruising. So, there you have it! The exciting journey of Steve and Jayna.

The greatest thing in our life right now is trying to keep Steve from going back to work. He has very wisely agreed to not go back to work until he meets with his Heart Surgeon on December 5th - which is 5 weeks after the heart surgery. I think he believes that Dec 5 is the magic date that he will feel good again and be able to go back to work. He has big dreams for returning back to work. I have loved watching Steve work through this entire "going back to work" issue in his life. He seems to live for that day.

I knew the day I married Steve that he had an incredible work ethic and the highest integrity of any man I knew. As I have listened to him and worked to understand his great obsession to get back to work, I am reminded once again why I love this man so: He loves the work that God has given him to do; He loves his "people" and wants to be a part of their journey; He wants to teach and preach again more than anything on the face of this earth; He wants to see the "light" turn on in the lives/eyes of his flock; He wants to be back in the pulpit and share the new things that God has been teaching him over the last month. And certainly not least, he feels the church is "paying" him to do a job and sitting in his big Lazyboy chair at home is not getting that job done.

As I watch Steve get stronger and stronger, I know that I truly embrace his actions/passion, love for the church or love for the work that Christ has given him to do. He needs to be with people. I know that when he actually does go back to work it won't be with as much "gusto" as he thinks he will have (He still sleeps half the day away) - but what he can do, he will do with joy. For Steve, December 5 cannot get here fast enough. For me, I'm happy to have him home all to myself for awhile longer, but, I will rejoice with him the day he gets to be back in the pulpit again.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not as Boring as I thought

Well, when I got up this morning, I thought this was going to be a very boring day - not much to look forward to, but God certainly took care of that for us. The telephone began ringing around 9:30 and the Lord brought all kinds of ministry my way this morning. Then, Stephen decided that he wanted to get a haircut, so we loaded him up in the car and off to the Barber shop. They didn't have any space until later in the afternoon, so we walked over to the church office to see everyone there. My, that office is a busy place! We decided to go out to lunch. Ah, this will be the big test to see if Steve can make good diet choices or bad ones??? Hummm....oh....not so good. Oh well, I have my work cut out for me!

We then came home, and Steve actually felt pretty strong, so he headed back to his office, then he began pacing the floor. For about 10-15 minutes he just paced with a very stern look on his face. I asked what he was thinking about and he said "a sermon" - I then said, woah, that must be a pretty sober sermon. Steve looked at me and very passionately started laying out the sermon he had on his heart, eyes full of tears and a strong glean in his eye he said "I guess God is not through with me yet - I'm still being inspired"! He has been moved all afternoon and not grown weary. . . or tired. I'm soaring on eagles' wings.

Graduated

Hey, Steve has graduated from sleeping in the Lazyboy chair to sleeping on the couch! When we bought the couch a couple of years ago, the biggest option the couch had to have was that we could both curl up on the sofa and take a Sunday afternoon nap. Crazy as it was, while shopping for the sofa, Steve would lay down on it with his head on one arm and I would lay with my head on the other arm. If the sofa could hold us comfortably, then it was considered. We found the perfect couch that I have affectionately called "my great sleeping couch". I have been sleeping on the couch alone since Steve's surgery, but last night . . . He got to stick his feet in my face and I certainly enjoyed every minute of smelling them all night long. We only got up once last night to get him some pain medication - and we didn't use the strong stuff, he took Extra-strength Tylenol. This morning, however, I took a couple of them myself - maybe my great "sleeping couch" wasn't quite perfect enough for two people to sleep all night long - in one position without being able to turn!

When I got home from church yesterday, Steve was in his home office working on sermons! Now, that is a big improvement. He has been saying for days now that he needs to work on sermons, but as soon as he begins, he either falls asleep, or he can't concentrate. It was nice to see him up, showered, dressed and in his office. It almost seemed like normal.

We had a pretty uneventful day yesterday. Steve did watch the Colts game while I cleaned the stove/oven. You know, I have dusted every day, mopped floors every day, vacumned every day, cleaned the downstairs bathroom every day - I am really looking for "active" things to do. I was even toying with the idea of putting up my Christmas decorations - just to give me something active to do. However, I know that in a few more days Steve might feel like helping and that would give him something to "do" while he is recuperating as well. So . . . I wait.

I don't have a clue what I can do today - I guess we'll start with fixing breakfast and see what the day brings. I certainly don't want to waste it - hummm... Okay, Lord, this day is yours - what are we going to do today?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bummer-

We have been doing so well - every day progressing almost perfectly, that is until last night. I was getting ready to go to Women's Bible Study and Steve had tremendous chest pain and had trouble breathing. Steve thought that he was having another heart attack. Only this time, he said it "felt" like a heart attack - it was painful. We called the cardiologist who seems to think that there is some swelling/fluid around the lining of the heart. We are to keep giving him the pain medication and encourage rest. I guess this happens sometimes, but it sure did scare us. We have been very quiet on this gloomy, rainy day.

Steve had a couple of friends from his Bible Study visit today. One friend just had prostate cancer surgery and the other friend is a heart transplant candidate. They both were such an encouragement and gave such helpful advice as both of them have had to make some drastic life-style changes. It is truly humbling as a person who is in much greater need than we offers prayers for healing and strength for "his brother". I "took a picture in my mind" of the beautiful moment of three men bowing before the Father praying for each other and lifting their lives as offerings. Powerful stuff!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

First Doctors Appt

We went to visit Stephen's internal doctor this morning. This was the first time we had met this doctor as Dr. Ritchey (Steve's new cardiologist) requested that Steve find an internal medicine doctor. The doctor was very surprised that Stephen looked so well after one week following open heart surgery. Steve left the office very encouraged. He has lost over 20 pounds already. His appetite is not very big yet, and he thinks that he really doesn't like salt-free; fat-free; cholesterol free; sugar free food. He jokingly tells everyone "if it tastes good, he can't have it"! I really disagree with him. The food that the church has been bringing over has been incredible.

After we went to the doctor, Steve didn't want to go back home, so we went over to the church office for a few minutes. He was very excited and seemed to enjoy being with people again. We stayed for about 15 minutes, then headed for home. As soon as he sat down in his chair, he was asleep - for 4 hours. Right before he fell asleep he was telling me that he felt like he could work an entire day now that he was getting stronger! Ha.

Friends and family are coming to visit now. That has really kept him busy and happy. We are rejoicing in every moment.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yesterday was very emotional for me as I walked into Grace UMC to worship. It overwhelmed me. I was rather surprised that I became so emotional. I have not been very weepy or emotional through the entire process. Oh, sometimes I would tear up, or struggle with controlling my thoughts, but emotion...I was pretty strong and matter of fact about the whole thing. Until...I walked into the house of the Lord. Then... well, I wanted to fall apart. As Iwalked into the church the hugs, the love and sympathy enveloped me. I quickly tried to find my seat thinking that perhaps I wouldn't have to face so many empathetic loving faces; perhaps that would help me get control of myself. I opened my bulletin hoping that people would see that I was "busy" and just give me a moment to get control of myself. Sitting there I looked over the bulletin and settled myself down - at least for awhile. The processional song of the morning began and I opened my mouth to sing "God Will Take Care of You". ...."through days of toil when heart doth fail, God will take care of you...when dangers fierce your path assail, God will take care of you." That did it, the tears began to roll. I know that God did take care of Stephen and I through this whole ordeal. I know that everyday He was with us, sustaining us, guiding us, helping us make right decisions, providing for us... and gratitude poured out of my soul, grasping to just be held safe in His arms. Someone put their arm around me. I was afraid that everyone was watching me. I wanted to escape the building, but then all of a sudden there was that peace again. Wonderful peace coming down from the Father above, sweeping over my spirit. I have always heard about God's peace but have never experienced it like we have over the last couple of weeks. Peace is a very powerful thing.

Perhaps now I understand how hard it must be to walk in the church after you have lost your loved ones. Is it the sanctuary of the Lord? Is it the sympathetic faces? Is it your grief? It's hard to tell. Perhaps it is all of them put together. But, I know now how hard it is to come back into the church after a crises in your life. I find it very interesting and something that I continue to ponder -


Steve continues to do very well. Every day we see marked improvement. He is having people come to visit him now and everyone says "how good he looks". . . and he does look great. He is getting stronger and "back to himself". He wants to get back to work probably sooner than I think would be good for him. Last evening we had a long talk about his health and the life-style changes that need to be made. I feel much better after talking "heart to heart" with him. He is taking alot of responsibility for his health, diet and exercise. I was afraid that I would have to be the "food police", or "exercise sargeant", but that is not the case. He is doing a great job of accessing his health. For that I am very grateful.

Today a group of women from the church are picking me up to take me to lunch. I am so excited to get out a little and just be "normal" again. They suggested going Christmas shopping after lunch - humm.... I guess Christmas is coming . . . a holiday I simply love . . . I wonder why I just don't feel like shopping/decorating/celebrating? Another thing to ponder . . .

Friday, November 7, 2008

Every day Stephen continues to get stronger - and a little more active. Yesterday his big undertaking was going for a walk outside. It was so beautiful yesterday. He walked 5 houses down and 5 houses back. Naturally it wiped him out for the rest of the day, but he said it felt wonderful to get out of the house for awhile. Today he wants to go for a ride in the car to see all the fall color in the trees, but it is already 3:00 pm and he just hasn't had the energy, or been awake long enough.

Steve's mother was here and kept an eye on Steve while I raked leaves, put away garden hoses, winterized the flower garden, winterized the outside of the house. It took me all day raking leaves, but with the strong winds we had yesterday as soon as I raked a section the winds would blow more leaves off of the trees. Today it doesn't look like I did a thing yesterday!

Mom Beutler left today as there really isn't much we can do for Steve other than wait. He really looks great. His coloring is good, he gets up and walks around really well, his exercises he does with ease (oh yes, he complains, but he can do it!). Every day I am more and more encouraged.

As Steve and I were talking last night about how we were processing this entire episode in our life, we both have commented on the great peace, the gentle strength, the calm assurance we felt over the last 2 weeks. We have always said that the greatest asset that we have had in our ministry was our children. When we came to Kokomo Grace UMC we were afraid that we "couldn't do it" without our children. As the heart attack unfolded and the children all came home to support, love, nurture and care for us, we humbly needed to admit once again that it was our children that gave us the most pride, joy, peace, assurance, and strength. The nurses, doctors, and caregivers all commented that we were the most laughing, giggling, singing, praying family they had ever seen. Dr. Coffey (Steve's surgeon) even commented that he loved coming to Steve's room because he always left laughing about something and he said to Steve: "you have some family here Mr Beutler". I don't know if that's good or bad! Ha.

To be a part of a family like mine
where love is shown and support divine
is the greatest gift in all the earth
giving joy and strength, and good self worth

we laugh, we cry, "we're all we've got"
if one is in need and the others are not
my family pulls through with comforting ways
sharing acts of compassion to help through the days

There are no words that express my joy
in this gift of two daughters and one single boy
who have taught us as parents the beauty of life
and made it worth living as husband and wife

This family is growing as "in-laws" appear
and blessings continue as troubles draw near
these spouses that married our children three
were all at the Throne on bended knee

they too were "my family" offering much needed strength
holding my hand - it seemed at great length
I bow to the Father with humble devotion
and Thank Him for every bit of commotion

Then too, I found that my family extended
to the body of Christ - we all became blended
you stood by my side with prayers galore
and loved us extravagantly . . . and then offered more

There is nothing more precious on the face of this earth
than people, or love, and the promise of birth
for birthing across my spirit tonight
is a fresh love for "family" with all of my might.

Okay, enough of this smaltzy stuff. Jeanne Harland wrote Steve a get well note that said something like: "I know that God said "okay, okay, enough prayer already, I'll do it, I'll do it!" Thanks family for your prayers - God did it! Hallelujah, Amen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Research, research, research . . . man, i didn't know there was so much to learn about food, nutrition, cholesterol, fats (saturated, trans, poly, mono), sodium, protein, and good or bad sugars. I keep telling my children as soon as I get them all together they are going to hear from me about heart healthy nutrition - as heart issues reign on both sides of the family. And as far as my church family goes, you should be very happy that I am not the "preacher" because you would definately get "preached" at as well.

One of my most vivid memories of the hospital stay was going to the hospital cafeteria after the health consultant met with Steve and I. She had just painted all kinds of horrible pictures (which grossed us out) about "fat" and how it destroys our arteries. Then I went to the cafeteria to purchase my lunch. I chose a salad with low-fat dressing and proceeded to the cashier. There in front of me was a gentleman with a big fat hamburger, french fries, Banana cream pie and a chocolate milkshake. You will never know how hard it was for me to keep my mouth shut! Since then I have mellowed out some because when I came home and someone had brought chocolate brownies and peanut butter cookies . . . I enjoyed every bite.

It doesn't take much to wear Steve out. Taking a shower was about all he got accomplished today. He talks about getting back to work as soon as possible. The doctors say that he is not to go back to work for about 6-8 weeks, however he has been on the telephone talking to other ministers who have had open heart surgery and he has convinced himself that after 4 weeks he will be back in the saddle again. Pastor Chris came to visit today and Steve "talked business" - oddly enough . . . that seemed to energize him.

A charming visiting nurse from Greentown came to visit today. She thought that Steve was really impressive. She was amazed that he opened the front door and greeted her this morning. It has only been 4 days since surgery. She talked to him about resting more and not pushing himself so hard. We picked up our dog today and they both seem very content to cuddle up in the Lazyboy. Since POOF has been home, Steve has settled down significantly.

Life is good - wasn't the day glorious. I walked outside today and the sun was shining on the beautiful red and yellow trees. The leaves were falling gracefully everywhere. I can't wait to get outside and rake them. Perhaps Mom will sit with Steve tomorrow and I can get out there and enjoy the season.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Long haul

Woah - what a day. It seems that Stephen always has alot of anxiety in the mornings. The pain medicines that he takes seem to make him hallucinate and have bad dreams that he thinks are real. This morning he was afraid that he was violent and had hit me. It scared him because it felt so real. As the morning progressed and we changed the pain medicine, he became less anxious.

Our neighbors, Jeff and Marla Stein, brought over lunch. Stephen hasn't been eating the hospital food very well, but Marla's beef and homemade noodles and my mother's baked apples prompted 2 helpings. Now mind you his helpings are about 1/8 cup, but nevertheless he really enjoyed lunch.

As my mom was here today, I ran some errands. One of my errands was to go to Maplecrest Elementary school and vote. I checked out the possiblity of bringing Stephen in to vote. They told me as soon as he got there, they would bring him to the front of the line. He was very proud of himself today as he got out of the house and honored his country.

We were both exhausted by 6:00 pm - so, I turned down the lights; lit candles; turned on the TV to watch the elections; put on pajamas/robe and got us all settled in for the night. Perhaps there will be some semblance of normality to our life tonight. Hopefully normality - my bet is that we will fall asleep and miss the whole lovely evening!

We're Home

Well, two weeks ago today Stephen had the massive heart attack and here I am sitting in our office at home thanking God for seeing us through the very dramatic events of the last couple of weeks.

We got home about 8:00 pm last evening. Jason came home with us to help get Steve in the house, settled and make sure he could climb the stairs. Steve got in the house fine and he climbed stairs beautifully (slowly, but beautifully). Jay stayed with his Dad while Jayna ran to the pharmacy to purchase all the new medications that Steve will now be on - Woah - Two weeks ago Steve took 2 pills, last night he took 10 pills. . . and I'm not even going to talk about what it cost!

The night was quite wakeful as Steve tried to sleep in his own bed - not so good, the Lazyboy chair that we bought from Grannys furniture last summer was the place of comfort - so about 4:30 this morning, we moved to the chair and he has been sleeping ever since. I know we were up about 15 times before the chair move, so he needs good sleep today.

I am hoping to keep things quiet around here for a few days. My mother is coming today to help me get groceries, laundry, clean out the refrigerator (you know 2 weeks with no one here - not a pretty sight). I will enjoy spending time with mom. Then Stephens mother is coming for awhile. She is helping with the elections today so it was nice that my mother voted early and could come to spend the day with me.

The kids are all home, Steve is home and my greatest nightmare of coming home alone was not a reality. I have great joy and the sun is shining. The trees are beautiful and someone came to the house and raked my leaves. God is so good that it brings tears to my eyes. If you see me and I cry - just know they are happy tears.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pondering

I have had alot of time to reflect on the last couple of weeks events and process all kinds of feelings, emotions and questions. I have also had the opportunity to meet many wonderful Christian people who are going through crises themselves. Hours of sitting in the waiting room you hear all kinds of pain and suffering.


We are so very fortunate. Ten days ago the doctors were talking with me about disability and life insurance - tonight they are talking about him going home on Monday or Tuesday. I know that God has laid a hand on Steve. I have seen the videos of his arteries and the damage to his heart. I know that oxygen was cut off to his heart for over 8 hours and that means dead heart tissue - imagine all that tissue regenerating itself - it is a miracle. God did touch him. I can't answer why God touched Stephen and others in the waiting room are suffering tonight - and they are believers as well. I find that I can only hold them in my arms and cry with them. I have spent hours listening to their pain - getting coffee for them - praying for them.


I have found it difficult to process why Steve is healed and others are not - I have also had a difficult time even saying "I know that God has laid his hand on Steve" - or "it was the prayers of the people" because there are other Christians here who are praying and thier loved one is not doing well at all. I see the pain in their eyes when I say we had a miracle. I know there were literally hundreds of prayers on Steve's behalf. I know you prayed and I believe that God heard your prayer and He was gracious.

People tell me that God's ways are not our ways. God knows when it is best for someone to live and someone to die. God will decide, so then I ask the question if that is the case then why pray The only thing that I can figure out in my mind is that I pray to know God's way; for God to reveal to me His thoughts, His will, and His timing. He tells me what and how to pray. As you prayed, God revealed to you what to pray for. Do you know what I noticed in each of the comments that came across the blog? You prayed for us to have strength. You prayed for healing; You prayed for peace; You prayed for safety; for us to feel loved. Do you know what we experienced through this ordeal? Steve talks about peace like he has never had before. Jayna talks about the love and support she has felt. The kids tell us that they knew God was with them in their travels and kept them safe. God did reveal to each of you exactly what to pray for - Healing was one of the components and I am so glad that God directed us to pray for healing - you know He could have directed us to pray for complete healing (which is death), but He did not. God gave each of us comfort. He brought everyone of us together as one in Christ - The power of prayer is not about going to God to be our own little genie that performs miracles and hallelujah for us we got the miracle- the power of prayer is about the minds/hearts/ spirits uniting as one to pray for God's will.

I am humbled and very grateful that God saw fit to bring Steve back to us. I also believe that God has something He wants Stephen, you and I to do on the face of this earth before He calls us home. God united us all in the name of His Son. It's going to be an exciting journey - at the rate that Steve is recovering - it's going to be quite the ride!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday November 1

Steve was up and out of bed by 7:00 for breakfast. This is the first time Steve has really eaten anything other than a soda cracker. He loved the fresh pineapple this morning. Every bite he commented on how good it tasted - and the hot tea was also a hit. Steve doesn't really like hot tea - but this morning it was "glorious"! Eating wore him out and he soon fell SOUND asleep.

The pain medication makes him have bad dreams - he woke up to Senator Pence killing all the bunnies on the Whitehouse lawn and there wasn't anything he could do to stop him. Of course I get a good laugh about it, but Steve was very serious and upset that I didn't have compassion for all the bunnies! I think he is still upset with me about it.


It has been quite the morning - the drainage tubes are out, the catheter is gone, the IV's are out. There are only two tubes in him now: The pump that actually places pain medicine all around the heart/incision to numb it, and the oxygen tube. Steve has had an EKG, Echocardiogram and Chest X-rays as well this morning. His involuntary muscle spasms/jerking has subsided as he has been working on breathing deeper and longer, and for that we are grateful.


By early afternoon we were out of the Intensive Critical Care Unit and into Steve's new room in the heart center. I can sit beside him all day long now. That seems to give him much comfort. Of course the move exhausted him. I simply couldn't wait to give him a hot sponge bath and get his teeth brushed. So as soon as he was settled from the move from Critical Care to Room # 3036, I got his sponge bath ready and came out of the bathroom with a big smile on my face. I was finally going to get to do something that would make Steve feel better - - only to find him once again SOUND asleep. So much for the bath.


3:00 pm - Oh, the joys of the little things. 25 steps to the bathroom - toothpaste, toothbrush, Ivory soap, a washcloth, a towel, a shave, some deodorant, a clean hospital gown - and wonder of wonders - finally a pair of pants! My advice to you - don't ever take putting on a pair of pants lightly because putting feet into two small holes after heart surgery is a real trick! Ha. Did I mention that Steve is SOUND asleep again?

It's been a good Day. Steve ate a very good dinner and of course is now SOUND asleep. I'm ready to be home and sleep in my own bed . . . oh well, I am counting my blessings and for tonight, those blessings lay in the bed beside me - in the complete joy of my family and through the strength of our friends. God is good - who needs a bed!

Recovering

Stephanie and I spent the night in the after surgery waiting room. The chairs were less than adequate for sleeping, but we managed to pull two chairs together and make it work. Jayna was in checking on Steve every hour or so. Really he did very well - the pain medicine kept him pretty sedated.

Yesterday flew by as we witnessed Stephen's initial recovery from open heart surgery. They did get him out of bed to sit in a chair. The nurse told him that they were going to get him out of bed 3 times today for about an hour each time he would sit. After they got him in his chair and he experienced the tremendous pain in the move, Steve suggested that he just sit there for 3 hours and forget the getting in and out. The nurse laughed and said - sure that was fine with her knowing full well that his suggestion was impossible. Steve was very funny as he sat there for the first 5 minutes saying "hey, this isn't half bad - I think I'm going to make it." Stephanie and I were very encouraged thinking "wow - Dad looks good". About 10 minutes into the "sit" - he couldn't focus, then nausea, then heaving, then shallow breathing, then begging to be put back to bed - 15 minutes into the experience! So much for three hours.

The second time did not go any better and the third - well, they decided to not even try. Stephen has begun having involuntary musclespasms and jerking. Last evening the doctor suggested that Stephen is not breathing deep enough, thus not getting enough oxygen. Steve is trying to be so strong and not a big baby so he has been refusing to take much pain medication. The nurses upped his pain medicine so he would breathe deeper. Hopefully that will help.

The day was long and quite boring. The family could only come in at 10:00; at 2:00 and at 7:00. So there was alot of sitting around with the realization that the rest of the stay would be similarly boring. We arranged a flight home (North Carolina) for Stephanie - she left around 8:30 last evening. Sara Jayne will be leaving in the morning for Jacksonville Florida. Sara is driving the entire way with 2 babies in the car - those of you who are praying for/with us, that is my prayer request for the day - for protection of this family while on the road. Jayna went to Jason's house for the night as they gave Steve a sedative to help him sleep.

It is now Saturday morning November 1. Dr. Coffey just came in and told us that they were going to remove his drainage tubes, catheter and some of his IV's. Later this morning they would remove him from ICU and put us in a room with more privacy and comforts. They even suggested that Steve would be walking around the ward some tonight.

I am very much aware that Stephen is on the mend. Please know that it has brought me great comfort just knowing that all of you were praying and keeping updated on Steve's progress. I'm sure from now on, it is just going to be the daily mundane routine of getting better. I promised the girls that I would keep this blog updated for them. I know the prayer request will be remain the same - just keep on praying for healing and strength. I'm doing great - I am sleeping well and gratefully watching Steve get stronger every moment.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I just came from being with Stephen in Critical Care. They let us go in about every 2 hours - so I got to see him at 2 and at 4 this morning. He is looking great and remembering details even before surgery. Today he is a little afraid of the pain. He keeps mentioning that he had great peace before the surgery, and this is the part he dreads and that scares him the most. Steve says over and over again that God certainly gave him peace before surgery and that his prayer is now for strength. So if you are praying for Steve - he needs strength today -

It has impressed me how very important it is for Steve to tell people that he loves them and how important they are to him. Whenever I tell him that I heard from someone, he asks if they know how much he loves them . . . then he tells me things about each and everyone that make them so special to him. That has been very precious to me - to hear his heart about the lives of the people who have touched his life. I am cherishing every moment.

Yesterday for some reason was very emotional for me. I cried all day - this morning I am still quite weepy, but have determination that we will get through this day and move one step closer to healing and getting him back home. They tell me that today will be the hardest. They are going to get him up in a chair this morning - and then he will be taking a walk around the ward this afternoon.

Again, thank you for your prayers. I am forever humbled Jayna

Thursday, October 30, 2008

To be continued 2

Steve has the breathing tube out of his throat and is now awake and able to talk to his family tonight. He completely "wiped out" each of his kids with his great words of love for them. When Jason and Kendra walked in the room Steve cried and begged them to just "hold my hand". When they said they were going to let him sleep, he said "just hold my hand a little longer...I love my kids...I'm so proud of you...."

Sara leaned over to kiss her father and he said "Oh, that is soooo good. That is what my life is all about. Don't quit".

Stephanie came breezing in the room and her daddy said "has anybody told you you're pretty?" and when she kissed him he said "one more...now another....one more". She got the giggles.

Kinsen was having trouble sleeping the night before the surgery. Jason told Steve that Kinsen was quite upset that Grandpa was sick. So, after Steve came out of the anesthesia he specifically told Jason to tell Kinsen that "Grandpa is just fine, he just got a new zipper".

We all had to laugh when his parents walked in the room and he said...."well I finally found my elephant" refering to the fact that he was totally confident that he was not having a heart attack because he always heard that a heart attack felt like an elephant sitting on your chest.

We are so encouraged that Steve is doing exceptionally well tonight. For some reason, however, the entire family is tearful.

to be continued...

Stephen slept very well last night. Probably the best he has slept since this whole ordeal began over a week ago. He attributes his great sleep to Jayna staying the night right beside him and holding his hand. He tells us all that he has peace and is not worried at all. Naturally his family has much more anxiety than he does.

At 4:15 the surgery team came in to get Steve prepped for surgery. He is still laughing and cracking jokes as they shave his chest and legs! The nurses are having him perform some kind of scrub on his chest that smells terrible. -- He just looked at me and winked with a dazzling smile. He sure looks relaxed. My heart screams to protect him from this whole ordeal and keep him safe - but they tell me I can't take him home without having this surgery.

to be continued......

10:15 am - Jason said that the family received word that everything is going well with Steve. The surgeon has completed the major portion of the procedure and they are beginning to prepare to close Steve up.

to be continued.....

10:45 am - The surgeon has came out to say surgery is completed. Everything went great and Steve is in recovery. Jayna will be able to see him in about 10-15 minutes.

to be continued.....

11:30 a.m. - Dad's doing great! The surgeon came out rather quickly after the nurse said they were waiting to warm him up and said he was already closed up, everything went great and we could see him in 10-15 minutes. We were thrilled to know that all of us were able to go back and see daddy for a few minutes.

They had just wheeled him into the Intensive Care Unit when we arrived and were still getting him set up to moniters, etc. He really looked great. Everyone had warned me that when I saw him he would look "like death," but I thought his coloring was great, his hands were warm, and he looked really good. We were able to spend a few minutes with him, ask the doctor a few more questions and then we came back out to the waiting area.

Mom has been so strong through this entire process. We have seen very few tears from her. After seeing dad, though, it was like she realized it was over and that dad was going to be okay. The bishop had arrived to visit with us while we were in seeing dad and mom walked right by him with only a wave and went to the bathroom to have a good cry. She just kept saying, "He's gonna be okay!" We were all very relieved and glad that the worst part was over.

They told us that he would be in recovery for about 4 hours, they'd take the breathing tube out and then we could go in 1 or 2 at a time and sit with him. At that point he'll be able to talk, and the doctor even said that he should be up and sitting in a chair by this evening.

Mom has asked that we not have any visitors until after he's out of Critical Care. We'll let you know when that will be...probably not for 2-3 days.

Thank you all for your prayers. We do count this as a miracle. The doctor said that after the surgery (Quadruple bypass that went around all the stents) his heart is already functioning at near normal levels. Incredible! Praise the Lord.

By the way - I did want to share the sweet relationship my parents share as a side story. This morning as they were wheeling dad down for surgery, mom was walking along by his bed. He had been given medicine to put him out and was feeling pretty good until he got out of the elevator. He asked the nurse to stop for a moment and told mom to come to him. He took her hand, asked her to smile at him. Then he closed his eyes with a sigh and said, "The last thing I want to see before surgery is your beautiful face, and the next time I open my eyes, you'll be there, won't you?" He made us all cry, but it is a beautiful testament to the love he shares with my mom.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mostholyrev

Good morning everyone. We have been so very humbled and honored by all the love, prayers, and support of so many people. I cannot express enough the blessing that Stephen and I are experienceing through this entire crises in our life. The first thing we have learned is the importance of love. You hear and preach all your life that you can "know we are Christians by our love, by our love....", but when something like this happens and you find that love poured out on you, your perspective of what "love" is changes dramatically. Not only have you all been so concerned and offering up continual prayers, you have written/shown words of appreciation and great love for Steve and myself. We are so humbled; and so blessed; and so loved.

We have met with Steve's surgeon, Dr. Coffey, this morning as he is preparing us for the events of tomorrows surgery. He suggested that this surgery process will begin at 6:30 a.m. and be completed around noon if all goes well. Steve will be in recovery for 4-5 hours before we can actually go in to see him. I think it is going to be a long day. However, the ladies from our church have packed a great basket of snacks, food, drinks (and even Soduko)! Dr. Coffey informed us that the original intent was to perform bypass surgery on two-three arteries, however, they have pretty much determined that they are also going to bypass the stints that were put in to save his life while in Kokomo. That could mean up to the dreaded 4-way bypass. My heart is heavy.

Steve seems to be very relaxed this morning. He is laughing alot. The doctor staff have begun to refer to Pastor Steve as the "F.O.B." around here. Instead of asking "how is it going with Rev. Beutler"....they ask "well, how is the F.O.B." Upon my great shock at such a name for my wonderful kind husband, they informed me that "F.O.B." means "Friend of Bishop". Bishop Mike Coyner is the Bishop of the Indiana Area United Methodist Church. As soon as he found out that Steve had a heart attack, he contacted the head of the cardiology department at Methodist Hospital and arranged to get the best doctors, rooms, care that Steve could possibly have. When we entered the hospital, the entire hospital had heard about Steve as a very important person that needed special care. The head of the cardiology department has personally come down to meet Steve; the CEO of Clarion Health Network has met us; the entire Cardiology team has been in. I've been rather embarrassed at all the attention, but our children are thrilled that their father is getting such fabulous care. The medical staff all find it terribly funny around here to call a minister a F.O.B., so that name has stuck - much to my chagrine.

Also, while Steve is sleeping and I have time to read the blogs and emails, I thought I would respond to the many, many questions about the name of our blogsite. It seems that most people think of Steve as one of the most humble servant oriented pastors on the face of the earth and his blogsite is called "most holy rev" - not a very humble sounding name at all. It has caused a lot of laughter and amusement amongst our readers!

As you have probably guessed, there is a story behind this name. When our first Grandchild was born, Jason and Kendra handed her to Kendra's mother saying "this is Kinsen Ariana Beutler, what name would you like for Kinsen to call you" - whereas Connie Lightfoot said "Grammy" - and Paul wanted to be called "Gramps". I was the traditional "grandma" and Steve....well, he just couldn't face the fact that he was old enough to be a grandpa so he took the sweet bundle of joy in his arms and said "you can call me 'Most Holy Rev'" whereas our entire family broke out in peals of laughter. When we went on our sabbatical last summer our children wanted us to have a blogsite so they could keep up on our 3 months of travel, so they took care of setting up the blog and taught us non-techinical parents how to use it. It was meant as a family "joke" that would not be for anyone elses eyes. However, when the heart attack took place and we were receiveing 150+ phone calls and emails a day, we thought the fastest way to get information out would be to use the blog - sorry about the pompus name - it is really a family joke!

Thank you all for your love a prayers. We definately have great peace and calm in the midst of this storm. Sometimes I get very anxious and I have had trouble praying. That really has bothered me because I am leading a Women's Bible Study on "The Power of a Praying Woman" and I am now having trouble giving control to my Heavenly Father for fear that his ways are not my ways. It has truly been a struggle for me of which last night I was finally able to trust God with my beloved husband. I know alot of you have been there yourself - now perhaps I, too understand... Love to each of you - God is good, all the time...... Jayna

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

10/28 - Heart Attack Log

The surgeon came in this afternoon and made some schedule changes. Steve's surgery will take place Thursday morning (10/30) at 7:30 am. This just means the family will be getting up earlier to go to the hospital to see Steve prior to surgery.

The surgeon was also talking to the family about the stints that Steve received. Normally, bypass surgery doesn't occur so soon after stints have been put in. Therefore, he is a little concerned about Steve's body rejecting the stints. During surgery, he will have Steve on the ventilator and heart pump and he said the worst case scenario would be the stints are rejected and then he would just do a six way bypass.

Steve is eating much better and walking at a good clip around his hospital floor. One of his nurses says "he's shaking his tail feathers". He seems in good spirits and has asked for his "old man" mask so he can put it on for the doctor in honor of Halloween. He wants to tell the Dr. that he feels like he's aged since he's been there. Guess he still has a good sense of humor!

Monday, October 27, 2008

10/27 - Heart Attack Log

This afternoon the surgeon came in to discuss some things with Steve and Jayna. The decision has been made to schedule surgery for Thursday morning, October 30th at 10:00 am. The doctor is very encouraged, after reviewing Steve's tests from yesterday he indicated that Steve's heart is strong and he is healthy. The normal male heart should function at a 55%-65% EF (Ejection Fraction). At the time of Steve's heart attack in Kokomo his heart was functioning at only 8% EF. Today, Steve's heart is functioning at 45% EF. The Dr. said that this is nothing short of a miracle! Therefore, he doesn't see any problem with Steve coming through the surgery successfully and having a good recovery.

Steve and Jayna have had quiet day together enjoying the sweetness of each others company and emotionally and mentally preparing themselves for the upcoming surgery.

Please feel free to also call 248-686-1190 for simular updates on Steve

Sunday, October 26, 2008

10/26 - Heart Attack Log

This morning the surgical team had Steve doing some tests. They were happy with what they saw on the Eco cardiogram. They are greatly encouraged and see healing occurring with Steve's heart. The team has recommended that Steve be given more time for his heart to heal and strengthen before they do surgery. The Dr's would like to wait until Thursday (10/30) or Friday (10/31) to schedule his bypass. Steve is in heart rehab for the next few days. We are praying that his heart continues to regenerate.

Naturally this change in plans have frustrated work schedules and travel plans for all three kids. Jason and Kendra are going back to work, Stephanie gets to stay until the end of the week, but Daniel has to fly back to North Carolina. Chris's uncle died and he is headed for Kentucky for the funeral, Sara Jayne and the two grandchildren will be staying with Jason and Kendra. Jayna stays with Stephen most of the time until one of the kids insist that she obeys their commands - of which she sometimes rebels, but.... eventually they win.

The medicine given Steve last night helped greatly with his nausea. He was able to rest and relax and watched the Notre Dame game with Jason, Stephanie and Dan. He continues to feel much better today, but tires easily.

Jayna was able to get a little rest last night and is feeling somewhat better. Sleep is still an issue for her so your prayers are still needed in this area.

We are overwhelmed with the love, support, prayers and all the food that is coming all the way to Indianapolis. A basket was brought today filled with all kinds of goodies - homemade cookies, brownies, sandwiches, chips, cereal bars, juice boxes, chicken soup, vegetable soup, apples, bananas, grapes, snickers, candy bars, crackers, cheese, bagels, donuts, cinnamon rolls, water, nuts - well....I haven't seen it all yet, but I hear that it took a SUV to bring it all.

Please feel free to also call 248-686-1190 for simular updates on Steve

Saturday, October 25, 2008

10/25 - Heart Attack Log

Early this morning Sara and her boys, Stephanie and Dan arrived from Florida and North Carolina. They had driven straight through and were very tired, but anxious to see Dad. Therefore, after about two hours sleep, Jayna and all the kids went up to the hospital to see Steve this morning. While the Dr. was in the room checking on Steve and discussing the upcoming move to Methodist Hospital with the family, Sara, who was standing next to Dan, asked him "What are you doing?" Suddenly, Dan was falling to the floor, pulling Sara by the shoulders as he went down. The Dr. asked Dan if he was alright and if was experiencing any chest pain. Dan was embarrassed that he had just fainted in Steve's hospital room in front of the Dr. because of exhaustion and needing to eat. The Dr. went out and brought back a big glass of orange juice for Dan to drink, but the entire family was laughing at Dan's expense.

Later in the afternoon, Steve was moved down to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. The family is very pleased with the facilities there and very happy with the decision they made to move Steve to Indy. However, the transfer did take it's tole on Steve today, causing him to have difficulty with nausea. The nursing staff is administering medication to assist in getting that under control so he can get some food into his stomach and continue to gain strength for his upcoming surgery.

Tomorrow will be a big day for Steve, the surgical team has scheduled many tests for him to have done as preparation for his upcoming surgery. We hope these don't tire him out too much. Also, the surgical staff is wanting Steve's heart to continue to strenthen prior to his surgery. They mentioned not to be surprised if they decide to postpone his surgery for Monday to allow him more time. A final decision should be made on Sunday.

Jayna is experiencing difficulty being able to rest at night. Please pray that she is able to get her necessary sleep so she can be at her best while with Steve and the surgical team in the morning.

Please continue to feel free to call the following phone number for updates about Steve's condition: 248-686-1190

Friday, October 24, 2008

10/24 - Heart Attack Log
Steve will be transferred from the hospital in Kokomo to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Saturday, October 25th. He will have surgery on Monday, October 27th. The exact time has yet to be determined, but it should be sometime in the morning.

Also, please feel free to call the following phone number for recorded updates on Steve as the family receives them - 248-686-1190.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

10/23 - Heart Attack Log

Thursday morning, we still don't know how much damage is done to Dad's heart. What we know at this time is that the front portion of the heart is operating at 60%, another portion is operating at 20% and the final portion was at around 25%. Dad had many places were the arteries were blocked 100%. The front portion of the heart is the part that needs the surgery to by-pass the 75-80% blocked artery where they could not put a stint. The doctors seem concerned at this point.
  • 6:00am - Dad is still flat on his back and rather miserable. BUT he is starting to feel better and is not as nauseous as he has been.
  • Kendra, Jason and Mom get to the hospital around 6:45am in order to make sure to catch Dr. Ritchie (the cardiologist) and get an update on what he knows. Dr. reports that Dad appears to be healing a tad better than expected and that the balloon pump can come out around 3:00pm.
  • Kendra, Jason and Mom have to make a decision about open heart surgery and where to have it performed. After a couple hours of fact-finding, we decide to move Dad to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis to perform the surgery.
  • At around 3pm, Dad is given a bunch of drugs to knock him out and the nurses remove the balloon pump. This process took about an hour and was pretty painful. After the pump was removed, a clamp-like device was put on the entry point to apply pressure on the artery and stop the bleeding. This just looked painful. Dad couldn't remember his name at this point and didn't seem to notice the pain.
  • Dad stayed a little loopy for about 2 1/2 hours. This was BY FAR the most fun Mom and I had in the past 24 hours. Kendra unfortunately missed out on this because she left to go teach a college course.
  • Dr. Ritchie visited and told us that all signs were pointing up. The blood work showed that Dad's heart is repairing itself and at this point, he didn't foresee any significant long-term damage to the heart.
  • Dad was taken off his IV and other tubes and allowed to walk to the bathroom.
  • Had Dad not had a vital artery still blocked 75-80%, Dad would have been sent home at this time. Instead, the Dr's want to watch his heart as they prepare to send him down for major surgery.
  • Dad feels better than he has in months. His coloring is significantly better and his nausea is gone for the first time in 5 weeks. (Yeah - we know Dad should have read this sign better - or listened to his family and actually gone to the Doctor weeks ago)
  • 10:00pm Dad fell asleep on his side with things at this point signaling a good recovery. We're not out of the woods yet, we still have a surgery to get through, but the urgent issues are under control.

10/22 - Heart Attack Log...

We have decided to use the blog to keep as many people as possible informed about Dad's condition. So many people have expressed their love and concern for Dad, that we felt it best to put all the information we have in one place for people to access. In the whirl of the events there are a lot of facts and information that has gotten confused. Here is a recap with what we know to be true:
  • Heart Attack started @ 8:00p on Tuesday night (10/21)
  • Dad couldn't sleep all night, kept pacing the floor and complaining of "heart-burn"
  • Wednesday morning, Dad was too sick to go to work and decided to stay home from the office.
  • Mom went to a meeting around 1:00pm on Wednesday and while she was at the meeting, Dad decided to drive himself to the hospital (it's only about 2 miles from their home.)
  • Hospital immediately recognized the signs and prepared Dad for surgery.
  • 2 arteries were 95-100% blocked and another artery was 75-80% blocked.
  • 4 stents were put in place to clear the pathway on the two 100% blocked arteries. (this had previously been reported as 6, but the doctor pulled that from memory and combined the count with another procedure done around the same time - so we got the final tally from his records today)
  • The 75-80% blockage is in a location that prohibits stents from being used. As a result, additional open heart surgery is required.
  • Over 2/3rds of the heart was under attack and it appeared as though extensive damage was done to the heart.
  • After the stents were put in place, a "balloon pump" was inserted to help the heart rest for the next 24 hours. The downside to this (at least from Dad's perspective) is that he had to lay flat on his back and could not move his right leg or head for the entire time.
  • Attempted to sleep. Didn't work out so well.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Picture of Mason


We took Mason outside today to take a picture of his alpaca teddy bear that Aunt Stephi and Uncle Dan brought back from South America. Sara really got some good shots of him -


Sunday, September 21, 2008

More outdoors

Grandma is always doing gardening and Grant loves it! Any opportunity Grant gets to go outdoors he jumps at the chance. I wish that Sara and Chris had a big backyard for Grant to explore because he loves trees, flowers, bugs, spiders, backyard fences, and helping Grandma and Grandpa do whatever they are doing.



Wow, all four!

Sara went for 2 days to visit Jason in Indianapolis, both of them love photography, so they spent Sunday taking pictures of all of the kids. We certainly are proud grandparents. We do believe that our grandchildren are the best looking (smartest, kindest, happiest, loving) grandchildren in the world!




Playing in the Back yard

Grant and Mason love to be outdoors. If Mason is fussy, just take him outside and he immediately is happy. Grant begs to be outside. He loves to run, play in the water, dig in the garden, climb fences, stack wood, play hide and seek in the flowers, feed the birds, pick tomatoes and green peppers and pick flowers by yanking the blossoms from thier stem! Its amazing that kids that are so active and wear us out so can look like little angels....



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More Fun in Indiana

Jaybin and Kinsen came to play with Grant and Mason today. Grandpa got out one of his remote control cars. We were amused that the only time we saw the boys quiet was when we were recharging the batteries and they were waiting for the "charge light" to come on so they could race again. They sat there for an entire 15 minutes - neither of them saying a word - just watching! Then, of course the "guys" had to get in some football! I do believe that Grandpa was pretty tired while he was preparing the last minute touches on the sermon for in the morning!
Sara and I took Mason and Jaybin to Jackson Morrow Park. Our days are full of grandchildren this month. I'm exhausted - However, I know that next month I will be heart broken that I never get to see the kids - so I'm enjoying every moment.






Second Week

This week we joined Jason and Kendra for a visit to Notre Dame for the first football game of the season. While at Notre Dame we found a wonderful tree to climb and threw some footballs of our own. Jaybin is a "ball" freak. He loves any kind of ball - baseball, football, basketball, golf. He was heartbroken when he found out that he was not going to get to go into the stadium to actually watch the game. Jason got us all into the MBA tent for Notre Dame Brats and a fabulous lunch. After lunch we took the kids back to Grandma and Grandpa Beutlers and the kids wore each other out - or should I say wore us out!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sara visits from Florida

Sara, Grant and Mason have arrived in Kokomo Indiana for 20 days! We have done so much already. . . we visited Jason, Kendra, Kinsen and Jaybin - boy did they have fun riding bikes. The next day we went to see Grandpa and Grandma Morgans art show and play in the garden. We picked tomatoes, green peppers, raspberries and dug potatoes with Great-grandpa Morgan. When we got home, we made a birthday cake for Grandpa. What a fun first couple of days.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Great Smokey Mountains


You'll never guess where we went on vacation! Yep, you're right! Gatlinburg TN - seems we always go back to the Smokey Mountians. The best part about the trip this year was that our trip was over our anniversary. Thirty-two years ago we went to the Smokey Mountains, and rented a mountain chalet on our honeymoon. This year we rented a log cabin and enjoyed the mountain trails, The famous Peddler's steak, the quaint town of Gatlinburg, Kilwin's turtle apples, chocolate and peanut butter fudge, ogle dogs, tubing down the Little Pigeon River, we even went house hunting just in case we decide to retire here. Uncle Greg and Aunt Kathy came down for a couple of days. Then we went to see Stephanie and Daniel as they returned from South America. It sure was good to see them after their adventure in the mountains of Peru.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mom's Art Show

What a week! I went to Plymouth to help my mom get ready for her "once in a lifetime" artshow that will be taking place at the Heartland Artist Gallery downtown Plymouth the entire month of August through September 15th. The first Sunday of August will the be "kickoff" of the event. The work involved in such an event is almost has strenuous as planning a daughter's wedding. There were announcements to send, refreshments to prepare, paintings to frame and hang, there were articles to get into the newspapers, windows to decorate. It took alot of planning, money and effort. . .but I think it paid off because Mom was in her heighth of glory - and she sold 8 paintings that Sunday.















Friday, July 25, 2008

Sara moves to Florida

Sara and Chris are now in Jacksonville Florida - it makes us so sad that we don't get to see the grandchildren as often as we would like, however, she does a great job of posting pictures and videos for us to see. Grant and Mason are growing so fast.

Grant is 2 years old here and Mason is 3 months

Brickyard 400

I don't know how I did it, but I got Steve to take a day off today! What fun it was to see Nascar's Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis speedway. Nascar is celebrating the 15th year of racing in Indy, and yet we have never been to see them. Actually, the Nascars were quite a bit slower than Indy cars and the experience didn't feel quite as exciting. Nevertheless it was wonderful to get away from our church work and experience another world! It was soooo hot today sitting at the track in the sunlight at 86 degrees with no breeze. We took the Solstice covertable and had the top down experiencing the hot sun all the way there and back. A tall glass of ice water and a good luke-warm shower was certainly welcome when we walked into our air-conditioned home.