Hi everyone -- Hal here -- still filling in on blog duty.
Quick clinical update...With a week at KU Hospital behind us, Ann is much improved. She is out of the ICU and is doing well in a peaceful room -- it took time to get there but all of the monitoring wires and IV's are out. The chest tube remains to drain fluid from her right chest cavity but the amount of fluid has dramatically dropped off (which is good). Next step will be a PET scan on Monday to provide the physicians the benefit of additional information and then a plan forward will be established.
To clarify any questions for the detailed oriented folks out there...the current understanding is that a nodule in the lower right lung lining began bleeding last Thursday and partially filled her right chest cavity thus causing the shortness of breath and pain. The chest tube was inserted and the fluid has mostly been drained. The key question at hand is the cause of the bleeding and if possible a permanent remedy so that this situation will not reoccur as Ann needs to continue with treatment.
Ann is being well cared for by her doctors and nursing staff at KU. Great people that care deeply about their work and their desire for the best possible outcome for Ann. All options are being considered and it is reassuring to witness the level of cross specialty consultation occurring. At times, it is a test of patience as one simply wants the magic wand to be waved and all to be well; however, we know this is complicated and it is important to exercise good prudence in each decision.
Ann is of good spirits but certainly would rather be in her own bed. Our thanks to the many friends that have gone out of their way to stop by for a visit or help the family. Jesus, in the Holy Eucharist, visits her each day and we even were able to get permission for Zoe and Grace to visit her tonight and have a family dinner together. Due to H1N1, the hospital rules are that kids under 18 are not allowed in without her doctor's permission and an quick exam prior to entering the nursing unit. All good precautions as she is on the oncology floor at the hospital and no one on that floor need any avoidable illness to be added to their plate.
As you all know, I love Ann so deeply. I pray for her many times each day as I witness her joys and sufferings. Through God's grace and the care of her health care team her burden was eased this week and we offer our thanks to God for the relief from the pain of a week ago. As always, the next step is not as obvious and clear as one would like it to be but isn't that what faith is all about?
In a recent reflection, I heard faith beautifully described. Imagine, you reach the edge of a cliff of what is visible and stare into the darkness before you with no assurance that your next step will touch solid ground. Taking that next step boldly anyway knowing that God will either catch you or give you the wings to fly -- this is faith.
Perhaps we too seldom admit in our modern world that we don't know the answer; that we are limited by our collective understanding of the "science" of things; that, scary as it may sound, we are in control of much less than we ever thought; that God is bigger than we can imagine and we, the created, need to stop trying ourselves to be god's and let the true God of the universe work through us and show His stuff.
May His peace be with you.