Things have really gone downhill since I last updated the blog. Most notably, Greg's heart failure symptoms have become significantly worse over the last week. He's also dealing with extreme nausea and fatigue. Multiple days in a row over the weekend and at the start of this week he didn't even have the energy to walk in the hallway, let alone go outside. Yesterday evening I was able to get a wheelchair and pushed him outside so he could get a breath of fresh air. He barely had the energy to get in and out of the wheelchair.
While he was feeling stir crazy earlier in his hospital stay, now he's just feeling weary. This is the start of his 4th full week in the hospital and let me tell you- no matter how nice the hospital is or how big the hospital room is, hospitals are not meant to be long-term living quarters. It is very hard on him emotionally to be there - and on top of it to feel so constantly sick and exhausted. I really can't adequately describe how down hill he's gone in the last week. He actually fell sound asleep during the Steelers game last night - and if you know Greg well, that's hard to believe.
The doctors are trying to tweak his medications to hopefully get rid of the nausea. We may have figured out one of the drugs that's making him feel sick so by tomorrow some changes will take place, hopefully for the better. They are also carefully watching the rest of Greg's organs and though they seem to be taxed by the heart failure, they are not showing any signs of permanent damage yet and we're praying this will continue to be the case.
Greg has decided that it would be best for him not to receive visitors at this point in his hospital stay. Like I said above he has absolutely no energy and is finding it extremely difficult to keep his thoughts straight and keep any sort of conversation going. By the time the doctors, psychiatrists, and nurses have all done their rounds each day he is completely wiped out emotionally and physically. Most of the time when I'm in the room with him he's resting or sleeping and I'm napping, reading, or working on something quietly. It's just too much for him to have active company.
Many dear friends have expressed a desire to come see Greg - and we so appreciate your love and support of him. Greg LOVES people - and if he was feeling any better visitors would be a huge encouragement to him! He's just at a point where he's too sick for it to be beneficial. We also have to worry about him catching any sort of sickness from anyone - especially since it's flu season. Already visitors are limited to anyone who has a flu shot and has not had a cold or been taking care of anyone with a cold for a couple weeks. It would be such a shame to wait all this time for a heart and then for Greg to be fighting an infection, flu, cold, etc. and not be safe to operate on! We have had some family members (healthy, with flu shots) visit on the weekends, but even then he can only have them see him for short durations. Unfortunately, after surgery visitors will be even more limited for quite some time because he will be immune-suppressed. However, the hope is that one day in that not-too-far future Greg will be healthy again and be able to spend time with all the people he loves and everyone who has been so encouraging and so supportive of us!
If you are interested in visiting Greg, please email me first or speak with me on the phone first. If he's feeling up to a visitor and you meet the "guidelines", then we'd love to have you come (and know that we may have to cancel last minute because of his ever-changing condition). But it's getting harder and harder for him when he has surprise visitors come - sometimes he's just not up to it (well, lots of times now). If I do ask you not to visit, please know that it's not because we don't appreciate you but it's because we need to put Greg's health first right now and since I'm the one who is closest to him and there the most, I'm the one who is in the position of making sure what he wants is what happens and that he gets the rest he needs.
How can you help?
The best thing that you can do for Greg right now is PRAY! Pray that his new heart comes soon. Pray that he'd have the energy to go outside. Pray that I would be able to stay positive and encouraging when I am with him. Pray for his terrible symptoms to lessen and for him to spend less time feeling so awfully sick. Pray that Greg would feel Jesus closer than he ever has before. Pray that the limited time he does have with family would be sweet and encouraging.
The second best thing you can do? Send cards!! I've been reading the cards to him each day (he was reading them himself but has been too tired lately) and he enjoys laying on the cot with his eyes closed and listening to the jokes, messages, prayers, and well wishes. It truly is a source of strength - for both of us.
We are so grateful for the way you are walking this long road beside us. We love you.