I am relaunching the blog with a series of posts that were originally written in 2014.
August 8, 2014
It has been months since I have posted anything of real substance here on the blog. I have found that the charts and Kobo troubleshooting post are generating a lot of traffic (about 20,000 views in July) and the site just grows. I will update the charts in a month or so with the fall line-up of tablets and smartphones. All-in-all the site is accomplishing what I had in mind on the technology front.
That said, with recent events that have happened to me, I think that it is time to begin working on the real “blogging” part of the blog, talk about what has happened to me and sharing the various insights I have gained and am gaining as a result. This will not be technology related, but will be the “disciple” part of The Digital Disciple. I hope that, in time, the information in these posts will be as helpful as the technology information found here.
I will start this “reboot” with some background information that will put the posts that follow in context. About 4 years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease called Relapsing Polychondritis. The disease treats a body’s cartilage as a foreign substance and attacks it. We have cartilage all through our bodies and RP usually attacks the ears and nose causing them to become inflamed and painful. My RP has attacked the cartilage in my bronchus causing it to be inflamed and, when I have a flare-up, making it difficult to breathe. I treat it with steroids and immune suppressants and live a normal life most of the time. My particular manifestation is rare enough that the pulmonology department at the Cleveland Clinic has only about 10 patients with my “version” of the disease.
Around June 9,  I began the early signs of a flare-up and I began to increase my medications to fight it off. But, this one came on much more quickly and the usual approach did not work. My pulmonologist later told me the he had seen all 10 of his pulmonology RP patients in June and he thinks that the flare-ups were triggered by some airborne virus that swept across the mid-west. Whatever the cause, I was in the hospital in Cincinnati in a matter of days. This time, my breathing was so bad that I was put on a ventilator, sedated, and transported by helicopter to the Cleveland Clinic after waiting 36 hours for a bed to open in Cleveland. No, I can’t imagine what that will cost and you use can use PayPal to make contributions to the helicopter fund.
When I finally made it to Cleveland and was admitted to ICU, we thought the worst was over. I was still on the ventilator, sedated, and they were struggling to get the inflammation under control. My wife was walking out of my room so the doctor could put in an arterial line and my heart stopped under the pressure from the breathing difficulties. I was dead for about 30 minutes while the “Code Blue” crew tried to revive me. Obviously, because I am writing this, they were successful. During that time, Mary Ann was on the phone with our daughters in Cincinnati praying that God would spare me. God answered and the miracles that followed will be part of future posts.
After getting my heart beating, they were concerned about preventing or limiting any brain damage caused by the lack of oxygen. So, I was put into a coma and “iced.” I hate being cold and thankfully have no memories of that experience. They took my body temperature to 36° and questioned whether they should make it colder. The doctors were not optimistic and believed that I would suffer long-term brain damage, perhaps never recovering. A week later I was responding to my name and answering simple “yes/no” questions by nodding: Do you know who you are? Do you know where you are? I couldn’t talk because of the tube, but could use a chart with pictures to make simple requests and respond to questions.
Finally, they removed the tube about two weeks after they put it in. I was able to breathe on my own and I could talk again. After two weeks of being hydrated with an IV, I ate an entire cup of crushed ice. It may have been the best meal I ever had.
I am pleased to report that God protected my brain and there appears to be no long-term damage. In Occupational Therapy, I worked a 30+ pin jumping board down to one pin. I don’t really like those kinds of games, but I had prayed earlier that day for confirmation that there was no lingering brain damage and I’ll take that as the answer. The OT said she had never seen anyone solve it before.
Folks who cared for me in ICU have dropped by just to chat and confirm for themselves that I have really come out of the coma with no lasting psychological impact. Folks who believe in God rejoice with us and folks who don’t just shake their heads and don’t really know what to say. I suppose they think I beat the odds. But, when God steps in, the odds are irrelevant. They see the poster in my room from my daughter and grandsons that says in part “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13. They may not believe it, but I want to give credit to the right person. This is not about anything that I have done, but about what God is doing through these experiences.
I am now in acute rehab learning to walk again. My body was weakened by being paralyzed and bed-ridden for weeks. If you are reading this and inclined to pray for me, pray for strength for my legs and that I will learn to walk quickly. Walking is the last hurdle to my returning home to my house and family.
This has been about 1,000 words of background. I want to talk in future posts about what I have learned and am learning from this experience. I hope you will read along and pass the site on to people you know who may be facing similar troubles. Please feel free to leave questions or comments.
[The get well note pictured at the top of this post now hangs above my desk]