Friday, May 27, 2011

Shingles

"Shingles"

May 27, 2011
(dictated from Bob)


Last Thursday night, I was taken by EMS to Morton Plant Hospital with “chest pain.” It was not a heart attack but excessive fluid in the lining of my heart. One or more of my problems qualified me for the intensive care unit. We stayed in ICU until Sunday and then moved to a regular room. Dialysis and additional drugs took care of the chest pain.


A few hours after our ambulance ride, Emily gave birth to our 6th grandchild in Gainesville (which is 2 ½ hours away), so Patra wasn't able to be there. As they wheeled my hospital bed away to dialysis, the nurse told Patra that I’d be away from my room for about 5 hours and to go home and get some sleep since we had been in the ER all night. Patra had a different idea, and she took off for Gainesville figuring she could get there, snuggle a newborn for a bit, and get back in time to be with me. She was so excited to be able to surprise Emily and meet little Anderson. As you can see from the pictures below, he is beautiful.





As we were preparing to leave the hospital late Monday, Patra noticed “blisters” on my stomach and back. We thought it might be a reaction to a medication.


WRONG.


It is a nasty case of SHINGLES.


REALLY?

The doctors felt the shingles could be treated at home so they offered me a choice – stay in isolation in the hospital or go home. It took me about a nanosecond to make that decision.


I’m not allowed to be around the grandchildren for two weeks. That is really hard. I’m going to have to wait even longer to hold Emily's and James' new son, Anderson.

On a different note, I've been wanted to write about something which has been difficult for me. It is very personal and in some ways makes me feel vulnerable. It forces me to look back at a difficult time, but I hope that it may be an encouragement to someone who is also walking through similar ”tall weeds.”


Phillipians 1: 21-24
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”


At the beginning of his letter to the believers at the church in Phillipi, Paul poses an interesting question: Is it better to die and go to heaven, or to continue to live here on earth? I suspect that anyone who has had a terminal illness has struggled with the same question. As Paul clearly says, it is better by far to be in heaven with Christ than to be on earth. I have also struggled with this question and it has taught me a profound lesson about God answering prayer.


When Patra and I returned from the Mayo Clinic in December 2010, I was clinically depressed. I had been through a bone marrow transplant which failed, chemo-therapy which failed, and a rare and radical surgical procedure presented as my only choice. I would now be on dialysis for the rest of my life. The medical staff at Moffitt recommended that I see a psychiatrist. She told me that she had reviewed my records, that I was clinically depressed, and that I had every right to be.

That was one of the most freeing diagnoses I have ever had, since it explained not only why I felt the way I did, but also because I had every right to feel that way. I didn’t have to feel guilty or ashamed.


For me, being depressed meant that I was walking through the “tall weeds” and someone had turned off the lights. I couldn’t see clearly and I wasn’t thinking clearly. During that period of depression, I would pray every night that God would let me die. I would pray fervently, and I would pray specifically for that particular night. I would wake up in the morning, and before opening my eyes I would try to make the determination whether I was in heaven. Obviously, I was still here on earth.


Imagine a young woman who prays that her boyfriend will give her a ring and that they will marry. In her mind, the wedding ceremony is as beautiful as the Royal Wedding (absent the hats). That prayer goes unanswered, and eventually, she and her boyfriend part ways. She feels that God abandoned her and did not answer her prayers. Would it make a difference to discover that several years later, she met another man who has become her husband and they have a beautiful, wonderful relationship and family? Did God not answer her prayer?


What about the father and husband who prays that God will bring about the job change that he wants. He explains to God all the advantages that the new job will have for himself and for his family. However, he does not get the job, and he wonders if God cares or hears his prayers. But also imagine that within a year or two, the senior executives of the company that he wanted to work for are indicted for fraud. Had he been at the firm, his career might have been so tainted that he would never be able to work in his chosen field again. Did God hear and was God gracious?


For me, the medication that I am on has greatly reduced my depression. And for the last several weeks, it has been my desire to live as long as I can with Patra. I no longer pray at night to die, but pray at night that God will give me another day with my family. So God didn’t ignore my prayer request from those months ago; it’s just that he knew more than I knew about why I felt the way I did, and He knew that my desire would change.


More than anything, we need to pray that God’s perfect will be done. He does not ignore our prayers. He loves us. He is good – all the time.


Dear God,

Thank you for answered prayers although there are times when I can’t clearly see how you are working. Increase my faith so that I can rest in the assurance that you care and that you are good all the time. If there are those who are similarly dealing with depression, I pray that they would receive the professional help that they need.

Thank you for the healthy birth of baby Anderson. He is an answer to prayer and a great blessing to us.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Hospital Update

May 21, 2011

If you scroll down to the previous two posts titled "A Tale of Two Hospitals", and "Welcome Baby Anderson", you'll quickly catch up on the fact that it's been a busy start to the weekend.

Just wanted to post an update on my dad's current condition and hospital stay. He underwent a battery of heart tests yesterday, and the cardiologist came to see him late last night. It appears that the chest pain was being caused by fluid around the heart and inflammation of the heart.

The pain finally dissipated after Dad received dialysis yesterday morning. He was much more comfortable by the afternoon. Because dialysis seems so critical to keeping him well these days, the hospital sent him for dialysis this morning, too.

We don't know how much longer he'll be in the hospital, but it's the best place for him right now and he's resting more comfortably.

Thanks for your prayers, calls, emails, etc!
Jenny

(P.S. Baby Anderson and Mommy... my sister Emily... are still doing GREAT!!)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Welcome Baby Anderson!!


Anderson Quesenberry
Born May 20, 2011
9:10 a.m.
8 lbs, 4 oz
20 in long

Baby and Mommy are doing great!!
Posted by Picasa

A Tale of Two Hospitals

Thank you all for your patience as we are again updating a little late this Friday morning.

We just got the news that little Anderson has arrived safely into this world! Here are the details!

Anderson Hays Quesenberry
May 20, 2011
9:10 a.m.
8 lbs, 4 oz
20 in.

We hope to post a few pictures soon!!!

We also want to let you know that, unfortunately, my dad is back in the hospital as of last night. This episode was different than the others, and to my knowledge, it didn't have to do with fluid in the lungs. He began experiencing chest pains last night and was taken by ambulance to the ER. They ran tests through the night. He'll be in dialysis this morning and then will continue with more tests right after dialysis finishes.

We'll update you as we get any information on what seems to be causing this chest pain.

Thanks so much for your prayers. We are at the same time exuberantly joyful for the blessing of Anderson's life and concerned for my dad. As you may recall, my dad was in the hospital when Riley was born several weeks ago. So... it just so happens that we're kinda prepared for this unusual circumstance!

I have a feeling this post will be updated throughout the day today, so check back later!

Thanks,
Jenny

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekly Update Better Late Than Never

Friday, May 13
*Sorry for the delay in posting this week's blog... technical difficulties prevented the post from publishing*

From Jenny

Last week, my husband and I took a long-planned vacation. Part of the deal we made with the family before we left was that everyone would “behave” while we were gone (for instance, no hospital visits for Dad; No baby being born early for Emily, etc).

I’m happy to report that everyone behaved.

My dad (along with my mom and his team of doctors & nurses) has strictly monitored every drop of fluid he drinks in the hopes that strict compliance may prevent another episode of congestive heart failure and fluid in the lungs. It’s a daunting challenge for him, and he is extremely weak and dehydrated lately. We’re now back to the days where he feels like he’s about to pass out when he stands up, etc. So, it was no surprise when he was not able to compose (or even dictate) his own words for this week’s blog update.

He’s had a lot of things to look forward to this week, which is a nice distraction. On Monday, Chuck (my dad’s brother), flew into town for a visit. His visits are now highly anticipated by the whole family. He helped take my dad to dialysis, read LOTS of picture-books to the little girls, held his great-nephew Riley, and poured over baseball cards with Dad and Andrew.






In addition to Uncle Chuck’s visit, Dad and Mom are thrilled about the impending arrival of Anderson Quesenberry. Emily, James and Austin are in the final days of preparation for Anderson’s grand entrance, due next Friday. The doctor is estimating his current weight at 9-10 pounds!! So I’m going to start returning some “newborn” sizes in exchange for maybe 2T clothes for him?? Next week, we may wait to post Dad’s weekly update until we have baby details to share!

So until next week’s update (which I hope is full of pictures of a new little baby boy!), I’ll once again just thank you all for reading, praying, encouraging, and walking this road with my Dad! We are so very grateful!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Grace and Mercy

Friday, 5/6/2011

From Bob (dictated to Adam)

Jenny and David are taking a cruise this week with two other couples that they know from college. Emily is “nesting” in Gainesville as she awaits the birth of Anderson in approximately 2 weeks. Adam just finished his exams and completed his second year of law school, so it looks like you are stuck with me writing the blog this week.

I have appreciated our kids so much as they have contributed to the updating. When I began writing the blog, it was my hope that it could be something that I would pass on to them, but as it has developed, it has become a family project.

It has been 10 days since I have been in a hospital (but who’s counting?). Easter Sunday probably meant more to me this year than ever before. The fact that the tomb was empty and that Jesus is risen is the foundation for my faith and my hope.

Many people have commented that they do not see how somebody could walk through the “tall weeds” without faith. I agree… one hundred percent. However, I have met far too many people that are going through some very difficult times without any evidence of faith. I know for myself that the Scripture is true when it says “the Joy of the Lord is my Strength.”

Dialysis continues to be a challenge. We are trying so hard to prevent my lungs from filling with fluid. However, I feel like I am constantly dehydrated and I nearly passed out Monday after dialysis. The nurses had to give me IV fluids. When I protested, they explained they had no choice because my blood pressure had dropped so low.

On Tuesday night, Patra drove me to my Men’s Bible Study. It has been over a year since I've been able to attend and it was their last meeting for the year. Although I was unable to stay very long because of fatigue, I did have an opportunity to speak briefly to the men. I have really missed their fellowship; it was so good to be with them. Now I am hoping to be able to make it to my Bible Study class at church so I can thank them too.

Things have certainly changed since the beginning of this journey. When I am hooked up for dialysis, 2 needles are inserted into the fistula in my right arm. Now, I watch as they insert the needles into my skin. I would have never thought I would get to the point of being comfortable watching that take place.

I’ve heard that when Beth Moore was in the hospital, she looked up one day and saw the white board in her room indicate that the nurses’ names were “Grace” and “Mercy.” I haven’t had “Grace” and “Mercy” as my nurses, but Grace and Mercy have sustained me through this journey.

I was taught many years ago that Grace is unmerited favor. We receive what we do not deserve. God is gracious and has been gracious to me every day. While working as an attorney, I never handled many criminal cases, but I do remember one case many years ago where the state held all the cards and my client really had no defense. As we sat there, waiting for the hearing before the judge, my client made the comment that all he wanted was “justice.” I remember telling him that the last thing he wanted was “justice.” He needed to throw himself on the mercy of the court and mercy would make sure that he didn’t receive what he deserved. As I continue this walk, I’m so grateful for God’s grace and mercy.

I love the words of the song “Amazing Grace” and the verse that says

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come
Twas Grace that brought me safe thus far,
And Grace will lead me home.

Dear Father, thank you for your Grace and your Mercies which are new every morning. I pray that you will use me in some way to be an encouragement to those whose faith is frail or who have no faith. Give me the right words to say and a loving heart to say them with.
 

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