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Marfel grumamin reaming mumul. Or, something like that. I’m not that good at reading lips, but Lea actually tried to form some words this afternoon . . . we think. She didn’t have her eyes open at the time, but I was standing bedside talking with her nurse, Adam, when she began moving her lips as though trying to form words. Of course, she can’t make any sounds with the ventilator in place, and I may have missed the first couple of words in that sentence, but that is my best recollection of what she said. Then she fell back to sleep.

Lea is doing better today. Wonderful baby steps! Glory to God! Thank you, Lord, for our many blessings! Her breathing is improving little by little. Her oxygen support is down, her breathing assist is down, and her volumes are up. The ability to build her lungs up to where she can get off the ventilator is a key to her recovery. And, so far, we are headed in the right direction.

She is being brought up off her pain medication and sedatives a little each day. They are alternating, reducing her pain meds, Ativan (a tranquilizer that relieves anxiety) on even days, and the sedative, Dilaudid (a derivative of morphine), on odd days. Each morning it seems she is a little more cognitive, after the comparative quite of the night shift, and then she gets less active and rests most of the afternoon.

Even so, she is becoming more alert, and it is very gratifying to see her react to commands. She still doesn’t have control of her eyeballs, arms or legs, but is able to blink her eyes, occasionally open them, and to wrinkle her forehead. And, tonight, she is moving her lips! I am so excited by her improvement. I am looking forward to her dressing change tomorrow, and her surgery on Tuesday, in which her wound will be closed up. I think the surgery will be the turning point to starting the recovery process.

I have told the staff that everything HAS to go well from here on out, because Lea has been called for federal jury duty starting October 1. I am also considering not responding to the summons. I wouldn’t want to get in the same situation that Pat & Joe are in, where the insurance company (CIGNA) is refusing (after the fact) to pay for their transfer home. If I don’t respond to the summons, I’m thinking maybe they would send federal marshals to take her back to Indiana. That would be FREE, right? J

Thank you for your kind notes and comments, along with your city/states. I am going to work on that list real soon, and will attach it one of these evenings, so you can be sure I have you in the right location. Right now, I’m fighting a sinus infection, and am going to hit the sack early tonight to try to get ahead of it. My doctor from Indiana called in a antibiotic for me. Thank you, Dr. Miller!

Sharon is taking care of Lea tonight. She is a wonderful nurse with lots of experience, and always takes such good care of Lea, including getting her cleaned up for the new day. She sent me back to my room with a “Pom” tonight . . . a pomegranate drink that is allegedly a wonderful antioxidant. I’ll let you know if it cures me overnight. J

My son Link, and Deanna, his wife, are enroute from Hawaii to Hartford as we speak, and I look forward to meeting them at the airport late morning tomorrow. It will wonderful to see them, and a delight to have Lea in shape to interact with them. Hopefully we will get to see Lea before her dressing change, because she will be heavily sedated during the surgery, and usually takes several hours to come back up out of it.

God’s blessings! Thank for your continued prayers for Lea. They sure are good ones!


Lea continued to struggle today, trying to breathe a little more on her own, and had to stop to rest occasionally, by being put back on full support for a resting period. She surged ahead on occasion, and generally took more breaths than the machine was set to deliver at minimum. At one point the machine was set to make sure she took at least 16 breaths per minute, and she actually took 23 a minute for a couple of hours.

By the end of the day she was breathing at a level of about 19 or 20 breaths per minute with the machine still set at that same 16 breath minimum. The primary difference we saw today was that her volume, or the amount of air taken in with each breath, actually began to decline in late morning, but as more and more fluid was eliminated through her kidneys, the volume picked up a little. It still isn’t where it needs to be, but is at least moving in the right direction.

She had a below normal temperature today, 97 degrees, and her blood pressure was running low, probably due to the Lasix being given to her to reduce the fluid in her body. It tends to expand the veins, reducing the blood pressure. She was given Neo-Synephrine drip to counteract the Lasix, and the two should be discontinued at about the same time.

The primary buzz around the ICU today is the news that Dr. Mah is planning to close her up on Tuesday. The nurses were talking about it quite a bit among themselves, and with me, about how nice it will be to see her come off the ventilator and then wake up. They want to see that gorgeous smile you have been talking about in your emails and eGreetings.

I’m certain that she will quickly make friends of the nurses, who already think so much of her, she’ll wonder why she’s already accepted like family. One of the nurses, Adam, is a very compassionate caregiver, a recent Christian convert, and a close observer of all the miraculous things that have happened to us during our stay here. I think he will have lots of questions for Lea, and she will be flattered to share her insights with him.

It could just be me, but I feel like I am seeing a lot more open expressions of faith in the ICU than before. Dr. Mah was wearing a silver cross on a neck chain today, and we often hear, “Thank God,” on the floor now. I just wonder if what Lea has gone through hasn’t played a part in God’s plans for some of these caregivers. It certainly seems that we are being given opportunities to minister!

When I get the list of all the locations folks are reading Lea’s Updates put together, I think I’d better put a copy up on her bulletin board for the caregivers to see. I’ve started putting a list together in Excel, and hope to eventually develop some sort of map visual from it for her to see. If you haven’t sent me your location yet, please do:

We are looking forward to the arrival of our oldest son, Link, and Deanna, his wife, on Sunday. They will be able to stay with us for a few days, and I am hoping against hope that Lea will be able to make contact with them while they are here. It will be good for all of us if we can experience some connection. And, besides, Deanna is a lovely singer, and sings very well, too. Lea will enjoy her being here.

Thank you for your kind wishes for the dressing change on Sunday, and for your prayers for Lea’s preparation for the closing of her wound in the Operating Room Tuesday morning at 11:30 a.m. We will be on pins and needles hoping for the best possible outcome, and that God will guide the surgeon’s hands in making the proper decisions as they prepare for this important step in her recovery.

I talked to our friend Joe tonight, who is back home. He was discharged from the hospital in Indiana today, and was at his kitchen table when I called. He had met with his cardiologist this afternoon, and has been put on a strict diet. The blood clot in his heart is not yet dissolved, his defibrillator has not yet been started, and he is not yet in sinus rhythm, but he is home. All these things will come in due time, and we give thanks to God for his safe return.

In His service,


Lea is resting pretty soundly tonight, as she had a very busy and tiring day. When I first arrived at the hospital this morning, there was considerable buzz going on about Lea’s CATSCAN last evening. Evidently, the scan didn’t show any deposit of fluids inside or outside the lungs that could cause her breathing difficulty. There was fear that there may be some other cause.

Dr. Mah, however, was pretty certain that there had to be fluid outside the lungs causing her problem, since there weren’t any other problems indicated. He had ordered a ultrasound-guided-probe as soon as it could be scheduled and completed. The process would use a hand-operated transducer moved over the suspected area used to guide the real-time insertion of a large needle into the chest cavity. If fluid was found, it would drain through the needle into a tube and delivered to a collection bottle.

Dr. Mah had told me that the radiology department didn’t like to do this procedure, and would drag their feet hoping that an alternative would be decided upon. Evidently there is a big risk of hitting a vessel and causing internal bleeding, and the only way to stop internal bleeding is to put more fluid back in and squeeze it off. He continued to insist that there was fluid in the cavity, although it didn’t show up in either the ultrasound nor the CATSCAN, and the procedure was completed in the mid-afternoon.

Lea’s nurse, Nick, had her rolled over onto her left side, and he held her there for several minutes while the radiology team ran the transducer over her back, in the area of the left lung. They found three potential areas that may have been be pooled fluid, but could be other conditions as well. After several minutes of this examination and discussion about which area to do the insertion from, Nick asked me to hold Lea in position, while he prepared a second fluid collection bottle in case we needed it.

As the technician inserted the needle into her chest cavity opened the valve in the drain, a stream of fluid began rapidly flowing into the bottle as though under considerable pressure, filling the bottle about ¾ full. The technician asked me to let Lea shift back toward him a little as the stream slowed, and a few more mililiters were drained off. In total, about a liter of fluid was taken out of her chest cavity, and her breathing immediately got easier.

No attempt was made to adjust her ventilator down afterwards, as this procedure followed closely after the dressing change in her abdomen, and she needed to rest. The attempts to have her take over more of the breathing will probably start in the morning, however. I observed though, that the volume of air she was able to take in during each breath went from less than 400 to almost 700 immediately after removal of the fluid. I don’t know exactly what that measurement means, except that she was taking almost twice as much air in with each breath after they took the fluid off. Dr. Mah was right, again. Thank God!

Additionally, Dr, Mah told me that he plans to do another dressing change on Sunday, and that if it still looks clean and healthy in there, he will plan to close up her incision Tuesday morning at 11:30 in the Operating Room. If he closes her at that time, he is going to put two drains into her abdomen. One to put fluid in, and one to take fluid out. That way he can force continual rinsing of the abdomen until all internal bleeding has stopped. Other details of the closing are still being discussed, such as the style of closing and the material to be used, etc.

Dr. Mike Ivy assisted Dr. Mah today at the dressing change today, and agreed that the time has come to get her closed up. Dr. Ivy operated on Lea on August 1, and has kept tabs on her progress all along. I am so grateful for the surgical team here at Hartford. They have been so attentive, and have involved me in the process of deciding the course of action to take. I have felt that they have taken great steps to keep me informed of the good and bad in each step we’ve had to take, and each decision that has had to be made.

So, all in all, I think this was an “up” day, although I sure feel drained tonight. I left Lea in the capable hands of the night crew, after reading to her for a while after supper, singing her a little love song, and praying with her for God’s healing blessings. I also reminded her that you are praying for her, and that we will owe you a big hug when we are on our feet again.

Thank you, and bless you,



Lea continues to be in stable condition tonight. She hasn’t made any progress on the ventilator, however, and the doctor is concerned why that is so. Earlier today he requested an ultrasound of her chest to see if there was additional build up of fluid in the chest cavity preventing the lungs from expanding fully. A few weeks ago nearly two liters of fluid was siphoned off her chest cavity which allowed her to make rapid improvement.

The ultrasound today, however, did not show any build up of fluids. At least, not enough to siphon off. So, after some discussion with colleagues, Dr. Mah talked to me about doing a full body CATSCAN. You may recall that he has wanted to do a CATSCAN for several weeks, but would not do it because of the potential damage to the kidneys caused by the contrast dye. He said today, however, that the time has come that he feels we need to do the test to find out what her problem is, and begin treating it.

He proposed doing a full body CATSCAN, from neck to pelvis, so we could look at all areas of concern with one scan. That means only having to use the contrast dye one time, and reducing the possibility of kidney damage. He said that we would be flushing her out with lots of fluids as soon as the procedure was complete. He felt that this is a necessary step, and that our hands will be rather tied if we don’t do it. I approved the test, and it was completed between 5 and 6 tonight.

I visited with Lea back in her room afterwards, and read to her from a magazine I received today. She was pretty heavily sedated, because she made painful facial grimaces and stiffened up when the team moved her from her regular bed to the CATSCAN table and back. She was resting well when I left the hospital. Her ventilator support had been turned up to a level that will allow her to get complete rest by not having to breathe for herself at all tonight.

I will meet with Dr. Mah tomorrow morning, after he has had a chance to review the CATSCAN results, to discuss the course of treatment from this point forward. There may be some additional treatment required that we weren’t aware of before, and it could be just the ticket to get her solidly on the road to recovery.

She continues to amaze me. When I am at her bedside, I can’t help but feel her strength. She quickly tires from the breathing exercises, and I know she has to be SO tired of being turned, pushed, rolled, probed, stuck, poked, moved, adjusted, stuck, pulled, hurt, bored and stuck. But, my, she is strong! She is fighting! And, like the doctors said early on, we can’t focus on day to day, but rather, look week to week to see how far we’ve come. And we’ve already come a great distance. Praise God!

One of my sisters, Pam, spent last week here in Hartford with me to lend some much-needed moral and physical support (Thank you, Pam). She recently copied me on an email to one of our family members who was asking about how I am holding up, and she had some really insightful comments that I’d like to share with you.

“Something he (Larry) didn’t pass along in an email was Dr. Mah’s statement in response to a question raised by one of Lea’s siblings pertaining to Lea and if her condition was bad enough to remove life support. He stated emphatically that “We aren’t there yet, we haven’t ever been there, we weren’t even there last Friday.” (That was the day her lungs failed, about two weeks ago.) It certainly was good to hear him speak positively of Lea’s condition.

I believe Lea is alive and well, trapped inside a non-cooperating body, so to speak. I know that she responds to Larry and I know that he believes this as well. I think he’s stating his innermost fear felt during a moment of weakness – something he and I discussed briefly when I was there. (I admit to having a fleeting moment of that same thought, even though I knew/know better.)

It’s so disheartening to go so long without any response, especially with the one you’re used to receiving open affection from. I tried to use my brief (surgical) experience to reassure Larry that you can truly hear when others talk, feel when they touch you – you simply lack the ability to respond . . . or maybe you respond an hour or so later when no one is there to see. Time truly has no meaning to you, everything is moment by moment inside the sedation.

I can only imagine what it’s like for Larry to spend such a long time caressing Lea, speaking words of love, maintaining daily those things that require it – brushing her teeth, combing her hair, washing her body and rubbing lotion everywhere that’s exposed – without any response. It’s heartbreaking to witness, to say the least.

But Lea does respond to Larry’s voice – visibly, even when she’s most sedated. I hope I reassured Larry that when he’s looking at her face, whispering words of love into her ears, I was focused on her monitor and could see the difference his voice alone makes to her. (I felt these were intimate times and chose to concentrate on the monitor rather than their “private” time.)

Once, when her blood pressure was alarmingly high, I saw it drop 15 (points?) at the sound of his voice when he was discussing her with one of the nurses, and then continue to lower – something the nurse had just told me would happen when Larry started talking and suggested that I watch the monitor while he involved Larry in a discussion.

Another time, I watched as her pulse jumped 11 points when he touched her gently just above the knee on her left leg, and saw a very brief response where she lifted both her eyebrows as if she was a little surprised/embarrassed by his touch in that particular spot – then I watched as it dropped when he moved away a few moments later. I saw her eyes pop wide open when I’d been there alone with her for a couple of hours, thinking she was again heavily sedated, and Larry walked in and said “Hello darling, how’s my girl?”. I know his fatigue is overwhelming at times, saw it when I first arrived in fact. His strength is there, he taps into it frequently, but he (like all of us, I think) is strongest when he presses into God. I see that happening even more with this email message.

I can’t help but wonder if he hit a day when there was no return email to encourage him, or perhaps no cards to read to Lea. I know that is one of his secret fears, that people will quit sending words and cards of encouragement to them. (Thank you so much for the cards you’ve sent!) He gets so excited when he has mail to read to Lea, talks to her just as if she were awake – holds things up for her to “look at”, describes the pictures on the cards, reminds her who the person/people are that have sent it because the doctors have said that some of her medication will cause confusion and maybe some forgetfulness. (They like it that way, so that she won’t remember everything that she’s going through while in ICU.)

Guess what I’m really saying is that I believe very strongly that Lea is there, hearing every word her beloved whispers to her and feeling every touch. She is so strong, her inner strength is constantly there, constantly hearing, constantly feeling, surprising us all with her baby steps of progress. I was almost jumping for joy when I once asked her to blink her eyes and she did so, almost immediately. It was a secret prayer of mine, that was answered the day before I returned home.”

And, so it goes. Little steps of progress. You just can’t overlook the wonderful blessings bestowed on us because of your efforts at lifting Lea up in prayer. We have seen miracles worked through this terrible illness . . . some of the miracles have been worked on Lea, and we have seen other miracles worked in the lives of others who have examined their own compassion through this ordeal.

I can’t thank you enough for you kindnesses, your selflessness, and your expressions of love. We love getting your notes and letters, and we enjoy reading them together. I am also saving them in a binder so Lea can read them when she wakes up. What a glorious day that will be! Glory to God for miraculous healing.

Warmest regards,


Lea continues to struggle tonight, as she is being asked to take on more of the chore of breathing for herself. The ventilator support was turned down a little at around midnight last night, requiring her to work a little for each breath. The ventilator is always there for support, but she has to initiate the breath, and the vent will help her complete it if necessary.

The workload tired her after a few hours, and her blood pressure rose up in the 160-170s over 40s and 50s, but she did well. The machine is set to support her at a level of 10 peeps, and at one point she was doing better than double that herself. She tired quickly, of course, and needed relief later in the day. Still, if she continues to grow stronger, she can eventually eliminate the need for the ventilator support entirely.

She is taking on a little more liquid again, since she is being fed partially through an IV. Hopefully, the digestive system will kick in right away, and she won’t get as bloated as she has in the past. She had also been given a couple units of blood overnight to build up her bloodstream volume, since she is still bleeding from the abdominal wound. That will happen regularly until the incision is closed up.

I authorized a rake massage for Lea this evening, and nearly fell asleep listening to the music the therapist played while doing the massage. I’m not sure Lea had any idea what was going on, but her blood pressure and pulse reacted much as it does when I read to her. I interpret that reaction as being more relaxed than usual, and am willing to repeat anything that helps her in any way.

It is really very hard to be with her day in and day out and not get any reaction from her. The doctors say that “she” is in there somewhere, and that she can hear my voice and be comforted by it. But, sometimes, in the weak moments, I wonder if she really is in there any more. Wouldn’t it be horrible to go through all this just to find that it is only the body that is being kept alive . . . that the essence of who she is has already gone? It makes me shutter to think of it, and I have to confess the thought makes me weep.

I received a message some time back from a person who suggested I think about whether I might be asking Lea to stay here with me, when she would rather, of course, go to her reward. The writer must have felt that the bond Lea and I share is strong enough that she would stay here and suffer on, just to please me. (If she knew Lea, she would think differently. J )

The natural reaction to that kind of comment is immediate rejection of the idea. And, I have to confess it deeply hurt my feelings. But, as I thought more about it, meditated as I read my study bible and prayed for insight, I began to realize that I didn’t have the power to make her stay here against her will. Only God can make the decision whether she goes or stays. There is comfort in that. I have decided that I wouldn’t want to be responsible for deciding who goes and who stays.

I pray to God for guidance in making the medical decisions that come before me on nearly a weekly basis, and that He grant me the wisdom and faith to do what is right. I can also bend down close to Lea’s ear, and with clear conscious, say, “Lea, I love you! I want you and need you. I am so proud of you! You are so strong! You are doing so well! Please don’t give up, darling. Keep fighting to get well, so we can go home.” What a relief it is to know that my desires are not going to be the deciding factor!

I don’t know that my faith has gotten any stronger. I accepted Jesus many years ago, and He has been a constant companion over the years. He has always been there in times of trouble, and in times of joy. But, I think my faith has taken on a different character. As I have struggled through this situation for the past several weeks, I have come to realize that I don’t have to just step back from my emotional ties to my soul mate and say, “The Lord’s will be done.”

I am one of His children, and I can approach my father and reason with Him. And, while I have to say, “Thy will be done,” I am allowed to plead with Him for my desires as well. Although I may be required to “drink from this cup” one of these days, I can ask that I be allowed more time before taking that drink. I may not be granted that additional time, but I am allowed to ask for it.

And, you know what? I’m okay with that.

Rest well, Lea. I’ll see you in the morning.

Praise God,


“Larry, LOL (Laugh Out Loud). I know how proud she will be that you have told the whole world that she had a bowel movement. I am so-o-o-o-o glad she doesn’t know yet!!!! No matter when it is, I can just hear her laugh!!!!”

The above is from one of my sisters. See how I get into trouble? I didn’t say ANYTHING about Lea having a bowel movement! I already know she wouldn’t think that was an appropriate thing to discuss in an update, so I’m not even going there!

I found out today, however, that when a person is being fed nutrition through a tube directly into her small intestine, the intention is for the milk-shake consistency nutrition to be absorbed into her body . . . not moved through the bowel in huge quantities. In the cases where that happens, the staff would probably switch the patient back over to a diet of half nutrition fed through the tube, and the other half fed as a liquid through an IV drip via a new port installed near the left wrist.

Oh, guess what? Lea had a new IV port installed near her left wrist today. In fact, all her IV ports have been replaced with fresh units over the past couple of days, just as a precaution against infection. Her lungs are continuing to produce only small quantities of thick fluid, and she seems to be able to tolerate the every-other-dressing-changes better, reacting with shorter term temperature spikes. She is still at 40% oxygen level and 10 peeps, and 15 breaths per minute..

She was allowed to rest today, in between the dressing change and all the IV line changes, but didn’t have to work on the ventilator reduction, which seems to tire her out very quickly. I have been massaging her legs for her . . . she still has those inflatable leggings on her calves that give her a constant massage, in an effort to avert blood clots . . and the leggings leave deep indentations on her legs. So, every once in a while, we take those off, and I put lotion on her, and massage away those marks.

She continues to drain off excess liquid from her body. Her face is once again taking on those characteristically attractive features that make her such a natural beauty. I redid her French nails for her today, and brushed out her hair and put it up on top of her head with one of those springy clamps girls use. We then “watched” a home movie of a family event a few years ago. I didn’t get much reaction from her today, and she wouldn’t open her eyes for me, but she had been pretty heavily sedated because of the dressing change in her abdominal wound, but she seemed to rest better during the movie.

I also noticed that her pulse rate lowered several points, and her blood pressure dropped slightly, as I read her email, eGreetings and greeting cards to her. I is really very comforting to know that she is recognizing names of those who mean so much to her as I read them. And, I’ve been delighted to see that she is being touched when I read those from someone we don’t yet know, who say they are writing because some person who knows us had sent them the updates on Lea, and that they want Lea to know that they are praying for her.

I’ve been toying with an idea for a little project to do for her. I’d like to put together some kind of a map that would show all the places folks are reading her updates and praying for her. I know many of the locations, but I’m certain I don’t have any idea of many, since the updates are forwarded on to many more than I have on the distribution list. Would you mind taking a moment to drop me an email with your location on it? All I need is city and state/province, etc. Send it to, and I’ll start putting together an Excel sheet or something.

By the way, some of the girls wanted to see a photo of the braid I did in Lea’s hair, so I am sending it along. Don’t laugh. I think it’s pretty good for a first try, although it might be more properly called a “desperation braid.” Excuse us a moment boys . . . this is a girl , er, nurse thing. J

Thank you, again, for your continuing prayers. Lea is still in critical condition, and we hope to be able to continue sending good news of her recovery in the weeks ahead. But, we must realize that recovery is going to still take a while, and it may be months before we know just how fully she will recover. We pray for miraculous healing, of course, and thank you for your love and support.

Warmest regards,


Praise God, Lea remains stable again tonight. The doctor decided that she needed to have a day of rest before adding any more burden to her recovery. They did replace one of the IV ports in her arm, which they do on a regular basis to prevent infection, gave her a unit of blood, and infused albumen periodically to keep her blood pressure up. They also increased her ventilator just slightly to help her rest a little better.

She wouldn’t want me to say anything about big, multiple bowel movements all over the bed. And, I have nothing at all to say about six-week old lobster. But, I CAN tell you that I have a different perspective, and a new appreciation, for the duties of the nursing staff in intensive care. I guess I COULD say that the nurses gave me a couple pair of scrubs, and my name is up on the board as a nursing assistant. J

Lea was fortunate to have Barbara as her nurse overnight again last night, and Adam again today. They are both very attentive and caring, and I am very comfortable getting away for a few hours when they are caring for her. I’ve mentioned others, too, in various notes, and wouldn’t exclude any one of the nurses. It’s like they are handpicked. Not only are they very skilled technically, but they also are compassionate and thoughtful. I feel that we were led to this hospital, and have been very grateful for it.

I had a note from someone who started receiving these updates from an acquaintance some weeks after our initial stop in Hartford, wanting to know how we ended up here, so far from our home in Indiana. We were driving home from a vacation in Maine, and happened to be passing through the Hartford area when illness struck.

We vacationed with another couple from the town where we live, Pat and Joe Stroup. While passing through Hartford on the interstate, Joe, who was driving, suddenly pulled over to the side of the road, and got out of the truck, saying that he was experiencing chest discomfort. Long story short, he wound up in the emergency room of the hospital with suspected heart problems.

The next morning Lea got up feeling a little out of sorts, but showered and dressed, thinking we would rent a car for the drive home. By the time we got to the rental car agency across town and rented a car, she was too sick to drive home, so I turned the car right back in and drove to the hospital. Shortly thereafter she was so ill that I walked her into the emergency room, and she was later diagnosed with Acute Pancreatitis (not pancreatitis – they are different).

Our friend Joe’s stay was several weeks, and he just recently transferred back to Indiana via Air Ambulance, and is recuperating quite well. He is expected to complete his in-patient stay in the next two or three weeks and start out-patient rehabilitation. We are very grateful for his recovery, and thank God for His mercy in sparing our good friend.

Meanwhile, we continue seeing miracles worked here in Hartford. Lea has really surprised the doctors time and again with the healing that has occurred at so many stages of her recovery. She was given a 15% chance of recovery when we first brought her to this hospital, three days after being admitted to another facility. Acute Pancreatitis has only a 70% recovery rate, and that occurs only after many months of treatment followed by many more months of recovery.

We have had our setbacks, too, but know that the will of God is being worked, and that we are but pawns in the work that is being done through this illness. I continue to pray for Lea’s recovery and her return to full health through miraculous healing, and am looking forward to the day I can take her back home to be nearer to her friends, family and loved ones.

I will have to say again to those of you who have done so much to support us through your emails, eGreetings, and greeting cards, that these are tangible evidence for the staff here at the hospital of the love that surrounds Lea. It is a palpable demonstration of the wonderful support we receive through the prayer groups that are lifting her up. It helps Lea when I read the notes to her, and it helps the nursing staff see that she has earned a special place in the hearts of so many.

Thank you again for your love and support,


Lea is resting comfortably tonight. She had to do a little work today, trying to do a little more of the breathing as the ventilator was turned down just ever so slightly. In just a short time she began to labor with each breath, and her physical therapist, Cliff, returned the vent settings back where the were, letting her rest. Her nurse, Adam, stated that the little bit of exercise is very tiring for her, but it is a first step to building her back up to where she’ll be strong enough to breathe on her own.

Her vital signs all seem to be pretty stable once again, except when she is being moved, or she thinks she is going to be moved. As soon as you touch her unexpectedly, she opens her eyes, and her blood pressure elevates. I can’t imagine the horrible pain she must have in her abdomen, and of course every movement you make, including breathing, uses those severed stomach muscles.

Dr. Mah did a dressing change again today in the stomach wound, and said everything looks good enough that he plans to do the dressing changes every second or third day for the next week or two, and then will close her up. By then we should be very confident that the acute pancreatitis is well under control, and that the healing of all systems is under way. All major systems are likely to have suffered some damage, but we won’t know how much until recovery begins running its course.

Good news also came in the form of a conversation with our friends Pat and Joe Stroup, who were able to return to Indiana after their stay here in Hartford. It appears that Joe is well on the way to recovery, and we are delighted to learn of his progress, although we miss having the Stroups here to visit with on a daily basis. We look forward to being able to sit on the porch with them again passing the time drinking iced tea and people watching.

We really miss our dear friends back in Indiana. I haven’t mentioned in my notes that Lea is in her second term as president of the Atlanta Lions Club, and we have made acquaintances with many wonderful people through that service organization. Joe and I are both past presidents of the club, and Pat has held several offices including her present post as secretary.

We have been humbled to learn that our Lions Club has set up a fund to help us financially through this bazaar situation. Although that is what Lionism is all about, and what we, as leaders of the club have done for others for years, it feels different to be on the other side. As one of our fellow Lions said, “It’s easier for Lions to give than it is to receive. That’s just our nature.”

Thank you for your loving kindnesses, your thoughtful support, your Christian charity, your prayers for Lea’s miraculous healing, your emails, cards and eGreetings. They are all so very much appreciated!

Humbly yours,


This was a really wonderful day, as Lea’s sedatives had been reduced enough that she came up closer to the surface and was able to respond to me a little. She had also reduced a lot of the swelling in her body caused by the retention of fluids. Her face began to be recognizable again, and her eyes lost their puffiness so that she was able to open them. It sure was nice to see her pretty blue eyes again!

She would open her eyes when I entered the room and spoke to her, and as I read to her or talked about some of our memories. She also made some facial expressions as she listened to some of the home movies I had recorded on DVD this past summer. She still isn’t moving her toes or squeezing my hand yet, and it may be some time before she is that aware. How precious a smile would be!

Her open belly wound apparently causes her a great deal of pain, and she is aware of the pain even at this low level of consciousness, as she grimaces when we attempt to move her or any of the limbs, because she anticipates the pain it could cause. Because of this she will probably not be brought up much further toward consciousness until the belly wound is closed and it begins healing and reducing the pain.

Her control of breathing improved today, in that she was able to handle a reduction in the ventilator support. She is now down to 14-15 breaths per minute (normal), 40% oxygen support and 8 peeps. Normal lung function is 5 peeps, and that is the goal, but keep in mind that she still has pneumonia, and it will probably be a week or so before she will be able to reach self-sufficiency.

She fought a low level temperature again today, and didn’t respond as well to Tylenol as we would have liked. It’s possible that she will be put back on an antibiotic tomorrow. She was getting rid of fluids by the “bucket” full today, often times getting ahead of her body’s ability to adjust to the change. That would cause her blood pressure to drop, and that required occasional infusion of albumen to put more fluid into the bloodstream. As her body catches up, that problem should clear itself out.

We added some new, fashionable, padded stockings to her wardrobe this evening as the skin on the back of her heels began to break down with bedsores. I am pretty confident that the sores developed as a result of laying in one position too long without being turned, as we had been very careful to make sure the rocking bed didn’t cause skin irritation. That’s what happens when you can’t be there 24 X 7 to make sure everything is being watched and all protections taken.

I removed the fingernail polish from her toes today and my sister Pam applied a new coat of polish to keep them looking the way they were when she got sick. Hopefully we can keep her illness from being too depressing when she wakens. It’s going to be confusing enough to realize that months have gone by since your last memory.

By the way, I also did my first braid today! I washed her hair this morning, which she really enjoys, and then braided a pony tail on the top of her head. I put a nice red sprunchy at the base and a white bow at the top to hold it together. If you squinted your eyes just right, it actually looked pretty good! I took a picture of it so Lea can get a laugh later on.

I am so grateful for each precious moment she can open her eyes and, perhaps, know that I am here with her. I don’t want her to ever feel that she is fighting this battle alone. The two of us have always been able to team up, work together, and with God in our hearts and at our sides, been able to tackle anything that came along. I think she needs to know that I’m there to provide any support I can, and that my devotion to her knows no bounds. With the Lord’s help we will overcome this present challenge as well.

May God bless you,



Experience the Miraculous Healing of Lea Vaughn, and the incredible spiritual journey of her husband during 180 days of treatment in Hartford (CT) Hospital. Read his original daily emails to friends and family in "Hartford Letters" above. ____________________________


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