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The past several weeks have been a time of great progress for Lea as she recovered from her knee replacement, reduced her pain medication as quickly as she was able to, and began to come out of the mental fog she has been in for the past couple of years.

I have been working with her all along trying to get her to use her mind for creative thinking, or simply get interested in keeping up with her email, just to improve her alertness and over all mental acuity. Our dear friend, Lou, tried to get Lea interested in one of Lou’s avocations; quilting. I was pretty dubious at first, concerned whether Lea would have the ability to stay interested long enough to finish a project, let alone be able to do the calculations necessary for measuring and cutting the pieces that are fitted together.

But, while Lea and I were in Missouri for a short visit last fall, she and her sister were visiting a cousin, Dora, who is a long time quilter. Dora said that she would give each of them a supply of  embroidered squares that she had completed if they would use them to make a quilt. Both of them assured Dora they would.

This appeared to be quite a motivator for Lea, who got excited enough about making a quilt for her bed that she got Lou to go with her to shop for fabric. We took the fabric with us to Hawaii, where we met Bonnie, who was one of the ladies attending bible study home group at my son’s house. Bonnie, also a quilter, got Lea started designing the quilt, and actually started cutting out some of the hundreds of pieces that would be needed.

After her fall that resulted in a broken hip, Lea was so medicated that she didn’t really have any interest in the quilt, and the project was put aside for months. Then, after her knee surgery recovery was well under way, she was invited to a baby shower for our daughter-in-law in Austin. The timing was just right! She and Lou went shopping for material to make a quilt for our grandson’s crib. He is expected to arrive within the next few days, by the way.

The quilt turned out beautifully, and she was so satisfied with the final product, she actually started working immediately on the original quilt. She and Lou spent several days together cutting, piecing, sewing, bordering, and pinning the king size quilt. Now, Lea is doing all the hand quilting, and enjoying her craftsmanship a great deal.

I have pieced together some random photos and video segments of the two quilts and assembled them into the final production which you can link to by clicking on the “arrow” in the middle of the frame, at about her left elbow, above. If you have been following Lea’s healing, you will be as delighted as I have been. Thank God for His miraculous healing!  

Praise God for the many, many blesssings He has given us! September was a month of wonderful improvement for Lea! She is getting better by leaps and bounds, and the pain she has been suffering for so many months is finally subsiding. She is down to a single dose of narcotic pain killer each day, which is improving her mental acuity a great deal.

We had a delightful trip to Austin in September to visit our son and his lovely bride. They are in the last weeks of pregnancy, expecting a baby boy later this month! We also got to spend some time with the expectant mother’s parents, which Lea and I both enjoyed immensely. We met them at the wedding last year, but got to spend only a precious few hours with them amidst all the hubbub of the weekend. Lea, of course, was still on very heavy doses of narcotics and anti-depression medication at the time, so she remembers only highlights of the event.

Lea’s knee replacement seems to be settling down now, and her side-to-side control is greatly improving. The surgeon looked at her last week and was pleased with her progress. He did, however, want her to continue using the knee brace and wearing the surgical hose for at least another month. We hope she can continue the improvement so she won’t need that additional surgery.

We are not going to be able to get her abdomen closed up in the foreseeable future. We consulted with three separate surgeons, including one who deals with abdominal trauma, but none felt Lea was strong enough to survive sugical closing of the hernia. Of course, they all saw her before her rapid improvement started about three weeks ago, and they may feel differently next time we try to pursue that.

Meanwhile, she is going to have to continue wearing the abdominal binder 24 x 7, and, of course, can’t push, pull, lift or bend, in order to avoid hemmoraging. She isn’t allowed to drive, because the seat belt, in a collision, would cause hemmoraging, and she will have to continue using a cane until her knee is totally safe for her to walk on.

We continue struggling with her diabetes, trying to get it back under control. It continues to be erratic, and we are now doing four injections each day to attempt to get it to level out. Whether it will become controllable, or whether the pancreas will start producing insulin again, we don’t know. We just pray that her healing will continue, that her previous quality of life will return, and that we can serve Him through that healing.

We remain SO grateful to the wonderful folks in the medical field who made it possible for us to reach this point, and to our Lord, who gave us these challenges to make us better Christians. We praise God for the miraculous healing He has provided, and pray for His guidance in our lives. We continue to pray for clarity of the direction He would have us go to best serve Him.

September has been a very full month for Lea and myself with several ministry opportunities, fulfilling family activities and many great blessings. Our month started out with a weekend at Allerton State Park in Monticello, Illinois, where we joined many of our extended family members in enjoying several fun-filled, and food-filled, days of activities. Here is a short video recap of some of the folks, and the activities, from that weekend.

Lea and I headed for Monticello, Illinois for Labor Day weekend, spending a few days with Pat & Joe Stroup and his family at their annual family reunion. It is always a nice time, and it was delightful to see that Lea felt well enough (finally) to go away for the weekend. She even baked her famous peach cobbler! We’ll have more news and video early next week.

Lea continues to regain her strength as I sit down to write a few lines. She has persisted in trying to back off on the narcotic pain medication she has been taking since her most recent surgery, and, thankfully, has reduced to two doses per day from the eight daily doses she needed right after the procedure six weeks ago.

She still is wearing the full length leg brace, from hip to ankle, which is very hot in this Midwest summer heat. Combined with the abdominal binder she has to wear practically 24×7, she is usually uncomfortably hot, indeed. Necessarily, we spend most of our time indoors where she can get some relief from the heat.

She has felt well enough to do some cooking this past week, which quickly wears her out, but is still good therapy for her, since cooking has always been one of her favorite activities. Being able to stand long enough to prepare a meal uplifts her spirits tremendously, and she keeps walking off and forgetting her cane in the kitchen.

Her physical therapy sessions have been going well, with good progress being made in the mobility of her new knee, and endurance of her hip. The knee, however, continues to have excessive side-to-side movement, which causes her imbalance when walking. Hence, the full leg brace. We go back to the surgeon September 6 to get an evaluation on how she is doing, and my concern is that he may have to put her in a full leg cast for several weeks if the knee doesn’t stablize enough with the present course of treatment. That will certainly hinder any comfortable traveling we might do.

We are planning a trip to Texas in mid-September, to consider relocating there near our youngest son and family. We will also be visiting an internal specialist while we are there, to see if we feel comfortable considering trusting her complicated medical condition to his care. We have been SO fortunate to have Dr Miller tending to our needs here, that it is going to be difficult to find anyone to fill his shoes. If I can’t find acceptable care for her, however, I am not inclined to move her out of our present comfort zone.

I have previously closed my private consulting practice and will now be taking a leave-of-absence from DBM for a few weeks until we decide what steps we might take in the next few months. We feel that we are being led to make this move, but, I have to make sure we are moving for the right reasons, and into the right conditions. We have come too far since Lea’s traumatic escapes from death to take unnecessary chances at this point.

We welcome your prayers for His guidance in making this decision, and thank you for the many kind, encouraging, well wishes we receive.  Your your thoughtfulness is not lessened by distance, nor your kindnesses diminished by time. God bless!

The little video below was shot while on a shopping outing to a spice shop in Indy. Our friend Pat sits on the bench with Lea at the front of the store.

Lea went to the knee surgeon today for a follow-up after her surgery, and while he was quite pleased that she has acquired very good flexibility in bending and straightening her knee, he was quite unhappy at the extensive side-to-side motion that remains. He fitted her for a more aggressive brace that, hopefully, will speed the healing of the tendon that holds the knee in place. That tendon had been stretched way out of shape during the collapse of her knee over the past several years. Lea tells of the news in the video clip below.

Lea and I were blessed with a good weekend, as she finally felt well enough to get out and enjoy several activities Saturday and Sunday. We enjoyed breakfast together Saturday morning, and as I cleaned up the kitchen she got ready to go out for the day. She told me she wanted to go to mom’s church’s car wash, have a light lunch, and then go to the church’s ice cream social. We started the morning by going to the Farmer’s Market. Here’s a video recap of our activities.

We went to physical therapy Monday morning, and by Monday evening her knee was pretty sore and a little swollen, but all in all, she is feeling good about all she is now able to do. She continues to cut back on her medicine, and we are hoping for a lot of improvement in stability of her knee iover the next few weeks.

Thanks to God for the wonderful continuous healing He has granted us! We praise Him for His mercy and grace, and continue to pray for His guidance in leading us to do His will.

Priase God for His mercy and blessings! We were able to have a fun day! Lea and I treated my mother to breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants, and then went to a nail salon to have manicures and pedicures. The girls had a good time, and mom got the giggles. It was good for them, and I captured some of the activities on camera.  

The Bell
I KNOW WHO I AM
I am God’s child ( John 1:12)
I am Christ’s friend (John 15:15)
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I  am a personal witness of Christ  (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt. 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation  (Rom.8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant  (Phil.3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31-34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor.5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit   (Eph 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms  (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom.8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God  (2 Cor. 1:21-22)
I am assured all things work together for good ( Rom. 8: 28)
I  have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit ( John 15:16)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil.4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God’s temple (1 Cor. 3: 16).  I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).  I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God’s co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1).  I am God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil. 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14).  I have been adopted as God’s child (Eph 1:5)
I belong to God

 

I didn’t write this, and don’t know to whom to give credit, but wanted to share the blessing of the bell with you.

Lea went to her first physical therapy session today, and was quite pleased with the progress she had made over the weekend. She used some exercises the therapist recommended last week, and made improvement in two vital areas; she is able to bend her knee an additional couple of degrees, and she is able to get her knee nearly straight.

The tests today indicate that she is able to bend the knee one hundred seven degrees (one hundred ten is the minimum goal), and she is only four degrees shy of being able to straighten her knee. Both of these measurements are without any kind of assistance other than her own muscle power.

Her knee still is not completely straight on the sides. It tilts in toward the left leg, which is caused by the weak tendons on the inside of her knee. Hopefully, as she goes through therapy that will straighten up and return to a normal position. Meanwhile, she is not to walk without her cane, and must wear good street shoes all the time . . . no house shoes or slippers. The good quality shoes are needed for the support they provide.

Our next therapy session will be next Friday, with home exercises to be done twice a day between sessions. We pray to the Lord several times every day giving Him praise for the wonderful healing we are experiencing.

Below is a short video of Lea at therapy today, as she walks into the exercise area, and it closes with a shot of her working that knee on an exercise machine.

ABOUT HARTFORD LETTERS

Experience the Miraculous Healing and Recovery of Lea Vaughn, and the incredible spiritual journey of her husband during 180 days in Hartford Hospital. Read his original daily emails in "Hartford Letters" above. ____________________________

In “Prayer,” above:

For Dave
Praise: Lea
For Bill and Jane
For Megan
For Charlotte
For Marnita
Praise: Gary
Praise: fellowship
For Herb
Praise: Joe
For Lea
For Unnamed

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