I told you all last month that I would post about what happened with my husband in December. I’ve found myself with some quiet time this evening, so I thought this would be a good time to do so.
It all began the week between Thanksgiving and December. My husband was in the backyard preparing things for winter. He was walking across the back yard and forgot about the raised garden (railroad ties raised up around the garden to raise it above yard level). He tripped over the wood and fell. It’s important to note here, that he has a bad case of eczema and had some small sores on his knee, so to it was easy for infection to set in.
He came in hobbling a little bit, cleaned up and didn’t think much more about it. He started hobbling around even more and eventually couldn’t walk. I had to call 911 to come and help me pick him up. He thought it was just the one leg and it needed time to heal, so we told the EMT he could go.
The next day (or the day after, one of the two), on December 3rd my husband got down the stairs to the downstairs bathroom (we live in a split level) and he couldn’t get back up the stairs. In fact, he was on the floor at the bottom of the stairs and couldn’t even stand up.
He’s too heavy for me (especially with my bad back) to pick up, so I called 911 again. This time I talked him into letting them take him to the closest hospital at least for evaluation since they were there anyway. The closest to us is Avita Health Care Hospital in Ontario, Ohio. He finally agreed after my sister and I talked him into it.
After a four-hour wait, the emergency room doctor finally came in to evaluate him. He ordered an X-ray and couldn’t find anything broken. He gave us a pair of crutches and said he would order an MRI (which was never ordered) and was about to release him. I told him, “He can’t even hold himself up! How can he stand up on crutches?” He insisted nothing was found on X-rays, and he just needed to rest. I had been telling him, “His behavior is odd and he isn’t speaking right.” He blew me off.
They released him and as I was getting him in the car (assisted by a few nurses or aids) ,I asked them, “The doctor was supposed to order an MRI, we still need that.” The nurses/aids said they would be sending it to us because they didn’t have MRI facilities there anyway. They were supposed to send a prescription for a portable potty chair to the pharmacy since my husband could not climb stairs. They told us it was sent electronicaly to the pharmacy and would be there waiting for us.
I got to the pharmacy and it was not there waiting for us ,and never did arrive. Nor did the MRI.
When we got home, I pulled our van up to the door to our house as far as I could in the yard, but there was no way to get my husband out of the van and into the house by myself and if I COULD, there was no way for him to get to the bathroom up or down the stairs from the main level.
My husband is originally from the Cleveland area, and his doctors are all Cleveland Clinic doctors, so I talked him into letting me take him to the emergency room at the Cleveland Clinic for a better evaluation there. He reluctantly agreed, and we set off on the hour-long drive with him laying sideways in our van’s back seat the whole way.
It was a rare quiet evening in the ER there, and my husband was seen quickly. The ER doctor there listened to me closely and asked for an additional doctor to come see him. They did another X-ray which, of course, showed nothing broken. After listening to me describe the difference in his speech from normal, and about his behavior, they ordered a knee tap.
The knee tap used a big tube with a needle to draw out the fluid on his knee. Once tested, the results came back that his white blood cell count was extremely high (indicating infection).
It was determined that my husband had septic arthritis in his knee -a bad case of sepsis which could have killed him had I not gotten him to the hospital when I did. My father died of septic shock, so when I heard the word “sepsis” it scared the daylights out of me!
They admitted him and scheduled surgery for the next day. They opened up his knee and cleaned all the infection out and scraped it all clean. A hohn catheter (central line) was placed in his chest for a continual IV drip of Vancomycin (strong antibiotics).
My husband started hallucinating and was very delirious for the majority of his 2 week stay at the Cleveland Clinic. At night when we (my 15-year old autistic son and I) weren’t there with him, he had to have someone sit with him to keep him from trying to get out of bed or pull his catheter or IV out. He was hallucinating something terrible. He was really mean at one point, talking wildly the next. He was angry with me most of that first two weeks because his hallucinations and delirium were leading him to believe that I was colluding with people to hurt him.
He was admitted there for two weeks before they released him to a nursing home for further therapy. I had to coordinate with the department’s social worker to find a skilled nursing facility that could take him. Some weren’t able to handle the hohn catheter. I’d tried to get him in the same facility my mom is, but they would not take him due to the catheter. Finally, we were able to get him accepted at one (and that would take our insurance) in the next town over from us.
After getting my husband settled in his new surroundings, getting his medications and medical records to the nurses there, we were able to visit him daily until my son got sick with a virus. We had to miss visiting him for a week due to my son being contagious, but he was able to be with his daddy on Christmas Day (also my husband’s birthday).
Another struggle for us was that I had taken my son to an Avita walk in clinic not far from our house (it was a Saturday) and they put him on a very low dose of Amoxicillin. He got well enough just for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and he got ill again. I took him back to his primary care doctor this time, and she told me that they had given him the wrong medication and the wrong dose of it for him, and to avoid Avita in the future. I’d already made my mind up about that after what they’d done with my husband and then my son getting sick again. This family is completely anti-Avita forever.
My husband had to live in the skilled nursing facility for 3 weeks total. Our insurance would only pay 100% for him to be there for 20 days. I was praying fervently that the Lord would allow him to be able to be released to my care (or at least a visiting nurse) that last day. He had an appointment on that very last day with his infection disease doctor. In God’s providence, the doctor released him to come home! He had only been in that facility till 8 am that morning, so the facility didn’t charge him for that day at all.
In fact, at that doctor’s appointment (which was at the Cleveland Clinic), they were also able to get him in to outpatient surgery to remove the catheter from his chest. After another x-ray, the infectious disease doctor put him on oral antibiotics which he was on for another month or more.
I brought my husband home and went to the nursing home and gathered his belongings, his medications, and signed the release papers. I was so happy signing those papers! When I first signed papers to admit him there, I was so scared worrying about how we could afford the over $200 a day if he had to be there longer than the 20 days. I was praising God that day, that He got us through to the very day we needed him to be able to come home.
Since that day (January 7th), my husband has steadily improved. When he first came home he was using a walker and used a cane (with me steadying him from behind) on our stairs to get to the bathroom. When going to doctors’ appointments and the pharmacy, we had a rolling walker we kept in our van for him to use that worked better when away from home.
Today (February 17th), my husband had me put the walker in the basement. He’s progressed to just a cane, and at times just at home, he hobbles about without the cane.
The only setback he’s had is emotionally. He had his heart set on having knee-replacement surgery soon. He had an appointment with his infectious disease doctor last week where he learned that he would be at high risk for another infection till a year from his infection, so he will have to wait for at least a year.
He’s sunk into a depression at that news, and is rather crabby at the moment. I would really appreciate your continued prayers for him (and our family) as he continues to progress and work towards a possible knee replacement down the road.
The infection wiped out any remaining cartilage he had in his knee, so it’s bone on bone. He’s dealing with pain from that, of course.
I’m so thankful for the Lord’s protection and provision through it all, however! I’m so thankful that He gave me the wisdom to take him to the Cleveland Clinic ER after the debaucle at Avita.
In addition to working it out for Greg to have that catheter taken out the very day he saw the infectious disease doctor and the ability for Greg to come home the very day his insurance stopped paying, there were also a handful of friends who were very supportive and helpful to us.
A friend from Bible study gave us a gas gift card, a special needs ministry we attended where we used to live sent us a gas gift card. A friend from Facebook (we met through a Yahoo group we used to both be in) was extremely generous sending us Christmas gifts, restaurant gift cards, and gas gift cards. Another Facebook friend (who was anonymous) sent us a package with Christmas gifts for Evan. Another Facebook friend sent us a gas gift card and restaurant gift cards.
The Lord went above and beyond in His care for us during this crisis! <3 I’m so very thankful for the Lord watching over us and providing for us with not only our basic needs but also Christmas gifts we wouldn’t have been able to get if this crisis hadn’t happened. But mostly for the trust He instilled in me for Him, and teaching me to rely on Him and that He will use people I’ve never met in person (other than my Bible study friend) to provide for us. Also, another Bible study friend picked up a prescription for my husband once when we didn’t have the money, and once when we were snowed in during Winter Storm Harper last month.
God is SO good. ALL the time! I’m so very grateful!
A hearty “thank you!!” to all who prayed us through this crisis. God bless you all!