Dave is out of ICU, and what a relief it is! We feel like we went on a big, crazy, scary detour full of a lot of uncertainty and dark moments, but now we’re headed back on track to getting him home again. His fevers are much better, still some small spikes. His blood pressure also no longer seems to be a problem. However, his oxygen levels and his lung capacity are still a concern, so they are continuing to give him constant oxygen and breathing treatments until his lungs improve. He is, of course, very weak and tired. He was very, very sick.

After all the poking, prodding, and testing, along with lots of doctors looking worried and puzzled, they did come to a diagnosis of parainfluenza #3, which apparently is a cousin of the flu. It’s something that can hit people with a weakened immune system very hard and can even be fatal. The diagnosis was finally identified from the bronchoscopy. We are relieved because it could have been something much worse. They were throwing around concerns of other cancers, as well as wild and unusual viruses and bacterias. That makes us glad it was “just” a cousin of the flu! The word “just” doesn’t seem to fit the reality of our week, but maybe it does.

The hope is for Dave to continue to regain strength each day, for his lungs to continue to improve, and for him to be able to go back to the rehab floor even as soon as this weekend. After this crazy detour, he will have to start back pretty much at square one, and even a few steps behind that because he is so weak. But he is determined to do it quickly. He just wants to be home! 

Please pray that Dave’s body continues to fight off this flu and that his lungs heal quickly. Please pray that he is able to regain his strength as quickly as possible. And please pray for great wisdom and a good plan for his rehab as he is still dealing with significant spinal cord damage. We still need to figure out what his capabilities and care needs will be as he returns home. It’s a huge challenge, but it actually doesn’t seem as ominous as it did last week before our trip down the ICU detour. It’s amazing what a little perspective can do. Life with spinal cord damage can seem so overwhelming and not at all what you want, until even that life is threatened. It can make you much more willing to tackle the challenges of even a difficult life. Life is precious.

This last week was so scary and dark, but God was with us, even if we didn’t always feel Him. There were times when we didn’t even know how to pray, so we just kept saying, “Please help us, God” over and over again into the darkness. It’s comforting to know that God hears that simple prayer. It is enough. Prayers don’t need to be fancy or profound or “right.” That’s something big that we are learning. Why do we put that pressure on ourselves? A simple prayer of “Help,” or even a quiet reaching out to God without even any words, is sometimes all the prayer that is needed in those dark moments. He hears. He knows. He really is there. There are still times when we don’t understand, but we will continue to look to God, we will continue to trust Him, and we will continue to do everything we can to move forward.

God says to us: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b

Thank you for praying for us and with us, especially during those dark nights when we couldn’t. 

We appreciate you!

The Stoeckleins