God has been very kind to me. Three weeks after the operation to bypass closed arteries to my heart, I am feeling strong and healthy. I can still get winded after a block of walking, the chest is still sore, and I do need to be careful about lifting anything more than 5 pounds with either arm. But my heart is healthy for the first time in decades and by January I should be at full strength.
And my gratitude goes beyond God’s sustaining and healing activity this month. I am also deeply thankful for the seemingly innumerable friends who supported me this month with prayer, notes, cards, meals, work around my house and other forms of wonderful encouragement. I have never felt so blessed and rich. You have changed my life.
This entry will end my blogging on the subject of my heart. But those of you who attend First Covenant we will hear the subject again in a series in November looking at the Bible passages that tell us about “Keys to a Healthy Heart.” Till then. . .
I just received a call from Max and the difference between this call and the previous ones is that this time he called me from the comfort of his favorite chair in his own living room!
The procedure done yesterday was something the doctors wanted to do to err on the conservative side and make sure that nothing was wrong and they determined that it's entirely possible that this irregularity in Max's heartbeat could very well be something he's dealt with for years... in any case, they did not put in a defibrillator or anything else to regulate his heart; they've given him a clean bill of health and sent him home to recover there. He's feeling great and even said he may go walk on the treadmill a little today to get a little exercise.
Don't expect to see him at church on Sunday but you will most likely find him here the following week. As usual thanks for your continued prayers and support. The recovery process is certainly not over, but it seems the biggest hurdles have all been cleared at this point and that is encouraging.
Well, I had a lengthy phone conversation with Max earlier this morning and he is "scheduled" for a procedure at noon today. I put "scheduled" in quotation marks because he's actually being fit in to a very busy doctor's schedule and there's no telling when it will actually take place. They are going to put him back on the respirator and send in something that will send electrical shocks to different parts of the heart and see if they can't figure out why it is doing what it is doing (For all you medical professionals out there, I know there is better terminology for all this but I apologize that I don't speak that language yet). :)
At any rate, based on the results that they get, they will do one of two things. They will either (if the heart reacts in positive ways to the stimuli), pull everything out and send him home (today!) knowing that he just has a heart that does a few weird things but assuming it's an okay thing. But if it reacts in a different way, they will insert a defibrillator under the skin near his left shoulder that will be hooked up to the heart and will (somehow) regulate the irregular heartbeats. Max thinks it is more likely that the second scenario is what will occur. If they do this procedure, then it's likely that he will still be able to go home tomorrow. At this point, I think going home would be a major triumph for both Max and Helen. Ultimately, Max won't be aware of what they've done until he wakes up from this procedure and it will have been done.
That's about what i know for now. I am hoping and trusting that you will continue to join us in lifting up Max and Helen and the medical care team before God and ask that they would find the solution that will bring about healing and peace for these wonderful family members of ours. And may God's peace be with you today too. Blessi
well, here's the latest - and admittedly, it's not really much more than we already knew, but here it is anyhow:
Please pray that doctors will be given discernment to find out exactly what the problem is and how they can address it. Also, continue to pray for Max and Helen's spirits as it certainly is frustrating at times. Helen said Max looks like a healthy man in the hospital pretending to be a patient... he's not feeling symptoms of all this; it's just something that they need to deal with. I think that
Well, another update to remind us all to stay in prayer. I received a message from Max this morning saying that they have not been able to figure out the extra heartbeats that he is having and his heart has not started to regulate itself as desired... I am no doctor and certainly can't explain it very well, but the problem is electrical and while Max is not considered to be in serious danger, it certainly must be stressful to not have this over and done with. Max is scheduled to have another surgery either this afternoon or tomorrow now to check it out. Here are his words:
"I am experiencing two types of extra beats which need to be checked out with another catheter inserted into my heart for exploration. This surgery under anesthesia will be scheduled for later today or more likely tomorrow, so I am likely to be here more days. I appear to be in no serious danger but I must say this place has lost it's charm."
I will stay close to the situation and keep you updated for sure. Thanks for checking in and thank you for your continued prayers!
I received a text message from Max asking that he not receive visitors today. His heart is "misbehaving" as he put it. Helen told me afterwards that he just is having a slightly irregular heartbeat - like faint heartbeats in between the regular ones. They had once talked about him going home today, but that looks unlikely as they want to get his heart to regulate itself more consistently first. Continue to life him up in prayer please. Thank you for your continued support.
I just shared a short but nice visit with Max in his room. He is feeling much better than yesterday and did say that he is able to accept visitors at this point. He is in room 291 at Providence Medical Center - in progressive care. He really did seem to be doing just great. He's still obviously on pain medication and experiences pain kinda as a constant dull pain, except that it's worse when he coughs. He feels confident that if he's overly tired or weak or just needs some space, he will be able to graciously shoo away visitors and well wishers who want to support and encourage him and Helen should that become overwhelming and or seem necessary. :) At this point though, he's not envisioning that, but rather would welcome those who want to come and visit. As usual, your prayers and support have been and continue to be ap
I received a text message from the man himself today (Max of course). He HAS been transitioned now out of ICU into a room that is more comfortable for him, but he explicitly asked that people NOT try to visit him yet. He is feeling weaker today but reassured me that medically all is well. Thanks for your patience.
If anyone would like to sign up for bringing a meal to Max and Helen during his recovery time (through the rest of this month), here are the dates available:
Please comment below to reserve a date (first come first serve) (:
Saturday, October 20th
Friday, October 26th
Sunday, October 28th
Tuesday, October 30th
Again, just leave a comment reserving the date you'd like to help and I'll make sure to forward that information along to get you on "the list". There may be some other opportunities to help Max and Helen out during the next month as well (for instance, if it snows maybe someone will want to shovel, or maybe they'll need some maintenance help... I don't know.) But please continue to check back here and I will try to stay on top of the situation and let you know where you might be able to help care for them during this time. Max and Helen have both expressed how "well cared for" they feel and I echo that sentiment. I feel like this is one of those seasons where it is so obvious that First Covenant really does in so many way embody that mission to be "God's caring family". You're a blessing to all of us and each other and I believe it blessed God as well to see his people really live into that identity he made us for. Blessing to you.
Well, I spoke to Helen maybe around 5:30pm today. I am sorry to keep you waiting. Kate and I were cooking dinner for Arigaa tonight and I was browning the moose meat for spaghetti when I took the call and was at Arigaa until just a few minutes ago. Man, what an awesome group of (maybe 35-40?) young adults there are meeting every Thursday night at First Covenant! It's a really exciting thing and I would encourage you all to get to know our college students when you see them and encourage them too. I see such awesome growth in some of them that encourages me in my faith too!
While I could go on, I'm here to update you on Max.
Helen said Max had a tremendous day. He was able to get up and walk about 300 feet or so (with all his tubes and machines and whatever else he has riding along in a wheelchair next to him). She said he's in good spirits and everyone is pleased with his progress. He will spend the night tonight in ICU again and then be transferred to a more comfortable room tomorrow some time.
Be encouraged and stay in prayer for them too. Chris (their son) is flying home tonight on a red-eye flight. Grace and peace to you all.
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