I was going to post an update on my grandson Austin’s progress on Wednesday but time got away on me so I thought I would write that post first thing yesterday morning. I wanted to tell you and show you pictures of how well Austin has been progressing since having surgery on November 17th to have the LVAD (artificial heart) inserted.
This is a picture my sister Darlene took of Austin on December 7th.Austin’s sister Ashley has been living with us since September to attend bible school in our city but his other three siblings are back home where their other grandma is staying with them so they can attend school. They came for a visit last weekend and my daughter Christine took this picture (that includes one of Austin’s sisters and his brother) at the hospital. I took this picture while visiting Austin on Monday, December 10th. Some of his nurses allow Austin to help empty his syringes of medications into his PICC line. He thinks that’s pretty cool. This picture was taken by Christine when Ian’s chain of command: Sargeant, Chief Warrant Officer, and Major (two of which are included in this picture), came to visit Austin at the hospital on Tuesday, December 11th. Austin was in school when they arrived and they were allowed to visit in the classroom. Austin’s first day of school was 10 minutes long but his strength increased a little more each day and he had built up to an hour of school by Wednesday. This picture was taken by my son Michael while visiting Austin on Wednesday, December 12th. Austin was carrying on a full conversation on his mom’s cell phone. I wanted to tell you that Austin was going to have his first pass from the hospital last night. He was going to be allowed to go on a bus with his mom and dad and other children from the hospital along with their parents to see Candy Cane Lane, a popular local Christmas light and decoration attraction. An ambulance would have travelled behind the bus for added assurance of the children’s safety. Today Austin was going to be allowed to leave the hospital to see a movie with his parents. On Saturday he was going to be allowed to spend most of the day outside the hospital, in his parent’s care.
Instead, I received a frantic phone call from my daughter Christine just after 7:00 a.m. yesterday. She was calling from the hospital to tell us that Austin had a stroke.
Austin was quickly attended to by a variety of health care professionals, including specialists from cardiology and neurology. His main doctor, Holger, was able to be at the hospital in about 15 minutes. A CT scan revealed a blood clot in a major artery of Austin’s brain and he was immediately sent for a procedure to have the clot removed. It wasn’t without risks and my daughter and her husband were told in advance that Austin could die during the procedure.
Austin came through the procedure as well as anyone could. The specialists who did the procedure were able to remove 98% of the blood clot. It was 3 cms long. Holger actually took a picture of the removed clot on his cell phone and showed it to us when he returned to report Austin’s condition to Ian and Christine after the procedure was complete. Holger also quoted a German saying for us that means good luck in the bad luck. Even though Austin had a stroke, all things that could possibly go right, did go right. The clot was removed within the 4 hour window of opportunity that the doctors say is important, all of the necessary doctors and nurses were available immediately to do the procedure, the anesthesiologists had nothing scheduled, and so on. A while later the cardiologist came to talk to Ian and Christine about the procedure. At the end of his report he said, “All the stars were aligned”.
I went to the hospital as quickly as I could after receiving the call from Christine and spent the day with her and Ian and other family members who were able to gather together to be a support for one another. When I returned home from the hospital last night, Austin was sleeping and stable in PICU. He has some movement on the side of his body that was affected by the stroke but they won’t know how much strength he has until he’s fully awake.
This picture of Austin and his dad was taken in PICU by my daughter Christine around midnight last night. I was moved to tears when Christine shared with me that before Austin went to his procedure yesterday morning, he couldn’t speak well because of the stroke but he was saying, “I love you mom”, “I love you dad”, “I love you God.” Not “Why me God?” but “I love you God.”
Thank you, thank you, and thank you for your continued prayers.