Beth

Tuesday, around noon, Beth and her husband were chatting on the sofa.She started having trouble forming her words and controlling her right hand. Her husband would not normally have been home but was sick so had stayed home from work (thankful for a sinus infection). He called 911.

They got her to the hospital nearby and then she was transferred to the big one in the big city.

The current diagnosis is a hemorrhagic stroke. The neurosurgeon said it is basically in the worst place it could be. The CT scan showed it roughly 1.5 inches by 3 inches and “deep.” There is almost certainly some significant damage to the brain already. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, Beth will not make it. Surgery is an option but the surgeon said it rarely goes well.

Beth

Beth. Her husband says not a good picture of her, but it shows her joy.

Beth and I are old friends from back when we both homeschooled. We’ve shared so much. Although we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like, we never get really out of touch. You know how that goes.

Only now, we are really out of touch. All anyone can do is pray.

Lots of things could have been worse. She could have many small children; her only child is grown, employed, and happily married. She could have been alone; her husband was right there in the same room. She could have been afraid, but even in her current state, she is able to receive calming influence from her husband. She can see. She can indicate understanding by moving her eyes. She is in a very good hospital.

Hard to be thankful when all I really want is to go back in time.

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23 thoughts on “Beth

  1. faerylandmom says:

    Father God, thank you so much for the many circumstances you orchestrated to make sure Beth is cared for lovingly and quickly. I pray your powerful presence be felt in her hospital room, and in the hearts of those who love her. Guide the doctors and staff who are caring for her, and give them wisdom. I ask for your healing touch, too, Lord Jesus, if it be in your will to heal Beth physically. Comfort and bless those who are praying for her and standing with her. Bless her precious husband, and give him strength to face the days ahead with his beautiful wife. Bless her child with peace too, dear God, and let this be a time of blessing and joy for this family, even in the middle of such a valley. God, you are good and gracious, and trustworthy. Glorify your name, and bring others to know you through this precious woman and her family. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

  2. brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR) says:

    Katherine, I did respond to this earlier (don’t know if it’s WordPress problem?). I’m not sure if my comment went through. If it did ignore this. I’m praying for you and Beth and her family. Let me know how she’s doing. Miracles do happen and survival is possible from hemorrhagic strokes, albeit difficult struggle. Keeping all in thoughts and prayers. Take care and stay safe, Edie

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Edie, this is the first comment from you that I can find. Sorry your previous one seems to have disappeared! We’re having some amazing wind and snow, here, which is effecting phone service, and may be part of the Internet problem, too. Sorry.

      Thanks so much for your prayers! There has been one update, late this afternoon. The Dr. says the bleeding has stopped. Of course that is good news.

      And I do know there is hope for recovery from strokes. A dear elderly friend is recovering right now. Except for having to learn to write left-handed. she is all well, although she also had a huge stroke and was out for months. A long time to fix these, when it’s possible.

      The following books give great hope, too:

      http://www.mystrokeofinsight.com/

      http://www.juliafoxgarrison.com/

      They are worldly in their viewpoint, but they both did survive and thrive.

  3. brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR) says:

    Katherine, They frequently put people in a medically induced coma so their brain and body can sleep, rest, heal and recover. Has she had a rebleed? Does she respond at all? I’m very concerned. Sounds like she’s in a good hospital with her husband by her side. Take care of yourself during this difficult time. Take care and stay safe, Edie

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Beth is heavily sedated, yes, although they did lift it some to check on her. She did respond to her husband and son by making eye contact, to answer the questions, “Do you know I am here? Do you know your son is here?” That was a good sign.

      At one point, during her “awake time” she became alarmed and her blood pressure began rising. When her husband spoke soothing things to her, she was able to relax and her bp dropped to a more acceptable level. Another good sign.

      She has a 101 degree temp,, which they say is fairly normal. They are using a small fan to cool her body because of that.

      I think there was a slowing, then maybe speeding, and slowing again of the bleeding, but it is stopped, now, they say. It is in the area that controls communication, but she definitely has been able to receive communication and to indicate responses with her eyes.

      When I consider that she has the most expressive eyes of anyone I know, that just seems so beautifully right.

      But of course, we want more!

      • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR) says:

        I am continually praying for everyone and Beth. It sounds like she is processing information especially since her blood pressure increases and decreases. But BP changes could also be changes with the autonomic nervous system that may need medication controls in time. That’s something they will figure out, but may be up to the family to address that issues weeks or months down the line since right now stabilization of everything is utmost important. (Remind me as time goes on, as it will be vital to manage these things and is frequently overlooked yet fairly easily treated … I do know as I have autonomic dysfunction/instability & autonomic dysreflexia). Again, it may be permanent but too early to tell, but treatable if identified by family in time to come.

        Her non-verbal communication says a lot so those gorgeous eyes have a lot to say!

        Fever is common, but make sure they stay on top of that because pneumonia and many other problems are treatable but easily overlooked. Hemorrhagic bleeds likely cause meningitis because of inflammation and that can cause fevers as well besides all the inflammation in her brain. Pain also elevated BP & putting this situation together becomes a family affair. Such a complex picture but people are living through these events and there is so much more information, yet so many remain uneducated.

        Keep me posted on how Beth is doing. I know this is hard to watch a friend going through a brain injury but she couldn’t ask for anyone better to be her advocate and support with her family in a time of need. How are you holding up through this difficult time?

        • katharinetrauger says:

          Edie, your constant care and concern, here, are a blessing. Thanks so much.
          Beth is still stable this Sunday afternoon. Her husband is a very practical man, and realizes the need to take breaks, if only to go to the cafeteria and eat something. He cares about Beth and wants to be close by.
          I don’t feel like a very good advocate. I pray. I’m not good at legal stuff and I hardly know what all the medical terms mean. I will probably refer Beth’s husband to your site. He can contact you himself if he begins to suspect there is a need. And I will remind him.
          Beth’s hospital is 2 1/2 hours away from us, and I do not drive well in the big cities. I sometimes must go up there for business and I plan to visit her then.
          Thanks for all you do. ❤ K

          • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR) says:

            Katharine, As we know prayer is powerful and the greatest source of healing and often the best way to advocating. I haven’t been on line for months and for whatever reason I immediately read your post and haven’t read any other yet. God works in mysterious ways. You take care of yourself. I don’t like driving in traffic so back roads and less traveled are for me too! I will keep praying. Take care and stay safe.

  4. katharinetrauger says:

    Update:

    Beth is still stable, temp down. Her blood pressure still spikes if the staff moves her.

    Beth’s husband took a little time to go home and take care of a few things. Their son is still there with his mom.

    Unsettling: The doctors are talking about “if” Beth survives the weekend. It hurts to hear that.

    Beth’s husband is asking that if any church is praying for Beth, if he could be notified of the name of the church and the city of location. If you want, you could just post it in the comments, here, so I can forward it. Thanks. 🙂

  5. katharinetrauger says:

    Praises
    1 Beth is off the blood pressure medicine and her BP is staying low as it needs to
    2 They are did a CT scan which was GOOOOD!
    3 They are now talking about removing the breathing tube instead of replacing it with a trach tube
    4 They still plan to wake her up some today to assess her

    Prayer Needs
    1 Beth has developed a staphylococcus RES infection. Please pray it clear up ASAP
    2 Please pray that #2 above shows what they expect
    3 Please pray that the trach tube will not be needed
    4 Please pray that #4 above includes Beth sitting up and brightly asking what all the fuss is about. (Her husband’s particular request!)
    5 Beth’s husband had had a sore throat much of the day. He is taking care of himself. Please pray that it is just fatigue or dry hospital air and not him getting sick.

    “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray!” James 5:16

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Hello, Edie,
      Thank you so much for caring about my friend.
      First, Beth’s infection has subsided and her fever is lower. The doctors still advise that a bit of fever is to be expected, but they think she did have a cold, as her husband had had one. The nursing care has been very dedicated to dealing with her congestion and preventing secondary infections related to that.
      The doctors have withdrawn anesthesia from Beth to see what she will/can do. Beth is by nature one who reacts longer to these types of drugs, and is very slow coming out from under sedation. She has opened her eyes in reaction to happenings around her and moves her left arm and foot.
      So far, she has not seemed able to communicate, but her reactions, her husband says, are in accordance with her personality and he takes comfort in that the things Beth would really dislike in normal life are the things she reacts to most strongly. He feels this indicates she is “still in there, somewhere.” She squeezed his hand when they had to remove and reinsert a tube, and she looked at him, when the going was tough, at one point. I agree she knows something, still.
      He has taken his friends’ advice to take care of himself very seriously. He is making sure he eats, exercises, and gets away for a few hours. He is a professor and his college is an hour or so from Beth’s hospital, so he is teaching one of his more difficult classes, again, and allowing colleagues to teach the others. He said the return to the classroom was overwhelming in the show of compassion he has found in his friends and coworkers and even students. He’s the kind of guy that once you get to know him, you can’t help but like him, and now he is receiving back for all his good humor of the past.
      I get tears as I type this. I know it does not sound particularly good. It is the reality, though, for now.
      Thanks, again, for caring.

      • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR) says:

        Katharine,

        Thank you so much for keeping me updated. It was such a relief to know Beth’s husband is taking care of himself. He NEEDS to care for himself and get rest, nutrition, exercise, and anything that helps him along this difficult journey.

        It’s not necessarily a deciding factor of how Beth’s outcome will be as any type of severe brain injury starts with such mild changes as you already know dealing with others through these types of challenging situations. If Beth responds slowly with anesthesia it can be even longer just because the brain is so sensitive after injury and of course as we age our brains become more sensitive.

        Once they get her started with rehabilitation she will begin progressing if there aren’t too many setbacks. Some places start rehabilitation even when they are still on ventilators. I hope he gets her in a Rehabilitation Center that specializes in Brain Injury and not a “nursing home”.

        How are you holding up through all this? It’s so difficult when you want to be there, when you want to do so much … and yet time and prayer is what it takes. Please take care of yourself. Take care and stay safe, Edie

  6. katharinetrauger says:

    Oh, I agree about time and prayer, Edie.
    Beth’s and my husbands had to attend a meeting together, today, and I got more updated:
    Beth is having more active times, which I think are awake times, and if she is bothered by her tubes, and reaches for them, her husband can tell her to leave the tubes alone, and she withdraws her hand. That sounds encouraging to me. Also, in addition to just opening her eyes, she is looking around, some.
    Odd how every tidbit seems like such a big progress…
    I get weepy when I think of Beth but I put those thoughts out of my mind when I can. Not always, but sometimes.
    You are so kind. Thanks, again.

  7. katharinetrauger says:

    My friend is resting more peacefully, now, after a tracheotomy. Sighs.
    However, she is breathing better without the tubes in her throat and they plan to stop with the ventilator, soon.
    She has had movement on her right side, the afflicted side that did appear “all gone”.
    And she has opened her eyes more and more, and looked at things deliberately, such as following her husband’s position around the room.
    So we have small victories and causes for rejoicing.

  8. katharinetrauger says:

    Latest update, of many:
    Praises
    1. Beth will probably be moving to the rehab portion of the medical facility on Monday to start intense therapy to restore function.
    2. Even though it is hard to understand, SHE IS TALKING.
    3. She is smiling, laughing, holding my hand.
    It is impossible that Beth could be smiling, laughing, sitting up, eating some, and even walking with assistance. She visited with her grandchildren over the phone yesterday. Yes, it is impossible, but someone forgot to tell Beth that and someone forgot to tell God that. She begins intensive therapy in 2 days. They’re calling her their “Miracle Girl” 🙂

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