Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We Are On Our Way Home!!!

This is the day the Lord has made for Rachael to come home.  HOME!!  She is excited, over stimulated at the thought.  She has admitted this.  It has been an emotional morning for her.   This morning at first sight she was grinning from ear to ear.  When I asked her where we were going today she spoke HOME.  Yes, home.  This is a new season that we are entering and though this trial is not over, the worst of it is.  The traveling back and forth, the moves, all the things that have happened.  The struggles, the tension, the falling on our knees over and over.  The tears, the hurt, the anger, the sorrow, the prayer, the prayer, the prayer.  We and you have been on a road that has changed us.  Some more than others.  Nancy and I have a new found level of trust in our Lord that is of the kind of stuff that Oswald Chambers speaks of but we never thought we could know.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  James 1:2-4

We have abandoned ourselves to our Lord.  We were brought to a point where there was no place else to go.  Helpless.  He was and remains our help.  Rachael prays with us.  At times she literally cries out to the Lord.  Her faith remains strong, she prays, she worships.  She has the Holy Spirit in her.  She has the word implanted.  She is saved and Jesus is her Lord.  Nancy has called Rachael a missionary.  She has taken us to so many places physically, spiritually and locally geographically to have our faith tested.  She has provided numerous opportunities, a myriad, to  have God glorified in her struggle.  She has given us huge opportunities, from CEO's to Doctors to CNA's to janitors to share the word of God.  We have prayed with others suffering with the pain of the loss of good health of their loved ones.  Some we have prayed with, have seen the end of their loved ones time.  Through Rachael, new friends have come into our lives.  Several have simply fallen in love with Rachael and have treated her with care that we could not understand.  There have been several times when we have walked into Rachael's room and there have been staff taking their break with Rachael.  One lady at Healthsouth would come in and lightly massage Rachael on break.  Here at Heartland I do not have the time to explain the wonderful, heartfelt and spirit driven love that God has put into the hearts of many of  her care takers.   One in particular is a man by the name of Hepler, almost like Helper.  He has seen Christ in Rachael and in us.  He has the witness through Rachael.  He has been the most caring servant to Rachael.  He was above and beyond what a CNA does.  Bill, Susan (great gains in speech and a good friend to Rachael), Valerie, John, Sunilda, Ty, Jeff, Kathy, Jodi and Lorie you are in our lives with a love that won't remain behind here today.  It will remain in our hearts and we will see you guys soon.  You people are the Heart in Heartland.  Thank you so much for caring for our daughter as if she were your own.

There are many many more.  God has brought so many people into our lives through this tragedy.  Thank you Lord Jesus, God most high, our Lord and Savior, THANK YOU!

In 20 minutes a van will arrive and it is Rachael's chariot into a new season in recovery.  After 5 1/2 months, our girl is home.  We thank you for all your prayers and support.  Updates will definitely continue.  Healing is continuing.  The worst is over, the training is over, it  is graduation day for us all.  The ministry continues.  Thank you Lord Jesus for your presence in our lives.  I believe that it was your response in prayers that provided the effective result from our God.

Even though it is 'home' it is the temporal.  We are citizens of a better place where there is not pain or suffering and we look forward to that day.  Until then, we have a God who is with us in the mire of this earth.  Thank you Jesus, for all you have done so far.

Travel mercies and a comfortable adjustment for Rachael are the prayer requests for the day.  All the equipment arrived, the house is setup on the inside for her support.  We are spiritually prepared and competent to aid and minister to Rachael.  Wow, this is the day that the Lord has made for Rachael to get back home to Venice.


Friday, June 17, 2011

A Cute Way To Bless The Girls -A Pajama Blessing

Tonight we had a wonderfully relaxing time with Rachael.  She had a great bath that she enjoyed.  Following that we had lots of laughs with her.  She is excited to be going home and is without pain tonight.  Thanks to Jesus for this night.

Nancy asked that we post a neat way for you to bless Rachael and Hanna.  Rachael has been wearing a hospital gown for 5 1/2 months.  Hanna, as you might not know, has been a wonderful servant to her sister.  She has been on this ride with us since the accident.  Hanna has died to many of her own needs during this time.  She has grown much stronger with her relationship in Christ.  She never whines yet she is very honest in a loving way about her feelings.  Transparent. Through all of this she maintained a straight A average in school though many nights she got in late.  She has encouraged both her mom and I with notes crafts, words and verses.  Hanna has even taken to writing poems and lyrics.  Quite honestly there were nights when I had nothing left and Hanna would pop in and lift our spirits with a joy bent on diverting our sorrows or self pity.  So where am I going with this?  Pajamas. Yup, pajamas.  Nancy has asked that if you would like to have some fun blessing the girls send some pajamas.  Rachael is going to be in pjs most of the time as she heals and rehabs.  Hanna loves them so it would be neat to see pajamas start showing up.  I know we have asked for your support in so many ways  This would just be a neat way to bless the girls and bring great joy to Hanna.  A Pajama Blessing.  As far as the pjs go, here are the sizes:
Rachael - Size 12 Womans
Hanna -    Size 14 Girls (she is 12-13 right now but she is shooting up fast)
Nancy - Size 8 Womans

I asked for Nancy's size.  Yes guys, I had to ask I did not know.  She was thinking of Rachael and Hanna.  I wanted to add her to the request.  You don't have to buy for everyone.  Just pick one.  Pick some wild ones, pretty ones, crazy ones, happy ones, whatever.

Have fun!

So if you want to have some fun with this, we will publish the pics.  Here is the address.

369 Sea Grape Rd.
Venice, Florida  34293

Daniel likes footies.  Just kidding.  He does not wear PJs any more.  Garanimals.

God Bless

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Homeward Bound on Tuesday!

It was a very trying week for all of us.  After the Baclofen pump was put in, Rachael's recovery was not fun to be a part of.  As the week progressed the issues escalated.  To do the surgery she had to be without meds for 24 hours.  Some of those meds are narcotic and she grew agitated at their absence.  Without pain meds, muscle relaxers and the lot, post op was traumatic for Rachael.  Looking back to earlier posts, Rachael will 'storm' on occasion and it is usually precipitated by a traumatic experience.  She developed a severe headache and vomited.  As it turns out, the Dr. diagnosed a leak in the dermal layer which is where the catheter for the Bacfolen pump is inserted.  Sometimes it makes for a small leak around the hole.  This comes with the territory and is nearly impossible to keep from happening.  The Dr. that inserted the pump is a very skilled surgeon.  I had the privilege of watching him work.  The symptoms of the leak are a vicious headache, vomiting and disorientation.  Rachael had all three.  The resolve is to take some of her blood and insert it into her dermal layer.  It goes to the leak and coagulates, plugging or patching the area around the hole.  The colloquial term for it is a blood patch.  We had to spend a few nights with her to keep an eye on the vomiting.  For several days she maintained an elevated heart rate, profuse sweating, a small fever and verbalizing her discontent.  Nancy and I laid hands on Rachael, I anointed her with oil and prayed for the headache and surgery related issues to go away.   The next day (yesterday) the headache was gone and Rachael had a pretty good morning but her day went a bit sour when her left eye muscle began to spasm or cramp.

She had an uncomfortable day but as the eve has progressed tonight she is relaxed, laughing and pretty much back to normal.

So it has been a rough one.  The good news is that the pump appears to be doing it's job.  As of tonight, her legs are much more relaxed than before.  The most relaxed I have seen since she came out of her coma.

So Tuesday she is on her way home!! Rachael's journey moves into a new season at home.  We are so excited that she is going home.  We have been traveling back and forth from Hospital to Rehab to Venice for over 5 months.  Both Nancy and I have really been stretched these past few days.   We need your prayer.   Though she is going home, you can imagine the huge change it will be for us.  We want to maintain a good witness for Christ as we sprint to the finish of this part of the race.  Pray that we do.

"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. "

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Php 3:14–16). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nausea, Blood Work

Rachael slept most of the night.  She really got into a deep sleep after about 2:00 am.  Dr. Simon held her night time meds until we can figure out what is going on.  To recap, Rachael vomited several times yesterday and when done had occasional dry heaves.  The good in all this is that she went the whole night without the meds to slow her heart beat yet maintained a normal resting heart rate.  She did have minor spasms during the night.  This morning she will get her muscle relaxers and pain meds.  She looked pretty good this morning but was very tired.  Nancy spent the night at Heartland and I popped in about 3:45 AM because I missed her.

Rachael will get some blood work today to see if we can get to the bottom of her nausea.  We are not feeding her the regular liquified foods that she has been eating.  We are giving her juice until we are confident she can handle the food.

Keep praying that this passes soon.  We know this is just another step, another trial within trials.  How do folks do this without the Lord? We have the higher rock and to him we cling!

Don't forget to give Nancy a text for her birthday today.  941-323-6101

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Prayer Needed - Birthday request too.

Hey folks, Rachael has been vomiting by increasing frequency each day.  Today (Saturday) she was vomiting steadily for about an hour.  At the time she is resting comfortably and we are waiting until 5;00 before deciding whether to take her to SMH or not.  Our Dr. is aware of what is going on and being updated if anything changes.  We are asking you to pray that we find the reason for the vomiting.  It could be one of several things including her current med protocols, her pump or her feeding tube.  We just are not sure.  Please pray that the Lord will reveal this to us, stop the vomiting and be glorified in this bump in the road.


PS -- ** Sunday is Nancy's birthday.  Please text words of encouragement to her at 941-323-6101 and be sure to sign your name as she has very few contacts in her phone.  If you don't text please send an email to her at   burtandnancy@gmail.com.

In the shadow of His wings,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's A New Day

One of the draw backs of being a step-dad is that you have no stake in the claim of your child's beauty.  Nancy is striking.  I remember when I was a single Christian I use to marvel at some of the 'geek' looking guys that had these gorgeous wives and thinking either God has great grace on the man or the women was the object of God's wrath.  After reading Romans 7 for the first time, I realized it was grace for both.  Regardless, I never thought I would be so blessed.   Well, now I am the geek looking guy and I have an extraordinary wife.  Beautiful inside and out with a humble transparency for a base that Mark Kay could never conjure in her labs.
Filtered by pollution from man, smoke from Florida or ash from New Zealand, the sun rose as a distant orange sphere.  This morning, Rachael's beauty was kissed by this softer version of the greater light.  I wake up looking like three day old raccoon carrion in the turning lane of an exit ramp, she wakes up like someone in the movies, full make-up and Photoshop touch-ups.  She is so beautiful.  Her grand smile returned today along with her laugh and her awareness.  The shroud of fear and the chemically induced blank stare of yesterday were shed for the bright focused twinkle, the scintilla of the rising sun in her bold brown eyes in this quiet of the morn.  It seems a prophesy of better things to come.  This is a beautiful morning, a new day.

It will take a few weeks for the Baclofen levels to be adjusted.  As this happens she will be weaned from the 4 muscle relaxers that she is on.  This will increase her alertness and ability to react during therapy and help with other functions.  Soon, very soon she will be home.  The burden of the travels to and from Hospitals and Rehab centers will end.  A new season in this journey will begin and we will cling to that higher rock as we get to get through this together.  It is not that we have to get through it.  We get to get through it!  We get to honor God in all of this, we get to serve Rachael.  We get to share Christ with so many.  We get to watch Hanna minister to elderly folks and see Christ revealed in her. We get to watch Daniel as he attends SCF full time, prepares for Bible college, ministers to the youth and yet takes time to come up along side us during the hard times.  We get to have joyous meals prepared from the hands of those who love Jesus Christ and show it in their works.  We get to watch many of Rachael's caregivers fall in love with her.  We get to watch God answer prayer after prayer.  We get to share with you on this blog.  We get to hear from so many of you in reply.  Many more are blessed from your words.

Pastor Bob Wulfing, our pastor at Calvary Chapel of Venice is out in California at the Calvary Chapel Senior Pastors Conference.  Last night a bunch of the guys prayed for Rachael and for her to get through this surgery without pain.  She was quiet with her eyes open for most of the this morning until we began our banter and the construction of the east wing of SMH started which wrought laughter from Rachael, she did not have any pain killers.  Not too much evidence of pain there!  Thanks guys.  Thanks to all of you for your prayers over the past few days.  Please continue to pray for no infections as the wounds heal over the the next 7 days.

Pastor Bob suggested I read Psalm 61 yesterday and I had forgotten that it was one of the Psalms we turned to in the early days of Rachael's accident.  It gave us some guidance on where we needed to be:
1 Hear my cry, O God;

Give heed to my prayer.

2 From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

3 For You have been a refuge for me,

A tower of strength [fn1] against the enemy.

4 Let me [fn2] dwell in Your tent forever;

Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. [fn3] Selah.

It was good then and it we hold to it now.

Thank you Jesus for getting Rachael through this 1st 24 hours and answering the prayers.  Thank you for being so close to us and thank you for letting us be saved by you!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pray Today - Rachael is in Surgery

Pray for Rachael today.  She is in Surgery early this morning for the installation of her Baclofen pump.  Baclofen is an extreme muscle relaxer.  The pump puts the drug directly into the spinal fluid in microgram amounts.  We pray that:

1. There will be no spinal fluid leaks.
2. That the drug will permit Rachael's legs and arms to relax.
3. That there will be no other complications.

Please continue to pray for her complete recovery with all the glory going, no matter what the level of healing, to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.