Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Tonight, when I came home to dinner, Ruth was already at the table and kids were in various stages of arriving. We talked for a couple of minutes and then, in the quiet, Ruth said, "Adrian helped me walk to the table." I didn't really get it at first, but as I looked at her, she looked low and small. Something was missing. Then I realized she was in my family's small "heirloom" green wooden chair, not the giant wheelchair.

! 1. She was sitting in a simple wooden chair for the first time in months, and

! 2. that meant she had not wheeled into the room, but arrived in her walker!

Well, yes, great things keep on happening. We saw the orthopaedic surgeon in Philly on Tuesday (or, rather, his assistant; he's in Haiti, which only deepened our respect for him). She said things look very good (and we were able to see the xrays which was cool. Glad all that stuff is on the INside) and gave Ruth permission to start putting a tiny amount of weight on her right foot. That's huge. And she no longer has to use the platform part of the walker, which means both hands are on it like you would normally use one. So she did today, several times, walk around a bit. Wow. Her right arm didn't even hurt after leaning on it in that way. That is so much to be grateful for. She even learned to do stairs (though not the whole flight yet, only a couple).

The other part of the story involves a "wait" from God, but it's minor, I guess. Her hip wound (still about a 6"x6"x6" triangle) is ready for the skin graft, but she needs to be on blood thinner until April and they can't do the graft while she's still on the blood thinner. So that will be a bandage site until then, and certain foods she is restricted from will still be off limits.

But generally all is well. We have been to church three times now and to prayer last Sunday night---it's been wonderful---also a little shopping, she's folding laundry, making salads, doing pretty much unrestricted stuff with her hands. The worst of it now is probably once a day her knee has some pain, but the med helps.

Again, your prayers and help have been priceless to us. We will understand if you don't check the blog again, but we will post a few more times over the months when we get significant news.

If I can give you something else to pray for, many of you "got to know" Naomi through this blog for her mom. She is in the midst of college applications now, we are still very busy at home, she has a lot of schoolwork and she doesn't have a specific college preference. If you would pray for God's guidance and discernment, and that life would slow down just a bit, it seems like that would be really good for her.

thank you

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mid January

Hi Everyone,

Brian here. Things are going well. Ruth is really good.

The biggest thing is that she has graduated from the wound-vac. This sponge-tube system has been emptying fluid from her hip/body ever since about two weeks after the accident. After some quick figuring, I would say it has removed over 16 quarts of fluid. Anyway, the output was waning and the nurse said the little "cave" (space between skin and tissue) is gone (big yay), so they took her off it last Friday. This means no more 4' hose and 3 lb. machine to go wherever she goes. That is very nice, and so is the news that the healing continues to go so well. The nurse loves how the sight looks (nurses love strange things, amen?). Now we have a multi-layered dressing that will be changed every two days that actually has silver as part of the inside layer to promote healing and kill bad stuff.

I realize there are some questions you may have that we haven't answered. Someone asked me today about Ruth's prognosis in terms of walking. Well, if we haven't said it, doctors think she'll be fine aside from some arthritis. She has used her platform walker some. It's pretty tiring for her, more in terms of lungs, heart and endurance than leg or arm pain. She still won't be able to put any weight on her right leg until mid-February, so any steps she takes are actually hops supported by her arms.

She is able to use our downstairs powder room now (we removed the door and frame to make room to get the wheelchair in the doorway) (and then, don't worry, we hung a curtain), she can transfer from chair to sofa by standing on her good leg, her appetite is great, skin looks good, sleeping well (last night was the first night she slept solidly all the way through without a potty break).

By the way, phone calls are fine and for those of you who are local, visits are fine. Call first so you don't stop by when she may be out or have a therapist here.

Prognosis for procedures: Now is the time for a skin graft on her hip, but Ruth is not at all sure she wants to go with one. She doesn't like the idea of another hospital stay (of course, being away from me is agony) or the month-long discomfort (feels like a bad itchy sunburn, they say) of the site where they would take the skin from. When pressed, the plastic surgeon said the skin should eventually grow back on its own, though it could take a year or so. Ruth, who has always been more evolutionary than revolutionary, likes the sound of that better. I like the quick fix, but we are, of course, letting her decide.

The orthopedic doctor at HUP who is still following up (who is incidentally one of the most impressive doctors we have ever met in terms of knowledge plus communications skills plus bedside manner plus familiarity with her case even though he's only seen her a few times over two months ago ... I could go on and on ...) says a hip replacement might be in her future. Some slight bone growth that doesn't look too good is developing. He'll keep his eye on it.

That's about it for the news from our house. Our dog (Rio) just about goes nuts when he gets some face time with Ruth. She was always a devoted mommy to him and he hasn't seen much of her since the accident (he is an outdoor/mud room dog, and she is mostly in the living room and her bedroom). He echoes our sentiments.

Again, praise be to God for his healing power and to all of you for your prayers and help. We are so grateful.

By the way, oh, I meant to get right back to you with this, but we are still very busy at home: remember in my last blog, I asked you to pray for my old coworkers? God answered your prayers before they were even prayed. I had dinner the next night with two friends from there. Two weeks earlier, the company had decided to keep this office open.


What is that Scripture in which God says, "Before you ask me, I will hear you?" Remarkable, and thank you for praying. This doesn't mean that all is well there, but at least it keeps any of those people from being desperately unemployed all of a sudden.

still grateful,
Brian for all of us.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 24

Merry Christmas!!!

Just a quick post in case people are still checking this blog ;)
Mom is still doing very well. They ordered her a "platform walker" (which has a 'platform' for her bad arm to rest in while she uses it) and so that is the next goal. Just a few steps each time for now.
Mom still has hardly any pain, although she did have a few days this week when her bad leg bothered her quite a bit. I think it hurts more than she admits, although the pain meds keep it pretty much under control.
She still has her "wound VAC", and that will remain until a) a skin graft, or b) the wound closes. It's certainly doing it's job though, and the wound is shrinking.
She's been out and about a couple times with dad. Various doctor's appointments, a shopping trip, and even a breakfast party with dad's co-workers from church!
We are all very thankful and excited to have her home for Christmas. I honestly did not expect it.
Thanks for all the Christmas cards, cookies, and caroling! Our own festivities are rather limited this year, and so many of you have helped to make it special. Thanks!

May you all have a blessed and restful Christmas.
Glory to God!
Naomi, for all the Jackinses

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14, 2009

Hello all!

Naomi here again. Sorry to those who have had no word since my last post; we have been so busy at home and it rather escaped my mind for a while!

God has been so, so good. Mom is doing great! Still in a wheelchair of course, but it is easy to see progress!! She has a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a visiting nurse, all of whom visit a few times a week.

She has full use of her hands, although her right arm is still weak from her broken bones.

She can lift her "bad" leg up just a little! Amazing to see.

She is doing a lot of the transfer work on her own; we are basically just there to steady her/ the transfer board. I am shocked each time I watch her scoot across it! :)

She is still unable to wheel herself around in the chair. Our thicker carpet makes it too hard.

She still has her "wound VAC", which is slowly sucking stuff out of her hip wound. The wound is getting smaller though (about a 6"x 6"x 6" triangle--Brian), and she says it is only painful when they change the dressing.

She is getting bored of course; she spends most of her days in the recliner or in the wheelchair. While this may sound GREAT to many of us (myself definitely included!) it gets old very fast. She wants so badly to just get up and walk around a little! It is very hard for a busy, working mom to not be able to help around the house. I can't imagine.

Regardless of these frustrations, her attitude has been fantastic. Her patience, gentle spirit and smiles have made our job easy. It is definitely exhausting to be her caretakers sometimes, but I can truly say IT IS A DELIGHT! :) The Holy Spirit is giving her so much grace. I would be very impatient if I were in her place.

So praise the Lord for that!

I'm trying to think of little things for her to do; she folds laundry sometimes, for instance. Yesterday she helped me cut out Christmas cookies! It was wonderful. She loves just watching the household- she greatly missed that in her 8-or-9 weeks away.

She had a lot of visitors in the first week or so, and she enjoyed them all. It is a very pleasant way to break up the day!

We are still getting meals, and thank you all SO MUCH for that. It has helped greatly.

God has shown us how much we need Mom at home; I have seen a HUGE improvement in everyone's attitude. I personally have more energy, more peace, etc. Dad is tired all the time (we take turns spending the night in Mom's temporary, downstairs room) but he is certainly happier.

We still have several weeks before Mom can get out of the wheelchair, but just having her home is enough for now. I wish there were words to express how thankful we are that Mom will be home for Christmas.

Thank you for your continued prayers; God's constant mercy is so humbling. Mom gets better every day!

Much love to you all,

the Jackinses
this from Brian:
Last week we had two follow-up visits: the trauma team at Reading Hospital (the ones who saw her when she first got there on October 4) and our family practitioner. They were both very impressed.
More this week: tomorrow we go back to Philadelphia to be seen by the orthopedic surgeon who operated on Ruth's pelvis, and the next day we see the plastic surgeon in Reading, who will look at the vac area (where the skin was removed, mentioned above). Ruth feels pretty queazy about the idea of a skin graft. We would love for that not to be needed, but it is a rather large area and God will decide.
Just some details of how some friends have blessed Ruth:
1. One of our deacons came and installed a temporary sink she can get to. She loves it! (The powder room is too small and tight for the chair.)
2. Three lady decorator elves came and transformed her downstairs room into a romantic French lady's boudoir. (We had moved a lot of stuff out to make room for it to be her bedroom, but we hadn't done anything to make it feminine. It was literally four panelled walls and a window.) Now her hospital bed even has a skirt on it with a crocheted border!
3. A hairdresser friend made a house call. Ruth's hair grows fast and needed cutting. And (did we mention this before?) some other friends are letting us use their roll-in, first-floor shower. That first shower after two months was a great day, I can tell you.
The Lord says, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." He is a Friend like no other. May he bless you in 2010 as your thoughts, cards, love and prayers (and many other helps) have blessed us.
One more word: many of you have said how much you have been meaning to write, or call, or visit, or ... but haven't been able to get to it due to illness in the family, busyness or a hundred other reasons. Please know that we treasure just knowing you and it's okay. Many are the times we've wanted to do more for suffering families, but couldn't. Don't feel bad. Contacts come in their right times and we know you are there.
love to you all, and thanks especially to those we don't know, but who have been on this journey with us anyway.
If you out there who pray could cover one more big thing for us, it would mean a lot. The company where I worked before my job at the church was a craft kit company called Dimensions. They produce needlecrafts, paint-by-number, rubber stamps and other crafts. They were bought by a larger concern which is closing their Reading facility at the end of the year. Most of my friends from there will lose their jobs, or have already. If you would ask God to help them in this major challenge, we would count it a huge favor. We feel so bad for them, especially in this climate. Many of them have worked there for many years and it's very specialized work. They are excellent, kind and skilled people who are family to one another as they have been to us. Thank you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Hello everyone, Naomi here.
Hope my father didn't bore you with his updates... haha. I believe the last blog was before Mom came home. Dad went to pick her up on Wednesday morning, and all went very well. The ride was fine, the transfer was good, and her new room downstairs is working well. Someone gave us a bed that raises both head and feet, sort of like a hospital bed.

It is SO RELIEVING to have Mom home! We are all so much more relaxed; it just helps to have her around. I don't think I realized until now how draining it was to be driving an hour just to see her. God gave us strength though, and we are so thankful to have her back. When I saw her sitting in the car in the driveway I started bawling.
She is doing very well; quiet, but happy. She says she just enjoys watching the bustle of the household. :)
The wheelchair is tricky on the carpet, and our doorways are very narrow, so she is dependent on us to push her around. She is spending most of the time on our reclining sofa.
Her wheelchair fits under the kitchen table so she can eat meals with us! Wednesday lunch was the FIRST time all 6 of us had been together in 7 1/2 weeks!
Her nurse and therapists will be coming a few times each per week. Once she is allowed to weight-bear she will go on to more therapy.
We have much to adjust to, but God has blessed us so richly. Taking care of her each day is a delight.
Please pray for time and energy. Things take quite a while even though we are helping her.

Mom is so patient with us as we learn how to take care of everything. God has given her such a gentle spirit- she is so content just to be home.
Thanksgiving was great for us; I cooked about half the meal, and my aunt brought the rest. Mom ate a full plate! She loved it. Can't imagine having Thanksgiving without her.

This stage for Mom will last probably through January. Her therapists are very pleased with how she is doing. Thanks for praying and caring for so many weeks. We pray you have all been blessed to see God's work through this. To God be the glory!

the Jackinses

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coming home Wednesday!

Hello, caring and attentive friends,

Brian here. Ruth had her home visit yesterday with the occupational and physical therapists. She did great and looked great.

(All I can say is, it's a good thing they didn't need to see the second floor, because we had ... stashed a few things there so the downstairs would be decent and navigable. Some of you know what I'm talking about ... in terms of clutter, especially with Mom out of the house ... like, our bedroom is now a disaster area. But that's another whole blog.)

The therapists were great too. They went through the downstairs with Ruth, observing her doing the things they've taught her (wheeling around corners, transfer to regular chair, etc.) and talked to us about slight modifications in our home that will help. We have the back room on one side of the house cleared out for a temporary (3-month) bedroom. We're getting a hospital bed, a wheelchair, a commode, her leg exercise device, the woundvac machine and whatever else she needs.

I told them she needs a hot tub. (They're checking with the insurance company. Foiled again!)

Wish you could have seen Rio, our border collie/golden retriever mix, when he saw Mommy. He went nuts with joy!!

Thank you . Next time we write, Ruth will be here with us. I pick her up tomorrow at 11.

Thursday, Ruth's sister is bringing the turkey, Naomi will make some pies, the boys can make the green bean casserole. We are grateful to know the God to whom our thanks is due, and grateful that he has answered your prayers and helped us in all these ways. It will still be a long haul, and frustrating/challenging at times, but we'll be so glad Ruth is here with us from now on.

Thank God---when there are figs on the tree and when there are none. He knows what he is doing.

love, Brian and all of us.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Home for the Holidays?

Hi Everyone,

Brian here. Unfortunately for you, Naomi has sort of disappeared into the world of homework, housework, helpwork (she babysits and cleans for a couple of families) and college applications.

(The first thing I should do is apologize for not pointing out that the rehab won't allow anyone younger than 14 to visit. A few people have taken their kids to see Mrs. Jackins, but they haven't gotten in---a letdown! We squeaked Ben in (he's 13) by swearing that his birthday is in January and that he won't swing from the chandeliers. No, I think it's related to the germ season and all. So---yes, you can visit, but not with the young'uns.)

Home for the holidays? I learned from our days at HUP to say "I'll believe it when I see it," but they are hoping to bring Ruth home sometime on the day before Thanksgiving!

She really is doing well learning how to maneuver. Which is not to say we won't have a lot to learn to be able to take care of her. They are coming for a home visit late Monday morning to inspect, prescribe, recommend and generally figure out what we need to do around here. Like, maybe some dishes. We haven't been washing any, just buying new and saving them all for when Mom gets home ... I'm kind of nervous about taking care of Ruth. Guess it will be like the rest of it: one day at a time!

You know that poem about the footprints in the sand? I have tried not to like it because it's so overused. But it is also so true. Christ (and you) really have carried us when we could not walk. Ruth, literally and the rest of us, figuratively. Thank you again for holding us up, and asking God to.

I'll try to write more when we know more.

love, Brian for us all