Sunday, June 28, 2009

Your prayers have been answered as the insurance company has agreed to pay for the surgery which will place a pace maker on Tommy's diaphragm. At this time, surgery is scheduled for July 8th. As mentioned before, at its most successful, this surgery will allow Tommy to breath without the ventilator. This, of course, allows for much more freedom as the pacemaker only has a small external mechanism. Praise God for the ease in dealing with the insurance company and the speedy scheduling of the surgery. Please pray for the success of the surgery and that Tommy will feel comfortable with the pacemaker. (Some patients feel anxious trusting it.) Also, please pray for Tommy and his family's transition to Tommy's move home in August. And, please pray for discernment for Robyn as she seeks home health care for Tommy. There are not many health care organizations in town trained for Tommy's needs. Please pray for God's provision. Again, thank you for your prayers. They have certainly been answered through the care and staff at Craig hospital! -- For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers..." 1 Peter 3:12

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Things are in full swing for Tommy and Robyn at Craig Hospital. Tommy continues daily rehabilitation including the use of special bike that engages Tommy's leg muscles. A considerable part of the day now consists of Robyn learning the ins and outs of daily care for Tommy as he is scheduled to come home in August. Great news was delivered this week as testing showed that the phrenic nerve, necessary for breathing, tested positive. This leaves the door open for independent breathing in the future. In the meantime, the doctors are planning a surgery which will equip Tommy with a mechanism that will work much like a pacemaker for his diaphragm. The hope is this will allow Tommy to breath without the ventilator much of the time. Insurance approval is still needed before the surgery can move forward. Tommy and Robyn's faith continues to uphold them and inspire others as they face this journey. Praise God for the protection of the phrenic nerve and the upcoming surgery which will allow Tommy more freedom and ease of breathing. Please pray that the insurance company will quickly approve the surgery. And, please pray for both physical and mental strength for Robyn as she faces the necessity of learning so much about Tommy's care. -- "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trey's Trip Report from last weekend (May 29th - 30th) with Tommy

Let me start by saying that I was blessed beyond imagination to spend two days with such a strong man of faith, character, hope, courage, wit and joy. I have always known that Tommy is special but I am amazed at the impact that one man can have on so many people. I know I speak for most of us that know Tommy when I say he has become a source of hope and encouragement for everyone he has and will encounter. Clearly God's hand is at work in his life. During my visit to Craig Hospital, Tommy and I spoke at length about his gift of being able to quickly make real and meaningful "connections" with people... Tommy seems inspired to use whatever situation he is in (now and in the future) to connect with people and share a story of unwavering faith in God and love & kindness for everyone he encounters. To hear Tommy's enthusiasm for "reaching" people is truly inspirational.

The emotions I experienced while spending time with Tommy ran the gamut. Of course his wit and sense of humor are perhaps his most endearing qualities. When I first arrived at Craig Rehabilitation Center, there was a representative from a wheelchair manufacturer there doing specs on a chair for Tommy. While making sure all the measurements were accurate, the representative mentioned that Tommy's head seemed to be leaning a little to the left.... Of course, that prompted Tommy to respond immediately with one of his many one liners... He said "I am not sure if you heard or not, but I broke my neck which may have something to do with my head leaning!" --- We all laughed hysterically. Tommy's gift of using humor to make people comfortable was at work from the second I walked in!! --- There are many more extremely funny stories I took away and Tommy and I laughed most of the time I was there.. Sometimes Tommy laughed so hard that I was concerned that the ventilator would not be able to keep up with him!

As you can imagine, Tommy has become the de facto "Mayor of Craig Rehab!"... Now that he is mobile, he has begun making his rounds up and down the halls. It should not surprise anyone that Tommy enjoys giving more than receiving. In fact, he could not wait to take one of the many flower arrangements he received to his next door neighbor to make her day! I brought Tommy a lot of sweets/cookies/candy etc... I fully expect that he will get more joy out of giving it all away than eating it himself!! That's just the kind of guy he is!

On Saturday evening, Tommy decided he wanted to have a little Mexican Fiesta in Room 312 (Tommy's Hacienda!). While his attentive staff was helping him clean up/shower, I ran to a Mexican restaurant and returned with enough food to feed me, Tommy and most of the on duty staff (Dana, Maria, & Tina -- aka Tommy's Harem!). Let me tell you, Tommy's appetite is as strong as ever!!! He can put away the groceries!! In addition to three hearty meals a day, he was not shy about asking for cookies and malted milk balls between meals!!

While there was plenty of laughter and joy, we also had some pretty deep and serious discussions. One of the things that Tommy prays for (and wants others praying for) is discernment and clarity around how God wants to utilize Tommy's gifts and situation to minister to others. Tommy is content with whatever his situation is or will be but wants to understand how God wants to use him to reach others. Tommy seems passionate about figuring this out!!!

I know that Tommy and everyone aware of his injury continue to pray diligently for his ongoing recovery. But take joy in knowing that Tommy is aware of all the many miracles that are occurring in the midst of his recovery journey. I went to Denver this weekend hoping to help Tommy in some small way. Wouldn't you know that my contribution to Tommy was allowing him to give me hope and inspiration (which is pleasing to him!!). His joy is in helping others and I returned to Fayetteville with a greater understanding of the kind of man I want to be!

To God be the glory.