Monday, May 21, 2012


Well, it has been a while, and for that I apologize. I would like to say I was too busy, or didn't have time, but that isn't true.

     I left off back in February after I went to the doctor and discovered I may have had pneumonia. I mentioned how I should have felt better a couple of days later. A couple of days came and went and I felt worse if anything. I checked into the hospital March 3. That day was pretty crazy because each time the doctor came back in the room there was more startling news. Turns out I did not have pneumonia, but it eventually was determined that I had an extensive infection in my abdomen related to the pacer wires which in turn had led to two abscesses of infection just under the lungs, there was some fluid buildup in the space between the lung and the chest cavity on my left side, and it was suspected I had some bleeding from a vein in the lower stomach area.
     The first issue to be tackled was the bleeding. It was potentially life-threatening so they did an angiogram to find it and wrap a coil around it. The surgery took a long time but eventually when they found the problem, the vein immediately cauterized itself. This was an answer to prayer and God is good.
The second issue was for me to begin on antibiotics once they had taken a sample of a superficial infection where the pacer wires enter my body just below the sternum. There isn't much more to the antibiotics part, but I just got off of them within the past few days.
     The abscesses of infection were in tricky locations because of the various organs surrounding them, so after a few days in my local hospital, it was determined I should transfer to a large hospital in Chicago. Within a couple of days a doctor drained the fluid from the left side of my lung area. This fluid had been causing a significant amount of pain for many weeks. Almost immediately after the fluid was drained I did not feel the pain anymore.
     The immediate concern from the teams of Chicago doctors was that when there is an infection related to a foreign object in the body, antibiotics may suppress the infection, but the infection could return once the antibiotics stop. The infectious disease doctors thought there was no way the wire could stay in, while the thoracic surgery team, who have dealt with pacer wires a handful of times, knew the risks and the complicated recovery of taking out the primary breathing device of someone on a pacer. After I had been in the hospital a total of just over two weeks they decided to do an "exploratory surgery" to see the extent of the abdomen infection, and what the two abscesses of infection looked like. If they found the infection to have not progress, then they would take out the pacer wires. This became an immediate cause for prayer, even though every issue big or small is a cause for prayer. I'm sure many were praying, but my small group leader, a man from my church, my mom and I prayed the Wednesday before the Friday surgery specifically that in God's gracious healing will He would take the infection from my body. I came out of the surgery a few hours after, (which is such an amazing feeling going from extremely drowsy to waking up with that feeling only a couple of seconds has passed by) and as I was coming out of the anesthesia I felt that my breathing was weak, BUT it was because I was still on the pacer – the pacer wires did not have to come out. The doctors said that the wires look "pristine" with no infection, and there were no signs of the abscesses. Their official diagnosis was that they had read the CT scan wrong… Yeah, right. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and as He healed in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and through prayer in the church age, so he healed my body. As soon as the doctor said there was no infection, my mom and I, and the ones we had told knew exactly what happened: God had miraculously healed the infection in my body through His gracious character. There is absolutely no way around this truth. I felt much stronger each day after until I was released from the hospital five days later, and the reason I felt stronger almost immediately after the surgery was not because the doctors do anything – God did. 
     I still had antibiotics running through a PIC line, and I needed ventilator assistance with the pacer, but I continued to get better.
     Unfortunately, about two weeks after I left the hospital I developed some pressure sores, (which had not happened since early on in my initial hospital stay after the accident), because a small screw found its way into my bed, and on top of that, the seat cushion for my wheelchair was too hard which allowed pressure sores develop. I spent the next month and a half in bed turning from side to side in order to keep the pressure off of the initial sores and subsequent minor pressure sores which had formed due to the constant need to reposition.My time in bed was longer than in the hospital.
I've only for the past week and a half been getting back into my wheelchair now that the sores have healed up pretty nicely.

     This whole ordeal was frustrating at first because, selfishly, I thought that I shouldn't have to go through difficulties. Not because I felt like I had already gone through so much, but just because we misunderstand God for who He really is and forget what He says in His word.
"When times are good be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him." (Ecclesiastes 7:14 ESV)
And also, "for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."(James 1:3-4 ESV)
I'm not looking for some specific "reason" of why this happened, but I'm certainly open to how God would allow me to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God is not some bad parent who sends His children to their rooms "until they figure out what they did wrong." God is not vague and His word is not ambiguous. If there is a sin issue or something, if you ask him what's going on, He would simply tell you. This wasn't the case for me with a sin issue, but maybe someone needed to read that.
I responded extremely poorly early on when I didn't know was going on. This was a growing experience because in many ways I know how to not respond. Much good has also come.

     On a different note, I have been accepted to law school and I will be attending Northern Illinois University this fall. There are many things to work out in terms of finances and personnel, but God has graciously brought me this far, and I know he will continue to provide. 


Dan said...

Sorry it was long

Anonymous said...

I happened to check out your blog today and there was a post! I had wondered if you were ok. I am glad to hear that you are doing better and healing! I needed to hear the encouraging words you gave about how God is in control and heals! And as far as law school...congratulations! That is terrific! Joel ended up choosing University of Illinois, so will be heading off soon himself. He bought a Boston Terrier to keep him company. :) He is a cute five-year old rescue dog who is doing well. As Joel is studying and keeping up with his work, I will remember to pray for you too!
Love, Mrs. Coakley

Anonymous said...

Praise God from Whom all blessins flow. Praise His Name. Praise His Perfect ways and healing. Praise the LORD!!!!!!

Suzanne Evans said...

It is so good to finally hear from you again, Dan! Now I know why the prolonged silence. Thanks for making up for it with such a nice long post, explaining the whole ordeal you have endured by God's grace. An amazing and wonderful story, that of God's healing. And of your growth through this time.
Since I last visited you, my mom has been confined to bed and is on hospice care, at home. We have care-givers for her while I am at work, but I am her caregiver evenings and weekends. School is out soon, but the caregivers will continue, so then I would like to come and visit you before you head off to school, if that would be OK.

Bobby said...

First of all the medical miracles that God performs are incredible. The ones he has done for your through this time are great. He has cared for you.

Also congrats on Law School @ NIU!

You constantly amaze me with your perspective and strength.