Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Things are changing - for the better!  Mom returned to work at the library yesterday.  Thankfully Dad has some really great friends and family who are willing to come hang out with him while she's at work.  I'm assuming the first day back to work went alright since they allowed her return today. 

Over the holidays Dad's TPN pump rate was increased where he'd get the same amount of nutrition in less time.  It was changed to 18 & 6, meaning he got to be unhooked between 8 and 2 (6 hours) and be "fed" the other 18 hours.  This made it a little easier for him to get out on Christmas to visit family and go to church this past Sunday.  Traveling with an IV pole can be a bit tricky.  Yesterday mom was able to unhook it before work and then come home on her lunch break to hang the new bag.  This past Monday they did the usual blood work (this is done every week), and everything looked good.  Today the pump rate was increased again; this time to 14 & 10.  He is able to be unhooked between 8:30 and 6:30 which is great!  Of course the ultimate goal is to be able to one day not have the TPN at all, but in the mean time our short-term TPN goal is to get to 12 & 12.  I'm under the impression that's the best it can get (12 on and 12 off). 

All is going well!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merriest Christmas

We had an amazing Christmas. Christmas Eve started off a bit rocky when dad had some bleeding from the fistulas, but thankfully it stopped on it's own fairly quickly. The thought of having to return to Houston for Christmas was devastating. After the bleeding ceased we began our Christmas celebration and everything was perfect!

Opening Gifts At Home

Christmas with the Buzek Family at Aunt Connie's - playing cards with the guys

What a treat to add a couple ounces of strained chicken noodle soup to his minimal liquid diet.

I thought he'd probably used up his lifetime's worth of luck, but he did catch a few good hands and walked away from the poker table a full seven dollars richer.   :)

I didn't take nearly enough pictures to portray the wonderful time we all had.  Today dad was able to attend church for the first time.  We all were there together - what a perfect ending to our Christmas holidays.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Great Day at Shoppa's

Dad was feeling especially well today and wanted so badly to go visit his John Deere stomping ground.  It was an emotional return, but he was so happy to see all of the dear friends he's worked with so many years.  There were a few not at work today, so he will definitely have to go visit again soon. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our Christmas Message

As we approach the Christmas season we find ourselves full of gratitude for the many gifts we have received. Christmas, we have found, is not just a blessed season but a way of life - loving gifts given freely through out the year.

If you gave the gift of blood Louie and many like him, survived because of you.

If you gave the gift of medical care we are so grateful for your expertise and personal attention.

If you gave the gift of friendship, you reduced our stress and made us smile.

If you helped in any way with fundraising, we were overwhelmed by your generosity.

If gave labors of love by taking care of our home, yard, and pets; you eliminated this worry from our every day lives.

And most of all if you prayed Louie is spending this Christmas at home because of you.

We thank you so much. Our lives have been changed in ways we never imagined by people we will never forget.

Love to All, Louie, Ruthie, and Family

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Very few people can say that things have been uneventful, but in Dad's case that's fairly true.  While most people are running around getting ready for Christmas, Dad's been able to sit back and visit with his friends while mom's done all of the running.

He's still taking this round of antibiotics, and since the last hospital stint he's been fever free.  

Dad, enjoy uneventful while it lasts, because in two short weeks I'll bring those grandkids to visit.  They can't wait to see you and...  jump on the bunkbeds, break the Christmas ornaments, chase Juliet, scatter the Nativity Set, empty your pantry, and pound on the piano (just to name a few things). 

Don't let these angelic faces fool you - especially the little one.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Back Home

Sorry I didn't get a chance to post, but dad did make it back home on Tuesday evening.   He's back on antibiotics and all is going well.  We're all hoping this round of antibiotics will work and then he will remain infection-free for a while.  He needs to stay home, because it's way too cold outside for a man who wears a gown!  :) 

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was wonderful  We all made a trip to Grandma's.  Dad was treated to a a few ounces of clear chicken soup, but the rest of us ate his share of other foods.  Dad and Karl even worked in a game of dominoes.  Dad said sitting at the table was uncomfortable, but luckily he got good hands and was able to beat Karl pretty quickly.  :) 

It's unfortunate that after such a great holiday weekend there would have to be another bump in the road, but today Dad is in the El Campo hospital getting antibiotics.  He just recently finished the last round of antibiotics, but it appears he has some sort of infection that's causing him to run fever.  ECMH is doing some tests and administering antibiotics.  His stay there should be fairly short, probably just until antibiotics can be ordered and received for mom to administer at home.

Monday, November 23, 2009


It looks like a routine is coming together. Therapy 3 times a week, the antibiotics are almost finished, and mom has showed vast improvement in her TPN abilities. We will all be in town together for Thanksgiving and dad will make his first trip out of the house (other than the visit to the hospital) on Thanksgiving Day as well all gather together at grandmas. We have so much to be thankful for this year.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Sadly we found that Scarlets injuries were too severe . She died on Friday. We loved her dearly and are heartbroken by this.. Thank all of you who asked about her and shared your good wishes. --Ruthie

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cat Found

Scarlet has been found, but she is injured. Dr. Baron is working on her, and we're hoping for Dr. Duke-like results.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Can you believe that steady of a hand at age 81?


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Have You Seen This Cat?

The family cat is missing and was last seen early Saturday morning. She stayed close to home the entire time mom and dad were in Houston, and they missed her terribly. (they even had a picture of her hanging in their hospital room) They were so happy to see her when they made it back home. We need help finding Scarlet. A REWARD is being offered. Please call if you see her!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Routines Never Go Routinely

Mom and Dad are happy to be back home again, and are trying to add the infusion of two antibiotics to the routine. (both of which are administered differently) With so much to do, (and curveballs such as receiving incorrect tubing) getting into a routine seems nearly impossible. TPN, Antibiotic 1, Leaking Ostomy, Antibiotic 2 - OH MY!!! They are making it, and today's wish is for "uneventful". Boy does that sound nice! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Home Again

After a really good day yesterday, dad got to return home last night. All is well.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Dad is feeling much better although bloodwork did reveal a line infection.  Antibiotics appear to be working well and after unsuccessfully trying to put a new line in today they will try again tomorrow in the operating room.  He should go home one day this week.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Prayers for Today's Hurdle

There's been a bump in the road. Today dad began running fever, and after some lab work at El Campo Memorial Hospital, they have decided to admit him to ICU there. His blood pressure is low, so in ICU they will be able to monitor that as well as administer antibiotics for whatever type of infection he has. It is not believed to be a central line infection, thank goodness, but prayers are much appreciated!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Out and About

It counts as "Out", but not too far from home.  Dad loves to get out, but at this point is only ready to go as far as those new tennis shoes and walker can take him.  No complaining though, the breaths of fresh air and changes in scenery are very much appreciated!  The neighbors and passersby have become accustomed to seeing him in what he refers to as his "dress".  One of these days he will wear real clothes again, but in the meantime if he prefers his gown, then so be it.  Thankfully he has a manly walker and it is phenomenal.  It works great on the street (and even in the grass) and it has a basket that can hold his TPN bag and pump.

It's been almost a week since mom and dad's return to El Campo and overall things have gone well.  There was lots to learn in the first few days, especially for mom, but she's done it.  She can now add vitamins to TPN, hang daily bags and fix stoma bag leaks. She's doing a great job and we've come a long way since last Thursday and Friday when things were more hectic.  I was a little scared when dad first said he needed a little help getting to the bathroom.  We all ran around like circus monkeys: unplug this, hold the pump low, hold the bag high, unhook the foley from the walker, don't let him trip on the pump's electrical cord....  You can imagine the chaos.   It took 4 of us to make it to the bathroom the first time and I think all of us had our hands full.  I had to wonder if he'd ever be able to leave the couch without at least three amigos following. 

Thankfully we've come a long way.  A new cordless pump (that does not get air in the line) has helped out tremendously. Bonnie, Suz, and I were able to return to our own homes and dad is still able to make it to the bathroom. 

Last but certainly not least, we thank everyone for all of kindness they have shown us.  All of you who have sent cards, called, stopped by for a quick visit, and helped us with anything and everything.  Mom and Dad were so ready to return home and you guys are a constant reminder why they love their hometown so much.  I can't imagine a better support system.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stand Up and Go Your Faith Has Saved You

I can't think of a more fitting verse to describe Louie's "going home" day. Truly from the very first night with each of you praying earnestly for his life to be spared, God listened. These many voices brought Dr. Duke into the emergency room to give the highest level of skill possible. At every turn, your loving prayers allowed him to get better and better. Your part in this recovery process is of utmost importance.

I am going to revise this verse just a bit to include what has really mattered from January 28th until the present.

Stand up and go: your faith and the faith of hundreds of family, friends and strangers has saved you.

When I see him stand up from that wheelchair and step into the car to go home, I will be thinking of each of you. We can never, never thank you enough.

Love to all, Ruthie



Saying Goodbye

Notice Dr. Duke is sporting his Shoppa's Farm Supply Hat!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Could it be?

It looks like mom and dad might be headed home within the next week!

Poem by Marilyn Goerig

Louie’s strength is improving,
And his fever is gone.
Home equipment has been ordered,
And clothes shopping has been done.

With less tubes and equipment,
Less supplies will be needed.
So it seems packing for home
Can proceed unimpeded.

“Back up the truck”
may be just an expression.
But in Ruthie’s case
It’s a necessitation.

If you’ve seen Ruthie’s garden,
In the big corner window,
You can imagine the move home,
Will require a trailer in tow.

Whatever it takes, she says,
We must take them all.
Ordinary transportation for us,
And for the plants, a U-HAUL.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Super Powers

From: Ruthie

When he gets ready to walk Louie always puts on what he refers to as his "Superman Cape". (Truly its just another gown worn over the shoulders to keep from being arrested in the halllway.)  The hospital is possibly the only place where you could walk down the hall somewhat exposed, but they probably discourage it. He does have many "Superman-like" qualities (great strength, helpful, etc.)  but even he will tell you this:  "Faster than a speeding bullet?"-- Not so much!

He always been partial to camoflouge clothes. Tracy found these great houseshoes at Academy to perk up his wardrobe. A matching gown would really complete the outfit, but so far no luck.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Update from Ruthie

Everything is going well. Dr. Duke took out one of the central lines, leaving the one line for TPN. He has an IV in his arm for fluids etc.and to administer medication. We continue to walk three times every day building Louie's endurance and stamina.We are definitely looking forward to going home, but getting released seems to be a slow process.  We are very thankful Dr. Jud Severson has agreed to be Louie's doctor in El Campo, and we are grateful for his expertise. Dr. Duke will be in touch with him.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another Introduction --- Meet Michael Segal

From:  Ruthie

He is an absolutely amazing individual who has overcome HUGE odds to be the person he is today. (see Michael's website for his full story )
When he was in college he walked in on a convenience store robbery. Forced into the cooler, he was shot in the back of the head execution style. Not expecting Michael to survive the night, the neurosurgeon went home. The next day he had surgery, but it was still believed that he would never be able to return to college or meet his goals. With sheer determination he moved forward and did return to UT and graduated in the top of his class. We do so admire Mike, although we try not to give him a big head. We constantly tease each other because he makes very light of his injury. We remind him that when he makes a mistake and blames it on being "shot in the head" that we are having none of it." “No way--You recovered from that! However, graduating from UT? You NEVER recover from that".  :) 

Today, he and Louie were speaking of something and both had the same thought. Michael said, “You mean a UT GUY and an Aggie Dad had the same idea??? Amazing."  (There might be hope for him yet.).

Seriously though, I first met him in one of the first days we were in Hermann Memorial. He leads a support group on Wednesdays in STICU and he is so very understanding. Beginning with introductions of each family member and his own story, Michael ends every session with a prayer. In that waiting room we all needed that kind of support. Smart man that he is, he lures us there with great cookies, Starbucks coffee, and ice cold drinks; then we experience his kindness and we are hooked. He continues to visit us each day on the 4 days he is working at the hospital. Often on Wednesdays, he arrives with cookies but ALWAYS he comes with a smile and a request to "tell me something good". He's positive and he gives us HOPE. I am inclined to believe that God saved Michael to help others through their fears and near tragedies. If that is the case, he is fulfilling his destiny.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


From Ruthie --

Denise is a Physician Assistant on our floor, Jones 6. She worked with Dr. Duke and the other trauma doctors until recently when she moved to the Orthopedic Service. What a loss for trauma!!! Denise's brother was very very ill in the hospital some years ago, and it was after that event that she decided to become a Physician Assistant. She has been on both sides of the medical fence so let me tell you a little secret about her. DENISE CARES! Denise cares if you understand, and she cares how you feel . It is not enough for a patient to just be able to live , rather she wants you to be able to control pain, to be able to hear what is going on around you , and to not be afraid. You can ask Denise a question one day and if you forget the answer you can ask her again, and maybe even again. She knows we walk in unfamiliar territory because she too, felt the need to understand during her brother's illness. She was a great connection to Dr. Duke because she worked so closely with him. We called her "the wound vac queen" because she could not only hear a wound vac beeping from anywhere on the floor (with some sort of inner radar she possesses) but she could find the problem, whether it came from the machine itself or more likely from its connections to the wound. I learned so very much from her--I credit passing Wound Vac 101 to my very patient tutor, Denise. Her capabilities for getting things done are amazing. Even though we are not officially on her patient rounds, she comes by to see us and I can call her at ANYTIME. If I could pick the one person who has helped me keep my sanity in the past few months, it would have to be Denise. You can question, you can cry, you can rejoice. Denise is not above you or beyond you. She is right beside you, and I admire her more than I can ever say.

Joy Times Ten

From Ruthie --

We have had some wonderful concerts here at Hermann Hospital but it would be difficult to top the beautiful blended voices of 10 friends on Friday night. Shane came back for a visit from Michigan. He volunteered here previously, and we came to love seeing him. His twin brother Sheldon traveled with him this time. Sheldon will be here in January to start his volunteer stay. We do not have plans to see him here on Jones 6, but they have promised to come see us in El Campo. You may recognize some of the faces as our local EC talent. They sang song after song and made our usual Friday night, something special. On Monday, Shane and some of the others dropped by before going to the airport. Louie so enjoys talking to them, sharing farming and hunting stories. He would love to visit them in Michigan at some point, --Shane said he would be warmly welcomed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Daily Report

Dad had a busy afternoon. He went to have a line changed, had quite a bit of fluid drained from his lungs, and had an x-ray.  I would say that the removal of fluid would make him feel better, but the fluid had not made him feel bad to begin with.  Having had the small chest tube placed (something Dr. Duke calls a "pigtail"), he actually feels WORSE than before.  The soreness should wear off and hopefully he'll feel better soon.  He's had some fever off and on, but he does not have any fever right now and has been treated with antibiotics. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

God's Plan

By: Marilyn Goerig

God, You brought Louie this far;
There is a Divine Plan.
We continue to place our trust
In Your powerful, healing hand.

From that near-fatal night
When you saved him from certain death;
And held him close to your heart;
We knew Louie’s path had been set.

Only prayer and a miracle
Could keep him here.
In the ambulance and Life Flight;
His injuries were so severe.

One miracle and then another
As his heart stopped in the E.R.;
So many prayers stormed the gates of heaven;
God turned him away from death’s door.

An extremely difficult procedure;
God guided surgery’s best.
Dr. Duke told us afterwards;
His skills were put to the test.

He worked for over six hours
On what seemed a hopeless case.
And he was the first to admit
He is only alive by God’s grace.

Louie fought for his life
Remaining critical day after day.
He overcame each complication,
As so many continued to pray.

Though he struggled with tubes and grafts and pain;
His strength continued to improve.
We wondered as the tubes were slowly removed;
Could he be going home soon?

God does have a plan for Louie;
Though we know not what it might be;
We stand in awe of God’s power
And prayerfully wait and see.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Closer to Home

Dad's still working toward going home and it seems like he's getting closer.  Mom and Dad do physical therapy 3 times a day and he's getting stronger.  The pain pump's been removed.  All that is left is the IV bag, TPN , and fistula bag.  TPN currently gives him all of the nutrition that he needs and will continue to do so when he goes home. He is adjusting to the fact that his diet will only be medicine cups full of water or Dr. Pepper and occasional popsicles.   We still pray that some time down road the bowel will be able to be fixed and will one day be able to eat again.  In the mean time he looks forward to riding around to look at the fields,  being able to attend family get-togethers, going outside whenever he wishes, and spending more time with the grandchildren.  This is his second chance; he doesn't want to miss a thing!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

He's Still Got It In Him

Now don't let 8+ months of hospitalization or 94 surgeries let your mechanic skills get rusty.  The wheels on dad's walker were in desperate need of some oiling and without some good WD-40 available, he had to be resourceful.  Some mineral oil (that is really intended for his ears) and a syringe did the trick.  (probably not as well as WD-40, but definitely an improvement)  Good News is that we've ordered a new walker - one fit for a man who loves the outdoors, with rubber tires and all!

On another note dad had a small set back this weekend with an infection, but thankfully antibiotics seem to be working.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Recognize This Face?

It's been a while since we've had an unobstructed view. Doesn't he look great?

Goodbye to the NG tube (and the band aid that covered his nose). Dad hated the NG tube - it was uncomfortable, cut up his nose, and always got in the way. Dr. Duke said he was hesitant to take it out because after so many months it would be very painful if he had to put it back in. Well Dad said it was very painful to take it out, so we're definitely praying that it doesn't need to have it re-done. We wanted to post "pray that they take it out soon, and that he does well without it", but then Dr. Duke surprised us and pulled yesterday. So, instead of praying for it's removal, pray that he will not become nauseous and that will feel okay without it suctioning his stomach. (months ago it removed briefly but had to be re-inserted when he became very nauseous). It was pulled out yesterday evening and so far so good!!!

Dad showing that both nostrils are free... and I guess he can fill them with kleenex if he so pleases. However, be careful what you joke about - I'd hate for the hayfever to find you! :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Visit From His Boy

Anyone who knows dad well knows just how much he loves this little boy. He raised the three of us girls and then still had to wait another couple of decades to get his chance with a boy. Not a son, but a grandson (that's possibly even better). Me coming to visit seems to be 100 times better if I bring Tate with me. We come in with a bang and Dad lights up at the sound of "PAWPAW!"

Tate has a current infatuation with shoes, and it took him less than 20 seconds to notice that Pawpaw wasn't wearing any. (He was with me when we bought Pawpaw's shoes, so he knows that he has some) Sitting in the chair didn't require running shoes, but when Jocelyn showed up Tate was eagar to help Pawpaw get his shoes on (with some help from Mimi).

Tate telling me to "come on". He's right, no time for pictures, dad was walking pretty fast!

A few pictures from the Waiting Room. I'm not sure which one of them was having more fun.