Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tues, March 24

Hey All!
Just a quick note to say all is well. I talked to Ape tonight and she sounded the strongest I've heard in ages. She has a biopsy tomorrow, which is the first in a month (the longest she's gone thus far and the start of a series of 1 biopsy a month for three months, and then it goes to one every three months!). Pray for a big, fat ZERO rejection rate!
I also talked to Ms. Grace, who is hilarious! She was wide open as Darrell's parents had just arrived at their house, and she asked me how "Sampson" and "Rudy" were. I heard "Watson" and "Peanut" and told her they were great. She screamed in the phone "He's a good dog!" and then handed it back to Ape. HILARIOUS!! She's always called Watson "Sampson" but has never forgotten Peanut's name.
We're trying to find a week we can all hit the beach for our annual trip. Can't wait!!!!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Wow- it's been awhile!

Hey Everyone!
Sorry for the lapse in communication, but no news really IS GREAT news! Ape continues to thrive, and I have no good stories to report. I talked to her tonight, and she's now driving some around the neighborhood, and Darrell is going back to work tomorrow. Ape is blessed with wonderful people in her daily life, and a friend is going to pick Grace up and take her to daycare so Darrell can go back to work. April is doing well, and is doing more now, changing Grace's diapers, cleaning up after dinner, etc. Still no heavy lifting (can't lift Grace, for instance) but feels good and is healing well.
But I remind you. We must pray. For total healing. For total peace. For total trust. For all of us.
God is faithful and just. Perhaps we just don't understand the 'just' part.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wow- it's been awhile!

Hey Everyone,
I just talked to April, and she continues to do well overall. She's had a few scares but is doing great. During a cath last week, her artery collapsed and she said it felt like the night of her heart attack, but she was surrounded by the medical team at Duke and they were able to treat her immediately and she had no lasting effects, except a funky thumping heartbeat for a few days. Tonight I spoke with her and they went to the ER at Duke again last night, but all is well. She has an irregular heartbeat, and said she could feel it beating in her throat, and it was a very fast heartbeat. They did labs, and her magnesium levels are low, so they've adjusted her meds.
Of course, all this is concerning to us, but the medical team has yet to really get excited, which makes me think this is all part of the process. I think it's made April and Darrell more reserved with things, but they continue to make progress and heal.
I hope you are still praying. On the bright side, the last few biopsy reports have all came back with zero rejection rates, which means the body is continuing to accept the new heart!! :)
So continue to pray for healing, and please pray against fear. I don't want April to live in fear of something happening, and while there's a fine line between respecting the need for healing and resting, and the need to start to re-enter daily life, I'm worried it will be hard to get back to the day to day. Pray on, good people!
Hope you are having a great 2009 thus far!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Darrell just called me at work (Scared the beejeezus out of me initially!) to say they just got this week's biospy results back. April scored a big, fat goose egg! Zero! Zilch! Nada!!! No rejection noted this week! :) WHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Apey made a zero for the first time in her life!!!

Pray on, good people!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday, Jan 19

Hey All,
I figured it was time for an update. April continues to be amazing and healing well!!!!! I talked to Darrell and April this morning, and they had just finished a walk. She made it 45 minutes straight with no resting!!!! :) Go Apey GO!!!!
The results from last week's biopsy were really good too. There's still a slight rejection factor, but nothing of any concern to Dr. Milano. Praise the Lord!
Jean (Ape's mom) went home Friday morning, so they are getting used to being home with just the three of them. I think D is a very, very busy man these days! Grace is in day care during the week, and I'll head down either Sat or Sunday to hang out and help some. Their church is coordinating meals still. I may go do some housecleaning for them. We'll see.
So with that, I know nothing else. :) I'll more than likely be updating this blog less frequently as long as April continues to do so well, but please trust that should anything change for the good or the bad, I'll be sure to update this and let you know. Just work off the 'no news is good news' mentality and all will be well!
So do your snow dance, hug your kids/family/dogs (in my case!) and PRAY PRAY PRAY!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday, Jan 18

Hey All,
Just a note to say that no news is good news. I haven't spoken with April or Darrell, as they just need to rest and recover from the last 6 weeks. I'll call tomorrow. But for now, we're praying for great results from Thursday's work up, including the biopsy to check her body's acceptance of the heart.
So, guess what? We have to pray, pray, pray for total acceptance of the heart and no other illnesses to set up.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Weds with April

I got to go hang out with April today and folks, the girl is doing SUPER DOOPER INCREDIBLY AWESOMELY GREAT!! She's up and around, and had gone on a 30 minute walk in the gym at her church this morning. They were eating lunch when I got there, and she ate a serving of rice, a chicken breast with mango salsa and a pile of snap peas. We hung out all afternoon and she talked really well without getting too winded. She's not allowed to do much with her arms because of the pressure on the sternum til it grows back together, but other than that, she's pretty much on her own, with pain/tiredness as her guide (if it hurts/makes you tired, stop doing it!). Her daily blood pressure and pulse rate checks have been right on target too.

She talked alot about the whole experience and was in really good spirits about it. She said numerous times that God was at work and has some crazy reason for this that we none understand yet. I told her she was to become a tent-preacher or televangelist to share her story! She was in good spirits! AND her neighbors got a bassett puppy for Christmas! It was all I could do to keep myself from stealing it!!! CUTE!!!

Tomorrow's another full workup. Tests, x-rays, biopsy and office visit with Dr. Milano. Pray for great results. She's a little concerned about weight. On Dec 11, she was at 107lbs, and today's weigh in at home was 94lbs. But she's eating well so we'll see what the Doc thinks.

GO APEY GO!!! And pray all of you pray!!!! Pray for a good day of exams and test results tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tues night....nothing new. just a random story

So I can't sleep. I'm instead surfing the web and playing. Here's a story from college.

So Darrell LOVES April. They first met because our Dorm Resident Director our freshman year (Jessica) was engaged to Darrell's friend Brian. They introduced D and A, and the night of their first date, and they left Powell Hall and walked to his dark blue Mustang parked in 20 minute parking, I screamed (ever-so-maturely) out the dorm window something to the effect of "You kids have fun. Take care of MY April!"

Wow- he lived through heck on earth from me to date April. And marry her. And live with ME (sort of) happily ever after!!!! :)

I can't wait til tomorrow. Haircut for me first thing, and then off to Clayton to see Ape!

You praying??? No rejection. Grace and fam to acclimate. Total 100% recovery.
Pray pray pray!!!!!

FYI- blogspot's clock is still sooooo wrong...It's 11:49 pm.


Monday, January 12, 2009

What great news to report!!!!!

Friends, Family, Fellow Country Men, Lend me your ear.... Some great line from a classic play....

Darrell left a voice mail for me today and said April had a visit with the opthomologist (sp?), and he cleared her for driving as soon as Dr. Milano clears her!!! Her vision was affected by the TIA's she had the weeks before transplant, but her vision has resolved. She still has a little trouble with peripheral vision but I suppose it's not too bad since he cleared her to operate a moving vehicle! :)

BUT more exciting....results from the 2nd biopsy. Forgive me as I have no frame of reference for these numbers, but the result from the first week was a 3 something, and today's result was only a 1 something!!! Dr Milano was very pleased, so the body is NOT rejecting April's heart. I know she's on lots of meds and her immune system is compromised so as to not attack the new heart, but I BELIEVE that this is God's hand on April, and the meds are great but God is awesome!!!

Oh my....here I am getting back on my soapbox. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Don't forget the neighbors. Keep praying for recovery and keep praising for His faithfulness!!!

I'm heading down Weds to hang with Ape and absolutely can't wait. It's been over a week since I visited and that's entirely too long (selfishly speaking of course...I know they needed time to be home with each other!).


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday update

Hey folks,
I spoke to Darrell awhile ago and April continues to do well. I've posted her address on the blog site- hopefully it'll show up. Please shower her with cards and fun mail!
Keep praying for no rejection, and praising for such a good recovery.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday, Jan 9, 2009

Hmmmm.....let's see....what to share.

1. The human head weighs 8 lbs (something like that).
2. There are 17 rooms for guests at the Ronald McDonald House in Winston Salem but we are expanding soon.
3. The red light on Queen St NEVER changes during slow hours so I am forced to run it often.



Yep. You heard it here first!! April got to go home today, 31 days after hospitalization. I just talked to Darrell and he sounded like a new man. She has no IVs or anything hooked up or plugged in.

BUT, I must remind you that the brakes are on visitation. They really want awhile to be home and rest, and re-acclimate Grace to having both parents at home, etc. So I'll post their home address, but the hospital will forward any mail they get in the next week to the house as well. So if you've mailed something recently, it'll get to them.

Lastly, our job has not changed. We must continue to pray for the heart to function and be accepted, and for the adjustment for everyone at home. Grace needs prayer to understand why mommy can't play.

Thanks to each of you.

"In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name." Psalms 33:21

Thursday, January 8, 2009

How quickly a month passes....

It's been one month today since April had the heart attack! How is that possible? Just a quick recap...three codes, two hospitals, 24 hours of TOTAL GRIPPING fear, a full week of not knowing much, marked improvement that led to the step down unit, a phone call on Dec 26, a transplant hours later, refer back to 24 hours of TOTAL GRIPPING fear. Lather, rinse, repeat.

BUT I must also point out that this was a month of miracles. I had been on the phone with April that night til 10:30, then her mom called to check in, so April was up later than normal and was awake during the attack. Dr. Milano said has she been asleep she would have never had a chance. They moved to NC a few years ago, neither being excited about the move, but now live within an hour of two or three major medical facilities. The Cardiothoracic surgeon at Duke is one of the nation's most skilled and 'happened to be' on service that Tuesday. She was writing notes two nights after the attack, which showed full neurological ability. The attack happened during the holiday season, (and I'm not being cold here) which is one of the 'best' times to get organs because of all the travels/parties, etc. The surgeon found a clot in Ape's native heart and said she could have stroked in a big way at any time had that clot shifted. I could go on, but you get my point.

Beware.....I'm going sappy here for a minute. But what have you done this month that matters? Sure, we did Christmas and gave gifts and brought in the New Year. Those days happened regardless of our 'feeling ready' or being excited. That's how the calendar year works. But did you play the new game you got for your kids with them, or rush them to clean up to hit the next spot? Did you sit with the grandmother you see three times a year and listen to her stories from 'back in the day', or did you rush through dinner with her to make the next party? Did you say a prayer for that relative we all have that is just totally annoying/frustrating/fill in your own word, or did you skip out the back door when he/she entered the front door?

I'm not pointing fingers. I didn't do a good job this year with anyone at home either. I was stressed because one dog barfed in the car and the other peed on the tree and crapped in the floor (Again, sorry Mom!). I was frustrated because I don't have a nice, reliable car. None of that matters. What matters is that God's hand is in the mix, whether we want to see it/take the time to see it or not. It's easy to see the big miracles this last month, but did we miss the little ones along the way? Just think about it.

Now I'm strapping on my knee brace and jumping off my soap box. :)

Tomorrow brings the results of the biopsy. PRAY PRAY PRAY April's body is hosting a 'welcome home' party for the heart.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Nothing too big to say except...

Tomorrow's a big day! It's "Biopsy #2" Day to see if Ape's body is accepting the heart now. She's been on the immunosuppressants for almost a week now, so hopefully there's no progression in the rejection they found last week.

Still not sure about "Going Home Day." Alot depends on tomorrow's results.

Pray for a "Happy Heart-Acceptance Day!"


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday, Jan 6

Hey Friends,

I just talked to Darrell for my daily update, and April's doing great. She walked 6 laps without the walker today, and the physical therapist is going to 'turn her loose' and release her, unless April has specific questions/needs. Then the therapist could be called back. But she can walk as much as she can at this point. She still tires easily and chatting with her gets her really tired as well.

Also, again, I'm not being mean, but the brakes are put on most guests at this point. They are 'crashing' her immune system as explained earlier this week, and because of this, traffic in and out of her room is going to be limited. I'd love to have a big ol party with everyone but we must keep April safe. Thanks for understanding. And thanks so much for all the prayers.

April loves getting mail. If you'd like to mail her a card, you can send it to

April Wilson
DUHS, Room 3314
2301 Erwin Road
Durham, NC 27710


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday's notes

Hey All,
I'm back from a good day at Duke. April is looking incredible, and is off supplemental oxygen and most of the IVs. She still has a few, and she's hooked to a temporary pacemaker that she can carry in one hand. Should her heart rate start to drop below 60 beats per minute, the pacemaker will kick in. But so far that hasn't happened. They've taken out her NG tube (feeding tube) from her nose. She had a hard night Saturday, and was up almost all night with stomach aches. They think it was the 'stuff' running through the feeding tube that's upset her stomach. Hopefully that will be over now.
The biopsy of her heart was taken Thursday, and the MD said the body is starting 'at a microscopic level' to reject the heart. He was very calm and said it was totally expected. Since April's chest was left open for a few days after the transplant, they couldn't start her on the anti-rejection meds. Essentially, the anti-rejection meds are immuno-suppressants. Here's my 'dumbed down' explanation. The body sees her new heart as a 'foreign' objects, just like a germ or something bad for us. The body has sent the brave little antibodies to 'attack' the heart to rid the body of it. By giving Ape immuno-suppressants, it keeps the immune system from attacking the heart. They are also giving antibiotics to ward off any infections. The RN said tonight it's a 'fine balance' between suppressing the immune system and keeping April safe from infections.
They'll do another biospy Thursday, so hopefully there's no more advancement in the body's rejection.
So you know my sign-off. PRAY PRAY PRAY!!!!!!! Pray for April's body to accept the heart, pray for April's rest and recovery, pray for Darrell and Jean as they are exhausted and stressed and pray for whatever else you think to pray for! :)

Oh, on a technical note, I finally realized I could check the security on the blog, and the default setting for comments was to only allow people who use gmail to log comments, so I've changed it to all anyone to post! Try it...if it doesn't work, let me know via email and I'll see if my computer friend at work can help.



Visiting April- The Basics

Hey Everyone,
As I explained in the update from today, April's immune system is getting ready to drop. Because of this, Darrell and I came up with a few tips for visiting April. I've struggled with how to be polite and not insult anyone, but it's a typed message. You can't hear the sincerity I type with, so please read these as written by a friend of 30 years to April who wants nothing but a healed April, and not as a blunt, frank control freak! :) We all appreciate your prayers/cards/visits, oh, and prayers!

So here goes...
1. Contact Darrell to see if April's up for company, isn't out for an xray, etc.
2. If you are feeling anything less than a total 100%, please consider waiting for a day or two before coming to see April, to make sure you are healthy.
3. Keep the visits short, and know that she gets winded easily when trying to chat. She also gets very tired quickly, so visit for 15-20 minutes, and then asked her if she'd like to rest or if she's ok.
4. There is a hand-sanitizer station outside each patient's room. Please squirt this in your hand and rub it in.
5. As much as Ape loves to hug, please be considerate and make no physical contact unless she initiates it. She's going to be super-compromised and very succeptible to germs.

Thanks folks! I could go on, but then it would turn into the control freak typing!! :)

Pray on, Good People!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saturday afternoon

To the step-down unit, she's on her way.
Ape will have a new room by the end of the day.
This is GREAT news for Pokey,
whose month's been no-jokey.
But our job is still just to pray!!!

Ok....I know I've said I'm almost 35 years old, but I have NEVER claimed to act like it. I'm tooooo excited right now to be serious!!!


Friday, January 2, 2009

Here's the only shot I have on my old laptop.....from 03 maybe?

Friday, Jan 2

Hey again,
Nothing too big to report. I spoke with Darrell this morning and April had a good night. He thought PT was coming in today to get her up, but I'm trying to be patient and give him a break from the phone. I trust he will call me with super good or not so good news. So it must be all good.
I need a scanner. I have one but my dear terrier chewed the cable to it last year and I've yet to replace it. But I have such fun pics of Trever, April, Darrel and I from the years.....even me and Apey from kindergarten graduation!! I'll try to gather them all tomorrow and head to Kinkos to scan them. You'll love them!
So go hug your spouses/kids/parents/dogs and be grateful for each moment,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What DORK is writing this blog?!?!?

See two posts down. Totally meant "GORILLA" as the monkey-type who swings from trees and/or TVs in the ICU at Duke...NOT "guerilla" as in war-torn country's men dressed in camoflauge. Auggghhhhh!!! :) Thanks Annamae for pointing that out!


They paged speech path and someone just cleared April for water and any food up to apple sauce consistency! :) She's MUCH more settled now.


Happy, Fiesty New Year

Hi All,
Someone we know is getting fiesty, so the staff are allowing one person to sit with April all the time in the ICU to keep her oriented and calmer. I just got to sit with her for an hour. They took April off the vent yesterday, and she's doing great! Her vitals are stable and everyone's pleased with her progress. But girlfriend wants water!!! She has to pass a swallow test before she's allowed, and the speech pathology dept is off today because of the holiday. Ape's not too pleased. I can see her point. Seems like someone should be on-call at least. But what do I know?

April's also on alot of fentanil (sp?) for pain, and that brings visions of guerillas swinging from the TV, mosquitoes flying around, and cats running down the hall! :) I didn't argue with her, as that agitates her, but just told her the monkeys are funny looking, and swatted the 'skeeters away.

Here's one conversation we just had.
A: "I went to a furniture exhibition instead of having a heart transplant."
J: "What did you say, Ape?"
A: Waving her left arm angrily...."I WAS MAKING A JOKE, JEANIE!"
J; "OH I get it, April!"

Then she became lucid and asked for a swallow-test again. She said "This affects my care and reflects poorly on Duke." I told her she's had phenomonal care and we have to trust Duke and the RNs, and she got agitated. I wish I could sneak her some ice chips. :(

But praise the Lord, she's doing great and Darrell actually went to the hotel across the street last night and SLEPT IN A BED!! The poor dude is wiped out.

So PRAY PRAY PRAY for a passed swallow-test!!!