Tuesday, December 28, 2010

David Update

Hi Everyone,
We are still being as patience as possible while Dad is back in the hospital.  On Christmas Eve afternoon, Dad began to have a slightly higher fever and then suddenly had some shortness of breath.  My mom took him (quickly) to Moses Cone ER where they found a blood clot in both lungs and another abscess (fluid build up) right next to the previous abscess below his liver.  Additionally, he was dehydrated and running a high fever indicative of an infection.  I know that Meryl sent out an update on Friday and we were asking for prayers to take care of him with this new complication.  God answered them and my dad has been stable in spite of the new diagnoses of pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in his lungs) and new abscess near his liver. 
He was transferred (on Christmas Eve night) back to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and was admitted to the ICU there.  When I spoke with the ICU doctor on Christmas morning, he remembered me and was familiar with my dad.  It was comforting to know that they knew his history, as complicated as that is.  As of last night, he was still in the ICU, but just waiting to get a room on the floor.  Due to the blood clots, he has been receiving blood thinners (heparin drip) that have to be at a specific therapeutic level before discharge from the ICU.  He was not on any type of blood thinner while at home because his doctor was concerned with his history of bleeding.  The main artery that leads to his liver bled and is what started this complicated course back in November.  The doctor told my mom yesterday that he is confident the risk of bleeding out again is very slim, so the plan is for him to be discharged on oral Coumadin to continue making sure that he does not develop more blood clots.  Yesterday, via Doppler, they found another blood clot in his calf area.  They will be watching to see if the medication helps prevent it from traveling to his lungs.  They placed a replacement drain in the abscess near his liver on Christmas and so far it is draining appropriately. 
He is on a small amount of oxygen and doing well with that.  He is still taking a PO diet, but has lost an alarming amount of weight and is still not really keeping all of his nutrition down.  We are concerned that his body will not heal as well with the decreased nutrition.  However, his doctor told me that they will continue to check his albumin levels.  This will help them know if he is getting adequate nutrition and if his liver is continuing to function appropriately. 
Very slowly, he is getting better and the doctor is hoping to send him back home tomorrow.  Olive and I are flying down tomorrow evening and Josh is coming in on Thursday.  Charlie (my husband) will be joining us on Friday.  We are so sad that Meryl is going to be working in CO, but she will be with us in spirit and via Skype!  :)  It has been a pretty rough holiday season for our family.  It is amazing how little you care about previously important things when you have such a life changing event occur.  Even Aaron did not want to open presents on Christmas day as he sat at home with Colin waiting to hear how my dad was doing that day.  For all of us, our Christmas was spent focusing on what is truly important.  I have never been so comforted by the gift of Jesus Christ on Christmas before.  I knew that God was with my dad and that He has been taking care of him over the past few months.  And although we have been occasionally frustrated and upset about things over the past weeks and months, we will never forget this Christmas and it has certainly changed the way we will think about the holidays for many years to come.  We are comforted by our enormous network of prayer and support that has surrounded us during this time.  The "power of prayer" has a totally new meaning to me now.  We are so blessed to have so many people helping us pray for my Dad.  Thank you.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Update for David

Merry Christmas!  I hope everyone is having a good start to their holidays/vacations!  I just wanted to give a quick update on my dad and his recovery.  As per the "trend", he has had a slight set-back.  He developed an infection near his abdominal incision that is being caused by the fistula on Friday/Saturday last week.  My mom had to take him to the ER on Saturday night so that he could receive medication and so that medical staff could further evaluate the infection.  He is currently on oral antibiotics and we are praying (a lot) that these will help this infection go away quickly and help him heal completely. 
I asked my dad last night if he is feeling more sick now with this infection, and he said that he has been feeling sick for so long now, he isn't really paying much attention to the slight changes.  It continues to be tough for my mom, she is now taking even more care of him at home.  However, she and all of us, are so glad he is at home.  He has an appointment with his surgeon on Thursday (the 23rd) and our hope and prayer is that he will begin to fight off this infection by then and will remain at home since we are all coming back the following week!!
Thank you all for your support and amazing help with so many things!  It was so wonderful to hear my mom tell me that some helping hands came yesterday and fixed the half-broken steps into the house!  My mom was also excited to be receiving well wishes and cards on a daily basis that my dad can read and be encouraged by them!   
THANKS!!  And, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Exciting Update #2 for 12/14/2010

Dad (David) is going home today!!!!!  He did not get approved for rehab through the insurance company.  Apparently, he is walking and getting around too well for rehab!  So, praise God, my mom is taking him home this afternoon!  He will be getting home nursing and home physical therapy for a few weeks since he still has some recovering to do. 
I will still be sending occasional updates, since I know everyone is still concerned about him and his recovery.  :)  Thanks for all the prayers and support, once again!!

Update 12/14/2010

My dad is doing really well.  So far, this is the first time we have gone 4-5 days without any type of set-back!  This is getting exciting now!  He is much more alert and seems a little stronger everyday.  His blood pressure, temperature, oxygen and everything look good.  He is now able to get up and walk across his hospital room by himself.  He is now getting up to go on longer "walks", approx 100 feet, 2-3 times a day.  One things that is VERY exciting is that he is eating and tolerating his diet.  The doctor told my mom told that his protein level is increasing, which is what we want since it was so extremely low.  He has been tolerating small meals, 3 times a day, since Saturday! 
The abscess on his liver is still draining into a small container hanging from his abdomen.  The doctor has said that he expects that the drain will remain in place for 3-4 weeks.  Other than that small tube, he has been disconnected from EVERYTHING else!!!  No IVs, no antibiotics, no oxygen!  Yay!  He is still being followed by a wound care nurse to ensure the continued healing of his abdomen (from the original surgery), but to date it looks really good and appears to be healing well.  The doctors do not feel concerned about his fistula at all, they feel that it has closed and has healed.  It is amazing that it has, considering the lack of nourishment and how sick dad was over the past few weeks.  God is good!  :)
So, the hospital is planning to send him back to the rehabilitation center, the Sticht center, today or tomorrow.  We are just waiting for some insurance stuff to get worked out.  And, after rehab, he will be going home.  From what I see, as a therapist, I feel that he will need 1-2 weeks of rehab.  So, we are praying he will be home for Christmas!  What a wonderful Christmas present that would be!
Thank you so much to everyone who has been helping my mom while I am back here in DC.  It has been a blessing to know she doesn't have to go the the grocery store or bother with other things after a long day at the hospital.  Thank you so much!!  If anyone is interested in helping in the next few weeks, I know that my mom, and Colin could really benefit from some gas cards.  Both are making daily, and sometimes 2-3 times a day, trips from Greensboro to Winston-Salem.  Not to mention it is $4/day to park at Baptist Hospital.  It's beginning to add up.  That is something that would be helpful right now.  If you would like my mom's or Colin's address, email me and let me know.  I believe we are set until I return for groceries.  My mom called me so excited this morning because some deliveries were made last night and she was thrilled to be able to send Aaron to school with a good breakfast and to know a dinner was ready to pop in the oven tonight!  Thank you!!
I have one small request as well- does anyone have a carseat that my mom could borrow from the 28th-31st of this month that would fit a 19 month old?  We will be flying in and I really don't want to pay the fee to bring Olive's car seat.  :)
Please continue to pray with us that my dad will continue to tolerate his diet and therapy.  We are also praying that he will begin to regain some of his old self and begin to have some motivation to get stronger.  It was so amazing to see him smile at Olive (his granddaughter) when we were there last time.  My mom said that was the first time she has seen him smile in about a month.  Thankfully, Olive and I are going to be able to return right after Christmas, and Charlie, my husband will be joining me on the 31st.  Josh (and we are praying for Meryl too) is also flying back from CO on the 30th, so we will all be back home again!
Thanks again for all the support and prayers. We love everyone of you who has helped us get through this time.  We are so blessed!
Thank you,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Update 12/10/2010

Hi Everyone,
Just wanted to give a brief update.  I don't have much time, it has been a busy weekend.  And I also want to make sure I mention how amazingly wonderful all of you are to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.  It has been so amazing to receive such encouraging calls and emails from everyone supporting us.  And, thank you to all of you who have been so generous with your time and assistance with things at my mom's home and with taking care of Aaron! 

Here is the update:  Thursday, my dad (David) was having some trouble tolerating his food.  He is taking in minimal nutrition at this point, so they were concerned and ordered an x-ray and CT scan.  The CT scan showed an abscess (about the size of a grapefruit) on his liver (just below it actually).  He was discharged from the rehab center and taken back to the main hospital at Wake Forest Baptist Medical center.  It was another set back, but it seems we are getting used to it at this point.  He was taken to surgery about 2pm on Friday.  They placed a drain in that abscess and he now has another tube coming out of his abdomen that is allowing that bad fluid to get out of his body.  He is still receiving IV saline fluids and is now also receiving an IV antibiotic just in case.  He is looking a bit better and getting a little stronger each day.  One focus of our prayers right now is to pray that dad is able to tolerate and will be interested in eating.  It is so important at this point for him to get proper nutrition and will allow for continued healing of the rest of his body.  

We are hoping that when the Doctors come to look at him on Monday, he will be cleared to return to the Sticht Center for rehab and then from there he will be discharged home.  :)  My mom is beginning to try not to look forward to discharge too much.  But, it is something to look forward to! 

Thanks so much again to everyone.  Olive and I are leaving tomorrow to head back to DC.  We will be back after Christmas.  It has been difficult to be hear and also still taking care of our responsibilities at home.  It has made everything so much better to know my mom, Colin, Aaron, and my dad have a wonderful support network around them here in Greensboro!  Thanks to all!!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update 12/9/2010

Hi Everyone,
It has been a little while since we have updated everyone.  Dad (David) is making some progress and experiencing some set-backs as well.  Overall, he is stable and we are still so thankful that he is doing better!  Today I (Sarah) went to visit him at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Sticht Center.  This is the intensive rehabilitation center for acute rehab.  He is getting lots of therapy.  He gets Occupational therapy and Physical therapy for 1 1/2 hours each, every day.  This is second day and as of this morning, we was tolerating it, but due to some medical concerns, he is very weak and is having a difficult time staying awake at times. 

Today, the medical staff decided to give dad a few units of blood due to his very low blood pressure.  His hemoglobin level is at 9, and they want it to be around 12.  Additionally, he is not tolerating the food/liquid he has been taking.  He has not been able to keep it down very well.  So, we are praying, very much so, that he begins to tolerate taking food by mouth, or that they give him some other source of nutrition.  Hopefully with receiving the blood and resolving the nutrition issues, we will see an increase in his strength and alertness.

Thanks so much to everyone who has been supporting us and praying for my dad's continued health!  We have a constant flow of support and it has been SO encouraging!  My co-workers gave me a gas card for my most recent trip down to NC from DC.  Josh received a "donation" from someone that gave him the financial ability to stay an extra week that was really needed.  Colin has received gas and other gift cards since he is the one who is taking Aaron back and forth to school and driving out to Winston-Salem everyday.  We have received groceries, dog food, dinners, and other needed items that have helped so much with the everyday tasks!  We have received calls of concerns and support from all over the world!  We received a call from Afghanistan a few weeks ago! 

I am planning to leave on Sunday, so I am expecting that my mom will need some continued help with things next week.  If anyone is interested in getting groceries for my mom, Aaron, and Colin for late next week, please email (spikettc@gmail.com) me or call (336.267.5879) and I can give you a small list of things that would be helpful.  Also, I am sure my mom will need some help picking up Aaron next week, so if you are able to help with that, just let me know!

The following is a little note my mom sent to a few people yesterday, I thought I would include it in this update since it gives a pretty good idea of how she is doing at this point:

David is now in the Rehab Sticht Center, at Wake Forrest Baptist Hosp.  He is weak physically.  Please pray he will regain his strength, endurance, and ability to eat, with his food digesting correctly.  It is hard for him to eat but a few bites of food, before he starts feeling bloated and full.   Pray also for his glucose levels to go down, so he will be able to stop taking insulin.
God is good, and has already answered prayers by healing him over the past few days.  His temperature is normal, and respiratory infection is gone.  He can get up and down in bed by himself, and take a few steps alone.
He has a room in rehab which has a large window, with the morning sun coming in to warm him, provide some vitamin D, and lift his mood.  The sunlight is good, it brightens everything.  The Son-light can brighten the darkness in our lives.  We are so blessed.  Yesterday when I came home our house was clean, and clothes washed.  Monday night when I came home, our house was decorated with lights, and we had a Christmas tree in our dining room, decorated.  I WAS EXCITED, THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!!  I'M GETTING IN THE CHRISTMAS MOOD.  THANK YOU GOD FOR OUR HOMES, AND FREEDOM TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF YOUR SON THE WAY WE CHOOSE.

We received a Get Well card from friends in Minnesota, (Mark & Beth Chenoweth.)  Their church is praying for David, as well as Churches, and family in:

New York
North Carolina
Missouri, and

Merry Christmas.
David, Cheri, and Aaron

Thanks again to everyone!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is Dad's (David's) Birthday!  He is celebrating by being in a regular hospital room and getting an evaluation by a physical therapist today.  We are all so thankful that we can celebrate another birthday with him and that he continues to get better.

Currently, Dad is still hooked up to many tubes and bags, so we are still asking that visitors wait to visit when the risk of infection is not so high.  He has had his share of infections and since it is cold and flu season, we want to prevent the spread of germs as much as possible.

Josh is still in NC helping with Aaron and doing some handyman jobs around the house.  He is planning to leave on Saturday to fly back to Denver.  It was such a blessing that he was able to stay longer, help with so many things, and provide some support for Aaron and Colin.  Sarah and Olive are planning to drive back down to NC from the DC area next week.  We are still waiting to see how dad does over the next few days and see when it would be most beneficial.

Cheri still needs our prayers and support since she is now staying at the hospital 24/7 and doing as much of David's care as she can.  Thank you so much for the amazing network of strength and support you all have provided over the last few weeks.  It is such an amazing feeling to feel love from so many people!  Thanks!!!!

Sarah and the rest of the Pikett family

Monday, November 29, 2010

Update 11/29

Hi All,

First of all, I am so sorry that no one received an update last night. My internet connection was a little touch and go, so it looks like it was stuck in my outbox.  However, this news is worth the wait.    I went to visit Dad on my way to the airport and I was so excited, I decided to pay an entire seven dollars for internet access so that I could share the excitement with you all.  If you know anything about the Piketts, we are frugal to our core.  Although I am a Pikett by marriage, there is no denying that it has rubbed off on me... just to put things into perspective. 

Dad is getting better!! he told us today that they are thinking of moving him out of ICU and into a regular room within the next few days.  His fever is steadily going down and was at 100.6 when we left.  The wound doctor said that his incision looks good and both his liver enzymes and white blood cells continue to go down.  They fed him clear liquids yesterday, but his sepsis is under control enough that they are going to use a PICC line tomorrow to give him nutrition by providing him with TPN (Total parenteral nutrition). 

His breathing is fine without the vent, so there has been no talk of placing him back on.  He is recieving oxygen through a nasal canula, but they have reduced the oxygen from 6L on Friday to 2L today!  They even had him sitting up in a special chair today- he is alert and when I went into see him, HE prayed for US... with his own mouth, in his own words!!!  Praise the Lord.

They are going to do a test tomorrow that will send dye through his system.  Hopefully, this will show them if there are any leaks around his stomach and intestinal area- which could present risk of further infection. 

I am still cautiously optimistic, but I wanted to allow myself to show my excitement to you all because you deserve it.  The support we have received has been nothing short of incredible and I honestly feel that God has used this situation to heal more than David's body.  Dad is not out of the woods yet, so please continue to lift him up in prayer.  Mom and Dad face a long road of recovery, but now they know that they don't have to approach it alone. 

I am really sad to be leaving, but I feel like God gave me a gift before I did.  This has been such a roller coaster of a week- it feels like a month has gone by.  Being able to hold Dad's hand and have him hold it back was something I did not expect.   Even though we are all completely exhausted- emotionally and physically- I am so greatful for this experience. 

I have to board a plane here in the next few minutes, but please continue to support mom and dad- even if they dont ask for it. 

I know I say this every time- but we love you all!!!


Meryl and the Piketts

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Update: 11/27/10

Hi Everyone,
I just wanted to give a quick update this morning.  Dad's fever was down slightly this morning, but everything is much the same.  Eventhough we have a tendancy to hope that when we wake up, he will be completely better, I realize that things take time and instead, I am giving thanks for the fact that things were not worse this morning than they were last night.  He is even more alert this morning and even asked Mom to roll him over.  He needs pain control now, because the sedatives are gone.
Please pray for his comfort, that the additional antibiotic they added would wipe out whatever other infection is in his body and that we would have patience as a family.
We decided to change Josh's ticket, so he will be staying an additional week.  I have to head home on Monday, but will keep everyone updated all the same.
We love you all,
Meryl and the Piketts

Friday, November 26, 2010

Update: 11/26/10

Hi All,
Today started out with great news- Dad's fever went down to 99.7.  Unfortunately, by the end of the night, his fever was elevated to over 102.  The doctors ran more tests to see if there may be other bacteria in his lungs that they were unaware of and started him on an additional antibiotic that treats a wider variety of bacteria, just incase.  His breathing and heart rate have become more elevated, but that may be due to the higher temperature. 
He is not on sedatives at the moment, so all of this is extrememly uncomfortable.  They gave him ibprofen to reduce his fever, so hopefully that helps tonight.  We are hopeful that things will improve in the morning, but Dad is having a really hard time.
The doctors are really stumped at this point.  They cannot figure out why someone as healthy as dad would be having such a difficult time getting over this- they think there may be a possible infection elsewhere that they aren't aware of.  Over the next few days, they will be working hard to find it. 
Please pray that the doctors would continue to have wisdom- although they aren't completely sure what's going on, I know God is completely aware and will reveal it in his time. 
We will keep you all posted.
Meryl and the Piketts

Urgent Prayer

Hi All-

Please send prayers for Dad.  His fever was at 99.7 this morning, but has gone back up to 102.  We're not sure how big of a concern this is right now, as we havent been able to speak with the doctor, but we are worried.  Although it's not the worst thing that could be happening, it is upseting to see the contrast from this morning and we need his fever to be on a downward slope. 

Please pray for peace for Mom, Sarah, Colin, Josh and Aaron.  Also, please include David's parents and family in your prayers- I know they are worried as well and I am praying that God gives them unexplainable peace.

I am resting in God's love.  He has never once left me on my own and I know he wont start now. 

Love you all,


"Small Baby Steps"

Hi everyone,
We are so excited to see that Dad's fever is down to 99-100 degrees this morning!  So far, this is the biggest improvement he has made in the past week!  It has been hovering around 102 for over 5 days.  We are praising God.  His doctor said he is making "small baby steps in the right direction".  His liver enzymes continue to trend to the appropriate level, so that is a good start.  Also, his blood pressure has stabilized and respiratory rate has improved as well.  He is still very, very sick and hasn't tolerated any nutrition (via OG tube), but is stable with IV fluids.  Due to his current sepsis infection, it is too risky to place a PICC line, which would provide nutrition intravenously.  They are going to try a very small amount of feeding into his stomach again today.  Please help us pray that he tolerates it and is able to absorb some of that nourishment!  We are confident that these small improvements are being made because of all the wonderful support and prayers that have been lifted up over the past few weeks.  Thanks so much!

Currently (as of noon Friday), Dad is more alert and stable.  He is coughing a lot more and trying to breath over the ventilator.  He has not been given any sedation medication over the past 16 hours, and it is beginning to wear off.  That is good and bad.  He is more alert and more annoyed by the multiple tubes down his throat.  However, he is more responsive and interacting with us.  Today, when I came to his bedside, he opened his eyes, lifted his head slightly, and turned to my voice.  He is not focusing or visually tracking yet, but is keeping his eyes open for up to a minute.  He has been trying to talk around the vent and tubes.  It is not working, but we are trying to figure out other ways for him to communicate with us.  The wonderful nurses here gave him a much needed bath and shave today.  :)  He had a good 7-day beard. 

We would like to continue limiting visitors to family and elders/pastors due to risk of infection and Dad's need to rest.  However, it is nice to have people visit mom and sit with her for a few minutes.  It has been nice to have that added support since we (the kids) are busy with other things as well.  Josh and Colin are getting as much done around the house today and tomorrow.  If anyone in interested in helping out with handy-man or cleaning types of activities, call Josh: 336-430-5869 or Meryl: 336-207-8434.

Again, we appreciate all the love, support and prayers we have received over the past few weeks.  Please keep them coming! 


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Update 11/25

Hi All,

Dad was more alert today than usual, due to the fact that they have taken him off of the sedation in an attempt to prepare him for the removal of the breathing device.  They gave him nutrition this morning but unfortunately, he was not able to keep it down.  The risk of aspiration was too high to try again today but they said maybe in a little while. 

The good news is that the numbers are moving in the right direction.  I mentioned that his liver enzymes were at 400 the other day- they are now at 160! a normal range is 0-50, but considering the fact that they were at 1000 after they clotted the liver, this is much better!  Also, the nurse mentioned that his white blood cell count is going down, which is also a good sign.  His fever is hovering right around 101.5, so we really need to see that continuing to go down over the next few days.

We hope to speak with the doctors again directly to get a few questions answered tomorrow.  Hopefully we will haev more news to share. Although this is mostly good news today, Dad is still in a tough spot.  He is still fighting and needs our prayers more than ever.  Thank you all for all of your love and support- it means the world. 

We love you all so much!


Hi All,

Mom asked me to pass along that due to the infection, we need to keep the number of visitors limited right now.  She asked that for the next few days, that only family and elders/pastors come to visit.  We will let you know as soon as it's safe for regular visitors to start coming again.

Thank you all for your continued prayers! we love you.

The Blog

Hi everyone,
We have been SO blessed to have so much wonderful support from friends and family.  It has been amazing to hear and see all the love that people have for Dad (David).  

We decided that we would start a blog to keep everyone updated, as people were getting left off of the email list.  We will try to keep sending these updates in email form, too.. but if you know someone who would like to be kept up to date, please give them this website.

This is not the way that we imagined Thanksgiving would be, but we are thankful to have most everyone together, despite the circumstances.  We have so much to be thankful for and that's what we are trying to focus on right now.

One of the things that God has made evident over the last few days is just how blessed we are to be a part of this amazing family.  They have a mix of strength and compassion that is not often found.  Seeing Cheri care so tenderly for David while trying to stay strong for everyone else has really been incredible.  Sarah is the perfect mix of her mother and her father, she is a leader during crisis but is not afraid to show how much she loves us all.  Colin amazes me with how hard he works- he is always the first one to help, but never draws attention to himself...whenever anything is needed, you turn around and he's right there.  Josh continues to amaze us everyday- he has so much wisdom and find solutions to problems most cannot even begin to tackle.  Aaron bring us humor and is willing to help whenever needed.  Dad and Mom have given us so much to be thankful for in our family- so, today is still a good day :)

We thank you all for your continued support and desire to stay updated.  Please continue to pray for him!