July 19, 2006

It has been one week since my last update was posted. So many of you continually check this site, and I am so thankful for that. We know that God has heard our prayers and that He continues to reveal himself to us day by day. 

If you remember from my update from July 12, that was the day we had prayer and song worship in Jeff's room there at the Cleveland Clinic. Later that afternoon, Jeff and our entire family met with the doctors to decide on what we should do next. Our ultimate goal is to get Jeff home, so we wanted to know how to accomplish that. One of the reasons that we wanted to get Jeff out of the hospital was because, while the Cleveland Clinic is a great hospital, it is also a huge place. There are so many patients there, with doctors constantly coming and going. For whatever reason, the doctors were not comfortable getting Jeff out of bed the entire time he was there. Anyone that knows Jeff knows how active he is. He did not want to stay in bed. However, the set up of Jeff and Gwen's house is not ideal right now either. There is only one bathroom in their house, and it is upstairs. Knowing Jeff had not had the opportunity to get up or walk around in a week, we did not want him to have to come home to deal with stairs right off the bat. There is a really great facility called Hospice of Western Reserve in Euclid, Ohio. I know that as soon as people hear "hospice", they think the worst. I assure you, though, this place is beautiful. It sits right on the shores of Lake Erie and offers a beautiful view of the lake and boats going by. We toured this facility last Wednesday morning as a family. There are doctors and nurses right there and teams of physical therapists that come in to work with residents to get them back on their feet. This seemed like a good transition between hospital and home. Each resident has their own room, which looks more like a hotel room. It is carpeted, has a private bathroom, an armoire with a TV and DVD player and doors that lead right outside onto your own porch. The facility has a big playroom, a library, an art room, and even an outdoor playground-- all for the kids. Gwen and the kids can actually just stay right there with Jeff in his room. When Jeff heard how much the kids loved it, he said he would like to give it a try rather than stay in the hospital. The Cleveland Clinic began the paperwork on Thursday morning, and we were told it would be at least 24 hours before they would have news about when they could transfer him. Well, by 5:00 pm on Thursday, Jeff was settled in his new room at Western Reserve! God opened the door right away. I talked to my mom that day and she let me know Jeff was in Room 103. Immediately, I thought of Psalm 103, which I had just posted on the website. " Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." This has been my prayer for Jeff for a long time now. I copied this verse and we posted it on Jeff's door so everyone could see it! This particular room overlooked a beautiful garden and the kids' playroom was just down the hall. On Monday, a room opened up right outside the playroom which overlooked the lake.  Most of you know by now that we were supposed to go to Ocean City, Maryland July 8-15. Even though we did not get to make that trip, God provided the beach and the water for us anyhow! This room number was 118. Jeff wanted to find a new verse for his door, and I reminded them that in  Psalm 118:8 it says,  "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man." Psalm 118:17 says " I will not die but live, and I will proclaim what the Lord has done." I did not find it a coincidence that I used both of these scriptures on the website as well.

Western Reserve is set up so that anywhere you can go, a resident can go too, even if that means you push them around in their bed. Jeff is determined not to stay in that bed! Just yesterday, he was out of his bed and in a chair for the first time in weeks! He was able to go outside and get some fresh air, and he is free to do that as much as he wants.  (There is a link at the bottom of this page to see pictures of where Jeff is staying.)

God continues to show us He is still here. He promised never to leave us, and I guess sometimes we can take that for granted. It is in times like these that I am holding onto every one of the promises He has given us. The other day, I had someone email me Mark 11:24 " Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."  I no longer fear the worst, but hope for the best, and my hope is in God.

I started to make a book of emails for Jeff and Gwen. I print every one off and put them in plastic sleeves and attach them in a binder that he has in his room. Jeff and Gwen have been able to read every one of them, and I can't tell you how much we appreciate the support we have gotten from so many people. Jeff has been overwhelmed by the volume of people that care about him and our family. They have also appreciated the cards and donations as well. Making trips back and forth to Euclid can get costly with gas being so expensive. It has been nice to have some help. To ensure that Jeff does not miss scheduled appointments with doctors/ physical therapists/etc, Jeff and Gwen have asked that visitors be limited to just family for now. I will post an address to western reserve on the website so that cards can be sent directly to his room, since Gwen and the kids are staying there with him.

We truly could not get through this without the prayers and support of all of you. I am encouraged daily by the emails I get. Please continue praying, small battles are being won, but the war is not over!


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Click here to see pictures of Jeff and Gwen's home at Western Reserve