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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hey from Rebecca!

Just want everyone to know how much we love all of you! It was so nice to get so many wonderful plates of goodies and well wishes! Even though Christmas was a bit different this year (I really missed that help from Santa this year...oh boy!!) and it was sad to see Joe get so tired just from all the regular commotion of Christmas morning, it was still so full of joy....because of the true meaning of Christmas. I kept reminding my Primary kids (that's the children's group from 2 to 12 that I help be in charge of) that when we "give" like Jesus gave, then we find the true joy and peace and happiness that He wants us to find. Well, my girls were so tender and sweet in their gifts this year...from the heart. Steph looked and looked on the internet to buy a bottle of Brian's favorite cologne (Him from Gap that is not made any longer)...wow.....and even found an old bottle of Brandon's before which gave her the idea. Lindsey got the idea to get together all of our video tapes from all of our previous camcorders and get them put on cd's, labeled, indexed, everything. Sweet friends in the ward, the Knotts, gave them a great price for it, and so far there are about 22 copied!! Absolutely priceless!! I can't wait to watch them all! Then, Steph had Brandon use his talents in two ways. First he digitally created absolutely beautiful pictures of the temples where we were all married, complete with our names and dates. REALLY beautiful...I'll get a picture of ours on here for all to see. Then, you saw below the portraits he did of the girls...to match our one of Brian. These are priceless gifts of the heart from our girls (and their husbands) who have become the most caring souls on earth. They miss their brother, too, and know it is a hard time at Christmas, regardless of strokes....and even with presents and food and music and decorations.

The ward choir came to carol to Joe last Sunday, and soooooo many sweet people we love filled our house. It made Joe so happy, and really lifted his spirits. It made us cry of course. Kenda Falkner came and sang to Joe with her beautiful voice. Luke Jones came to sing Joe his own special performance...O Holy Night and Silent Night of course. DO WE FEEL LOVED OR WHAT???

Steph and Brandon were here all week, and Steph was the cutest little homemaker, cooking things for her dad that she knew he liked, cleaning, vacuuming, doing dishes, laundry, everything. I didn't realize how tired and overwhelmed I was until she started doing it all (Lindsey and Britt helped MUCH of course too), and it was such a relief. Like Steph said, seems like Joe is in kind of a standstill, yet there are little improvements I guess I miss. If we could just get the pain and dizziness and weakness to get better.....
Okay, it is getting late and I have to go to work early, but just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful New Year, and thank you sooo much for making our Christmas special in so many ways. We are grateful ...more than these words of mine can say.
Much love,

Saturday, December 27, 2008


We are in denial that Christmas is over... so we apologize, but you might just have to deal with the Christmas background and Christmas music for a little bit longer!

Christmas was just wonderful for us. It was our first Christmas with 2 married couples here, and we had the entire family at home! Our Christmas wish was granted when Dad came home from the rehab center, so we couldn't have asked for more! We opened presents our traditional way (one person opening one present at a time) and made record time! We finished around 1:00 pm. We were also blessed to have Mikes Mom (Lindsey's husband) in town to celebrate Christmas with us.

Dad is in that "stand still" stage where he isn't getting any worse but he isn't really getting any better. He had 3 visits this past week from his physical therapist that just completely wiped him out each day. But he is trying to move around to keep everything flowing through his body and to keep his muscles loose. He tends to feel stiff from lying in bed all day. He watched a movie with us last night and he watched the whole thing. He kept closing one eye, switching off, so he could focus on the screen.. and it worked. :)

Now for some pictures!
Our gifts are overflowing!

We are all in our PJ's that we opened on Christmas Eve!
This was a gift from my Mom and Brandon to my Dad. A picture of all 3 of the girls to go along with the one he drew of Brian! (It is the drawing just to the right of this one ). ----->
Brandon and I completely covered by our presents!
Dad and Brit in their spots on the couch!

So Brandon and I are driving back to Utah tomorrow to get back to work, but I wanted to say thank you for all of those that brought the amazing treats, goodies, gifts, and food for us. It was so nice to be taken care of and so nice to know so many care.

With Love,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weekend with the Family!

Hello everyone.. it is Steph here. I am back in town! We finished up our last finals Friday morning and drove straight over arriving around 8 pm. Therefore, I was asked to update the blog for this weekend to let everyone know how my Dad is doing. We were assigned to many chores and errands around the house and around the town. We are trying to take over for my Mom. Between her work, primary obligations, cleaning the house, taking care of my Dad, and Christmas shopping.. she has kind of lost track! So Brandon, Linds and I are at her rescue!

Dad has set himself some goals and has been doing a great job achieving them. He has also had some cravings lately. He usually isn't hungry or feeling well enough to eat, so whenever he says he wants something, we jump on it! Yesterday he had a meatball sub from Subway for lunch, and Little Caesar's Pizza and crazybread for dinner!

So Saturday night was the 4 week mark. My Dad went into the hospital 4 weeks ago last night. We are very blessed to think of how much progress he has made in such a short time frame. He is still in tons of pain but we know the prayers are working. So thank you.

Dad is still taking TONS of medication. He has to take about 8 pills 3 times a day! He went to his regular doctor on Saturday and was given a new medicine to add to the list. It is supposed to help with his pain as well as help him sleep. He finally slept Saturday for the majority of the night. This is the first time! The medicine makes him really "loopy" as he describes it, but we have high hopes for it.

I took my Dad to the bank on Saturday and it really wiped him out! He has also been really helpful with cleaning the house and has even vacuumed and cleaned the carpet. He can't live without those perfect lines! This morning Dad accomplished a goal. He went to Sacrament meeting! He had a hard time looking up at the podium and standing up, but he really wanted to see the Christmas program.

The church choir went caroling tonight and decided to make our home their first visit. My Dad was so excited about this! We made hot chocolate and cookies for everyone (sorry if it was too hot!) and enjoyed their beautiful singing. They sang "I'll Be Home For Christmas," specially for Dad. And of course it brought tears to his eyes. This was one of his biggest goals to be home for Christmas. And he is so happy to be home.

I believe he was so sad and down while he was in the nursing home... and I can already see a huge difference in his spirit. Since I was not here the past 2 weeks, I have only been able to talk to him on the phone. And he has sounded so sad. But I can actually see a light in his eyes now!

We are really busy trying to get together our Christmas cards but it is taking us a little while! So just know they are coming :)

Here is Dad getting into the car to come home!

Dad walking in to the house with the therapist.

Dad sitting on his bed. This is his regular spot during the day. And he is sporting his Chatfield shirt!
Everyone at Sunday lunch. Some of the Persson's got to join us!

The church choir singing to Dad.

He was so happy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


What a monumental day! I got to Cherrelyn about 1:00 p.m., the appointed time, but Joe had been packed and ready to go since about 7:00 a.m. I don't know how he did it. I think he had the nurses wrapped around his little finger getting all his clothes and personal items put into bags. When I walked in they were sitting on the chair and he was ready to go!!! The nurse gave me a quick rundown of the meds and I got instructions about home health care, and after about two loads to the car, we were ready to go! Joe was walking plenty fast with his walker...faster than I'd ever seen or expected to see...in a hurry to get home! We got all situated in the car and we just had to sit there in a moment of silence to celebrate.

The ride home made him nice and sick, of course. He sat on the couch with his eyes closed trying to stop "swimming" but that was okay because I had to get all the stuff from the car. Then the phone started ringing. First, it was Kaiser's "anti-coag" unit giving me a full rundown of the wayfarin, blood thinner. Then, Kaiser's regular pharmacy took up another hour or two, going down the looooong list of other meds, having to call me back because things weren't quite clear, etc. I had to write it all down twice just to get it straight...I think I'll have to have Lindsey make me a chart! I am going to have to be a good nurse, I can see. I had to sign my life away to get the oxycondin at the pharmacy. Good thing I won't be out pedaling it on the streets.....

It IS daunting to think of all these things he has to take and do to get better. A lab tech comes to the house each day to test his blood, and then they call me before his evening dose to tell me if I need to change the blood thinner or not. Whew. The home health care is going to come to the house because of the car-dizziness-nausea problem, so I have to set that up. Also, lots of doctor appointments. I asked the Kaiser pharmacy rep, just in passing, if there would ever be a time when Joe could go back to taking regular old ibuprofin for his headache, and I got a 20 minute lecture about the dangers of that! Ok...got it!

Well, I am pooped. Speaking of poop, we're doing better on that too. We will keep a careful watch over that situation for sure.

love to you all...thanks one and all for taking such good care of us. Thanks for reading this. We are so touched that so many are taking time out of their busy day to check on us.

p.s. picture of joe tomorrow coming into the house! picture of joe tomorrow sitting on his own bed!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


My mom asked ME to post the blog for today so I apologize now if my grammar isn't perfect. WOW-- it has been a HARD couple of days. We felt like we were making so much progress and that the pain was finally under our control.... we should have known. Now he's having a lot of pain in his stomach, and Dad says it is an 8 out of 10 on the pain scale!!!! That's 3 points more than the headache was ever rated!! How devastating for my dad and for us. It was so hard watching him come home in so much pain. I am not sure if he was able to even see how beautiful we tried to make the house for his "home visit". Unfortunately it has been another "bump" in our road to recovery but as we all know we need to still keep fighting and have faith that this will get better.

However, from another perspective, things are starting to look better. My dad's headache is a little better today than it has been for the last two days. He wants to come home so badly and I am positive we can treat this pain at home. So, tomorrow we will start planning for his discharge! Hopefully this process will be short and painless, and he can be comfortable at home to continue his recovery. We are praying that he will be able to come home on Monday or Tuesday. A lot of details still need to be worked out but at least we are in the process.

Today my dad had the Larson Family visit!!! They are such sweet and kind people and wonderful friends to each and every member of our family.

My mom took this picture with her phone so it's a little blurry!!! Again, we can not begin to thank everyone for the prayers, thoughts, cards and visits. My dad's counters are filled with cute cards and well wishes, so thank you, thank you, thank you.

Dad put his pirate patch back on today to help his right eye focus a little better. Here is another picture:

That's really all for today, but hopefully he'll be home soon, and we might even be able to write a little note from him once he gets settled in. Thank you again for everything.


Well so much for that...

Just a quick entry tonight because it's so late! I didn't want to write anything in here yesterday because it was all so discouraging. Joe was so excited for the "home visit" but when I got there to get him he had a horrible stomach ache. He didn't want to put it off because that meant also putting off the day he could come home, but by the time we arrived home with the therapist, Joe wasn't just nauseated from the ride but also writhing in pain in his stomach. They had given him different medicine dosage; his roommate had gotten sick and he wondered if he was getting it; he wondered if he'd eaten something that made him sick...all sorts of things were in question. He was so miserable he couldn't even look around the house and see all the Christmas decorations his kids had so lovingly put up and the signs saying "welcome home dad" and "you can do it" that Lindsey had made. Then, when we got back to Cherrelyn, it was worse than ever. He could only moan in pain. They ordered an x-ray of his stomach, which took four hours for them to do because the technicians have to be brought in. Then the results took another four hours. At 10:30 p.m. we learned it was a simple but horrible case of constipation brought on by that dang percocet again (he'll shoot me when he sees I put this in here, but we ALL have dealt with it at one time or another haven't we?). They had given him all sorts of things to help with it, but it had only served to make him "writhe" in pain. It made us all so sad and worried.

Today isn't much better...he's still in MUCH pain. He hasn't eaten a thing since Friday morning (and he's already lost so very much weight); can't hardly move at all. They say he should feel better by tomorrow and we can only hope and pray they are right. There is no going home tomorrow though. Hopefully Monday; Tuesday at the latest. He wants to be home sooooooooo much. We want him to come home soooooooo much. I have a picture to post of him walking into the house with his walker, but I'll save it for later when we are in a less discouraged state.

Meanwhile, though, the bright spot is how many continue to call and send cards and write on here and go visit him, and bring us meals and so many many things to show love. We don't deserve it but we sure do love it. We love all of you who read this .... thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Here I thought I was ALL THAT paying all the bills so smoothly, quickly, and well. Today my gap credit card declined. No! Not at my own store! Oh the embarrassment; oh the shame! I wondered what this was all about but, no biggy, I just called them once I got home. After a series of "push no. 1 for this and no. 2 for that," and getting disconnected twice, I found out it was declined because someone did not pay the bill! That would be me! The buck stops here! I so carefully paid each and every bill in my possession! Oh wait, I never did see the gap one, and I'd even asked Joe about it and he thought he'd already paid it. NOT SO. After a big long search through Joe's closet I found the bill tucked into a corner of his shelf, completely out of sight. Joe swears he did not put it there. I swear I didn't either. Whatever happened, now it's taken care of and I have learned that I am NOT "all that"!

Now for Joe. He is definitely doing better. Still tired and headachy, but I think they are controling it a bit better without the percocet. He really wants to come home and I hope he can soon! He'll still have lots and lots of therapy to do but we will be able to do that here I believe. We'll know after the home visit on Friday. I have been absolutely amazed as I watch Joe have to "tell" his brain to do things, and then wait for it to respond. It is a crazy process. I feel like I'm taking Stroke 101. I know Joe is taking the crash course.

Love to you all! Britt and I have a highlight to our day. Angels that drop off most delicious food! Thanks so much! And thanks for the prayers!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Some good news!

It's late and I should be in bed, but I just have to report some good happenings going on at Cherrelyn Healthcare Center! Joe's doctor, Dr. Wright, called today and has adjusted his medicine to NOT include percocet but more of oxycodon and something else (I forget) in the meantime if he needs it. The percocet was just making him drowsy and doing nothing for his headache. We will see how that goes in the next few days. He has been working as hard as he can on the therapy because he wants to get outa' there! The physical therapist called me today and scheduled a little field trip for Joe in which he gets to come with her to our house and do a "home check" to determine the things he needs to prepare for, and what we need to prepare for, so he can come HOME! YES! I think sometime next week! YAY!!! And Joe must be feeling like his old self because he called me shortly after to make sure I had the house all clean and vacuumed! That's my Joe! We've still got a loooooooonnnnnnnggggggg way to go but I have a feeling his progress will shape up better once he gets home. Maybe he'll get a full night's sleep!

Meanwhile, Brittney and I have had the best food and goodies that we've ever eaten in our whole life! Thank you friends and family! And for the cards and goodies and books on tape and calls and....prayers!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Better Brighter Day

Okay, I'm nuts to post a picture of the both of us looking so old, but I wanted you to see us with smiles on our faces....yes smiles!!
Well, there's still a blinding headache; there's still tiredness and weakness, but what has changed today is that we have renewed hope and courage, much due to the many prayers and other powerful gifts that have been offered on Joe's behalf. Today Britt and I got to Cherrelyn after we changed from church, but we were beaten there by Doug Hulme and Bob Gilligan. Then the Wilcox's and Jensens were there with the sacrament (Aaron's very first time to bless it and how honored are we that it was for Joe!!) and also Reed and Chris gave a special priesthood blessing to Joe, and then even Britt and I. We ALL needed that powerful boost, and I just cried as I realized that I CAN get strength to be a support to Joe like I should be, and I CAN have the faith that he will get better, and I CAN feel that love from my Heavenly Father that I know is there and never ever leaves. The Antonio's, Laura and Brooke, arrived just in time with Christmas sugar cookies, and it was almost a celebration. Lindsey got there just after they left, and she and I had a chat with the nurse to try to understand what it is about his medicine that is not doing the trick. We have a call in to the doctor, and we ARE getting this figured out!!! Or Else! Joe's brother-in-law Duane has had years of experience with headaches due to the anti-rejection drugs he is required to take after his heart transplant. He and his wife Christina called and I was finally able to connect with them tonight and they gave me great insight. Also Joe's brother Richard had a great comment on here. It's amazing what my cry for help has done!

Lindsey got her dad to wheel himself to dinner, and stayed with him for quite awhile before she had to go to her night shift at the hospital. She is such a caring, loving support...no wonder she is such a great nurse.

So, how do you like that scruffy face? Joe actually called this morning and said, "Bring my razor!" This is a good sign!
Thanks again for all your prayers, your friendship, your goodness!!! SOOOOOOOSOSOSOSOSO many people are loving us...how can we be discouraged with that, huh!!!???
love, Rebecca

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Discouragement with a capital "D"

I don't think I'll write much today since we are all so discouraged and we don't want to sound depressing. Joe is pretty much miserable. The biggest thing is, and maybe someone out there reading this has an answer for us, is that his head hurts so unbelievably bad, He never seems to get much relief. The oxycoton (sp?) and percocet are darn strong painkillers and ought to be doing the job, but they are not. His brow is constantly "knit" in pain. When we ask the doctors, nurses, anyone, why they don't seem to help, they just say "unfortunately this is the nature of this kind of head injury." SO, now when he is trying his best to work on the PT, OT, he gets so worn out after a short period of time that he just sits in his bed for hours after trying to recover. It seems like its a ratio of 20 minutes work to 5 hours pain. Is this the way it's got to be? Isn't there anything that can give him some relief? Physically, I think he could get the therapy going just fine, it's just the pain that wears him out. I'm so confused and I feel so terrible for him. He's the kind of guy that used to take one ibuprofin for the rare headache and be fine for the week. He can't take anything with ibuprofin in it as it will mess with his blood thinners I guess. And I think he worries a bit too that these strong pain killers are messing up his system and can become habit forming.

Well, like I said, discouraging blog entry today. I did take a cute picture or two of Joe in his Valor shirt. Next will be the Chatfield shirt. I'll get those loaded on here asap. MUCH LOVE TO ALL OF YOU for all your support, even taking the time to read my rantings on here. This is my therapy I guess. Lindsey our sweet nurse daughter will get on the doctors today and see what can be done.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Well, I think Joe is getting used to things there at lovely Cherrelyn. It is still quite discouraging, though. He is a little disoriented, too, but is trying his best. He did get through both of his therapies today and seemed to push himself his hardest. He's down to eat his meals now, and seems to be getting a little bit of an appetite. He is learning that he has to ask for and keep on top of his pain meds, and getting his shower, etc. He had several visitors, and that seems to cheer him up, and gives him a chance to "recap". It seems like a slow process, but I DO look at just a week ago and I'm amazed at how far he's progressed.

I got all the bills paid and mailed this morning! I can do this! I used to do the bills years ago but I'd always call Joe during the process to complain about how much we were spending, so he took it over for quite a lot of years now. I've noticed the house doesn't look qute as nicely vacuumed lately...actually not at ALL vacuumed this week. Better get on that tomorrow!

Here's a big happening today....Brittney and I went to the DMV to get her learner's permit! This was as big a deal for me as it was for her! It is monumental. But sad in two ways....one, Joe couldn't be there to sign the form to be a driving coach, and two, it was a reality check reminding me about the driver's license Brian never got to have...as we left I saw that they still have the pamphlet there with Brian's picture in it. Whoa...

But it was also a good reality check. Joe will be ok. It will be some work, but how grateful are we that he will be able to heal, that nothing worse happened. We know about something worse...

love to you all,

Not so great first day

Ok, I will try to find humor in this, and help Joe to do so also. First, the therapists and nurses are great at Cherrelyn, but no one has better appreciation for the plight of the older generation than Joe Ellsworth right now! He got a total of one hour of sleep his first night...between the breathing machine of his nice but ailing roommate, some snoring, and other assorted mishaps with body functions, Joe just ended up watching the clock tick by all night, and was thoroughly miserable by morning~~! When I got there, he had just finished doing "OC"...occupational therapy, after being wheeled down to eat his breakfast, and he did okay with the "hand wheel" thing and writing his name several times. Right after getting back from that, and after bumping his head on the bathroom wall (still leaning to his right in all he does), the therapist showed up for his physical therapy ("PT"). He was so tired and grouchy, he said "no way". I got there not long after that and he was trying to sleep. He told me he was worried he alienated his therapist already and could I go find her and tell her he was sorry. He really does want to get better, but is finding that his constant aching head and lack of equilibrium is hampering his style considerably!

SOOOO, the first day started out just grand. But to the rescue came Diane Wilcox, my sweet friend and visiting teacher, with a special white noise machine, and EVEN several CD's of books that Joe can listen to. He has brightened up already. THANK YOU DIANE! I spent a couple of hours there last night going over bills and mail. I have taken for granted that Joe has handled that responsiblity over the last quite-a-few years, and besides things like laundry and loading the dishwasher and vacuuming, I am having a rude awakening. I miss my hubby at home! I will not take him for granted, no siree, after this experience.

I am doing okay, though, thanks to amazing meal fairies showing up at my door every night to feed Brittney and I. Thank You! I really didn't think we needed that, but it is SOSOSOSOSO nice not to have one more thing to worry about.

Today I will try to remember to take a picture of Joe in his new surroundings. He is getting quite scraggly with his semi-beard. He is wearing it as his "badge of courage" or something like that...whatever...he won't let me bring in his electric razor just yet.

love to all,

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Whirlwind Day!

Well, Joe is all settled in at the rehab center! He got to ride in the "ambucab" while I drove behind in the van with all his stuff for his stay. He was really weak and tired once he finally got there, but they welcomed him with open arms there at Cherrelyn, getting him all settled, examining him, even doing a bit of physical therapy already. Lindsey met us over there and got his suitcase unpacked, etc. I think he is very glad to leave the hospital gowns behind (pun intended!) We have to grab the humor wherever we can get it, and speaking of humor, I had an interesting time getting the van loaded with Joe's belongings as we left. I had about five bags of things to take from the room, so they gave me a cart to take it to the car with. I don't know why I didn't think to leave the cart at the desk and go get my car first, but there I was traipsing across the street, bumping along as everyone stared. What I didn't realize was that my bag with mail in it was slowly leaking cards and letters and other assorted advertisements all over the street as I walked along. I got to pick cards out of bushes, the center of the street, etc. I was an interesting site. I think I must have sympathy stroke symptoms, considering the more than usual things I have forgotten and spaced this week. I don't even have a dissected artery or percocet to blame!

We will keep you updated on Joe's progress. It sure is a busy place there, lots of fellow patients and nurses and visitors buzzing around everywhere. I think Joe might need some earplugs to sleep! His new roommate is nice; his son is the director (or something like that) at Valor where Todd coaches basketball...he saw us putting Joe's Valor shirt away! It's a small world after all...

Thanks again for all the visits and cards and goodies and dinners and love. We are constantly amazed at the goodness of our friends. Tomorrow we'll post a picture of Joe in his new surroundings!

much love,

Monday, December 1, 2008


This is Rebecca again. Today had a lot going on...a big day for Joe. He's still having quite annoying headaches and weakness, but even so, he will be transferred to the skilled nursing facility, Cherellyn, tomorrow! We got the only bed available on the only day of the week available, and this rehab place (actually a nursing home with a rehab floor, oh well!) is quite close so it will be easy to get over there everyday. It's in Littleton, on Elati, just off Littleton Blvd. four blocks before Broadway (yes he can have visitors!!) We are not sure how long he will need to be at Cherellyn, but hopefully his rehab will go quickly...

Steph and Brandon and Jeff left today after stopping for a nice long visit. Joe had just showered and said it felt great to be all clean (the simple joys of life we take for granted, huh?) and he ate some and even enjoyed these yummy cinnamon rolls that Joan Johnson brought by. (I ate one too, couldn't help it. :) ) Joe's headache is still constant but they hadn't put him back on the decadron (sp?) steroid yet so maybe that's why. He seems to get a little relief and then it comes back again and it worries me. They say this is normal though, so I will be patient (maybe).

Lindsey was so cute today...she went home after we all visited this morning and made cookies for the floor nurses and also the nurses in the CCU...how nice was that??? They all have done a marvelous job. She also made Dad a Stouffer's Lasagna and brought it in hot along with the cookies and an egg nog shake, of course. Great way to commemorate his last full day in the hospital. Thank you Lindsey! THEN, he took a walk down the hall...aided of course by the nurses. (See picture...isn't he cute?) He got so tired and was leaning and having a tough time at the end, so Lindsey had to help him eat his lunch. I think his daughter(s) love to take care of him! Coach Schimpler stopped by today also; and we read him lots of cards from loved ones. Britt and I didn't go back later tonight because he said he was tired...go figure! He talks kind of husky, like Clint Eastwood maybe, from his dry throat brought on by the oxygen. He sounds a little sexy; but it's hard to understand him, oh well!
Again, can't say how much everyone's love and support means to us. I think the prayers are working! Tomorrow they transfer him, probably by ambulance or ambucab, and Lindsey and I are packing his bag with all his "comfy clothes" right now! Wish us luck!
With love like you wouldn't believe,

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Today they started Dad on the pirate eye patch! They are switching it a couple times a day but Dad says it helps him concentrate on things, especially on people's faces.

He was able to be taken off of the IV heparin so instead of three IV's he now has only ONE!! This morning I was able to comb his hair a little and make him look "nice" for his visitors. He ate some eggs with cheese... of course, and said they were ok. He said tonight that lasagna sounded good... so maybe that is something we will try tomorrow. But he didn't have much of an appetite today. I think he looks like he is wasting away in the bed. He will just need to eat more ice cream when he feels better to put back on the pounds. I don't think he will mind.

The Wilcox' brought the sacrament to Dad tonight. This was so sweet of them and meant so much to all of us.

Dad said he had a really bad headache today and wasn't able to do much in regards to moving around and such. We think it is because they reduced his steroids dose too soon. The doctors are saying that he will be discharged this week but we don't know exactly what day. He will still need to go to inpatient rehab for a few weeks. We are going to try and work out all the details for that tomorrow. We want him to go to the VERY, VERY best. Thank you for all of your comments and suggestions about different rehab facilities Lindsey is checking up on some places. We will let you all know where he will be going.

Keep praying for our dear dad. He is starting to get really bored.... what are fun things to do in a hospital bed when you feel dizzy, tired, and are in pain? Thanks again for everything you are doing for our family. We cannot begin to tell you how much we appreciate it.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday -- Nov. 29 -- good day!

Hi everyone, this is Rebecca. Today when I got to the hospital about 11 or so, Joe had just had a real live shower, and was so happy about it! Yet he was also exhausted and his head was pounding. It makes me realize how long all this recovery is really going to take. They gave him some pain killer and within about 45 minutes he was much much better. He had several visitors and they really perked him up...Dave Black, Laura, Bobby, Bradley Antonio and Brittany Harrison, and of course Steph, Brandon and cousin Jeff. It wasn't long until he was cracking jokes and laughing! It made me very happy. The doctor stopped by and said the cat scan showed no change, and that he could most likely be moved to the rehab facility around Tuesday. Oh, and he ate almost an entire cheeseburger! I tell you, it makes me so glad to see him have an appetite. His vision is still blurred a bit, and he is dizzy still, and thinks he is leaning to the right when he tries to stand or walk.

Lindsey went by on her way to work around 5:30 and Doug Hulme was there also. Linds says he was doing alright, still really tired and didn't feel like having any dinner. I now worry that he'll have a bedtime of 7:45 pm for awhile!

I have to say again how very grateful we are for all the prayers, food, cards, gifts, and love. It touches my heart deeply, more than I can say. Of course Joe feels the same way. His family was having their annual after thanksgiving pizza party in Utah and called to be able to wish him well while they were all there.

We have the best friends and family in the world. (P.S. We tried the Greek place across the street, Dave...very yummy.)

And here is a picture of Steph and Brandon with Joe in his new room.

much love forever,

Friday, November 28, 2008

He moved to the 9th floor!

Today they moved Dad to the Neurology floor (9th) of the hospital. He is happy because they took out the IV's in his left arm... but he still has the ones in his right. He did some occupational therapy today which he said completely wore him out. He was exhausted all day. Just like yesterday, he said he started off feeling better, but then his head started to hurt really bad again. We got him to eat a full plate of macaroni and cheese though. This is the largest amount of food he has consumed in one sitting, even though it took him an hour and a half to eat it all. We got him another eggnog shake today, which he enjoyed.

He complains that his neighbors are loud and he can't sleep, ha ha. We all know he is a light sleeper! He has color in his face today again, but he says his face is still numb. We decorated his room to feel more "homey" which we hope will lift his spirits.

He wants me to tell you all how much he loves you and how much he appreciates each and every one of you visiting, emailing and calling. He feels bad for worrying everyone, but appreciates the kindness everyone has shown. This is a trialing time for him and he needs you all there for him.

I would also personally like to thank you all for supporting him and praying for him. I have always been amazed by the connections my parents have made and the kind hearts of the Littleton community as well as our whole family. He is a very lucky man. And I know that he can get through this. He is the strongest, most faithful man I know. He is truly my hero. And I am so proud to call him my Dad.

Love Steph

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today we helped Dad sit up and eat by himself. He certainly struggled, and we had to help him some, and he put up a fight while doing this, but he had nurses and 3 daughters who continuously encouraged him and told him it would really help him. We are so proud of him. They switched his pain medication and we hope it will help his pain. We got him an eggnog shake, which is his favorite thing. He had a big smile when he first tasted it and said it tasted so good! We then left and went home to eat a big meal with the 9 of us here. Our Grandma made the most amazing meal ever and we are so thankful she was here and willing to cook for practically 24 hours straight for us. She made about 10 pies!

We then went back to the hospital and brought Dad some mashed potatoes, one of my Mom's homemade rolls (which she only makes once a year at Thanksgiving), some more of the eggnog shake, banana cream pie, and lemon meringue pie. He loved it all. He just says it really hurts to sit up and to swallow. He kept apologizing for ruining our Thanksgiving, which was very sad. We keep telling him he has nothing to be sorry for.

Note from Rebecca November 27, Thanksgiving Day

I want to sincerely thank everyone for your sweetest kindest well wishes and prayers. It is what gets us all through and we have the best friends and family anyone can ever ask for. You have stayed beside us for five and nearly six years through the toughest tragedy there is to bear. We will get through this and Joe will get better. It appears it will take awhile and I have been clueless how much it entails but I am learning day by day.

Today the nurse told us that Joe can't have any more than one person in the room, and we should limit visitors. They were planning on moving him from CCU but he has taken some down turns during the past 24 hours and isn't ready. They want him to just have complete silence and no stress on his brain to even have to think until he can get out of the CCU and on to a "regular" room. THEN, visitors will be more than welcome to stimulate his brain to regain it's strength. It is so hard for Joe, or me, to have to admit this. But hopefully it will just be for another day or two and he can get on to the next stage of recovery!

We love you all so sosososososo much!

Wednesday Update

Today was up, then it went down. The Day started off with Dad saying he felt better. He explained how the last three days he has felt like a 0 and changed to a .5. A small progression, but still a difference.

He gained color in his face and he is able to open up his eyes more, but can only focus on one spot or else he "swims." I fed him some more food. He actually ate a fair amount and said it tasted really good.

He had 3 therapy sessions today which completely wore him out. He sat all the way up in the bed with his feet touching the ground, but this killed his head and made him feel sick. He also had a writing test, where he had to write his name, and sign his name, and then draw a clock. These things did not look that great and it made us all laugh.

We went and looked at 3 of the possible rehab facilities that my Dad can go to and they are pretty much nursing homes with the average age of 90 or so. This was really discouraging. We know that this would make Dad feel really sad. We are still trying to talk to the insurance liaison to see if there are any other options. Let us know if you have any suggestions or options we can follow up on.

So the nurse told us that they were going to move him from Critical Care tomorrow morning to the 9th floor of the hospital in the Neurological Center. But plans have changed.

Tonight my Dad was talking to Ray Goodwin and all of a sudden started saying something was wrong. He then started dripping sweat, felt really dizzy and extremely nauseated. The nurse calmed him down, cooled down his body and gave him more pain medication and nausea medication. She said it is nothing of big concern but it really scared us. Dad said it was just as bad as Saturday night. When we left tonight, he was sleeping but said he felt so awful.

We hope he will feel better in the morning and make more progress. We feel as though some progress had been made earlier in the day but now we are back at the beginning. Keep praying for him he needs those extra thoughts and prayers right now.

We hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving with all of your loved ones. We are so thankful that our dad is alive and stable. We pass by so many other patients in the critical care unit who are on breathing machines and in comas. We are so grateful for our wonderful father. He is so strong and brave and loved so very, very much. Over the last couple days I have been constantly reminded of the wonderful man he is and what a blessing he is in ALL of our lives.

Lindsey and Stephanie

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Night Update

We just left the hospital for the night to come back home to eat and catch some rest. Dad had many more visitors today. Here are some main points:

1. Dad has had many visitors stop by to see him. This means so much to him. He just cries every time he thinks about the time people have taken out of their holiday and busy schedules to visit him. However it really wears him out if the visits are too long, so the doctors have asked us to limit all visits to 5 minutes or less. They also have rules that only 2 people can be in the room at a time, and no visitors are allowed between 2:30 and 4:30 everyday. Rules are rules we hear.

2. Today Roy Jones and Grant Larsen stopped by and I asked them to give Dad another blessing. Like I said in the last post, he complained today that the pain was worse than before. So we thought that he needed another blessing. I knew my Dad would never ask for one, since he would never want to ask for help or inconvenience anyone either. But I walked in after and he just cried saying how thankful he was for the blessing and the second they laid their hands on his head and started the blessing, he felt peace and calmness. The power of the Lord is evident in my Dad's life. We are so blessed to have the gift of the priesthood during this time. Grant also brought him some books on tape for my Dad to listen to on his ipod and his music player. When we left tonight he asked for us to turn it on for him.

3. We got him to eat something tonight! This is so exciting! All day he said everything sounded so gross to him and he didn't even want to drink since it hurt so bad to swallow. Well as some know, my Dad LOVES mashed potatoes, especially fake ones since that is what he grew up on. And he also loves meatloaf. So that is what they brought him for dinner. So he told us that this sounded good. So he ate and swallowed the meatloaf and mashed potatoes and gravy very well. He washed it down with some orange juice. We then brushed his teeth. We sat him up to almost 90 degrees. He said this hurt his head really really bad, but he did well.

4. He is getting another cat scan at 6:30 AM and will be done around 8:30 AM or so. This will show if he has made any progress. We will let you know the results. They want to keep him in Critical Care for at least until Thursday. Then if he makes progress, he will be moved to a regular room in the hospital for another 3 days or so.

5. We have been blessed by so many friends, neighbors and loved ones, who have stopped by to bring us food. This means so much to us. We just had a dinner of completely prepared food. Thank you so much.

Thanks again for checking up on our sweet father.

Love Steph and Linds

Pictures and updates

Several of you have asked me to post some pictures. Here is a picture of his MRI. I took a picture of the computer screen, so sorry it's not the best. And the picture is flipped. So the left side in this picture is actually the right side of his brain. You can click on the picture to make it bigger.

The bright part of this picture is the cerebellum. The brighter white part on the left part of this picture is actually DEAD and not functioning. The little circle above the cerebellum is the brain stem and a small part of that is also white, which means it is DEAD. There is not a large portion of the brain stem damaged, but still a significant amount for its size.

This next picture is of his room and my Mom talking to him next to his bed.

So I got here yesterday, with my Mom's parents. We drove in and arrived around 6:30 at night. I got here and he had so many visitors here for him. He is really loved. My Mom is completely overwhelmed and she describes herself as if she is in a "fog" and doesn't comprehend what is going on. Within 30 minutes, she had 10 missed calls. I have tried to take over for her. So please call my phone and I will try to answer. 303-903-2105. She has been updating visitors, taking them back to his room, guiding people around.. so she is very busy.

There is no change with my Dad. They sat him up this morning and he got so sick from the change in levels. He complains that his mouth is very dry, since he is talking so much. He took 3 sips of apple juice and then had to stop because he felt so nauseated. He says nothing sounds good to him. So he doesn't want to eat. They gave him anti-nausea medicine but he says he feels worse with it. He won't even move his head because he says it hurts so bad.

The doctors have told us it would take 3 days for him to start to feel any better, and today is the third so we have high hopes.

He has asked me about 4 times to read all the emails from everyone to him, but right now he is just so tired he can't even get a full sentence out. But please keep writing. I have all the comments from the blog and emails and text messages saved to read to him in a few minutes.

I wanted to add a note for everyone to KEEP praying. THE PRAYERS ARE WORKING. As some of you know, my Dad found out about a month ago he would be laid off at the end of December. Well his boss, Scott, (what an amazing man.. he is here now visiting my Dad again. He is so thoughtful and caring.) came to tell us yesterday that they are going to extend his employment until March and give him severance pay for 3 months after that. What a blessing! I hope that will take some of the stress off of his shoulders. He has been so worried about his job. I am afraid that might have something to do with this condition.

Thanks again everyone. We love you.
Love Steph

"Brain Attack"

We had the idea of creating this blog as a way to update and inform all of our family and friends on Joe's progress. First of all, we want to thank all of you for all of your love and support. We hope that you all know how much you mean to us and how much your love and support has helped us over the last 5 1/2 years. We have received so many sweet visits, emails, phone calls, and texts over the last couple of days. Thank you so much for your constant prayers, fasting, and support. We love you all so very very much.

On Saturday night, November 22nd, Joe and Rebecca went to Chatfield High School's talent show to watch Brittney perform. She did great, of course, so the three of them went to Dairy Queen after the show. Later that night Joe was bending over to place his shoes in their designated spot when he started to feel very dizzy, nauseated, and sweaty. As he tried to stand up, an intense pain began in his head behind his right eye and everything was "pulling to the right". Rebecca was immediately at his side, knew something was wrong and called the paramedics. Ten minutes later Joe was carried down the stairs and was rolled on a stretcher to the ambulance.
At the hospital many tests were performed. At first everything seemed alright until the on-call neurologist came and looked at the CAT scan. It seemed as though a blood vessel supplying oxygen to Joe's brain had been torn and oxygen was unable to get to the cerebellum and a small portion of his brainstem causing the brain tissue to die. A stroke, otherwise known as a "brain attack" occurred in this part of his brain. The cerebellum is involved in the coordination of voluntary motor movement, balance and equilibrium and muscle tone. The official diagnosis is vertebral artery dissection, which is a tear in the lining of the arterial wall. The tear can begin to heal and a scab (clots) form along the tear which can cause a blockage in the artery. Or blood can build up inside the lining of the artery and cause too much weight or pressure which may also block the artery. The doctors are unsure what caused the tear in the first place. Trauma or chiropractic work are the two most common causes of vertebral artery dissection but, Joe has had neither of these and he doesn't have other risk factors for a stroke. The damaged or dead portion of his brain is permanent but the doctors make it seem that the brain will begin to compensate for the dead area and a full recovery can be expected. As the doctor explained it to us, " he had a large stroke to a small part of his brain."
The doctors say that the next three are the most critical. He will be kept in the critical care unit at Swedish so that he can be monitored closely. Damaging concerns at this point are bleeding into the brain, swelling, and accumulating extra fluid between the brain and the skull. These things peak within 72 hours but usually would occur in the first 5 days. He has many IV's.... including one that goes directly to his heart. He is on heparin, a medicine that thins his blood so other clots are not forming and spreading to his brain or lungs. He is pale, tired, and has a very terrible headache. The doctor and nurses assure us that these are all "normal" signs after this specific area of the brain is damaged. He is alert, awake, and able to talk well. He even throws around a few jokes now and again. He is able to move all four extremities, but the right side of his body is weak. The right side of his face feels "numb and tingly like after visiting the dentist". It is very hard for him to move around in bed because of the horrible headache but he is making little efforts to please us and the hospital staff. The pain is also making it hard for him to sit up or stand. So in a couple of days occupational and physical therapy will evaluate him and his deficits that he has. The doctors have explained the importance of quick and aggressive rehab and recommended that he stay as an inpatient on their rehab floor once he is medically stable. This way he will be able to do many more hours of therapy a day. The doctors say that he may need to stay in the hospital for a few weeks but at this point it is hard to really give any type of timeline.
Brother Hulme and Brother Persson came to the hospital on Sunday and gave him a blessing. They blessed him with strength and health. They blessed the doctors who were caring for him. They blessed our family and friends with strength, understanding, and faith. It was a really great blessing. Many other visitors have come to see him. It is hard for him to keep his eyes open because he starts to "spin" but we know he appreciates the thoughtfulness.
Again, we are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family. We will never be able to tell you just how much you all mean to us. We don't know what we would do without your support, prayers, love, and faith. We love you all.

The Ellsworth Family (Lindsey)