Sunday, January 25, 2015


Well, after years of talking about back surgery, Jim finally did it. He has been trying to find a neurosurgeon that would do it. Three doctors have refused. The last time he was told the doctor wouldn't do it, he said that he went back into the car in the parking lot and sat in the car and cried. That's how badly his back has been hurting. We finally found a new neurosurgeon that has opened practice in Payson, right next to Dr. Wallentine. I saw him concerning the sore spot on my spine and was impressed with his attitude and willingness to refer me back to a different doctor once the MRI confirmed there was no growth. He didn't ever promise Jim that he could fix all of his back but could help with a portion of it. We felt good about him and decided to trust him.

Friday morning we showed up to the hospital about 9:30 a.m. I said my goodbyes to Jim about 10:30 a.m. and didn't hear anything from a nurse until after 1:30 p.m. She told me they didn't actually take Jim into surgery until 1:00 p.m.  At 4:00 the nurse came and told me Jim would not be done for about another hour and a half. I hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch so I went home, ate something and then took Ammon back with me. We went to the assigned room where Jim would be and waited. He didn't get into his room until 7:00 p.m. He was pretty groggy. We stayed until about 8:30 and then came home. Yesterday much of the day was spent trying to balance medications and drugs. He didn't do well on Percocet. His blood sugars were very high and his kidney function was poor. Today they figured things out and finally got him off Percocet and on to Toradol, which is the drug I used with my knee that doesn't seem to have so many side affects. We went over to see him after church today and Jim was sitting in a chair (carefully). His color was much better. He was lucid even though he was still tired. The catheter has been removed but bowel function is still not working which is Jim's biggest concern. Hopefully that will be figured out by tomorrow as well. His kidney functions are better today but still not where they should be.

The doctor put rods along two vertebrae that had slipped to align them better. He was only able to get them about 75% aligned but the doctor had warned us that with age muscles and tissues get more rigid and he may not be able to get them perfectly aligned. The doctor was pleased with how much he was able to move them. When Jim had surgery on his back in the 1990s, Dr. Gaufain did not fuse it. That disc had disintegrated and there was bone-on-bone in that section and Jim also had a herniated disc so those two places were repaired and all three were fused. It was a lot of work and there will be a lot of pain and recovery, but we are optimistic that it will be a lot better than it was before the surgery.

We appreciate all your phone calls and prayers. Jim has really been touched that his kids have called him and expressed their concern and well-wishes. That has meant a lot to him.   I'm tired - bone tired. I am going to work tomorrow but will take most of the week off to help Jim once he is home. It's onward and upward now!

Last night was the Salem Hills High School Senior Dinner/Dance, catered by Tucanos. It was a stag dance. Ammon doesn't normally like stag dances but he really wanted to go to this dance. He kept talking about it with the other priests. One of the priests, Dallin Toews said, "I really didn't want to go to the dance. I wasn't planning to go but Ammon was so excited about it so some of us thought it would be great to take him." So Ryan May came over and officially asked Ammon if he would like to go to the dance with him, Dallin and Chance Lane. It was a masquerade ball. Debbie May even picked up a mask for Ammon. All the boys said the dance was a blast! Ammon said it was the funnest night he's ever had. (He has a lot of those these days.) I really appreciated the boys taking Ammon under their wing. They rotated who would stay with Ammon while he finished eating and then they all took pictures, danced and partied.

 Four awesome, handsome guys! Dallin, Chance, and Ryan with Ammon in the front. You couldn't guess who Ammon was, huh! :)

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