This will be a lengthy update, as Steven and family have had quite the week since his scare over the weekend. Unfortunately I was traveling and did not have a chance to update all of you until now. Let me start by saying that despite the fact that things looked very dire on Sunday, the move to the adult side of the hospital was exactly what was needed. Steven has continued to make daily progress since then, and things are looking up once again. It has been another roller coaster week for sure.
STEVE LOST HIS JOB AFTER FMLA EXPIRED
After such a trying weekend, we were stunned to learn on Monday that Steven’s dad, Steve, lost his job with JW Measurement in Bristow, OK after being with the company for 24 years. He had spoken to the HR department a few weeks ago and advised them of his desire to use his personal time off after FMLA expired. You can imagine the surprise when he received a certified letter dated April 23 in the mail on Monday stating his FMLA ran out April 21 and his position was no longer available since he didn’t return to work on April 22, even though he still had PTO available to use.
Confidential sources are saying Steve’s former boss (Will Rotert) is advising employees of the company to not talk about this to anyone and to say that Steve quit. Steve, of course, wouldn’t have done that because after donating his kidney to Steven when he was a little boy it is important for him to maintain his health insurance. He also knew he still had 3 weeks of PTO time and thought he had planned properly. When Steve donated his kidney to Steven in 1998, the company was still Parkline, and they were great to the family at that time, but things have apparently changed …
Bristow, OK is a small town outside of Tulsa, and people there are definitely up in arms about this. The outrage extends far beyond Bristow, and many of our Team Steven members have already been sending emails and making calls to the company to express their displeasure at these actions. I have seen so many companies do the right thing in situations such as these, standing by their loyal employees, extending compassion and support when needed. To think that a 24-year employee doesn’t deserve some consideration in the face of such a horrible time is just awful.
The newspaper in Bristow said the corporate office hasn’t responded and that their employees in Bristow can’t give out any information. Many of you have wanted to get in contact with the company upon hearing this news. For those of you who would like to email the company to share your thoughts, here is the email address to JW’s owner relation department: firstname.lastname@example.org. The company phone number is 918-367-5523.
YOU CAN HELP – MAKE A DONATION
Obviously the family has huge medical expenses associated with Steven’s time in the multiple hospitals during recent months. This is now complicated further by Steve’s recent employment situation. You can help by making a donation to the benefit account set up for Steven and his family. Donation checks can be mailed to:
Steven Wilson Benefit Account
c/o Sharon VanOrsdol
P.O. Box 1020
Bristow, OK 74010
Or donations can be made online via the “Donate” button here on the top left side of our blog. Thank you to those of you who plan to donate or who have already given money – your generosity is very much appreciated.
STEVEN MAKES PROGRESS
Steven had an uneventful night Monday night and was resting comfortably on Tuesday as they waited for an X-ray of his GI tract. His parents were encouraged to see that the team of doctors on the adult side of the hospital was ready to tackle all of his issues. His blood pressure and breathing were better Monday, and he was down to 40% oxygen with hopes to eventually wean him from the ventilator. Though disheartened about the impact of losing Steve’s insurance at the end of the month (Denise and Jeff still carry insurance for Steven), the primary focus remained on Steven, as the branch of hope was extended again.
The visitation is very strict on the adult side of the hospital, so Denise and Steve requested notification if anyone plans to visit. Only two people are allowed in the room at a time, and either Steve or Denise need to be present at all times in case nurses or doctors appear with news or questions. So there is no way to visit him in ICU unless prearranged. Denise said her dad tried his charm to try to allow more than two in the room and it didn’t work, so if HE couldn’t do it, anyone else is certainly out of luck! Given the risk of infection, it is probably for the best at this stage of the fight.
On Tuesday the Infectious Disease doctor finally gave the green light for a tunneled dialysis catheter. His new GI doctor really wanted to find out what’s causing Steven’s stomach & liver issues, so the family was excited they were planning to look further into that. Steven had a CT done of his abdomen region. That night he looked a little unsettled, so Denise and Steve talked to him and explained what happened to him Sunday morning and where they were going from there. He seemed to relax a little more but didn’t sleep much that night. His mom was sure he was worried about upcoming procedures the following day.
On Wednesday, Steven came through all of his procedures like a champ and was resting comfortably. He got a GI scope, followed by the placement of the tunneled dialysis port, and then they tapped the fluid in his tummy and drained a little over 2 liters of fluid from his abdomen. The GI scope didn’t show anything wrong in the stomach or esophagus, which was good news. His tunneled catheter for dialysis is located in his chest, a much better location than the temporary one in his groin area. As soon as he feels up to it, he will be able to get out of bed with this new location. So Wednesday was a great day for progress and a giant step forward for our warrior.
That day his mom opened a letter from the Selective Service System addressed to Steven to let him know he’s officially registered for the draft. She marveled at what a milestone he had reached, guessing that it must be an automatic process now since they didn’t do it for him. She said, “He’s a man now. :dabbingeyes:” So cute.
Today was another great day for Steven. They plan to start him on feedings through the NG tube, which should help a lot with the healing process and taking him off the TPN (nutrition via vein). His blood pressures are the best they’ve been in weeks! They tested the fluid in his lungs and it does NOT contain any infection so that is wonderful news. He was scheduled to get dialysis today.
His mom said he’s communicating very well with nodding or shaking his head ‘no’ and using hand motions. She can no longer see the outline of every bone in his knees, legs and arms, and thinks he has actually gained a few pounds. The next step will be taking him off the ventilator, which he hates, so she’s sure he’s ready for that and knows it will be great to hear him talk again. Denise said, “His last words to me on Saturday were ‘I … don’t … want … to … be … a … burden … to … you … all.’ There is no way those are going to be his last words to me. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE!” Bless his heart. Nope, indeed! Not our warrior.
SEND CARDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Once again I would like to urge you to send Steven a note or card of encouragement, motivation, good cheer, love, healing thoughts or prayer for recovery. Those cards mean so much to him, and it helps him to know that SO MANY PEOPLE are on his side!!! You can mail cards to:
c/o Denise Sargent
10111 S. Sandusky Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74137
Thank you for your continued good wishes for our boy. Last weekend we didn’t know how things would turn out, but this week things are looking up yet again. It truly is a miracle. I am awed by his fighting spirit every day, and am grateful to have his sweet inspiration in my life. Sending lots of love to Tulsa!