Journal entry by Stephanie Fay
Good morning, everyone!
From Nancy’s rather small but wonderfully ordinary hospital room. They discharged her from the Cardiac ICU late yesterday. Such good news and progress!
“The kids” are flying home this morning after a week of supporting Nancy in innumerable important and life-giving ways. Time for them to return to work, naturally. Our niece Tonya has been poised all week to fly out from Maryland at a moment’s notice — and so she will arrive PHX this evening. She was an immeasurable help to me and to us in August of 2016 when Nancy had her last “event,” as we sometimes call it. I’ve rented an AirBnB starting tomorrow. That will be our “basecamp” here in Scottsdale, and the place where Nancy will go after discharge to get up and running again.
After spending quite a few nights in Nancy’s room, I will focus on being at the hospital during the day now as she works her way towards discharge. Planning is fluid but we do have a framework that we are working with now. Her electrophysiologist down here (Dr Zuwani) wants to see her in his office on the Monday or Tuesday after Easter. Once Nancy’s gets the green light from him to travel and Nancy feels strong enough, we will fly home late next week. I’ve booked first class tickets (insured!) on Delta for Friday, April 6th. Very flexible on that timeframe however. And I haven’t ruled out the possibility of flying home via private jet. My brother Brad is exploring those options.
The Team Nancy crew here has been amazing! What can I say? There’s nothing like family. Especially family like our families. ere they are — oldest to youngest (as best I know! :-). My brother-in-law Dave Kinnard, my sister Elaine Kinnard, Nancy’s sister Jennifer Kraemer, my brother Bradley Fay, my sister-in-law Lisa Fay, me, Nancy’s son Andreas Aarsold, Andreas’ girlfriend Greta Hanson, Nancy’s daughter Tina Aarsvold, and Tina’s spouse Jessica Aarsvold. Ok, “the kids” are definitely out of age sequence! This intensity and continuity of immediate support is overwhelminig — I cry with gratitude pretty much every day over that.
My cousin Sonia Hegge Bar arrived from Fargo on Friday morning. Nancy and I had a long weekend planned with her, staying at an AirBnB near downtown Phoenix. She’s been a great comfort to me these past couple of days, too, and I was able to sleep long and well at our place last night and hope to do so again tonight.
The electrophysiologist group is calling the shots around Nancy’s care, led by Dr. Zuwani. He was the one who came to the Cardiac ICU last Sunday morning and problem solved until Nancy’s PVCs stopped, ending the Fiona frenzy of shocks. They haven’t seen ANY PVCs since late last Sunday. This is a very very good thing!! Dr Zuwani is in close conversation with Nancy’s electrophysiologist back at the U of MN. Dr. Roukoz will take over Nancy’s care once we are home. The possibility of an ablation to stop this premature beat is on the table. This is a decision Nancy will make in consultation with Dr. Roukoz after we get home. We have excellent rapport with Dr Roukoz, and one of the U of MN device nurses I have been in contact with assured me folks with these sorts of arrhythmias come from a three-state area to have these sorts of surgeries there.
Returning to Minnesota will also put Nancy back in the care of her regular cardiologist, Dr. Jason Bartos. He was a fellow at the U of MN when Nancy was in the hospital in 2016, and now he’s a practicing cardiologist in the U of MN Clinics. We’ve seen him in clinic once — this past November, I think it was. We’ll be seeing more of him in the months ahead, I imagine. He’s everything we feel a doctor should be — knowledgeable, compassionate and utterly approachable. We are also looking forward to returning the oversight and care of Nancy’s device (as in Fiona) nurses at the U of MN. A wonderful group of 4 women who we’ve gotten to know more and more thru Fiona’s quarterly check-ups.
Coming out of 5 days on the respirator, Nancy has been a little confused at times. They call it ICU delirium. But all that seems to be clearing as she gets moving about. Moving to a regular cardiac unit helps as well, I’m told. The PTs and OTs are putting her thru her paces daily. From what I hear, these folks don’t take “I don’t want to” for an answer! ery persuasive, very good coaches.
At least 1 if not 2 or more people from Team Nancy have been with Nancy nearly around the clock. Fortunately, both the ICU and this room have a rather comfortable recliner to sleep in. The Team has also given me some precious and essential time to R & R. I’ve spent nearly 2 full days away from the hospital — but don’t ask me which days! It’s all a bit of a blur. Ok, so it’s actually a total blur. 🙂
Some folks comment on how hard it must be to write on Caring Bridge. Not so for me. Here’s what it does for me/us —
- A written record of some of the blur for Nancy and I to read later on.
- A place for you to cheer Nancy on!
- Keeps family and friends in the loop with minimal effort and time on my part.
- I am one to want to know what is going on. In turn it’s important to me to share what is going on with others.
- The writing is cathartic somehow. Based on the length of this entry, I must have been due some of that!
Notice how I worked another list in there for Nancy? Feeling pretty clever.
Nancy is snoozing calmly at the moment. The OT will be by today to give her a good workout, no doubt. And she’s going to get a shower later this afternoon!
It’s a beautiful day in the Arizona desert. It’s a beautiful day in Room 351 as well. Griff, the physical therapist, just arrived on the scene.
Thanks for your ongoing support!
Love, Nancy & Stephanie
Lori Ellertson|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you much for keeping us in the loop Steph! Nancy has a grand team of family and friends that got her through this! Love you! 💖💞💖
Laureen Schott-Jacobson|Mar 25, 2018
Good to hear that things are looking up. Still sending prayers.
Christine Hanson|Mar 25, 2018
So glad to hear about continued improvements. It’s amazing how family can carry you through stressful times. Thinking of you all. Chris
Gail Klemm|Mar 25, 2018
So, so happy with continuing good news! Thank you, Steph! I know how one day blurs into another, and have been so grateful for the support team – you both needed them! Prayers continue, including this morning at Trinity (one of the many Trinitys attended by Ellertsons in various locales.) After singing at two services – lots of “Hosannas” still in my head, so I will add another for Nancy and for you. Thank you for all of the information – it is cathartic, and it keeps everyone equally informed. That has been so appreciated. Sending love from southern CA.
Hanna Emerson|Mar 25, 2018
Very grateful for your updates, Steph! Love to you both!
Joan Haan|Mar 25, 2018
It’s sunny here, in St. Paul, a fitting day for Palm Sunday and the good reports (reporting).
Blessings and healing from our hearts to yours!
Joan & Phil
PS. It ‘s amazing grace all the support you are receiving from family! Grace and peace to all!
Tamara Holyk Crane|Mar 25, 2018
I read every entry you post. Thank you. Hugs, healing and Aloha to both of you and the crew. There’s no place like home! Wishing you a safe journey. 🌺
Denise Swanson|Mar 25, 2018
So happy to hear this great progress. Praying all the heart and device issues are addressed and your life goes back to “normal.” Though I am a distant family friend from Nancy’s childhood and “relative,” following her progress and cheering with each corner she turns. Bless you Stephanie for writing and having strength to keep going. Prayers and love to you both.
Mary Beth Lake|Mar 25, 2018
After being away for a week, we can assure you both it is beginning to feel and look like spring is near in Mpls, rebirth! What a wonderful family you have😎. Excited for your return home; no more surfing 🏄♀️ on Mission Beach for a while though!!
Claudia Gordon|Mar 25, 2018
What a beautiful journal entry, Stephanie…..beautiful in content and beautifully written. The love in room 351 is spilling out all over this Palm Sunday. Prayers and peace to Nancy and Stephanie!
Anne Sabo|Mar 25, 2018
In crisis we come closer, or close again, and then even closer. ❤️❤️❤️ Love you. And thank you, for sharing and championing through. A lot of good news in this update, ❤️, and it feels good to be able to picture your hours and days over there, to feel closer with you as I hold you close in my heart. I’ve been keeping Lilly in the loop too. Hugs and kisses from her as well! 😘
Eric Schlotterbeck|Mar 25, 2018
Nancy and Steph, we are so pumped to hear how much progress you’ve made and also your plans to return home. Keep up the great work! Love to you both-
susan Donohue|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you for this detailed account, Stephanie. I’m glad it is cathartic. I had to look up ablation though! I am so thankful for the quality of care and experience Nancy is getting both here and in AZ. That comforts me so much, and you are such a good wife to juggle all the living details with the medical details and the emotional frenzy. Looking forward to squeezing you both when the time comes. love, love.
Nonny Smith|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you so much for writing so thoroughly about what is/has been happening. It is a win-win from the standpoint of me (and perhaps others) who long to know how it is all going, and who feel a bit helpless being so far away and wishing we could do more. Maybe the “writing makes it real” , or makes it into a coherent story for you, Stephanie, in much the same way that telling a story out loud does. It is a great relief to hear that Nancy is progressing, that you have such phenomenal family support, and that you can get some time for self-care. May the moment to moment journey go smoothly now. Blessings and love, and continued prayers come your way from here.
Melanie Ruda|Mar 25, 2018
So glad to hear about the continual improvements! Thanks for keeping us updated. We love you both.
Melanie and Katia
Su Smallen|Mar 25, 2018
- I’m all for cathartic writing! (Note: not catheter writing.)
- Steph you are a planning machine! Air bnb, plane tickets, age-ordering your family…wow. I can’t imagine what your tired self must feel like. I’m glad you’ve been getting more and better sleep.
- Nancy, I’m so glad you have been sprung from ICU!
- Speaking of sprung, it’s spring-y in MN. I bet you’ll find some perennials already poking up under dead leaves.
- The deer have been coming to nap in my yard nearly every late night/early morning.
- I’m looking forward to seeing you both, and to helping out.
Ann Dyellig|Mar 25, 2018
So happy to hear the news that Nancy is out of ICU! Yippee! I can feel your sense of calm thru your words and hope you get your bride out of the hospital really soon! Keep up the good, hard work, Nancy! You’ll be back home soon! Can’t wait! ♥️
M Rickard|Mar 25, 2018
Lots of prayers and hugs to you and Nancy. So happy it is going well and all the wonderful medical staff and family support you have! Thanks for the updates.
Barbara Taylor|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you for taking the time to update us, Stephanie. This is cathartic for us too. We will be glad to have you home again when team Minnesota can kick into gear.
Barbara McCauley|Mar 25, 2018
Dear Stephanie – thank you for sharing all this wonderful news. Your writing skills are amazing, and love the lists! You and your beloved Nancy continue to be in the prayers of your Pilgrim family. We look forward to more good news, and to seeing both of your beautiful faces in MN in April. Sent from our thankful hearts!
Jeanne Huggins|Mar 25, 2018
Excellent news Steph! So happy for you both! ❤️
Sharon Hinz|Mar 25, 2018
Blessings to you both. Stephanie, thank you for caring so beautifully for Nancy!
Dana Whitford|Mar 25, 2018
Stephanie, your updates are so amazing. I really appreciate them. And even if I haven’t seen Nancy in a long time, she continues to remain special to me and I hope one day to meet you both out here on the west coast, where I can properly thank Nancy for all she did for me and hug you for all you do for her.
Abby Brogden|Mar 25, 2018
You go girls! Steph you write beautifully about what’s going on. So helpful to those of us who are far away physically but not spiritually. We are now back from Mexico and so look forward to seeing you back in MN. We hope to see you so soon!!! A & J
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak|Mar 25, 2018
Delighted to read so much good news of healing. Wish you a peaceful week with reinforcements, time to rest, and a bright path to recovery.
Debra Taylor|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you for the thorough updates. I’m sure you will both be happy to get back home so Nancy can recuperate in comfort. Safe travels!
Kathy Olsufka|Mar 25, 2018
That’s wonderful that Nancy is progressing towards getting to be able to go home. Prayers that she will be able to fly on the 6th as hoped. Thanks so much for the updates. I am with you Nancy, I like bullet points also😉
Kristin and Jean Kristin and Jean|Mar 25, 2018
Love your updates. This one especially. Glad to hear Nancy moved to an ordinary room. Sending you healing love.
Heidi Dombek|Mar 25, 2018
So very blessed to get these updates from you Stephanie. The details keep us right there with you, and we are all hugging you both from afar. God be with you, and strengthen you and Nancy.
Kari Dorer|Mar 26, 2018
Thanks again for the update, Steph. SO great to read the word discharge, even if it is next week!
Gloria Betcher|Mar 26, 2018
I hope everything continues to head in the right direction for Nancy. The Team support sounds excellent and I’m sure you can use the help, Stephanie. Take care of the caregiver (you) and your spouse, and look forward to returning home after a more relaxing stay than you have had up til now in Scottsdale.–Still sending positive vibes and prayers–Gloria
Gail Merriam|Mar 26, 2018
Thanks for the update, Stephanie! It snowed here last night, so it’s a little bit more beautiful in Saint Paul right now. You can be grateful she is in sunny Arizona for this. Keep fighting the good fight! Take care of both yourselves.
Nadine sanders|Mar 26, 2018
I add that your excellent writing skills (no doubt honed at that St Olaf place) make your updates easy to read. I am sure you would rather be at Pilgrim Lutheran Easter Sunday, but all the pilgrims will welcome u home when you get there. cheers nadine
Phyllis Zumach|Mar 27, 2018
You’ve written so many pieces of information in your most recent post … and we appreciate them all! So grateful for the progress Nancy is making. And now may it continue at an exponentially rapid rate!
Love and Hugs,
Phyllis and Allen