Garret and Jennifer Jones

Garret and Jennifer Jones
Garrett and Jennifer Jones

Monday, May 30, 2011

Week Five

Fri. morning, May 27, began with this update:
Just spoke to night nurse: Garrett had a very eventful evening as we slept. His heart repeated last nights episodes another 3 times....,the cardio specialists were called in and a medication they had used on the first 3 episodes was changed and his last event was at around 4:30 AM. Since his last "shock" to achieve rhythem, his heart rate has stayed in the 90's, his O2 is coming back up in the 60's now, his CO2 is the lowest it's been in a week (almost normal) and he is, as of 6:20, resting. Unbelievable. What a story we're going to have to tell him when he wakes up. More Later......

(Still having glitches with the medical fund for Garrett)
I've just recv'd a message from someone who very kindly was trying to make a deposit in Garrett Jones Donation Fund at Wells Fargo. Although I had been assured that it was now set up properly and a memo had gone out to all branches concerning it, the teller had great difficulty locating it, but finally found it under mine and Janells name. If you wish to contribute and still write checks, you may send it to our church, made out to me, and stipulate "for Garrett Jones Fund", if thats your desire. They will make sure I get it, and we will deposit it. Sorry for the inconvenience. If you go to a branch, don't give up if they don't find it right off the bat. It is under some kind of special code is all I know, but I'm going to make waves today.

Noon Fri.
As I write this, They are putting Garrett on dialysis, will be a 24 hr.cycle, and they hope by doing this, it will reduce the toxins that are building up. Kidney function is still at acceptable levels, but chemical imbalances are present.Cardiac Dr never showed up, so we're still in the dark on what is specifically causing it. His current heartrate is 187, and I'm sure God has his hand around his heart because that makes about 14 hours this has been going on. There's a healing coming, just hope it's on this side of Jordan. Father, nothing I can do for Tiny Man but put him totally in your strong arms. It Is Well.

Fri. night
I'm sorry for the late posting, but from about 2:30 till 10:15 we had a steady stream of visitors and it was just a very very busy afternoon! Garrett is on the dialysis and has tolerated it very well. The kidneys were not in crisis but were showing signs of distress, plus toxins building up were possible causes of cardiac arythmia. So he will have 24-7 dialysis until such time as the kidney's functions and creatnin (?) levels return to normal for several days in a row. No idea how long that could take, but just glad he is tolerating it. Improved blood oxygen levels in the later evening hours are a welcome relief, and CO2 levels are now normal. White count level is coming down slowly, but moving in the right direction. His cardiac team ordered a new blood pressure medicine that they feel his body will tolerate better. Several early afternoon attempts to transition him to it were met with rejection, but persistance paid off, and he is close to a complete changover. Heart had to be shocked back into rythem again around 5 pm (5th time in 21 hours), but since then, BP which had been being between 65/60 to 95/65 (yes I said 65/60), when we left was 120/75, and heart rate which had been 185-200 BPM with no rythem had dropped to 80 sinus rythem. (I know I'm not spelling "rythem" right or am I, my brain is fried) A very marked improvement in cardiac function.
I will check his stats again between 6-8 AM and hopefully post a morning report by 9:00. We are normally at the hospital from 9:30 AM till 10PM. If I can figure out a way to bring my grill in and find a deck somewhere to throw a couple of ribeyes on, I will be one happy camper!

Sat. morning, May 28
Just checked in with night nurse, and she was quite pleased and very surprised to report that is was a very boring night!. Garrett's stats have remained good. We are so wishing for a day of rest for his heart and healing for his lungs. Therein is the menace. I spoke yesterday with the Infectious disease DR and he is confident that the pneumonia has been caused by what Garrett inhaled while in the rubble for 45 minutes, probably fiberglass along with multitudes of other microbes that are never meant to find residence in a human lung. He reiterates the severity of Garrett's condition, and how resistant this pneumonia is to ANY antibiotic. God is def. going to have to take care of this for them. They are stumped, but will continue to administer what they feel are the correct ones until such time as maybe Garretts own body will start fighting it. But he has War Eagle lungs, so that shouldn't be hard! More later.........

Sat. afternoon
Got to hospitgal around 10:00 and went back to see Garrett. Nurses trell me that around 7:00 his temp started falling and they managed to level it oof around 93 degrees. They're not sure what caused it, but definately unsettling. But this is par for the course. They put a special heated air blanket on him, raised the room temp and waited. Its currently back up to 96.5 . Other than that, stats are remaining steady with very slight increases in his O2 , which is good. Not much to report this time, but maybe next time he'll be sitting up on the side of the bed!

On Saturday afternoon, Janis Taylor Hill formed a facebook page "Prayers for Garrett".    On it, she suggests we all pray at the same time for Garrett every evening, in addition to the many times a day we already pray.  This time is set for 9pm EDT, 8pm CDT, 7pm MDT, 6pm PDT, etc. If you are free at this time in whatever time zone you live, please join in.  Of course, prayers are appreciated at any time of the day and night.

Sat. night
Not a whole lot to report thats different from earlier. He is having tremendous gains in his blood Oxygen counts. He had been sitting in the 50-60 range on 100% oxygen ( just for a comparison, a walking around well person on 100% O2 would have a level of 300)., His count has risen to 220 before we left. But it just means that the dialysis and Inhaled Nitric Oxide that they are giving him is providing maximum oxygenation to parts of the body that have been deficient. His lungs are still in very poor air movement condition. So we need to continue to pray for a miracle in the lungs. Also, because he has not been able to be turned for over ten days now, the probability of bed sores is getting higher & higher. Any movement of his body to prop him from one side to the other has previously resulted in mega-unsettling of all his stats. Just that minor shift of gravity on his lungs causes fluids currently saturating his air sacs to shift and presto- low oxygen. He desperately needs stability and healing of the lungs. Your mission prayer warriors, should you decide to accept it, (orig Mission Impossible) is to pray down a miracle on Tiny Man's lungs.
I'll be attempting to lead music at my church tomorrow morning, if Garrett permits, so there may not be an update till after lunch. Praise Him in His Sanctuary! And remember prayer for those attending to him also, please.

Sun, May 29, 2:30 pm
Garrett is resting comfortably right now. They have lowered his forced oxygen, in steps, down to 80% and he still keeps his blood oxygen level in an acceptable range. Of course this is a baby step, but we're used to these. Also, one of the nurses has noticed an irregular sound to his heartbeat, not showing up on the EKG exactly, but the residents and the cardio drs have been notified, and their suggestion is to keep monitoring it. Body temp is back up to normal, but they are keeping the heated cover on him just to make sure he has sufficient warmth.
Thanks to Harry and Darra for their visit yesterday, it was great to put a post high school face with the voice! Trying to be kind Harry! Made it church this morning, good to be back in the pulpit. Sang "He's Been Faithful" for a special. I needed it more than anybody. Thanks to Melissa Durbin for Janell-sitting while I was gone.

If you haven't checked out FB page "Prayers for Garrett Jones", do so. I can't seem to get my posts there, but Janis can do it for me. Garrett would be so ashamed of me! More late tonight.......

So many people want to do something, Frank decided to post this Sun afternoon.
So many are messaging and asking if we need anything and to please let them help w/something. The only "need" we have, and it's really not a "need", it's more like a desire. We have an inground pool that normally by this time, I would have the leaves off the tarp, the pool cleaned out and chemicals in and a clear pool. But this last 5 weeks have delayed that. When Garrett comes home with us, the pool will probably be a good phys. therapy source. And I would probably have a few weeks to get it done before he comes home. But when I get back to work full time, I could only do it on weekends. But if someone knows a pool maintenance individual that could fit me in, I'd love to talk to them and see what it would take to hire them. I haven't even bought the chem's yet, but if they do it for a living, they know what it would take. If you or they would message me or email me at, I'd appreciate it.

Sun. nightWell, we will call this a microstep backwards, but not really worried. Garretts temp had been steady in the 99.5 range so they turned off the heated blanket. Within 2 houes his temp dropped 2 degrees, so they had to turn it back on. No big deal really. He may have a bad sensor in the bladder, but they won't change it unless he has another 2 or 3 episodes. Also, for some reason his blood Oxygen dropped into the high 40's so they put his forced oxygen back to 100%. So, the rollercoaster continues. Man is he ever gonna owe me for personal assistant charges!! Expect a miracle. More in the morning.

Janis, chief administrator for the Facebook Page Prayers for Garrett, posted this on Monday:

As many of you know Garret Jones has been in the Hospital fighting for his life since the tornado devastated parts of Birmingham over a month ago. During his struggle his parents Frank and Janell have been at his side providing necessary support and consulting with the medical teams working to save his life. While progress has been made the struggle is not over and continues to this day.

The physical battle to save Garret’s life has prompted another struggle. Frank and Janell have  been unable to work for over a month as they tend to their son's needs. The problem of a lack of incom...e has only been exacerbated by the increased cost of having to be at the hospital all the time and needing to purchase meals, etc.

The emotional toll on Frank and Janell has been severe. This struggle has also placed a great physical strain on them. We have all prayed that the Lord would heal Garret and comfort the family. Let me emphasize the fact that neither Frank nor Janell has asked for anything other than prayer. But there is something more we can all do. We can help lift the financial burden that has developed and which intends to crush the Jones family.

Through the kindness of Sandusky First Baptist Church, donations are now being accepted and will be forwarded 100% to Frank and Janell Jones to help lift this financial burden they are under. Sandusky First Baptist Church is a 501C-3 Non Profit and will return a tax deductible receipt to you. Checks should be made out to Sandusky First Church and mailed to: 1125 Haven Drive, Birmingham, AL 35214-3501
(205) 798-4211

May the Lord bless you for extending your love for His people

Mon. May 30, Memorial Day
Good mornin' everybody, soory for being late but I slept an extra hour. Thankfully forGarrett, an uneventful evening. They have determined that the sensor in his bladder was bad and giving off incorrect temps. Somebody took an oral reading during one of his drops in the evening and it showed normal temp. He also has been taken off one of the medications that assisted in keeping his blood pressure up, and is now on the lowest dosage of the other. Another microstep! So the Garrett Coastewr continues as we begin Day 34 of not getting off. Back to 9th floor North Pavillion. Wonder if we could get Aarons to deliver 2 recliners. My cheeks have completely reshaped and it's messin w/my physique!

Mon. afternoon
A surprising move today. Different lab tests that they do have shown enough improvemnt that they have disconnected the dialysis mach. and are running a 24 hr test to determine levels of toxins in urine. Depending on those results, it will be reconnected or discontinued until/if needed at a future date. (Thats medical definition for more room around the bed:-)) Also, his white count is down from its' worst several days ago at 58,000 to 23,000. (normal with pneumonia would be 10-12,000) Thats some improvement, but some of that white count was when his heart was wiggin on us (thats a new word for me, I learned it from Garrett 3 weeks ago when he wrote it on a pad, said Kevin was wiggin when he found him in house rubble. If you don't know what that means, ask your children!).
OK, thats it from Trauma Central. Frank (I want some Baumhuaer jamaican jerk wings) Jones, reporting. Expext a Miracle!
More Later.....

Mon. evening post on PFG facebook page:
Many thanks to all of you who have taken us into your prayer lives. Just spoke w/Dr and they are encouraged by a white count of ony 23,000 (was 58,000), but still say he has an incredibly long way to go. But ya'll are praying him there, inch by inch. I also am telling all staff members of your 8pm Central prayer time for Tiny Man and them. From all of us, thank you so very much!

Mon. night 5/30/11
Just before leaving the hospital at about 9:30, I met the resident doing his rounds. He said that the drop in Garretts white count was "remarkable". And from last week this time to tonight, there is enough progress that they are encouraged. He reiterates the seriousness of Tiny Mans condition, and the fragilness of his lungs, but last week this time he gave Garrett very little chance. I told him of over 1,000 people on Praying for Garrett Jones FB page that pray for the whole staff and Garrett each night at 8PM. Not sure if he is a Christian, but he said to tell everyone thanks. Oxygen has been turned back down to 95% forced, another micro step! Wish we could thank each one of ya'll individually, but we've asked Him to bless each of you abundantly for sharing our burden. One day Garrett will read all of your posts on my page and and all of those on PfGJ page and we will shed tears together. I pray that everyone reading these words will never have to ride their own "Garrett Coaster", but if so, I will pray just as hard for you. Hope you all have a blesed Tuesday. Expecting a Miracle!
More Later....

Tues, May 31, 9am
Just checked in with day nurse, and current status is stable, but blood oxygen level has dropped slightly. Not in the critical level, but close. They made some ventillator adjustments around 8:30 and will take another blood gas at 10:00. Also, Xray of left lung shows presence of a pneumothorax, which is a slight collapsing of about 10% of the lung. This being his best lung could account for his lower blood gas. It may become neccessary to insert another chest tube, or reposition an existing one to try to relieve the pressure that is causing it. Will know in a couple of hours. So we were coasting and now hit a bump on the GarrettCoaster. Hang on, more to com. (We slept till 8:30 this morning, b-a-d reporters!) Expecting a Miracle!

11:15 am
Enroute to hosp, got a call from nurse.  His O2 sats were dropping, & Dr. was performing a bronchoscopy.  Got to hosp, procedure was finished, managed to get some crud sucked out to send to lab. O2 in critical range. Please pray for his lung function to improve quickly.

12:45 pm Tues.
Garretts white count continues to decrease, down to 21,000. Dr's believe it may actually be pneumonia finally responding to antibiotics, ever so slightly. But his low oxygen today is being blamed on his ARDS. Ards is a hardening of the air saxs in the lu...ngs and it prevents O2 from getting into blood. This is very serious and can be fatal. So prayers are the most powerful medicine available to him right now. Expecting a Miracle!, more later.... 

5 pm Update
Garretts blood oxygen level has risen from 42 to 45, so there is some improvemnet. It was at around 40. There is also , thankfully, another decrease in his white count. He is now below 20,000 and it'ss not been that low sinc he was admitted, best we can remember. This ARDS condition is gonna be a rollercoaster like we've not been on, so we're checking into seatbelts for the waiting room chairs. Anyway, thats a quick update. Expecting a Miracle, more later......

10:45pm Update
Not a good report tonight. Garetts Blood O2 continues to decline. He's down to 43. The doctors say it is definatly the ARDS' The pneumonia is showing signs of improvement. But they have done about all they can do with the ventilator. It's pretty much in God's hands. I'll be staying here at the hospital tonight, just in case I'm needed. Your prayers are welcome, and I'll update at a later date. Still expecting a Miracle!

Wed. June 1, 0345 Update
Garretts Oxygen condition is worsening. But I am not giving up. I am not giving up. "I will look unto the hills, from whence cometh my strength"

Wed, June 1 Noon
Stephanie here. According to the doctors, Garrett's oxygen levels are so low, that if they continue this way for a few more hours, he will suffer organ damage, probably heart problems, and most certainly brain damage. The ARDS has now totally involved the left lung, not just the right, and they have nothing more to offer him. Barring a miracle, this condition will result in death within a few hours to a maximum of 2-3 days. Frank is not giving up until Garrett's heart stops. Miracles can still happen.

Week Four

Fri. morning, May 20
Just spoke with day nurse and numbers are encouraging for now. His blood gas oxygen level is hovering between 75 & 80 and his Sat O2 level is low 90's. A very good first 10 hours on this incredible machine that wasn't even around 25 years ago when he came into this world at 3 lbs. 7 oz. Now it is used predominantly on children much less than 6'-4" and 275 lbs. But there it sits, poundin roughly 3 breaths a second into his lungs. Thank you God.

Fri. evening:
 For all you "early to bed early to rise" folks, heres a mid evening update, instead of midnight. We've had a day of steadily increasing oxygen stats, s-l-o-w-l-y decreasing carbon dioxide levels and increased lung capacity. We've moved from a 1-100 scale of 5 to maybe a 15. But hey, beggars can't be choosers, and I've done my share of begging the Almighty lately. Doctors are "Cautiously optimistic". And if we've learned anything going through Brandons journey and Garett's roller coaster, it's no to get too comfortable or count your bytes before they download. But I'll feel a little better about going home to sleep tonight than I have in weeks. Can somebody knock on wood for me? Thanks to Stacie, my niece, for editing my Ambien induced blabbering last night. I owe you one , girl.

Saturday morning, May 21
Just spoke with day nurse, and she says Garrett had an uneventful night. His O2 requirements are down to around 75-80% from 100%. No steak and potatoes or sitting on side of bed, but that will come. Specific prayers that pneumonia will start to be affected by the antibiotics he's getting. Getting lungs back in working order has started, but his white count remains in the hight 40Ks. Think I'll go to nursing school when this is all over, I've got more med info swimming in my grey matter than I ever thought.  More later, thanks again from Janell, Kevin and me, and I know from Garrett for all your prayers. We're onthe 9th floor of the North Pavillion at UAB, Just ask for the Jones Waiting Suite when you get off the elevator!

Saturday evening, Janell's sister Joan posted this update:
Hello friends praying for Garrett. I just spoke with his mom. Everything is still about the same with the respirator and his breathing. We are thrilled he did not go backwards today! The other big problem at the moment is his astronomical white blood count. It has continued to climb even though he is still on six antibiotics. The doctor has said if they can not get the infection under control, all the progress that has been made with the respirator will be in vain. The infection is thought to be concentrated in his lungs but that is not know with 100% certainty. The cause of the infection is still not 100% certain either. So, please continue to pray for his lungs to heal and the infection to be wiped out!

Thank you all so much for the prayers. We have seen improvement.

And Sat. evening, May 21, Frank was back online:
Just finished a bedside visit, and it sure is easier to stand there and pray knowing the downhill slide has leveled out. But still such a long way to go. Janell hung a pic of him as a newborn, 3 1/2 lb. preemie and the nurses are loving it. One of them shaved him yesterday and gave him back his goatee that had become full beard. They are sure loving on him. Please pray specifically for the pneumonia which is just not responding to any of 6 antibiotics he is currently taking. Pray also that his kidneys continue to hold up, which is truly a miracle in itself. Tomorrow, the Lords Day, will, I hope, find all of you in His house praising Him for answered prayer. I may try to take in a service at a church close to the hospital, just don't feel clear headed enough to attempt to lead my congregation tomorrow. Don't know what time my next update will be on Sunday, so until then.....

Sunday morning:
Just woke up and called Nurses Station. They had been slowly easing down the pressure settings all day yesterday but around 2AM, he reacted negatively to their lower setting, so they had to go back up one step. Not what they wanted to see, but just a leveling where they were hoping for another micro-step. Infection count is down VERY slightly, not any victory there yet. Please pray today for continued lung improvement, and mostly for the infection which is still raging. "This is the day the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!"

Sunday evening:
Kind of an uneventful day, thank you Lord! Garrett has remained steady on his new ventilator, and they have made micro adjustments to it in order to trick his lungs and its working. He has developed a slight fever of 100.5, but no concern by Dr's or nurses below 102.5. His heart rate is slightly elevated, but the two combined may mean his system is starting to fight the infection. Notice I said might be. But still no steps backward. I left the hospital this morning and attended services at Glen Iris Baptist, about 10 blocks from the hospital. Lord I needed that. Message was on how the general was sent to Elisha when he developed leprosy and was told to go dip in the Jordan 7 times. He had the faith to do so, and was healed. Before this valley is over, I hope I keep enough faith to do whatever He asks of me. I have definately let Him down a few times lately.
Have a good night everybody. I'll try to update in the morning.

Mon. morning, May 23
Day nurse says Garrett has improvement in his blood gasses and x-rays. Fever is up to 103 so there drawing blood cultures to see if they can tell whats going on, but she says she is encouraged by what she has seen. Will update more later.

Mon. evening
Have been w/Garrett most of day, well, in waiting room,, but have had several visitors. He still has a fever, but not to worry. We spoke with the head Dr and he says he is "Encouraged" by the progress made in the last 4 days, especially last 36 hours. tentative plans if he continues his baby steps, will be a return to the original ventilator Wed. morn, which will provide needed relief from the high pressures of this one. Also stated that right lung shows approx 25% clarity or (Oxygen holding capabilities) which is more than they've seen in 3 weeks. So, we are ahead of where we were last week this time, and millions of prayers ahead of 3 1/2 weeks ago, thanks to so many who don't even know me, much less Garrett. Hopefully, Chris Pallone (? hope thats right) will do an update in a few weeks when we leave the hospital! I'll update again in the morning between 8-9AM, unless he throws us a curveball before then.

Tues, May 24, AM

Just checked in w/ day nurse and she says Garrett is continuing his baby steps. White count is coming in steps ( down from 58,000 last week to 37,000 this morning. Hopefully, we'll be given permission today to be able to attend to his affairs that we need legal permission to do.
What an awesome group of professionals are taking care of my son. And today, we ask you to alternate your prayers on Garretts behalf. Please ask the Lord to bless every person that has had an earthly part in getting him back to this point, and to answer their prayers and meet their needs. They've been so good to us, and are loving on our whole family, especially Tiny Man.
More later......
Tues. evening:
Stephanie here. Garrett's in crisis again. His lungs are taking a dive, and his heart rate is up, though his blood pressure is holding steady. Kidney labs are slightly worse, but he's still putting out urine. Frank doesn't have his computer with him, and isn't up to posting right now anyway, so he asked me to put this out to let you know what was going on so you could send up specific prayers for Garrett. Thanks, everyone.

And later Tues. night:
Got another phone call from Frank. It's time for a miracle now. Garrett's blood gases are worsening, he's on meds to keep his blood pressure up, and the doctors have nothing more to offer. We know it has always been in God's hands, but this is it. Frank and Janell and Kevin are united in their decision to let the Lord have him if that's what He decides. Family (who can be there) and friends are gathered 'round, loving and supporting them. We still believe in miracles; we haven't given up hope, and we thank you for your continued prayers.

Two and a half hours later:
The physicians decided the "pediatric" ventilator had accomplished what they had hoped, and changed Garrett back to the first ventilator again. He normally doesn't do well with changes, but did not lose ground with this transition. He is still very critical, but he is still with us. Keep praying, please. We feel it.

VERY Early Wed. morning, May 25

I sit here in the waiting room, everyone has left except Janell, and she is dozing. I think back over the last 12 hours and it seems like 12 days. But my heart is not heavy. For I know that I have witnessed a miracle. Garrett's CO2 levels have fallen from 106 at 2:00 this afternoon, to 66 at 2AM. Absolutely incredible and so much more than was expected. His O2 is still very low but there are still adjustments to be made on the vent. His pH levels which were critically low have risen to the best since he came to ICU.He survived a transfer from one machine to another, which I believe, in their hearts, they did not expect. He is still holding onto the edge of the cliff with his fingernails. I can't explain, but in the face of all this, I had a confident peace that no matter which way it went, God would get the glory. Yeah, I've heard a lot of "thank God"'s tonight, but it's almost like my heart was expecting this but my mind was saying othwerwise. The Master of the sea lives in my heart.
"When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrow like sea billows roll
What ever my lot Thou hast taught me to say
It Is Well, It Is Well with my soul."

Once again, ya'll have prayed our family through another storm. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.Thank you, Mike Royer, for being willing to share our story and prayer needs. I don't know how today will unfold. but I promised Garrett 3 1/2 weeks ago I would pray him through this. From one father to The Father, thank you.

Wed. afternoon
Garrett still resting as comfortable as you can in a med induced coma. No real changes, but Co2 still a concern, but my prayers are directed at conquering the pneumonia. Can't understand why it does not respond to any antibiotic, even the big guns. God is the only answer here, and I am praying & believing His guidance will lead the doctors to an answer, or He will remove it himself. Know all of you reading this will join with me in petitioning Him.

Wed. night
Fixin to leave the hospital, and no curveballs today! We do have a little concern over a chest tube put in the left chest cavity today that is really draining some serious amounts. Wasn't thought to be fluid that prompted it's insertion, thought it was air. But not the case. Left lung does show some pneumonia involvement in left lung now, so it's more urgent that God "do His thing", and I don't mean that irreverently.
I am still amazed at the number of folks wanting updates and showing such love and care for us, especially Garrett. With Brandons journey, it was spread out over 4 years. But this has been compressed into four weeks and I just feel so unworthy of such atteention being paid to us when so many are hurting. But because of everyones prayers we still have our son and words can never express our gratitude! I cannot and will not give up, because as a Christian father, what kind of faith in my God am I showing my son if I just hope for a cure. I'm expecting it. But my time frame and God's are obviously in different sliding scales right now.
I'll update again in the morning when I call in for an early report, probably between 7-9AM.

(At this point, there are 5 chest tubes in place--3 on the right and 2 on the left.  Garrett is still under a "Do Not Turn" order. It has been 4 weeks since he was found in the rubble.)

Thurs. morning, May 26
Good Morning! A call in to the night nurse around 5:30 revealed some further deetails. A medication he's been on thats given to bed ridden patients to help w/blood flow also has a slight thinning effect as well. Garretts body has embraced that small one side effect and magnified it so that not only is his clotting abilities been slightly compromised, the oxygen carrying capabilities have been lightly impaired as well. He had a night full of ups and downs with his oxygen and carbon dioxide stats, but has been given a drug that should reverse the thinning effect. His lungs are so sensitive to movement of his bodythat it has also prevented things such as the normal procedures done to prevent bedsores, the ability to move him to do a CT scan, and several other things they would normaly do for a patient with his injuries. He's been paralyzed now for two weeks, on a ventilator for 4 weeks. Improvement of his lungs is just very neccesary. Seems like 75% of his problems could be cleared up if the lungs would clear up. Hope this helps you folks know how to pray. Those standing in for Garrett in prayer services might have hands laid on their lungs while praying. Hope this is not TMI, but it helps to know what to pray for specifically. More later in the day. Thanks everybody.

Thurs. afternoon
We have had a day of soul searching as we know that if conditions don't improve greatly in several areas, we will be forced to make possible life changing decisions for our son. I talked at length with a chaplain here, and her words were simple but clear. Her prayers for us after knowing us for four weeks are that (a) God will do what is best for Garrett and (b) what will bring the most glory to God, whatever that may be. There is nothing wrong with praying for healing, but if His will is not to heal Garrett here on earth, then we are trying to change Gods will. Not impossible, but improbable. She suggests we pray that God will, through our prayers, bring us in line with His will. And that, to me, makes sense. With literally thousands praying for us, I would ask that all of you pray that for us. God knows whats in our heart before we pray. But my prayers will be more effective if they ARE claiming His will, and not praying against His will. Does that make sense? I'm not blessed with articulation, but hopefully I've conveyed my thoughts well enough for you to understand. I'm still believing a miracle is coming, and that is the ONLY thing, according to the Doctors, that will change my Tiny Mans condition.

Thurs. night
Today has been extremely challenging. I realize my earlier post was vague, but due to my middle son not knowing about a crisis we were in, and not needing to inform him of it till after he got off work, I could not say anything for fear of it getting back to him before we could talk. Here is what transpired today. When we arrived at the hospital this morning we were informed of the Trauma dept head dr's of the need to put Garrett on dialysis due to worsening chemical imbalances, and early signs of possible kidney distress. The decision was ours, and being blindsided with this life changing scenario was quite distressing. This could effect Garretts quality of life when God allows him to walk out of here. Plus putting him on it will open a whole new world of infection possibilities. After stuggling for a couple of hours and deciding to allow it, the chief kidney specialist was called in and after his study of Garretts case and current evaluation, decided that it was not neccesary today, but could be at a future date. Maybe tomorrow, next week, but not today.
Then at 8PM tonight, Garretts pulse suddenly jumped from 120 to 200 and his BP started dropping. A facebook prayer request blitz happened at that time, thanks to a friend I was talking with when the doctor came to inform us of the crisis. A couple of shots os some kind of medication, and then a jolt from the paddles put him back in stride and 30 minutes after it happened he was back to his normal settings.

So now you are all up to date, and know why the earlier post wasn't more informative. Another days ride on the Garrett Coaster. We know there are more of these kinds of days ahead, and simply ask God for wisdom, strength for the journey, and the peace that passes all understanding. Good night everybody. (or good morning!)
I do read all comments and messages, but with so many, I can't respond to every one, but please know my appreciation and love for all of you can't be put in words!


Week Three

Fri., May 13, 2011
Back home for a few minutes, can't post till I get home, my phone is just a phone, no text, but Garrett is critical but stable. No big change from last night, o2 setting down from 100% to 80% but had to up the pressure. Will post again as soon as I get back home.

Frank was contacted by a TV news station about a follow-up story about the tornado aftermath.  Janell was not up to it, but Frank went down and gave this terrific interview:

Garrett is resting this morning as is my soul. The past 24 hrs has been a major testing of His charge to me to "Be still and know that I am God". I have come out of that tunnel, for the present, and feel exhuasted as if I'd been in a war. But enought about me. Garrett req'd a bath after one of his "attachments" failed, so the 11:30 blood gasses were important due to all the moving they forced on him. Oxygen is up to 65% (need 85-95) but his CO2 went up which wasn't wanted. They will wait to get new ABG reading at 2Am and 6AM. These last readings are microsteps forward, but forward none the less. I give praise to Garretts and my Father in Heaven for them. He is still critical, very critical, but no backward steps in 8 hrs. As th dr said, he is responding positive to their ventilator adjustments, which is reward for them, but is still being monitored by hourly visits from them.
If Garrett is still going forward, I have been graciously asked by Jenn's family to sing at her graveside service Sunday at 2:00. Hopefully, the Spirit will sing through me as He did at Brandon's funeral.
Thanks to Jonathan, my nephew, for teaching me how to type in NOTES, so multiple post aren't necc.

Sat. afternoon, May 14
Update: Oxygen levels are stable but need them higher, carbon dioxide levels back down in normal range. Resting, which is good, still medical induced paralization, so he won't fight the ventilator. My prayer for everyone that is praying for us, is that God wil make me as faithful to pray for ya'll when its needed. And to bless each one of you extra "good".

Sat. evening, Garrett took a turn for the worse. Family and friends were called in and gathered at the hospital to keep vigil until about 3am, when his oxygen level stabilized slightly. Frank stayed the night at the hospital, ready to call if there was a change of any kind.

Sun. dawned overcast with threat of rain.  It was the day of Jennifer's funeral:

Mike's Blog: Frank Jones sang again Sunday
(photo by Mike Royer)

This is the song Frank elected to sing:

Sun. evening:

Thank you Lord for twenty hours of peaceful rest for Tiny Man. We've had a few baby steps forward today, but at this rate I could be on Medicare before he gets out. LOL, I'm seriously thankful for baby steps right now. We were able to attend Jennifers graveside service and everyone was so kind to acknowledge my small contribution, even though it was "5" on a 1-10. But very upbeat and positive, and I hope decisions for eternity were made.
Garrett's made a few small steps in the right direction on oxygen content in the blood. His white count though remains way off the scale and it is probably a combination of the pneumonia which rages and the real possibility of small undetectible blood clots in the lungs. But incredibly, all the other injuries are healing and, knock on wood, his kidneys appearto still be functioning well, even with major antibiotic regimines. So I remember to thank God for all the small victories we are having.
No more "events" would be so good for his recovery, that I'm declaring "No More Events" month is officially started.
More tomorrow!

Mon, May 16
Garrett Update: Mon. 11:15 pm Today is like getting a school test with 100 questions on it and it came back with a minus two on it because of missing two punctuation marks. Almost a perfect "A".
But we'll take those, a whole bunch of'em as a matter of fact. Please keep praying for healing of the lungs and infections. I'm ready for a hand-squeeze!

Monday morning brought another bronchoscopy, a procedure whereby a flexible tubing with camera is inserted through the endotracheal tube and down into the lungs to visualize what is going on. Suction was performed to retrieve lots of "gunk" in his lungs that prevents them from being fully oxygenated. Many times this fluid is sent to the laboratory to be cultured to make sure the patient is receiving the antibiotics that best treat that strain of bacteria. 

While performing the routine xrays afterwards, the physicians noticed more air leaking into the lining of his lungs, which usually results in a collapsed lung.  Another chest tube was inserted to give the air a place to escape. 

It was also discovered that Garrett had a clot in his right leg, though repeated tests had failed to identify it. Pieces of clots can break off and travel to the lungs, causing respiratory distress, so steps needed to be taken to prevent this. In addition, a "Do Not Turn" order was put in place, as anytime he was turned or adjusted, he seemed to undergo a crisis.

Tues., May 17
Garrett had a good night, and started his morning on 95% oxygen, a small step-down, but good news. They also inserted a filter to prevent a clot in the leg area from moving elsewhere and was laid flat for that procedure. He tolerated it well. Not on steak & taters yet, but moving in that direction hopefully.

Wed. afternoon, May 18
Not a good day so far. Garrett is struggling, but fighting hard. Oxygen levels not where they are needed, right lung is just not fuctioning. Have had many prayer sessions bedside, and of course anywhere I happen to be. Some family is here, and we just continue to lift him up. Can't and won't give up. He is my #3 son, and I am trying to pray him through this crisis. Thank you does not convey our gratitude to all who are remembering him and us. My phone does not do internet, so I don't see messages till I get on at home most of the time. I did bring my laptop, thought technically challenged, and have managed in spite of my ignorance to connect to WiFi here at the hospital. I'll connect again later on after it's charged up, but just keep lifting Garett up please.

As Garrett's condition worsened, Frank began posting in the mornings, too, as soon as he had called and spoken with the nurse.

Thurs. morning, May 19
Garrett continues to struggle for Oxygen. His levels are getting lower and the Dr's have done everything they can do. The right lung has to start clearing up. He's not responding to any antibiotic, and tweaking the ventilator is no longer helping. Please pray for Garrett, our family, the doctors and nurses as they have become very attached to him. I will update mre as the situation warrents.

I wish I could respond individually to each who are messaging but I can't. I am reading them but my "friend" list has got to be setting FB records. We appreciate all who take time to write, it means a lot to us. God bless you for all you prayers!

Thurs. afternoon
A new lung treatment of a unique inhalent is producing encouraging results. Blood oxygen levels have increased 50% and if it continues to improve, they will be able to reduce pressures from the ventilator, very gradually. The Son has shown through some dark storm clouds, so please accept our humble gratitude for such overwhelming concern and encouragement. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

But Thurs. night, things looked bleak again. Frank and Janell began calling family:
Hi, this is Stephanie, Frank's sister. Just got a call that Garrett's lungs are rejecting the inhalent, and his oxygen level is dropping again. They are preparing to change him over to a new ventilator, the only one of its kind in the city, and the transition will be tricky. He's trying to make as few calls as possible, so as to be available, so I'm posting this on his wall in hopes that all his friends will see and go into immediate super prayer mode. We need a miracle here.

Thurs. 11:30 pm
Stephanie Davison: Frank just called--the transition went fairly smoothly. Sorry, it's not the only ventilator of its kind in the city--misunderstood--but there are staff there who have never seen it before, as it is usually used on pediatric patients. By God's will, the technicians and physicians accustomed to dealing with it were in-house and able to do this quickly.  Garrett's responding to this well; slight improvement in oxygen levels, and the docs are encouraged. Frank was told the whole unit is rooting for Garrett; nurses call on their days off to see how G is doing, and physicians go into the conference room to pray for guidance in how to treat him. Thank you all so much for your prayers; you've prayed him through another crisis. Frank as promixed to keep me informed and knows I'm posting the news on his wall. He thanks you all!

From Frank, Late Thurs. night:

The dr's were sucessfull in moving him from one std ventilator to an new kind that delivers short hard inflates of the lungs. It's weird when you walk in his room, hear the pounding of the machine, and realize an RN thatis attending tonight, playyed baseball w/Garrett. We will not try to read too much into the initial success, but there stands Patrick Donnvan? B4 leaving at 11:00, his oxygen levels were hoveing @ 89-90 and blodd0s level wers 77at 100 So I have come home to catch a few C-pap z's, and return early in the morning. Sorry for the shortlived excitement of today and false encouragement. But an imagination came to me today, of Moses standing at th Red Sea and telling the Israelltes to Behold the Hand of God. I hope that a miracle is in Gods plan because there is no otheranswer.
Awesome friends, old and new, awesome family, old and new, our strength, our hope and prayer are being deliverd by you to God in Heaven. Be sure to tell Him THANK YOU. sORY, aMBIEN KICKING IN, CAN'T WRITE ANY MORE.

Week Two

Facebook entry from Frank:
update: Garrett's day was filled with ups & downs, a CT scan which showed minor improvement of the pneumonia, also showed no clots or further infections, though he continues to spike fevers, but responds to Tylenol. Most have concluded that the "bottoming out" spells he is having when moved or repositioned is actually "anxiety attacks' for lack of a better word.
(cont'd:) so, baby step forward today, hoping for at least 2 tomorrow (today actually) Please continue to remember Jeniifer's family, The Leonards, of Hoover/Vestavia, and also remember the adjusters of companies who are seeing such destruction, grief and sadness day in and day out right now because it's their job.

Garrett's lungs were still not responding well to the antibiotics, so he continued on the ventilator. Sedation was light enough for him to wake and comunicate slightly with his family.  After coming home from the hospital on Fri. night, Frank wrote:
update: as Janell & I stood by his bedside tonight, holding Garretts hand, it was obvious that he was dreaming. He would squeeze your hand so hard that it actually hurt, then when you would wake him, he had this wild look in his eyes which would soften when he realized we were holding it. We believe he is reliving the storm in his dreams.
He has communicated to his brother that he is having nightmares, and asked Kevin if he was too. Kevin told him dreams of finding him ion the rubble and etc. We have told the dr's and they have started medication they think will subdue them. our next specific prayers are for peace in his mind, heart and sub-conscience. Words can't express our thanks to everyone for lifting us up!

Frank's pattern was to update every night after coming home from the last visiting hour of the day.
Update: Thank God 4 an uneventful day! His resp. statistics R improving. Dr's have added Adivan (sp) to help him chill out & are seeing slight improve. in his sleeping spells. Sort of relating this to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, in my mind at least. I can't imagine NOT being able to talk, cry, vent emotions. I will be in church in the AM service, so any calls after 12:30 please.

Sun. night, May 8
Update: Garrett had a peaceful day of rest today. No real setbacks, but resp. issues are still the main comcern. Found out 10 days after the fact, he has 3 fractured ribs on lft side, which explains having to take short shallow breaths, just any movement would put him in pain and deep breaths are impossible.Some minor fractures on the "wings" of cerv vertebrae  also has some swelling in region of T4, T5, T6 vertebrae but neurosurgeons have determined surgery is Not needed on any of the affect. vert. at this point, they think they will heal on their own. May God answer each of your needs & concerns as He is answering prayers for Garrett. We love you all, strangers & friends!

 Monday night
 Update: It's a good day when he doesn't take any steps backwards. Thank you Father! He will have a trachea tube put in tomorrow for vent. Dr's believe this will free up jaw movement & he'll be much more comfortable. Please pray for Jenn's mom, Brenda Leonard. She is having a really tough time. Decisions that are legally Garretts and his alone concerning Jenn must be made but at the right time for him.

At some point, Garrett required the insertion of a chest tube in his left side, to drain out extra fluid surrounding his lung, inhibiting its expansion.

Tues. night, May 10
Update: Garretts oxygen levels dropped Mon PM>Tues AM, so trachea surg canceled, will try again Wed. As of 10:15pm Tues, his O2 stats were much improved so his vent settings were adjusted downward slightly. Major prayer concern is his lungs. Dr has said that all tornado survivors are suffering bad pneumonias' due to the foreign matter inhaled. Garretts size and lung capacity means he inhaled more of it.   We'll discuss sensitive issues in the next 48-72 hours w/him, that hopefully won't cause a reversal of his levels, but provide much needed answers for all involved in the loss of Jennifer. Please pray for the Leonards & especially Garrett. We feel the prayers of everyone & are getting stronger in His arms each day. We are not worthy of your love/concern, but ask Him to bless all of you for bearing our burdens

 Wed. night, May 11
Update: another uneventful day. All med teams have revisited their different tests & no other explanation is availble for Garretts inability to maintain desired O2 levels. Their only explanation is that his body is working so hard to repair so many injuries that it's healing abilities are just stretched to the max. A patient with just pneumonia might recover in 2 weeks, but in his case....?

Jennifer's mother was having a meltdown about the delay in Jenn's funeral.  She and the rest of the family needed closure, so she broached the idea of a graveside service soon, with a memorial service after Garrett was released.
We discussed w/Garrett going ahead with services for Jennifer both last night and today, just to be sure he was comprehending us and remembering it. Chances are a graveside srvc will be this Sat. & possible a memorial when he's able. Just broke my heart to see him answer yes to allowing it. Breaking bad news twice to my #3 son, is no easier than it was to Brandon. Fathers are not suposed to have to do this.
Trachea vent tube surgery will be sometime Thurs., per his drs. They insist it will happen unless his stats tank during the night. praying this will be his turning point.  They say God collects every tear you shed. Well, I guess I'll have a swimming pool in heaven!  Thanks, everybody, for keeping us in your prayers. We are stronger because of you!

We all know that life goes on, even in the midst of a crisis.  Frank and Janell began the paperwork for filing insurance claims, FEMA forms, and forwarding mail that could no longer be delivered to the wiped-out community.  One of these items was a dress Jennifer had ordered to take with them on a cruise they had planned with their best friends. This is the week they would have been gone.

On Thurs, Garrett hit a brick wall:
Not a good day. No trachea surgery. Did a CT scan for blood clots-none, but required a follow-up bronchoscopy (camera into lungs). When they finished this procedure his O2 fell critically. Have him on 100% oxygen, induced paralysis and full ventilator breathing. Have never been where I couldn't hear or feel God, not a good feeling. O2 level will be monitored closely. Going back to hosp. tonight.

Please pray specifically for healing of Garretts lungs, and pray that we all get peace. I am trying to pray away the spirit of fear, but its so hard.

The First Week

For the first 2-3 days, Garrett was pretty much aware of things. Since the plan was only to keep him on the ventilator until all the surgeries were complete, they kept him only lightly sedated.  Therefore he was able to "mouth" words around the endotracheal (ET) tube down his throat, and could generally make himself understood. Frank, Janell, and Kevin were the designated "caregivers", allowed to visit in the hour before each public visiting hour.
This was Frank's entry in the wee hours of Saturday morning, April 30:
It's almost 1AM Sat and we've come home for a few hours reunion with my C-PAP. Garretts final sheduled surgery has been completed, with no wiring the jaw shut. Definitely a praise report! maybe 3 more days on ventilator, the hopefully a step down room in 5 days. Your prayers are making us stronger, and I am humbled you would take the time to remember us.

And on Sunday morning, May 1:

Got another 6 hours sleep at home and headed back to hospital around 9AM. Garrett resting OK, per nurse, and all injuries, to the best of their knowledge have been addressed.  What they are now wanting is his Oxygen levels to go up so they can start weaning him off the ventilator.
Since it was expected that Garrett would be off the ventilator soon, plans for Jennifer's funeral were put on hold, in the hopes that he would be able to attend.  The funeral home preserved her, and were willing to keep her for a couple of weeks until Garrett was able to participate in the arrangements. 
Monday, May 2
Started the day with news that Garrett's O2 level was at 76 (%). Not encouraging, not critical.  But will keep him from coming off vent.  Got down on my knees at 7:45 & asked God to please answer this prayer, so I would know He was hearing my pleas.  I've never felt so distant from Him. I asked for a reading of 90 or above b4 we left the hosp. tonight. It went to 99 (%)! Cried and blessed His name all evening.
And later that day:
Garrett has been told of Jenn's homegoing. And to the amazement of everyone, he has remembered and comprehended it all. It was difficult, he cried and shook and rolled his eyes around and around. One day when I figure out how to right a short story on here, I will fill in the details. Thanks to everyone who prayed specifically for that emotional hurdle!
In the wee hours of Tues, May 3:
Update: Garrett had to have fluid removed from inside his lung this afternoon, and xrays do show the presence of pneumonia. He is and has been on an antibiotic that is appropriate and they don't seem real concerned. We had good communcation with him today when he learned he could write in the air easier than on paper. Will try removal of Vent tomorrow.
Garrett has Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, and as good as that is, it does have a one million dollar cap.  He is easily racking up 25-50K a day, and 20 % co-pay is still a staggeing amount.  Frank and Janell set up an account for him at Wells Fargo, as so many were asking how they could help. There are still glitches with the account, but deposits are being accepted with gratitude. 
Several have asked, yes checks can be made out to Sandusky First Baptist, then add for Garrett Jones. We can't send receipts so cancelled checks will have to suffice. All funds go into his medical fund, which is in his name, in Hueytown Al, at any Wells Fargo bank in the country, the account also has mine and Janell's name on it as we will be using it to pay med bills or purchase new clothing etc. when he comes home. ‎1125 Haven Drive
Birmingham, AL 35214-3501

9pm, Thurs. April 28

Frank's first facebook entry:

Dear Friends,
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. I will look unto the hills, from whence cometh my strength. Thank you all, known and unknown, for all your prayers for our family. I cannot begin to describe the pain or anguish my or Janell's heart is experiencing. But even more so, my daughter in law, Jenifer's family. She has been identified by a brother and now is enjoying her rewards for an albeit, short life of loving and serving Jesus. She has met my first born son, Brandon, and is probably sharing stories of her and Garrett's short 18 months together. Garrett is cuurently in UAB trauma ICU, critical but stable, and is on a respirator, trying to keep him imobile and sedated for faster healing and safety of injuries sustained. But I have told God in no uncertain terms, that we refuse to repeat 10 years ago's homegoing of our 1st son.
In a few days, as he is weaned and awakened, I must answer his first question, which wil surely be "Where's Jenn"? It is then I will need ya'lls prayers the most. We praise our Father that he has survived an EF-5, but do not look forward to this event
Many have asked what they can do. Prayers are most welcomed and asked for. Cards may be sent to me at FBC Sandusky, 1125 Haven Drive, Birmingham, Al. 35214. Thank you all again. "Where could I go but to the Lord"

Day One, PM


They've found Jennifer. She had a severe head injury, and the coroner said she would have died quickly, maybe instantly. Her brother identified the body.

Garrett has been in surgery most of the day, with repairs to his arm. They found a place under his arm where he had been impaled , and were pulling out pieces of wood 2-3 inches long. They took the time to clean out that wound and several others. Tomorrow he'll go back to surgery to repair his broken jaws, right and left, and to clean out a head wound. He's being kept on the ventilator for now, until the major surgeries are completed, so he won't be told about her for a while.

The family is going to proceed with Jennifer's funeral, since they can't be expected to postpone it for 2-3 weeks. We don't know any details yet. Everyone is devastated. Jennifer and Garrett adored each other, and her family told my brother they'd never seen her happier in her life than she's been since they met. My brother and sister-in-love feel they've lost a daughter, not an inlaw.

Frank says it looks as if 2/3 of Alabama has been wiped off the map. My nephew says there is nothing above ground level left standing in their neighborhood: not a tree, not a bush--just foundations for homes that are no longer there. It's amazing that either one of them made it out of there at all.

Thanks again for all your support, and please remember all the victims and families of this catastrophic event.

Day One, April 27, 2011

This is an entry from my blog, posted on Thurs., April 28, 2011


Blogging friends, I'm going to ask a huge favor. If you're a praying person, please send prayers. If you believe in good thoughts, positive energy, whatever, please send them our way.

Some of you may know I come from Alabama originally. I have family in Birmingham, Cullman, Blountsville and Tuscaloosa. Most of them are okay after yesterday's tornados. Two are not.

This is my nephew Garrett, and his bride of 8 months, Jennifer, taken on their honeymoon last August. Their house was leveled yesterday in the horrible tornado that ravaged Alabama. Garrett was found under a 5-foot pile of rubble approximately 100 yards from where his house used to be. He is alive, with a broken jaw, broken left wrist, broken left arm, slightly damaged spleen, bleeding around the kidneys, and a large gash in his right side. Right now he's on a ventilator at the University Hospital in Birmingham.

We don't know where Jennifer is.

When Kevin, Garrett's older brother, couldn't reach them by cell phone, he jumped in his car and went looking for them. He got there just as the first responders found Garrett, and helped them dig him out. They told Kevin there had been a female body nearby, no ID, and the body of a white bulldog in a cage, but they had already taken them to a staging area.

Garrett and Jennifer have a white English bulldog.

I've spoken with my brother, Garrett's dad, and Garrett will probably be all right, though he's not out of the woods yet. He doesn't know Jennifer's missing, and Frank doesn't know how to tell him. This is the same brother and sister-in-love who lost their oldest son to bone cancer at the age of 19--ten years ago this June. Janell also lost her mother 2 months ago.

Jennifer's dad has said if they call, he doesn't think he'll be able to go identify his little girl, so Frank will do it for him.

Frank and Janell have been through so much, and they loved Jennifer as a daughter. I can't believe they must go through this too.

So please, pray that Jennifer is found alive and well, and that Garrett heals completely. Miracles still happen everyday, and this family could use one. Please pray for strength for my brother and sister-in-love as they trudge through yet more tests of their faith.

I'll keep you posted.

Thanks, all.