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Posted 2019-01-07T03:33:00Z

Summary of what's going on with Cindra

First of all, thank you to everyone who has reached out looking for updates, offering their prayers and offering help.  I'm sorry I haven't had the time to respond to everyone. The team at Blodgett has been doing an excellent job caring for her which has allowed me to focus on making sure our kids are supported.  Our pastor suggested starting a site like this to allow me to post updates for everyone so you all have a place to go and I can make the updates once for everyone.

As we move forward, I'll keep your offers for help in mind.  In time, I may come up with some ideas, but in the short term, we don't know what tomorrow will hold, so please continue to pray for recovery.

Many of you may know that Cindra has a rare Rheumatoid condition where her immune system attacks the wound on her leg. Treatment has involved medicine that weakens her immune system.  Unfortunately, this makes her prone to catch every cold and flu bug going around.  Between Christmas and New Years', this is exactly what we assumed had happened.  However, she has been wheezing .  On Jan 2, her boss and teammates insisted that she go get checked out by a doctor.  A trip to her doctor's office and the follow-up chest x-ray confirmed that she had pneumonia.

After a couple more days of antibiotics, she didn't seem to be showing any improvement.  Then, on Saturday evening, she was completely winded walking from one room to the next. Later, she felt slightly better, so decided to take a shower, hoping that the warm, humid air would help her breathing.  She seemed fine after bandaging her leg, but I found her a short time later standing leaning against the bed struggling to catch her breath.  I asked if she wanted to go to the hospital, she shook her head "yes". I started looking for her coat and shoes and asked if she could make it to the car, she shook "no".  I asked her if I should call 911, she shook "yes"

I had no sooner given our names and address to the operator when she started gasping harder, barely able to pull any air in and within moments was starting to collapse.  I was able to slide her to the floor and per the operator's instructions, started CPR compressions.  Three of the kids heard the commotion and were in a panic at the scene as Cindra started to turn blue, but I was proud of how they pulled it together. Owen went out to the driveway to flag down the first responders and I had Destinee put the dog outside so she wouldn't be in the way when they arrived.  Ermithe even stepped in to continue CPR when I was starting to run out of breath.

We found out later that when the paramedics arrived, the found that her heart was no longer beating, but after getting a breathing tube in, it started again, but only 40 beats per minute. They took her to Zeeland Hospital by ambulance and a couple police officers gave our family a ride to meet her there while I called our parents who met us there.

The Zeeland Hospital ER was able to stabilize her and get her heart rate up back to normal, but sedated so that she wouldn't fight the breathing tube. They decided to transfer her to Blodgett by Aeromed for their more specialized lung care after an initial CT scan.

I decided to take the kids home an attempt to rest, or at least wind down a little, but it as almost 3am before any of us fell asleep while watching a movie.  The Blodgett team continued to run tests through the night.  Most concerning were some of her twitching movements that looked like seizures, but the scans and monitors don't seem to show anything that looks like seizures.

They did determine, that not only does she have a worsening case of bacterial pneumonia, but also RSV (a highly contagious viral infection). Anyone visiting must be in good health and wear a gown, mask and gloves.  They are also keeping her under a cooling blanket to reduce her body temperature until Monday to reduce the amount of oxygen needed and allow her heart to recover from the short stoppage.  She is currently heavily sedated and not expected to be fully conscious until at least Wednesday.

We did get Eildert moved into Kuyper to start orientation at his new college on Monday (1/7).  At this point, I am planning on having the kids go to school and go in to the office tomorrow to get a dose of "normal" before we'll want to be there more when she hopefully starts to wake and interact later in the week

Things I'm thankful for:

  • Everyone's prayers and messages of concern
  • That this happened when I was in the house and not the night before when I was away at a Boy Scout meeting, or earlier in the evening when I took the kids out for dinner.
  • How well the kids are handling this difficult time
  • All the offers of help

What we need now:

  • Continued prayers
  • Time to figure out what to ask for help with


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Comments (21)

  • Tina Martinie
    Tina Martinie

    Praying for Cindra and your family as she recovers. Thank you for providing this update!

    one year ago · Reply
  • Annette Carpenter
    Annette Carpenter

    If you need anything at all please let me know. You are all in my prayers, Drs for healing and Cindra for healing.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Ruth snyder
    Ruth snyder

    Prayers for Cindra and family.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Karen Kulakowski
    Karen Kulakowski

    We may be far from Holland but we are here if you need us. Prayers for Cindy and the family - Kulakowski’s

    one year ago · Reply
  • Sandy Hayes
    Sandy Hayes

    Praying for you Cindra and also the entire family.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Melody Byl
    Melody Byl

    Oh Derk!! I am just now finding this out!! I am so sorry you & the kids have to deal with this! Praying!!

    one year ago · Reply
  • Sarah Wilson
    Sarah Wilson

    Lots of prayers for Cindra and your family!!

    one year ago · Reply
  • Sherri White
    Sherri White

    We are friends of Paul & are praying for Cindra especially, but all of you as well.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Sally komejan
    Sally komejan

    We’re praying that God gives wisdom to the doctors and technicians so they know exactly what Cindra needs to get better. Also we pray your family feels God’s strength, peace and wisdom in the next few days.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Trudy Stema
    Trudy Stema

    Your family has been in my thoughts and prayers. Please let us know if you need anything.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Sue Bartels
    Sue Bartels

    Continued to pray for all of you as you navigate this challenging time. Praying Cindra's body will rest and heal more & more and that she is protected from any further illness. We're here to support you, whenever you decide what might be most helpful.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Tina Stevens
    Tina Stevens

    Please know that you all are in the thoughts and prayers of the Stevens family.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Marcy Comden
    Marcy Comden

    Goodness I am so sorry. This is incredibly scary to read. Prayers as you keep us updated.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Shelley Schipper
    Shelley Schipper

    This is soo scary, but God is in ccontrol. It’s hard to remember that His ways are not our ways! Praying for everybody.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Kari VanDrunen
    Kari VanDrunen

    So sorry to hear all this. I will pray hard for all of you. I will pray for a speedy recovery. Take care and god bless you all.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Kristin Vanderlaan
    Kristin Vanderlaan

    I saw a post from Connie Shingledecker, so I had to find out what was going on. Love & hugs to all of you! Way to step up kiddos! Praying for healing!!

    one year ago · Reply
  • Sarah Beckham
    Sarah Beckham

    Several staff members from Zeeland Public Schools are praying for your family and for healing for Cindra. We are here for you and the kids.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Marcia Donkersloot
    Marcia Donkersloot

    Praying for Cindra and your whole family!

    one year ago · Reply
  • Jackie Van Dam
    Jackie Van Dam

    Many many prayers for Cindra, you, your children and all docs and nurses caring for her. If you need anything, we are just down the road!!

    one year ago · Reply
  • Jeff Stempin
    Jeff Stempin

    Derk, I'm so sorry for your loss. I am praying for God's comfort and peace for you and your children.

    one year ago · Reply
  • Curt Johnson
    Curt Johnson

    I am really sorry to hear about your major loss. It sounds like you have some great kids. I will be praying for you guys.

    one year ago · Reply