Monday, April 27, 2015


Sue, Chris, and I met with several of the staff at BJEC--an occupational therapist, a physical therapy, a speech therapy, the resident chaplain, and Sue's social worker--to review Sue's status and the plan for the future.  Sue is still not oriented to time and space.  She does know Chris and me, and she will answer simple questions.  However, her progress is very slow.  She still cannot stand unaided and has to be moved from bed to chair with a Hoyer lift.   The staff who were in the meeting all know Sue very well from her past stays at BJEC and could not be more kind and loving.

I spoke to the house physician, Dr. Bavilsik, after the meeting.  He thought Sue was improved when he saw her on Saturday but was most responsive to my concerns about her slow progress.  He immediately ordered a round of tests--bloodwork, urinalysis, and scans--to make sure Sue is not suffering from some underlying problem the hospital missed.

I will meet again with the social worker on Friday to assess where Sue is.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sue's Birthday

The Louisville Spreitlers sent Sue a luau party package for her birthday.
Scott explained in the card that he shopped, baked, packed, and mailed the gifts while Beth watched sports. Right, Scott. We recognize Beth's fingerprints. They were all over everything. (More pics in or bikini tops and grass skirts coming.)

Friday, April 17, 2015


Sue is now at Barnes Jewish Extended Care about five minutes from our house.  She spent eight days at Barnes Jewish Hospital downtown and underwent a whole lot of testing that revealed nothing.  While downtown she suffered a long seizure Tuesday night.  The physician on call gave her a hefty dose of ativan to stop the seizing.  Once before she had a similar dose, and it put her in a groggy, sleepy state for four days.  Same thing is happening now.  We will know a lot more when this stuff wears off, and she come into herself again.  No matter what, though, she will be in for weeks of intensive physical therapy to get back the strength she has lost from 8-10 days lying in bed.  I often wonder why one person has had to endure so much torment.  Sue's spirit is such that, up and alert, she enjoys herself.  I pray she returns to that state and soon.

Janet sent me an e-mail today explaining that it is she and her daughter Nancy who watch "Call the Midwife."  They have a mother-daughter date while Pete is doing his volunteer work at the local hospital.  Makes sense since the program is truly a "chick flick" kind of thing.  Brother Pete has so much soul that he would probably like it, too.

I've also watched all of "House of Cards," all that is available to date, that is.  The dark, unattractive characters in "House of Cards" are far removed from the shining examples of personhood in the women of "Call the Midwife."   Neither Sue nor Shirley will watch it.

A Television Show

Janet and Pete recommended another BBC television series to us, "Call the Midwife."  We are hooked on it.  The premise of the show is quite simple.  A group of nuns and nurse midwives provide healthcare, especially prenatal and natal care, to people in a very poor part of London in the 1940's and 50's.  I have watched all the past shows by purchasing them from and watching them on my iPad (my private television set, as it turns out).  Shirley and Sue are catching up.   This is the most gripping television I have seen since the 1980's when I was similarly hooked on "I, Claudius," also a BBC presentation.

At Janet and Pete's recommend, we also watched "The Bletchley Circle."  Wonderful, too.  We are waiting for further guidance on great entertainment. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Sue was scheduled to enter rehab at BJC on Wednesday but suffered a setback during the night, so she remained at Barnes Jewish Hospital until this afternoon when she was transferred to BJEC for rehab.  I saw her shortly after her arrival by ambulance.  She was sleepy and tired, not fully conscious of the move or her situation.  She had a lot of med modifications and changes while hospitalized, and it always takes a while for her system to settle down after such an ordeal.

Janet and Merri; Mother and Daughter

Brayden visiting his Grandmother in Hospital

Brayden Greeting Sue in Hospital

Caitlin in Front of the Church

Caitlin is Pete and Janet's granddaughter who was married on Saturday.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Last Wednesday Sue had a setback and by Thursday noon was headed to the emergency room in an ambulance.  After days of testing and scratching of many heads, most things have been ruled out.  She is a medical mystery and, at the same time, a medical marvel.

Sue spent the first night at Missouri Baptist Medical Center then was transferred to Barnes-Jewsish downtown where her physicians are.  Today she will go back to Barnes Jewish Extended Care (BJEC) for intensive rehab.  Her spirits are good.  She is enjoying Cardinal baseball but hasn't been well enough to do her usual computer stuff.

Chris, Shelly, and Brayden returned from their ski trip to Colorado late on Friday.  We had Brayden Saturday.  Sue was overjoyed to see him.  At age 12 he is as delightful as he was at age 2.  Shirley and I went with him to the Galleria shopping center to buy new pants, all his now too "high water."  Looking around, he said he didn't care for those clothes that had "names on them."  Smart kid.

Yesterday we learned that Jalen has been awarded the Kentucky Governor's Scholar Award, a huge deal that means he will get much of his in-state college paid.  This summer he will spend five weeks at a Kentucky university in an intensive college experience as part of the award.  Congratulations, Jalen!!!  The award is given to students who have an excellent academic record (Jalen has a 4.0 GPA), test well, have shown leadership ability, and involved writing an essay.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

I Started this post but i'm but i'm not sure where it went.

The nurse just for her last visit and the occupational and physical therapists are all three finished with me.  The trough is in and Marnett and I will pick it up in the morning.  We haven't heard much from Colorado nor Kentucky but that is no surprise.  

We're having Whole Foods Chicken for supper and Marnett and I may go out to lunch after we pick up the trough.  I think the doctor's office had misplaced it and found it.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Bray with Shelly and Chris


Stephanie sent this update for the Gazette:

"I went for my Intrathecal Methatrexate treatment on Tuesday, March 24th, and had some complications.  It took 4 lumbar punctures before they were able to get any spinal fluid back and do the chemo treatment for the brain and central nervous system.  What should have taken about 15 minutes took 2 hours and I was very sedated by the time they were done.  We finally arrived home about 4:30 or so.  I went the next day to the oncologist for my check up and RCHOP chemo and when they too my temperature by for head, it was only 94.5.  It was  taken orally and it was 101.5, so everything was put on hold until the following Monday and a round of antibiotics.  I was able to get my RCHOP chemo, but it has moved things back by nearly a week, so we are going to be at this a bit longer.

While there the doctor gave me the results of the latest CT/PET scan and that appears to show that the tumors are beginning to shrink, PRAISE GOD!.  We will continue on this course of action until the chemo is done (I have one more round of the Intrathecal Methatrexate and 3 more of the RCHOP), then after 6 weeks they will do another CT/PET scan and check the progress of the tumors.  If there is more growth, then more chemo....if not then they will continue to follow up with scans periodically and we will do whatever is needed to treat this cancer.  It does have a 49% chance of recurrence within the first 4 years, so if you could add some prayers for me to be in the 51%, I would be most grateful.  Thank you so much for the prayers, the cards, the hats, and all the loving thoughts.  Anna (Fellin) thank you for the beautiful and comforting quilt.  I am attaching a picture.

Love you all,


She also sent along the photograph of herself holding the quilt Anna made for her which we posted earlier.

Thanks for the update, Stephanie.  We wish you more good news and a speedy transit through the effects of the chemo.

Many of our readers have expressed an interest in helping Stephanie and Dan through this troubling time.  They have family and church people who help with the everyday needs like travel, shopping, and housekeeping.  They are having considerable financial difficulties.  Anyone wishing to help, please send your check to:  Stephanie and Dan Schmitt, 80 Michael Court, Troy, MO  63379.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter To Everyone

We don't have any plans that I know of except for a fine dinner.   Chris and Shelly and Brayden are in Colorado (Copper Mountain) on a ski-snowboard trip.  Chris and Brayden stopped by here Friday evening so we got  to see them briefly.  Brayden is on Spring break and was eager to get to Chris and Shelly's and see the new puppy. We ordered pizza and he commented that was the first time he had ever seen me eat pizza.  Chris agreed with him about my eating pizza.  I liked it.

Marnett isn't coming today but tomorrow both the helpers will come.  Marnett has really worked out very well and I'm  hoping to find someone as effencient as she is for lake time. I want to spend some time down there and find someone to stain the deck.  My lake exer-cycle  bike isn't working, and I need someone to take a look at it.  The boat and wave runner need de-winterize.

It's chilly this morning - 34 degrees.  Probably a lot colder on Copper Mountain.  The Cardinals versus the Cubs start the baseball season today in Chicago.  Scott told me the  game won't be on TV here.  I don't know why not.

I'm not good on Facebook (better at AOL) will try to catch up and learn.

Bear and Bray in Colorado

Saturday, April 04, 2015


Here is something I stole off Stephanie's Facebook page that is too wonderful not to share here:

Stephanie wrote:

"This quilt was made and sent to me by my cousin Anna last month, and it is, without a doubt, the softest, most warming, comforting quilt I have ever used (and, yes, it travels in it's own plastic protective bag to Chemo!) Thank you so much Anna."

She added this beautiful photo:

Friday, April 03, 2015

Good Friday With Several Changes

It's Good Friday.  The home healthcare nurse came yesterday and will only come one more time.  My heart rate was good and my blood pressure was also good.  I thought the occupational therapist was going to come back but maybe I was mistaken.   I keep doing alI can.  Marnett took me to my neurologist appointment on Wednesday, and I don't have to go back to see him for several months,

Brayden and Beth leave Louisville! tonight and will meet Chris in St. Louis.  .  Beth is going on a cruise with her mother and a girlfriend.  Chris, Shelly and Brayden will go on to Colorado on their ski trip.

We had three young men here for dinner who had recently returned from Colorado, and they said there's plenty of snow for skiing,  They are bikers, rock climbers, and also skiers.    We're not sure about where in Colorado the Spreitlers are staying but maybe we'll find out soon.

I'm waiting on Marnett to assist me in the shower, to help me with my exercises, and perhaps go out to lunch with me.  Plans change around here (sometimes even after I have gone to bed) and I don't know about the change until the next day or so.

Now PLANS HAVE CHANGED.  Highway 64 in Louisville is closed because of flooding (Ohio River?),  and Brayden's and Beth's schools are closed too.  Beth is bringing Brayden to St. Louis today so we're hoping to get to see more of them.  Brayden and Beth are both on Spring Break.  They will go home together next weekend upon their returns to St. Louis.

I interviewed a woman this week who is a potential for a summer companion at the lake. She came with Marnett on Monday briefly and is highly recommended by Marnett.  She doesn't have any small children and has a nice car.  She's coming back on Monday for more orientation.   I haven't definitely hired her yet, but she's a real possibility.  I'm wanting to spend some Spring time at the lake also.

The deck at the lake really needs staining, and I believe I may have some of the stain in the storage shed.  If not, I'll get it.  I would really like to get done before summer gets here.

I'm sitting by the front window hoping to see Beth and Brayden arrive.

Now, plans have changed again.  Chris is coming over here with Brayden so we will get to see them today.  We're going to convince them they should stay and have salad (leftover from last night)  and we'll order in a pizza for the main course.  Beth is spending the evening with her girlfriend.  Shelly is packing for the Colorado trip.

We'll take some pictures and post them.  They're not here yet.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Merri Felin Johnson, Daughter of John L. (Pete) and Janet Felin

Zions names new president for eastern Idaho

Merri Johnson
Zions Bank has named Merri Johnson its Eastern Idaho region president.

Johnson joined Zions in 2001 as a customer service manager in the Idaho Falls Downtown Financial Center and later was promoted to operations manager for the region. She has served as financial center manager, commercial loan officer and consumer loan officer.

In her new position she is responsible for the “strategic direction, market share growth and profitability of the region’s 13 financial centers,” according to a Zions news release. She also directs the region’s retail sales and service, small business lending, financial center operations and community relations efforts.

Zions Bank operates 25 full-service financial centers in Idaho and 100 financial centers in Utah. The company's Web site is


Congratulations, Merri!