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Wang, Chen enjoy best Valentine’s Day ever

From David Chen, husband of Theresa Wang, who is recovering from injuries sustained in the Nov. 19 car crash that also injured Colt Brennan:

Aloha to our Ohana,

By the time you read this update, Theresa will be in the recovery room at Swedish Medical Center, having successfully undergone one more operation. How do I know it will be a success since I’m still in the waiting room as I type this? Because everything has gone smoothly this morning and there is a feeling of warmth and reassurance while sitting here that all will be well.

The purpose of this unplanned procedure is to attempt the removal of the inferior vena cava (IVC) filter that was placed in Theresa’s artery way back in November at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. The IVC filter is called for to prevent a fatal pulmonary embolism for patients at risk but unable to accept anticoagulant meds for other reasons.

In Theresa’s case this was because of the severe bleeding from her numerous fractures.

Normally, this type of IVC filter is removed as soon as it is no longer needed and definitely within one month of insertion. But for whatever reason that was not explained to us, Theresa’s filter was not removed in Honolulu even long after the risk for pulmonary embolism had passed.

So here we are, almost three months after the insertion, attempting a procedure that is not without risk in order to prevent further complications down the road. To make things harder, the type of filter inserted in Honolulu, the Cordis OptEase, is no longer in favor precisely because of its short retrieval window and likelihood of attaching permanently to the artery and breaking apart as it deteriorates.

The interventional radiologist estimates the chance of successful retrieval at 20-40 percent, however he may not be aware that there is an even more powerful healer in the room. I know Theresa is in the best of hands and she will come through this as she has overcome every other obstacle on her healing journey of grace, thanks be to our Heavenly Father.

And sure enough, not 15 minutes after writing these words, I was called back to the recovery room and given the good news by the surgeon. The IVC filter had adhered slightly to the artery but with some gentle persuasion, it came out without further complication.

I’m sure it also helped that Theresa was in a very calm and serene mood this morning, her body sensing it was time to release this foreign body that had served its purpose and was no longer needed.

By now, Theresa had awakened and was tired but in good spirits. In fact, when the nurse showed her the remnants of the filter, Theresa asked if she could keep it to make a Christmas ornament. Due to bio-hazard rules, the answer was no, and for that I am also thankful.

Returning to her room at Craig Hospital, Theresa was trying to get some rest after the surgery, but couldn’t as she worried the Lovenox anticoagulant shots should be put on hold to prevent bleeding from the incision. After consulting with the internal medicine doc, the nurse tried to assure Theresa the shots were still necessary to prevent deep vein thrombosis due to her mostly seated or prone position.

Theresa still wasn’t convinced (sometimes too much knowledge can be a hindrance) so I held her hands and said a prayer as the nurse injected the meds into her abdomen. After the nurse left me to watch over Theresa, I could see her agitation increase because she felt she wasn’t being heard, and now the soreness of the injection site was an additional roadblock to getting any rest this day.

So once again, I called upon our Lord for guidance and it seemed within moments, there was another knock at the door. This time, the visitor was a Sister Carmen from the local St. Thomas parish who came to offer communion to Theresa. The Sister recited the communion blessings, followed by some healing prayers and finally by the Lord’s Prayer as I joined her in this familiar and comforting praise. Then she offered Theresa the Body of Christ but not His Blood due to the fluid restriction still in place. After bidding us farewell, Sister Carmen moved on to the other patients leaving Theresa to heal in peace.

Earlier this week, I was working on another update with descriptions of how it’s so wonderful to be reunited with Theresa after three weeks apart, how we spent the best Valentine’s Day ever, and how much she has progressed along her healing journey.

But today’s miracles trump those seemingly mundane stories and it was important to let all of our friends near and far know that our prayers continue to be answered daily. Thank you for your ongoing support and faith and we will continue to be thankful to our Lord for His grace and healing love.


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