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October 4, 2006

It has been several months since the last update, so we have plenty to share with you all today!  Meghan turns four years old on October 16th!  We will be celebrating and giving thanks for her life each day, each year, and each birthday.  For Meghan’s birthday gift, we are asking each of you to say a prayer, a rosary, a novena, fast and/or spend an hour in front of the blessed Sacrament for Meghan.  She endures so much and is still in great need of your prayers…Prayers are the greatest gift each of you could possibly give.

Summer Days
Meghan thoroughly enjoyed the summer months with daily walks, visits to the park, and other outdoor activities.  Meghan seems to be happiest when she is enjoying the outdoors with her family.  It is priceless to see the joy on her face when the sun is on her face and the wind is blowing through her hair!  One of Meghan’s big summer outings was to an Ann Arbor park to join in the “Vent Clinic Picnic,” which included all the vent clinic families.  Our entire family had a blast visiting with other families, playing with the other kids and meeting the families of the vent clinic physicians and nurses. Some pictures of that day are included in the newly posted pictures.  Recently, Meghan enjoyed attending Michael’s home football game on a glorious September day.  She will surely miss the summer months now that fall is here and winter is closing in.

Wall of Courage
Thanks to the wonderful Pediatric ICU nurses at U of M Mott Hospital, a new addition to the PICU halls debuted in early July.  It is entitled “The Wall of Courage” and is dedicated to all the brave kids that spent months in unit.  Each child that graces this wall is a hero and has a courageous story.  The wall was beautifully painted and offers hope to all the kids and families that enter the ICU.  Our heart felt thanks to all of the nurses and volunteers that lovingly constructed the Wall of Courage and for including our brave little girl.

Medical Update
Meghan has been hospital-free for two consecutive years!  Thank the good Lord for that milestone!  Her last stay at U of M Mott Hospital was in October, 2004, but she has been stable ever since.  We still take Meghan into several different clinic settings, but these are scheduled visits, not over night stays. 

Meghan still remains ventilator dependent, although she does not require supplemental oxygen.  She is still tube fed, has a trach, and is unable to move.  Thus, Meghan requires 24 hour care by trained nurses, by us or by Meghan’s Aunt Liz and Aunt Carol.  Meghan’s typical week involves a visit from the physical therapist, the occupational therapist, respiratory therapist, home school teacher and many well-wishers.  Needless to say, our house is a bustle of activity each and every day! 

It remains difficult to discuss the areas of Meghan’s condition that are not going well.  Most recently, we visited the pediatric orthopedic surgeon.  The doctor showed us Meghan’s spinal x-ray, which hit us like a ton of bricks.  We had noticed Meghan’s scoliosis getting worse, but remained hopeful that it would not require surgery.  Unfortunately, the x-ray confirmed a vast increase in the curvature of Meghan’s spine.  Although no words can fully describe what the x-ray showed, I will try.   The most accurate way to describe Meghan’s spine is a sideways “U”.  That is no exaggeration.  Although the scoliosis does not physically hurt Meghan, it will eventually start impacting her lungs ability to fully expand.  The surgeon described our options and the most likely course of action involves corrective surgery that would require attaching “growing rods” onto her back to straighten it.  The recovery will be long and tedious, but will allow for Meghan’s lungs to take in full volumes of air.

To allow Meghan’s spine to grow along with the rest of her body, the “growing rods” need to be adjusted every six months. This requires surgery every six months until Meghan is fully grown.  These surgeries, although serious, do not require as much recovery time as the initial surgery.  The surgeon said that because Meghan is so fragile and on a ventilator, she would like to hold off on the initial surgery until spring to keep Meghan out of the hospital during the onset of the cold and flu season. 

Meghan’s vent clinics are going well.  Her lungs remain strong, as do all of her organs.  Meghan’s vent clinic team thinks Meghan is looking great!  On her last visit to vent clinic, the staff was delighted with her weight, growth and her stability.  They told us that it is uncommon for children on ventilators to stay out of the hospital for more than two consecutive years! 

Ellen Speaks Out
As you may have heard, Meghan’s mother, Ellen, has been asked to be one of four key note speakers at the upcoming Catholic Women’s Conference—A Women’s Journey to the Heart of Christ.  If you have read the past updates, you can grasp some of what Meghan and our family endures on a daily basis.  Now, I encourage all the women that are reading this to attend the conference to hear Ellen speak on our family’s journey to the Heart of Christ and our deepening faith.  Her pro-life message is one of hope, love, and embracing God’s will.  Every man out there should buy a ticket for each of the special women in your life.  It will be a very rewarding day for all in attendance.  The conference will take place on October 21, 2006, at the Macomb Community College Sports & Expo Center. 

At this time, please say a prayer for Meghan.

In Him,

Mike and Ellen Salter

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