Status Report on Mary Witmer, 181116

It’s been a number of days since I’ve provided an update on Mary’s recovery from aortic valve replacement surgery on November 1.

In general she is making good headway but we’re learning that there’s a lot more to this experience than a one-time two-hour operation on the heart itself. Along with the primary incision to access her heart the surgeon made a number of other incisions for various other related purposes. One incision was used for post-op chest drainage and to channel a set of wires running directly to her heart. Mary said that pulling out those wires, which were still attached to her heart, on the day of discharge (five days after surgery) was probably the most painful moment of her entire stay in the hospital. That wound has still not healed and, because she is on Coumadin, it has continued to bleed. In fact, yesterday she needed to report in person to the doctor’s office for it to be examined. There is no infection or totally out-of-control bleeding as of this morning, but the surgeon’s office and Mary’s PCP are actively monitoring developments (a number of phone calls again today) and we will certainly appreciate your prayers that this situation will soon resolve.

Otherwise Mary is gaining strength, walking regularly (inside because of all the snow and ice), showering daily, and even entertaining a few friends who have stopped by for a brief visit. We’ve been blessed with plenty of food and grateful for all of the many gracious expressions (cards, comments on blog, phone calls) of concern and support. God has blessed us through the kindness of family and friends like you.

Vin Upham, AIIA board member and retired minister from New York who had made himself available as our caregiver, continues to work hard every single day — laundering, chauffeuring, cleaning, snow blowing, cooking, picking up the mail, baking pies and homemade bread, running the wood stove, grocery shopping, and so much more. He is always promptly available when we need him and he does all that he does with a cheerful spirit.

Without going into a great deal of detail (that might take a book) I will say that our normal space, privacy (I’ve always been rather intensely private), and my personal male dignity have all taken a hit during this time. Most of that is just unavoidable and perhaps even serves some greater purpose. But it’s been hard at times. If you’ve ever been physically vulnerable or dependent you know that it isn’t easy. I’ve been in the hospital many times but somehow what isn’t such a big issue there is more so here in my own home. Why is that? Our schedules and lives have been — and still are — significantly altered. But we’re all buoyed by the fact that this is time-limited, and mindful that for so many others that is not the case.

Because Vin Upham is on AIIA’s board and has spent a lifetime in Christian ministry, he shares my interest in theology and apologetics. That has made for some interesting conversations over the breakfast and dinner table. Yesterday his cereal was getting soggy and my coffee was getting cold as we conversed with much animation about everything from the doctrine of election to exactly what we Christians mean when we say that Jesus is “real” in our lives. Mary had long since excused herself to get on with the day.

Well, if you’re still reading at this point you must be more than casually interested in our lives — and very patient. That is also an encouragement. Thanks for being “with” us in this journey.

Daryl E. Witmer

Posted in Blog | Comments


  1. Gina Plain
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Very interested! Praying along.

  2. David Sylvester
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Hi Daryl and Mary- Well that was quite n update!! Nancy and I continue to pray for Mary and for you. We will also include Rev. Vin Upham in our prayers. Here is truly a preacher who practices what he has preached!
    God Bless you all….

  3. Leslie, Joe
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Yes!! very interested. There usually is a lot more to surgery than one expects since (PTL) w’re not professional patients and don’t know much.

    The unsealing wounds must be a great concern and definitely a prayer focus.

    Having spent considerable time in the hospital last year, I completely understand the blow to one’s dignity. I am a very private person, but that was invaded without so much as an “excuse me!” I had to look at it as something to be thankful for as I received excellent care.
    You have the right attitude about this being NOW, not forever – that healing will take place and life will go back to normal, making this whole trial a distant memory.
    Praise God for your wonderful friend and caregiver and one on your wavelength to boot!
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving with grateful hearts.
    Sending love and hugs as always, Leslie and Joe

  4. Debbie Falkenburg
    Posted November 16, 2018 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Still veto interested too! Praying for the bleeding to stop and thanking God He will continue to care for Mary and you.

  5. gail burkholder
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    I too have been reading along praying for your family and the dear pastor’s family as well. I am so amazed at the faithfulness of God in providing for your needs. Vin’s servant heart is truly to be commended and is a blessing to the ministry of AIIA. Sounds like his presence has made a tough situation much brighter! Blessings to all as we approach the Thanksgiving season. Praying for Mary’s restoration to better than ever!

  6. Marlenr Groff
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Dear Daryl and Mary,
    Thanks for the update. Continuing prayers for both of you and now will have some more specifics to pray about. I’m so happy to hear Mary is doing as well as she is. I hope to call you tomorrow.
    Love,hugs, and prayers,
    Aunt Marlene

  7. Jennifer Stinchfield
    Posted November 17, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Just a quick comment to let you know the Stinchfield clan continues to lift you up in prayer!

  8. Ralph & Brenda King
    Posted November 18, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the update on Mary.

    We will continue to pray for healing. Ralph had total knee replacement Oct 16 and is working at therapy daily. We are thankful you have Vin to help. love and prayers. Brenda


  9. Brenda King
    Posted November 18, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the update on Mary.

    We will continue to pray for healing. Ralph had total knee replacement Oct 16 and is working at therapy daily. We are thankful you have Vin to help. love and prayers. Brenda


  10. Julie Sandy
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Daryl, So good to have your blog to read for updates on you and Mary. Praying for her healing daily. How painful that must have been getting those wires pulled out. Yikes. Praying for you as well. It has to be very hard with the whole privacy thing. What you said makes total sense. In a hospital, it’s almost “expected” to give up our privacy rights, haha. All of the staff members see it all as we go from room to room and patient to patient. I still always try to keep my patients as modest as possible and close the door for privacy during assessments, etc. At home, it would be different unless it’s your loved one who is helping you and in your case right now, Mary isn’t able to. How wonderful it is that God has provided this amazing godly man to assist you. What’s even cooler to me is that you both share the same passions of apologetics. That’s truly God having his hand in this, showing his faithfulness in the details.
    Thank you for sharing how we can best pray for you all and for being transparent. You and Mary have been on my heart so much and I pray as the Lord nudges me- which is often.
    Love to you both from Stephens City, VA.

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