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Dear Joan,

My heart and prayers are with you. May God hold you in the palm of his hand and give you both his strength. --Love, Christina


Dear Joan,

The following words of Psalm 23 always comfort me. Whatever your beliefs, I hope they comfort you and support Bill.


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside still waters.
He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the paths
of righteousness for his names sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and they staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest me a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies:
thou annointest my head head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


Dear Everybody,

We are back in St. Louis after driving in an ambulance for 15 hours at 75 mph through seven lightning storms and arriving at midnight at Barnes Hospital.

The next day Bill's heart rate for most of the day was over 185 beats per minute. It's a wonder to me that his dear heart didn't break! The Drs. finally got that under control before they had to give him a very dangerous med to try to stop it from atrifillibrating.

He got so many blood tests it seems he can't have much blood left. They still cannot discover why the platelets are being destroyed inside his body. He's getting red cell transfusions too. They are even testing him for HIV because of all the other transfusions he has had in the past five years.

They took a CT scan and have found three new nodules on his lung and a mass on his left and only remaining kidney. The pulmonologist says that this is "worrisome." We have not been told exactly what it is they have found. They cannot even chance a biopsy because of the fear of hemorrhaging due to such low platelets.

I have told all the Drs., numbering now about 35, about my sense that this all stems from the ileus he had about 2 1/2 months ago. they are listening to me and testing for every fungi, virus, and bacteria culture.

Eventually the body will reject all new platelets introduced, I'm told. The hematologist team of seven Drs. have concocted a "cocktail" of meds designed to suppress the immune system so the body won't destroy the platelets. All last night he had a drip of about one liter of fluid into his IV, which took about 8 hours. Then they gave him another pack of platelets. And then early this morning his body was so filled w/ excess fluid that he went into heart failure again and we almost lost him... again.

He's now in ICU, getting 12 liters of oxygen, and now we go reverse and they are pulling out fluid like crazy to clear the lungs. It's a seesaw. Also they found he now has too much potassium = having given him some w/ each lasix (water) injection. So he had to drink some concoction to pull out the excess potassium (as a laxative). I tell you this so you can join me in hysterical laughter because in the next 15 minutes they gave him an iron pill - which binds!!!

I am grateful he's not in any pain other then being a pin cushion and his veins won't give blood anymore.

It's a very disconcerting time in our lives, dear ones. In ICU I was able to be of some help to a woman who is facing the reality of losing her husband. At the moment I was strong and was able to hold her and give her some strength. I'm grateful for that.

My Bill is now in God's Hands because I am fighting as hard as I can but not getting much results so I am ever watchful but know that this is our Life now and we will live it with courage and with grace.

I love you and appreciate with all my heart your prayers and positive energy.

This is the first time I've been home since I came back to St. Louis. I've have been living at the hospital and doing round the clock nursing except for the needle stuff. :0
Like everywhere else, they are understaffed and overworked so I do all I can to make their jobs easier.

Please hold Bill in your prayers and ask for the best result in this most recent health challenge. I miss you so much.

Love, Joan


Dear Joan -- Just read the latest report on Bill. My heart aches for both of you. What a time you have had. You know you are in my thoughts and prayers -- hopefully, with so many people on your side -- your Bill will come through this one, too.

No need to answer this -- I just wanted you to know I've been following your trials and thinking of you.

Love, Helen


I don't ask for the meaning of the song of a bird or the rising of the sun on a misty morning. There they are, and they are beautiful.
-- Pete Hamill


The Harbinger

By Bill Walker

It wasn't noon yet, but the temperature was already approaching ninety-five degrees on the morning I started my flight training at Fort Wolters. It was warm for May, even for Texas, and since the base was intended to be a training ground for Vietnam, the heat just made the experience all the more authentic. We knew that the lucky few who made it through the grueling nine-month warrant officer flight- training course would soon be off to a destination even hotter than Texas.

As nearly two hundred of us stood at attention, we were flushed with excitement. On this day, we would finally begin the "hands on" portion of flight school. We had been through nine tough weeks of basic training in Louisiana and four weeks of continuous harassment from our tactical officers while we began the ground school portion of our classes. The purpose of the harassment, we knew, was to shake out anyone from the program who couldn't handle the pressure of intimidation and confusion. The ability to remain focused during combat is critical to survival.

That morning, however, no amount of harassment could have taken away from the excitement of climbing into the cockpit of the TH-55 training helicopter to actually begin learning to fly. Although it was common knowledge that only a portion of those who began flight school would actually end up with wings, each of us was convinced that we would soon fly "above the best." Lunch, and our tactical officers, were all that stood between us and our first flight. We knew from experience that the tac officers could be brutal, so we wondered, uneasily, what they would throw at us during this portion of our training.

As we stood rigidly facing the tac officer, waiting for instructions, a tiny robin hopped out in front of our formation. It seemed confused and a little frightened. Suddenly, its mother flew a low swoop across the lawn, as if encouraging her youngster to take to the air. Despite our efforts to remain focused on the men in command in front of us, everyone's eyes followed the birds. Even our officers turned to watch, mesmerized by the scene.

Over and over, the tiny bird ran as fast as its little legs could move, taking off after its mom. But despite its best efforts, gravity kept it tethered to the earth. Again and again, the little ball of feathers raced across the grass, flapping its wings, only to hop up on a stone at the end of its long run.

Completely ignoring the crowd of staring bystanders, the mother robin swooped down after her baby's attempts to fly, cajoling and chiding it. "Like this," she seemed to be saying. "Try again." All two hundred of us watched breathlessly, silently praying for the little bird to succeed. Each time it flapped and hopped its way across the lawn in front of us, we'd groan at its failure.

Finally, after we had stood at attention for what seemed like hours just watching, those tiny wings took hold of the air, and the baby bird became airborne for a few feet. You could almost see the little bird swell with pride. Then, on one last run across the front of our formation, the gray piece of fluff rose into the air. Two hundred would-be warrant officers burst into wild cheers. We watched, ecstatic, as the little bird followed its mother to the horizon. Our tac officers turned back to us, smiling. What could they add? It had been the ultimate flight lesson.


Dearest Friend;

We were gone for a short while and were quite shocked when I got to the E-mail to get the report on Bill.

We are holding you both up in prayer. Have given your names to every prayer warrior we know. That is considerable, so know that you are being covered. May you feel them working and see them healing in Bill.

We love you and remember "Who's Report Do We Believe"? "We Believe the Report of the Lord". God Bless and Keep You.

Love, Shirley & Bill


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