UPDATE 13 May 2009. WONDERFUL NEWS from our little Colonel!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:11 AM, CDT The good news continues....Evan is being transferred to the floor and out of the ICU this afternoon. Praise God!!!! The doctors are also discontinuing one of his IV antibiotics so he will now be on only two. We still don't know how long he will be in the hospital but I am just happy right now he is doing so well. Now, ask me in a couple of days after sleeping in a very uncomfortable couch how I feel.. :)
Love to all,
UPDATE 12 May 2009. Looks l like that Spiritual Warfare is working. Keep it up for Evan!
From Evan's CaringBridge site:
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 7:59 PM, CDT
Dear All,We are still in the ICU but Evan is doing very well. He continues to amaze everyone. He has been off the dopamine drip since mid-morning and his blood pressure is holding steady. He continues to be afebrile, which is great. We plan on getting transferred out of the ICU tomorrow. The infectious disease doctor has visited Evan yesterday and today. The source of his sepsis still is a mystery and he remains on the three antibiotics via his IV. More blood cultures were drawn today which included a repeat of the bacterial ones and they added in some fungal cultures.
Evan also received some chemo today that he was supposed to have received yesterday. He tolerated it well. His ANC is still zero. His platelets had dropped again since his transfusion on Saturday so he received another transfusion today. Overall, his labs look good. He is eating which is great! He hasn't quite made it back to 1400 calories a day, which is his requirement, but he is making an effort. That's what you do when you are ARMY STRONG!!!!!!
Thanks for all the support, as always. We feel truly blessed to have so many people in sweet Evan's corner and also feel he is blanketed in prayer.
UPDATE 12 May 2009: For those of you who are not reading Evan's CaringBridge site he is doing better. He is alert. He has eaten a bit. Here is a snippet of what Rachel (Evan's mother) posted on CaringBridge this morning:
Evan is doing well. He is still on the dopamine drip at 3 mcg/kg/min. They tried to wean him off last night but his blood pressure would not tolerate it. It dropped back down to the 70/30s. His spirits are much better today.
Please continue to keep Evan, his family and the medical staff of St. Jude in your prayers.
UPDATE: Evan REALLY needs our prayers. He is in ICU and is being treated for septic shock. His mother has written an entry at their CaringBridge site (link below) with much more information. Please pray for Evan.
Today was one of those days that don't come to many in a lifetime. I met a six year old who grabbed my heart and made me remember to count every blessing I have no matter how big or how small I may think it is. I met a young man who has the MOST infectious laugh, the MOST incredible spirit and is just the cutest little guy around. I met COL Evan Pertile.
On May 2, 2009 Blackfive posted this about Evan Pertile - A Future Soldier You Should Know. Since I live in the Memphis area I decided to drop an email to his mom, Rachel, to find out if there was anything we could do to help. Within a few days Rachel and I were talking via phone and making plans to get together. I couldn't wait to meet both Evan and her. I continue to be amazed (but no longer suprised) at how things just "work out" and seem to tie together.
SSG Ryan Pitts, 173rd, 2-503, Chosen Few, is visiting with me this weekend. SSG Pitts was wounded at the Battle of Wanat on 13 July 2008 and is currently healing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. There'll be a story tomorrow about why SSG Pitts initially planned this visit.
But back to Evan...
I mentioned Evan's story to SSG Pitts and asked if he was interested in going to visit Evan. I barely finished the question before he said "yes!" So this morning SSG Pitts got up, put on his ACUs and we drove to the Target House to visit Evan and his mom. I had called Rachel to make sure Evan still felt like having company. She said he had been excited for a few days about SSG Pitts' visit so off we went.
We pulled into the parking lot at the Target House (which by the way is VERY impressive!), walked into the lobby and up to the reception desk where you are required to sign in. The lady behind the desk immediately thanked SSG Pitts for his service and for keeping her safe. *sigh* I love it when our military personnel are thanked in such a genuine way as she did. Then she asked who we had come to visit. I told her Evan Pertile. Without hesitation she announced he was resident in Target House II. After meeting Evan we knew why she recognized his name immediately.
I called Rachel to let her know we were on our way over to Target House II. She asked that we just come on up to their room. When we got there we knocked on the door. I stepped to the side so that Evan would only see SGT Pitts when the door opened. And boy did that door swing open wide and fast. When it did there stood the cutest little guy in the world with a smile from ear to ear. SSG Pitts is very tall and I laughed to myself as I watched Evan's head bend further and further back as he looked up towards SSG Pitts' face. We walked in and Evan was racing around the room. Not what we expected since he had chemo yesterday and a transfusion today and his counts are, according to his mom, at zero today.
Introductions and hugs between the adults then Rachel invited us to have a seat. SSG Pitts had barely settled into the couch when...
...two Wounded Warriors began to chat about Army life. My heart was flying!
And then SSG Pitts told Evan he had a few gifts for him from Paratroopers. SSG Pitts gave Evan one of the berets he has worn.
And showed him how to wear it
Handsome men don't you think?
Ryan also gave Evan a 173rd Airborne flag
Which Evan quickly unfolded
SSG Pitts also gave Evan a few things from Blackfive. One of them was an Army coin. SSG Pitts showed Evan how coins are often presented to Soldiers.
During all of the fun Evan's grandmother (Nana) and family friends the Wolfs arrived from brunch to join in the fun. Evan was bringing out his ACU blouse with his FULL BIRD COLONEL rank on it and proudly showing us his Army uniform. He and his mother also shared with us other Army and Air Force momentos that have been sent to him. He has received a Bronze Star with Valor, A Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. The sight of the Purple Heart reduced me to tears. Whoever sent that God Bless You. They also shared various unit patches and two or three coins that have been given to/sent to Evan.
The Wolfs had a long drive home so we said our goodbyes to them. Then Rachel brought out two of the most amazing scrap books I've ever seen. She is doing fantastic job of recording all of the great events that Evan has been invited to participate in with local professional basketball players, national and international golf players (at the FedEx/St. Jude Classic), Monster Truck events, as well as events at St. Jude.
Rachel wasn't sure the shot I got while they were looking at the scrapbook was "just right" so this one's for her :)
While we were looking at those "boring scrap books" Evan disappeared into his bedroom. Before too long he came out and abducted SSG Pitts. If only we had known what those two were up to!
Someone had given Evan a toy that made, well, sounds as if one was passing gas. And it has a REMOTE CONTROL for it. Evan needed assistance to get the batteries in and the toy operational. He enlisted the assistance of SSG Pitts.
For the next half hour or so the rooms in their suite resounded with various "forms" of the sound of, well - I mentioned it above. Evan was squealing with laughter as he moved the toy around from room to room. He would set it under someone's chair and slip away to the next room and hit the remote. I think he must have put it in every pocket he could reach on SSG Pitts' uniform. His laughter rang throughout the suite causing all of us to laugh until our faces hurt. Nana's laughter was the best!
OK, that photo melts my heart!
All too soon (actually an hour and a half that seemed like so much less time than that) we decided it was time to go because we didn't want to tire Evan out too much. One last group photo (with Evan standing on a chair) before we began to say our goodbyes.
As we began to hug Rachel and Nana goodbye Evan disappeared. Rachel found him and came back to tell us that he didn't like to say goodbye to Soldiers and that he was a bit weepy. So we didn't get to say an official "goodbye" but called out to Evan as we left.
I'm happy to report that Evan DID eat while we were there. If you read his story at CaringBridge you will understand more about Evan needing to continue to be ARMY STRONG! I'm also happy to report that Rachel says the treatment is going very well and that all looks good right now. However, they will be in chemo treatment through August so please keep Evan, his family and the incredibly staff at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in your prayers. And let's keep up the emails, signing of the guestbook at CaringBridge and other contact with Evan going. It IS making a difference.
To all of the Army recruiters in the Memphis area who have befriended Evan - THANK YOU!
To all of the military personnel around the world - literally - who have reached out to Evan, sent him well wishes, mailed him packages with the most touching and meaningful contents -- THANK YOU!
To SSG Ryan Pitts - THANK YOU for spending so much of the afternoon with Evan. Seeing the two of you ARMY STRONG Soldiers together made a lot of people very happy and sure made a six year old happy, too.
OK, you Blackfive readers, and anyone else who wants to get involved, as Matt (B5) would say, "you know what to do". And if you need my help doing it email me at tankerbabelc at gmail.com
Keep your eyes open for Evan. You'll be seeing him around a lot. The Pentagon is coming to town to interview him. And St. Jude has asked him to be a "spokesman" for them (after meeting him I sure know why).