Monday, March 25, 2024


Yesterday Laurie, Traci, & I visited our dear friend & former Costa Rica Mission Director - Jim Butski - and his family at Shands Children's Hospital in Gainesville for several hours. It was wonderful and awful at the same time. I'm not going to sugar coat it. Here's the update:

- Jim had a massive and severe stroke on Jan 31, 2024. As of today he has been in the hospital for 55 days. If I remeber correctly, the first week or two he was on a ventilator and unresponsive.
- On Jan 31st Jim felt the stroke coming on and called 911 as he was getting into his car (I believe before his 3rd day at his dream job with FWC in Gainesville) and when the ambulance arrived they found him collapsed on the ground unresponsive next to his car.
- His first stroke (about 6 years ago) affected about a golf ball size of his brain while his 2nd stroke affected about a grapefruit size part of his brain.
- it has left him severely debilitated
- he does understand & comprehend
- he wants visitors and needs our love & support
- he needs a supernatural miracle
- his 2nd stroke has affected the "good side" of his body that was not affected by the last stroke.
- the surgeons removed the blood clot from his brain, but the part of his brain that didn't receive blood because of the clot has died.
- he can't talk
- he can't write
- at this time he can only say "no" and nod yes and move his "bad" arm and move his eyes as forms of communication. You have to figure out what he is trying to say almost like playing charades with very few hints.
- he can see like he was able to see before the stroke, but the part of the brain that has learned how to read has died... so he can see, but not read.
- he cries & sobs at times (both when sad & when laughing)... the stroke makes his emotions very raw
- he can eat, but has to be fed and is on a feeding tube at night as an added supplement
- he rests a lot and can fall asleep easily when there isn't something keeping his attention, but that has always been Jim hahaha! He has always either been on a wild adventure, coaching, teaching, or taking a nap LOL!
- he was engaged almost the entire time we were there as long as we were engaged with him and telling stories (laughing and crying at times)
- he seeks and makes good eye contact
- he has some facial and right side "droop" ... his right side is paralyzed so that side of his face & body drops downward slightly, but not nearly as dramatic as we expected.
- he looks very healthy
- his mom & dad have been there daily since Day 1, and are staying at a family member's house an hour & 15 minutes away so they commute back & forth each day
- his mom was a nurse for 50 years and demonstrates great motherly love, care, & empathy as well as helping stretch his muscles and give him basic physical therapy
- he needs aggressive physical therapy, but isn't getting it at this hospital.
- he loves hearing from friends & family. His family is reading all the comments on FB to him. They sometimes have to show him the picture of the person's profile before they read the comment because he doesn't always know who it is when they only say the name.
- they are trying to find a good rehab facility for him in Charleston, SC near where his parents and sisters live.
- we brought pictures from past times with Jim (great job Laurie!) and relived the stories with him. It made him laugh & cry at times, but he really loved it. Traci brought him a birthday card & I brought him a blown up poster of him with a group on one of our adventures
- as you can imagine he has many new limitations that are very hard in and of themselves, but visiting him brought him (and us) great joy... and when another friend from high school showed up to visit him his face lit up.
- I highly recommend going to visit him, bring pictures and retell stories, love on him, pray with him, and tell him how he has impacted your life.
- Jim is in a private room at Shands Children's Hospital in Gainesville (currently on the 5th floor). Address is 1600 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville, FL 32608
- If you are not able to visit right away then make a video and send it to his phone!! We made a video from my Dad and he started to cry because it touched him so much.
- His 53rd birthday is Thursday March 28th

We serve a God that makes dead things come back to life. My prayer with bigger than mustard-sized faith is that God would resurrect the parts of his brain that have been declared as dead... in faith, we declare them alive again. That's my prayer & declaration of faith.