Vashon Island Community Church

Notes from your Pastor

Thoughts and meditations

An Update on Mike’s Dad (June 12, 2019)

Dear VICC family,


I felt I should probably keep you updated on my dad’s health situation and the adaptations our family is making in response. Thanks to everyone who is praying and to those who have helped us out financially or with the loan of a second car for Nichole and Ava while I am in the city. American Christian culture proves it’s easy to complain about church, just like it’s easy to complain about family. But when things get difficult, there is nothing like church and family to keep you going. I know we are a far from perfect little community, and I am a deeply flawed pastor in many ways, and I know as a church we have not always been there for every member in their hurts. The love you guys are showing me comes with a little pain thinking of the times I, or we, have failed to be the people we needed to be for someone in our midst. May God grant us the mercy to never to fall so short again.


As most of you probably know, my dad had a fainting spell about three-and-a-half weeks ago in a grocery store. This led to a two-week hospitalization to monitor his heart and to try and determine the source of the mental confusion he was experiencing (it also took several days for Medicaid to get him out of the hospital and into a skilled nursing facility). About a week-and-a-half ago, my dad was transferred from Swedish Medical Center to an Avamere skilled nursing facility in Queen Anne. The goal was physical therapy and heart rehab so that dad could move on to either assisted living or to go back home with increased home healthcare. Unfortunately, my dad only seemed to decline, and that rapidly, while in skilled nursing. By the third day he was not getting out of bed anymore and was experiencing severe, constant confusion. The staff ran more tests and did a chest x-ray, and discovered that he had developed pneumonia. On Thursday evening last week dad was back in Swedish Hospital, and by Friday was in the ICU for severe heart failure. The doctors and nurses at Swedish made it clear that dad might not survive, while also emphasizing they did not know how things would pan out. By late Friday the staff had discovered an infection in dad’s blood and by Saturday had determined that it was MRSA (a treatment-resistant form of staphylococcus, or “staph”). They removed an old chemotherapy port from dad’s chest which they suspected was the source. As of my visit to dad on Monday, he has stabilized and is making progress. With his age and complicated health history, we still do not know what the future holds, but are taking things one day at a time while doing our best to make wise decisions for the future.


I want to thank all the church staff for making last Sunday work without us. Assuming there are no other dire surprises, the family and I are “back,” and I intend to preach this Sunday. We will take the last week of June off, however (the 24th-30th) from church activities. Hopefully this will be a time of rest, though initially we thought this might be “moving week” for dad from his apartment to his new assisted living place. I am off island for part of almost every day, since I am the only local family for dad. You can consider me “back at work,” though perhaps with a hobble. And as I try to keep steering the ship in my limited state, please be on the lookout for one another’s needs – for example, Lorene Snider is at Providence Mount St. Vincent in West Seattle after her health event of several weeks ago. Perhaps, in my partial absence, it would do you all good to be doubly vigilant of one another’s needs and of telltale absences that might speak of a needed phone call, text, or visit. 


God bless you all and thank you for being a church to your pastor and his family. (I am on my way to a boat now to check in on dad.)


Your partner on the journey,

Pastor Mike

Mikael IvaskaComment