Report From Linnea: Keep Still

13 Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Stand your ground, and you will see what the Lord will do to save you today….14 The Lord will fight for you, and all you have to do is keep still.”

Exodus 14:13-14

I am happy to say I can finally write my own update! Marta and I are so grateful for all the love and support we have received during this time. My recovery continues, just not quite as fast as I would like. I continue with physical therapy and will also have occupational therapy. We are still staying at the Lees. They have been so kind and caring; we could not have done this without them. Thanks, too, for all the prayers. They help me to take the next step, do the next exercise, remind me God is with me and help me to keep on keeping on.

When I was in the rehab hospital my devotion one day included a passage from Exodus 14. It reminded me of all God has done to get me to this place. There has been so much help from so many people. I would like to share three phrases from the passage and how each one enlightened my way. First is “all you have to do is keep still.”

After the accident, the hospital staff was trying to determine what was wrong with me. I could walk, I could move my arms and legs without either of them hurting. I wondered if I had just broken some ribs. I had an immense amount of pain in my torso. Every move I made was exasperated that pain. At the hospital I had one job; to lie still. I was not entirely comfortable on this bed that was more like a changing table. It was wooden platform with a 2-inch foam cushion on it. As soon as I moved slightly the pain would overwhelm me and I would get very still again. Even though movement caused a great deal of pain, I still had a tendency to want to move. It is almost like I heard that phrase in my head “all you have to do is keep still.”

Another phrase in that scripture is “Don’t be afraid!” In Uganda the situation felt pretty overwhelming. We are in a country where we don’t speak the language. The nurses and doctors are having difficulty determining what is wrong with me with limited resources. I am receiving oxygen and morphine. They are monitoring my O2 level, blood pressure and pulse. It was difficult not to panic and try to see how all this was going to work out. What would they be able to diagnose with BP, O2 and pulse? At night it would be very quiet and dark. I would try and recall scripture that reminded me not to be afraid and that the Lord had not left me.

The final phrase is “Stand your ground, and you will see what the Lord will do to save you today.” Obviously I was not “standing my ground” but I was holding on. I was trying not to be devastated by the situation. My sister was able to get on a plane to Uganda the same day she heard about the accident. Having her with me in the hospital was worth more than I can articulate. She would encourage me and manage all that was going on in Uganda. This included taking care of Marta. A group was created using the WhatsApp app on the phone to try to navigate everything that was happening. Many family and friends joined this group. It was a place to float ideas, share encouragement, give updates and get folks to pray. This team would turn out to be invaluable. Just the thought all these folks were working so hard on behalf of Marta and myself to get us home was overwhelming. Each day I got to see what the Lord was doing. Even if it was closing a door to eliminate an option, there was always something happening. For me each day was a chance to see what the Lord was going to do. I saw the Lord work through all this. Some saints purchased a jet plane hospital ride to get us from Uganda back to the U.S. for medical care. One of the top spinal surgeons in the country met with me and about an hour later was operating on my back to insert the rods and pins to stabilize my back and keep my spinal cord intact. Following that hospitalization, I was able to go to rehab 3 blocks from my house and see my daughter on her first day of school albeit from my hospital bed. The last part of this journey will be letting those rods and pins grow into part of my back. I will continue rehab, keep on managing the pain, and work towards getting my strength back. All of these being a process that takes time. While I do these things I will remember “all you have to do is keep still”, “don’t be afraid” and “you will see what the Lord will do to save you today.”

Thanks for being part of my journey.

Released from Acute Rehab!

Linea has been released from Virginia Hospital Center’s Acute Rehab facility.  She received excellent care and is now able to walk short distances and get in and out of bed and chairs on her own.  Even simple activities still cause pain and routine tasks require a lot of energy.   As you might imagine she continues to be on a highly restricted “No lifting,  No bending, No twisting” protocol.  Not difficult to enforce given the pain encountered even on the inclination,  I’m hoping Linnea continues to be patient  when the pain begins to subside.  Currently she is staying with a family friend with regularly scheduled OT and PT visits.

Thanks again for all your gifts and prayers,


Moved to Rehab

Bob report: Linnea has been moved to a rehabilitation facility in Arlington VA. We are thankful for the excellent care received at John Hopkins and now focused on the road to recovery involving long hours of physical and occupational therapy.

We continue to be thankful for your prayers and support moving forward,


Surgery Complete

Brother Bob’s report: Linnea’s back surgery is complete.  It was an extensive operation with many vertebrae involved.   I believe the surgery was a success. She continues to have the ability to manipulate hands and feet and can stand with difficulty.   The biggest obstacle to her recovery is pain management,   standing is an exhausting, painful  task.

Currently she is recovering in John Hopkins hospital but we are exploring possible acute care rehab facilities for probable transfer in the near future.

We appreciate your prayers and support moving forward,



About Linnea Carlson

As many of you are aware, Linnea Carlson, Mount Olivet United Methodist Church‘s Director of Children’s and Family Ministries, and Marta, her daughter, were involved in a serious automobile accident while visiting the child she is hoping to adopt in Uganda. Marta escaped injury, but Linnea will require surgery. Her physician in Uganda recommends she return to the U.S. as soon as possible for surgery. Thanks to some very generous saints, that medivac has been fully paid for and Linnea and Marta should be home this weekend. Once Linnea and Marta return we anticipate there will be many additional expenses during Linnea’s recovery.