John R. Klenk (1931 - 1998) passed away Sunday evening, October 18. So many of our prayers were answered - prayers for his physical comfort; for God's mercy in the end; for Mother and us kids - because you took the time to pray with us. We are very grateful.
We praise God for giving us a wonderful Dad to be a model of God the Father, One who loves us, provides for our needs, and feels compassion and tenderness. By his actions, John was God's instrument on earth.
John Klenk, my father, suffered a severe lung failure in late August, due to terminal pulmonary fibrosis. (See Journal below for more details.) In obedience to God's Word, we are praying for His healing and intervention, and invite you to do the same.
In addition to your prayers, John would appreciate your letters, e-mails and calls:
600 9th St SW
Willmar MN 56201-3137
Tel. (320) 235-3066
Latest News: Sunday, October 18, 1998
Dad seems to be near the end; his breathing is increasingly more difficult, he is not saturating oxygen, and he is much more tired. He is also eating less, not sleeping through the night, and requiring more pain medication.
If this continues, it is possible that John will slip into a coma. We do not pretend to know what the future holds for Dad, or exactly when God will choose to take him, but our family is preparing for the end as you read this. We are comforted that, with the exception of panic attacks, he has not been suffering pain or great discomfort. It is hard to see him gasping for air, but that seems to be the full extent of his suffering.
Dad has been preparing for his death since before late August, when he went into the emergency room. He continues to do this. I spent the weekend in Willmar, along with Laura and Steve. Dad made more funeral plans, including selecting hymns. He and I shared some private time together, and he discussed his desires, wishes, and last will and testament with me. We kids have taken turns spending the night with him in his hospital room; I spent Saturday night by his side. I am extremely grateful to have received this precious gift from God, to be present during Dad's possibly last remaining moments.
Steve, his family, and I returned to Minneapolis this afternoon, but Steve is heading back to Willmar this evening with his wife, Katherine (Katie). Laura is remaining for up to two weeks. I will return tomorrow as well. We expect Jeanne, Lois and Tim home soon.
Specific Prayer Requests
Please pray for God's mercy during John's final days. Also pray for:
Peace and comfort for dad;
Wisdom and strength for my mother, Shirley;
Guidance and blessing for Dad's hospital staff;
Safe travel for, and a spirit of unity and love among, my siblings and me (Jeanne, Laura, Tim, Lois, Steve and Paul); And most of all, give praise and thanks to God for showing his Glory through the remarkable testimony of John Klenk. Pray that people will come to know Jesus Christ as a result.
The entire Klenk family is very grateful for your prayers. We would also like to thank Dad's many visitors, his pastor Phil Lutz, the generosity of everyone at First Baptist Church in Willmar, and everyone else who is pitching in to make John and Shirley's life easier right now.
-- Paul Klenk
Journal Thursday, October 15, 1998
Last night was difficult; Dad had trouble getting oxygen and developed a fever. Plus, the Heimlich valve did not drain very well, so a lot of fluid built up. This all made it very difficult for him to breathe (oxygen saturation was 45-50%), further resulting from a panic attack. A nurse sat with him until he fell asleep. This morning he was very tired.
Several measures are being discussed to make things easier for Dad. He may be moved to acute hospice care; the Heimlich valve may be replaced with suction (the method used before); and medication used to treat the fever and panic. He may have pneumonia, so they are trying to verify that.
My brother Steve and I are coming home today and Laura will fly in tomorrow night. Dad feels a lot better when we're around, and every moment is precious right now. If you send me an e-mail message for him, I'll deliver it tonight.
Please pray that God will make it easier for Dad to breathe. Also remember us, please, as we travel. Pray for Shirley, too -- she is carrying quite load and needs support and relief. She has done so much for Dad, and much more will be required.
Wednesday, October 14, 1998
Dad has decided to stay in the hospital for a while. A Heimlich Chest Drainage Valve was connected this afternoon, to help drain and inflate John's good lung. Getting around will be easier for him with this device than with the apparatus previously being used.
Tuesday, October 13, 1998
Dad has learned from UPMC that he is not a candidate for a lung transplant, due to his pulmonary hypertension. He called each of us kids today to give us the news. This was difficult and exhausting for him; please ask God to comfort him.
The news is disappointing, of course, but since it was a long shot we are not surprised. Dad's attitude has been admirably realistic all along. A Bible verse that has meant a lot to him lately is Psalms 30:5 (NIV), "For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
Tomorrow he plans to come home from the hospital. He will still be on the Heimlich valve, because his collapsed lung has not yet healed.
Thursday, October 8, 1998
The pump connected to John's lung (for the purpose of inflating it) will be replaced with a Heimlich valve. This will make it easier for John to get around. However, his ability to breathe has not recovered to where it was before his lung collapsed last week. Please continue to pray for healing of the lung so it can inflate without mechanical support. Until then, John will be in the hospital.
Pray also that God will give John and his doctors wisdom as they explore the use of the drug Colchicine.
John is at Rice Memorial Hospital, (320) 235-4543, in Room 323. I plan to spend the weekend in Willmar with him and Mom.
Monday, October 5, 1998
Dad's collapsed lung has not healed as quickly as expected, and he has been put back on suction. (This may not be unusual.) He'll be at Rice Memorial Hospital a few more days, at least, to give him time to heal.
Friday, October 2, 1998
Dad is an excellent candidate for a lung transplant, according to Dr. Peter B. Bitterman of the University of Minnesota. Dad would like to pursue this vigorously, and plans to visit UPMC in Pittsburgh as soon as possible. (He is not eligible for a transplant in Minnesota, but Pennsylvania has a higher age cutoff. John is 67 years old.)
John is currently at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, and we expect him back home Monday or Tuesday (10/5-6/98).