May 30, 2005
Pastor Leif Alan Pohl, 64, Muscatine, Iowa died Saturday, May 28, 2005, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics of complications due to gastric-esophageal cancer.
The family of Pastor Pohl will meet with friends from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, 2005, at the Ralph J. Wittich-Riley-Freers Funeral Home, 1931 Houser Street, Muscatine.
Bishop Phillip Hougen, former Bishop Paul Werger, the Reverend Don Sondrol, chaplains Cindy Ford Breed, Martha Lang and Vicki Pedersen will co-officiate at a memorial service to be held at Grace Lutheran Church, 2107 Cedar Street, Muscatine on Thursday, June 2, 2005 at 10:30 a.m.
Per his wishes, his body has been cremated. The Ralph J. Wittich-Riley-Freers Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Lutheran Chaplaincy Outreach at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the Grace Lutheran Church Renovation Fund. Checks for Lutheran Chaplaincy Outreach may be sent to the synod office, PO Box 3167, Iowa City, IA 52244. The family also asks that people donate blood in his honor.
He was born Sept. 22, 1940, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Neil Alan Pohl and Frieda Herma Auguste Radtke-Pohl. He married Janice Jean Forsyth on May 28, 1966, at Grace Lutheran Church, Des Moines, Iowa.
He was a 1958 graduate of Brookfield High School, Brookfield, Wisconsin. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany in 1962 from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He attended Maywood Seminary in Maywood, Illinois from 1962-1966. During his third year of seminary, he interned at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Iowa. He graduated from Maywood Seminary on May 19, 1966, with a Masters of Divinity degree.
He was ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Lutheran Church of America now known as Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on June 12, 1966, in Colorado Springs, Colorado He served as an associate pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Muncie, Indiana, and part-time campus pastor at Ball State University from June 1966 until March 1969. He served as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, Owensboro, Kentucky, from March 1969 until March 1976. He served as pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in South Haven (Valparaiso), Indiana, from March 1976 through July 1985. He has served as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Muscatine, Iowa, from August 1, 1985, until his death, May 28, 2005.
Over the course of his ministry, one of Leif's greatest joys was supervising seminary students during their intern year. The twelve students he supervised came from a variety of seminaries. They are: Gene Hollingsworth, Gary Sherman, Walter (Skip) Courter, John Santoro, Lauren Ley, Tom Miller, Ian McFarland, Tim McKenzie, Bill Kirsh-Carr, Kim Holt, Margie Olson and Brad Pohlman.
He was Dean of Conference No. 7 (Iowa City area) of the Southeast Iowa Synod of the ELCA for the past two years. He was a member of the Gifts Discernment Committee of the synod. He was an active member of the Muscatine Ministerial Association. He is a past board member of the Commission on Aging, now known as Senior Resources. He served as chaplain of Unity Hospice. He was serving on the board of Lutheran Chaplaincy Outreach for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. And he was a regular donor to the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.
Survivors include his wife of 39 years, Janice Jean Pohl of Muscatine; three sons, Eric Alan Pohl and wife, Christina Lyn, of Rock Island, Illinois, twin sons, Andrew James Pohl and wife, Cassandra Marie, of Troy, Ohio, and Thomas John Pohl and wife, Christina Ann, of Urbandale; one daughter, Jennifer Lynn Pohl-Staack of Urbandale, and her special friend, Nathan Jon Carlson; nine grandchildren, Devin Gregory Staack, Christian Thomas Staack, Sean Alan Pohl, twins, Matthew Leroy and William Arthur Pohl, Catelyn Elizabeth Pohl, Neil Andrew Pohl, Megan Elizabeth Pohl, and Joshua John Pohl; and two sisters, Merry Joan Lobrecht and husband, Richard Paul Sr., of Kingwood, Texas, and Kathleen Carol Lobrecht and husband, David, of Mounds, Oklahoma; nieces and nephews, Murray Ann Mallett-Stein and husband, Fred, of Atlanta, Georgia, Mark Adam Mallett and wife Andrea and children, of San Diego, California, Megan Alane Mallett, of Tampa Bay, Florida, Richard Paul Lobrecht, Jr. and wife Mary and children, of Pearland, Texas, Juliana Lobrecht-Crownover and husband Matthew and children, of Garland, Texas, Nathan Dorr Lobrecht of Mounds, Oklahoma; cousins, Robert Pohl and wife, Ann, of Jacksonville, Florida, William Pohl and wife Dawn, of Rushville, Ohio, and Elizabeth Pohl, of Charlestown, Massachusetts.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and one sister, Nancy Ann Mallett and his uncle and aunt, Robert and Marge Pohl.
May 29, 2005
Visitation and Funeral Information
The family of Pastor Leif A. Pohl will meet with friends from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, 2005, at the Ralph J. Wittich-Riley-Freers Funeral Home, 1931 Houser Street, Muscatine.
A Memorial Service for Leif will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 2, 2005, at Grace Lutheran Church, 2107 Cedar Street, Muscatine. A luncheon will follow the service in the church Social Hall.
If you would like to leave a message for the family, please click on "Comments" below. You will be asked to register your e-mail address since this is a secure site.
May 28, 2005
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Today is Leif and Jan's 39th wedding anniversary.
Jan awoke early this morning after spending the night in Leif's hospital room in Iowa City. She hugged him, told him good morning and wished him a happy anniversary. She then told him that he is very sick and the cancer has spread to his liver and he is not going to get well. She assured him we will be OK and God is waiting to take him home... and then she told him that she loves him... she kissed his forehead and layed back down...
Mere moments later, Leif passed from this life... quietly... serenely... and comfortably...
Visitation with the family is scheduled for Wednesday, June 1, 2005 at Wittich, Riley, Freers Funeral Home, Muscatine.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, June 2, 2005 at Grace Lutheran Church, Muscatine.
Specific times will be posted as they are confirmed.
Leif's wishes were to be cremated, so no public viewing will be held.
May 27, 2005
Friday, May 27, 2005
Leif had a restful day. He had some little visitors... his three youngest grandchildren (Neil, age 3, Megan, 7 months and Joshua, 4 months) were able to be with him in his new room which looks over the hospital playground. Leif is unresponsive but we believe that he knows they were with him today.
Leif's blood sugar level has been increasing and hit a concerning high today. This is a direct result of the liquid diet he has been receiving via feeding tube. He had been receiving insulin to counter-balance the high sugar levels. Even with keeping his sugar levels in-check, Leif was still in danger of a blockage due to lack intestinal output. So, the decision was made to remove his feeding tube to make him more comfortable.
May 26, 2005
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Leif had a communion service with family, Bishop Phil Hougen, Pastor Don Sondrol and Chaplains Cindy Breed, Martha Lang and Vicki Pedersen in his room this afternoon before he was taken off of the ventillator. He is breathing on his own and being assisted by an oxygen mask. Initially he was doing alright, but after about an hour he began to struggle with maintaining his oxygen level. He is being supported with medications to keep him comfortable without compromising his breathing.
He was moved out of intensive care and into a palliative care (hospice) room. He is getting round-the-clock care. And family is able to stay with him at all times. Leif is terminally ill. He is working very hard to breathe and receiving medication as needed to keep him as comfortable as possible on his journey.
May 25, 2005
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Leif had a comfortable day. He received steroids for the swelling in his throat and the sedating medication was totally eliminated. He was more alert and responsive than he has been since going on the ventillator. He nods and shakes his head in response to questions and even teased Jennifer by wiggling his thumb as she tried to trim his nails. He is essentially breathing on his own with just a bit of help from the vent. The vent tube will be removed tomorrow afternoon.
May 24, 2005
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
The results of Leif's CT scan showed lesions on his liver in addition to a leak in his chest where his esophagus and stomach were reconnected. An ultrasound with needle biopsy were performed at 1 o'clock this afternoon. The medical staff told us it could be a day or two before we would know what these lesions are. It took 3 hours.
The lesions are cancer. His cancer is now diagnosed at stage 4 and inoperable. The leak in his chest is also inoperable.
Dr. Mark Iannettoni and his nurse, Kelly, spent a long time discussing Leif's prognosis and options for keeping him comfortable. Over the next two days they will administer steroids to reduce the swelling in his throat... and on Thursday they will remove the ventillator tube. Leif's family will be with him. Everyone is hopeful that he will be succesfully removed from the vent and he will be able to communicate.
Your continued prayers and support are needed.
May 23, 2005
Monday, May 23, 2005
Leif had a CT scan of his chest, abdomin and pelvic regions this afternoon. He was agitated after being transported for the CT scan. His blood pressure was elevated, his breathing was shallow and rapid and his pulse was racing. But the medical staff was able to bring everything back in-line and calm his anxieties through medication... and was able to rest for the remainder of the day. When we left him this evening his color was good, he was resting comfortably and his electrolyte levels are still getting better all the time.
Dr. Iannetonni, Leif's head cardio-thoracic physician, counseled with the family today about Leif's care and how the CT will help him determine the next steps. The family plans to meet with the Dr. again tomorrow morning to discuss tests results and prognosis.
May 22, 2005
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Today was a day of rest for Leif. He slept more peacefully for most of the day. The medical staff did not challenge his breathing as much with ventillator settings due to a minor heart incident. Yesterday, one of Leif's cardiac rhythms was slightly irregular (ST-Elevation). Blood tests indicated an acute myocardial infarction (MI) which was managed with medication overnight. They continue to suction thick secretions from his lungs but his electrolyte numbers continue to improve. Tests to further evaluate Leif's condition are still planned for the near future.
May 21, 2005
Saturday, May 21, 2005
The results of Leif's MRI showed nothing significant. He continues to move his arms and legs more but there is still a concern about his responsiveness. Again, this may be due to all the trauma he has endured. Time will tell.
However, Leif is progressing slowly. His electrolytes are moving in the right direction so the medical staff has tentatively scheduled a CT scan for Monday to get a clearer picture of what's going on in his chest (infection, leakage, tube placement, etc.).
The medical staff worked with Leif's breathing quite a bit today. He is still on the ventillator but taking more breaths without the help of the vent. The intent is to get him off the vent as soon as he is strong enough to breathe... which is a lot of work for him right now.
Leif's sister, Merry, arrived from Houston this morning to support his healing process.
May 20, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
The focus today continued to be reducing Leif's sodium level. It is dropping very slowly - but moving in the right direction. And the medical staff is still suctioning thick secretions out of his lungs regularly. He is having an MRI scan of his head tonight. No results will be available until tomorrow.
He was moved into the Cardio-Thoracic bay of the SICU today. Which is where the staff primarily responsible for his care are located right outside his door. He had been in a general surgery bay until this bed was available.
The family brought his favorite CD's for him to listen to... and he rested more today as the music played.
May 19, 2005
Thursday, May 19, 2005
The primary focus of Leif's care today is balancing his electrolytes, particularly, lowering his sodium level. This is a slow process of hydrating him intraveneously to ensure no damage is done to his brain. His sodium has come down some today and hopefully will continue to move in that direction tomorrow.
The medical staff is also concerned about Leif not being responsive enough. He does have his eyes open and appears to follow faces but he is not responding to some neurological tests. He had a CT scan of his head this morning that did not give enough information to draw any conclusions. His lack of response may be a result of the electrolyte imbalance, a small stroke or just a result of all the major medical procedures he has been through recently. Further tests to determine what is going on cannot happen until his electrolytes and kidney function are under control.
May 18, 2005
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
The medical staff at University Hospital is still assessing Leif's condition. His kidney function is still a primary concern. A team of renal specialists is trying to determine whether a CT scan can be performed without doing further damage to his kidneys. They will continue to administer IV fluids overnight and possibly perform the CT scan tomorrow.
Leif has also had difficulties with fluid in his lungs today. The staff may use a scope to see what's causing the fluid to build-up and to clean his lungs out more thoroughly. The main problem Leif is experiencing is an overwhelming infection that may be having a negative effect on his organs (i.e. kidneys, lungs, etc.).
He is completely off of the medication to keep him sedated and is alert and recognizes family faces and voices but is still unable to communicate due to being on the ventillator. They will also resume intraveneous nutrition this evening.
May 17, 2005
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Leif was flown by helipcopter to the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City this afternoon. He is now in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) there. He began deteriorating this morning... his renal (kidney) functions and liver functions were a major concern and there was an indication of more infection in his chest cavity. His doctor in Muscatine felt it was necessary to take him to Iowa City where he could receive a higher level of care with round-the-clock doctors.
Since coming to Iowa City, the staff has been trying to stabilize his condition and are running numerous tests to determine what the next steps are. He remains on a ventillator and it is possible he will have a traecheostomy (vent tube in his throat). He is in renal failure but action is being taken to hydrate him and correct this as soon as possible.
Jan and all four of his children are with him. He is partly sedated but responds to family talking to him by opening and moving his eyes and looking at faces.
May 16, 2005
Monday, May 16, 2005
Leif's doctors spent a fair amount of time discussing his treatment plan with family today. They have taken him off of the medication for his heart arythmia. They have dialed back the amount of oxygen the ventillator is providing and he is breathing more and more on his own. They took him compleletly off of the sedating medication this afternoon. As of tonight, he is wide awake and looking around. This is the beginning of the weaning process (again) to get him off the vent. The goal is to have him completely off by Wednesday if at all possible.
May 15, 2005
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Leif started out the day with a fever and some heart arythmia. Both of which are common occurances after the type of surgeries he has had. His fever is gone and with medication his heart is doing ok. He is still completely sedated and on the ventillator. They began feeding him directly into his small intestine through a feeding tube this morning.
The family will meet with his doctors tomorrow morning to discuss the next steps in his treatment.
May 14, 2005
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Leif underwent emergency surgery at 12:30 today. He was leaking from where his esophagus and stomach were reconnected. The blue dye he was given by his NG tube yesterday made it's way through his chest tube today. The leakage also caused an infection in his chest.
The medical staff did surgery to remove the infection and repair the leak. In addition they: inserted a feeding tube directly into Leif's small intestine and inserted a drainage tube directly into his stomach to rest his stomach/esophagus area for at least 2 months.
They also removed the chest tube in his right side and replaced it with a new one in a different location on his right side, the NG tube was removed and they also replaced his ventillator tube.
He remains sedated in ICU. It is hopeful he will be removed from the ventillator sometime late next week.
May 13, 2005
Friday, May 13, 2005
Leif's right chest tube was the main area of focus today. Drainage from that tube had practically stopped until today. The medical staff was concerned that the fluid now draining from the tube may indicate a leak where Leif's esophagus was reattached to his stomach. A blue dye was administered through his NG tube... if there was a leak, the dye would have drained through to his chest tube. Good news - as of tonight, no dye has been detected from any leakage. This drainage may also indicate that his lymphatic system isn't happy... which makes some sense since they did remove four lymph nodes... in this case the drainage would resolve itself and is not of great concern.
Leif is still on the ventillator but more alert. Due to the attention to his chest tube, the medical staff did not work as much with his breathing today.
May 12, 2005
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Leif is still in ICU, still on the ventillator but continuing to take baby-steps towards regaining consciousness and breathing entirely on his own. His oxygen levels are good but breathing is hard work for him right now... the medical staff regulates the vent so his heart rate is not greatly elevated. He is moving his hands and head more but tires easily.
The chest tube in Leif's left side was taken out this morning. The chest tube in his right side will be removed when he is able to eat. They began feeding him a liquid diet through his nasal-gastric tube today to prepare his digestive system for eating real food in the (hopeful) near future.
May 11, 2005
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Leif is still moving toward getting off of the ventillator. He is working very hard to breathe on his own and is still marginally responsive. Jan spent a lot of time talking with Dr. Helmsworth today about his progress. They are hopeful that he may be completely off the vent by this weekend.
May 10, 2005
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Not much change today. Leif is working harder to breathe. The ventillator is doing less. He's still pretty sleepy. But he is moving his hands and making facial expressions and the medical staff is still happy with his progress.
May 09, 2005
Monday, May 9, 2005
Not much change today. Leif is responding to talking, opening his eyes some and moving his head. His oxygen levels are better and they have dialed-back the percentage of oxygen and respirations per minute the machine is doing - meaning he is breathing more on his own. Dr. Helmsworth is very happy with the direction his breathing is going. Leif will continue to slowly wake up as the sedating medication leaves his body.
May 08, 2005
Sunday, May 8, 2005
Happy Mother's Day!
Leif was taken off the sedative that is keeping him unconscious for about an hour this morning to check his response. He did respond by opening his eyes when asked. Jan, Tom and Eric were able to talk to him for a short time while he was "awake".
The medical staff took him completely off the sedative around 1 o'clock this afternoon and have begun the process of trying to wake him up. He is breathing on his own some but still assisted by the ventillator. This is the beginning of the weaning process from the vent. They are taking it slow and cautious to alleviate any confusion Leif may experience from being under for so long.
May 07, 2005
Saturday, May 7, 2005
Leif's condition remains about the same as yesterday. He is still resting comfortably on a ventillator in ICU. They changed his pain medication from morphine to dilotid; each have side-effects that are being monitored closely. They continue to watch his oxygen level and are beginning to formulate a plan to wean him from the ventillator, potentially in the next few days.
May 06, 2005
Friday, May 6, 2005
Leif remains in ICU. The decision was made to keep him on the ventillator a while longer - perhaps even through the weekend.
May 05, 2005
Thursday, May 5, 2005
Leif is still sedated and on the ventillator and they had to increase the amount of oxygen being given to him today. He is not taking in an adequate amount of air. This is largely due to his emphysema (diagnosed 3 years ago). The nurses are moving and turning him periodically and a physical therapist is ensuring he will have no muscle atrophe.
May 04, 2005
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Leif had a little set-back around midnight last night... he had fluid
gathering in his lungs... they wanted him to cough to move the fluid out of there... and get more air in... but he just couldn't cough... he's in too much pain... he has incisions on both sides where the chest tubes are... plus the one in his chest/abdomin area where they removed the tumor... so they put him back on a ventillator... and he'll be on it for a few days... he'll be unconscious... and unaware of pain for a while... which is a blessing... but he'll be in ICU a while longer than expected...
The biopsy report came back today. It is stage 3 metastatic carcinoma. Follow-up care will be done with an oncologist.
May 03, 2005
Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Ever the avid reader, Leif was sitting up in a chair reading the newspaper when the family came to see him this morning. He felt the need to cough but was reluctant to because it would hurt too much. The nurses attempted to help him support his incisions with pillows to brace for a good cough, but he just couldn't do it. As the day wore on the epidural he had for pain was not as effective and he was given a pump that would administer quick doses of fast-acting drugs at the push of a button. Although the machine would only administer the drugs every 6 minutes, he was pushing the button often because of his discomfort. Fluid began to collect in his lungs... and he was still unable to cough to clear them... so an antibiotic was also introduced to his IV menagerie to ward off any infection.
May 02, 2005
Monday, May 2, 2005
Leif was in good spirits and joking as they wheeled him away for surgery preparations around 10 o'clock this morning. Many friends stopped by the waiting area to visit with the family throughout the day; some of whom were able to be there when Dr. Helmsworth came in shortly after 5 o'clock to discuss how the procedure went...
Leif came through surgery well, although they had to put chest tubes in both sides... and some of the lymph nodes in the affected area did come back positive for malignancy... they won't know until Wednesday afternoon what stage of cancer it is...
The family was able to visit with him briefly in ICU a few hours after surgery. He was sitting up in bed, groggy but still sharp as ever. Even semi-sedated and just shortly out of major surgery, Leif was still giving the nurses a hard time. It is Unity Hospital policy to ask a patient for their name and birthdate prior to administering any medication. And upon being asked for his information he replied, "I'm Fred". Always a character...
May 01, 2005
Sunday, May 1, 2005
The family met with Dr. Tom Helmsworth this afternoon to discuss Leif's surgery scheduled for tomorrow. Dr. Helmsworth spent a lot of time explaining in great detail what will take place in the operating room and what we can expect after surgery. We even saw pictures of the malignancy that were taken from endoscope performed on Friday. Leif will go in between 10:30 and 11 tomorrow... and the procedure should take about 5 hours.
Leif is expected to be in ICU for a couple days with an epidural for pain, an NG (nasal-gastric)tube for at least 4 days, the chest tube for at least 5 days and a central line until he leaves the hospital in about 7-10 days... depending on how long the surgery actually takes he may be put on a ventillator until Tuesday... he will be seeing an oncologist discuss chemotherapy and radiation options... But no follow-up will begin until he has healed from surgery... at least 6 weeks.
The family finished the day with a pizza party in Leif's room (with Dr.'s permission...)
April 30, 2005
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Leif will definitely have surgery around 10 o'clock Monday morning...
the procedure is expected to take about 4-6 hours... We have a family
meeting with his surgeon tomorrow afternoon to discuss all details of the surgery...
He is in good spirits and feeling better than he has for a while. He has been given permission to eat real food again since surgery will not take place for a couple of days. They continue to administer units of blood and are monitoring is hemoglobin count.
He has had several visitors, medical staff, family and friends stop by to see him today... and he enjoyed some quality grandpa time with his youngest grandson Joshua (age 3 months).
April 29, 2005
Friday, April 29, 2005
Leif had an appointment for an endoscope and colonoscopy this morning. He has been experiencing a lot of acid reflux-type chest pain which has gotten worse lately and the procedure this morning was to find out what's going on. WELL... when he got to the hospital his blood pressure was very low, they could not register his temperature and his hemoglobin count was 6 (should be closer to 13.5 for a guy his age)... so they admitted him right away because that indicates that he was bleeding... from someplace... the inital thought was a bleeding ulcer or his colon... After administering a couple units of blood the medical staff conducted the scopes late this afternoon.
Leif has stomach cancer.
A malignancy was found where the esophagus and the stomach meet. That's also what's causing the bleeding... which they are trying to get under control... they've given him 4 units of blood today... his hemoglobin count is still lower than it should be... but it is improving... they will operate to remove the upper portion of his stomach and his lower esophagus... good news - it doesn't appear that the cancer has spread anywhere... according to a CAT scan his liver and spleen are ok which is the direction this type of cancer has a tendency to spread... they will know more once they get in there... they have discussed removing some surrounding lymph nodes as a precaution... other good news - he will never have acid reflux again because they will cut the nerve that produces the acid causing him problems... and he will probably also lose some weight as a result...
They plan to operate Monday if the bleeding stabilizes and his hemoglobin count increases... there is only a skeleton crew at the Muscatine hospital over the weekend... so they would prefer to wait until they are fully-staffed Monday... but they will take him sooner if the bleeding continues to be a problem... he's probably been bleeding for a while... but it was all the prep stuff he had to do for his colonoscopy that made it an apparent problem... crazy. They did remove one polyp during the coloscopy but it was benign and there were no other concerns from that test.
Send positive thoughts his direction...