NameJennifer Lynn Wegscheid
Birth5 Sep 1970 Age: 49
MotherCarol Jean Trout (1950-)
Spouses
Birth26 Jul 1968 Age: 51
Marriage17 Oct 1992
ChildrenEthan Archie (1993-)
 Jacob Ludwig (1997-)
 Charles Martin (2000-)
 Shelby Ann (2002-)
 Sarah (2006-)
Newspaper Articles Notes for Timothy Anthony & Jennifer Lynn (Family)
From: Wadena Pioneer Journal / April 3, 2008

Kidney stone turned life-threatening for rural Staples mother of six
By: Dee Goerge


It was just a kidney stone.

Tim Bakken tried to wrap his mind around that and the reality that his wife, Jenny, the mother of their six children, might not make it through the night. It was March 3, and Tim, family members and friends were keeping vigil at St. Cloud Hospital. Back home — in communities around the Bakkens’ rural Staples home — word about Jenny spread, and people were praying.

Their prayers were answered, and those same people plan to gather for a supper/silent auction/Bingo benefit from 4-6:30 p.m., Saturday, April 12, at the Bertha-Hewitt School cafeteria for the Bakken family, to help pay expenses due to Jenny’s 16-day hospital stay.

Just a kidney stone

Jenny relies on Tim to tell most of the story. She remembers just the beginning, Saturday, March 1, when she, Tim, and the kids headed to her parents’, Marty and Carol Wegscheid, home in Bluffton, for an engagement party for her brother Leland and his fiancée Chelsea Vasey. As she picked up coffee for Tim at a gas station, she felt a pain in her lower right back. A couple of hours later the pain intensified, and her EMT/first responder brothers, Darin and Louie, said she should go to the hospital. By 7:30 p.m., she was in the emergency room of Lakewood Health System in Staples. A CT scan verified she had a 3 millimeter kidney stone — an average person can usually pass stones up to 6 millimeters.

Jenny was admitted, given IV fluids and painkillers. Tim had passed a kidney stone once and knew the pain Jenny was going through. But his stone passed in a couple of hours and on Sunday, Jenny was still in severe pain.

“I was wondering why it was taking so long,” Tim said. He felt his wife getting weaker as he guided her and the IV stand to the bathroom. A doctor said they’d have to consider sending Jenny to St. Cloud Hospital to put in a stent, but because the stone was small, it should pass and there wasn’t a lot to be done. By evening Jenny required a catheter, and she was too weak to push the button supplying pain-killing morphine. After a severe coughing spell, Jenny was given something to drain fluids off her lungs. Her temperature and blood pressure soared, then dropped.

By 2 a.m., Jenny’s vital signs leveled off.

Emergency surgery

Things moved quickly Monday morning when an ambulance took Jenny to the St. Cloud Hospital. Tim drove home to do farm chores and take their 20-month-old daughter to daycare before driving to St. Cloud.

When he stepped into the ICU at 10 a.m., Jenny’s room was filled with medical staff, and Tim was told he had time to kiss her on the forehead before she was taken to surgery. He would later see her wheeled by a half an hour after surgery, they said.

As he left the room, Tim heard something about a blue light, but to his knowledge her heart never stopped beating. But he felt tension in the air and knew it was serious.

“I was trying to think — and not to think,” Tim recalled. At 1:30 p.m. a nurse told him Jenny was just going into surgery. When he saw her at 2:30 a machine was doing the majority of her breathing.

The urologist told Tim they had inserted a stent to drain fluid and deliver antibiotics to the swollen, infected kidney, but because Jenny was too weak they weren’t able to remove the stones. There were two stones — another one was 4.5 millimeters. The problem was that Jenny’s ureter tube was too narrow for them to pass. Her 4.5 millimeter stone was like a 9 millimeter stone for an average person.

Jenny was stable and sedated, and after talking to a doctor, Tim decided to make a quick trip home to see the kids after school, do chores and take a shower. He was half hour away in Little Falls, when the steering power fluid line blew off after he’d stopped for a burger. Tim fixed the line and was looking for something to wipe his hands when his cell phone rang.

You’d better come back, the doctor said. Tim started to explain he was just about home and could be back within a couple hours. There was silence on the other end, then the doctor said, “If you love your wife, you’d better come back now.”

Tim headed back south and called his sister, Anita, who lived a half-hour from the hospital. Then his cell phone battery went dead.

Night vigil

Tim beat his sister and friends to the hospital. In the ICU room, Tim saw an IV stand with four med pumps and tubes inserted into Jenny. He asked the nurse what was going on. She explained that Jenny was sick, but that four bags was not a big concern. Each rack could hold six bags, she told him. Two racks would be of more concern and three racks would be very serious.

Tim left ICU to give the keys to his truck to his sister, Anita, who planned to relieve Jenny’s parents and stay with the Bakkens’ children.

When he returned to ICU, there were three IV racks — two filled and one with two med pumps. Jenny was connected to them with tubes in her neck, hands, arms and an arterial leg vein.

“A nurse said, ‘We are really concerned about her making it through the night,’” Tim recalled.

Miracles

Jenny was in septic shock. The blocked kidney caused bacteria to grow, travel through her blood and shut down other organs. The doctor said her chances of survival were 20 percent, and their only hope was a new drug — a miracle drug only on the market for about three years. Jenny’s parents, Tim and a couple friends kept vigil. By morning they were told Jenny wasn’t out of the woods, but she was heading in the right direction.

Jenny was put in an induced coma until Thursday. It wasn’t until eight days later that doctors felt she was strong enough for the scope procedure to shatter and remove the stones and replace the stent with another one. The stones were just 2 inches away from the bladder.

Jenny has only a few, foggy memories of that week.

“I remember Tim in my face saying ‘Are you in there?’” Jenny said. “I felt like I was in a deep sleep and I wanted to stay sleeping. They said Tim was the only one I’d respond to.” She remembers her two oldest children, Ethan and Katie, visiting her on Sunday.

On the home front

At the farm, Tim’s sister, Anita Saice, took care of the Bakkens’ six children for two weeks with help from other family members. The “M” word (Mom) was banned to keep Sarah, 20 months, from becoming distressed. Cards, prayers and food flooded in.

The support was overwhelming, Jenny said.

The Bakkens are well known. Both come from big, supportive families. Tim works as a custodian at the Bertha-Hewitt School. Jenny has been a dental assistant at Dr. Peter Brenny’s Staples office for more than 17 years. Jenny who has never been sick and managed to work full time, care for six kids and a household, is hoping to get back to work soon. Though she’s getting better every day, she still feels very weak, she said.

Weak, but grateful.

“It’s mind-boggling that you come that close to losing it all,” she said. “You think about what was the last thing you said to your family and friends, and do they know how you feel about them? I find myself more quiet and reflective.”

Of her husband she says her best friend proved that when the chips were down his shoulders were big enough to take care of her and things at home — with the help of family and friends.

March 17 was a double celebration, her homecoming day and Charlie’s eighth birthday.

“I spent a lot of time crying and hugging my kids,” Jenny said.

She added that she feels like she lost a week and most of the Lenten season. But three weeks after a kidney stone turned their lives upside down, she and her family climbed the steps to the choir loft at their crowded church to celebrate Easter.
Last Modified 15 Apr 2008Created 1 Mar 2020 by Brad Wegscheid