Saturday, January 27, 2018

Heart Attack......"No, please God; no."

Actually, "Yes". Sydney had a heart attack. She had chest pains in the evening and felt uncomfortable. She was getting over a bronchial infection and thought that might be why. She took a Motrin and went to bed. In the morning she told me she experienced jaw pain as well. We considered going to the doctor to get an EKG. When we called the  doctor said to head to the emergency room. Sydney is one of the healthiest, most well adjusted (handles stress well) people I know. And is singularly the most beautiful person I know; body, mind, and soul. She said,"I don't want to sit in the emergency room all day." I felt the same way. It feels like you go in so the doctor can CYA, take a blood test, and go home. Total least in this case. Sydney was having an ongoing heart attack. She was admitted to the hospital promptly. Then we waited 9 hours for a room. The flu epidemic was decimating hospitals all over town. We arrived at 1:00 PM, and got a room at 10:00 PM.

After two days of tests a heart Cath finally showed 95% blockage in one artery, and 75% blockage in another. Sydney would require a triple bypass. I was terrified, and cried. Later, I went home and cried my self to sleep; and did the same most of the following week. The next 10 days I was a basket case. A physical and emotional train wreck. Sydney, on the other hand showed strength, and a positive attitude. She's an angel...More tests followed. There was concern her heart was too weak, or too damaged to do a bypass. It was never said aloud; however, if that had been the case, she would need a heart transplant.

In this day and age we are hyper connected, with all the expectations that go along with connectivity. It was overwhelming. I didn't want to post on FB during an event like this. Maybe ever. But it might have helped with information flow. So I just tried to keep up with texts and voicemails...I couldn't. It added to the stress, and dysfunctionality of the situation. And at the same time, it was a blessing to have so many people offer to help. I wish I had a way to harness that strength! I was so alone, and so undone that I could not function. The mere thought of seeing my soul mate go through an experience, where separate from a ventilator, and bypass machine your a corpse was too much. And the thought of loosing her undid me.  The last year has been one of our most challenging. During that same year I learned "childlike prayer". So I asked, "Lord, what are You doing?", and "What do You want?"
God doesn't speak to me audibly, and I insist its rare that He ever does so to anyone. Talk about an experience that would undo you! But I think He directs thoughts, or leads others to speak what He wants to communicate. I felt he was saying, "I'm teaching you to trust me." So I said, "Could we stop with this lesson for awhile?" Sydney of course was awesome. Super attitude, patient, cheerful, thankful. I wish I was more like her.

The bypass was eventually scheduled for Monday, Jan 22, the first one that day. Emotions ran high with the whole family; and eventually derailed. (Because of my bad, as usual. I'll get to that later.)

The surgery was fast as triple bypass's go; but still 6 hours. Sydney was taken to ICU (standard procedure) at 2:00 PM. I went back to ask about seeing her and was told I could stay if I wanted to; however, they usually didn't want family back until the ventilator was extracted. That should have occurred in the first 2 hours.  It didn't. Sydney came out of anesthesia slowly. When she was finally conscious, she was panicked. Her eyes were wide open, darting all over, looking at nothing. Then she began kicking her legs, wildly. She has done this in a much less dramatic way during nightmares in the past. It was horrible. The nurses held her down, and one told me, "This is why we don't want family back here too soon. She won't remember this, but you will." (I will.) I walked out in tears to go talk with the rest of the family. What happened next is hard to explain. But the principles in play were, temperament clashes, generalized fatigue, and a bad choice of words on my part (I'm famous for it.) I suggested everyone might leave because "it would be awhile before we could go back", and "its not a crime to leave". I went back to Sydneys room, sat outside and sobbed. Soon the nurse suggested I go back to the waiting room. When I got there, the room was nearly empty. Most of the family had left.......

I composed a flurry of texts apologizing, and trying to get them to come back. Sydney needed them. I felt like such an ass hole. Her brother, mom, sister, and my son came back. Sydney may not remember they were there; but I believe it mattered. She signed (ASL) with her sister in fact. I stayed till late, then went home. I returned at 5:00 AM. Sydney was in terrible pain, and half conscious. One of the hardest things emotionally was to see her clearly agonizing and not able to communicate details about what was wrong.

The ventilator stayed in 24 hours, longer than originally expected. Then she improved, until her lung unexpectedly collapsed; from which she eventually improved again. Sydney's heart strength is still a factor. She is currently being monitored. But she is home. I am grateful we went to the hospital two weeks ago.
Loosing her would have been unbearable.

One wonders if such a disorienting, emotional, breaking experience would change you. If so, how? I hoped the experience itself; so intense, so deep personally would change me, maybe for the better. I hoped it would. I really did. It would be great for myself, and anyone who is around me to be more patient, engaged, and present.  And more caring; genuinely caring. Knowing on a deep personal level that I don't really control anything. I am; in reality, dependent. We all are.

So far, after two tests of that "hope for change", the answer is......I have not changed much, if at all. I was quick to over react in a situation before I had all the facts (being present)...and was more than eager to take control of the discharge process at a hospital, after it slowed to a crawl (patience).

However, there is hope. I did not act on my plan to override the hospital's discharge process. I decided I'd ask Sydney what she thought and go with that.
We waited patiently. : )

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I love to paint....What do business consultants do anyway...and a new member to the family.

I love to paint!!!
That's what I said a month ago when we started painting the entry way. I still love to paint, but I'm tired of it. We want to get finished before Thanksgiving weekend. In other words, we hope to finish tomorrow...we're close.

I wanted to lighten up the space...however, Sydney loves we compromised. The walls are off white (me), and the ceiling is.......ready for this? Brown...!

I panicked when she announced this idea. However, it really looks good! So I'm happy we are nearly done. It will look nice.

I hired a business consultant at the end of 08 ((during the ongoing...(notice that? "ongoing"? don't forget it) credit crunch)).
There was so much BS being disseminated that I needed help filtering out the truth. I know this consultant, as he as worked for me in the past. He is expensive, but worth the money. He helped me navigate a very tough time (08 til now). Lately though, his advice is getting repetitive and he has gotten rather negative and grumpy (don't get me wrong, I can't talk, I'm grumpy at times too, but not to people paying me to help them!) I decided to stop the relationship (it was that bad). Then the guy kind of freaked out...maybe there are other problems...IDK...I'll send an email and ask.

Cooper was born...!
He is my Great Nephew number three. He was 10 lbs 3 oz...a very big boy especially considering his mom is 5'1 and tiny...Yes, it was a C had to be. You know it dawned on me that 100 yrs ago this mom, my niece, would not have survived the delivery. So I am thankful for medical progress for sure.

A birth is a big deal.
I went to see them a few times while they were in the hospital. So did others on my niece's side of the family. But get this, on the dad's side...NO ONE showed...NO ONE. He was crushed. I would be too...they are ass holes (sorry, I wont soften is cruel to do that). There was no reason for this but selfishness. He is a good guy and they all get along fine. It is so important to take time for other important.

So, that's it...except...
The Buckeyes sneaked by Iowa today...Woo!

Thanksgiving is next week. I am planning (I'm always planning, huh... :-) to tell people how I am thankful for them personally (family, friends, clients, others I see day to day)...It won't be perfect cause I'll keep forgetting to do it...Unless, Hmmm...A memory hook...? Like a string tied on my finger (no, too cheesy) or keep a token in my pocket (better)...I'll think of something.

And by the way, THANKS for reading my silly blog...

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Hey Conservatives...!

Yesterday Republicans won a majority in Congress, and considerably more seats in the Senate. These were, in some cases won by extremely conservative politicians. This victory was achieved with a strategy of opposing anything proposed by the current administration, and brilliant use of the media. It has been such an effective strategy that the Republicans intend to continue it. They have said they will not compromise on any issue going forward. Mitch McConnell said the number one objective of the Republican party the next two years is to see that Obama is a one term president. So in a sense, the Republican platform is simply to acquire ideas, no proposals, just acquire power. And if the response the Democrats have made to this so far does not change, the strategy will work. In two years (2012) the Republicans will have control of both houses, and the presidency. Goal achieved...However, what will they do with that power? No one knows what things will be like two years from now, so maybe a better question is what would they have done with that power if they had it the last two years? I have heard many conservatives say they would have liked to see GM, and Chrysler go bankrupt, and the same for most banks in this country. (ie no bailouts). They would not have agreed to a government economic stimulus save some tax incentives (if that) as I understand it. And I suppose we would have built a 20 foot wall across the Mexican border, and stepped up military operations around the world.

My question is, if those things had occurred, what do you think our country would look like? Does our place in the world community look better in that scenario? Does our international reputation even matter? How about your personal situation...what would that look like? Better? I'm curious, do you conservative friends of mine think we would be past our current problems? Or not?

Let me know, but I must say if I get comments that are demeaning to me personally, or demeaning to any group of people for that matter, I'll delete them. (I have not been demeaning here...I'm not even picking a fight...I'm not...really.)


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Head or heart...

I am goal oriented. Goals motivate and give me direction. The big thing in goal setting the last ten years or so has been the "life plan" (for lack of a better term). Its not about your business goals, or educational goals, or personal goals; it's about your life...your ideal life style...your dreams...I employ a business consultant...He calls himself a "coach"...whatever...When I bring a major issue to this consultant here is what he asks me. "Do you see your ideal life including this change?" I usually reply, "I don't know..." I think I frustrate him.

Ah yes, actually I've tried this approach to life, and quickly found it to be insufficient. Some good questions are being addressed; but they don't go far enough.

The life planners contend you can have your dream life if you cultivate the right beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes. Combine that with enough determination, motivation, and focus, and poof...the ideal life...your dreams come true...Success, fame, fortune, wealth, happiness, and perfect relationships with perfect people...Awesome... :-)

The problem is two fold. First, this is, at the end of the day, a self centered approach to life. Self centeredness always leads to trouble. I can personally attest to this. (Hell, I could write a book about it.) In my own life, every time I approach things with a self centered perspective, it blows exceptions...its just a matter of time. The hook is that self centeredness is satisfying for awhile. At the end of the day it is not...Being content and thankful are more important, and more satisfying in the long run...Now, for what it's worth, the life planners do include thankfulness, and contentment in their "life plan" model; however, they are not central ideas.
Second, beliefs, attitudes, and thoughts (which are largely determined by ourselves) do not determine the outcome of our life...What does? I want to argue that our heart does...Yeah...Our "heart" determines the direction, consequence, and results of our life...Hmmm.

Please hear me out.

It is the heart, not the head that matters. Prov. 3 reads..."Guard your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life."

So what is the "heart"? The heart seems to be similar to the soul. IDK if the terms are interchangeable or not...let's say not...they are just closely related.
The heart (according to a complication of definitions) includes thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs (like the life planners). However, in addition it includes emotions, as well as our personality, and life experiences (esp. the formative ones). These we have little or no control over.

At the last, maybe we look outside ourselves, and stop chasing a dream life. Instead we work on personal contentment; influence what we can..and the rest we trust to outside forces that we don't control...

IDK, I said the "life planners" don't go far enough in their questions, and approach. Does this "heart" source go far enough? To basically look outside self, be thankful, and demonstrate faith? I'm not so sure. Maybe the solution is more radical, even disturbing. Could it be as crazy sounding as..."We have to give up our life to gain it"?


Where have I heard that?

And, what does that look like? How does it flesh out?
We have an object lesson in the recorded life of Christ, yes...But what does it look like in modern life in America? I'm just thinking out loud here, that's all. Its something to think about, though...again just speaking for myself.

If you read this far, thanks for bearing with me. This is not particularly profound or anything...But typing it out in a blog no one reads (except my mom sometimes...(Hi mom!) and a couple others, I know)...helps it solidify in the old

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Can they really do that?

Unfortunately yes, they can, and do...

A doctor prescribes a drug to a patient (not me, I am not the subject here...but I know who is). The patient takes the drug for five years as part of a maintenance program. The doctor see the patient periodically for check ups only. No changes are made to dose, medication type, or anything else. Like many modern drugs, this drug should not be stopped suddenly. A sudden withdrawal of treatment would not be life threatening; however, it would be unpleasant. The doctor began treatment "for safety reasons" because of the patients activities. The patient would potentially put themselves in danger if they engaged in these activities w/o treatment.

The patient missed an appointment, and the doctor decided not to refill the prescription until an appointment was rescheduled. OK, no problem, that sounds fair (see you tomorrow, right?)....NO...The doctor went to their vacation home out of state for three weeks. The patient was cut off. The patient called the doctor to ask about the activity the doctor was concerned about and got no return call. The patient called several times with questions about activities, whether another doctor might see them, etc. Not one phone call was returned. The patient called another doctor on their own, got an appointment that day, and resumed treatment.

So what do you think? Was the doctor arrogant, or incompetent? Both? Or are they just practicing good medicine? Do you think they were justified in doing this to the patient? I don't. Even though I am not the patient, I'm thinking about a save others from this doctor. Someone needs to say something. How would you like to be this patient? If this is common practice, it needs to change.
People who have a responsibility to care for others need to have a higher standard.

Oh, one more detail...! A month later, even though the patient canceled the appointment in advance...they got a "No Show" bill for $50!! They called the doctor's office to ask why they were being charged...Can you guess what happened next?
The doctor did not call back. No one from the office called back.

I think a formal complaint is in order my self...I do.

The doctor uses an outside billing service. As a result you get a doctor who will not discuss the situation, and a billing company who (is arms length) just bills, and adds interest each month if payment is not made...(there is no dispute process). They send them to collections after a specified period of time.
Now, that should not even be legal. You at least need a dispute process!
Maybe I should write my congressman...:-)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Growing up.....

"Daddy can I stay out till 2:00? I am with my good friend." she asked.

Me... "2:00?? No."

"Why? I am having a hard day and we want to talk." (Said with a little more attitude.)

"That is too late. Why don't you just ask your mother?" (Who will assuredly say no, w/o discussion.) "I am such a push over." (Now I'm feeling the pressure.)

"Daddy, I am 18!" (Teary sounding.)

"No you can't stay out! Why don't you just come home right now." (Angry? Yes...I am.)

"Daddy, why are you doing this? I am 18 years old. I have never given you reason to worry." (Bulls#@t...I think to myself) "And I am not stupid." (Backing down in tone, but still working me...)


"It's not fair."


"I don't think of you as an 18 year old. I still think of you as my little girl. (Now I sound teary) I am not the first dad who has had trouble letting his daughter grow up. But I'm working on it...ok?"
"I love you daddy."
"And hey, do you have to be in such a hurry?" (To grow up?) I love you too."


"Ok. Not a minute later..."
"Love you daddy, goodnight! Bye!"


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How I spent my summer vacation...

I guess I'm a putts, but I like stay home vacations...this one is over now... :-(

Actually, I just took a few days off. Things at work were getting on my nerves, and the next quarter is going to be very, VERY busy thanks to all the government regs I deal with. As it happens ALL my annual, semi-annual, and five year CE requirements are scheduled for NOW. In 20+ years at this, I have never had that happen. I actually like CE (Continuing Education). I enjoy learning, and am good at tests...but this will be a lot all at once.

OK, back to my vacation...What's a putts do with time off? Hmmm...
I slept in to 8:00-9:00 most days (perfect). Got some things done around the house. Had coffee with my pastor one morning (went to church that next Sunday). Met for beers with my neighbor one evening. Spent time with my kids (mostly, we went to eat...nothing fancy). And spent time with my true love, Sydney...we went to The Hard Rock and played slots one afternoon, (and got another T-shirt). We also went to see "Inception" (the new movie), which was really pretty good! (Max went with us.) And we went to The Philbrook to see the Egyptian exhibit from the Brooklyn Museum...which was great...(Google "To Live Forever" to see a summary of the exhibit).

Also, I have had my name on a waiting list for an Iphone 4....My name came up this that was a treat...and I'm glad I was off since you have one day to show up at the store (the day you get the email notice) to pick up your phone, or they cancel the reservation, and you have to start again...(The new Iphone is amazing, and there is NO PROBLEM with reception, but I'll take a free case anyhow...they offered them to anyone getting the phone before the end of Sept.)

So there was all that, plus the usual work outs, walks with the dog, hanging out with kids, getting some sun, and drinking some wine...So, if you need some rest I recommend a stay home vacation...It's just an extended weekend, and it does wonders all the way around.

So, now it's back to work.
NP... ;-)