Happy Things

My neice (my youngest brother’s oldest daughter) got married, today. I got bootleg photos and videos as the events were happening. She was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. (she was beautiful as a newborn, as well).  I knpw she is very happy, as are her parents.  I know that I am happy for her, and I wish her and her new husband the best for their future. Another addition to the prayer list.
Happy wedding day, Savannah and David. May God bless you today and forever!

The Astros won against the Brewers tonight, 2-1.  They scored in the 1st inning, and stayed ahead until top of the 9th, when the Brewers scored 1. In the bottom of the 9th, with 2 outs down, the Astros scored again! It was a good game.  My brother in law and his ex wife took me and my wife to the game.  It was the 1st time I have been to the Juice Box (aka Minute Maid Park) since 2008.  What a fun night! Being with John and Sue, felt like old times. And watching the Astros win was GREAT!

All in all, today was full of “happy things”. I like days like today… a lot!

How was YOUR Saturday?

PS: I am scheduled for my surgery on May 6.  I don’t think they will postpone it any futher.  I’m ready to “git er done”!

Who are you?

I know who I am.  I should… I’ve known myself for 55 years, haven’t I?

One would think so.  Oh yeah, there were those years in high school and college when, during a painful breakup (painful for who?) the only statement that could be made was “It’s not you, I’ve just got to FIND myself”. What a cop out!

It’s been said that a man is identified by many things, but most commonly, by his work. I never really thought that much about it.  My work in cardiology and ultrasound just happened to agree with me so much that I didn’t mind working long hours and weeks.  And so it’s been for over 30 years. I considered myself so lucky to have a job that I REALLY liked to go to everyday.

In the past 2 years, though, I have had the opportunity to step back and analyze many areas of life, especially focusing on my on life. (my prerogative, since I literally had a life altering experience). I was on medical disability for months before my transplant and have been ever since my transplant. Having worked practically every day of my life, I thought that time off would be awesome. And it would have been, but it went on TOO LONG. I don’t think I’ll like retirement.  In this time, I missed a lot of “stuff”.

Now, lest you think I am ungrateful for my second shot at life, I must tell you that I most certainly am not.  I am so happy to still be here.  I feel like I cheated the reaper at least twice in 2010.  What I missed is echocardiography, cardiology, medicine and the excitement and mental stimulation I get from that world.

Well, I’m back! I am working a small bit in marketing and sales with an old friend of mine (ultrasound systems and accessories) But more importantly, I am again active in my role in the Greater Houston Society of Echocardiography.  I have attended 3 days of lectures and conferences in the past month, and I feel like I never left.

I know who I am, again.  I am a Christian, husband, father, son, brother and friend.  I happen to also be a Cardiac Sonographer… for life.  And I am happy.

It’s good to know who you are….

Not so quick there, buddy.

Surgery was cancelled last night.  My liver enzymes are on the rise again (probably because I’m no longer taking the interferon/ribavirin cocktail). Numbers aren’t alarmingly high, but definitely higher than last testing. They plan to check bloodwork for next 2 Mondays, and see how it is trending, then add me back to the schedule.  I’m bummed, but I’m glad they are being cautious.

Besides, I still have a honey-do list to take care of BEFORE I am placed into the post op.limited activity column.

Cheers!

FINALLY!

Well, it appears that I was right, that the pain and swelling I have had since Mar 2010 IS real and something that needs attention.

I have two (2) incisional hernias, and both will be repaired on Friday, 4/8. There may also be some abdominal adhesions that will need to be resected.  I will then be in the hospital for about 4 more days, and then will come home and start recuperation.

I may actually get to living “normally” again.

So prayers go out to the surgical and medical team, and for me, Joey and Evan.  I’ll update after surgery…

 

mwa

Sunday barbeque!

My brother-in -law is here today, so we are cooking a southern feast… baby back ribs, potato salad, green salad and fellowship!  This is how weekends are supposed to be!

Its been a good week, although somewhat bittersweet. On Tuesday, my Mom left the family homestead to move into her digs at my brother’s house.  Stephen and Mary, thank you so much for your generousity, and the love you show for our mother. I went to the old place on Sunday night, and spent a couple of days with Mom and she seems to be ready to go.  The house is BIG and with just her living there, is quite emmpty.  The house is for sale now and the proceeds will go far to settle affairs and still have some left over for living expenses. All will be well…

I have an appointment with the surgeons tomorrow to determine if we can repair this incisional hernia.  If that can happen, the last issue with my transplant will be resolved, and I should enter a normal lifestyle, again.

So that’s what I pray for tonight… that the surgeons have the wisdom and courage to make the call and do the right thing.

More later.

So FAST!

I can hardly believe that it’s Monday already.  This has been a fantastic trip!. I had not realized just how MUCH I have missed my in-laws, and the Low Country.  The weather has been very accommodating, The company has been excellent.  The walks on the beach have been the BEST. Meals are SO good… I think I have gained weight again!..

I’m  taking a “blog break” while Joey went to pick up her mom.  Al is at the VA for a doctor appointment.

Evan and Scott are playing video games. John is taking a nap –  as are Johnny and Mariette

Nice and peaceful.

I will start packing up tonight.  We have a 1000 flight out of Charleston, which means we need to leave here around 0630.  We are all going out for supper tonight (ALL of us) so that we don’t have to cook and clean kitchen.

Se ya back in Texas!

and AWAY we GO!

In about 11 hours, I will be leaving, with my wife and youngest son, for a week long vacation at Pawley’s Island, SC.  We are going to visit my father-in-law, and mother-in-law, and will be visited there by a brother-in-law and my nephew and his wife.  This is my first trip since surgery (not including the trip back home from Indy, post op).  I am SO EXCITED!.., but a little nervous, as well.

1st, is the issue of germy air on the plane.  I will wear a triple filtration mask while on board.

2nd, I am concerned about anything going wrong medically while I am there, (though my doctors told me today that I am OK to travel, and they are only a cell phone call away…24/7).

3rd, I don’t want to cause of any problems for my family, so I have to be STRONG.

Other than that… I can hardly wait to get there.  It’s been almost 3 years since I have seen Joey’s family, and I miss them a lot.

So with God’s will and protection, we will be at Al’s house by 4pm Tuesday afternoon, and enjoy beach living in “shabby elegance” – unique to Pawley’s Island and the Carolina Low Country – with plenty of time to read, watch movies, walk on the beach, and catch up on visiting.

Yes, Life is STILL worth living!

Later….

1 year ago…

… I was just waking up about this time. I remember my sister standing over my bed an looking down at me with a smile.  I KNOW what an angel smile looks like. Then shortly after, my brother and my wife and son arrived.  I was in and out of consciousness, on the ventilator, J-line placed in my neck, NG tube in my nose, restrained with wooly soft handcuffs, pain medicine running continuously, and a completely open belly (really, they didn’t close me up till a few days after surgery). I was not good company, I’m sure. But yet, there you all were… sitting with me constantly, making sure I was hydrated, rubbing my feet with lotion, swabbing my forehead and face with a cool damp cloth.

It’s been a long hard road from there to now.  But I HAVE SURVIVED the first year!  I AM alive! I, again. thank the following for support and help:

First of all, I thank God for taking care of me and my family. I thank him for guiding the hands and minds of my medical teams. I pray that he continues to unfold his plan for me, because I know I’m not in charge of anything here.

Secondly, I thank my wife and kids, and my siblings and their families (and especially my mother) for all of the prayers and cards and visits and for being my family.  I also thank my church family who, in the form of small groups, have helped us through some very trying emotional and financial times. They have showered us all with love and help and meals.  Thank you and bless you.

Thirdly, I thank all of my friends for their continued support. And I give a big shout out to Matt and Hoanh, and Al and Nancy, for taking me in while I waited for my liver.  I could not have made it through without your selflessness and your love, and I will never forget your kindness. You are family. Thank you all.

What’s next? Well, no more surgeries, I hope.  I just want to live my days doing whatever God leads me to do.  I want to continue to marvel at nature. I want to continue to love my wife, my family, my friends and my pets.  I want to work again, as soon as I am cleared medically.  I want to experience MORE.

Always remember: “Life’s worth living.” (quote from M.S. “Coon” Derden. Thanks Malky)

I gotta quit opening my mouth!

Well, it’s EARLY Friday morning and I am back in the hospital with infection, fever, abdominal distension and pain, water retention and headache.  Doc Thomas started me on multiple IV and oral antibiotics at about 300pm, and will continue for at least another day or so in the hospital, then I will most likely go home with a PICC line (semi-permanent IV) and continue the IV meds for another week or so.

My temp hit 102+ Wednesday afternoon. I’m supposed to go the the ER anytime it gets higher than 100.2, so naturally, I didn’t go, but instead, I cooked chicken kabobs on the grill with Joey, took tylenol, and went to bed.  I hate the ER (and it’s expensive).  So Erin (my PA) called me Thursday morning and said I was pre-admitted and my room was waiting for me.  Joey drove me down to Galveston and they got right down to business.  Same nurses that took care of me last time, and, of course the same doctors.

I’m tired of this hotel (UTMB), but I’m glad my medical team is on the ball, and that I like them enough to see them as often as I do.

Good news is, the temp is already heading into normal range and my blood sugar (always high when I’m sick) has returned to normal without the need for insulin.

So all is well for the time being.  I really am in “pretty good shape for the shape I’m in…”

Praise God. He has really guided my physicians through a difficult case.  It’s God’s show , no doubt.  I trust that he is always here and will always take care of me, and my family. All prayers sent up for me, Joey and the rest of my clan, are much needed and appreciated, so pray away.  Thank you all.

More later.