First Life

Where things are now …

Posted on May 11, 2009. Filed under: First Life, Health, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Ok, so today, hopefully Mom will finally get to move out of ICU into a regular room. That is a big step toward getting her rehab moving along, both just the regular post-cardiac surgery rehab and whatever extra stuff needs to be done to deal with the additional obstacles she’s needed to overcome to get to this point.

Yesterday, Sunday May 10, I was able to get downtown for a quick visit. My Aunt Rhoda & Uncle Noel were also visiting, down from Mpls Mn. As we could only have 2 visitors at a time in the room, I kept my visit extra brief to allow them to maximize their Mom. She was totally alert, expressive, speaking in a very faint (esp. over all the machines and hospital noise) rasp, making it more a case of lip reading. Thankfully Marissa’s quite good at it, as I was not quite so quick on the lip uptake.

I brought a Mother’s day card, which brought a genuine grin to her face, as did other commentary. She was able to show off her latest “tricks”, tapping her fingers one at a time to her thumb, even with her left hand. Folks she did it as fast as anyone would do it. She even has mastered giving THE finger. She can haz self expression! She said that she felt it was important. I couldn’t agree more. No one can mess with her w/out them knowing where she stands on what they’re doing.

She is able to move her arms much more accurately now, scratch her nose, handle suctioning out her own mouth when she coughs, ringing the buzzer if she needs help too. These are the skills that matter greatly in her next step of recovery.

After that short visit, I went out to spend a few minutes with Rhoda & Noel, as Mom needed a lil nap. After that, they went in for a bit, got punted when the nurses had to do some stuff, so I got in a nice lil fragmented visit with them as well, double plus good!

Afterward, I went to the hospital garage to drive home. And then the real adventure to the day began.

Zippy wouldn’t start. Key turns, lights on, solenoid clicks, but nothing. Called the garage office, as they offer free jumps. Still nothing. Called Pops and he came down w/some tools to see if it was the battery posts being corroded again, but that didn’t work either.

So then we went through the multi phone call process of finding a tow company that would come down on Mother’s Day Sunday, with a truck that was under 7 feet tall to take Zippy to a nearby garage for repair. The tow guy had to back Zippy out of the space in neutral to get him in the aisle so he could lift Zippy up on the forks. No power brakes made it a lil more difficult than usual, but not too bad. Thankfully the garage manager and I had been communicating all through this, so he let us all out w/out paying extra, that saved us prolly 50 bucks right there (my dad’s truck, the tow truck and extra fees for the extra time I was there).

The repair garage, which is open till midnight (cabs came and went while I was there, as you can imagine), was bare bones, well stocked and looked good to my eyes. To those of you that don’t know, for about 5 years we, and I do mean we, as the funds for my college and Marissa’s went into the business, owned a Milex auto shop. Spent my tweens and some of my teens in a garage on the weekends. Anyhow, it was the starter motor as I suspected, well as we all did. They drove up to a part shop on the far north side, actually I think right in my neighborhood, and once they got back had it installed in about 20 minutes. Zippy started right up.

So a simple trip downtown cost an extra $325.00, but in the big picture, Mom’s doing better, Marissa’s doing better, I know Rhoda’s feeling better having been here to see Mom w/her own eyes, and Zippy’s better and ready to roll. I prefer issues that can be resolved, vs. ones you can’t do jack stuffing about, even if it makes a 2 – 3 hour trip turn into a 9 hour adventure.

I don’t call myself the Master of Disaster w/out reason I tell ya.

**please see the previous post and comment section for background on what lead up to Mom’s current condition**

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My Mom

Posted on April 24, 2009. Filed under: family, First Life, Health, Mom's Surgery, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m condensing this post from a few emails I’ve sent round, so this will be a chronological record of how the information has come to me and such.

Wednesday, April 22nd, Mom went in for a scheduled round of surgery.

There was a laundry list of stuff to do:

repair or replace both the mitral and tricuspid valve
replace the aortic valve (same as me)
Maze Procedure/Ablation to try to kick her out of the 4 years running atrial fibrillation she’s been in
replace the “jumper cables” on her pacemaker (iPod)
a bypass (dunno where sorry) as it was occluded 80%

The surgery ran maybe an hour longer than the projected 6 – 7 hours due to the amount of scar tissue encountered (from previous surgeries), they didn’t do anything to the mitral valve as it was only leaking 1 on a scale of 1 – 4, but otherwise it went well, the surgeons were pleased.

That’s the good news.

However, she won’t wake up. The CAT scan and EEG’s don’t show a stroke. They’ll repeat the same tests tomorrow (Fri 4/24) which will show if there was one today (Thurs 4/23). As I’ve been running a low grade temp this week I can’t go down there even. Marissa is there of course, staying downtown, losing her damn mind. As much difficulty has I have w/my mom I sure don’t want this.

I know that if she’s at all conscious of this, which I don’t think she is, as there are hardly any arousal signs on the EEG according to Gregg, but if she is, she’s fighting like hell. Stubborn and not giving up on life would be two core descriptors of my mom. Still this is awful.

I don’t know much more because when I talk to Marissa, she’s wound so much tighter than usual, I’m afraid to ask her anything and stress her more. It’s just not worth the added stress for her. I know she’s bird dogging the Drs.

So, I”m a lil stressed, frustrated and anxious, waiting for a few calls a day from Marissa or Gregg w/status updates.

I’ll let you guys know more when I know more.


Just got off the phone w/Marissa (mid-morning Friday 4/24).

She’s waiting for the full team of Drs to make their rounds, they’ve not yet done the CAT scan today yet either, so we don’t know a lot more.

Her sodium is high, they’re working to bring that down, and for some reason her right leg was spasming all night long on and off, got kinda beat up flopping off the bed when Marissa or the nurse couldn’t catch it.

Marissa finally took a Xanax and got about 3 hours sleep. She’s not yet been to the hotel room, she canceled it. I think after the Neurologist comes by she may run home for a shower and change of clothes.

So far today my temp has held steady at normal so if I can hang in there for 24 hrs. I’ll be headed downtown too.

Feel free to call or text my cell at any point.
I’m keeping Skype up so they can reach me there too or call out clearly.
(If you don’t have those contact numbers, email me or comment below and I’ll send it to you “on the side”.)

I’ll send more info when I know more, thanks.


Here’s the latest (a/o about noon Friday 4/24):

Her EEG shows signs of seizure-like activity in the right hemisphere, consistent with a stroke.

Her vitals are still solid.

No idea at this time the extent of damage or the duration of the seizures.

She’s on anti-seizure meds.

The EEG was discontinued at noon instead of 3 pm as they’d already gotten the information noted above that they needed. Some time after noon they’ll perform another CAT scan.

Marissa is on her way home for a shower and clean up and change of clothes, will turn around and head back afterward.

A stroke is one thing Mom was particularly scared of having happen, this will piss her off to no end, which I hope will work in her favor in recovery.

That’s all I know right now. Thanks guys.

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Countdown to Surgery

Posted on February 16, 2009. Filed under: computers, DJing, First Life, Friends, Health, RadioRadio, Real Life, Second Life, voice | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Early this Thursday morning, I”ll make like lobster and be cracked open to repair a congenital defect in my aorta, and replace the subsequent damage to the valve as well. I should be in ICU for about 24 hours, then 4 – 6 more days in the hospital, with an estimated 2 week stay at an aftercare facility across the street from the hospital.

I’ve got a few folks that are gonna be there with me while I’m being operated on, the loan of a laptop upon which I’m writing this post and the support of all of you lovely folks to help me along. Mostly I anticipate the dopey state of the last surgery, where I remember a few moments of the whole thing but mostly I think I stared at the tv without much comprehension. Aaah the joys of hydrocodone & other tasty opiates!

I’m told I’ll have internet connectivity there, and this lappie so I”ll be able to post here, on Plurk, FaceBook, etc. as well as email. I suspect this will keep me from being bored quite nicely. I’ll be on hiatus from DJing while away, so I’ll be tuning in to RadioRadio quite a bit I suspect, to while away the hours and listen to the killer live sets!

As with last year’s surgery, right now I’m preoccupied with preparations, remembering to pack what I need/want, trying to leave the house in decent shape for when I return, that mundane stuff. Again, I really like my surgeon, my cardiologist does too, so that eases a lot of tension. He’s a pro, does this all the time and does the bleeding edge procedures few can. This will all happen at the same hospital that did the gastric bypass, and I’m hoping to see some of the same great folks that took such great care of me last time around.

Those of you in SL, Trinity will have the early reports on how things are going, until I’m out of ICU. Jonathan and Robert are expecting to be there with me that day as well for the rest of you to check in with on Thursday & Friday.

Can’t think of anything else to add here, so that’s it for now. Thanks again to Amanda and Jim for the loaner lappie that’s performing quite nicely!

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We Have A Date!

Posted on January 10, 2009. Filed under: First Life, Health, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Ok, it’s been a while, so let me sum up (yes I’m quoting Inigo M.).

First and foremost, I’m doing well, still steadily dropping poundage, my poor, arthritic knees are feeling better most of the time, and when they’re not, it’s less of a pain (literal and figurative) than it used to be. My mobility is much better overall. It is so nice.

I’m progressively wearing clothes I’ve not worn in nearly a decade or longer (or ever in some cases), so it’s like getting a new wardrobe as I go along. Very cool stuff, that. I am, as I was warned I’d be, cold a lot of the time, less insulation and lower blood pressure equals freezing my butt off a lot. I take it as a sign of success and put on more layers. Still surprises me, but it’s not so bad it’s an issue really. Just something to note along the way.

The date. February 19th I’ll go under the knife again. Actually I just passed the year mark on the Gastric Bypass the 8th of January, so that’s cool too. For those that don’t know, the next procedure is to fix an aneurysm in my aorta, at the arch as it comes out of my heart. This was discovered in the pre-surgical testing in 2007, however at that weight, no one was willing to take the risk of doing the surgery then, but now, over 140 lbs or so lighter, I’m much less a risky proposition. As my surgeon put it, “if you’re gonna have one of these, that’s the place (of the aneurysm) to have it”. He’s done hundreds of this procedure, and is very confident that this will go well. I like him, he makes me and Pops feel pretty good about such a big deal type operation.

Yes this is a chest cracker. Yes I’m expecting the recovery to “suck hard”. Yes I’ll have a lil zipper scar down my sternum. After the last meeting with the surgeon I’m feeling much less anxiety about this than beforehand, and like the surgery last year, I’m trusting the doctor to do his job and I’m concentrating on my job, the recovery and life mgmt. afterwards. The long term stuff, that’s the hard part in my book. Besides I have enough friends and family freaking out about this for me as well. For some reason that seems to make it easier for me to be calm about it.

So that’s the big update!

My blogging instinct has been re-directed (mis-directed) to the time I spend over on Plurk (, micro-blogging daily. If you’ve not yet heard of Plurk but have heard of Twitter (, it is very similar, but threaded conversations on a timeline vs. solo posts in reverse chronological order. I’m “on” Twitter too but really I rarely watch that page, I have it so folks I know there can ping me with DM’s (Direct Messages, private, only you and the recipient can see posts).

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Back up North now …

Posted on September 9, 2008. Filed under: airplane, animation, Blogging, Books, broadcasting, Business N Plugs, Chicago, computers, convention, DJing, family, First Life, Folks I Know, Friends, Health, Humor, metaverse, RadioRadio, Real Life, Second Life, Second Life Stuffs, sex, silly, SLCC, travel, vacation, VR worlds | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

And it’s surprisingly cold/cool here in Chicago!  Landed yesterday in pouring rain, about 30 + degrees cooler than when I left Tampa, but happy to have gone and come home safely!  Ok so how to sum up ( to borrow from Inigo Montoya)?


Wednesday night I flew out, we sat on the runway about a 1/2 hour due to a pile up of air traffic caused by some rough weather south of Chicago.  I didn’t care, no one was waiting, I was taking a cab from the airport so I waited.  Aisle seat, no one in middle sleeping cute guy on window seat.  I picked up Chelsea Handler’s “Are you there Vodka, It’s me Chelsea?” in the airport, read some of it, very funny.  Freebie milk, great attendant staff and uneventful flight.  Landing however was something special.  There must have been a wicked cross-wind as the plane did lateral figure-8’s all over the place, but the touch down was SO smooth neither I nor my row partner could feel the tires touch down!  That’s some flying.  I complimented the flight staff, they seemed suitably pleased, as they should have been.


Did a bathroom pit stop and then I’m walking through the airport toward the baggage claim area and I hear “MADDY” and there’s Baccara and Stroker!  I didn’t know they were coming!  They wisked me down to baggage and my case was ready and waiting and out to the car we went.  Easy Peasy.


Casa Serpentine is spacious, grand, beautifully decorated and blissfully air conditioned.  Deb and the kids couldn’t have been any nicer or welcoming if they’d tried.  Met one of ST’s cohorts in technological wizardry that night, a fascinating fellow that is the end all be all guru of motion capture.  Funny thing, a bit I caught sight of last week on the web showing 3 different faces, a young woman, young man, and older man all mirror-emoting was done by this same fellow, Roger Nelson of Motionwerx!  A fellow Chicagoan and South sider, we had much to chat about outside of the expected gadgetry and wizardry territories.


Thursday was mostly about party prep for the Luau that night, Stroker and Baccara wizzing about at lightspeed, Fyre and me doing our best to keep up and stay out of the way while business meetings and other things were going on at the same time.  Evening time we started doing runs into the city to get folks at the hotel and schlep them out to Casa Serpentine (it’s about 15 miles away so not a short drive), which was fun, as folks were of course in high spirits and rather animated passengers to say the least!  After 2 trips and a few cab and rental car loads of folks arrived, the party really got down to business.  Folks started stripping down or changing into their swim togs and with a big cannon ball splash, Siggy got us all wet and swimming!


There was a rather Eros-styled ring toss game (blow up hermie doll, excited guy on one side, no shrinkage, perky gal on the other side) which of course got tossed about, mounted, and otherwise abused all night long!  We had killer Cuban fewds, jamming tunes, plenty of beverages and some really neat motion capture gear on display.  The final trip to the hotel was finished about 3 am and we all vegged for a bit by the pool and then went to sleep for a few hours.


Friday was more business meetings at the house for Stroker, and some running around for supplies and a lot of party prep for Saturday.  By evening we were ready to head down to the hotel for some Linden meet and greet and Irish pub socializing courtesy of Ham Rambler at the Four Green Fields tavern.  There were live musicians inside and out, plenty of piccys taken, and of course there was tons of hugging and grinning and storytelling and giggling going on.


Saturday was full-on party prep, and set up and some rather dramatic last minute changes.  I ended up DJing for about 2 hours, off of one DVD of Stroker’s music, via Windows Media Player (not SAM), mic patched into Nala’s board, Nala running the switcher and volume for me from behind a “gotta climb up over into the booth, not in my damn satin dress mind you” wall.  Nala figured out the tech and I cobbled together a playlist and somehow it worked, folks danced and I am not ashamed of that set.  Nala was the closer and BOY HOWDY did Nala knock it outtta the park.  This was a set for the ages, he had folks sweating and boogying their brains out despite the heat (the AC didn’t keep pace w/the heat the SLers were putting out)!  Only sour note really was the way security ended the event, that venue was tops otherwise but man they really gotta work on their people skills, they all but threw folks out the door like they were misbehaving in a cheap 50’s western bar brawl.  We cleared out the essential stuff and dropped off the extra booze at the hotel.  Well Baccara and I did, Stroker and Fyre went to go up to Nex’s room for more party, but by the time they got there the party had already been busted by the Tampa PD and moved out to a patio.


Sleep, sweet sleep, on Sunday and then we went downtown to let Stroker moderate a panel, and me hang w/Trin and Nala for a bit before they snagged a cab w/Alexa and Baccara to the airport.  Sat with Pulaski and some other SLers in the lobby chatting till Stroker & Fyre came down and we went for KILLER Hawaiian Fuision cuisine at Roy’s (wee there’s one in Chicago too!).  Nom nom nom nom nom.  Go if you have a chance.   Took Fyre to the airport, went to a beach on a causeway so I could dip my fingers in the bay (Atlantic ocean was a bit farther away than I realized hehehehee), walk on the sand and snap a few piccys.  Back to the house and some nice quiet time with the family till it was bed time.


Monday was some talking, some biz calls for Stroker and me packing up all the lewt he sent me home with, yea for expandable luggage.  We arrived at the airport and found that my luggage was WAY overweight, to the tune of 150 bucks!  We quickly emptied one of the boxes in the trunk, shoved a mess of gear in that, taped it up and voila!  only 40 bucks to ship it all back!  Whew!  I boarded my flight, had 2 rather funny row mates and had a rather smooth uneventful trip home.  Landed in pouring rain, got all the gear in the car and blithered my poor dad’s ears off with the above.  And that’s the trip in a nutshell.


The most important thing about this year is how much nicer it was, as an experience, being so much smaller.  I wasn’t in pain like before, I wasn’t wheezing and panting and having to stop out of breath.  Only trouble with clothes was some were a little BIGGER than optimal fit.  I was able and willing to do much more this time and I’m so very grateful to all the folks that have supported and encouraged me all along the process and it was really great for them to SEE me and see how that has paid off.  


So now we can all look forward to next year, where ever it may be, and how to get even more of the folks we know and love there in person at the same time!  I expect to be smaller still, more mobile and hopefully a little better prepared, as I only had about 2 weeks to prep for the trip it was such a long shot, me getting there!  Again for the billionth time I gotta thank my Pops for helping me find the money to get me there, Stroker and family for putting me up/up with me, and all of my friends for their support and hugs and laughs and giggles and fondlings!  


It was a great week and an amazing time I would wish upon anyone!

I’ll have photos up on Flickr today I think tomorrow at the latest.

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