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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Lately …

Posted on June 21, 2008. Filed under: DJing, First Life, Folks I Know, Friends, Music, RadioRadio, Real Life, Second Life, Second Life Stuffs, VR worlds, Webcasting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’ve been good.  Been getting out socially a little more, mostly dragged out by friends and family, it’s true but I’m going vs. staying in and obsessing.  So that’s good.  I feel better every day, my knees, me in general too.  Most of the time the changes are subtle, but every so often there’s kind of an “Ah Ha!” moment when something feels significantly easier to do.

I’ve been hanging out in Plurk and Age of Conan a lot, recharging my batteries for Second Life ™ and the ongoing fund raising benefiting the American Cancer Society (ACS) via the Relay For Life (RFL) campaign. The campaign is going well, and we’re in the home stretch toward the 24 hour Relay itself this July 19 – 20th. We’ve surpassed last year’s grand total already (over 118,000 U.S. dollars collected via direct donation and over 30 million Linden dollars gathered in-world)!

Team RadioRadio has done it’s part and has it’s next big event coming up at 5 pm (Pacific) on July 10, 2008, DJ Chet “Spanky” Neurocam will be spinning while racers drive in support of BOTH ACS and United Spinal Research (USR). Earlier this month, we participated in a 5 team, 3 station event, that doubled Team RadioRadio’s total and altogether raised just over $8,700 USD in 15 hours! Nothing like the power of cooperation and motivation to get things rolling!

At the end of the month I’ll have some tests done to see where we stand on the next big procedure, which will give me an indicator of what the rest of my year is gonna be like. I’ve been DJing 2 nights a week, Fridays 9 pm – midnight (Pacific) and Saturdays 5 – 8 pm (Pacific). Also I’m collaborating with an SL buddy Xugu Madison on building a website for the guild we’re both members of in Age of Conan. We built a wiki site for Tiny Empires last year and I’m looking forward to seeing what we come up with this time!

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Knees – What IS wrong with them?

Posted on March 4, 2008. Filed under: First Life, Health, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , |

Went to a new Dr. today, an osteo. sports medicine kinda dude that does bleeding edge knee surgeries and replacements and all that stuff.  They asked me a lotta knee history and health history questions, took some X-ray snaps of my knees and then we had a nice sit down chat.

It turns out that I’m arthritic.  Didn’t expect that.  The good news is my knees aren’t ground into little bitty shards of bone and stuff.  That’s not the difficulty.  It’s just that the cartilage is worn, unevenly, but in the expected way and I’m nearly out of cushioning on one side of each knee joint.  So they hurt, so they feel wrong, so what do we do?

Well, surgery is an option, but a last ditch, we’ve tried everything else choice.  That was my thought and his as well.  Considering he’s a surgeon, ya gotta love that he’s not pushing to slice and dice.  Nor was he keen on putting me in a brace.  First thing was he figured I’d have a cosmetic objection to it.  Hell I didn’t care about wearing braces, either time, except that they cut up my mouth and hurt like hell when being adjusted but damn I love the results!   After I made that clear, which he loved, then he pointed out that they tend to abrade the skin, and would give me sores, esp. since I’m still dealing w/some leg swelling issues.  So that part I can see.  I asked about a soft brace.  “They make nice knee warmers.”   Yes, that’s what he said. LOL

Ok, so medicines?  They kill the pain, don’t work forever and don’t fix the issue.  So where we’re gonna start, once we get insurance clearance, is an injection, once a week for 3 weeks running, of something called Euflexxa.  From the brochure it sounds like liquid cartilage and a nice grease, lube and oil job in one.   Again, a very reasonable option.

My dad found this guy on the web, he’s from the same hospital as did my surgery and yet again, great personable staff, attentive, incisive, intelligent folks in the office, top to bottom.  One of the nurses even subs in with my gastric surgeon, she was very happy to hear that he’d done my surgery (I hear nothing but knowing nods and high praise at the mention of his name).  I’m really happy that my knee isn’t bone meal and that there are non-invasive options to explore.  I kinda wish a soft brace would do something for me too, but we see how this stuff goes.

Otherwise I’m doing well, trying new foods and so far the only thing that gives me issue, other than stuff that’s too sweet is STILL carrots.  I can deal with that, been doing so all my life.  Went to the grocery store today, got a mess of stuff, but I need to go back.  I’ve been not cooking so long I need basics and seasonings and stuff still.  Bought all I thought I could carry in one trip from the car (just barely) and tomorrow I’ll go get the other 1/2 of what I need.

When most of what you consume is fluidy and soft, your groceries get very heavy very fast I must say.  Got some salmon, had the butcher cut it to size and individually wrap them for me so they’ll be fool proof.  Also I’ll give ‘nanners (bananas) a shot too.  I think I might end up blending them with some of the “canned” (it’s not in a can but same concept, just fresher) fruit and yogurt.

OH !!  We stopped for lunch before the appointment, so I had my first onion, pickle, hamburger and cheese today without incident.  Yes it was McD’s.  No bun, no ketchup (don’t usually put that on any how and it’s prolly too sweet for me), and I cut it up on a plate with fork and knife to be sure no eating errors.  All went down and stayed down just fine.  It was yummy too.  Weird ordering just the sandwich, no fries and no beloved Diet Coke.  Took me twice as long as Pops to eat just my burger as it did for him w/fries and soda.  This stuff still cracks me up, but it is good.  I feel pretty confident that my tummy will twinge if I shouldn’t eat something even before I get it in my mouth and so far, that’s been the rule.

If anyone had told me this would be this easy or smooth before surgery, frankly I’d not have believed them.  I suspect my case may be very, very atypical.  Nothing I read about Gastric Bypass showed the patients dealing with stuff this easily.  My only issue is the occasional chewing (or lack of sufficient)  error.  That and my knees, which hopefully will begin to be resolved and I can get my meteoric weight loss rolling along again.  I’m still losing but much much much slower I think than to be expected with proper exercise.  Soon.

All in all, it’s very good news and a yet continued bright outlook.  Yea the proverbial shoe may drop, but until then I”ll enjoy it as it is.

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What’s My Status?

Posted on February 8, 2008. Filed under: Blogging, Chicago, First Life, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

(like anyone other than those who already know me care, but what the hey, it’s my blog ;-P)

Silly stuff:

I heard back from the folks at ManGlaze.com and got my mitts on a sample of their two colors (both matte, with a sorta ground diamond dust bit of sparkle to them, in black and slate grey). I gotta say, the stuff goes on well, dries quickly and so far hasn’t chipped. I’m hell on nail polish, so that’s no small feat (you should see what I do to watches). Showed it to a few of my male buddies and they were suitably impressed, intrigued and amused. I can totally see this going over well in the metrosexual/rocker/goth/artsy male and female crowd. Me, I like weird colored nail polish anyhow. And for a non-bling fashionista, I do like glittery stuff on my nails. It amuses me. So I give them high marks!

Snowy stuff:

I’ve stayed pretty much inside while Chicago’s been deluged with white stuff, wet, heavy, and fluffy dry as well as everything in between. My lovely maintenance man has shoveled and plowed the drive. I watch him bury Zippy under more. I’ll wait for a thaw to dig poor Zippy out. Lil snowy blankie on the car I guess, protects him from squirrel droppings.

Health stuff:

The blood pressure is getting better, I’m not so woozy and feel very much more myself now. I’m moving around, puttering in the apartment and doing some standing and walking now. Yea!

I’m still learning or more accurately re-learning my drinking and eating skills. About once every other day I screw up and up comes my mistake. It’s not as awful as it sounds and I rebound quickly. Let’s just say I’m chewing oatmeal and drinking fluids in tiny, bitty sips as much as I can remember to do so.

Tonight (well last night actually) I went out for my first public civilian meal with RKT, SD, and JSM to celebrate R’s b-day. The guys picked a (we thought Ethiopian, but really pan-African) restaurant called African Harambee that had nice, mildly seasoned, gooshy food, the sweet hearts that they are, so that I’d be safe. None of us had been the the place in it’s current incarnation and we were pleased with the meal.

I had something that was a spinach stew of sorts (supposedly had beef but I didn’t see any, maybe it’s a beef stock) that had chunky carrots which I ignored, and potato hunks too. I had a side of what I think of as white African polenta, think UBER white mashers but with a little more gritty texture, made out of corn meal. Also a side of a spicy lentil mash ( a bit much for my tum-tum, but it tasted great) and some oniony greens that were a bit too roughage-y for my tum yet, but yummy as well.

The guys had a variety of other tasty bits, that nifty, sour dough-y spongey pancake stuff I remember from Momma Desta’s and some lovely Spanish wine JSM brought. (they have a full bar but he wasn’t sure) Oh, African beer? Yes, Tusker beer! Didn’t have any of the beer and wine but I gotta say they both smelled wonderful.

Yes they served us tons of food, well priced, of course. Gotta love Chicago restaurants!

Oh I must mention I was able to wear a pair of pants to this gathering that I’ve NEVER worn before as they were too small, had to cut the tags off. That was a huge milestone. I’ve other outfits and pieces of clothing lying in wait for my transforming shape. I’ll not need to buy much I suspect along the way down, not that I planned it that way but hey, I’ll take advantage of it!

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    • MadameMaracas is heartbroken, so terribly devastated, the surgeon, Dr. Alan Yasko, that gave me my brand new knee this winter, died of a pulmonary embolism. August 24, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas Happy Birthday MatthewAnthony ! May your day be filled with joy and the coming year only get better, day by day! August 22, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas Sorry for the neglect folks, I'm moving to a new facility today, we see what kinda connectivity I have there, if at all. August 20, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Lost connectivity, possibly for an hour or so for the seeming midnight reset. I am fine, full of dilaulid, feeling no pain. no pai August 19, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Getting ready for surgery today, slated to be carved open @ about 11.30am. Pops & Marissa are here taking great care of me. <via phone> August 16, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas you're a big ole pussy cat, need to out go out in a ball love and feeling, generating more with time. August 14, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Been standing up, turning to sit in a chair, short, shuffling steps! NO THIGH PAIN! <via phone> August 12, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Packing room up atm, waiting for transport to surgery w/ Pops & Marissa. Marissa will update here.. <via phone> August 9, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says I have been moved to a different room on the same floor. A single room. ping 4 new # <via phone> August 7, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Guess who just spent an hour out of her room NOT for tests, feeling more normal than in over a month? <via phone> August 6, 2010 MadameMaracas

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