Choose Life

H1, H2, & Big Boy Life on the (L)edge

Begun in the aftermath of Katrina, this blog was a way to keep family and friends updated as the family struggled to return to a semblance of normalcy. Now, more than four years later, the memories are still strong, the family is, to some extent, scattered. However, life did go on, and this is our story.

January 31, 2007


Alllll Righty, then!! I just got off the phone with my brother, Bill. He is a big fan of Mardi Gras, and has decided to come down this year again! He is always a joy to have, and everyone loves going to the parades with him.

H2 is mending, I guess. He actually said he’d like to maybe go out to a restaurant this weekend. Seems he’s getting a hankerin’ for some sushi. Looks like Eastern Restaurant may be in the works.

Speaking of H2, his care has been quite interesting. The 24 hour antibiotic kept running out after about 18 ½ hours. After 3 days of fighting with the pump, the nurse tried setting it to 12 hours, and it worked! Go figure!! A 24 hour bag, and a pump set to 12 hours, and it actually lasts 24 hours. Technology, ain’t it grand?

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January 27, 2007


H2 is HOME!!! He came home yesterday evening. A home health care nurse came by to show us how to administer his IVs and to get him started. He has one that runs for 24 hours, and a second that is given twice a day at 12-hour intervals. This will continue for 6 weeks.

He is really CUTE!! I never in a million years would have imagined seeing H2 wearing a "belly bag"! Part of his IV setup is a belly bag to hold the pump and antibiotics so he can get around, get out of the house, etc. He's so PRECIOUS!

As for H2 himself, he seems to be in less pain and is able to move about much better than before. He's still weak from the surgery and also, I'm sure, from lack of eating. He lost close to 40 pounds over the past 5 weeks, and has had little to no physical activity. It will take some time for him, but he appears to be on the mend.

That's the good news. I guess the bad news is that once H2 is well, I'll have nothing of interest to post anymore and my little blog will once again become boring and haphazardly published. I'll take an H2 who is well anytime.

Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers and support. As always, we ask for God's blessings for you and your loved ones.

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January 26, 2007


It looks like H2's pending discharge is a go. Linda is waiting for Health Services to make arrangements for his care at home, which we expect will be the three of us learning how to give him his IVs. Rumor has it that it isn't difficult. Uh-huh. We've heard THAT song before.

Lunch today was excellent!! Met with Major Dad, Patti, and Molly McPharty (MMP). We met at the 'Teau and enjoyed delicious salads. I'm happy to once again have access to my favorite lunch beverage: decaf iced coffee with heavy cream and sugar-free hazelnut flavoring. Yessirreeee!

Since the Bears' ignominious defeat of our beloved Saints, the city seems to have settled down, however briefly, into its normal routine. A few Saints auto banners still fly, but they are dwindling.

It won't be long, however, until purple, green, and gold take over the town as Mardi Gras looms, and the Carnival parades are in full swing, drawing folks from near and far. Then spring will spring and Jazzfest will be here, once again bringing in visitors from around the nation and around the world.

Thank heaven for these brief moments throughout the year which afford the opportunity for the citizens of New Orleans and the surrounding areas to put aside for a few days the constant stress of living in an area that is in a state of rebuilding, yet is far, far away from being anywhere near close to complete.

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There is a chance that H2 may come home Friday! He's looking pretty good, his "pick" line is in, his surgical area is doing well. It would be great to get him back in the house again. It's getting a bit old going back and forth to the hospital, to work, to the hospital, to home, to the... well, you get the idea. Doesn't leave much time for "to the cleaners, to the grocery, etc.".

We do NOT, however, want him home so badly that it jeopardizes his recovery! We want him to get well, and we want it NOW!!! If that means another day or two in the hospital then so be it. We can deal with it.

Looking forward to lunch with Patti and Molly. It's always a pleasure to have lunch with her, and I think Major Dad is going to join us as well. Good times are a'brewin'.

I was asked to right a short letter of recommendation for Uncle Mickey. How do you condense into a few lines the volumes of feelings and emotions and memories that have sprung from our relationship with Uncle Mick and Aunt Bev? Ah, well. I'll give it a go. It's to recommend that he be allowed to do his "deacon" thing in Denver. Good luck, Uncle Mick!!

Keep praying, people! God is GOOD, and we are BLESSED!!

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January 25, 2007


*Correction provided by my nurse SIL from Mickey Land (Orlando). Stands for peripheral intravenous central catheter. Thanks, Mags!!

The PICC line is in. H2 is back in his room, resting. Hopefully this is the beginning of his full recovery!

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I just spoke with Linda. They've taken H2 to get his "pick" line put in. This will allow him to go home and have intravenous antibiotics for the next six weeks. He has been very nervous up to now about getting this done. I can't blame him. So far everything that has been done to him has been painful, and not very successful. It's difficult trying to keep his spirits up. I'm hoping the arrival of H1/DIL1 tomorrow will boost his spirits.

On the up side, he's lost 40 pounds that he really won't miss. ICE is going to keep him on the list of people for interviews, so that door is still open.

Christ the King Parish in Terrytown is having its official rededication next month! It'll be wonderful to move Sunday worship out of the parish hall and back into the church. Congratulations on all the hard work and dedication!!

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January 23, 2007


The surgery is DONE!!! A simple 45 minute procedure (yeah, right!) took a little over two hours. NS found a "pocket" of infection that was missed last time. In his words, it was a "radical" surgery, going all the way back to the original site of the discectomy, and removing some fatty tissue as well.

H2 will be in more pain this time (NS's observation, due to the radicallness of the surgery). Let's hope they keep his demerol level up! He should be in the hospital for 4 or 5 days, then he'll be sent home on a six-week IV regimen. Hmmm. Six weeks. That's longer than any time L has been home since Katrina.

H2 had to cancel his much anticipated interview with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Homeland Security Department) which was supposed to be tomorrow. Please pray that this doesn't throw a wrench into his career plans and aspirations!

Looking forward to the return of H1/DIL1 this weekend. Perhaps DIL1's xB will be sporting the pimped out mods that
H1 has been struggling with

Until next time, may the peace of the Lord be with you, and may His Glory shine upon you!

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January 22, 2007



H2 didn't have surgery after all. He was supposed to be second, after an aneurism case, but it took so long, and he was feeling ill from stress and probably the meds on an empty stomach that it was postponed until tomorrow AM. So... we'll have to wait and see, I guess. I'm no longer counting on anything.

Here's the run down on this visit so far (as accurately as I can recall):

1. H2 goes to see IDD1 on Wednesday. IDD1 says he MUST have the surgery and she will speak to the neurosurgeon (NS) that day.
2. L calls NS's secretary (GF) on Thursday who says "No, IDD1 hadn't contacted NS" and that NS had been in surgery all day Wednesday and Thursday. GF called back to say yes, bring H2 in, so
3. H2 is admitted to the hospital yet again.
4. A neurosurgery resident (NSR) comes in on Friday morning and says yes, they are going to work H2 into the schedule.
5. Later Friday morning IDD2 comes in to say he is now on the case. He doesn't necessarily agree with IDD1's call for surgery. He will contact NS to discuss.
6. Saturday morning IDD3 comes in. He leans more toward IDD1 and says he would definitely recommend the surgery. Maybe today. No food.
7. NS comes in shortly after IDD3. He seems upset by the lack of concensus on the part of IDD1/2/3 and says he will meet with them first thing Monday to get everyone on the same page. He also orders a "pick line" for H2 to allow for IV meds at home. He emphatically says he wants it in "TODAY"!!
8. Sunday goes by quietly until the Saints lose. Dang it!! No food after midnight.
9. Monday morning brings anxious trepidation as H2 waits for the call to surgery. In the mean time he is getting nauseous and sick throughout the day.
10. By 3PM nothing has happened. Then Fr. John comes by to visit and give H2 the Sacrament of the Sick. Not 10 minutes later NS's lead resident (NSLR) comes in to say the surgery is still going on. H2 explains his illness and askes that the surgery be postponed until Tuesday, if possible. When NSLR leaves to check, IDD2 comes in with a gaggle of students and residents. He asked what NS had said on Saturday which meant, I gather, that the meeting "first thing Monday" hadn't taken place.
11. NSLR returns with NS. They observe the wound and are pleased with it. NS explains that the plan is to go in tomorrow all the way down to where the disc was removed and wash, disinfect, remove as much infection as possible, then close it up and send H2 home with a 6 week IV antibiotic regimen.
12. So. There you have it. Will the saga finally end tomorrow? I'm not laying any bets at this point.

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T minus 4 HOURS, and COUNTING

The surgery is on. H2 will be # 2, with the first taking at least 3 - 4 hours, so he probably won't go until this afternoon. By now his nerves are pretty well shot, so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers especially for today!

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January 21, 2007


Saturday brought still another IDD. We'll call him IDD3. He was more in line with IDD1 as far as the need for surgery is concerned. Later in the day our surgeon came by (Yay!! Finally!!). He seemed very upset that ID was throwing such turmoil into the mix. He is going to meet with them on Monday, AM, to find out what is going on with them, and to decide whether H2 will need surgery or not. It looks probable at this time, though. We'll see.

Don't you just love it when your team doesn't show up for their own games? What happened to the Saints from last weekend? What about the Saints that picked Dallas apart? Where did these fumble-happy, "I've got the dropsies" Saints come from? And why now, today?!? Oh, well. See title.

Major Dad bought BB the CUTEST pink Saints jersey, with # 26 on it. She looks just adorable!! I guess we'll be packing up all our jerseys until next fall.

FL1's Mom made a beautiful little angel for H2. I think it is crocheted. It's hanging from his IV stand. I'm told that many prayers are woven into the fabric of that tiny angel, and L and I are greatful for it.

Wishing you all God's blessings.

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January 19, 2007


LIMBO... That seems to be where H2 is right now. He was admitted yesterday, this morning a couple of residents came by to see him and said they (Neurology - Dr. Melgar?) would probably try to "squeeze him in" today. Later in the afternoon another infectious disease doctor (IDD2)came by with a gaggle of residents to look at H2. It seems that he (IDD2) has taken over the case from IDD#1. He is NOT so sure that surgery is necessary, and wants to increase their antibiotic regimen with a broader range of powerful antibiotics. However, he won't rule out surgery stating that he's not a surgeon, so that would be a surgeon's call, not his. And, as of 6PM this evening, no surgeon has shown up to look at H2, or to make any decisions. In the mean time, as long as surgery is a possibility, H2 is not allowed to eat anything. So, that's where we're at right now.

And oh, by the way, GEAUX SAINTS!!!!!

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January 18, 2007

3rd TIME'S A CHARM?!?!

It's official. H2 is to be re-admitted to Tulane Medical Center today. I don't know if his surgery will actually take place today or not. Stay tuned. When I know, you'll know. PRAY!!

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January 17, 2007


I am about at my wit’s end. H2 just came from his appointment with the infectious disease doctor. She wants to talk to the surgeon and recommend that he (H2) be RE-ADMITTED for ANOTHER surgery! It seems that he has “pockets of infection” that are not going away. He didn’t have ANY infection until after they opened him up the first time, and now they want to open him up a third time?!?!?!?!?

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January 16, 2007


*As in "Maybe next year" - famous quote oft used by Saints fans.

H2 update: He still has a lot of back pain and finds it difficult to sit, stand and walk. He will see the infectious disease folks on Wednesday, and the surgeon on Friday. We are hoping, of course, for good news. Thanks to you all for your prayers and support.

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to verify it, I’m told that FL1 possesses the recipe to a truly outstanding salad dressing. I’m also told that she is not disposed to share said recipe. And finally I’m told that she should be STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to either cough up the recipe (after all, we’re all family here!!) or show up at P&J’s with a new batch!!!

Our Saints have their work cut out for themselves this weekend. Although I think they can beat the Bears, the cold weather and outdoor stadium will be a challenge. Still, I think they will be victorious. My guess is: Saints vs New England – Miami – Super Bowl XLI – February 4th!!!

Linda and I took BB and Ian to see “Night At The Museum”. Cute movie. I think they really enjoyed it, especially since they had been to the NY Museum of Natural History, so a lot was familiar to them. Definitely recommend the movie for a nice evening of light entertainment.

Extra prayers are requested today for a parishioner friend who is having surgery today, and for the great grandson of another friend who is hospitalized with respiratory problems. He is only a few weeks old. Please pray, also, for health and wellbeing of the deacons and families of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Thanks be to God for all of you!! We are better people for having you in our lives!! God bless you.

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January 14, 2007


Hopefully H2, like New Orleans, is on his way to recovery. He saw one doctor on Wednesday who ordered physical therapy and occupational therapy. Then he saw the original surgeon on Thursday who told him to forget the therapy (at least for now), and prescribed a back brace. He told H2 that what he needed right now was to let his back relax and heal. H2 was practically a whole new person after he put on the back brace!!

Friday night he joined us (albeit gingerly) at Outback, and Saturday he ventured out into the living room and watched with Linda and I as the Saints beat the Eagles! Although he's still a little discouraged by his slow progress, I think there is progress.

H1/DIL1 had planned to come into town together this weekend, but H1 was supposed to work, so they remained in Houston. We missed them at Outback. But, at least we didn't talk bad about them because they weren't there... much... just kidding... or, am I?

More good news!! The Chateau Coffe Café, better know as "The 'Teau", located in the Lakeview area of New Orleans, and a frequent lunch spot prior to Katrina, is reopening on Tuesday!! It will provide another much needed place to go for lunch, as well as a gathering place for those occasional Saturday morning outings.

Patti used a Christmas bonus to get herself a bright PINK iPod Nano. Now she's in the market for all those "iPliances". There seems to be no end to the accessories that are popping up for the whole iPod line.

Hopefully the Saints win will bump New Orleans' seemingly skyrocketing murder rate from the headlines for a day or two. We can use some relief. We have plenty of people here screaming at the Mayor and police chief that the whole criminal justice system in NOLA is broken, but they don't offer any solutions. They held a march on city hall where several thousand people refused to let Nagin or Riley speak, saying that it was "time for the people to be heard". Then they commenced to badmouth the administration and complain about the broken justice system. Yeah. THAT was really productive. Like we didn't already know we had a problem. What we need are solutions, people. If you don't have anything positive to contribute, don't bother opening your mouths!!

That's about it... I've run dry for today. Take care and God bless!!

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January 8, 2007


Hallelujah!! H2 is HOME!! A surgical student stopped by at 6AM and looked at his bandages. He said that he looked pretty good, but that the doctor had 2 surgeries scheduled and would be in to see H2 afterward. So he and Linda hunkered down for a long day. Later this morning the doctor who had left release orders for him for Saturday stopped in to see why he was still there. When H2 asked if he would sign him out, he said he couldn't because he wasn't the one who had ordered him to stay the extra days. Anyway, Linda called at 3PM to say she and H2 were home! Thanks to everyone for your prayers!!

He must be feeling better, 'cause he wants to go to Outback this weekend when H1 and DIL1 are back in town. We'll see how he does after a few days at home.

Oh, the infectious disease doctors came by today also, and said that he would be on antibiotics for at least 6 weeks and possibly as long as 3 months. In addition, he will have to have weekly blood work done. Since he's as difficult a "stick" as I am, I know he was THRILLED to here that... NOT!!!

For now, we just hope and pray that he is finally on the road to complete recovery.

Take care, and God's blessings to you all!

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January 6, 2007


Well, it's 4PM and DIL1 and Linda just arrived home, sans H2. The doctor finally showed up... Apparently he was in surgery all day... where ARE his priorities?!?! and said that he was still draining too much fluid and would have to stay until Monday. I guess we need more prayers for his SPEEDY recovery!

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CAPTAIN'S LOG: STAR DATE [-4] 84014.87 10:14:45

It's been an interesting week at Tulane Medical Center, to say the least! H2 is coming home today!! Right now DIL1 (back from Houston for the weekend) and Linda are with him, waiting for the doctors to come and sign his release. Let's hope there are no more setbacks.

Yesterday, a week after he had been in the hospital (for the second time) a nurse came by to scan his bracelet. She said she needed to make sure he was wearing the correct one, not one from the ER. This is the bracelet that they had been scanning for the past seven days, every time they administered meds, or took vitals, or whatever!!! So the day before he's to be released they want to make sure it's the right one??!?!??

Thursday evening I got H2 up to walk around the hallway. I thought we'd kind of shuffle along, with me in front, and him holding my shoulder to steady himself. Hah!! The next thing I know he was cruising down the hallway with me trying to keep up!! Apparently he can walk pretty darn good once he gets up. The hard part is the getting up. He still has to practice sitting, and standing from a sitting position. Those are very difficult for him. He's learning to use different muscles while his back is on the mend.

KenEllie came by to see H2 last night. It was a nice visit. Hopefully they'll stop by the house after Mass this evening to check on his progress at home. H2 enjoys the company and, of course, we're always glad to see them.

This past week was a doozy! I was sick, H1 was sick, DIL1 was sick, Molly Grace was sick, Major Dad was sick, KenEllie were sick, H2, well, you know his condition... what a beginning to a new year!

Until next time... God's graces and love be with you!!!!

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January 3, 2007

Throw Me An Alka-Selter Plus, Mister!!!

As New Years go, this one leaves a bit to be desired... H2 was in the hospital over the new year, had a second surgery yesterday, and will remain in the hospital at least a couple more days. Linda has spent 99% of her time at the hospital since last Thursday. I'm home with a head cold and sore throat that began yesterday morning. Little Molly Grace has RSV (I think that's what it's called) which is merely cold-like in adults, but is VERY serious in infants. Please, PLEASE pray for Molly!! It looks like 2007 has no way to go but UP!!!

The Ken half of KenEllie played golf this weekend for the first time... I hope he faired better than I would have... I'm not allowed to play miniature golf, even. I get too frustrated when the little white ball doesn't do what I want it to. Can you say "TANTRUM"?!?!?!

This is for Big J who, his wife reports, has gone above and beyond in his attendance at Mass over the holidays:
Bravo Zulu, Dude!!!!

Many thanks to all who continue to pray for H2 and the rest of our family and friends. You are in our prayers also.

Looking forward to the speedy return of H1/DIL1. They will come back to NOLA this weekend to see how H2 is doing, and we're always super excited to see them.

The Sugar Bowl will take place tonight, here in New Orleans... Although it borders on blasphemy here in Southeast Louisiana, I am hoping for some divine intervention that will propel Notre Dame to a victory over Louisiana State University!!

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January 2, 2007

H2 Round 2 - the Sequel

H2 is out of surgery... again!!! The doctor says it went well (we've heard that before) and that he wants H2 up and moving this evening, but wants to keep him in the hospital for a couple more days to keep an eye on things.

Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes!

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January 1, 2007


We've been waiting for a doctor to return from being out of town to find out if/when H2's surgery will occur. We expected him to return tonight and to see H2 tomorrow. Well, he popped into the room today!! H2 will be in surgery tomorrow afternoon. We hope and pray that this will be the end of his misery!

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H2 (DJ) is back in the hospital. He has a bad infection in the area of his surgery, and it looks like in the next couple of days he will have another surgery to go in and clean out the infected areas. As you can imagine, he's REALLY NOT HAPPY about that prospect!! Mom and I are trying to keep his spirits up, but it's difficult. He's basically been bedridden for two weeks, with at least another week to go. If you live close, and would like to drop in, he's at Tulane Medical Center, and his room is 5217. Visiting hours are basically 24 hours a day. If you don't live close, please pray for his speedy and uneventful (this time) recovery.

H1/DIL1 left yesterday to return to Houston. They stayed an extra week to give H2 some much needed moral support and TLC. DIL1 actually spent the night with him the first night back in the hospital.

We've learned of a whole other side to DIL1... Not only is there a "Work Hannah" and a "B_tch Hannah", but (there's no nice way to put this) apparently there's a "Hooker Hannah" as well!! It seems that the morning after she had spent the night at TMC she left briefly to find a Walgreens to buy some sinus medicine. Since TMC is situated in a not so desirable area of town, she was hit up for a smoke several times, and one guy (NOT Richard Gere, by the way) chatted her up with, "Gee, they've got you out working early this morning, huh?" to which she replied, rather indignantly I might add, "What?!?! Working!?!? You think I'M out here WORKING?!?!?!?!" When he realized his mistake he tried to apologize, but by that time I'm sure that "B_tch Hannah" had taken over and was surgically emasculating him verbally. When she's good, she's good, and when she's pissed, she's REALLY good!!!

Happy New Year to everyone, and if your traveling, please be careful and have a safe trip!!

God bless you!

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