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.

February 27, 2007


S2 will be here in three days!! We can hardly wait! We’re setting up for another crawfish boil, and may try some charbroiled oysters, as well.

This past weekend was my “duty weekend” as Big J puts it. I preached at all three services at our church. I think it went well, although Linda says that my homily Saturday evening was different from the one at 11AM Mass on Sunday. Same message, different delivery I guess.

I don’t know what’s going on, but Sunday afternoon brought with it a migraine that left me pretty much out of commission until Tuesday morning. I missed work Monday and part of Tuesday morning because of it. At least I was able to go to BB’s birthday party. She’s six years old, going on 60!

H2 went to see IDD1 yesterday. She says, “Let’s take out the PICC and put you on pills for a week to see how you do.” H2 responded with, “How about we LEAVE THE PICC IN while we see how I do, so we don’t have to have it put back later?!?” DUH!! I really have very little confidence in the IDDs we’ve seen so far.

It looks like the PICC will probably be removed next Monday. If so, Linda may be going back to Memphis in about a week and a half. I don’t relish that thought, even a little!! It’s been really great having her here for the past 10 weeks!

H2 continues to improve, despite the doctors. He is getting out more, has driven his truck a couple of times, and his appetite is returning (witness the Taco Bell bags in the trash!!). Thanks to everyone for their prayers.

We received news yesterday that the 14 month old daughter of a friend of H2 passed away. She had leukemia. She was also a twin, but her brother is ok. Please pray for the family during this especially hard time.

Rumor has it that H1/DIL1 will be back in NOLA for the weekend. One can almost feel the excitement mounting! Probably the single worst thing that has happened to our family, courtesy of Katrina, is H1/DIL1 moving permanently to Houston. They may not agree with that assessment. They both have good jobs and lots of quality time without family interference, but we miss them more than we can put into words.

That’s it for now. I’m outta here! TC&GB!

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February 21, 2007

Remember man, thou art dust, and to dust you will return.

H1/DIL1/HF1 and my brother, like Mardi Gras, have come and gone. We had a great time with everyone here. I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did. Because of work commitments H1/DIL1/HF1 had to leave on Tuesday, but they got back safe and sound, and we look forward to their return in the near future. Perhaps when S2 comes to town?

The crawfish boil on Monday came off without a hitch. 80 pounds of mudbugs cooked in two batches. They were perfect! Good flavor, and they slid right out of their shells. MMMMmmmmmm!!! As it got dark, the kids lit a fire in a metal fire pit that we had received for Christmas. We sat outside for about 3 hours listening to music and socializing. It was one of the best boils EVER!

We were especially fortunate to have our very dear friends Keith and Chris and Aunt Bev and Uncle Mickey over for the boil. They were joined by Linda and Patrick from Christ the King, two people who were instrumental in making my short time there a pleasant memory. K&C brought California cousins who seemed to enjoy our New Orleans style hospitality.

As you may know, today is Ash Wednesday. It is a day of fasting (refraining from food and drink to some degree) and abstinence (refraining from eating meat). These activities of self-sacrifice are intended to help us grow in self-discipline and holiness. For lunch I went to a nearby Italian style restaurant, Café Roma, and had a small garlic cheese pizza and a glass of iced tea. The pizza was delicious, even without meat. I guess my sacrifice on this occasion was to not get the large pizza.

May your Lenten journey be one of self-discovery, self-discipline and self-improvement as we try harder to live our lives as our Lord asks us to do, acknowledging with heartfelt gratitude the ultimate sacrifice He made for us.

God bless you!!

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February 19, 2007

Ah, the god of Wine, Women and Song

Happy Lundi Gras!! The sun is shining and it looks like a good day to "burl" some mudbugs!

Yesterday Linda, P&J, I-Buddy and BB, KenEllie, and OB went to the Bacchus parade. Actually there are four parades that run almost the same route on the same day. P&J and family and OB went early and saw three parades before Bacchus. KenEllie, L, and I arrived later and caught the last of the Krewe of MidCity, and then all of Bacchus. H1/DIL1 and HF1 went downtown to catch the parade closer to the end of the route, later in the evening. The crowds at the beginning were probably the heaviest I've ever seen for that early in the day, and stayed that way 'til the end, although everyone was pretty much in control and no incidents were noticed. All in all it was a great day! We missed Kong and Momma Kong, though. Don't know what happened to those two floats. Baby Kong was there.

S2 is coming to NOLA next month! We are SO excited. She's bringing 3 friends to show off our fair (although somewhat worn in spots) city. I hope they enjoy and can see how much has been done so far in our recovery, and, perhaps more importantly, how much is left still to do. People around the country need to understand that we here in New Orleans are NOT just resting on our laurels, that work is being done but the job is just so immense!

Well, that's it from Mardi Gras central. Y'all take care. God bless!!

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February 17, 2007


The madness that is Carnival in New Orleans is in full swing!! If you need to get anywhere in the city in a hurry, you'd better be there already or you won't make it! What with parades, and moving floats, and masses of people going to areas that they don't normally go, traffic is horrible most of the time on the major arteries of the city. It's a real exercise in patience to go just about anywhere.

OB got in late yesterday evening, and H1/DIL1 and their Houston friend (HF1) arrived in the wee hours of the morning. Looks like we've got a great group for this final weekend leading up to Mardi Gras.

Tomorrow is "Bacchus Sunday". We normally go uptown to St. Stephen's Church on Napolean Avenue early in the AM. After securing our spot, we hunker down to watch three parades over the course of the day. One memorable year the Budweiser Clydesdales vans pulled up right in front of us and unloaded the horses. We were treated to watching as they were harnessed and brushed and prepared for the parade. The kids were thrilled!

Monday we're hosting a crawfish boil for family, friends and Uganda seminarians. Hopefully it won't be too cold. We'll be cooking in the afternoon, eating late afternoon to early evening, just as the temps begin to drop. Afterward many will head over to the CBD to watch the Krewe of Orpheus parade.

We wish you all a very Happy Mardi Gras which, by the way, is a holiday from work here in New Orleans. Because of the many parades that day, it is difficult to travel to and from work, so most businesses (other than restaurants and groceries) are closed.

Laissez les bon temps roullez!!!

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February 15, 2007


Well, I guess I asked for it. I got this response to my “scorecard”:
“Hey! What about the S2-PA, and S1-CT, S3-NY and S4-NY, etc. We never get mentioned here and are feeling pretty left out. Especially when some of us are coming to visit!!! Soon!!!!! Like in a few weeks!!!!! Only B-OH gets any mention. I guess I can safely be referred to as WB now, huh?”

So, allow me to add the following (and how could my sister EVER be WB???):

OB – Only Brother, (or Ohio Brother), # 1 sibling, lives in Ohio
S1 - # 1 sister, # 2 sibling, oldest sister, 4th youngest sister, lives in Connecticut
S2 - # 2 sister, # 3 sibling, author of above complaint, 2nd oldest sister, 3rd youngest sister, lives in Pennsylvania
S3 - # 3 sister, # 4 sibling, 3rd oldest sister, 2nd youngest sister, lives in upstate New York
S4 - # 4 sister, # 5 sibling, 4th oldest sister, youngest sister, lives in upstate NY

PLUS>>> I went to lunch with my usual lunch bunch today, and one of them would hardly speak to me. Seems that I also left Big J out of the list. So…

Big J – Big John, husband of Janet, longtime friend, coworker, avid golfer, fisherman, all around good guy.

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February 13, 2007


Tornadoes in Southeast Louisiana!! Apparently a twister touched down on the West Bank of the Mississippi in Westwego, then crossed over the river and travelled through Uptown New Orleans and out to the Lakefront. We managed to sleep through everything. No damage to our neighborhood at all, thank God! Our prayers are with the family of the elderly woman who was killed when her FEMA trailer was hit.

I just wanted to let everyone know that we are ok.

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February 11, 2007

Who's On First? What's On Second? I Don't Know... Third Base!

Here's a scorecard, just for fyi. I added a couple for future reference.

H1 - Husband # 1, # 1 Son... lives in Houston
DIL1 - Daughter In Law # 1 - wife of H1
H2 - Husband # 2 (we tease him...), # 2 Son, lives in NOLA, not married
KenEllie - # 3 Son and his lovely bride
LDB - Little Drummer Boy, Ken of KenEllie
LE - "L" "E", Ellie of KenEllie
DIL2 - Daughter In Law # 2, LE
P&J - # 1 Daughter and her husband, # 1 child
Major Dad - husband of # 1 daughter
I-buddy - # 1 grandson, # 1 grandchild, son of P&J
BB - # 1 granddaughter, # 2 grandchild, daughter of P&J
Molly, MG, MMP (Molly McPharty) - Molly Grace, # 2 granddaughter, # 3 grandchild, daughter of P&J
FL1 - Foxy lady 1, friend of H2 and H2's family

NS - Neurosurgeon
NSR - Neurosurgeon Resident
IDD1 - First infectious disease doctor to be involved with H2's case
IDD2 - Second IDD to be involved with H2's case
IDD3 - Third IDD to be involved etc.
IDD4 - Are we seeing a trend here?!?!

SIL-NY - Sister in law in New York. Comes with BIL-NY.
SIL-O - Sister in law in Orlando. Comes with BIL-O.

I spent 21+ years in the Navy, and have worked for the Navy as a civilian employee for 10 years. Do you think the Navy's penchant for abbreviating anything and everything (a&e) has rubbed off on me?

Let me know if I've left any abbreviations out that warrant an explanation.

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February 10, 2007


We're not quite 64 yet, but it was 39 years ago this evening that I met the beautiful young woman who would become my wife and the wonderful mother of our children!! I love her more now than ever. Maybe it's because we met so close to Valentine's Day?

We're hoping to see The Last King of Scotland this evening. For those who don't know, it's about Uganda, and Idi Amin. Forrest Whitaker plays Amin and is getting accolades for his performance.

As Molly has grown, apparently I haven't been around enough. Patti and the kids came over this afternoon. Linda was holding Molly and brought her over by me while I was stuffing a turkey for dinner. Sure enough, just like last week , it wasn't long before she was crying, tears just streaming down her little cheeks!! I suppose it's the beard, but still... I guess I'll have to wait until she's old enough for Mickey D's french fries or cheetoh's.

Please pray a bit longer for H2. He needs help mentally. Having the IVs then not having the IVs then having them again, and taking pills that make him sick is wearing him down. At least the home health nurse (married... darn) is very nice, and cute, to boot!!

From us in New Orleans to you who are not, Happy Mardi Gras!!!

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February 8, 2007


Quick H2 update. It seems that IDD1 wants to add an IDD4 to the mix! What is with these guys? I'm ready to tell them that they need to figure out which IDD knows the most, and THAT's the one we want to deal with! GEEEEEZ!!!

I gotta admit, though, even with all his pain and suffering, H2 is still a good lookin' kid!! Yeah!!

Me, H2, and Ian... Zephyr Stadium... Fridays... That ROCKS!

Did I mention H2's situation's silver lining? Linda has been home for 55 days!!! And she's not going away anytime soon!!!

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February 7, 2007


I ordered three portable air conditioners and accessories for work. Yesterday they arrived via FedEx, a day earlier than expected. This was great, because they are for extra cooling in one of the server rooms that can't handle the load since we added our servers to it.

Anyway, the packing slip on the pallet said there were 16 pieces. After unbanding and unshrinkwrapping the pallet, I counted only 13 boxes. I placed a call to the vendor who assured me that all was ok and that once I opened all the boxes, all the pieces would be there.

This morning, as we prepared to move the boxes from SSC, where I work, to the Port, which is across town, I noticed that none of the boxes weighed more than a few pounds. NONE of them! Each of the portable A/C units should weigh 110 pounds. I think I found out what didn't arrive yesterday! Let's see... 13 boxes + 3 A/C units = 16 pieces!!! OUCH!!!

Now I'm trying to get the vendor hot on tracking down the missing pieces. Everything has to be assembled and installed by tomorrow!

Life ain't easy for a boy named Sue... or Dean.

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February 6, 2007


Apparently the vancomycin that H2 has been on is affecting his kidneys. IDD1, who is now managing his recovery, has switched him to a new antibiotic. Unfortunately it's one that makes him sick. IDD1 says he must take it, so he also gets Fenegrin to try to control the nausea. Will this never END?????

We went to LDB&LE's (that's KenEllie for those who've been paying attention)for dinner tonight. LE's specialty, spaghetti, and it was great!! We made fun of the contestants on American Idol, then watched a couple of episodes of Miami Ink. Good times... good times, yeah!

I'd stop here, but I ragged on H1 today for putting a super short entry in his blog. Let's see... hmmmmmmm... Maybe I can fill up some space with some old standards like: "How 'bout dem Saints?" "Nice weather we're having today, eh?" "Or, Hey! How's it going? Long time, no see!!"

There, that should do it! Ya'll come back now, y'hear? Take care and God bless!!

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February 4, 2007

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair, warm smell of FAJITAS? CARNITAS?

Allllllllllll Righty, then!! Dinner Friday night was GREAT! It was a family gathering (and we DID miss H1/DIL1 immensely) at Eastern restaurant. H2 ordered the "sushi special" which was HUGE! He finished it all, with a little help from Ian and LDB (little drummer boy, aka Ken of KenEllie). We even let H2 have one glass of plum wine, since he is off the antibiotics all weekend.
Molly was just cute and adorable all evening. Linda was holding her and she kept looking at me and looking away. I commented that it almost looked like she was checking to see if I was still there, hoping that I wasn't. Finally, Linda handed her to me. As soon as I picked her up, she looked me square in the face and began to scream at the top of her little lungs!! Needless to say, she went back to Grandma immediately!

Saturday the home health nurse came by and hooked H2 up to his fluid IV. Later we all joined P&J, Ian, BB and Molly at Caretta's Mexican Restaurant for a late lunch. They were not crowded so we were seated immediately and once again had a great time. It's really good to see H2 up and around and able to enjoy himself somewhat.

And just to cap off the day, I was serving at 5PM Mass at HNM. I processed down the aisle, holding the Book of the Gospels. Once I got to the sanctuary and turned around, I saw Keith and Chris in the congregation!! What a surprise! They had come in from Slidell to visit the D-Day Museum and decided to hop over the bridge and come to Mass. After Mass they came over to the house for some coffee and we chatted for several hours. H2 joined us, and it was hysterical, as everyone shared surgical war stories!! H2 invited Chris to go with him to get tattoos to cover up their surgical scars! Like we all agreed, if you don't laugh, it'll make you cry!

LDB has a mustache and goatee and looks quite distinguished! I don't think LE(Ellie of KenEllie) is too fond of it. H2 has been getting shaggier and shaggier, so he finally shave all but a goatee. He looks pretty good, too! Of course he'll have to shave it for his next opportunity to interview with ICE.

Finally, if you're interested in some wholesome Catholic Christian music to soothe that savage beast in you, let me introduce you to Kitty Cleveland. She is a New Orleans native who, I believe, now lives on the North Shore. She has devoted her gift of a voice like an angel to serving our Lord. I hope you like.

Please keep us in your prayers, as you are in ours. God's blessings be on you and your families, friends and neighbors.

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February 2, 2007


It boggles my mind! Will it NEVER end?

H2 had an appointment with Neurosurgery at Tulane today. They removed half of his staples and said he's looking very good. He goes back next Thursday and they should remove the rest. All in all he's doing very well, I think. He has had NO pain meds since coming home this last time.

Afer returning home, as I was reading my emails, the phone rang and I noticed that it was Tulane. I thought it was probably the doctor calling back about something he forgot to tell us. Turns out, it was IDD1 (see January 17-19 posts). She wants to know which of the IDDs we would like to do follow up with. She also wants to take H2 off one of the IV antibiotics and put him back on two (three?) oral antibiotics that he was on previously. IDD2 had taken him off the orals saying they weren't working, and put him on the two IVs. IDD1 wants to get him off IVs as soon as possible, so two to four weeks of the remaining IV antibiotic and 6 weeks of orals. AAARRRRRGGGGHGHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Why can't they agree on ANYTHING?!?!?

Oh well. Bright spot in all this is that the antibiotic IDD1 is stopping is the one that H2 is hooked to for 24 hours. So now, except for 2 1/2 hours in the morning and 2 1/2 hours in the evening, he will be totally unhooked and unencumbered to move around.

Tonight the family (sans Houston Herricks) gathers at Eastern restaurant. H2 is has a hankerin' for sushi. It'll be good to get him out and about for something other than going to doctor appointments.

BB and Ian were busy this week. The kids had to write about why they liked their school. BB was selected to get up and read her essay during the school Mass on Wednesday. She was the only kindergartner selected. Today Ian and Linda went to a diocesan-wide Catholic schools Mass, and Ian represented the school when he presented a placque to the Archbishop.

Even as I'm composing this, the phone rang yet again, and it was IDD1 again! She wants to change H2's medicine again, stop his 2nd IV for a few days, and put him on a fluids IV over the weekend to hydrate him. I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow will bring. Oh, tomorrow is weekend, so we probably won't here from IDDs for a couple of days.

Well, gotta go. Ian wants me to bless a cross he gave to H2. Love and hugs to everyone! May you be continually blessed with good health and great friends!!

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