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.

May 29, 2007


* with apologies to Extreme!

Sniff, sniff!! I just called the lodge in NC to cancel our reservations for July... So sad!

The physical therapist came again today. She came on Friday and gave me some exercises to do to keep my ankle limber. Since then I've been putting more and more weight on the bad leg, and using the walker less. She was pretty impressed! She had me walk to the back of the house and back to the front, then we went down the front steps (using the folded up walker for support). Then a stroll to the corner of Seguin and Alix streets, CARRYING the walker while I tried to walk as normal as possible. Doing pretty darn good, I think! Still, the hole in my leg (CAUTION, not for the squeamish!!) hasn't gotten noticeably smaller yet, and I can feel it being pulled on when my calf muscle stretches in my right leg.

BB had her dance recital last night, which I missed. I'm told that she did very well. Patti managed to secure up front and center seats for the whole family, so I'm sure that Ian enjoyed watching all these lithe and limber young ladies as they performed!

I hope I can return to work sooner than later. If not, I'll have to try to work from home, and I'm not sure I have the self discipline needed to be truly as productive as I should. I guess time will tell.

So many movies... so little time! I want to see POTC 3, Shrek 3, Knocked Up, and several others that are coming out this summer. Most of the family has already seen Pirates, and some have seen the new Shrek. I'm falling behind!

Please continue with prayers for a speedy recovery.

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May 25, 2007


Hooray!! I'm home... and I'm CLEAN!!!!! You cannot imagine how much dead skin accumulates over a 19 day period, not to mention the SMELL! Yuck! Linda and the kids have been really tolerant of my lack of personal hygiene. Love is Grand!!

I came home Wednesday evening. That was interesting in itself. Linda drove me home through a rainstorm that let up as we got to the front of the house. I rode in the back seat with my leg propped up on the seat. Once I got out of the car I managed to struggle up onto the sidewalk, next to the 522 side gate, but had to have a chair brought out so I could sit down. The world was spinning around and I was getting sick to my stomach.

After some water and a few minutes sitting, I stood again, took the walker and headed to the 524 side gate. As I got through the gate I had to quickly sit down again. This time it took about 1/2 hour before I could attempt the steps. Thank God the rain didn't start again. Once in the house I quickly "assumed the position" (sitting with leg propped up HIGH) and ate some toast with blackberry jam from Brother Juniper's Restaurant in Memphis. The toast helped to settle my stomach.

Left to myself during the day, I'm forced to get up to go to the bathroom, or get a drink, or get something to eat. I'm noticing that I can put more pressure on the leg, which is good. It still has an open wound, about 2 inch hole that's at least an inch deep. Linda is an angel as she puts up with my whining while she dresses the wounds and wraps the leg. I know I'm NOT a good patient.

The worst part of this whole ordeal is that we had to cancel our family outing to Deal's Gap in July. It will have to wait until I'm completely healed and have time to build up more vacation time at work. Heavy sigh!

Once again I thank everyone, family and friends and prayer warriors for the love and encouragement that has been showered on me over the past three weeks. Your support has meant more than you can imagine. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

Take care, and God Bless You!!!

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May 22, 2007


Word is that I may go home tomorrow!! I’ll need a walker, though, since I can’t put any weight on my right foot yet. I guess I’ll need a working party to get me up the front steps, as well.

The leg looks much better, but still has a lot of pain. Not to mention the hole in it where the surgeons took a big chunk out to biopsy!

Many thanks for your continued prayers.

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May 20, 2007


Another week down here at Oschner. Although there is still some disagreement between the teams, the leg is, hopefully, getting better. The growing consensus is that there is more than just cellulitis going on. It looks like poor circulation in the lower legs is complicating matters. Regardless, what everyone does agree on is that it’s going to be a long, slow healing process. Depending on how the leg looks tomorrow, the Internal Medicine team may ask for a consult with Rheumatology and Dermatology. We’ll see how that goes.

Yesterday the surgeons decided to take a “punch biopsy” of the leg while it was uncovered. They administered some lidocaine, then started to take the biopsy. It was going ok until suddenly I felt a sharp pain and jumped. The doctor says, “Oh. I must not have gone deep enough with the lidocaine.” Heck of a time to find out, if you ask me!!!

This has been a big week for the Spinney family. 8th grade graduation on Monday had Ian walking away with almost all the achievement awards. He was class valedictorian. Then Wednesday it was a repeat for kindergarten graduation, this time BB scooping up one award after another. Congrats to both of you!! We’re all really proud of you!

In looking back over my last couple of blogs I see that I forgot to mention that last Saturday, the 12th, I was totally blown away when into my room comes H1 and DIL1!! I got choked up that they had made the trip to NOLA, yet again, to see how I was doing.

I guess that’s about it… I’ll get back to reruns of Cheers.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers. Keep them coming!!

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May 16, 2007


Greetings from Oschner Hospital and Clinic!!! It’s been awhile. As many of you probably already know, I ended up Sunday night in the ER with a serious (little did I know HOW serious) case of cellulitis!

The check-in nurse took one look at the leg and said “we’re going to put you into a room right away!” And, they did. I was looked at by no less than 4 doctors before being admitted to the hospital.

Since Monday I’ve had some experiences that are remarkably similar to those of H2. Oschner, like Tulane, is a teaching hospital. I’ve had my gaggle of IDDs, IMDs (internal medicine), KWMs (surgeons), Burn Specialist, Dermatologists, and I’m sure I’ve missed a couple.

This past 9 days has been interesting, to say the least. First IDD put me on killer antibiotics. The leg is still swollen and getting more and more discolored. Their plan was, however, to let me go home with antibiotics as soon as I stopped spiking a fever for more than 48 hours.

A CT scan was performed try to determine just how deep and where the infection is. The KWMs come in every day, twice a day, to have a look see. They decide the infection is not deep, so they will stand by, in case they are needed. Swell!

Meanwhile a blister the size of a softball has formed on my shin. The doctors opt to leave it, as it is a natural protection against infection. So what do I do coming back from the CT scan?? Trying to slide from the gurney into bed I end up ripping the blister wide open. There is no feeling, so I don’t realize what I have done until I feel my left foot (the good one) laying in a puddle on the bed. YUCK!!

Since then it has been pretty gross, as the leg continued to drain, constantly.

Throughout all this Linda and the kids have been wonderful. They’ve visited, brought flowers and cards and balloons, Linda spends the nights here with me. H2 take her place last night so she could go home and get some real sleep. Ellie’s folks have been amazing, checking on me every day, brought me beautiful flowers and a really nice card.

Ricky T was instrumental in bumping me up the list when I was an add-on for the CT scan, saving me hours of wait. He also brought me sodas and coffee!

Fr. John was good enough to stop by and give me the Sacrament of the Sick. Fr. Joseph came by a few days later to pray with me. Archbishop Hughes called twice to assure me of his continued prayers. Deacon Jerry stopped by and also has been checking on me by phone.

A special thanks to Big J, Dr. Bob, and RB for visiting. Thanks for the au Lait! It’s always great to see friends at a time like this.

One big problem I have is when I need to do… uh… you know… number 2?! I have to get out of the bed onto a commode chair which means that I have to drop me right leg down and put weight on it. Every day it gets more and more painful until for the last two days I could not stand to put ANY weight on it and ending up getting a shot of morphine each time to help kill the pain.

Last night the surgeons stopped by after I had gotten back from an MRI of the leg. They looked at it and told me that they taking me into surgery in the morning! They said that although the MRI still didn’t show any deep infection, they felt it imperative to get ride of some of the bad skin and also take a sample to be cultured. So at 8AM this morning that is exactly what happened.

I’m now back in my room, getting ready to watch a movie, but wanted to bring everyone up to date. Don’t know how long I’ll be in the hospital, but the doctors say I’ll be housebound for at least 3 weeks after I get out.

My sincere thanks to everyone who has prayed for me, wished me well or thought about me in any way during this time. May God’s abundant love wash over you!!

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May 6, 2007


Update... 4:45AM, got up to take some more headache medicine and my morning pills. I hurt EVERYWHERE!! It must be from the muscles all tightening up yesterday. I lay back down for another hour, but at 5:45AM I got up again to get a glass of milk and some pretzels to put something in my stomach (my meds DO say "take with food", which I didn't). So now I'm awake and trying to distract myself from aches and pains by reaching out to you, dear readers.

Friday KenEllie, H2, BB, Ian, Linda and I went to see Spiderman III. It's a good thing KenEllie made us go early because the theater filled up totally! It was a long movie at 2 hours and 20 minutes and I found it to be a bit slow at times. I think having three villains and a sidebar about Mary Jane's singing career was a bit much. The Sandman scenes were pretty cool, though. That was definitely a good character. Venom came on scene pretty much at the end, and the new Green Goblin started the movie and finished the movie but was absent during most of it.

All in all, if you keep in mind that, hey, it's a freakin' comic book made into a movie, you'll probably enjoy it. Lots of action, special effects and enough mushy to make it almost a "chick flick" at times.

Here's wishing everyone a belated Cinco de Mayo!! Today is the May crowning at HNM. The children bring flowers for Mary and decorate a statue of Mary and the child Jesus that we have on a litter. Then the statue is carried around the block in a procession as the rosary is recited. This is to honor Mary, the Mother of God, whose month is May. It is a nice custom, but I don't think I'll be participating this year.

FL1, where are you? Haven't seen you in quite awhile! I hope you're enjoying your new job.

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May 5, 2007

B-b-b-b-a-b-y, Y-y-y-y-o-u Just Ain't Seen N-n-n-n-o-t-h-i-n-g Yet!

Today is not such a good day. H2, KenEllie and Mom are at the May Festival. I am home. It's been a long day. I got up this morning and jumped right on breakfast. Bacon, eggs, and toast for my sweetie and me. While we ate we watched a show on DVR (an episode of Ghost Whisperer that we hadn't yet seen). After the movie and breakfast were over, I got up, put the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink and headed off for my morning constitutional (we'll just leave it at that). While preoccupied with that, I began to realize that both hands were starting to ache, in the wrists, fingers, all the knuckles. Just a few minutes later I headed out to the kitchen again, but now all my joints were aching... hips, knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders! Plus, I felt a migraine moving in quickly. I grabbed some Migrin-A and told Linda I was going to lay down for a bit to see if I felt better. Once I laid down, I began to shake uncontrollably. I tried a heating pad and blankets but I couldn't stop shaking all over. Finally, after about a 1/2 hour of uncontrolled shaking, Linda got me up and we headed to the ER. While there, the Migrin-A wasn't working so Kenny brought my Fiorinal and some ice water to the ER. It was great and I think it helped. After three hours of alternately shaking, nodding off while sitting in the waiting room, and numerous trips to the bathroom we decided since they obviously didn't think I was having a heart attack or stroke, and I was finally not shaking so much, we checked out and went home, where this time I went straight to bed and to sleep. At 5:30 I got up to get some more Fiorinal, and say goodby as the rest of the family headed off the the May Festival. I can't seem to shake the migraine, but the uncontrollable shaking has gone and I feel a little better. It was pretty scary, as nothing like this has happened to me before. I've had migraines hit within minutes, but never with the other symptoms. I'm asking for prayers that this doesn't drag on and on. Thanks, in advance!

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May 3, 2007


*I'm only a little dyslexic.

Do I love New Orleans? How can you not? Linda and I stopped at the grocery on Sunday on our way to the BBQ at P&J’s. We were picking up soda for the shindig. As we were getting back into our car L noticed that the car parked next to us was RIDDLED with bullet holes!! Sweet! Add that to the experience of driving through a crime scene en route to a wedding reception and, WOW, it just doesn’t get any better than this!

Linda is slowly adjusting to her new job. The fact that every little administrative thing that needs to happen takes forever! Four days later her phone is still listed as belonging to the previous occupant of her cubicle area. She’s still trying to get access to the programs she needs to do her job.

Tomorrow we go to see Spidey-III!! KenEllie, H2, I-buddy, BB, Linda and me. Should be a rollicking good time!! Reviews later.

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May 2, 2007


All right, all right! It’s been a whole week since my last blog! Hey, a lot’s been going on. Linda is home. She started work Monday. Our semi-automated check-in/check-out system didn’t work, as usual. The guards at the gate had no idea she was arriving (she was supposed to be on a list they get daily of anticipated visitors). It took two whole days to complete what should have been done before she ever arrived. Yesterday she finally got an ID badge.

I had to deliver the homily at all three Masses this past weekend. That is always an exhausting experience. Apparently it went well, as no one threw tomatoes or eggs or anything, and I didn’t notice any walk-outs.

Sunday afternoon we gathered at P&J’s for a barbecue. It was AWESOME!!! Major Dad cooked up some really, REALLY delicious beef brisket, and pork ribs. He also made potato salad (my personal favorite) and guacamole (also, my personal favorite) and we had Chantilly Berry Cake from Wholefoods Market. That is possibly the BEST cake in the whole world. Fr. Joseph and Fr. John joined us as we “officially” welcomed Linda home, for good.

Patti played hookie from her work on Monday. We had a nice lunch at Café Roma, a place near work. We were joined by Linda and Big J, and Major Dad stopped by and had iced tea with us.

I went with H2 to see his IDD(1). He is seriously anemic! That’s what’s causing him to be so weak and tired all the time. She took him off the Zyvox (sp?), finally! That’s supposed to let his bone marrow get back to work and he should perk up considerably. He still can’t return to work for two more weeks. That puts him at about 7 months he’s been out now, for something that should have been a couple of weeks!!

KenEllie began moving in to their new apartment on Tuesday. The former tenants did a pretty poor job of cleaning, so unfortunately KenEllie had to do some cleaning first. Ellie’s Mom and Dad helped get them started settling in. I hope they will be happy in the new location.

Please pray for “Mr. Brain”. We saw Tess at church without him. Turns out he has suffered some sort of set-back and is back in the hospital for tests. Keep Brian, Tess and their whole family in your prayers.

God be with you as we continue on through this Easter season toward Pentecost.

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