My Mac Mini had been slowing down unmercifully over that last few months. Adding an external hard drive for docs, spreadsheets, photos, and music helped a lot,
In an effort to make it better yet YS and I wiped the internal hard drive and we he reinstalled the OS.
Did it help? Yes, but I have spent a lot of time over the past month trying to recover stuff that seems to have gone missing -- my calendar, my address book, all my iTunes playlists, a huge chunk of photos in iPhoto.
Happily, my calendar, address book, and playlists are intact on my iPhone.
Tragically, my computer is being extremely stubborn about synching with those apps.
I may need to resort to hand grenades. Or nuclear weapons.
What are the chances that will work?
Finished his coursework at UMich in Ann Arbor, went back to Big Nasty Med School in Manhattan to finish his last credit there.
Last credit had been left unfinished to prevent four years of med school loans from coming due while he was in grad school.
On March 17 he found out he had *matched* for his residency.
(The Match is a complicated nationwide thing that matches fourth-year med students with residency programs in their selected specialty.)
His mood, which has ranged from frustrated to sullen to depressed to righteously angry during his med school years, improved dramatically.
Four days later -- a brief period during which those students who didn't match and those residency programs that didn't fill scramble frantically to interview each other via Skype in hopes of falling in love -- he found out his match was with a hospital in Sioux Falls SD.
While he would have preferred to be in Duluth, he thinks the program in SF is actually a bit better.
His mood improved even more.
He has been bombarding us with links to 1, houses for sale in SF, and b, pictures of Newfoundlands.
He has wanted a Newfie for years.
We think buying a house is just so he can be sure he will have a place to have a Newfie.
Priorities, people, priorities!
Had a cardiologist appointment last week.
He returned to work a couple days, er, nights ago.
He has found that the stents in his coronary arteries seem to have improved the circulation to his legs, which used to cramp at night and/or be restless.
This equals better sleep.
He has also found that he no longer needs to sit down to put on his pants. His balance is improved so much he can do it standing up.
I am jealous of that.
He bought a zombie mask to wear when he went back to work (since he had risen from the dead).
Black/weird humor is our specialty. Also popular among psych personnel.
I am rolling along on my Fairfield cardigan. Back is done to the armholes, sleeves are about 6" long.
This is a delightful knit -- just enough cabling/lace to make it interesting, but lots of stockinette so it doesn't take forever.
I just hope I have enough yarn.
I made the back 2" shorter than the pattern called for, but the pattern length seemed to be for someone taller than I. The shorter length is the same as most of my sweaters.
I have been working way harder than I necessarily wanted to on my campaign for my fourth term on our county board -- lit drops, knocking on doors, making phone calls, putting up signs.
It didn't help that I had lost MS Word from my computer (see above) or that my computer was not talking to my printer (ditto) during the time when I was making flyers and drafting my answers to survery questions from a local newspaper.
Smokey's coal-fired computer running MS Word 97 and his printer (that used to be mine and is at least ten years old) came to the rescue.
I spent a couple weeks running back and forth between his office and mine, dodging piles of crappe in both places.
Yes, it is campaign time here in Polk County. I am running for my fourth two-year term on the county board of supervisors. This is not something that I talk about much here on the blog, but it is consuming all my time right now -- defining my position(s) for local newspapers, doing literature drops, recruiting volunteers, making phone calls, delivering lawn signs. A *local* group has pumped a lot of money into this election, and it has generated more interest than is usually evident in county board elections.
And that is enough on that topic.
* * * * *
Smokey continues to improve. The broken ribs are not troubling him nearly as much now, just the occasional [severe] twinge to remind him of what he has been through.
Earlier this week he had a followup appointment with the ortho doc who was going to do the knee replacement. I probably made the appointment for him before the surgery and never thought to cancel it. But the doc gave him a cortisone injection in each knee to help with the pain until -- someday! -- he can have the surgery.
The really cool thing was that the doc took him around to see all the people in the surgery wing who had helped keep him alive. It's a quarter mile walk from the clinic to the OR, so Smokey rode in a wheel chair.
The ortho doc is the the one in the suit. (He is also the one that pushed the wheel chair.) His physician's assistant is at left rear (she is the one who advised me to avoid gluten) (she is also the one that started CPR on Smoke).
Gentlerman in scrubs is an anesthesiologist. The one in the blue hat is Jodie, who said she felt Smokey's ribs break during CPR. No problem, Jodie! Thanks for doing such a good job!
The doc wanted to do this because the OR staff seldom get to see such a good outcome after a code. Everyone was delighted to meet Smokey, alive and talking.
This is Jean, who had the difficult job of telling me that Smokey's heart had stopped but been restarted, and who stayed with me the entire time until Younger Son arrived to drive me to Minneapolis. I remember the mustachioed man in glasses from the OR but, sadly, I never knew his name or his role.
The doc and PA asked me to send them the photos and for Smokey to write up something about his experience. Doc wants to present it to his board, which always likes to hear success stories.
I am so grateful to all these people. Without their skill and dedication I would be a widow.
* * * * *
More news on the medical front: Elder Son found out today that he will be doing his family medicine residency in Sioux Falls, SD. While he might have preferred Duluth -- closer to home, colder weather -- Sioux Falls has some definite advantages, too -- much higher volume obstetric practice, better scheduling for night shifts, cheaper housing market, and a psychologist on staff who trains family practice docs on psychological counseling, since they are often the ones who prescribe psych meds. Residency will start sometime in June.
ES is very excited to A, buy a house, and 2, get a dog. Not necessarily in that order...
* * * * *
One more thing. In case you were wondering, it snowed again today. Great big frickin' flakes, added maybe another inch to the six-foot mounds we have already.
This is why Smokey's sternum and ribs are sore. Link shows the Lucas chest compression system, a device that can do chest compressions at a precise rate and pressure and eliminate the exhausting part of CPR. Smokey seems to have at least one cracked rib, maybe as many as three going by the number of times something clicks! in his chest.. Every time he complains about his rib/sternum pain, he follows it up with, But I am glad to be alive.
Funny story #1: Last Sunday Younger Son made pancakes for breakfast. This has become a tradition since he started visiting every weekend. He makes the pancakes, Smokey or I cook bacon, we all feast. This got even better for me when Smoke discovered gluten-free Bisquick in the supermarket.
Anyway, last Sunday while the bacon was cooking I melted butter, nuked the bottle of maple syrup, got out the orange juice and milk, set the table. When it was my turn to eat, I doused my short stack with melted butter and maple syrup, at which point Smokey asked, "Why are you putting teriyaki sauce on your pancakes?" Yup, I had grabbed the wrong bottle out of the fridge door.
For the record, gluten-free Bisquick pancakes doused with melted butter and teriyaki sauce are not bad at all.
Funny story #2: Smokey has liked this song*, Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars, for a couple years. Ever since he learned that he was dead for eight minutes, he has been singing the first line: I'm a dead man walkin'. Yes, we do have a slightly warped sense of humor here.
Funny story #3: Younger Son was with me in the hospital for the first two days, until Elder Son flew in. He did a great job of keeping me distracted from too much worry, to the point where, near the end of the second day he confessed he was running out of things to talk about. Did I tell you about the weird customer I helped on the phone last week descended to Let me show you what I carry in my wallet. When he told me what he had been doing it was further distracting -- we laughed heartily.
Not-so-funny story: That building in East Harlem blew up while Elder Son was here. The building where he lived during his last year of undergrad at NYU is about 1" from the lower left corner of this graphic, on 116th Street on the other side of Park Avenue. He could see the Metro North line from his window.
That young man has at least as many lives as a cat. He was held up at knife point in Durban, South Africa; has survived two potentially serious caraccidents -- one a T-bone on his side, the other a rear-ender that totaled his car -- with little or no injury; and lived through the remnants of a hurricane in Chiapas, Mexico. Now a building a block from his former residence has blown up. What next, a meteorite will bounce off his head on the only day in his life that he was wearing a motorcycle helmet?
Life has calmed down here. Smokey won't go back to work until cleared by the cardiologist; he is waiting to get an appointment. In the meantime I am working diligently on my campaign for a fourth term on our county board. A little over two weeks until the election -- on April Fool's Day [appropriately?] -- and I have a lot of work to do. Anyone want to come to n.w. Wisconsin for a delightful vacation to help out ;-)
* I tried to embed the YouTube video into the post, but the SHARE information that used to appear below the video is no longer there. It flashes momentarily, then disappears. Anyone else have this problem? Did I unwittingly mess up my YouTube settings? Help!
Edited to add: After discussing this with Erika (thanks, Erika! Great to finally talk to you!), we figured out the problem was my browser (Chrome). Safari displays the YouTube page correctly, allowing me to share the video:
Yes, we are all smiling. Smokey is improving hourly, so much so that Younger Son went back to work today and only stopped in at the hospital during his lunch break, and Elder Son and I drove back to Wisconsin for an overnight to see the dogs and check the mail and for me to get some more clean clothes :-)
Thank you all for your good thoughts and wishes and emails. It all helped me in ways I don't even understand myself. For those of you who reminded me to take care of myself, I am. Without even consciously thinking about it, my self-care plan was to keep to my normal sleep schedule. No sleeping in a chair next to Smokey's hospital bed for days at a time. ES kept giving me a hard time about how late I would get to the hospital in the morning -- 10:00 is apparently late in the medical world -- but I refused to set an alarm for myself. I suck at sleep deprivation. So with at least eight hours every night I am maintaining just fine :-)
Smokey was moved from the ICU to a stepdown bed this afternoon. The latter is a bed in a unit with a higher patient-to-nurse ratio than the ICU but lower than a regular unit; a kind of transition unit. Unlike the first couple days when he had more tubes and wires coming out of him than I could count, he now has two IVs that are not attached to anything, used when the nurse(s) need to give him an injection; a nasal cannula giving him some extra oxygen; a finger oximeter to measure his oxygen saturation; and a heart monitor in the pocket of his gown that is connected to leads stuck to his chest. (I knew you wanted all the gory details.) His mental state is nearly normal -- kind of like if he were just really tired. Which he probably is.
He went for his first walk today, with the physical therapist. He also had his first sort-of-solid food -- cream of mushroom soup, vanilla pudding, orange sherbet, some crackers. His major complaint is that his sternum and ribs are extremely sore from the CPR. That makes it painful to move in bed or to transition from lying down to sitting on the edge of the bed or vice versa. Opioids make him nauseous, but the medical staff has found the exact right balance of pain medication and anti-nausea drugs so he is (relatively) comfortable.
If his vital signs continue to move toward stability as they have been doing he may come home this weekend. ES has booked a flight back to NYC on Saturday, but paid the extra $20 for cancellation insurance just in case.
Again, thank you all. I cannot begin to say how much you have helped.
We are somewhere in this building. I have never seen this view because, unlike it looks in the photo, it is completely surrounded by other buildings, many much taller.
Things are progressing pretty much as well as we could hope.
This morning Smokey is warm, breathing on his own, and more or less awake. They took out the breathing tube this morning, which I am sure made him very happy. He of course remembers nothing; the last thing he remembers is being either in the waiting room or in the prep room. He will be in the hospital for perhaps another 3-5 days, will get out
Both sons are here, which is great. Andrew (Elder Son) stayed with Smokey in the hospital overnight while Matthew (Younger Son) and I went to our own beds. Andrew texted me just as I parked the car in the hospital ramp this morning: Get here quick. He's telling the nurse why it is a good thing not to retire. I texted back: Coming as fast as I can. Stuff something in his mouth. As you might be able to guess, the sense of humor is strong in this family*.
I went shopping for clean underwear and socks last night so I feel presentable today.
Thank you all for your good wishes and emails and good thoughts. It really helps me.
* Later Smokey was talking about being dead for eight minutes. He is quite fascinated with the idea of having been briefly deceased. He recalled the Monty Python sketch: "Bring out your dead!" "I'm not quite dead." "Oh, go on, old man" etc., etc. LIke I said, the sense of humor comes through.
Smokey and I went to the ~50-bed regional hospital at oh-dark-30 this morning, expecting to have his right knee transformed into a bionic one. Tonight, he is heavily sedated in the ICU at the University of MN hospital because he coded in the OR while the surgeon was scrubbing in.
Note to everyone: if you are going to have a cardiac event, pick a time when you are surrounded by medical professionals in a good hospital.
He was revived and transported to Minneapolis. The medical protocol for someone who has been revived like this is to chill them to bring their cord temp down to 33 C degrees (91F) for 12-24 hours; this minimizes or prevents possible brain damage (I learned A LOT about medicine today) and to keep them well-sedated during this time to keep them comfortable. Tomorrow they will warm him up and wake him up and assess his condition.
The second reason to bring him to the U hospital (which is part of the same group as the original hospital) was because the U has a heart catheterization lab. Between the time he arrived at the U and we (Younger Son and I) got to talk to a doctor there, the cath lad had done an angiogram, found his coronary arteries to be 70-90% blocked, and put in four stents to widen them.
Prognosis is hopeful because he was revived so quickly and his vitals are good.
Younger Son was with me all day, Elder Son is flying in tomorrow. We will know more tomorrow. (It may be weird to post about this, but I feel like you are my friends. And friends are good to have at a time like this. )