Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Queen of Cool

On a much lighter note than my previous posts, here is Rebecca on Monday:

Turn to the left
Turn to the right
Now, strike a pose!
Rebecca, the Queen of Cool
with her dress-up shoes and "cool" (swimming goggles)

A big Thank You

Since my Dadda has been sick, my family has been inundated with phone calls, e-mails, kind notes, and prayers offered on my Dad's behalf. Thank you to all of you: for your kind, sincere comments; for your thoughts & prayers for my Dadda and us; and for offering your help and services. I appreciate it as well as my whole family. It means a lot that so many people are thinking of my Dad. A simple "Thank you" is never enough

Do you believe in orbs?

I took these pictures yesterday afternoon (with Dad's permission, of course):
Do you see the orb? It's on Kristie's chin
One of Dad's many ministering angels

Dad's bandage was removed and replaced w/steri-strips.
He still has one chest-tube in, and lost of electrical wires
(all are under the bandages over his belly)
My Dad, the healthiest, strongest, smartest man I know (sorry Lovey) has been through a LOT these last 3 1/2 years. Brain Aneurysm (should have died), having both parents die within 6 months of each other, and now this: meningitis, blood infection (staph), emergency open heart surgery and valve replacement (again, should have died). The nurse who took care of Dad his 1st night after surgery said, "What did he do to piss someone off up there?" I think it's more like, "We'll use William to prove that miracles are performed today. We'll use William to try his faith and the faith of his family. We'll use William to bring families closer together and show what is really important in this life."
My Dad has been saying he thinks he's seen angels. When I snapped the 1st picture posted, I noticed the semi-transparent circle on Kristie's chin. An orb. I know it was an orb - perhaps one of the angels Dad has been seeing. When I quickly snapped the 2nd picture posted, the orb wasn't there anymore. Dad has had these angels with him for a while. We cautioned Dad with this warning, "If the angels call to you, don't go towards the light!" Dad chuckled.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My sick Dadda

My Dad has been really, really, really sick. He was admitted to the VA hospital (via the Emergency Room) Monday afternoon - right after we got home from our cruise. Many tests were run (echo, EKG, Spinal Tap, blood work, biopsies, etc) and it was determined that he has Meningitis, and a blood infection called STAPH, and both are deadly. Meningitis can kill an infant and young teenager; in adults it causes severe swelling & inflammation of the brain, spinal cord, nerve endings, etc and can lead to death if not treated in 72 hours. (Monday was Dad's 72nd hour). STAPH is a deadly disease also - turns out it eats your organs and basically you die from the inside out.

My sisters and brothers armed ourselves and abandoned our families & kids (almost) to support our Dad. We've driven to SLC every day and stayed all day and in through the night. Thursday we received news that after yet another test (a Trans-Esophagial Ultrasound where they shove a tube down your throat accompanied by a scope/ultrasound device which views the heart and views the back side of the heart) the doc's saw a hole in Dad's Mitral Valve, a 2 cm blood clot, and a leaking Aortic Valve. They said Dad needed his heart operated on imminently - perhaps Friday or Saturday. That changed to a Friday operation, then they changed it to Thursday night to: "this needs to be done immediately" and they whisked Dad away for open heart surgery. All of this happened in less than one hour - Kristie called us with the news that Dad was going to have open heart surgery possibly Friday or Saturday at 11 am Thursday. By 12 noon Dad was on the gurney headed towards surgery. The tech was waiting for him while Josh finished giving Dad a blessing. Jo & I didn't get to SLC soon enough to say our loves to Dad before they took him to an OR that they opened just for him.

Dad had open heart surgery Thursday at 3:00pm. He was out of surgery by 9:15pm, and we were allowed a quick "look" once they transferred him to the Surgical ICU. He was intubated, restrained, and every part of his body was hooked up to a monitor or had tubes coming out of it.

These pictures are from Friday, January 23rd. JoJo & I spent the afternoon and evening with Dad. Here he has 4 chest tubes, which are inserted in the plural/abdominal cavities to help drain blood and fluids, tubes coming out his neck (yes, there is a tube going into his jugular) chest, and arms. He has electrical wires coming out of his heart - just in case the docs need to "stimulate" his heart to beat. And, on top of all of this, he had the middle finger on his Left hand operated on just a few hours after getting done with open heart surgery (his finger is almost all black - a sign that the tissue is dead).

The docs think Dad is an enigma; we think our Dad is incredible and amazingly strong incredible to endure all he has.

No one but Josh had a shower.
Thursday, 1/22, as we wait to hear about our Dad
Wow - Friday night, 1/23. JoJo helping dad with ice chips
All these tubes...scary
Student Nurse, Adam, helping Dad to stand and get in bed
My Dadda - completely wiped out

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cruise pics: Sun, 1/11 - Ft. Lauderdale

Sunday, January 11th: Pulling away from Fort Lauderdale

Beautiful Fort Lauderdale - the homes looked like the homes in Charleston
The girls: Carol, Kim, and Me
The boys: Jack, Pat, and Tony

Life boat/Life saver drill
Carol & Jack, Tony & Me in the hallway towards our room
1st night - Bingo game. We were just one number away from $500!

Cruise pics: Mon, 1/12 - Princess Cays

Monday, January 12th: Princess Cays

We arrived at Princess Cays Monday morning at 7am. All of us were so excited to get off the ship and see some sites, do some snorkeling, and soak up some sun. We had to tender over (ride over in a smaller boat) and that was an experience. I stayed in the shade most of the day - didn't want to burn on the 1st day. The cruise ship had arranged for a large buffet for lunch on the island, which was surprisingly good. Lovey & his brother's snorkeled while me and the girls laid in the sun/shade and relaxed. Mom & Grandma did their own thing and went on a glass-bottom boat ride. They saw soooo many fish and even saw turtles!
Beautiful flower - I wanted to pluck it and put it in my hair
Princess Cays
Lovey, Pat, Jack - getting ready to snorkel
Boys snorkeling
they had a great time together - reminded them of their childhood summer's in Florida
Watermelon art
There were a lot of watermelon carvings & ice sculptures on the ship
Mom & Grandma on a Glass-Bottom Boat tour
Me & Lovey, back from the Cays, relaxing on deck

Cruise pics: Tues, 1/13 - Sea Day

Tuesday, January 13th: Sea Day

Loved this day. Me & Lovey explored the ship, hung out in our room, ate, talked, played - great day!

Can you say, "Bluest water you've ever seen? Ever!"
This could be a postcard too

Me & Lovey on Deck 7 traveling 22 knots
Dead-sexy husband, a.k.a. Lovey
Formal night #1. Me & Lovey on Grand Spiral staircase
Me on the laptop

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cruise pics: Wed, 1/14 - St. Maarten

Wednesday, January 14th: St. Maarten
All I can say is I would never be able to drive on this island! They are CRAZY! Lots of almost-90degree turns that the locals take going 45 mph. Not to mention the very narrow roads and hills, hills, hills! I was just grateful that our local tour guide was a seasoned tour driver of 35 years.
St. Maarten was beautiful, but devastating also. Lots of sad sites: homes, or what was left of them from the recent hurricane season; garbage; poor people; no economic resources on the island; the only industry is tourism. The Dutch side was worse than the French side. Seems the Frenchies have things going on, whereas the Dutchies were waiting for someone to do it for them...
Me & Lovey under the gates to St. Maarten
Me & Lovey on St. Maarten (Dutch side). Scenic stop on our tour ride
Pat, Kim, Jack, Carol, Me, & Lovey on a beach in St. Maarten. Just moments before this picture was taken there was a older couple walking down the beach: she was topless and he had a small handkerchief tied around his waist. Yuck & yuck.
Locals handling bananas & plantains
Lovey enjoying the shade on a plaza
Lovey & Me daring a picture in the streets of Philipsburg
Me & Lovey outside a local store. We liked the French flag waving on the top of the mountain behind us.
Gotta love these self portraits!

Cruise Pics: Thurs, 1/15 - St. Thomas

Thursday, January 15th: St. Thomas
St. Thomas was my most favorite island. I loved the charm, the feel, the locals, the shops (although Lovey forgot to bring his wallet so we couldn't shop anywhere!). St. Thomas kind of felt like Charleston, SC, for me: lots of beautiful flowers, brick steps and walkways, balconies, iron gates, colonial-style homes. This island would be one I'd love to visit again and perhaps stay a few days to explore more.
Lovey & I mailed some postcards and then did some exploring of a few historic sites I'd read about. One of them was the 99 steps (of which there are actually 103 steps). The story goes that Sir Francis Drake would sit on a bench at the top of these steps and look out over the island to view his fleet of ships and any incoming vessels. You can see several other islands from the top of these steps - the view is amazing!
Lovey pointing to the historic 99 steps (there are actually 103 steps) - which I climbed twice (I forgot to get the camera to take aerial views of the island once I reached the top).
Me on step #25 - 1st time I climbed the steps
View of Sapphire Beach from our taxi
Lovey snorkeling at Sapphire Beach, St. Thomas
Crown Bay Center, one of 2 docks for cruise ships on St. Thomas
Returning to our ship after a long day
St. Thomas Visitor's Center.
Lovey asked me if everyone that visited St. Thomas got to get their picture taken with me :)
Beautiful yellow flowers - this should be a postcard!

We returned to the ship, cleaned up, and joined everyone for dinner - formal night #2. Lovey rented a tux, and man did he look nice!
Me & Lovey in front of Botticelli Dinning Room
Me & Lovey at dinner, Formal night #2
Lobster tails, giant Prawns, yellow rice, and asparagus.
I had 2 of everything (minus the rice). Delicious!

Kemp Kuties on the Charleston Pier

Kemp Kuties on the Charleston Pier
September 2007