Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Well Memorial Day weekend started off Friday afternoon with a call from Amira's school advising me that she had a fever and didn't feel good. So grabbed all my work stuff to take home with me as after picking her up, assessing her condition, we'd be spending the remainder of the day at home where I could continue working as well as taking care of her.

She's been pretty much couch bound since Friday afternoon with little movement, but with each passing few hours she seems to be doing better, alhamdullilah. However, this has also kept us from going to see my mom but thank goodness for at least phones.

Mom seems to be doing pretty good. Of course, the recovery will be long with good and bad days; however, she has a toughness about her that is amazing.

Saturday Amira and I pretty much watched movies all day due to her not feeling well. Watched lots of SpongeBob Square Pants until I nearly lost my mind. Now don't get me wrong SpongeBob cracks me up, but too much of SpongeBob can be a bad thing. :-) Then we watched Alvin and the Chipmunks which is a really cute movie. Then finally, grown up movies for mommy. Watched Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married" movie and one of his plays "Madea Goes to Jail". I'm telling you this guy is something amazing. Truly a gifted person who seems to be using the gifts God gave him to share with the world. All of his work is filled with humor, life lessons, and wonderful spiritual messages.

Sunday will work later today for 4 1/2 hours and then from then on we'll see what the rest of the weekend has in store for us.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mom update

It is with great pleasure to announce mom was discharged from the hospital yesterday evening.

She was so thrilled to go home, it was all we could do to keep her in the wheel chair for the medical staff to push her out to the curb.

According to my dad she slept well all night with only getting up twice during the night.
Her appetite is slowly coming back which is another good sign. All her vitals are good thanks to Nurse Blake aka dad monitoring them.

She now begins follow-up appointments with her medical doctors as well as learning how to manage and care for her current condition.

Please know from the bottom of my heart as well as my family's how much we appreciate
your love, support and continual prayers through such a scary ordeal.

It's interesting---life is truly so precious and fragile and yet the strength and/or will of a
human being is unbelievable. Certainly a great many lessons were learned through
this experience but for me one of the biggest was to live right NOW.

My love and thanks to all of you.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Latest Update

It is with all gratitude to share my mom’s pace maker procedure went well.

We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. and were able to give her a kiss and wish her well for her procedure; however, she was so sedated she didn’t know we were there. She still had the breathing tube in her but they assured us the procedure could be performed with said breathing tube down her throat.

Around 9:30 a.m. Dr. Wolff, doctor who performed procedure, came out and let us know that mom did well through the process and they were really happy with how the procedure went. He reminded us once again of how very sick she was but that from everything he was reading in her charts she seemed like a very strong woman. He also shared that in his opinion he considered Dr. Chang’s, doctor who first saw my mom upon her entry into the hospital, work heroic due to the severity of mom’s condition. He was patient enough to sit with us and answer all of dad’s questions as well as offer some information. He said that it would be about 30 minutes or so and they’d be delivering my mom back to her room where we could see her.

We returned to her room about an hour later to find she still had the breathing tube, which we expected, and she was resting peacefully. She did not wake up while we were there and the nurse assigned to her was the same nurse as the day before. He had a really wonderful sense of humor and very informative and knowledgeable. However we could see his persona was much more serious and professional this morning, which was a little unsettling but also understood my mom is still really sick. We agreed to leave the hospital for now so as to not interfere with the medical staff. At 1:20 p.m. I received a call from my dad letting me know mom was awake, they had removed the breathing tube and she was asking for us, so we both raced to the hospital to find her sleeping very peacefully. Upon awaking she was asking for my dad to which he rushed to her bedside letting her know he was there. She then looked right at him and said, “I’m going to kick your ass”. Apparently from this statement she remembered having to be restrained from trying to hurt herself. Oh well, those words were music to my dad’s ears.

Around 11:30 p.m. that evening the hospital called my dad and said mom was asking for him and wouldn’t settle down until she knew he was coming to which he agreed and rushed back down to the hospital. He stayed throughout the night and she did great. Saturday morning she was able to stand up out of bed for the first time in a week. She sat in a chair and ate breakfast. Dad left to go home and get some sleep, and I came to be with her until mid afternoon. During this time she got out of bed one more time for lunch and then back to bed to some deep sleep. At mid afternoon my aunt and grandmother arrived to spend the afternoon with her. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that my aunt is here. I know she means everything to my mom, so to see her face when her sister came in the room was worth everything, Although my mom was very surprised to see her own mother there she was very grateful as well. When we returned to the hospital in the early evening Clint and I went it to see her and made it just in time for dinner. She again was sitting in the chair and looking better than just the few hours prior when I had been there. The three of us had a great visit and she did a great job eating most of her dinner. We gave her our love and let her know dad was in the lobby and would be staying with her again tonight.

The plan as of yesterday was to move her to a lower intensive care unit possible sometime today. I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you once again for your continued prayers and support. Mere words cannot begin to express how each one of us is so blessed to have the people around us that we do.

I love you dearly.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Latest update

(Sorry if this seems confusing or scattered---just trying to process my thoughts as quickly as possible so I can get them out and refocus.)

(Wednesday 5/14/08) Well thanks be to our Lord and Savior, everyone survived the day yesterday. Mom was having what they call ICU psychosis which is apparently very common for patients when they are starting to feel better, have been in bed too long, and are feeling the need to go home. They had to restrain her during the day because she tried to pull the balloon pump out of her femora artery and because she wasn't able to calm herself down they felt that was the best thing to do to protect her from herself. They shared they pulled the big guns out yesterday with respect to sedatives for her but because she was so anxious over being restrained the effects also caused confusion.

The doctor informed my dad yesterday he was very happy with my mom’s progress and they would be removing the balloon pump today as well as performing the procedure for installing her pace maker. A time has not be scheduled. In light of what happened yesterday, which I believe was normal with her wanting to get out of there, I feel my brother and I also need to be there today to support my dad. Yesterday was really rough for him because not only did he have his wife tied down but every time she looked over at him she was asking him why he was doing this to her. It just wasn’t a good scene.

On top of all this, I was finally able to get my mom to focus and calm down so she could rest. We took a few minutes to wait in the lobby while the nurses did their shift change procedures. During this time a woman that works for the hospital who also knows my parents (not a close friend----and certainly someone my mother does not like, although I don't think this woman knows this) took it upon herself to go into my mother's room which is designated for immediately family only. While she was in there my father decided he needed to go home and rest as he was thoroughly exhausted. I went back in to see my mom again before leaving only to discover my mom was more hysterical and telling me to call the police. I calmed her down by assuring her I'd called the police even though I didn't have any idea what was going on until this woman surfaced saying, "oh there you are I just tried calling and and I called you dad". So now not only is my mom upset but my dad is driving and could possible go insane from finding out his wife is doing bad.....which she wasn't until this woman came in. Anyway, we got her out, calmed my mom down enough to sleep and then we left for the evening as visiting hours were nearly over.

After arriving home the doctor called me about 10 to advice they had to put a new temporary pace maker on my mom as they other one went out due to her moving around a lot yesterday and trying to pull the wires out around her leg (apparently temp pace maker was also in the groan/leg area). The doctor shared he placed another temporary pace maker in my mom’s neck which is much more stable and they also put the breathing tube back down her and had her sedated. He said that all of her vitals were good and strong and she was finally resting. He also explained about the normalcy of what they call ICU psychosis. He didn’t call my dad last night as he wanted to reach either Clint or I to tell us what happened and to allow us to talk to my dad, which I agreed not tell him last night as he was very exhausted and thought it was better he got rest. Clint and I talked last night and agreed it was better not to tell dad as the point was mom was doing well and she was resting. The doctor just wanted us not to be shocked when we came in the next morning to find a breathing tube down her throat. He assured us not to be alarmed and this wasn’t a setback --- she was doing fine. In the meantime I reported the woman that was being a busy-body to the medical staff to forbid her to come anywhere my mom. Also, I had to call another family friend who this woman had called to run her mouth about my mom causing that woman to become hysterical. Thankfully after we talked she, too, calmed down.

Today (Thursday) we discovered that some time during the early morning of the hours mom had a stroke. As to the severity of damage we are uncertain as of yet as we’ve not seen a neurologist. However, aside from this they removed the balloon pump from her heart and her femora artery is doing well. Over all her vitals are doing well and they have her off sedation medication. The goal for the evening is to get her off the respirator. She is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. for a permanent pace maker, inshallah.

Thank you for your continued prayers. The result of these prayers is feeling the peace of God and His angels around us at all times.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Perhaps selfish to ask, but will anyway

Well we received some news that seems great. The doctor shared he was really pleased with my mom's progress so is placing her on the schedule to have a permanent pace maker installed tomorrow sometime. So, please continue your prayers.

As an aside, my father informed me this morning my aunt (mom's sister) and her husband are currently driving out from Kansas so my aunt can be with my mom. I was thrilled to know my aunt wanted to come be with my mom, but not thrilled when I heard she was coming with HIM. Her husband was the one that molested his daughter and I when we were kids. I cannot tell you how sickened I am knowing he's coming with her. Please keep this also in your prayers as I've not had to face this man in many many years and had wishfully hoped I'd never have to see him again after violating us. I had the misfortune of seeing him at my cousin's wedding, which he tried to make me drink beer all the while telling me how pretty I was. Such a disgusting individual.

They have a saying that goes something like, "God never gives you more than you can handle", but I'm telling you I don't know about all this.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and support.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mom update

On behalf of my family, my mom and myself, thank you for your continued prayers; they are certainly being heard and answered, alhamdullilah.

Sunday morning we returned to the hospital to learn my mom was awake. Their plan for the day was to remove the breathing tube. My dad, brother and I went in to see her and she seemed to recognize my dad right away. He kissed her and told her he loved her and she squeezed his hand. Then she tried to talk but we all told her not too as the medical staff had earlier told us they didn’t want her talking yet. My brother and I also were able to kiss her and tell her how much we loved her. We then decided to leave the room for about an hour or so as they were going to be removing the breathing tube from her. In the meantime the entire family went a couple of streets down to a beautiful park that’s near the hospital and had a picnic lunch. We all agreed this is how mom would have wanted to spend Mother’s Day in the park having a picnic with the whole family.

We returned to the hospital to discover they had successfully removed the breathing tube. She was awake, alert and happy to see us. While dad met with the medical team Clint and I talked with mom. Of course due to all the medications and procedures that had happened to her within the last 24 hours she was a little out of it, but on the other hand we were surprised at what she told us. She told my brother she remembered them doing compressions on her chest as well as using the paddles on her, which I was completely shocked to think she could possible know or remember that. Of course it’s too early to know if she really will recall that or not. She knew it was Mother’s Day and was apologizing as this was not how she planned for us to spend the day. We told her not to apologize because we were together as a family and that’s all that mattered. She also told my brother and I that she thought she should get rid of her new puppy, Cruiser, because although she didn’t think it was too much for her maybe it was, to which we just told her not to worry about Cruiser he was fine. Moreover we let her know the whole reason we were here was due to her diabeties and that as a result her heart just had a little too much fun the day before.

We were so thrilled to see her alive, alert and able to communicate with us. Amira had drawn a picture of an angel for Grandma so that Grandma would know she would be ok. She also selected one of her stuffed toys, a bunny wearing a blue vest, to give to Grandma while she was in the hospital so Grandma would feel ok. Grandma was thrilled to see the little bunny and has been hugging that bunny every since.

We left the hospital Sunday evening feeling more hopeful about the situation but also knowing mom’s situation was very delicate and serious.

Monday morning we called the hospital before visiting hours started and the nurse on duty informed us she did really well through the whole night and that they were pleased with her vitals. They shared she was in a lot of pain but that they were giving her meds to help with the pain.

My father and brother went to the hospital Monday morning to find my mom alert but in so much pain that it caused them to worry once again. The staff assured them this was normal considering the amount of trauma her body had gone through in less than 48 hours, and once again reassured my dad and brother that her vitals were doing well and they were pleased with her improvements.

Monday evening we all met down at the hospital again. My dad, brother, sister-in-law and nephew got there just before Amira and I did and was able to see her. To our blessed fortune my dad and brother were happy to see she was even more alert, with good coloring in her face and her personality shining through. Dad shared that she looked so much better compared to this morning. The staff was in the middle of their shift change so we hung out in the lobby area until I could go in and see her. When finally able to go in Claudia and I went to see her. We found her sleeping and she looked so angelic and peaceful for the first time in days, so of course we didn’t disturb her. I was able to talk with her nurse to gather some more information. She shared they attempted to take the balloon down that’s around her heart right now, but that her heart was still not stable or strong enough to handle it so they’ve decided to leave it in for a couple of more days and then try again then. She indicated they also had to give her some kind of diuretic due to her not eliminating enough causing the doctor to be considered about fluids on her lungs. The diuretic seemed to help immediately which they were really pleased with along with all of her other vitals doing so well. They were thrilled for all of her progress and happy to see she’s doing so well considering the severity of the heart attack she had.

We left the hospital Monday evening once again so thankful for mom and her strength, alhamdullilah. I was delighted that my dad and brother were going home after seeing mom in her condition that evening rather than what they saw earlier that morning, alhamdullilah.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support, you have no idea what it means, alhamdullilah.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Well this Mother’s Day is like no other Mother’s Day I’ve experienced before. Yesterday at noon I received a voicemail message from my dad letting me know he and my mom were heading to the hospital. I was in the gym at the time of the call so called immediately upon receiving the message. When I got a hold of my dad he was crying and could tell me mom was having a heart attack, they were at the hospital and that she didn’t look good. I immediately drove to the hospital where my brother and his family were waiting along with my dad. My dad and brother were outside the ER room from my mom while my sister-in-law, Claudia stayed in the lobby with Anthony and Amira. The medical staff immediately pulled me in and told me I could kiss her, talk to her, do whatever I want as she’d know I was there, to which of course I immediately did. It is so tragic when you see your mother all hooked up to machines with wires all over her and a tube down her throat. I told her I was there and that all of the family was there and that we loved her so much and prayed over her. I was then asked to move from the room as they were going to be transferring my mom from this hospital to a hospital that specialized in cardiac care. During this brief period, I would say no more than an hour and a half they had to recessitate my mom three times. A doctor, nurse and ambulatory staff rushed my mom to the other hospital safely, alhamdullilah. Waiting at the other hospital was a surgical team who would immediately take her into surgery. About an hour later the doctor that worked on my mom came out and advised us that her arteries were fine, but that she had a small blood clot that caused all the trouble. He stated that he put a stint in her heart and that right now she had a balloon inside of her that was assisting her heart to work. He said that her heart was working on it’s own but that the purpose of this balloon was to allow her heart to not have to work as hard since it’s gone through something so dangerous. He also stated that for now they have a temporary pace maker in her. He said that she was very sick and that we’d have to take it one day at a time.

A couple of hours later my dad, brother and I were allowed in to the CICU division to see her. The nurse on hand was very informative and grateful to see us. The nurse on duty said the plan was to by evening remove the tube from her throat, and then the next day remove the balloon assisting her heart. At this point my dad thought it was best that we leave for the evening as mom was in the best place and that we should allow the medical staff to do their job without our interference. At 8:45 p.m. I called the hospital to inquire about her and see if the tube had been removed. The nurse on duty stated that they were not going to remove the tube tonight because at 6:30 my mom’s heart went into a V-tak (sorry for medical professionals---don’t know the spelling) and that they had to zap her to bring her heart back into regular rhythm.

At 5:30 this morning I called the hospital to once again check on my mom and the nurse informed me that she remained pretty stable throughout the night, alhamdullilah. My mom is also diabetic so we had to worry about her blood sugar levels, which as of yesterday afternoon they were in the 500’s, but as of this morning they were in the mid 200’s which still isn’t good by any means, however, it’s an improvement, alhamdullilah.

We will be going back down to the hospital after 10 as visiting hours do not allow us in before then. I ask you please to consider praying for my mom and family.

When moments like this happen it truly realigns anything in your life that is out of alignment. For there is nothing more precious then life. You realize there’s so many things that perhaps you should have said to your loved one, but for some reason have never said because either you’ve not really thought too much about it or you just think there’s always going to be time. After yesterday, there is no other moment but RIGHT NOW. We are still waiting to see if we have an opportunity to tell our loved one how much she means to us, how proud we are that she is our mom/wife, how much we adore her, and how thankful we are that God blessed us with her. I hope God allows us this opportunity, inshallah.

So please remember we only have today and to tell those you care about how much you appreciate them and love them because you’ll never get this moment back.

My love to you all and blessings upon your families, inshallah.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

This and That

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written anything of substance about Amira and I, so thought today might be a good day to catch up.

Since most of you know, one of my main contracted accounts downsized their company in December 2007 leaving me to make some drastic changes in our lives. In January 2008 I went back to school and have since completed my courses along with some advance training courses reading for a new career. In March 2008 I was offered a position requiring my new training, but the position turned out to be anything but using my expertise so I graciously stepped down from that position. I have recently been offered a position which I will start this Sunday, inshallah. I’m both thrilled and nervous about the possibility.

Amira is doing really well. She is such a trouper and a team player. She’s adapted well to our scheduling changes and for the most part has kept a positive attitude through it all. During this transitional period she was required to stay with my parents more often than usual as well as with a couple of my girlfriends. Truly I don’t know what we would have done without their generous assistance, alhamdullilah.

Sometime after the first of the year Amira decided she was a photographer and has since done something to my camera causing it to not work, hence the reason you’ve not seen updated photos of her. Hopefully with things settling down and income actually coming in this will allow for the camera to be fixed or in the alternative another one purchased.

In the fall of 2008 Amira will be going to kindergarten. This is so unbelievable to me. Anyway, I submitted her application for admittance into a Montessori school at the end of February. Applicants are selected by lottery only as there are so many desiring to enter the school and only a certain number of schools in the area so in order to create fairness they’ve decided to draw their applicants based on the lottery system rather than by income, affiliations, politics, etc. Mid-March I received a call from the school advising me that Amira’s name was drawn to attend their program. Truly I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to receive this call. Even if I had won actual money from a lottery I would not have been as thrilled as I was about receiving this call, alhamdullilah.

My mom got a new puppy a couple of weeks ago. I cannot remember seeing my mom so happy as when she brought this little guy home. He is cute, but for me he’s just a dog. Don’t get me wrong I love animals but just not a huge dog fan. However, mom on the other hand…..some days I think she loves dogs more than she loves humans, which in some ways I guess I can understand. :-)

It’s been so long since mom had a puppy so she is quickly being reminded of their chewing habits, their sleeping habits, and their playing habits. Lets just say mom may be in some ways rethinking this whole “puppy thing”. LOL

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Vantage point

Although a little video, it is packed with big meaning……..if we but refocus our vantage point from any situation how our vision seems to clear or at the very least our perception can be changed.

A reminder there is always something bigger than us, and what a beautiful planet we’ve been blessed to live upon, alhamdullilah.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Moment of Fame

Well with fire season kicking off, the local media is reminding people about the importance of keeping their trees, bushes and foliage trimmed and maintained as a preventative measure. One of the local news stations interviewed a local resident who regularly maintains his yard as well as my brother who served as a spokes person for the California Forestry Department, so, had to share the link with everyone because of his brief moment of being a media celebrity. :-)

Under the video section (on the right side of the page) click on the title -
Preparing Homes for Fire Season, Deborah Hoffman's Report, 4/28/08

Friday, May 2, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Jay Leno on President Bush and America

(Allegedly) Jay Leno wrote this; it's the Jay Leno we don't often see....

As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some Poll data I found rather hard to believe.

It must be true given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President.

In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, What are we so unhappy about?

Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?

Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?

Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.

Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.

You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames, thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.

Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating?

Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11?

The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession?

Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks?

The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad?

Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go.

They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an 'other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?

Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads, and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner?

The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another.

Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way......Insane!

Turn n off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country.

There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.

With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, 'Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'

Jay Leno