Friday, October 31, 2008

I'll Have To Keep This One Short... it's after midnight and I'm truly exhausted. I have been going through more changes this year than probably any year in my life since I became "bionic." (1983) I have had more health problems this year than any other I can remember...but at long last, we are finally getting some answers and working towards actual solutions! So in that regard, it's an exciting time.

It's not that I haven't cared about IRHaven. I still do. But I've been hospitalized 5 times this year and been to the emergency room more times than I can count. It's been mostly for low potassium and low blood sodium, along with dehydration and electrolyte levels and the occasional low white cell count (but nothing major in that regard, fortunately). And I have to say, I've had to live with daily pain more this year than at any time in my life...but that's finally being addressed, too. In the last few weeks, I've had less pain than the last two years! That has been such a blessing! There's ups and downs still and I have a lot to learn and still more to do but I am willing. There's hope!

When I have time, hopefully this weekend, I'll sit down and give you more details. Despite the difficulties, my faith remains strong and my wife and children have been very special support and I love them so dearly for it! I love them so much!!

Best Wishes,

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Significant Redesign

I had no idea how bad the site looked in Internet Explorer! My job recently took Firefox off of all of our computers and forced us to use IE version 6 (*groans*). So when I came to check in on the blog today, I saw how utterly odd and unattractive the layout was...and decided to fix it!

I hope your eyes thank me now, just like mine do. :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

New Embedded Audio!

I am still alive, and finding ways to enhance IR Haven still! I was looking at ways to embed mp3s directly into the blog template and I found a nifty option from Yahoo's embedded media player. I was able to easily integrate it into the template and it plays MP3s I have stored elsewhere online. Just click on the arrow button next to the song link to play the song. It will automatically play the next song, which is cool! Also, the player moves as you move, can be collapsed down or even autohide itself. So you don't have to adjust it and it's less likely to get in the way (way cool).

You can do this yourself. Just check out the instructions at this link.

I added some First Light songs to start with. I may add other MP3s later, but this was a good test!

More later...

Best Wishes,

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Since Getting Home From The Hospital...

This time around, I've had to be even more careful. When I was hospitalized a little over a year ago, I bounced back pretty easily. I had the Thanksgiving holiday to recover (in 2006) and I did pretty well.

I normally work Fridays and Saturdays. I was released on a Friday and I took the next day off as well. I asked the doctor to write a note covering me until this Monday (01-14-08). I thought that would be sufficient. I was wrong.

I went to work on Monday. I took my pain meds with me, figuring that would be enough to cover me if I got sore or anything. What was I thinking?? The first 3 or 4 hours were fine. My lunch is usually about 4 or 5 hours into my shift, which is normally no big deal. By the time my lunch came around, I was lightheaded from hunger (and I would guess exertion as well). I ate, relaxed and went back to working.

I didn't quite feel normal after lunch, though, and I didn't know why. I was a little achy and sort of distracted. Then I noticed my throat was getting a little sore and I was having some difficulty speaking; I'd have to press through some calls (I do phone tech support), drinking cold and/or hot liquids to keep my throat feeling at least passable. I know this happened because of the stress my throat went through having that oversized tube in it last Tuesday and Wednesday.

By 7:00 p.m., my left forearm started having a deep stabbing pain in it, which was shocking to me. It really hurt! So I stopped using it for a bit, massaged it and tried to get back to working again. The pain came back, worse than before. I had to not use it at all. It was annoying typing with only my right hand but it beat having the stabbing pain. My left arm was where I'd had the most IV's put in.

I decided right then that I had to take sick leave on Tuesday, and I don't work Wednesday or Thursday. That would give me more time to recover before jumping back in to work.

What I've had to realize is that it's going to take longer for me to bounce back this time. I don't like that but I've had to accept it. If I push myself, my body will push right back and it will win.

Since I was released, the comfort and care committee from our church has been providing help with suppers each night and groceries and just checking up on us daily. It's a tremendous amount of love and support that we definitely need and appreciate deeply. It takes a huge load of stress off of my wife and nothing beats a home cooked meal, made with love and personal pride.

Despite the pain and the long recovery, we are truly blessed.

More as I think it up...

Best Wishes,
Remember Me?

Hi, this is Allen. I know it's been a while. Real life has been moving along, we've crossed into a new year and I just haven't had much to say.

I spent most of last week in the hospital, unfortunately. The doctors aren't quite sure why but the most likely explanation was some kind of stomach ailment, possibly a virus. I'll spare you some of the details but by Tuesday morning (01-08-08), I was in a lot of pain and had suffered some really terrible diarrhea, so I decided to call into work and asked my wife to drive me to the emergency room.

After a really long wait, the ER nurse got me started on intravenous (IV) fluids and put a big tube down my nose all the way to my stomach (needless to say, that was not the high point of my day). Then they checked me into a room and gave me pain medication.

I spent most of the next 24 hours sleeping, getting my vital signs taken or blood drawn. I couldn't eat or drink anything, although they did give me things to keep my mouth moistened, which helped. My wife was by my side all day and then she had to go home to take care of the kids. I could barely swallow and couldn't talk much more than a whisper because of that tube down my throat. Thankfully, I convinced them to take that out by Wednesday afternoon, which improved my outlook a whole lot. The tube had actually been causing me as much discomfort and outright pain as my stomach had.

Throughout the experience, I asked my wife to keep our pastor informed so he could pray for us. Also, the church members in charge of the sick committee were often in contact with my wife and offering what help they could. Friends wanted to visit but I was in no condition to see anyone but my wife and hospital personnel (who were used to seeing people in such a bad state). To the staff's credit, I felt very cared for by the nurses, techs and doctors.

Thursday, I went through a series of x-rays and was waiting for the results of that all day. My wife brought both the kids and my laptop to the hospital by evening. It was great to see my boys and my oldest son even drew me a get well card while he was there in the hospital room. My youngest son engaged me in in-depth questioning to let me know his concern and his optimism for me. Both were quite endearing. After they left, the doctor came in and let me know the x-rays looked good and that I could be put on regular food (I'd spent 2 days eating "clear liquid meals") by morning and probably released by the end of the day Friday. That was wonderful news! I couldn't get a wireless internet connection with my laptop but it did allow me to listen to music and watch a Star Trek New Voyages episode that I'd downloaded ("World Enough And Time" with George Takei) before going to sleep.

The next day, I had a wonderful omelet breakfast (ham, red and white onions, green bell peppers and mushrooms with some nice fluffy egg) along with fruit juice and coffee. I also took a shower (only the 2nd one I'd taken in 4 days...ew!) and shaved before my wife arrived. We met with the doctor, who cleared me for going home and going back to work as of Monday. My wife treated me to lunch at our favorite Japanese restaurant, a lovely place called Odaku. It was great to have some fresh miso soup and sushi and charbroiled teriyaki chicken and other vegetable delights. I knew I'd need to take a lot home as leftovers, I had only started eating regular food that morning and needed to take it easy until my stomach got back to its normal proportions.

I'll blog about the rest soon!

Best Wishes,