Saturday, October 29, 2005

Saturday Update...

Thanks Jo for the answers. As best as I know right now, she has activity in her frontal lobe and brain stem ONLY. She's slipping away and my dad seems to think she's just hanging on until my mom gets there. I have about 5 more family members coming tomorrow to see her before she passes and my mom will be here soon. I called mom and left a message, called Bonnie but didn't get through and finally called my cousin Jen. Jen and Alex will be there tomorrow morning and they called my Aunt Bonnie and her, Jim and Andrea will be there tomorrow as well. I keep trying to get ahold of Bill but I can't. He still hasn't made it.

Well, This is getting a bit tough now. They say if she hangs on for another five days, they'll have to do a tracheotomy. Stephanie's wishes were to not have that happen. She said she didn't want to be on a machine. We've kept her on the machines she's on because she was on them when we got there and it's just not in our capability to ask them to pull the tubes out. Since they'll only keep them on for another five days that makes the decision for us which helps.

Stephanie will be around as long as her body wants to be now I think. If I remember right what my dad said, her body still slightly responds to procedures or treatments which might normally be painful or really uncomfortable or irritating to her. Very occasionally she's taking a breath or two on her own besides what the ventilator is doing for her.

The last few days I've been able to stay calm but as time goes on I'm getting more and more distressed. Every day seems worse and worse and the closer she gets to passing on, the harder it is to keep composed. I spent the day with Scott watching soccer, but today was actually harder for me than yesterday. Yesterday I started thinking, "Hey, maybe I can deal with this. Maybe this belief I have in families being forever is really going to pull me through and I can stay strong." Today taught me that while my faith and love for my Heavenly Father is as strong as ever, my ability to accept Stephanie no longer being here on earth with me like she has been is getting weaker and weaker with each passing hour.

The time to mourn has started. Spending tomorrow with so much family is really going to help. All of your prayers and thoughts are really helping to keep us all much more composed and calm than I thought we could be. We all have mentioned that we do feel more peace with this that we thought but that still doesn't make this easy. I'm sure that's expected. We love her. So I guess what I'm trying to say is THANK YOU. We have so many friends who love us or at least care for us enough to send along prayers and throughts. I really can't thank you enough for that. It helps more than I think you realize.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday afternoon update

The EEG results came in. This is what my dad told me over the phone: Her frontal lobes are fine and they look undamaged. The rest of her brain...uh...not so good. I still haven't heard if they think it was a stroke, dialysis, diabetes, lack of blood pressure medicine (doctors say she hadn't filled her prescription in a while...I have my own thoughts there), or a combination of some or all of them.

Joanna, if you read this, I don't know much about the brain. If she were to wake up...what should I expect?

My dad will be home later. We've expressed Stephanie's wishes to the doctor if various situations should come up. She's still fighting. She coughed a bit while still out, and she pulled the O2 monitor thingy off her finger. Or that's what my dad said. Anyways, he wasn't sure if it was a conscious thing or not. She's still posturing and she isn't responding to anything but pain. She responds to pain, dad said. Whatever he means by "responds".

Anyways, this is all I know for now. Things are grave. I'll know more later tonight and I'll post again in the morning.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

So tired...

This was much harder than I thought it would be. We went up there, saw her and...I can't really describe it. As for the medical things: They did an MRI because they thought she might have had a bi-hemeral stroke (meaning a stroke on both sides of the brain). She also has started posturing in her hands and feet. That's a real bad sign. her feet are straight out like a ballerina and her hands are sorta in a claw like formation but not quite.
Her eyes are swollen and I noticed a cut on her lip and she has one tooth missing and another that's at a really odd angle. She was out the whole time we were there. Unconscious I mean. All we could do is rub her feet, hold her hand, wipe away some drool and just share time with her as best as we could. The emotions were really running wild and some of the breakdowns were hard for me to take.
I'm having a tough time. I want to stay strong and it's hard for me to cry. Stephanie's hurt. I don't want other people having to console me or take care of me when she needs help. I just feel so selfish for crying. Other people cry around me and I think nothing of it. I console them and help them feel better but for whatever reason I feel like that rule doesn't apply to me. Even when everyone around me is trying to convince me that I NEED to cry. I can't hold it in. I shouldn't try to stay strong. It's too much. Well in my head I agree but when I start to cry all those other feelings come back and I just choke them back.
I'm going to get some sleep and try to head to work tomorrow. Thank you so much for your prayers. PLease keep them coming.

Update for Thursday

Call from my mom came in this morning. Her blood pressure is stabilizing and they have an air type thingy to keep her temperature where it should be. They're doing another CAT and an MRI. The neurologist seems to think some damage might have been done to her brain because of everything.
Dad should have landed by now and should be on his way here. BTW, fasting is tough. Hunger comes quicker than I thought and I'm just trying to keep my thoughts on Stephanie. Fasting does no good if I just sit here thinking about how hungry I am.
When my dad gets here we'll head to Irvine Regional Hospital and the ICU. When we're done there we'll have some dinner to break the fast, say some prayers of thanks and head home. Then I'll be able to give more updates.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Things are not looking good. As of 9am this morning my sister Stephanie was still not improving. According to the doctor who talked with my parents this morning, she was "restless" due to being cephalopathic. I understand this to be a sort of state of the brain having seizures. She clenched her teeth so hard that she broke a tooth in the front. Doctors will try to run an EEG on her and they already ran a CAT which showed her as normal...whatever that is. They'll re-run more tests and update my parents who I hope will then update me.

Josh called me yesterday around 3:45. He then called Grandma who called Bonnie and mom. I then e-mailed Dad (I didn't have his phone number). Dad called this morning asking for more info which I didn't have. Mom called with info and dad called shortly after with more info.

Frankly we're all on edge and beside ourselves with grief and hope for her that she'll get through this and all will be well. I'm just trying to keep my faith in God. Either he will heal her and help her recover, or maybe it's her time and he's calling her home. I need to accept either outcome. I'm just so scared and the idea of not having her to hold, laugh with, or hear from here on earth...well it's just too much to bare right now.

Please keep your thoughts with us and pray for her recovery...or whatever God decides is best...and if he chooses to bring her home that he will give us the strength to accept that.

Anyways...more to come.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

News from the Homefront...

My sister is in the hospital. That would be Stephanie, the 23 year old diabetic who's been on dialysis for the last 6 months. Apparently she's been trying to fight her blood sugar. Lately it's been routinely over 200. At home things aren't good. She has helped my grandma by stripping the old wallpaper in one room and try to clean the walls to repaint them. She also does a good number of chores around the house since my Uncle won't help and my grandma is not in the best physical shape. All this and my grandma and uncle still feel the need to make snide little comments under their breath all the time. All Stephanie has been worrying about is Grandma's comfort, health and safety and this is the thanks she gets?
Anyways...that could just be the emotions talking. Last night Josh (Steph's boyfriend) woke her up from her nap and went to get her a glass of water. Steph I guess sat up, took a sip and then went into a seizure not too long after waking up. Josh rushed her to the hospital and she's been in ICU since. They won't let her wake up. They haven't been able to get her blood sugar levels down much. Josh says the doctors and nurses aren't telling him much; that it's hard to get information out of them. It could just be his own nerves. He loves her surely but still, how would you like to have to call your girlfriend's family to say that something happened to her while she was with you and she's NOT ok?
Josh seems to say her vitals and everything are improving and he feels she'll be ok but there was a definite air of doubt in his voice. More than just a hint, I'd say. Frankly I'm really scared and I've spent a lot of the night just trying to keep from crying. I keep trying to find a number to call my dad or mom but I don't have any numbers for them. They both just recently moved so I don't have their new phone numbers yet. I e-mailed dad cause i know he's online. Mom isn't and so I don't know what to do. I don't want to call Bill. He's had enough to worry about. I don't want to burden him with this at least until I know more.
Please, if anyone reads this and you believe in God or at least the power of prayer, PLEASE pray for my sister. My wife and I knelt in our living room and prayed when we got home. I've been praying in my heart ever since I got the call at about 3:45 today. I just hope she'll be ok.


GO buy this: and watch the series...

Then listen to this: from Episodes 1 to 15 (No Special Editions, Bonus shows or anything just the regular episodes)

Then go see this:, preferably with a friend or two or more.

AT LEAST see the movie. I garauntee you won't be disappointed. If you are, tell me how or why you didn't like it. Even if you did like it, leave me comments here letting me know your impressions of the movie, the podcast and the series. Let's just call it a Sci-Fi/Western/Indiana Jones type thing with some Chinese thrown in for good measure. The cast is all pretty (esp. Jewel Staite who plays Kaylie) and I just think it's well done. It's Josh Whedon as his best I think...and the actors who play the main characters are the nicest people in Hollywood.

Monday, October 24, 2005

To my future children...

This is a piece I found on I rarely visit the site because 1.) I'm not in college and never have been and 2.) It's usually not funny. However my sister turned me on to the site a couple years ago and so, like Fark and Digg, I stop by every now and then to read an article or two, see a few funny pictures (or pictures they consider funny) and check out the latest in stupid news.

This article hits home because this was something nobody ever taught me as a kid. I was always told two things: "All we expect is your best" and "You can do anything you put your mind to". Of course there were the cliche mom quotes like "Do as I say, not as I do" which is a load of crap and "Because I said so" which just means they don't know any more than you do and my favorite "I brought you into this world. I can take you out." Yeah, mom threatening me with murder is really gonna motivate me to clean my room. It's just going to motivate me to look over my shoulder and sleep with one eye open.

Now onto the article with a few minor changes to fit my own situation:

My name is Daniel, and I am your father. I know you're not born yet but I wanted to tell you that you can not necessarily do anything if you just set you mind to it. That's a load of crap.

Someone once told me that I could do anything if I set my mind to it and I spent that entire summer trying to make my sister's head explode. I've got much more practical advice for you: if you don't actually pursue your dreams instead of just dreaming them, you'll end up working at Walmart. In the pet food aisle. At night. On weekends.

You are not entitled to success. You are not entitled to happiness. You are not entitled to have a better life than your parents. You are not entitled to anything beyond breathing. And even that, you kind of owe me for.

You will have access to video games and DVDs and the internet and action figures, but I don't have to buy any of them for you. I probably will, but only if you're not a terrible person. If you're one of the mall kids who shrieks that you're not loved because your parents don't buy you every last TickleMeSpongeBobBarneyRanger, you will be reminded that I may put you up for adoption at any time and start over.

You will have access to a free elementary and high school education, but I don't have to pay for you to go to college. I probably will, but you can help with grades and extra-curricular activities and the loans you take out based on your future earning potential. If you get Ds through high school and wonder why you ended up paying your own way through junior college, it's because your future earning potential is $8 an hour. And that's only because the minimum wage will probably go up by then.

You will have access to unlimited information about politics and world history. And I will help you interpret it. But if you choose to form your opinion of your country's socioeconomic climate based on five minutes of MTV, you will end up electing politicians that only care whether or not you buy what's being advertised during the next commercial break. If you're even smart enough to vote.

Remember that you are lucky to be born in an era when you have more to play with than a rock and a leaf. Remember that you are lucky to be born into a country that sends you to school instead of to work. Remember that you are lucky to be born into a mindset in which you will not be killed because of your political views. In most states anyway.

College will not be waiting for you when you graduate high school. A job will not be waiting for you when you graduate college. And a social security check will certainly not be waiting for you when you retire. That last one kind of stings, doesn't it?

The phrase "you can do anything if you set your mind to it" is misleading, because you also have to put in the work. Most people who feel they are entitled to something are entitled to nothing, twice. No one is entitled to anything. Also, those who base their lives on a sense of entitlement are jerks. And no one wants to give anything to a jerk.

I will prevent you from watching inappropriate television so you can not blame your temper on anything but being human. I will ground you so you learn that listening to appropriate authority is the fastest way to get what you want. I will even hit you once - but only so a stranger doesn't hit you much harder. And if you threaten to call child services and report me for abuse, you will learn the meaning of the term "double jeopardy." And it is much more upsetting than sitting through a movie with Ashley Judd.

I will not get you a cell phone when you turn twelve. I will not get you a new wardrobe when you turn fourteen. I will not get you a car when you turn sixteen. What I will get you is a personality, forged by years of actually having to put work in to achieve results. You will thank me when you're old enough to know what I've done for you. When you are old enough, your spoiled friends will still be whining that they have tons of angst. And they'll do it over their cell phones during the drive home from clothes shopping.

I will, however, love and support you in all your efforts, as long as they are efforts. You will be great kids. I know that because I will raise you to be. I'm going to set my mind to it, but I will also put in the work. That's how you get things done. And If you disagree with me, there's a cleanup in aisle four.