Spoke with the surgeon yesterday. Seems we were mistaken, at least according to him as he does not plan to perform surgery on Tammi's right knee. Our mistake. We distinctly remember him telling us he was going to first do the hip and then the knee but apparently now if he does the knee he would have to amputate her leg. So here we go again with the runaround and doublespeak. I know he is one of the best in the world at what he does but I am tired of his attitude. He does not want to work on Tam anymore and wishes we would just go away. And that is what we are going to do, go away. I am going to bring her home and take care of her myself. She is not going to get better, she is not getting better. This last surgery was to relieve her pain and that is what it has done but it is not going to make her better. She is still weak, cannot control her arms very well and her pain in the other parts of her body is still present. Walking is no longer an option as she cannot place weight on her right leg until the knee is fixed and as I said the knee is not going to be fixed. She performs her exercises but she is still losing strength in her arms and shoulders. Her wrist remains extremely painful and unusable for all but the smallest tasks. What do we do now? Where do we go? I am prepared to do what I have to do to make her life as easy as it can be but how long will she hold together? How long before the drugs she has to take for pain and suppression of the infection take their toll on the rest of her body? What about her mind, how long before she has problems with that. My parents always told me there was someone out there for me, and they were right. But why does she have to be taken from me so soon?
Does this look like a good, healthy plate of food? This is what I make my salads out of whenever I eat at home. Fresh cucumber, avocado, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell pepper, and anaheim peppers. Sometimes I add things like hard boiled egg or maybe some cheese. Cut it all up, add some vinegar and olive oil, toss and eat. How does this relate to responsibility? Because I pose the question to the public: Does each of us owe it to ourselves, our family members, and to the public in general to do whatever we can to stay healthy? I feel it is my responsibility to do whatever I can to maintain my health so I can uphold my duties in taking care of my wife. I need to be healthy to take care of her needs. I need to be healthy so I can perform my job at a high level which in turn means I can continue to pay our health insurance. The studies that have been done showing how much illness cost companies in lost work hours is staggering. I personally know that whenever someone misses work in my department, most of the time it affects my job and therefore my performance. Responsibility comes in many forms but it is something that everyone has to be a part of.
Fear is something that we experience from time to time, many times from different things at the same time. Fear of losing our job, of failure, of rejection etc. For the last few weeks I have noticed a fear of the unknown, whenever 2 people of the opposite sex are in a confined space together. With my wife in the hospital, I use an elevator quite often. What I noticed is that whenever someone, me included, gets into an elevator that is either unoccupied or only has one person in it they turn and punch the button for the floor they wish to go to. This is normal unto itself but what I have noticed is that they then just stand right there next to the selection panel. So whenever the next person gets on they ask for the button to their floor to be selected. This also is normal. What I started doing whenever I enter an elevator and push my button, I would move to the back of the elevator so that I would be out of the way for the next person that gets on. But doing this has opened my eyes to peoples reactions. I stand in the corner minding my own business but I get an uneasy feeling whenever a woman gets on, for that matter, many times when a man get on too, as though I get a feeling that they are nervous. I understand why she feels this way, I just never thought about it. In my effort to be courteous, I have instead created an area of tension.
Here is the latest photos of Tammi's wound. Two weeks ago it was 9.5cm deep, last week 4.5cm and today it is down to 2.9cm deep. At this rate she should be ready for her next surgery within 2-4 weeks. I am guessing they will fuse her right wrist as once that is done she will be able to use her right arm for physical therapy on her legs.
This was the scene I woke up to this Wednesday morning. Not only had it snowed but it was pretty cold as the temperature was in the mid 20's. I know this is not much compared to up north but it was more than enough to shut the city down. Still, it reminds me of Rapid and how much I miss it there.
I was reading a post on Penelope Trunks The Brazen Careerist about dealing with social awkwardness at work. In reading this, it was as if she had been writing about me. That is because I have always had social skill issues in dealing with people, in and out of the work place. It contributed to the down fall of my marriage (which has rebounded). It has contributed to lost friendships and possible employment opportunities. To pull a quote from her, "I don't do office politics", is exactly how I feel. I have no use for them. Or I didn't until yesterday. For the past two days I have been working on a report detailing the items on my warranty schedule that are not paid for one of my stores. It seems that there has been a little battle going on between the dealer GM and the Director over all of the service and parts departments. Blame for claims over 30 days that have not or cannot be paid is being directed all over the place, including at me. Upon completion of the report I created the journal vouchers for items that were to be charged off. The Director had instructed me to call the GM so that we could go over the items and have him sign them. This is something I avoid like the plague as I try to stay as distant from management as I can. I always felt that if I just did my job and avoided people I would be recongnized for my work instead of for my social interaction. I am finding out that doing good work is only part of it. Due to my extreme insecurities I contact with people. So when I was told to go over these items with the GM I told the manager directly over my department that I really didn't think I would do that, I would just let him do that. After some thought, I decided to become involved in the meeting with the GM. I am thankful I did. Because of animosity built up between the mgr and GM, I actually was the more calm and composed person to explain the issues to the GM. I don't like office politics but I must at least become socially involved in the processes of the deparments I work for if I am to successfully move to another level. I had a manager tell me over 15 years ago that it was my attitude that would hold me back. And he was right. I work hard, do a very good job but by continually being brash and obnoxious, I do not make the right impression for advancement. I have cultivated such a persona that I get exactly what I wanted, that is to be left completely alone. No matter how well you perform your job, who wants to put a crabass jerk in a position to make decisions, especially decisions where a large amount of the company's money is in the balance. Bless my Dad, I love him to death, but when I was a boy, he used to tell me "I can be finished with ___ while you are still thinking about it". This is true, but it did not teach me anything to just be a helper. I needed to "do" the work. I became my Dad at work because I kept taking on more and more responsibility. I thought the more I could do, the more job security I would have. I also refused to delegate or teach as I beleived this would only lead to my downfall. What if that person became better than me at my own job? I have learned the flaw in this thinking due to the fact that if you take on too much, you will not perform at a high level. What I am trying to say is, it is better to do a smaller amount of work with a high level of accuracy than to do too much and all of it suffers. I am now training someone to do exactly what I do, and if she becomes better than me, it just means I was a good teacher, not an inadequate administrator. All of this comes back to my lack of confidence in myself, something that has been with me all my life. Many of us are not part of the "in" crowd during our formative years but many leave that behind. For whatever reason I was not able to do that. I surrounded myself with people that I wanted to be accepted by, instead of accepting the people that wanted to be around me. I never cared about my appearance or how my clothes fit me. I felt that if someone judged me on that front, they were not someone I wanted to know. But I see flaws in that, as I finally learned that it is not your physical appearance that people see, it is the illusion of your physical appearance. Very few people, even the good looking people, have perfect bodies. But it is the people that take the time to where good clothes that fit right, have good hygiene, keep their hair cut properly, that get taken seriously. I have watched as overweight men have been called "hot" or "handsome" because of the way they carried themselves or their dress. It is because they are confident on the inside that allows them to look good on the outside. As I left childhood behind, I continually created an atmosphere of me against the world, spirally down until I hit bottom, which is when my wife sent me away. Since that time 3 1/2 years ago I have continually searched myself to learn more. But now I seem to have finally reached a point where, instead of insisting I do this myself, I seek out others, learn from them, accept that it is ok to have to listen to someone else. I beleive it was fate that I came across Penelope Trunk's writing as for some reason, her words come across as if they were meant for me. She has a way of saying and teaching without having a superior attitude. Because of my insecurities I have always been weighed down by that chip on my shoulder, the one that said I was not good enough for anything. I hope I do not offend her by what I say here, I just know she is doing for me right now what Dr. Phil's book did for me 3 years ago. Helping me find my way. Now that I know who I am, I am learning what I must do to succeed.
Here is the latest photo of Tammi's wound. It has healed significantly since last week. On Monday January 8th, 2007 it was 9.5 cm deep. Yesterday, Monday January 15th, 2007 the depth was only 4.5cm. So in one week her wound shrunk by over 50%. This is very good news as it means she can have her second operation in the near future. We do not know yet if it will be on her right knee or right wrist but I am guessing it will be her wrist. She will need it for rehabilitation.
From an article in the New York Times. Brian Grazer, a producer of “8 Mile,” said some of the mashups he had seen were “pretty hip.” But he said he, too, viewed them as a form of piracy: “It bothers me artistically. Here’s this thing where you have no control; they are chopping it up and putting your memories in a blender.” This is not "your" memories. You got paid to make a movie and that is what you did. I get paid to get warranty claims paid, not to preserve a memory about that claim. Is it artistry or knowledge that allows me to get my claims paid?? Is it artistry or knowledge that allows me to shoot the photos that I shoot? It is knowledge that allows me to do something that others cannot do. So in that sense everyone is an artist since we all possess abilities and knowledge that not everyone else has.
I was reading a post from this blog I just discovered (Brazen Careerist) and she brought up a very interesting subject regarding happiness and how much money a person needs to achieve said happiness. In her commentary she points out some studies and that one of the things that will bring more satisfaction and happiness is good, monogamous sex with your partner and that it appears that once certain basic needs are met (shelter, food, etc.) it does not take much more money to max out the happiness factor. I understand this fully, as I buy a lot of toys (computers, gadgets, clothes) that I use as a substitute for happiness. Consider the following facts: I love my wife more than I could ever express in words or actions; I will never do anything to violate the vows I took or hurt her in any way; and that we will more than likely never be able to have sex again. What do I do to substitute for that? There is a certain amount of intimacy that we will be able to achieve, but only to a point. After that, am I left with the unfulfilled feelings of satisfaction that acquiring toys brings? Will we drift apart because I want to go for a daily walk and she cannot accompany me? What brings me back to a centered position whenever I have questions such as these is the feelings that I have for her. I ask myself what is not optional and then build upon that. Life without her is not optional, so everything else I do is centered around that. If I buy a few unnecessary toys along the way, so be it. They are just to take up the time whenever I cannot be with her. Speaking of things that are not optional, my Dad and I talk a lot about moving to the country and all that comes with that. Things such as how far away from medical facilities, grocery stores, and how that can cause logistical problems. I told him, for us, not moving to the country is not an option. So everything else is something to be resolved and dealt with. I feel there is no challenge that can't be resolved. A plan is all you need. I wish I had had a good plan 20 years ago. I am trying to have one now. I am so sick of hamburgers I really hope I never have to eat another one. I had eaten so many of them here at the hospital that I really was just going to go hungry. But then I discovered Jason's Deli across the street from the hospital. I have known about them for over 17 years but I had always thought of them as more expensive than what I was willing to pay for a meal. I had gone across the street to get Subway, but the small store within the gas station was no longer there. That is when I noticed the Jason's Deli across the parking lot. I went in as I my only other choice was the vending machine in the hospital. To my surprise the prices were on par with the other big chain sandwich shops and the sandwich itself was fabulous. I am hooked on sandwiches now, but not just Jason's. We have Subway, Jimmy Johns, Quizno's, and Schlotzkys along with whatever I make at home. I just think they are better for me, especially whenever I purchase one that is labeled as healthy. Jason's Deli also happens to be across the street from my Grapevine store so that is another plus.
And the world goes crazy. Why is it when some rain falls and the temperature gets low enough to freeze it, people lose their ability to think rationally. Some people, for whatever reason, have the mindset that you can still drive 80+mph and randomly switch lanes on a wet, slippery road, or the fact that there is a bit of ice means you don't have to go to work but you can go to the mall. As to the former, I don't drive fast when the roads are dry so I definitely will not drive fast when they are wet and slippery. But as the latter, I have done both. More than 10 years ago we had a winter snowstorm with black ice underneath on the roads. It took me more than 2 hours to get to work, and I did slide around a bit, but I was given a raise because of my dedication. Even longer ago than that (more than 20 years ago) I had a job interview and I made such an impression by showing up for it during another snowstorm that I did get the job. From my time living in South Dakota, up north that is not such a big deal but here in Texas it seems if you get some snow or ice and whole cities shut down. Or at least the part of the cities not tied to retail. I would imagine that retailers show an increase in business on those days, especially the local merchants of coffee shops and restaurants. Five years ago there was another of these 3 day winter storms, So Tammi and I did not go to work but we were able to drive the 2 miles to the train station and ride all over the city goofing off. In an effort to not show any hypocrisy I just want to say I am not being critical of those who to call in, rather I just want to show what can happen when you show dedication to get to work. I also happened to be younger, more energetic and less financially stable when I made the effort to go in to work. It also helps that now, as it was five years ago, I have my wife to play with. Those long ago efforts were made when I was unattached and in need of money. But how do we justify not going to work when some people are not allowed those excuses and they find a way. The nurses and support staff here at the hospital are not allowed to call in. They are told to take a cab because they will be reimbursed for it. And what about those cab drivers? Would my employer pay my cab fair if I used that method? The fare would most assuredly be over $30 one way as I live 14 miles from work, so would it be more cost effective for them not to have to pay me at all?
This photo was taken on January 1, 2007 during her second wound change. As you can see, it does not bleed much. If I cut my finger, I will spurt blood everywhere. The wound itself is about 8 inches long and 6 inches deep.The second photo was taken one week later on January 8, 2007. It shows in better detail the extent of the wound and how far she has to go for it to be healed. The doctors are saying it is healing well and looking good. The red, "beefy" look is what you want it to look like. That is what they tell us and what we hope continues. As you can imagine, it is very painful whenever wound change is performed. Tomorrow (Monday) I will be taking a new set of photos that will show just how much she is healing. Today when I looked at her leg it seemed the opening was much smaller.
Tammi is still in such pain. At left is a picture of her leg the day after surgery. Later I will post a picture of her let with the packing out. It looks like a roast. It is amazing how little it bleeds when they do the wound change. It is about 6 inches deep. It hurts me so much whenever she has wound change as the only thing I can do is hold her hand and count while she breathes in and out. That helps her with the pain. I wish there was more that I could do but that is all I can do at this time. I pray alot as she has such a long ways to go. We found out the reason the surgeon put us off for so long is because he feared of losing her on the operating table. I understand that fear but he should not have put us off for 8 months. This could have been and should have been resolved by now. As it is, she has at least 3 more surgeries to go. The other day I was thinking about my blog here and all that I have put into it. As I was thinking about how long it has been since I have been able to shoot photos and write about the event I am shooting something occurred to me. All the thousands of print photos I already have are stories waiting to be told. I don't know why I am so slow at seeing the obvious, but I am. Anyways, I realized that there is so much that has not yet been written that I have years of material. Because of the memory that the Lord has given me, I have the stories in my head. So, where to start? I don't think I have the patience to organize my photos chronological order and then start writing. Instead, I am just going to pick the first one I find and write what I can remember about it. And as I have done before, once I start writing, the memories will flow and the words will keep coming. Even if no one ever reads or cares what is put here, I feel there is one young boy that will someday be glad I did write it down. My son will turn 9 years old in less than 2 weeks and I have not seen him since he was 14 months old. Someday, whether he wants anything to do with me or not, he will read this and get a sense of who his father is. I have new purpose.