Monday, February 28, 2011

The Call Back!!!!

Let me fill some of you in with a little back story that lead up to the events that have taken place. First of all it is no secret that my brother has Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and was in need of a lung transplant.
Last week was start of the Tim Hortons "Roll up the Rim" contest. My brother and I were talking about winning coffees and stuff, when I asked him "Hey is there a roll up for winning a pair of lungs?" We laughed about it, and then he edited a pictures to make it look like it said "LUNGS" under the rim. The next couple of days came and went, just average every day kinda things. Thursday night (FEBRUARY 24, 2011) he was at home and I was at home, and we were chatting online. He was telling me about this episode of "Greys Anatomy" that he was watching. The basic story line was that there was a CF patient in need of a double lung transplant. So while I go to set the show to record on my PVR, My Phone rings. Its about 9:30 p.m. The number that comes up is my Mom's. This takes me by surprise because My mom rarely calls out of the blue, and never at night. I knew something was up. I even said to Steve "Oh I wonder what's going on? Mom never calls this time of the day!" So when I answer the phone, the first thing she says to me is "Sean's Pager just went off! Are you ready to go.?" Lucky for me I live in Barrie and it takes them time to get to me. So I had time to get some stuff together. So this is where the adventure begins. Much like the first time his pager went off, I being to stress out and start running all over the house like a crazy person! Steve has to tell me over an over to calm down. For me though, it was impossible. So like before, once I get all my stuff together and I am ready to go, I let my brother know that I will meet them up the highway so that its quicker to just go and we can avoid the Barrie roads.
Our friend Dan, drove us all down to Toronto General Hospital. When we got there, at least this time we had some idea of where we were going. So after Sean checks in at the Emergency room we proceed through the hospital. First we go to X-ray and then from there we head up to the 7th floor West side, via the East side elevators. Upon arrival to the ward they direct us to a room. This time it's a little different than before. The placard outside the room door already has a label in it " EDWARDS " so we're thinking, "Oh this is it this time!" He had to share the room with someone else. So we get into the room, and Sean gets situated. There is a bed in the room and only one chair. Mom takes the chair, Sean lounges on the bed, Dan sits on the edge of the bed and I lean up against the door frame.
The nurses come in and start doing their thing, they check his vitals, they bring him a gown. They said that they had to do some other things and that it would be best if we went and waited in the lounge down the hall and that they would come and get us when they were done. By this point I am a nervous wreck and I don't want to wait anymore. So we go in the lounge and there is one other person in there. She is in her wheelchair and she is watching a movie. She is also yelling at the movie, which was more than a little creepy. And Dan kept thinking that she was talking to him! HaHa!
So we waited for quite a while and finally the nurse came back and said we could go back into the room. We get in the room and Sean is all decked out in his hospital gown stretched out on the bed. Dan goes and sits on the far side of the bed and leans on the table. My mom sits in the corner in the chair and tries to relax against a small counter. Me I take turns between sitting on the edge of the bed and standing in the doorway. At that point I was just too stressed out to try and relax. We were really not sure what was going to happen at this point. The way everyone was talking though, it seemed like this time around it might be the real deal and Sean was finally going to get his lungs!
I was finally able to get another chair brought into the room for me. Shortly after a Doctor came in and took a list of all the medications that Sean was taking at home. And he was told that she should "Take a Sleep" lol. The surgery was scheduled for 8am Friday morning. So the four of us, all crammed it to this tiny area all nervous, scared and excited were supposed to rest. Fat chance that was going to happen. We sat awake for a while, Dan decided he was going to sleep and decided it was time to take his contacts out. This is a big deal because without his contacts in, Dan's vision was useless. Blind as a bat! So I had to take him down to a bathroom, and then guide his blind ass back to the room. Once he got situated and stopped trying to text when he couldn't see his phone he leaned over and fell asleep with his head resting on the table over the bed. My mom had brought a couple of home made pillows from home. She had one out on the countertop and was attempting to sleep. I had the other pillow my mom brought, and I was doing everything in my power to find a comfortable position to sleep. IMPOSSIBLE! I tried behind my head while I slid down in the chair… nope. I tried propping my elbow on the arm of the chair and holding the pillow in my open palm… nope. I even tried resting the pillow against the small sink by the door and stretching my legs out.. That didn't work either. The only position I found any comfort with was to sit with one leg crossed over the other and sit my back pack in my lap, placing the pillow on top of the backpack and leaning my head onto the pillow. It worked a little bit. I think I was able to get an hour or hour and a half at most.
That's when the doctors and nurses started finding their way back to us. They came in and hooked Sean up to some IV meds, they had him take his first dose of the Anti-Rejection drugs. Soon after that they told us it was time to move him down to the Surgical Waiting area!
Another person showed up outside the room with a bed for him. So they got Sean out of the bed that he was in and stuffed him into the one in the hall. From there they took us to the Waiting area.
In the waiting area we met the anesthesiologist and she went over some of the procedure that would happen when they prepped Sean. Sean asked her about using his disposable cameral to take pictures of his old and new lungs. She promised him that a colleague of hers would do that depending on time frame and such. The Surgeon came over to speak to us and told us a little about what to expect and how long it would be.
It was all happening so fast all of a sudden. You wait for this moment for months and then when it comes, everything moves at lightning speeds! We were told Sean would be in surgery for the better part of the day, and that we could wait in the lounge on the 3rd floor. They told us that when it was possible someone would be up to give us any updates as they arose, depending on time constraints and the amount of people available to leave the surgery. We went up to the lounge/waiting room to wait for news. It was not easy that's for sure. We left Sean at about 8:20am in the morning, and we finally got an update from a nurse around 11am. She came in and told us that everything was going as it was planned. The new lungs had arrived and were very "Pretty". She said the Surgeon had cut Sean open 20 minutes ago (10:40am) and that everything looked great. She told us that if at all possible someone would come up and give us another update around the time the first lung was put it. She also told us not to be too discouraged if no one came up, as they would all be very busy tending to the surgery. She said if no one could make it up to see us that someone might call. But for sure the Surgeon would be in to see us as soon as the surgery was done and Sean was closed back up. Again with the waiting game. We lounged for what felt like forever, some of us tried to sleep, but I found sleep was escaping me. I didn't want to fall asleep in case someone showed up with some news about Sean. I didn't want to miss it. Dan and I went for a few walks, which always turned into coffee runs. I found that I had to keep going to the far side of the lounge area to find myself an electric outlet so that I could charge my iPhone. Apparently when everyone is constantly messaging you and you are trying to make constant facebook updates, the battery doesn't last very long. I had to charge my phone quite a bit. At one point in an effort to get some sleep in a comfortable spot, Dan started taking the cushions off the waiting room chairs so that he could make a make shift bed. We waited another 5 hours from the first update before we heard any news. This time it was the surgeon himself. He came in and handed my Mom Sean's disposable camera and told her that he was able to get three pictures of Sean's lungs. One picture of both bad lungs, and then one picture with one of the good lungs transplanted and then another picture of both healthy lungs side by side. We have yet to have the pictures developed.
The Surgeon told us that everything went great and that Sean pulled through the procedure very well. Said there were not any major complications. He told us that Sean would be brought up to the MSICU ward in an hour and that we would be able to go in and see him. He told us it would probably be a good time for us to go get something to eat. He wished us all well, he hugged my Mom and shook mine and Dan's hand. I shook the hand of the man that gave my brother his life back. Amazing!
We went to the food court in the hospital and we got something to eat, killed an hour there and then headed up to 10 west, the MSICU ward to see if Sean was there. We went into another room with lots of chairs. Common theme over those past couple of days. There was a desk with a phone, you were supposed to call the nurses station from the phone and ask about the patient you were there to see. So we did, and they told Mom that he had not arrived on the ward yet. They told us that we should take a seat and the phone would ring when it was time to come see him. Again with the waiting game and lack of more sleep. We sat around in this waiting room for about an hour too. Finally the phone was ringing and no one was answering it. So I walked over and picked it up. When I said "Hello" the voice on the other end said "Edwards?" and I said "Yeah, is he ready for us to see him now?" She told me the room number told us we could come on down.
When we got there I could see Sean through the glass. It's hard to explain all the emotions that were involved at this point. I could see that he was ok and that he was breathing. There were nurses still all around him hooking up various IV's and sensors and all that stuff and getting him his necessary meds. I was relieved to see that he pulled through. But the sight of my brother, laying there unconscious with all those tubes and wires…. It was tough for me at the time. I kept saying to my Mom "I can't look at him like this." We said our short goodbyes to him, as were going to leave him rest for the night.

The nurses told us that we should probably go and get some sleep. She also said that he would probably be out like a light all of the next day as well. She said it would be better if we just went home and came back to the Hospital on Sunday. He would probably be awake by then. So that was our plan. We left the hospital and we all went home for some much needed sleep. Although were all still kind of stressed, we were also so relieved.
The next morning my phone rang an 9am. It was my Mom. She said she had just heard from the hospital and that Sean was awake. They told her that he still had the ventilator hooked up with his breathing tube, that Sean was agitated with all the tubes and what not. Being unable to talk with the breathing tube in he was writing notes. Mom said that Sean was asking for me. When she told me this, my heart broke in two. I felt so bad for leaving the hospital, I thought I should have been there for him as soon as he woke up. We had some stuff we had to do early that Saturday so we went off and did that, but we planned on heading to the hospital as soon as we were done. I was told I could bring Sean's Blackberry down to him so that he would be able to talk to people. So I brought his phone and some toiletries down with me. Before we got there my Sisters Geri and Penny were there to see him, as well as my Niece Lynn. While they were there, Sean had his ventilator removed with the breathing tube and was able to sit up and talk. He was making remarkable progress. I could't wait to see him. My sister took a picture for me and sent it to me. It was like night and day the difference between the last time I saw him and the next morning!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nothing Interesting Going On

It's been a while since I've posted any updates here, only for the simple reason that nothing really interesting has been happening. Just been living my lack lustre life one day at a time I suppose. Get up, scratch, go to work, that sort of thing.
It's still winter which is really annoying. I am tired of the weather being cold everyday. I hate having to cram on all the extra clothes before I leave the house everyday and I would really prefer not to have to wear a winter hat and gloves.
Only 2 more weeks before we go on vacation to Florida. I'm looking forward to that. I need some warmth! Hopefully when we come back we will bring warm spring weather with us. I don't want to look at snow anymore!
In preparation for our trip to Florida we have decided to start visiting the tanning beds. I want this year to be different than last. Last year I got burnt to a crisp while on vacation in Florida. It was so bad that I think my poor skin was almost purple and it was puffy and swollen. It was not a pleasurable experience. So hopefully this year by tanning before we go down, I can get enough of a base tan that I won't have to worry about a torturous sunburn. I did my first session in a tanning bed on Tuesday night. Because it was my first time and my flesh hasn't seen the sun in ions I only stayed in for 7 minutes. Apparently that was long enough haha. I didnt burn up but the next day my skin was a visible red. Looks not bad today, I think the redness is gone. There is no pain. I guess the plan is to go again tonight. It still is going to take some getting used to. I'm not a really big fan of laying down in what I refer to as a light up casket. lol. Although I think I know how Lady GaGa must feel sometimes! Ha ha
Anyway thats my update for today, not really much to say.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Dog Does NOT Have My Back!

My poor back. I don't know what I did to it. It seemed fine Sunday night and then when I woke up yesterday morning it was sore and pretty stiff. Although it was sore, I was still able to function moderately well. I was taking Advil thorough the day to try to ease it up a little, but it didn't seem to be working very well. After taking Advil all day for back pain, I went to bed with a sore back and a headache. Just my kind of luck
I slept like crap all through the night. It seems I could not find a comfortable position. I had to keep shifting around every 15-20 minutes to try to ease the pain in my back. After Steve got up for work, I figured I would try spreading out on the bed to see if that helped. I found a spot, just started to settle and thats when I heard a strange noise.
I was pretty sure that the noise I
heard was the Dog. Ben was tearing up some garbage. I snuck downstairs and caught him in the act. Sure enough there was some kind of food product in there and he decided he was going to eat it come hell or high water. It turns out it was a head of lettuce.
So it's 6:00 in the morning and there I am standing in my kitchen, with garbage all over the floor, barely able to move because of my sore back. Took me forever to clean it up because I could barely bend down to pick up the garbage. If that was the start of my day, I can only imagine how the rest will be. Im already grumpy from the lack of sleep and I don't do mornings on a good day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Washer/Dryer - Blood, Sweat and Tears

Got a new washing machine and dryer yesterday. We bought the set at Lastman's Bad Boy Furniture in Barrie. They are the Maytag 2000 series washer & dryer, Dark Grey.
While we were waiting for them to be delivered to the Bad Boy Warehouse in Barrie, we had to get the laundry room prepared for both. That meant getting the old washing machine and dryer up the stairs and out the back door onto the deck. At the time it seemed like a simple task. Turns out that the machines were not going to leave without a fight. In lifting the washing machine up the stairs, gripping it from the bottom wasn't a problem. However trying to lift it from the top was almost impossible. There just wasn't any place to hang on to. We had to open the door in the top of the washing machine to find a place to lift from. While the door was opened my hand was gripping the top to balance it on a stair. That's when the door slammed shut right on the fingernail of my middle finger. That didn't feel too good at all! We finally got the washer to the back door, only to find out that the water intakes on the back of the washing machine had to be removed. We managed to shove the washer through the patio doors and onto the backyard with no room to spare on either side.
The dryer, now that was a different story! It wasn't as heavy as the washing machine, but it was more awkward. We got it half way up the stairs and realized that it was a little wider than the washer. We had to fight like hell to get it around the corner in the stairs. In doing so the wall took a couple of dings.
When we had it at the top of the stairs we knew there was no way that it was going to fit through the door. We had to take the back off it to try to get it thin enough to get it through. We took the back off, and still it wasn't small enough. So we had to take the air duct off the back. Still not enough. So we had remove the heater unit from the back. In order to take the heating unit off the back of the dryer, you have to go in through the front and remove the dryer drum and then you can get at the screws to take the heater off. When I removed the drum to get to the heater screws, I found $4.00 and change laying in the lint of the bottom of the dryer.
So when all was said and done and I had all the pieces off to get the dryer narrow enough to get out the back door, I had pretty much dismantled the whole thing. I found it funny because the dryer was still in working order, it was the washing machine that died. Yet the washing machine was pretty much in one piece.


We went to the Bad Boy Store for to pay for the two machines. To pick them up we had to drive a few blocks to get to the Warehouse where they were. When you pick up the appliances at the warehouse, they have you go behind the building to the Receiving doors. And this is where I had the problem. Is it written somewhere that anyone picking something up drives a vehicle high enough to reach the receiving bay dock? The loading dock is about 4 feet off the ground. He had the washer/dryer sitting there waiting for us when we pulled up. You think he offered any assistance to get them into our car? NO. he stood there with the paper work in hand with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Not the most professional if you ask me. He stood there the whole time while Steve and I struggled to lift the washing machine down and into the car. Like that wasn't exhausting enough, we still had to get it home and out of the vehicle and into the house so that we could come back and pick up the dryer.
When we got to the house with the Washer, we could not get a hand hold anywhere on the washing machine. We kept picking it up and putting it down. It was awkward as hell. We ended up sliding it across the drive way as close to the house as we could. We had to poke holes in the plastic wrap around the top edge to make a place to hang on to. We finally managed to get it into the house and into the kitchen.
When we got back for the dryer, it was much more simple. Unlike the Washer that was wrapped in plastic, the dryer was in a card board box. It was much easier to hold on to.
After both units were home, we were faced with the daunting task of getting them down the basement stairs and into the laundry room.
The dryer went down with a little fight but it wasn't too bad. Opposite of the way the old ones came up. The Washing Machine was horrible. It was so heavy, and there was no place we could hold on to it. We were just going to ease it down the stairs letting it slide down a stair at a time. It didn't work out that easy at all. It did not want to go around the corner. Steve couldn't grip it to help and I had all the weight on me. I fought and twisted it around every which way I could. It just didn't want to budge. More than a few times I would hear the crunch as the corner of the washer broke into the drywall. We eventually got the thing around the corner of the stairs and let it slide down the stairs. Halfway down the second section of stairs, Steve says " Can we get this thing down without bleeding to death?" I assumed that he had cut his finger. We managed to get it downy he stairs to the point that one corner was on the floor. That's when I looked down at the side panel of the washing machine and saw the red streaks of blood. I looked at the wall beside me and thats when I saw more blood, splattered on the wall. I said to Steve "Where the hell is all the is blood coming from" He said "YOU" and pointed to my middle finger on my left hand. (The same finger that was slammed int the washing machine door earlier.) When I looked at my finger, the blood was dripping like a slow leaking faucet. I also noticed that all the skin was gone from the 3rd knuckles of my middle and fore finger. It looked like I had just been in a bar fight. Once I got the bleeding to slow down, We got the Washing machine almost into the laundry room. This is where the fight continued. The corner of the washing machine smashed into the small drain pipe coming out of the side of the furnace. So we ended up having to fix that.
After going almost a week without a working washing machine we had quite the back up of laundry. So we got started right away as soon as the machines were levelled and hooked up. Just about all the laundry is done now. Having the new Washing machine ALMOST makes doing laundry fun. ALMOST. If only they had one that would fold the clothes after too. That would be great!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

CF Awareness?

I often hear the line that Cystic Fibrosis is the largest, most common genetic disorder causing death among children and young adults across Canada and the United States. However people sit idly by while it happens. There does not seem to be the steam behind an aggressive Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser. Once a year Cystic Fibrosis Canada (formerly: The Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, CCFF) holds an event at the Metropolitan Toronto Zoo, called "Great Strides" The event is always successful, however, I don't think it's enough.
I feel that there has to be some way to get CF on the map, and make people aware of the disease. If it was not for me speaking to my co workers about my brother Sean's condition and tribulations with CF, people I work with would have no idea what it is. I find myself day in and day out explaining to someone else what Cystic Fibrosis is. It's always the same questions too "Oh… How long has he had it?" People don't even realize that its a genetic disease and that you don't end up with it, you're born with it. I believe for something that is so common, that there should be more awareness, and more education.
I would like to see more fund raising events taking place over a larger geographical area. You always hear about charities for other illnesses, Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, but only occasionally do you see an ad on Television for Cystic Fibrosis research, or events that are held to raise money. Every year there is a lot of publicity for Breast Cancer awareness and research. Walk a thins and rallies and the whole nine yards. When was the last time you saw an advertisement for "Great Strides" for CF? How many people know, that MAY is CYSTIC FIBROSIS MONTH? There has to be a way to spread the word.
I sent an email to Cystic Fibrosis Canada to ask for some advice or insight on how to start up a fund raising event in my area. I sent the e-mail a week ago and yet I am still waiting for some kind of response or acknowledgment. It's disappointing. I don't want to sit around anymore and feel helpless. I may not be the person with CF but it affects my life. It goes beyond my brother. I know what it's like to be close to someone with CF and to know the daily routine and the struggles. I know what the family members of other CF'ers are going through too. It's time everyone got involved and we take care of this. We need to end CF. Hopefully with modern day advances in medicine we can achieve the goal of finding a cure in my lifetime.
If anyone has any thoughts on how we can come together and work as a team to get an event in the Barrie Ontario area, I am open for suggestions.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Ever Expanding Culinary Talents.

Well it really is no big secret that I am not the person in the house that does the cooking. Sometimes though, it is required of me to cook some of the meals when Steve is on afternoon shifts. This week would be one of those times.
Life has been made so much easier for me since the George Foreman Grill has come into my house. Since we got the George Foreman at Christmas time, my Culinary horizons have been broadening. Slowly but surely.
It's better than always taking food out of a box and throwing it into the oven. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good Frozen Delissio Pizza just as much as the next guy, but I guess Man can not live on boxed food alone.
It all started with a little dabbling here and there, Chicken Burgers, and Turkey burgers, and then some Angus Beef Burgers. Tonight I took it a little further and tried my hand at some Chicken Breasts. With the Chicken I made some Mashed Potatoes (Unfortunately out of a box) and Green Beans. It turned out not bad. Topped off with a nice cold Red Baron Lime beer and it really hit the spot!


What else could go wrong in this house? Fri/Sat we had issues with the furnace. While out for Dinner on Friday night, the circuit board on the furnace apparently shorted out and burned. Upon returning from dinner later Friday night the entire house smelled of burning plastic. I rushed around the house looking for some signs of smoke or fire or something burning. I couldn't find anything that looked out of place. I couldn't even see smoke in the air. I had given up on looking. It wasn't till after Steve had come home from driving his sister to the airport. He got home and started investigating the furnace and located the smell. We didn't know the extent of the damage, we just assumed it was the blower motor had burned out. The furnace still turned on and heated up, and then would just itself down. The following day we put in a call to Direct Energy to have them send someone out to look at it. In the mean time we would be without any heat. Direct Energy told us it would be Sunday between 3pm - 8pm before someone could be here. We spent the afternoon sitting around the house with the oven on and the oven door open to let some heat out. Lucky for us there was a guy in the area around 4pm that could come and look at it. When he showed up for the inspection that's when he found the burned out circuit board. He had the parts in his vehicle and was able to swap them out. He showed us the old circuit board, it was charred pretty good. So it was great, because we had heat once more.
After we dealt with the furnace guy, we decided to go out for a few things. One thing being some Febreeze to spray the furnace filter to eliminate the odour of burned plastic that was now recirculating the house. We asked Mikayla to take the whites that were in the washing machine and put them in the dryer. Just another day right…?
Sunday morning, after waking up with a decent hangover, and knowing that I had to work just after 3pm, I went to the basement to get my work shirts out of the dryer. I figured they should be dry by now. I When I opened the dryer, there was a sock hanging in there in front of the opening. It was jammed in between the dryer housing and the drum. Took me a couple of mins to get it pulled out. It was also wet. So I looked at the other clothes in the dryer, they too were wet. And not just damp either. They were sopping wet! There was a puddle in the bottom of the dryer at least an inch deep. How does that happen without someone saying "Oh I think there is something wrong here!"? Apparently the clothes were left soaking wet in the washing machine, and then transferred to the dryer that way. So being so wet and heavy, they didn't dry in the dryer and the sock got jammed in the side and torn to shreds.
So now this meant, maybe something is wrong with the washing machine. If the clothes were that wet going into the dryer, then obviously something happened in the washing machine that caused it, maybe the washer top was left open, or someone opened it during the spin cycle? Oh no, these occurrences were just wishful thinking. After filling the washing machine partially to run a short cycle, the agitator didn't move at all. It just sat there motionless and humming… GREAT! So now I figured ok maybe something is stuck around the shaft under the agitator. So I drain the washing machine and remove the agitator. Yeah thats right, I used tools and stuff. LOL. Everything was fine under the agitator, no stray socks or threads. Turns out, the motor just decided it wasn't going to work anymore!
Steve's mother agreed to give us the money to go out and purchase a new Washer/Dryer. So thats the good thing. I don't do laundromats. I've watched enough TV/Movies to see what kind of crazy shit takes place in your local laundromat. No Thank You. For now I will just wash my underwear at home by hand lol!
Maybe I am seeing conspiracies where they do not exist, but don't you find it kind of weird that in the same weekend there are furnace problems and the washing machine dies, and they are both located 6 feet away from one another? There is some kind of appliance revolt I think thats starting in this house So in two days we had two major appliance malfunctions. I can only imagine whats going to go next. I got my eye on that Dishwasher in case it steps out of line!