Archive for August, 2011

Wondering Why I Feel Like Hell (still…)

Posted in Daily Pictures, Reflections with tags on August 25, 2011 by Verge

Way back here, I lamented over why I was sick, and why doctors couldn’t really figure out why I had chronic chest pain.  After that encounter with my cardiologist, I eventually went under for an upper endoscopy to determine if my chest pain was related to simple acid reflux.  My doctors determined it was, and put me on a pretty heavy does of medicine that has more or less worked to control the pain for the last two years.

Now, when I say chest pain, I mean something completely different than heartburn.  We’ve all had heartburn.  That’s a burning that is pretty distinct and can be pretty uncomfortable, but usually can be calmed with some Pepto or milk or just a few hours of time.  This isn’t like a burning at all. This is a throbbing pain in the center of my chest, right about where you’d assume your heart would be.  And, it doesn’t go away with Pepto or a few hours of uncomfortable waiting.

No, not at all.  This is like someone stepping on the middle of my chest and gently rocking up and down, and occasional, reaching down to stick a dagger in the center of my breastbone.  Sure, it comes with some usual acid reflux symptoms:  I constantly have to clear my throat some days, and when I belch, it’s not like I just drank a bit too much soda too quickly.  It’s more like there is something evil deep down inside my torso who has decided to breath fire, and I can feel it escape all the way up.

But a lot of that stuff had been in check for the last two years and  although I didn’t particularly enjoy having to take constant medication to control it, it worked.  Until three months ago.  Occasional I would skimp on my medication over long weekends when I was running around and not at home during my usual work week times.  And that would cause an early week flare up.  But as soon as I got back on a regular schedule, things were fine, and I felt great.  But three months ago, even when I was on schedule, and never missed a dose, I still felt really, really shitty.

My chest basically throbbed, to varying degrees, pretty much all day.  At night, it seemed to subside, but during the day, when I was simply sitting at my desk at work, talking with my peers, secretly I was in distress, uncomfortable with what might be causing the pain in my chest.  I hadn’t missed doses.  I hadn’t eaten anything crazy for breakfast.  Even now, I haven’t had coffee in months.  Still, nothing could really explain what was up.

After a few weeks of that, I went to see my family doctor.  She was shocked at the dosage of acid reflux medication I was taking already, but nevertheless, prescribed even more medication for a month to see if it helped.  It didn’t .  After a six weeks, I still felt kind of crappy in general, even though I started working out again, hadn’t been sick, and had been taking the medication that made me feel normal for the last two years.

Finally it came  to a head this week.  I didn’t go to work on Monday, but that can partially be explained from this.  But Tuesday I was okay, even though I felt the normal crappy feeling I had been feeling for a few months.  That’s how I felt when the earthquake hit.  Then Wednesday started out relatively fine.  But after lunch, my chest was pounding with pain.  I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast and a peach for lunch.  I was having heat flashes, my feet were tingling, and I was breaking out in sweats.  I had finally had enough.  There was just no reason for me to feel as horrible as I was feeling.  I left work and checked myself into the ER, hoping I wasn’t having the heart attack that my symptoms pointed towards.

I went to the brand new Virtua Hospital in Voorhees. After mentioning chest pain, I was in triage within 30 seconds, and had a bed in less than 10 minutes after a doctor reviewed my EKG in less than 5.

I labored over whether I needed to go to the ER for a few hours. I had already made a doctors appointment for the following day, but I didn't know if it could wait any longer. By the time I got there I was pretty stressed out. My blood pressure: 147 over 94!

I was a few doctors, and they gave me some immediate medication. Eventually, a cardiologist dosed me with aspirin and nitroglycerin. After 3 hours in the ER, they hooked me up to go on a mobile vital signs monitor system.

You know it's not a good sign when they serve you dinner in the ER. By that time, I knew they were keeping me overnight. You don't get a free meal unless they're raping an insurance company, so I settled in and ate what was the best vegetarian meal they could come up with: salad, mac n' cheese, white rice and too-steamed veggies. I was also officially on a low sodium/cardio diet, but I'm not sure that's any different from what I would choose to eat anyway.

Monika took off from the ER to go and score me some amenities. I needed my laptop, my contact lens case and a pair of glasses. I was going for a stress test. I needed some clothes that I could run in. Here is the view of my jail cell. They even tagged me with an RFID bracelet so they could track me down anywhere in the hospital, and could see if I tried to leave.

Honestly, not a bad place at all. Not too much different than a decent hotel room, except there were places to hang drip bags and there were bedpans under the bed.

It had a TV, sink, full bathroom, and no room mates. Cable TV, mind you, which I don't even have at home. I was resigned to staying overnight. I still felt pretty ill even at this point, and the fact that a cardiologist was making stay the night was not too reassuring.

Monika returned after I answered about a hundred texts wondering why I was in the ER and if I was okay from my friends and family.  At this point in the evening, drugs had dropped my blood pressure to an amazing 116 over 62.  The nitroglycerin gel they had pasted on my body every four hours had given me a wicked head ache, so they followed with some pain killers.

There was a pull out bed in my room for Monika.  I was still a robot, with and IV in my arm, and a computer hanging from my neck relaying my vitals to the nurses’ station, so we couldn’t sleep in the same bed.  I’m pretty sure that wasn’t allowed regardless.  We booted up my laptop and watched “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,”  again.  Then, we went to bed at midnight.

Monika left for work in the morning. Eventually, they came to get me for my cardio test.

Here I am outside the Stress Test rooms. Surprisingly, the nurses and doctors didn't seem too pissed off that I had brought my cell phone and was taking pictures. I guess they're getting used to it.

The test went well. My cardiologist was present for the entire thing, which is unusual. They often just order the test and review them later. This doc was practically performing the tests himself, reading the results in real time. He told me I'm okay. There's nothing wrong with fact, I'm healthier than most people he sees. I should go back to the gym and continue training.

I packed up and waited for my 20 hour old IV to get taken out. My doctor says I'm anemic. Probably because I have a slightly bleeding infection in my GI tract. That's what had been causing me to feel nauseous, causing stabbing pain in my chest, making me feel generally sick all over. I'll be fine after I see my specialist.

Monika was still at work, and I was doing just fine. Kreg and Kat picked me up by noon and I spent less than 24 hours in the hospital. Probably a damn expensive 24 hours, but that's why I have insurance.

Just before I checked out, Cynthia came to visit and brought me home made biscotti. I told everyone they didn't have to visit, but I really appreciated she came by on her lunch break to bring me home made gifts...delicious gifts.

And yes, for lunch I had a Martini. I know, probably not the best follow up to a hospital stay in the world, but I deserved it. I only had one.

I’ll be back at work tomorrow, and at least I know when I’m stabbed in the chest, it’s not a heart attack.  The pain was never overwhelming, but the stress of not knowing only made the pain worse.  So that’s that.  I got to try out the new hospital.  Hopefully it doesn’t cost me more that my 75 dollar copay.  And if you ever get the chance to stay at the new Virtua, hopefully your results come out as positive as mine.


The Twenty Third of August, Two Thousand and Eleven

Posted in Daily Pictures on August 23, 2011 by Verge

why would a picture of a fire drill be of any interest??

When it’s not a picture of a fire drill, but instead a very real evacuation of NFL Films due to the incredible earthquake that occurred today in Virginia.  I never thought I’d experience an actual earthquake, and it was a little bit scary, a little disorienting, but really a very surreal experience.  I feel bad for those people who didn’t get to feel it today because around New Jersey, it’s kind of a once in a lifetime experience.

There were three of us at our workstations next to each other after lunch just doing our thing.  Then all of the sudden, it seems like my desk dipped down and was shaking.  The guy to my right immediately got up because he noticed the same thing, and wrongly believed he was about to pass out from something because he was seeing things.  At first, I thought that he broke our desk and that’s why it had moved, but they the wall in from of me started to move as well, and the whole room seemed like it was on the deck of a boat.

My friend to the left of me says what the hell, before a second shock really shakes the room, and he says, “This is an earth quake, I moved out of California to avoid this kind of shit!”  My boss stormed in the room and the room was still shaking a bit.  We all regrouped, not wondering how long that quake would last, and headed towards the front door to get out into the open and avoid any ceiling collapses.

Of course, I tried to make a phone call to Monika to make sure she was okay and safe, but I couldn’t .  I could get online and send texts though, and eventually she confirmed her safety.  All her kids were sleeping in her classroom, and she had been outside in the lawn when it happened, and so she definitely go to feel the whole thing.

Eventually the fire alarms went off and we stood outside for 45 minutes waiting for any aftershocks to pass.  I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling all that great before the quake, and afterwards, felt a bit sea sick for 10 minutes or so, and some of that must have been adrenaline.  But, eventually I was okay, we were allowed to move back into the building, and I made it home safe.  Nothing seems to have been broken in our house.

It’s still a bit freaky that I saw my desk and the walls of the lab looking like that he been turned to liquid for 20 seconds.  That was something I don’t think I’ll ever really forget.  I hope all of my readers got to feel the earthquake, nobody got hurt, and nothing got broken in your lives as well.

Sam’s Visit

Posted in Daily Pictures, Friends and Family, Good Times, Vacations with tags , , on August 23, 2011 by Verge

I met Sam back in 2005 or so when I was the manager of Sam Ash and one of my employees, Tom, suggested I give her a job.  She was working at Tower Music with him at the time, and was only 19 years old.  I didn’t know when she walked in for her interview that she would become one of my best friends, that I would care about her so much, that she would become such an important part of Monika’s and my life.

She and her boyfriend drove in from Ohio for a weekend of, well…

They arrived Thursday evening and the first order of business was a stop at Eulogy.

but we soon headed to Triumph across the street for some home made beers

this appears to be a flight of beers, but you'd be foolish to not assume it's actually a round of whiskey shots.

the girls express their fondness

this is Donovan who works with me at Films, and John, the friend that tagged along from Ohio, hanging out on Chestnut Street close to 2 am.

Monika hanging outside with Hurtuk

Sam and Donovan, laughing. Alcohol does that sometimes

Friday morning an immediate trip to LBI was in order. Neither Monika nor I had to work that day, so we headed off early after Cory and Erica arrived.

we went swimming, even though there was a ton of jellyfish, and the storm clouds were rolling in. Got in a decent Frisbee toss as well. The girls did some beach yoga as well.

and then we finally found Lorie, and headed to a local pub for some dinner over a live band.

the six of us had a great afternoon. I hadn't been to LBI in years.

then, that night, we headed to Yakitori Boy for some good old fashioned karaoke! This is the traditional elevevator snapshot.

Sam and Monika sing a along with some Queen

the next morning we met up with Steve and headed to Gloucester City to visit with Sam's family.

Sam made a ton of gifts for everyone. I played football in the front yard until I was covered in sweat.

Saturday night we stopped by my brother's birthday party, but we couldn't stay long because I had a show at the Indian Chief, both of which produced any memorable photos. And then, as crazy as the weekend was, Sunday morning Sam headed off to the speedline to return to Ohio

it's always sad to see her go, and I'll have photos from our Ohio trip hopefully sooner rather than later.

gone...for now

Sam brought us a bunch of hand made gifts and left us with a bunch of memories.  We hope to make more of both with her and Steve for many years to come.

The Twelth of August, Two Thousand and Eleven, Migdalia’s Masquerade Party

Posted in Daily Pictures, Good Times with tags on August 16, 2011 by Verge

A while back, we though that we should throw a masquerade party.  Our house is now a mess, and we have to postpone all house parties for at least another 6 months or so, and Migdalia decided to go for it in celebration of her 23rd.  I didn’t take a whole lot of pix, and as much as I’d like to wax poetic here, you’ll have to make do with the following few snapshots!

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Last Night of Cape May…Britney Spears

Posted in Daily Pictures, Vacations with tags , , on August 14, 2011 by Verge

Yep, that’s right, you read that correctly.  We headed to Atlantic City to see Britney on our last night of vacation (Britney Spears Atlantic City 8-6-2011).  Now, you might think that it is completely normal for Monika to want to see Britney because, well, that’s the music she grew up on…and it is.  You also might think that my taste in music is questionable for also wanting to see Britney as much as Monika, and I guess that’s kind of valid.  But honestly, I love all kinds of music…yes, even country sometimes.  Britney is a pop superstar.  She is one of, if not the best pop star of my generation.  I’ve never seen her before, and it was a perfect opportunity to close our vacation with a concert in AC.

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The concert was wonderful, even though she lip syncs a ton of it.  And even Lady Gaga was there to hang out with all of us.  Our tickets were cheap by today’s standards (62 a piece, compared to the 110 a piece for the Taylor Swift show in Philly the same night), the venue was awesome (Boardwalk Hall, which I had never been to), and we got to see Britney perform 20 or so of our favorite pop songs of the last decade (some of which you can check out here, albeit poor quality).  Well worth the money.

We had car trouble leaving the parking garage at 11 at night, and by the time we got home to Cape May, everyone was asleep.  But one last story.  When we got home, Kreg and Kat were asleep on the couches, not in their bed.  Kreg stirred and got up, clearly confused as to where he was.  As Monika and I began to make ourselves a nightcap, he wandered outside.  I chased after him, knowing that he had no idea he was outside.  I found him trying to get into the pool area, unsuccessfully because he was sleep walking.  He informed me that he was going to the bathroom, which was not in that direction whatsoever.  I laughed my ass off as he fumbled with the gate lock!

Eventually, after I had my hilarious question and answer session with Kreg, I led him back inside to the actual bathroom.  That’s what friends are for right?  Monika and I had a martini and talked about the Britney show for an hour or so while everyone else slept their last night in Cape May.  What a week, and this blog only skimmed the surface.  And we’ll do it again…stay tuned.

The Eleventh of August, Two Thousand and Eleven

Posted in Daily Pictures, Reflections on August 11, 2011 by Verge

Since the lockout ended, the cafe at Films opened again, with a new food services company. As a gift to our starved company, they gifted us this huge loaf of bread, which is hopefully an indicator of the bounty all of us will enjoy in the coming season.

After a long day at work, we headed to our friends' home to help them move out. To my surprise, while moving boxes from their garage, I discovered the Stanley Cup! Victory was mine.

Kreg, Monika and I helped them pack two U-Hauls full of their entire lives' belongings. They were short on time, and in exchange for beers and laughs, we loaded two trucks and cleaned out as much as we could.

Though we don't see Bruce (my brother and lead singer of Red 7 Fury) and Dee (our close friend, and our wedding photographer)as much as we'd all like, it's always nice to know that no matter how much time and distance separates our face-to-face encounters, we're always there for each other. Best of luck to both of them, and their beautiful children, in their new and ongoing adventures!

The Tenth of August, Two Thousand and Eleven

Posted in Daily Pictures, Vegan and Vegetarian Lifestyle with tags , on August 11, 2011 by Verge

another day in the cold depths of our vaults

was in the area, so I stopped by Iron Hill to see what was going on for lunch

I found this!

we needed to harvest a ton of things from our garden because of our week off in Cape May

this is just the tomatoes and a cantalope. and seriously, not even all the tomatoes. mostly the ones that were really ripe or had already fallen on the ground after I re-staked them up.

some of our pepper crop

I wish we grew this, too, but this is mostly suburban organics. one day perhaps I'll be in some place warm enough to grow my own fruits./ I guess I could grow apples and peaches and blueberries...but I only have so much backyard right now

Cape May Continued…Cape May Winery

Posted in Daily Pictures, Good Times, Vacations with tags , , on August 10, 2011 by Verge

Kreg and Kat came to spend a night or two at the house, to play some pool, swim in the pool, and have some fun…

hmmm...what can we do that might be fun, and involve alcohol?

let's visit a Winery!!!

got us some drinks...for free!

all right, there's not much to say about this photo

this is much more adorable

at Cape May, we were allowed to hang out in the vineyards, and explore the winery

flowers among the grapes

there was a band on the back deck who was quite entertaining

and we hung out there, among the grapevines, in the wind among bamboo from the Atlantic, sipping local spirits...

...among friends

The Tenth of August, Two Thousand and Eleven

Posted in Daily Pictures with tags on August 9, 2011 by Verge

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Cape May Continued…Cape May Lighthouse

Posted in Daily Pictures, Vacations with tags , , on August 9, 2011 by Verge

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