Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gary Collins - Our Miracle Man

Alas, we can breathe a sigh of relief after holding our breath for nearly three entire days and through two surgeries. Can you here the relief from here?
We feel so blessed to tell you that after a very frightening and anxious three days our Miracle Man is recovering steadily, albeit slowly, in the UNM Neuroscience ICU in Albuquerque. Gary suffered from a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage and subsequent stroke.
The American Stroke Association has a great website for information if you would like to read more about his condition. Bottom line, it is the most severe type of stroke and it has been graded as a grade 4 on an upward scale of 1 to 4.

Gary collapsed on Thursday, June 25Th while delivering wine to a valued customer. As God would have it, he was not driving, but was instead with people who were quick on their feet and got him an ambulance and the care he needed. (Every second of oxygen being deprived to the brain was crucial.) Thank gosh for great customers! After the first surgical attempt to place a coil in the aneurysm, the team determined they were unable to reach it due to its location. Thus, the second surgery to go through the skull and clamp the rupture. The second surgery went quickly and without a glitch. Gary was out early and stable. As luck would have it, UNM just became accredited as a stroke trauma center so the team, the expertise and the care has been tremendous thus far. Gary will likely be in the ICU for 2-3 more weeks to assess his rehabilitation needs and insure he is ready to move into the next phase of in-patient rehabilitation. Once his brain begins to heal, 7-10 days, we will have a firmer fix on the amount and type of rehab required. Until then, we are planning, praying and grateful for the fact that he is here today. Geri, Gary's Mom and veteran RN, has been and will continue to be a great asset to him and the families overall efforts to support him.

We saw his eyes open briefly for the first time on Saturday afternoon and he was able to respond to a variety of commands. His left side is lagging behind, but this may be a temporary condition. Once the nurse yelled in his ear, he faintly said hello and then went back to sleep. He was later able to tell Geri, I love you. So, after three days of sheer fear we sure are feeling happy and extremely tired! Thank you to our neighbors for watching the dogs and my parents who diligently follow our routine and keep Gavin so happy and utterly content. Big thanks to all the Jennings, Chris (Gary's stepmother), Kate and Little Richard, who were right there beside us praying over Gary through thick and thin. We have such a great extended family, who has faced and endured so much over the last 1.5 years. (Next year, nobody is allowed to get sick, injured or the like!)
Many of his friends, co-workers and customers as well as wine-club aficionado's have called to ask how they can help. Right now, visitation is pretty restrictive. However, that should change in the next 7-10 days. So, keep in mind, he loves to read and watch science fiction, as well as animation, and listen to classic rock. Thankfully, he will have many years left too do all these things he loves...
In closing, I suspect the remainder of this year will involve many changes for Geri, Eric, Gavin and myself and I am certain challenging days lay ahead. For today, however, we are over-joyed. And in reality, all we really have is today anyway, right? More updates on Gary next week...thank you for your thoughts, calls, emails and prayers.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Blur-The Booze-The Babes-The Bait...

Beware, this is a very lengthy post. Relax, stop rushing around and enjoy.

Our continual stream of weekend visitors and company has left us with great memories, several sets of dirty sheets and the expected disappearance of most of our liquor! Damn company anyway. They eat, they drink, they leave. We are so popular-you'd think we were centrally located or something...hell no.

The Warren contingent believes that "after three days, company starts stinking, just like fish." But, we can cram more activities into three days than a Vegas show. Alas, these stints of visitors becomes a large blur of days that have melted together like butter in the summer sun. I think being hungover and slightly sleep deprived contributes to the "blur", but mostly it is the ability to just screw off and ignore all the chores and crap around you for a few days. Thank gosh, my schedule-deranged middle sister and her family showed up from Cheecago to entertain us.

Becky, Dave, Ryan G. and Ryan's sweetie, Paige (sp) spent 4 days and nights in the boonies with us and managed to survive. Wow, you can actually see the stars here, listen to the deafening silence at night, and watch the elk and deer graze on their evening meal. We hit the racetrack, where Mema kicked ass, winning 5 out of 5 bets in a row. The rest of us got a buzz (no, not the minors) and watched those amazing animals fly by with uncanny grace. I was dragging since I had just returned from Montana (see Tidbits below.) Alas, the G family was just what I needed to find my second wind. Half the crew crashed here while the other half crashed at the Seniors house. Nice having so many beds...I think! We cruised out to Mescalero lake to fish, but the wind was howling, so we settled for miniature golf where Gavin had a blast, losing his golf ball and climbing all over the water falls, boulders etc. Improvise and you will always find something to do despite the crummy weather. The older kids had some redneck fun on the ATV (all adequately supervised and micromanage by Becky of course.) After much eating, more eating and a farewell dinner at the Old Road, the G clan headed back to the Windy City. Now, the house is really quiet-maybe too quiet! Thanks for the Welcome Blur...

Tidbits and Bylines: On other fronts we have become theeee social butterflies. This of course energizes Eric but I myself need some SERIOUS re-charging.

Eric's 20-Year Reunion: During the G visit we spent the remaining waking hours at Eric's 20-year high school reunion. Friday night cocktails, Saturday family picnic, Saturday night the big dance and dinner. Sunday we crashed hard. We had a great time and had the fortune of my Mom and Dad too toddler-sit during all the hububaloo. We actually closed a bar, after Eric shook hands with the now, two time indicted Governor of New Mexico. Eric was hoping to talk to him about funding our waste water treatment plant: what a dork, cute, but a dork! Who the hell talks about poop at 2 a.m.? (Now, you understand why he excelled at Sales!) not. Eric's old girlfriends are successful and lovely. So how they hell did he end up with moi? Lucky girl I am, lucky girl.

Drive-By to Missoula, MT: I snuck up to Montana for a really quick drive-by to surprise my old friend Kathy V. Her family helped me plan the scheme but the weather in Portland was REALLY bad so I arrived a day, yep an entire day late. Lightning was wild, all planes diverted to Seattle and I crashed in the big city of Spokane. When I arrived at Kathy's cubicle during working hours, she was in total shock. The trip was really brief, but so packed full of good times with family and old hangouts...I forgot how extraordinary Montana really is too behold. Take your kids there, they will never forget Glacier.

National, (Get Drunk) and Fish Day: The boys fished to commemorate National Fishing Day, with worms, pink marshmallows (Gavin later told me they were not for kids to eat, but for fish to eat, cause they were nasty and stunk bad.) Gavin gleaned a fish from a buddy who was catching his limit, but most were put back. A canoe ride was the big hit for the day, but apparently, Papa could not ride since the boat was small. So instead, he helped Gavin begin to understand the workings of a pole. Try teaching a preschooler how to fish and realize you should have had a beer before the lesson! They just want a fish, they don't want to wait for some damn thing to eventually bite some stinky bait. Who has that kind of time anyway? Took three Dad's to manage two kids, thank gosh they were not drinking and I was not present!

Brown Family Reunion: My Mom's family had a brief weekend reunion at my Aunt's here in town with most of the Browns' appearing, including kiddo's. Food was great and everyone was really cheery. The group is definitely slowing down but the 42 games were still rolling along. Seemed weird without Uncle Doug. However, we did not seem to miss Aunt Kay! Linda was an impeccable host and she is doing very well.

Definitely not a Project Manager: Ah...I know it is killing you to know, what the hell is up with that hoop house thing? Not a damn lot, that's what. Since I neglected to inform the Home-Owners Association of the project, they have asked us to defer final building pending approval. So, we planted our garden in the hoop that has no plastic cover: who needs that shit anyway, right? Thus, we are fighting all the things we had hoped to avoid: wind, cool nights, pissed off tomato plants etc. All this, just so the geriatric committee out here, who is all volunteer I might add, can determine it's architectural integrity and sight plan worthiness. Please Lord, let me die before I get this annoying to anyone. Wish us luck, maybe we will still see some veggies after all! (All the plants are up and have blossoms, but some are looking like a train hit them!) Gavin remains optimistic and my parents and sister, ever the innovators, used enough masking tape and stakes around the base, that it looks like it was built by the blind! God bless them, they are of the diehard Warren Clan.