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Dec 282008

Like the night before I fell asleep on the sofa, but I had a little help from the vicodin I took to ward off the headache I had for the past two days of crying. Although, just like the night before I got very little sleep.

I awakened with a sore throat and joked at the hospital that my Yugoslavia (uvula) was swollen (it was).

The doctor was repeating the test today to see if there was any improvement. Giving false hope to our family that any improvement would be a good thing. She could not have come back from this stroke. If she did she would have been on a ventilator and she did not want that. We had come to terms with what we were going to have to do at some point that day. Now we just had to let the rest of the family know so they could say their goodbyes.

The doctors came out to confirm what we had already known. She was not getting any blood to her brain. They then asked that my Dad, my sister and myself meet with them to discuss what would happen next.

When we went with them we were presented with a representative from the Gift of Life program asking if we would consider donating Mom’s liver to help save the lives of others. Mom being a recipient of a kidney (from her nephew — a living donor) she was always an advocate for organ donation. We did not have to think too long before all agreeing that mom would have wanted to help someone else and the only reason her DNR contradicted her driver’s license was because she most likely thought none of her parts would be good enough for anyone to use. We agreed to allow the liver donation. We did not know that this gift would prolong her agony and ours. We were promised it would be over by midnight they just had to confirm death and find a recipient. It drug on and on (and would have been longer and worse if we would have allowed them to take all the tissue they wanted — the gift of life is an amazing thing but allowing this to happen to your own loved one is another thing).

Mom was officially pronounced brain dead at 11:04pm, but they had to keep her on the ventilator until they found a recipient. By 3am we finally had to make them stop we just could not prolong the inevitable any longer. Nor could my sister and I stand to see our dad go through anymore of this emotional torture. We asked that they stop looking and remove the ventilator. Mom was finally at peace at 3:40am surrounded by those who loved her; my sister, my dad, our pastor and me.

We were at peace as well. Knowing her suffering was over then we could have closure. Not knowing when or where they would take her liver was too much to bear.

Dr. Chon stopped by tell us that organ donation was a very good thing to do and also try to explain to us why Mom died. He thinks it started as a very bad sinus infection, which would have caused the headache and vomiting. Being immunosurpressed it spread quickly. The stress of the infection then caused her blood pressure to rise therefore causing the stroke. Although we will never know a definitive answer this wraps up the last 72+ hours somewhat.

Dec 272008

Dad and I went in to see Mom and the infectious doctor (I know that sounds like the doctor is infectious, she was a doctor of infectious diseases) came in and told us she had bacteria in her blood (pneumococcus) and the treatment would be the antibiotics she was on even if was meningitis so she was getting the right course of treatment for now. She also looked at Mom’s eyes. (I did not know this until later but Mom’s pupils were fixed and dilated since the day before. My sister knew that there were no reflexes and she had fixed pupils, but I was unaware. Dad and I still had some hope, being a nurse she was already preparing herself and her kids for the inevitable.)

The doctor finally came out sometime that evening to tell us all the test results (Mom’s brothers and sisters had all come back by then). It was not good news. Mom was not getting blood to her brain stem at all. He would not call her brain dead just yet said he had to repeat the test the next day. But the situation was dire. We told him she would insist on a DNR order should anything happen over night. My sister and I stepped out to see the test results for ourselves. It was scary to see only two small blood vessels supplying blood to a small portion of her brain and none at all to her brain stem.

So our prayers turned from “please help her through this” to “please give her peace”.

Once again we left to go home to sleep and take care of ourselves. I am so thankful Beth was there by my side every minute.

Dec 262008

Today (26th) is when it all goes horribly, horribly wrong. I got up after sleeping in to go run a few errands and then off for another leg ultrasound to see how or if my veins working. Before I head out I got a call from Pastor Charles telling me that Dad had Mom at the hospital emergency room. That she had gone in with a really bad headache and they were testing her for a stroke and/or something else (I cannot recall what he said, just that it did not seem urgent at the time I spoke to him – mind you Mom has been through an awful lot including mild strokes, heart attack, increased inner cranial pressure, and numerous infections and has always bounced back).

It was not until I called my sister and then actually talked to my Dad that I knew something was horribly wrong. Dad told me to go on to my test, but I could tell by his voice that I should not. So I rescheduled and headed right to the hospital and I am glad I did as I would never have forgiven myself if I had continued with my normal day.

By the time I had gotten to the hospital Mom had already been taken to a room in the ICU and was placed on a ventilator to protect her airway. They said it was because her breathing had slowed in the ER after she was given pain medication. I don’t know if my sister got there while she was still coherent enough to talk to her or not. Seems she went down hill pretty fast once she had gotten to the emergency room.

The doctors had no real idea what was going on. They said it could be meningitis, a stroke or the return of the inner cranial pressure. They would not know until she had an MRI as the cat scans weren’t showing any signs of a stroke, especially if it was indeed a brain stem stroke.

She apparently coded once she was down in the MRI room as the rushed her back and called a code a code blue (did not know they still used that term) in CC (critical care). Upon hearing that I broke down. My cousin was hugging me telling me “we don’t know it is her” over and over, but I knew. I just knew it was Mom.

All mom’s brothers and sisters had gotten to the hospital by now so we had the waiting room full and the hallway. Crying nervous people all around.

A doctor came out and told us all that she did have an MI before they could do the MRI that they got her back quickly and did not think that it would cause any brain damage (at least not any more than she already had by that time). They still needed to do the MRI and scheduled it for the next day (Saturday). There was no change; they were starting IV antibiotics in case it was meningitis or another infection. They could not do a lumbar puncture since she was on blood thinners (Plavix, I won’t even get started on Plavix yet), as she could bleed into her brain and make things worse. So they could not actually test for the inner cranial pressure or meningitis for a few weeks.

We went home after being reassured they would call if there was any change.

Dec 252008

Christmas day we had a feast waiting for us prepared by Mom and Dad. We had both ham and turkey with stuffing and all the fixings. As usual everything was delicious. My mom knows how to cook (and how to tell my dad what to do to make her delicious meals — he has been her go to guy ever since she has been pretty much wheelchair bound).

After lunch we played a game of Yatzee before Beth and I had to head out to her Mom’s. I am not one for sharing the holidays I always want to stick around and spend time with my family (even if it is only sitting around in front of the TV and falling asleep), but I cannot be selfish.

We had a great time. Mom was all smiles and laughs. She seemed not only in good spirits but also good health; she was feeling good.

We had good time at Beth’s Mom’s with snacks (boy I wish I could still eat shrimp). We exchanged our gifts then headed home around 7 or 8 (sorry I don’t honestly remember when we left, but we stayed and had a good time with them before heading home to the kitties).

Dec 242008

We had a good Christmas together. Christmas eve the Haas side (Mom’s side) of the family (my Dad’s family are almost all in Virginia) get together for dinner and gift exchange. We have done this for as long as I can remember. We had a great time seeing all the aunts, uncles and cousins (there are about 50 of us if you were to sit down and count us all). Both Santa and the Belschnickel come to hand out our gifts. We always pull names at Thanksgiving, but this year I was a little sneaky. I saw my cousins family wasn’t putting their names in the hat so I swapped names with her little boy (God knows I have more than enough boy toys in this house to supply him with presents for the next few years then I can move on to his younger second cousin. (Sorry girls.)

I gave out my homemade snowmen (I should have made more everyone loved them). They also enjoyed my tres leches cake (but what self respecting PA Dutch Haas doesn’t enjoy cake covered in milk?)

After the whole family gathering we always head back to my parent’s house for our immediate family to exchange gifts. I think this little tradition started sometime after my sister and I grew up, maybe after she had kids and moved back to PA. But we started it so we could enjoy Christmas day as a family and not be thinking of gifts etc instead of the real meaning of the holiday. (We never attended church services unless Christmas landed on a Sunday. For us the holiday meant family time.)

Mom seemed upbeat enjoying what she got as much as what she gave. We all hugged and said goodnight, as we’d see each other for lunch.

Dec 182008 posted this morning that Majel had passed away.

Majel Barrett Roddenberry“Majel Barrett Roddenberry passed away this morning, December 18, 2008, at 12:27 AM in her Bel Air home. She died peacefully, in her sleep, and was surrounded by family and loved ones.

“My mother truly acknowledged and appreciated the fact that Star Trek fans played a vital role in keeping the Roddenberry dream alive for the past 42 years. It was her love for the fans, and their love in return, that kept her going for so long after my father passed away.” – Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, Jr.”

They ask that in lieu of flowers or gifts that you send donations to two charities to share in Majel’s love for animals. Here are the two charities they posted.

Precious Paws
18034 Ventura Blvd., #430
Encino, CA 91316
(818) 304-5595

P.O. Box 56631
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
(818) 685-9980

Majel will be sadly missed, but she lives on in the hearts of all us Trekkers. According to E Online we will still get to hear her as the voice of the computer in the new Star Trek movie.

Dec 112008

The number one fan of all things science fiction passes away. Forrest J Ackerman, the man who started the Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and shared his home for years with fellow fans died last week (Dec 4th 2008).

I have very fond memories of a visit to his Ackermansion back in 2000 with my friends while in California (Karloffornia) for a Farscape convention. He welcomed us into his home where we got to see his life in science fiction and hear him tell tales of his life. As Spock says, fascinating. He will be greatly missed.

Both Boing Boing and Time have very touching articles about this great man of sci-fi.

Aug 282008

I was just reading about a Comic Book Show in Reading, PA at the Expo Center. The Expo’s website had no information about the show other than the dates (September 6-7). So I did a search for more info and learned that the show is hosted by Comic Geek Speak. For more show information check out their website at There you’ll find out who is exhibiting and what guests will be there. I might be going just to check it out.

It is sponsored by Golden Eagle Comics. I used really like that shop before the owner got sick and it was being run by this guy I don’t really care for mostly because he just wasn’t friendly like Lem. I really enjoyed stopping by and talking geek with Lem he was a great guy. I just learned tonight from a post over at comics bulletin from Lead Slinger Studios that he had passed away earlier this year. He will be missed. He has been missed. Golden Eagle just has not been the same without him.

Aug 102008

Isaac HayesSoul singer and arranger Isaac Hayes, who won Grammy awards and an Oscar for the theme from the 1971 action film “Shaft,” has died, sheriff’s officials in Memphis, Tennessee, reported Sunday.

Singer Issac Hayes seen performing in the U.K. last year. Hayes was found dead Sunday at age 65.

more photos » Relatives found Hayes, 65, unconscious in his home next to a still-running treadmill, said Steve Shular, a spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

Paramedics attempted to revive him and took him to a hospital, where the South Park star was pronounced dead shortly after 2 p.m., the sheriff’s department said.

No foul play is suspected, the agency said in a written statement. Read the full obit at

Aug 092008

Bernie MacBernie Mac, actor, comedian and put-upon dad, dies at 50 from pneumonia complications. Mac died Saturday morning of complications from pneumonia in a Chicago-area hospital, his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles.

“The world just got a little less funny,” said “Oceans” co-star George Clooney.

Don Cheadle, another member of the “Oceans” gang, concurred: “This is a very sad day for many of us who knew and loved Bernie. He brought so much joy to so many. He will be missed, but heaven just got funnier.”

Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body’s organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.

Aug 062008

Robert Hazard, 59, the Philadelphia-bred rock troubadour who wrote the pop anthem “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” died unexpectedly Tuesday night after surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Robert Hazard and the Heroes, born out of the late-1970s punk movement, were a fixture on the local Philly bar scene through the mid-1980s.

One night in a motel in Delaware, Mr. Hazard sat in a bathtub and in 15 minutes wrote “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” a sprightly pop tune covered in 1983 by Cyndi Lauper. Labeled a feminist anthem, it shot to No. 1. Miley Cyrus’ remake is included on her new album, Breakout.