Jason TNT

Jason TNT

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Back in "The Joint"

In private, we all do things we'd never do publicly.  I won't judge, but I know some of you (OK, maybe it's just me) like to sing Depeche Mode while knocking out household chores.  Passing out was something else I liked to do privately.  Even though my previous passing out episodes were serious enough to have landed me in the hospital, at least I had been spared the embarrassment of anyone else seeing it happen. It had either happened at night when everyone was sleeping or during the day when I was the only one home.  Like singing along to bad 80's synthesizer music, I felt better knowing that nobody else had seen me in my moment of weakness.  That all changed this week. 

I'm lucky enough to work with a fantastic team of smart and dedicated people who had sacrificed time with their families to put in 60+ hour weeks to finish off an urgent project.  On Monday, we went to lunch at a nice restaurant to celebrate the finish of that project and to catch our breath.  As we got up from our table to head back to the office, my head started to evaporate and a slow, but unavoidable, journey towards the floor began.  Clearly, passing out in public was my destiny and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  Luckily, my colleagues managed to grab hold of me and steer me to a chair before I hit the ground completely.  As my vision regained focus, I found myself face to face with a confused and concerned restaurant manager.  This guy was more than a little anxious.  He was used to comping an appetizer or desert if someone's soup was too cold...he was not ready for someone who needed CPR on top of table 5.  That said, I was feeling pretty clever when my first newly-coherent words were "it must have been something I ate".  The manager missed the humor.

And thus, the dynamic had completely changed.  Not only had I now passed out publicly...I had completely bypassed my family and passed out in front of work friends/colleagues.  As I told them, I must be one hell of a leader because I just took team building to a whole new level.

So, as it turns out that we're not completely past my low blood pressure problems...my BP was 60 over 40 when I got to the doctor's office later in the afternoon.  Not only do those numbers represent Lane Kiffin's IQ over the SAT score of his average player; they also represented my ticket back to Florida Hospital.

I was admitted on Monday and had some fun experiences along the way.  I spent the first night in a cubicle in the Emergency Room with what seemed to be a gang member right outside the curtain that served as my doorway.  He was brought in by police and paramedics. For several hours, he alternated between demanding pain meds and jumping off his gurney to try to escape...only to be dragged back by the cops and paramedics.  Good times.  I was then moved to a "holding pen" in the Central Transition Unit (CTU) and had the good fortune to land a neighbor with two things on his mind...watching old movies at volume 11 on a scale of 10 and demanding Percocet every 30 minutes on the dot.  The best thing about my little cubby hole in the CTU was the toilet hidden within the sink cabinet.  I actually had to open the cabinet doors and pull the toilet out to use it. 

I finally made it to a real room at about midnight on Tuesday...or 32 hours after my journey started.  We quickly learned that my gallbladder was in poor shape and had produced a ton of "sludge" (the doctor's medical term) that was likely contributing to my low blood pressure.  Despite some risks because of my compromised immune system, we decided the best course of action was to surgically remove the gallbladder.  That procedure took up most of Wednesday and went well.  It turns out the sludge was worse than thought so everyone was happy that we got that bad boy out of me.

After spending Thursday under observation and watching my blood pressure results improve, I was released from the hospital on Friday.  As always, it was great to get back home to see the kids, the dog and my own bed.  There's nothing better than scraping off the hospital funk and escaping the staff who want to wake me up at 4am to take blood. 

Thanks to my Dad & Kathy who came to Orlando to help while I was "on the inside" and of course thanks to Jen who was right there with me every step of the way.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy Holidays

I hope you and your families had a wonderful Christmas.  The Beaird family loves us some Christmas and this year we continued a number of our traditions: watching a live performance of Dickens' "The Christmas Carol"; attending the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT (this year our narrator was Gary Sinise...Lieutenant Dan!!); driving around looking at Christmas lights; watching the movie "Christmas Vacation" on Christmas Eve (while drinking Pa's loaded eggnog); and of course the St. James Christmas Eve children's mass (Shannon had a choir solo this year).

The best Christmas gift of all was spending time with all of the family and friends who came through our house.  We are truly blessed to have so many grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws and out-laws who live close enough to visit.

Things are going pretty well on the medical front although I continue to battle low blood pressure.  The good news is that there have been no more fainting episodes, but I do get tired and light-headed quite often.  The bad news is that the doctor won't let me drive.  It's like being 14-years old again and waiting for Mom to take me everywhere.  Not much fun...but even less fun for my chauffeur, Jen.  The "no driving" rule sometimes extends to a "no a lot of walking" rule and I used a wheelchair at EPCOT when we saw the Candlelight Processional (Aaron did a great job pushing me). 

Perhaps the weirdest impact of the low blood pressure is the seriously swollen ankles and feet I get because there isn't enough pressure to fight gravity and my blood pools down low.  There are times when I can't wear shoes because my fat little sausage feet have swollen up so big.  If this was a fairy tale, deep in the dark woods a hungry wolf would be drooling over the visions of my ankles in his mind's eye.

Now that the calendar has turned to 2013 and we're in college football bowl season and NFL playoff season, I've noticed a few things:

-  Why does ESPN need 40 different NFL analysts?  If they only had to pay 10 people, would there be fewer commercials and would my cable bill be cheaper?

-  What's with the trend of football players with long dreadlocks?  I don't like it because I can't read the names on the back of their jerseys which means I can't fool Aaron into thinking I know who all these players are.

-  Why did the Gators decide not to show up against Louisville?  I'm glad we were watching the game at a great party (thanks Tyndalls!)...it made the sting of an embarrasing performance hurt less.  Good thing we're a basketball school!

- Who's going to win...'Bama or Notre Dame?  It's hard to root against the SEC, but I have a number of Notre Dame friends and wouldn't mind seeing Darth Saban come up short...it should be a great game.