Monday, January 26, 2009

Heath's Broken Heart

No...we're not fighting.

On Saturday, Heath's heart started racing around 1pm and when it persisted until after 6, we decided to go to the emergency room—thank you, Jeff.

After an EKG and quick chat with the ER doctor—Heath's heart still racing, mind you—we found out that he has atrial fibrilation (aka, atrial flutter). Basically, the upper chambers of his heart were beating all out of whack, causing the lower chambers to overcompensate. While not deadly, the condition can cause blood clots which in turn, cause a stroke. This is a condition most often found in the elderly and anorexics. Hmmm...

So, Heath was admitted to Swedish Covenant Hospital. They put him on a medication to help lower his heart rate and a blood thinner to help prevent clots. We had a lovely resident school us in A-Fib before Aaron and the Daigles stopped in for moral support and dinner for me. They save turkey sandwiches for the patients, not spouses. :-)

It took until roughly 3am for Heath's heart rate to finally come down to normal. In the morning, we met with Heath's primary care physician and a cardiologist to discuss treatment options, followed by an ECHO. John, Susan, Sarah and Micah kept us company throughout the day.

We were able to leave later Sunday afternoon, but this isn't quite over. Having passed on the more invasive treatments, Heath will have to be on the heart-rate reducing medication for a very long time. Luckily, if he takes it regularly he should be able to exercise, eat, drink and be merry and hopefully go back to life as usual. If there is any sort of persistent recurrence, we'll have to revisit our options.

Thank you all for your prayers and phone calls and a really big thank you to Dena for watching Miss Violet while we were in the hospital.

Sewing 101

After months of envying my friends who can sew and as an effort to meet my New Years' resolution of being more creative outside of work, I decided to sign up for a Sewing 101 class at this cute place called The Needleshop.

The class is super small—just four people and the instructor. Our instructor, Kaitlyn, was very chill, patient and funny.

Lisa A. and I spent Saturday morning in their basement learning the basics about our machines and then constructing very basic (but very gratifying) pillows. It's just a first step, but putting in the zipper felt good! Next step: Baby blankets.

[don't get any ideas, it's just the next level in the class]

This class would not have been possible without my sewing machine (recently christened, Janice) that mom gave me three years ago. Thanks! I also have to thank Jacque for all the sewing paraphernalia she got me for Christmas. :-)

Christmas with the Carters | Part 4

These are a few random pics from the rest of the week including Heath going through his childhood things (hilarious) and our trip into the city to walk the first part of the Freedom Trail and partake of the sugary goodness of Mike's Pastry Shop.

Childhood things...yes, that's a Bush/Quayle hat.

Dinner at an Irish pub in Worcester...

In the city...

If these don't satisfy your thirst for Carter pictures, Mackensey has many more beautiful photos on her Facebook page.

Christmas with the Carters | Part 3

The term "blizzard" might be a wee bit strong, but let me tell you: we got some SNOW while we were in MA. It was beautiful, but it was also a little surreal to see our SoCal parents bundle up and grab their shovels.

In case you were wondering, the dogs LOVED the snow.

Christmas with the Carters | Part 2

One of the most fun parts of our visit was watching Violet interact with Jacque and Clyde's dogs, Sweetie and Marty, also Wheaten Terriers.

[next 3 photos by Mac]


While Violet and Marty got off to a rough start, they quickly became best friends and forced poor Sweetie to seek refuge on the couch with her humans while they played it out. A lot of the time it was hard, in the sea of wheat-colored fur, to tell where one ended and the other started.

Christmas with the Carters | Part 1

As a refresher...after spending Christmas proper with my family in VA and then having a post-Christmas party with my family in NY, we drove over to Shrewsbury, MA to celebrate Christmas #3 and New Years with the Carters. Ash, Court and Maddie had to stay in CA, but the remnant did our part to make sure the eating, gift opening and Phase 10 playing went on.

Opening Gifts...

Jacque and Clyde had a beautiful quilt made of all of Mac's old softball t-shirts and a few other meaningful shirts. Very cool!

Clyde's favorite gift from us (right!), his 2009 Obama calendar.

Our makeshift stockings...very cute

A lovely pink tree courtesy of Aunt Leslie. :-)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sorry for the delay...

We left our camera charger in VA and I just now got it back. We'll recharge and have the last of our Xmas extravaganza pics and more updates soon...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Rough Week

While I emerged from our winter break feeling rested and rejuvenated, this first week back at work has pulled me right back into a tired, stressed out place.

* A tight deadline is made tighter thanks to uncooperative authors.
* One of my staff is making me crazy.
* Some of the agencies we work with are dropping the ball, leading to all sorts of issues.
* Meetings upon meetings have prevented me from crossing very basic things off my to-do list.
* Worst of all, 4 wonderful members of our team were let go this week, including my absolutely fantastic boss. He was a real ally of mine, a good sounding board, honest, funny and affirming of me even when I thought I was going nuts. The redesign I've been working so hard on wouldn't have happened without him.

All this to say: I'm pretty sad, I haven't been sleeping well, I'm stressed and I swear I've noticed more gray hair in the last 3 days.

There are some rays of hope and good news...
* My friend Jessica just got offered a job teaching ESL in Virginia Beach
* The first issue of the redesign finally arrived and looks beautiful

Please pray for my friends and colleagues looking for work and pray for me as I try to hold it together and persevere.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Check Please!

We interrupt these winter break posts to inform our blog followers of some very important news:

Several months ago we went to La Encantada, a Mexican restaurant in Humboldt Park, with the Browns. That happened to be the evening the restaurant was being filmed for Check Please!, a popular culinary review program in Chicago. After joking about how funny it would be if we ended up on TV, a clip featuring the 4 of us is now on the Check Please! website.

We're shortly after the "crepes with mole" part of the clip, which you can view here.

Woo hoo!

[more winter break posts to come]