Monthly Archive for June, 2006

How do you start a post like this?

i don’t even know where to start, so i’m just going to put it out there.

My Dad had a massive brain hemorrhage around 11am this morning.

He was at a meeting at the Taiwan Center when he complained that he didn’t feel well and said he needed to go to the bathroom. I guess he almost collapsed while trying to get there, but the people who were there with him caught him and helped him to the couch while someone called 911. He was having trouble communicating and (from what I understand) trouble with his left side.

When the paramedics got there, he was complaining about a headache.

When he got to the ER, he was non-responsive/unconscious.

He has been in a coma since then.

Right now he is in ICU in an extremely critical situation where they are trying to stabilize his vital signs.

The prognosis is very poor.

(The following portion in bold was written at 2:00am on Sunday, 6/25, 2006.) If you pray, please pray for a miracle for my Dad and our family. If you don’t pray, we appreciate good and positive thoughts all around.

And please call someone you care about right now and tell them that you love them.

***

I had gotten up early (for a Saturday) because I had to meet with Team Blogging.LA for Dragon Boat racing practice at 10am. I didn’t realize then that my life would be totally different in a couple of hours.

On the way home, I stopped by Vons to pick up a few groceries since Yoshi’s parents were coming in town for the weekend. Then I went to pick up the mail. When I got home, I helped Yoshi clean up around the house a bit, even though I smelled like Echo Lake water (stinky). I had just showered and was re-filling the toilet paper in the bathroom when Yoshi said, “I think your phone is ringing. I didn’t hear anything, but Yoshi went to retrieve my phone from the living room, letting me know I had 4 missed calls and a voicemail. As I was about to look at my cell phone to see who was calling, the house phone rang.

That was the moment when my heart sank. When Yoshi answered and it was my Mom, I knew it was bad that my mom was calling me at home.

“Dad was at a meeting and collapsed. Now he’s at the ER. I’m on my way, but I had to get a ride from Dad’s uncle (who lives around the corner). Dad had my car.”

I think my brain started to work a million miles a minute at that point because I asked if I should go there now and she said, “yes.” She gave me the directions, which I promptly forgot to mapquest or bring with me. I took $40 from Yoshi and grabbed a bottle of water and got in the car and started driving.

We had been waiting for Yoshi’s parents to arrive when I got this call, so I was dressed, but I hadn’t eaten because we were all going to go out for lunch.

On the road, I called Yoshi to figure out the directions to the hospital because I had no idea where I was going. And I was driving too fast. I had to call a few times because Yoshi was in the shower, but thankfully, I got a call back, and directions before I reached the exit where I was supposed to get off the freeway.

While I was on the road, I called my brother desperately because he hadn’t been answering the phone. I texted him, “Dad collapsed at a meeting. They took him to an er in el monte. Call me or mom asap. I going there now.” I remembered that he usually went to play badminton with my cousin on Saturday mornings. I had to call two other cousins to get the cell phone number of that cousin. Out of luck, I reached that cousin the first time I dialed. Both my brother and my cousin had just finished their respective badminton matches.

I tried not to sound panicky, “Sorry to bother you, but is my brother there? I really need to speak with him.”

“Sure,” he answered, and handed his phone to my brother.

I think that’s when I lost it the first time. “Dad collapsed and is in the ER. I don’t know how serious it is, but we are all heading to the hospital. Can you be there soon?” It turned out he wasn’t that far away but he had gotten a ride from someone else and needed to get my cousin to drive, which (of course) he did.

I got to the hospital shortly after getting ahold of my brother where my mom, Uncle Peter (dad’s younger brother), Great Uncle Fred (Dad’s uncle) + Fred’s wife were already waiting. Mom was filling out massive amounts of forms.

We spent another hour waiting, in which time my cousin and brother showed up and my mom sent them off to retrieve her car from the Taiwan Center. When they were finally ready to let people visit, they said the doctor wanted to talk to someone who spoke English and could translate for everyone there. That was me.

I went into the ER and Dad was unconscious. I called out for him and there was no response. The doctor came over and asked who I was and he pulled up a chair for me. This was the next time my brain overloaded.

Basically, the ER doctor said that my Dad had a type of stroke… “some bleeding in the brain” and that there was nothing at their facility they could do. They were waiting for a neurology consult, but that my Dad’s situation was “life-threatening” and “very, very serious.” He said that again and again. Or may I just heard it that way.

I asked a bunch of questions, but it was all a blur. I knew my family was waiting outside for me to come out. When I came out, Mom was on her cell phone. I said I needed to talk to her first. I told her what I knew, that it was very serious and then we went over to tell the group, which also included a friend of my Dad’s… presumably someone who was at the meeting. They asked questions I didn’t know how to answer and also “Can they operate?” I said, “No, he’s not stable.”

I went outside to call my brother, who was returning from getting the car. I told my brother that Dad had a stroke, and he said “Oh shit.” Which is what I was feeling but didn’t have the words to say.

The rest of an afternoon was a blur. I was making calls to Bossguy, who knew a very good neurosurgeon (albeit hundreds of miles away). I was giving updates to Yoshi. I was running in and out of the ER and answering questions and asking about 10 times as many. The people at my Dad’s meeting showed up later in the afternoon and filled in some of the details of what happened. Everyone was concerned, but we still didn’t have a full picture of what was happening, how Dad was doing, or what/if anything was going to be done.

I went in a couple of more times to the ER to see Dad. The first moment that Mom, Bro, and I had together alone with with Dad in the ER. We kept calling out to him, telling him to hurry up and open his eyes, fight through it, “gambatte.” We were so loud, they pulled the curtains up around us. Dad did not respond.

Around 3:30 afternoon, they moved him from ER to ICU. That was where the neurologist was going to visit for an exam. It was after 4pm before we could go and visit Dad. Still no reaction. While we were waiting for the neurologist, most of the people started to trickle away.

When the neurologist showed up, he brought me, my brother, and my mom into the ICU in from the light box to show us the film from the CAT scan. He started to explain how that worked and what we were looking at and when he finally got to it, he told us a few things I will never forget:

“Your father had a brain hemorrhage in the brain stem pons. The entire area is destroyed. There is no surgery for this. We do not expect him to wake up. The situation is very, very serious. There is nothing that can be done but to hope for a miracle.”

He told us that the brain stem pons is the area that connects the brain to the spinal cord and that it was the size of a thumb, a very small area. We could see the white spot on the CAT scan he was showing us and the area of bleeding was much bigger than I imagine thumb would be.

I kept asking questions, trying to see if there was another answer I could get out of him, but he was very patient and kept saying the same things to me. I asked how common this was and he said that in his experience there were about 4 major kinds of strokes (in terms of different areas of the brain). 70% for one, 10% for another, 10% for yet another, and 10% for the kind my Dad has. Because of the location of the brain stem pons, it is very deep within the skull and there is no operation to be done for this.

We asked Mom if she had any questions, but she understood after seeing the CAT scan. My Mom’s phone rang so she went to answer it. When she stepped away, I broke down for a few seconds where both my brother and the neurologist grabbed me and hugged me. I couldn’t let Mom see me cry.

The doctor gave us his info so we could page him anytime if we had more questions. He said if we wanted to bring another doctor to give a second opinion, he would grant full authorization. It was getting close to the shift-change from 6-8pm, so we had to leave anyway (no visitors).

We went outside and decided to head over to Grandma’s house (Dad’s mom), which was maybe 15 minutes away. While we were outside the front of the hospital Mom was on the phone and I think it started to hit her. I called Yoshi with the latest and that’s when I lost it. My brother held me as I cried again.

I told Mom I was going to pick up some food on the way to Grandma’s because I hadn’t eaten all day. Neither had she. I stopped by Shiau-Mei, one of my dad’s favorite places, and picked up a couple of boxes of food. When we got to Grandma’s we started calling everyone we could think of.

I went to go visit Grandma in her room. She seemed to be ok. What I have to explain about Grandma is that she has Parkinson’s. She cannot communicate with us, but she is aware of her surroundings. I didn’t know what to tell Grandma, so I didn’t say anything except that I was there to visit and that I was going to get a bite to eat.

(To be continued… maybe. Time is 1:50am. Must be at hospital in the morning for visitor’s hours.)

(It is now 4:45am, I got a few minutes of shut-eye, but woke up again. I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t stand lying awake in the dark in bed. I am here to write some more, sort our some more thoughts in my very jumbled head.)

Ok, sorry, I tried for more than 30 minutes, but I couldn’t seem to write any more for the time being. I just felt the need to spread the word a little, so I did. I IMed everyone who was online with me. I emailed a bunch of people, but since I don’t have an email list, I was not able to mass email. I guess what I am trying to say is to please feel free to distribute/disseminate widely. I believe in the power of positive thoughts.

(OK, it is 5:45am, the sun is coming up and I still can’t sleep. Will try again.)

We were trying to eat and rest a bit at Grandma’s and I got some food for my Mom to eat in between all the phone calls she had to make/deal with. No one was hungry, but we all forced a little bit down. Mom called her brothers and sister to give them news/updates. My Aunt (mom’s only sister) had just had eye surgery today so we didn’t call her right away. She was mad at my mom for not calling sooner, but we knew that she wouldn’t handle it well. She was crying over the phone while talking to my Brother. She was asking to speak with me. He calmed her down and had her talk to Mom again. I was busy talking to the neurologist and also a brain surgeon. There was nothing new to report. The neurologist told me to hope for a miracle again.

It was about 7:30pm and we were still at Grandma’s. Uncle Peter called and said that he and his wife and younger son were heading to the hospital. We said we would be there a little later.

I asked Mom if we needed to tell Grandma. She said to me, “He is her son, she needs to know. Don’t tell her too much, just tell her that Dad is in very serious condition.” My Brother and I went in to talk to Grandma. She was sitting in front of the TV in her wheelchair and she reacted to us calling for her. I crouched down so she could see me and told her that Dad was in the hospital, we needed to go see him. She reached out and started grabbing at the air. I knew she had heard me and understood. She started reaching for her eyes and I told her not to scratch her eyes. I know I saw tears. I felt awful. Because if I thought I felt helpless, I can only imagine what it must have been like for her to hear such awful news and be unable to even communicate. I told her that we had to go to see Dad and that we would be back and that we loved her very much and then we headed out together in one car.

Instead of going directly to the hospital where we knew that Uncle Peter was heading, we headed to a Buddhist temple El Monte that my mom goes to and volunteers at. My Brother and I have also been there many times, though neither of us had been recently. My Mom had called and opened up the temple especially for us so we could do a short ritual for our Dad. I left feeling a little more peaceful, especially when I smelled the sweet flowers outside that reminded me of Taiwan.

It was about 9pm when we got back to the hospital. Uncle Peter and Aunt Susan (his wife) were outside of the ER entrance when we got there. My Brother and I decided to go see Dad while giving Mom a chance to talk with them. When we got in, the two night nurses came to talk to us. They were very concerned about my Dad, and about us. They kept asking if we’d spoken to the neurologist and understood that Dad was in serious condition. We said, yes, but we want to make sure we are doing all we can for him. His nurse explained that his blood pressure was down (good), heart rate was stable (also good), but that his body temperature was elevated to about 104 (not good). He was on a cooling mattress and had ice packs on his head.

We went to go visit with Dad and talked to him a bit, told him to “gambatte.” And of course we told him we love him very much and wanted him to get better. As with earlier, his hands were cold, but his head was very hot. I touched him and held on to his left hand while we talked, my brother was on his right.

Shortly thereafter, Mom called. A (doctor) friend of my Uncle Peter’s had shown up to review the charts. He came into the ICU and asked to see the charts and the CAT scan. I pointed to the film that the neurologist had shown us earlier. He just said, “Oh bleeding.” He came to see my Dad and he didn’t say anything. He basically just said that he was not an expert in neurology. I think he was afraid to say anything else to us. He left and (I assume) went to talk to Uncle Peter.

We stayed a bit longer with Dad and talked to him some more. It was getting close to 10pm and the ICU does not allow people to stay overnight. We could have left someone there in shifts in the lobby overnight, but we all needed to rest and my Mom and Bro still had to go home to find my Dad’s medications and bring them back for tomorrow.

I had to go home and get some rest myself. And I still hadn’t seen or spoke to Yoshi’s parents yet after they had driven down hundreds of miles from Northern California to visit with us.

On the way home, Yoshi called and checked in with me. We had both forgotten that our good friend C (who we just spent most of last weekend with) is a specialist in brain injuries. C told me that I could call anytime, day or night.

I called her as soon as I got home and spent 45 minutes with her on the phone. I expressed my frustrations at not having much information for a lot of the day and concern (hope) that the neurologist’s assessment was not correct. I told her everything I knew and she said that based on what I was telling her, the neurologist was telling us the right things… but of course, get a second opinion. She also was nice enough to spend some time online on my behalf looking for articles about my Dad’s type of stroke that was not too technical.

This is what she sent me:

Info on pontine stroke:
http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/ate/neurology/205224.html

This is from a physical therapy journal, so a bit less technical:
http://www.ptjournal.org/PTJournal/Jun2003/v83n6p552.cfm

A wordy article about a holistic sure for a (mild) pontine stroke
http://www.holisticjunction.com/displayarticle.cfm?ID=1430

A pdf article about different types of strokes, including hemorrhagic:
http://www.evtoday.com/PDFarticles/0504/et0504_F2_Qureshi.pdf#search=’hemorrhagic%20stroke%2C%20pons’

Stroke Association of California – can locate a support group in your area, and get info:
http://www.strokesocal.org/

National Stroke Association
http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=HOME

Decent looking stroke site – some info is unaviodably technical:
http://www.strokecenter.org/

Around the time that I finished the call with C, Yoshi & parents got back from a late dinner. I went out there and got giant hugs. I sat down on the couch and tried to explain calmly what happened and what I knew. I had told so many people by that point, it was easier to say it without crying. But I was still shaking. That was around midight.

I sat down and wrote most of the above between midnight and 2am. Before I went to shower, I called the ICU nurse for an update. She said that Dad’s condition hadn’t changed much and that his temperature was still elevated. I went to bed and talked a bit with Yoshi, calmed down enough to nap for a couple of hours before I woke up at 4:45 or so. I checked message and comments, sent some emails, and at 5am called the ICU nurse again for another update: temperature is still elevated; they gave him an ice bath to cool him down. Because of having to move him, his blood pressure was elevated. They needed to give him some time to stabilize before giving me any other information.

So now it is 6:15am. I am going to try and nap a bit. We had plans to be back at the hospital around 11am. The neurologist is coming back around noon and we plan to have Uncle Peter there to talk to us some more.

Now I am caught up. I don’t think think I will be making a new post… just adding on to this one. Please “refresh” when you visit, in case I do update.

Thanks again.

UPDATE, Sun @ 8:47a: My Mom called. Uncle Peter is at the hospital and the neurologist is on the way. We are leaving now to meet with him.

UPDATE, Mon @ 12:15a: It was a very long day and a lot happened. I don’t remember most of it. Dad’s condition is more or less the same, although there were many fluctuations throughout the day. Overall, his condition is not as good as it was yesterday. There was a second CAT scan done today and another discussion with the neurologist. Uncle Peter was with us for this. I can tell you that as a lay person, I could tell by looking at the CAT scan that there was much more blood than there was yesterday. We are still hoping for the miracle, but we have been calling as many people as possible. Today, a lot of people who care and love Dad came by to talk to Dad and to visit with him. This was very comforting. We hope for more tomorrow.

Thank you for everyone who commented and emailed. I greatly appreciate it and it was good to log on and peek to see some good wishes when I had a quiet moment today.

Grateful for the positive thoughts and energy being sent in our way.

I am not going to hesitate to ask for more.

UPDATE, Mon, 6/26 @ 10:20a: I was so exhausted last night I did actually sleep. It was a fitful sleep and I woke up many times over the night, but I feel more rested than I did yesterday. And I will need as much energy as I can muster to get through today.

Mom called at 8am, she had already been up dealing with phone calls in Taiwan, etc. She said that she was heading over to the hospital soon and that Uncle Peter was going to be there early. She said that she asked my Brother to take the day off work because we need to make some decisions for my father today.

My Brother just got a new promotion that was starting today. My Brother, Mom and Dad just had breakfast together on Friday morning where my Brother shared the news with Dad. My Brother had to go in early today to meet his new supervisor and explain the situation. He couldn’t even call in because he didn’t have his new supervisor’s number. But my Brother has taken care of it and is going to go pick Mom up and drive her around today. As for me and Yoshi, we are getting ready to head back over to the hospital shortly. I am taking care of a few things on my end before I face another long, hard day.

Thanks again everyone for your love and support. I truly mean this and want you to know how much it means to me. I do check in from time to time for comments and they help me get through each day. Thank you again.

UPDATE Tues, 6/27 @ 1:22am: I only have time and energy for a brief and undetailed update. We got home around 1am, we are obviously exhausted. Today was a hard day. I spent a lot of the morning crying from the events of the weekend. I was still crying a few minutes before we got to the hospital. But there was a lot to do today and I had to focus on Dad and everything that needed to be done. I can’t say too much, so I will just say again: there is a lot to be done. Today we were able to take a copy of my Dad’s CT scans out to another neurologist for a second opinion. He basically told us everything we expected to hear, plus a few other things. None of which were very optimistic. We are still praying/hoping/wishing for my Dad to keep hanging in there, and of course for that miracle and hoping that many people visit him and talk to him. Thanks again.

Also, if you can spare a few more good thoughts to Lorraine, I know she will appreciate any you send her way. I am so sorry to hear that her Grandfather suffered two strokes and I am sorry to hear that someone else is going through this at the same time I am. Lorraine is right. This curveball does indeed suck.
http://www.ilorraine.com/randomness/this_curveball_sucks.php

I am sorry that I have not had a chance to respond personally to every heartfelt comment/email I have received, but know that I am receiving them and they are giving me a great deal of much-needed strength.

Please don’t stop.

UPDATE, Thursday, 6/29 @ 1:02am: We’re all hanging in there. There is no major update with Dad’s condition. He remains in unconscious (coma) ICU and in critical condition. We remain loving and hopeful and stand by him everyday as so many people have come to visit him and to talk to him and to cheer him on.

Yesterday there was no update because there was literally no time. Yoshi and I got to the hospital before 8am on 6/27 because Mom and Bro had to stay home and take care of a few things. Specifically, they had to go through a bunch of Dad’s stuff/papers to collect all the regular monthly bills due at the end of the month; all the stuff that Dad usually handles. Even though our lives are upturned, the rest of the world continues to go and on and we needed to make sure that stuff did not slip through the cracks.

Both Yoshi and I went in to see Dad as soon as we got there. We each got to spend more than a few moments alone with him. My Brother had given me a small book of Buddhist philosophies/saying called “Heart of A Buddha” the night before. I sat next to my Dad for about half an hour reading from the book (in English), trying my best to translate it into Chinese, and then discussing the meaning of each saying and if I had any examples to support the saying. I wanted to continue but people began showing up to see my Dad and I needed to go out and greet them and bring them in to see Dad.

Throughout the day, I met with countless people who drove from near and far to see him. I tried to read a saying or two throughout the day to him. Uncle Peter showed up a couple of times during the day to visit and to speak with the doctor. Later on in the evening, Mom and Bro showed up at hospital. They had just a few moments to visit with Dad before Uncle Peter and the 3 of us had to leave for a meeting during the “closed to visitors” hours. We left Yoshi to watch for visitors, even though Yoshi doesn’t speak Chinese. We are so grateful for Yoshi’s on-going support throughout this.

We returned after the meeting to find out that several folks had stopped to visit while we were out. It was another late night of visitors and phone calls while we camped it out in the hospital lobby/cafeteria all the way until midnight.

We still weren’t done because we all had to go back to the house because Bro and I had more work to do. Bro and I literally stayed up all night pulling papers together and reviewing things as best we could. When I would feel like passing out, I would take a 10 minute nap and Bro had to stay awake to make sure we didn’t sleep until we got close to done with what we were doing. I would do the same for him. We pushed each other through until about 6am when the sun was already up and I had to wake Yoshi up to drive us back home and I could sleep in the car.

My brother got even less sleep than I did because he had to drive Mom back to the hospital in the morning. Mom had gotten up and ready to go and almost left without him (she wanted to let him sleep). Bro awakened to find her trying to get in the car without him. He told her not to drive and quickly got up and ready to go and started another long day being a simply awesome son and brother. (If you are confused at when this is happening, this would be the morning 6/28, around 8:30am)

Yoshi drove us back to our place, early enough to have time to drop me off and still make it to an 8:30 appointment. I slept for a few hours and tried to get some internet work done while I could. I did not have time to do an update at that time about the previous day. (As I’m writing this, currently 6/29 @ 1:55am, I am shocked that the events I am currently writing about are from within the last 24 hours. The memory seems so far away and I am afraid that if I don’t write it down now, I’ll lose it forever.)

I got to the hospital around noontime, making calls the entire way there. It was strange not having Yoshi with me, but I knew that I had to be strong to face the rest of the day. Dad’s condition was pretty much the same as it had been when I went to visit him. The rest of the day was a blur as I had to complete the paperwork/bills we hadn’t finished from the previous night in the cafeteria. I then had to run errands all over a part of town that was totally unfamiliar to me. While I was out and running around, my Brother was running some errands and going to some meetings with a close family friend to handle some affairs for my Dad. We got back around the same time.

We both visited Dad again. Mom had spent most of the day by herself at the hospital meeting and greeting people and taking them to talk to Dad. When they closed the ICU to visitors at 6pm, we took our typical time to eat/talk/rest. We had a family meeting in the cafeteria with the 3 of us and Uncle Peter to discuss and talk through some of the things we had each been working on and were continuing to work on.

I have to take a moment to say what a rock my Uncle Peter has been. Not just during this ordeal, but throughout our lives. We always knew that if we needed help, Uncle Peter would come through for us. [Side story time: When I was a freshman in college and my parents were both in Taiwan, I developed a major peritonsillar abscess and did not have student health coverage at the time. By “major” I mean that my tonsils had swollen so much that I could not swallow or breathe through my mouth. I was almost completely blocked off. I could not even talk. I called my Uncle Peter and whispered? (croaked? gasped?) that I needed help. He told me that I should meet him at my Grandparent’s house and he would take me to the doctor. I got there and was so miserable while napping in the guest bedroom. Uncle Peter drove me to the ENT where he’d made and appointment and stayed with me while the doctor drained the abscess (gross) and paid out-of-pocket for the very expensive doctor’s visit. Then he took me downstairs to pay for the prescriptions for the very-very-expensive antibiotics (Cipro which cost well over $100/pill at the time) and other treatments needed from the pharmacy. He took me back to my Grandparents’ place where I recovered under the care of Grandma and Grandpa. Now that I am telling the story, I realize this was just one example how my family (especially Uncle Peter) has really been there for me/us. P.S. – I got health coverage after that. Ok, end side story.]

Anyway, my Uncle Peter helped talk us through some of the issues that we have to handle for Dad now that he’s in a coma. We were able to come up with a (challenging) but feasible solution with his help, but definitely a solution much preferable to the ones we had been discussing. After this, Uncle Peter left and the 3 of us spent a few minutes talking before the phone calls and activity began again. Visiting hours were open again and more people were showing up to visit Dad.

I spent more private time with Dad later in the evening while there was a break between visitors. I read a few more pages from the “Heart of a Buddha” book and reminded him about how Uncle Peter had brought him a newspaper the previous day to read him the headline of the top story from the Taiwanese newspaper. The story talked about the failure of the opposition party to unseat the current pro-Taiwanese-independence president, President Chen Shui-Bian. Meaning it was a huge victory for A-Bian. Evidently, this was something my Dad had been speaking passionately the hemorrhage happened. (I don’t know if this is true, I only heard that in passing.)

One of my Mom’s friends showed up to visit Dad and Mom and I sat outside of the ICU and took a moment to talk to Yoshi; the first time we really had to talk all day. Really for the last several days. When we were done, I went to look for Mom and she was talking with her friend in the lobby. Her friend offered to pick up food and I kept saying I wasn’t hungry even though all I had eaten all day was some omelet Yoshi made for me in the morning and a taro cream wafer (sounds gross, but wasn’t all that bad actually). She finally convinced me that I should take a ride with her and go find some food. We ventured around El Monte and Rosemead to try to find a Chinese food place open late that wasn’t too far away, but everything was closed. We gave up and we went through the drive-through at Burger King. The entire time, we had a really great conversation (almost entirely in Chinese) with each other. She kept saying how good my Chinese is and I told her that most of the time it really isn’t. It’s just that in the last few days, I NEEDED to speak Chinese and somehow my Chinese abilities improved dramatically. We got back to the hospital and fed Mom, Bro, and me too. By this time, it was probably around 10p. Dad had visitors up until almost midnight and it was past midnight when we finally left the hospital.

I got home around 12:30 and started to catch up on a few things online. Then I started to write and realized that I could not stop because I want to be able to remember what these days were like and how empowered I feel by the love and support of my family and friends through the hardest of times. [I have been chatting with my cousin Jason (Uncle Peter’s son) throughout writing this update.] It is now 3:00am. I need a few hours as we need to be at the hospital early again.

Thanks again for the phone calls, messages, emails, IMs, comments, etc, etc, etc. Thank you especially for the positive energy. I know that it helps me keep going despite the exhaustion and the emotional rollercoasters. I know my Dad is getting a lot of love and prayers from all kinds of directions and we appreciate it immensely. I will try to keep you updated as I can.

UPDATE, Fri, 6/30/06 @ 2:03a: I am beyond exhausted. I literally fell asleep moments ago while talking to Yoshi. I am just up to put a little something up to say that I made it through another day. Dad is still hanging in there. Mom and Bro are my heroes. And I don’t know how I could make it through without Yoshi, either.

It is so late. I am so tired. So I don’t think I will write an update, which means it may never get written. Today is Day 6 from the morning that Dad fell into his coma. I have no concept of time right now. I am a mess of emotions and cry a lot, even in front of strangers.

Right now I must sleep as I promised my Mom I’d take the early shift of staying with Dad so that she and my Brother can sleep in a bit. More later…

UPDATE, Fri, 6/30/2006 @ 10:14p: A brief update as I need to walk back out the door. I got to the hospital this morning at 9:30a, after having awakened at 6:30a to take care of some stuff for my Dad. After being at the hospital all day, at around 5:30p, I left so that I could get a few more things done at home, as well as go back to the hospital tonight to stay with my Dad overnight while my Mom and Brother go home to rest. We have another long day and have to learn to work in shifts so we don’t all have to be there all together, all the time, all day, everyday. So I’m hitting the road again shortly.

As for my father’s condition, he is still on life support. Today is Day 7 (stroke happened last Saturday morning.) As you can imagine, it is hard for his body to maintain all its functions for so many days and being completely dependent on machines/drugs. So I cannot say that his condition has improved. In fact, we realize that it is very likely that it will not improve.

This is all I can say right now. I’m hoping that I’ll have a chance to sit and write about the last couple of days, but right now my time with Dad must be the priority.

UPDATE, Sat, 7/1/06 @ 10:26p: I’m leaving shortly to spend the night with Dad again.

Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl 2006…

The audience retards come out in droves. We sat right in front a few of them.

Awesome program though:

Opening Night at the Bowl: Carlos Santana, André Watts & Blue Man Group

Friday, June 23, 2006, 8:30 PM
Hollywood Bowl

2006 Hollywood Bowl Opening Night ProgramArtists:
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
John Mauceri, conductor
Carlos Santana, Hall of Fame inductee
André Watts, Hall of Fame inductee
Blue Man Group, special guest
John C. Reilly
Jubilant Sykes
Downey High School Jazz Band

This couple and their young daughter were behind us. The girl could not sit still and asked questions throughout the program. Questions like “Can I have a pretzel?” not questions related to the program. Throughout the show, when the guy got excited, he would whistle loudly and shrilly. Soon, the daughter followed suit with LOUD, incessant screaming. Especially when Santana was on stage. After Santana’s first set, I couldn’t take it anymore. My ears hurt and my head ached. We stood in a walkway for the rest of the performance. Everyone around us was pissed off as well… we just were the first ones to leave.

I don’t know why I keep going back to the Bowl because I just get pissed off by the idiocy of the people around me everytime I go.

On another note, tonight was a big night for me. I got on the Metro in Los Angeles for the first time. Thanks to Yoshi for holding my hand and not laughing at me for being scared of public transportation here. (To be fair, I am less afraid of the public transportation itself as I am of the freaky people ON public transportation… especially in Hollywood.)

Why I am still grateful for AAA, even though they were useless when I needed them today…

So Yoshi pays for the super-expensive premium membership service at AAA and now I know why: in case I have inheirited ANY of my Dad’s car karma, I should be prepared.

Today, I drove to work early, parked on the top floor of the 5 story parking structure, and left my headlights on allllll day. Then when I went to disarm my car, my car doors would not unlock. Oops. Dead battery.

“No problem!” I thought. “That’s why I have AAA!” So I let the parking attendant know that I was going to call Triple A to jump my car.

I went downstairs to the main valet on the first floor to let him know I was expecting AAA and that he should let them up to the 5th floor… no problem, he said.

I called Roadside Assistance (three times, because I kept getting cut off… I blame T-Mobile for that) and told the dispatcher I needed a jump and that I was on the 5th floor of the parking structure with a 6’6″ clearance… meaning if the driver had a big truck, he should bring a portable jumper thingy-bobber.

I went back up to the 5th floor to wait for the guy, who was supposed to be there in less than 30 minutes. I got a call from a different dispatcher who told me I had to go back downstairs to the main level and meet the guy at the truck. I couldn’t figure out why the valet guy wasn’t letting the driver up, so I went down again to see what was going on.

I got down there and asked the valet guy what was going on… the valet guy says to me, “I think your AAA guy keeps driving past the building.”

Sure enough, I saw the AAA truck pass by the entrance, so I walked outside to flag him down. He turned around and parked his truck across the street and walked to where the valet guy and I were standing.

“My truck is too big to fit inside the building.”

“You don’t have a portable?” I asked. “Even though I requested one and told the dispatcher there was a low clearance here?”

“No,” he replied. “Maybe we can push the car down and we can jump it outside?”

I told him that it probably wasn’t the best idea since I was on the top level and that getting my car out of the parking lot was hard enough (I’m blocked in on several sides) when I could drive it… much harder w/o power steering, etc. He said, “Well, I need to see the car regardless.”

“Even though you aren’t going to be able to help me?” I asked (a little bitchily).

Lucky for me, the Facilities guy… who had stopped by earlier when he heard that my car was dead (boy, word travels fast) and offered to jump my car… was still there. I had turned him away earlier because “AAA is coming, so no need to bother!” Well, I was wrong on that count and I was very lucky that I ran into him while taking the useless AAA guy up to see my car on the 5th floor.

Meanwhile, the AAA guy looks at where my car is, realizes that we are on the top level on the parking structure and says, “Oh, it probably isn’t a good idea to push this car down to the street.” Duh! What did I tell you?! He said he was going to cancel the call… which is good since he didn’t DO anything except frustrate me!

The Facilities guy really saved the day, as well as the parking attendant on my floor because he moved a bunch of cars out of the way so the Facilities guy could get his car close enough to mine to jump.

And even though I ended up leaving like an hour later than I wanted to, I still wasn’t late to my 6:00. Amazingly!

Anyway, the moral of this story is that even though I love AAA, they can still suck. But the Facilities guy is the best! I’m going to have to figure out something nice to do for him.

My newest favorite treat…

Diet Soda Popsicles!

Diet Soda Popsicles!

Ice pops in the following flavors: Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet A&W Root Beer and Diet Orange Crush!

I’m not a total ungrateful, bitchy daughter…

For the record, I called Dad to apologize. I called him like 5 times and he didn’t answer his phone, so I left my apology in a voicemail.

But had he answered, I’d have apologized to him directly.

I do realize I wouldn’t have had to apologize AT ALL if I just hadn’t been mean to him in the first place.

Sometimes I really suck.

I’m glad it wasn’t Father’s Day today…

…because I was very mean to my Dad just now. {Warning: Long rant ahead.}

Let me explain why he made me mad…

I had a really long day at work today… in fact I was so tired, I came home and crashed out in the evening. Yoshi woke me up so we could go grocery shopping and we came back home where I got a bunch of stuff done in the kitchen, etc.

I had been in the kitchen pretty much all evening, so I didn’t know that my Dad had been calling my cell phone which was on vibrate in the office. From my call log, I could tell that the last time he’d called was 9:36pm. It was just after 10pm when I realized he’d been calling and I called him right back. And of course, he didn’t answer when I called, so I just left him a page.

Five minutes later, he calls me back again and it sounds like he’s standing in the middle of the Indy 500. I can hear cars racing around in the background.

“Where are you?” I asked.

“Oh, my car broke down as I was leaving Grandma’s house (approx. 20 min. away). Do you have Triple A?” he replied. (My Dad is not here in the U.S. for a good portion of the year, which is why he gave up his own membership several years ago.)

“Yes, but I have to be there for you to use it. So if you want me to call Triple A, I’ll have to go out there and meet you.”

So then my Dad hemmed and hawed, “Oh I don’t want you to bother and drive out here at night. I’ll just call [someone else] and have her steer the car as I push the car closer to the wall. I’ll just leave my car here overnight and deal with it in the morning.”

WHAT?! How is it ok to call someone else (a girl we know, who is younger than me, who lives nearby) for help at 10:00 at night and plan to leave your car on the side of the road overnight? And for another, if you are calling for my help, why don’t you just TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO?!

I told him (ok, I yelled at him) that he shouldn’t do that and that I could be there in 20 minutes with AAA right behind me. I got the information from him I thought AAA might need for the car and I told him that I’d call him right back to let him know when I was on the road and on the way with AAA.

Since Yoshi is the best (and didn’t want me going out there by myself), we got in the car right away and headed toward Grandma’s house. My Dad had told me that his car had broken down before the “XYZ” exit on the 10 West. So since I had to head East to get there, I drove past the “XYZ” exit going the other way so I could find my Dad when I got back on the freeway going the other way. I had already called Triple A with the location of “my” car and also given them directions to tow the car back to my parents’ home in Orange County (approximately 40 miles away).

It turned out that my Dad was actually just PAST the “XYZ” exit… and it was literally right where cars getting on the freeway there would run right into my Dad’s car if they weren’t paying attention or driving too fast (my Dad was on the freeway side of a really blind freeway entrance). Also, the back of my Dad’s car was sticking out of the shoulder where it could have easily been hit by passing traffic. I had been trying to call my Dad the whole time I was driving there, but he kept not answering. He didn’t answer the phone until literally 1 minute before I saw his flashing lights. I got there, and my Dad was standing outside the car, waving at me.

WHY WAS HE STANDING OUTSIDE OF THE CAR? DOESN’T HE KNOW THAT IT’S MUCH SAFER TO BE *INSIDE* THE CAR?!?!!

I was grateful to see my Dad was OK, which is probably why I started yelling at him as soon as Yoshi rolled the passenger side window down.

“Why didn’t you answer the phone?!?! You gave me the wrong directions of where the car is!” I screamed hysterically at him. It did not help that the traffic noises outside were so loud. And the fact that my Dad is deaf. I think I was screaming at the top of my lungs and Dad couldn’t understand what I was saying. But he could tell I was mad.

He said he didn’t answer the phone because he didn’t hear it ring. (Duh! You can’t hear anything if you’re standing outside the car!) And then he insisted he told me that the car was “OVER” the exit, not before. I know what I heard, and that is DEFINITELY not what he said. Besides, what the heck does “over” the freeway exit mean?!

I let him know (via yelling) that AAA was on the way to tow him and the car back to Orange County. He told me that the car didn’t need to be towed to Orange County… just back to a garage near Grandma’s house and he’d spend the night at Grandma’s and deal with the car in the morning.

I screamed some more… “I already called Triple A! I told them that the car was before the exit! And I told them that they need to tow the car to OC! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!”

Ok, now in my head, I knew I should not have been yelling. It was not my Dad’s fault that the car broke down and if I were in his situation and he was coming to help me, I would not want him to yell at me. Also, Yoshi was being very nice and calm. While I was acting like a total crazy person.

Luckily, I was rational enough to just call AAA and give them the new information. And Yoshi was good enough to actually invite Dad into my car, instead of making him stand outside. But if I were my Dad, I would not want to be in the car with crazy, screaming, yelling Joz, either.

Anyway, I calmed down a little, but I was generally rude and bitchy to my Dad. Even though he didn’t really deserve it. And then the tow truck came and everything was fine. And then in the quiet of the car while we were waiting for the tow truck guy to finish dropping off the car, I started to feel guilty for being the biggest bitch-o-rama to my Dad. But I didn’t apologize.

My Dad offered to take us out to late night dim sum, but I rudely told my Dad I didn’t have time and still had work to do (true). I should have thanked him for the offer and said, “No thanks, maybe next time.” But anyway, we just dropped him off at Grandma’s and said we should head home before it got too late. It was like 11:30 by the time we got home.

On the way home, I called Mom to let her know that I was on the way home. And she was like, “where did you go?” Dad had not called Mom to let her know anything was up. Mom just assumed he was staying late at Grandma’s. So then Mom was mad that she didn’t get a phone call sooner.

And even though I shouldn’t have yelled at my Dad, this wasn’t exactly the first time something like this has happened with him.

When I got home, I talked to my Bro to let him know what happened. And he said:

“Man, that reminds me of the time his tire blew out on the 5 and he called me because he didn’t have a spare. So I had to drive all the way out there to lend him my donut. It turned out that the donut he had was in pieces… had no air, no tread, no nothing. Then I told him he needed to get a new tire right away + a new donut.

So I had to drive around without a spare for like a week before he finally got his tire fixed. Then like a month later, I got another call. He was at almost the same place on the 5 and a different tire blew out. I told him to just put his donut on and he said that he got a new tire, but no donut because he didn’t think that another tire would blow out. (!) So I had to drive out there again and lend him my donut, AGAIN.”

Dude.

There is also also the story of the time Mom and Dad met us in Vegas a few years ago (driving my brother’s car) and they got a flat tire past Barstow or someplace. So my Dad put the donut on the car and continued on to Vegas. Driving like 75 MPH all the way there. (Even I know that it’s unsafe to drive on a donut faster than 50 MPH.)

Then he insisted that he could drive on the donut all the way back to L.A. where he could have a family member replace the tire for him “for cheap.” For the record, that family member he was referring to… sells custom tires (like for rice racers) that do not generally fit on standard cars. Anyway, Yoshi and I woke up early one morning and took the car to Costco to replace the tire so they did not have to drive 400 miles(!) on the donut back to L.A.

But if you think any of these stories are bad, this one from a couple of years ago takes the cake. ::Read: If you say that this is where I get it from, I will smack you. Really, I will. (aka: Why I am grateful for having Triple A membership.)::

Now (it’s past midnight) and I’m going to attempt to do the work I have to finish tonight.

This little lady has impeccable timing!

Happy Father’s Day, MikeDoss! Hooray to Phaedra & Welcome to the world, Katherine!

Mike, Katherine, and Phaedra

Thanks for the call!

Rainbow tassels galore

Rainbow TasselToday I was in the audience of the UCLA LGBT Lavender Graduation (read more about it at my post at blogging.la). Established in 1998 by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, Director of the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center to celebrate the lives and achievements of LGBT college students, Dr. Sanlo and her staff manage to bring together year after year are an amazing group of people… from the amazing graduates, to the numerous members of faculty of administration, to family members, to community supporters… to come together to celebrate what the graduating LGBT students have accomplished.

I share with you a few choice quotes:

The first was by Paul Colichman, founder of here! TV on why it’s important to have role models (in the media):

“We are not going to live by an agenda created by people who hate us.”

The next two by keynote speaker, Bruce Vilanch, on how things have changed:

“I joined the Hollywood gay community when it was still Liberace’s hot tub. It was just us. And a couple of figure skaters.”

and on community and visibility:

“There were no gay bars in Columbus, Ohio [where Bruce went to college]. But there was a truck stop. But only on Tuesdays. If you went on Wednesday, that was your serial killer problem.”

That was the beginning of a very long (but fun) day which also involved spending time with our friends J & C (a female couple) at their new house, a Vox Femina Los Angeles concert in Culver City where I got to chat with the Culver City mayor (too bad I don’t live there), and coming home and watching the Sparks game. (What a game! They played a great game against Connecticut, winning 80-72… GO SPARKS!)

The funny thing is that I hadn’t even planned any of this… I was going to stay home and get some work done.

Hmmm.

I think my homo switch must have been on the “EXTRA HIGH” setting today. The only thing that could have made it REALLY over the top today is if I had gone out dancing in WeHo with “The Gay” tonight. Oontz oontz oontz oontz…

:)

My blog is so boring…

…even *I* haven’t checked it until now.

Sigh.

Can it just be weekend now?

Better yet, can I just be on vacation?

I am really really really really really really burned out right now.

The Internet Gods are Conspiring Against Me…

…please say a little prayer for me.

Thanks.

I splattered food all over the front of my shirt.

I hope my shirt’s not ruined, because it’s practically brand new and I love it.

Sorry I’ve been out of sorts for the last few days…

…I just had a really crappy weekend, especially with the whole USB fiasco (I still have not found a way to retrieve my data. *sniffle*)

I want to blame everything on the full moon, but I don’t really care who or what is at fault… I just want everything fixed the way it’s supposed to be.

I basically lost my entire Saturday trying to get my data back or re-doing everything I had done on Saturday morning. I can’t even think of the month’s work of data that I don’t have right now. Arrrgh.

The good news on the blog front: I finally installed my first WordPress plug-in (thank you Spam Karma 2) by myself and it has been catching most (not all) of my spam. Now that I know I can install my own plug-ins without breaking the entire blog, I’ll probably try to add a few more in.

We’ll see.

This does not bode well for me…

…I’ve had well over 200 comment spams on my blog in the last 24 hours…

Arrrggh.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

I was trying to back up my USB Flash drive.

And (to make a long story short) instead of backing it up, I ended up accidentally writing the old version of my backup from a month ago over my current version.

Meaning I just lost 4 weeks worth of work in this mess up.

Crap.

This is really bad.

Private to blonddude…

Hit me up on IM when you get a moment.

Thanks.

I don’t care if my emails cause shit…

I just broke one of my own email rules: Don’t send emails when you are upset.

But you know what? I don’t care.

I just wasted an hour and half of my time trying to do a task that should have only taken 15-20 minutes. And I’m also pissed off now, making me not in the state of mind to do the 15,000 other things I have to get done this weekend.

I can’t be mad at any one person, but it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that my time was wasted because there was a lack of communication.

So guess what? Everyone gets email bombed by Joz. I don’t care anymore.

I have too much shit going on in my life for stupid shit to waste my time.

One strike, you’re out.

I may regret sending those emails later, but I hope not. I need to remember what I’m feeling like at this moment so that the next time someone asks me for a favor I can tell them, “No. Don’t get me messed up in your mess; leave me the hell alone.”

*grumble*

Around the time my site died in March…

…Yoshi and I were in Vegas for a trade show called ShoWest.

Even though my days were filled with work and client-related items, we had a lot of fun, too.

Cars

One of the biggest treats was that we got to see Cars the week after it was completed.

I won’t ruin anything for anyone who is planning to see the movie this weekend, but I did enjoy it (even though the story line was basically that of Doc Hollywood). Larry The Cable Guy steals the show as Mater, and Cheech Marin is perfectly cast as Ramone, but how could I not love something with Tony Shalhoub (Luigi)?!

But the biggest treat, in my opinion, is the trailer for the upcoming Ratatouille. I can’t wait ’til that movie comes out!

If you see Cars, let me know what you think! I’ve been dying for the last few months to talk to someone about it!!!

Sometimes I’m too hard on myself…

I take back what I was crying about last week.

I can’t believe I lost sleeps over this.

Sorry to everyone who worried.

I’m ok now.

Overeaters Joznonymous…

Damn.

I ate way too much tonight at dinner.

Bossguy took me out to a nice dinner so we could spend some time together outside of the office.

We ended up at The Ivy on Robertson.

Here is what we ordered:
-Caesar salad (me)
-Crabcakes (shared)
-Cajun Prime Rib with mashed potatoes, cauli mash, squash mash (me)
-Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, broccoli (him)
-Side of rice with blackened shrimp sauce (him)
-Garlic Toast (shared)
-Banana Split w/ 4 kinds of ice cream, topped with fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and pineapple. With sides of caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and almonds (shared, but mostly me)

And now my pants feel like they’re going to split.

As for star-sightings, I wasn’t paying attention. However, I did wait at valet next to Josh Groban.

Things to do if you get bored.

Since I’m not doing the best job of keeping my blog remotely interesting these days, I thought I’d direct you to a few new features of the NEW AND IMPROVED JOZJOZJOZ.COM SITE!!!

  • I have an about page now. Kind of.
  • jozjozjoz listens. Don’t think that I don’t listen to the many suggestions I get on how to unsuck my sucky site; here is my (ever-growing) list of wishes of things to fix on my blog.
  • New ways to Stalk Joz!* If you look on the sidebar, there is a new list of links of other places you can find jozjozjoz online.
  • So let me know if you check any/all of these things out and what you think. Also, if you learned anything new about me from stalking me*, what was it?


    *Please do not REALLY stalk jozjozjoz. The word “stalk” in this case is used in a tongue-in-cheek manner to describe the task of following jozjozjoz’s exploits on the intarweb. This is not an invitation to stalk jozjozjoz in real life. Real life stalkers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And stalkers will be subject to a can of Joz Whup Ass (believe me, this is not pretty). And also stalkers will be expected to endure some Old Man to Bite NOT-SO-Tenderly. You have been warned.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

    I just got called “Ma’am!”

    *tries to keep head from exploding*

    Joz mentioned in Wonkette

    Someone (sorry, I can’t remember who) let me know that I got a mention in Wonkette. Well, to be honest, something I ate got mentioned.

    Since I don’t usually read Wonkette, I didn’t see this when it happened a couple of weeks ago. They were trying to figure out the Mystery of the Australian Black Pearl. It definitely looks very similar to the Polynesian Black Pearl we had last August in Maui.

    The picture they linked to is below:
    Joz holds a Polynesian Black Pearl in her hands!

    The following is the caption I wrote when I posted the picture:

    Ok, yes, this is a dessert.

    Yes, it is edible.

    Yes, it is delicious!

    It’s the signature dessert from Mama’s Fish House in Maui, but it’s not on the menu. But it’s available by special request if you go.

    It’s a chocolate sponge cake, topped with chocolate mousse, wrapped in chocolate ganache, dipped in fresh toasted coconut in a specially baked “shell” cookie with chocolate, with a dollop of whip cream, on a bed of passion fruit and chocolate sauce.

    Yum.

    The genius of Japanese television: Silent Library, Gaki no Tsukai

    Lest you think I’m a total egghead who only watches PBS, let me share with you a short video of what I spent all weekend watching.

    Gaki no Tsukai: Silent Library 3

    As a little background, these guys are in a real library. The black guy is Ernesto Hoost, 4-time World Champion Kickboxer who is nicknamed “Mr. Perfect.” You’ll never guess the things that happen to him here.

    For more of my favorite Gaki no Tsukai episodes, check out my Favorites on YouTube. Gaki no Tsukai is a Japanese comedy variety show hosted by “Downtown” (the duo of Matsumoto Hitoshi and Hamada Masatoshi). The other comedians that regular on the show, include some of the other guys you see here (not Hoost).

    So instead of doing real work, I watched hours and hours of Gaki no Tsukai on YouTube. I am very sick. Please help me.

    (You know what would also help me? If anyone could find the video clip of Gaki no Tsukai’s “No Reaction Game” for me to watch. That would be great, too.)

    ::cynicalsmirk:: ::kanai:: ::neatorama:: ::justelite::

    If you have four hours to spare…

    …you must watch Frontline’s two-part special on The Age of AIDS.

    It aired this past week on PBS stations everywhere and if you missed it, you can watch in online at the Frontline website.

    GMCLA - Premiere - June 2006(To be honest, I just spent the past two hours finishing Part One, but we’re headed out to a concert for GMCLA, so I will watch Part Two later this weekend.)

    Frontline does amazing work.

    NOVA, Frontline… Yes, I know, I am a public television junkie.




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