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Archive for the ‘Personal Stuff’ Category

A family illness

My mom called this morning and told me that my Uncle Wayne (my mom’s older brother) had a stroke late last night.

He’s resting comfortably in the hospital now, but he has some paralysis on his right side. He’s a mechanic, so any physical impairment could be a serious problem for his career. They won’t know much more until tonight after they’ve run some tests. Stroke treatment and physical therapy techniques have come a long way in recently years so we’re hoping for a good recovery.

If you’re so inclined, please include Wayne and Brenda Green and my mom, Kathy Costin, in your prayers. Thanks.

MONDAY UPDATE: The doctors at Frederick Memorial Hospital think this may be a cardiac problem and not a stroke after all. Uncle Wayne’s been transferred to Washington Medical Center (DC) in anticipation of a catheterization-and-stint procedure. Apparently Washington Medical Center is one of the leading hospitals in the country for this type of thing, which is very reassuring.

He had a partial MRI yesterday and will need a full MRI this afternoon to determine the exact problem and the course of treatment. Right now he’s very weak on his right side and has only very limited movement in his right hand. However, he has shown some signs of improvment since yesterday.

TUESDAY UPDATE: Further tests indicate that it almost certainly was a stroke after all. Earlier indications that there had been heart damage appear to have been incorrect, but they’re going to do an endoscopic examination tomorrow to make absolutely sure. If those tests are negative then the next step will be a regimen of medication and week or so of intensive physical therapy designed to recover as much function in his right side as possible. They seem optimistic about his chances, and Mom reports that Uncle Wayne was in good spirits this evening when she visited. He’s impatient to get back home.

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Tie one on for me

I don’t know if I’d trust this machine to tie my necktie. I’ve seen Daffy give Elmer that "alcatraz ascot" one too many times.

Alas, if you know me, you know that I seldom wear ties. My great secret shame is that I have a weird mental block when it comes to tying the darn things They never come out right and I get all confused and start smashing things. So I’ve got a whole drawer of ties that I never wear, and I’ve resigned myself to a lifetime of clip-ons and zipper-ties. Maybe someday science will find the answer.

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A friend and co-worker of mine for many years died today. Bob Koermer was diagnosed with lung cancer just a few weeks ago, right after he came back from his annual vacation in Florida. When I saw him last at work he was helpful and smiling as always but he looked so very tired.

He was due to begin an aggressive radiation and chemo regimen immediately. He was hopeful, and he even planned on being able to work part time. This morning we heard he’d been admitted to the hospital with a lung infection over the weekend. A few hours later we found out he had died.

The whole college was in shock today. Bob had told us all about his condition, but no one expected this, certainly not so quickly. It still doesn’t seem real. I keep expecting Bob to call on the phone with a web update or wave from across the hall. He always had a cheerful smile and a booming laugh, and an knowledge of his job that left you amazed. Everyone loved Bob. The place won’t be the same without him.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and daughter.

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Cozy once again

The furnace here in the Basement has been a bit finicky the last two days, intermittently making the temperature uncomfortably chilly and setting off a wave of Household Climate Change fears.

I’m happy to report that the problem now appears to be fixed. The first tech who came by fixed one part of the problem but missed another aspect (no hard feelings, his diagnosis made sense.) The second technican had the benefit of a bit more experience and recognized an issue particular to this type of furnace.

So he  realigned the dilithium matrix and adjusted the matter-antimatter intermix ratio to prevent harmful particle condensation on the field emitters. At least I think that’s what he said. He also gave me an old Macintosh floppy disc with "Transparent Aluminum" written on the label. Wonder what that’s all about.

(more…)

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