Good Times and Boxed Whine

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Thank you again for all the support you've been giving us. The family is truly awed be the amount of people that have called, written, sent food and wine, or have been supporting behind the scenes. Carmen made a difference in this world, and we call all see that by your reactions. There are so many people to thank!!! Thanks to the Chiefs at DSU and North Island for all you are doing behind the scenes. Thanks to all of you also afflicted with Scleroderma who have spoken up for Carmen. Keep the fight up for her! Thanks to Margaritaville Key West, I can't even begin to list all of the things you've done. Thanks to all Carmen's friends, old and new, you have been wonderful. Thanks to Carmen's past co-workers, many I've never met, for loving Carmen so much. Also, I want to thank all those people I've been friends with that are now live all around the world, but reaching out to me at this time. I'll buy you a beer someday when we get together again. If I forgot to mention you then I'm really sorry. Those of you I've called and asked favors of for Carmen's funeral... I can't tell you how much you mean to me. Thanks Michelle for flying out here for Sharon and helping us out.

I'm going back to my private self here soon. No blogs or myspace for awhile. Please feel free to e-mail me at if you want to contact me. I'll still read the responses from her two websites. If you are planning on attending the funeral and I don't know it, please e-mail me and let me know. I have to make a guest list so that you can get on base.

Thanks Again!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Carmen has passed

Carmen passed away at 7:08 this morning, on Oct 30, 2007. She was not in any pain and was asleep with medications. She died peacefully.

I woke up suddenly at 4:30 this morning. I had a lot of anxiety for some reason. I realized my phone was not with me and went downstairs to get it. I was relieved that nobody had called in the middle of the night. I took the phone back upstairs with me and layed down again. 30-45 minutes later the hospital called and told me I should come in. I didn't wake anyone else up and went to the hospital. I got to the hospital, held her hand, and about 10-15 later she died. The nurse later said "I kept telling her to wait until her family arrived, and she did". I was glad to be with her.

Memorial services will be held at the chapel on Naval Submarine Base Point Loma at 10:00 AM on Saturday, November 10th, 2007. A reception will be held at the Harbor Inn (also on the submarine base) from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. This is difficult to say tactiful, but the chapel is small and I only request family and people that knew Carmen to attend. For example, we won't have room for supporters of supporters. In otherwords, if you were a past or present friend of Carmen, you are invited.

Carmen had requested that that in the event of her death, instead of sending flowers to her funeral, that you donate to the Sceroderma Foundation in her name. Website can be found at:

or phone number at 800-722-4673.

She thought that if you donate, and someday they can find a cure, then one day family and friends won't have to endure these hardships like we all did with Carmen. If you knew Carmen then you know this to be true.

A few days after the funeral, Carmen's ashes will be interned at Roscrans National Cemetary high on the hill overlooking the ocean in San Diego.

Thank you for all your support. The love and support you've shown during this difficult time has been amazing. She has touched many lives, and Dominic and I are awed and grateful to all the support given.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oct 29, 2007

Well, I really wish that I can tell you that Carmen was having good days but I can't. She has been struggling, has no luck when it comes to her health, but continues to fight. There are a lot of numbers (Trina) and a lot of statistics, "looking at the xrays, and talking about time, sweet time". The doctors and nurses have been great, and trying really hard to save Carmen.

Sorry about not calling you guys back when you call. There are a lot of times I just don't feel like talking about it. Those of you that know me know that I'm somewhat private and don't like to talk on the phone normally anyway, and it's taking a lot of dedication just to write in this blog.

I wish there was good news for you all. Keep up your prayers and thoughts coming in Carmen's direction. Miracles do happen, and she of anyone could use one.

Carmen has been asleep through this whole fight and has not felt any pain. She is comfortable and getting great care.

Talk to you tomorrow.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Another Day

Carmen had yet another up and down day, another couple steps forward, and then a couple steps back. If you look at last night's post you'll see that looking at the numbers will drive you crazy. She can't seem to catch a break, but she's holding on still, and in reality that is the most important thing.

I got some rest today, then D and I went and raced some Go-Carts. Trying to maintain as much as a normal life as we can.

Tomorrow is another day and lets hope and pray for some positive changes.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Things are...okay.

I must tell you that tonight is one of those nights that I don't feel like writing. Maybe a glass of wine will help, BRB! Anyway, Carmen is still "unstably stable" which means every time she takes 2 steps forward, she'll then take 1.5 steps back. The she'll take 1 step forward, and 1.5 steps back. What does that mean? It means that not much is changing. She is fighting to stay alive and she is succeeding in that, so we should all be thankful. One of her doctors (pulmologist) put it into perspective today, saying "it will drive you crazy to sit here and look at numbers all day. When someones lungs fail, you'll have good days and you'll have bad days". That is something I'll have to remember when I'm sitting there all day looking at the numbers.

Thanks for Gina in South Carolina sending a wine basket (well needed!). Belated thanks to Candice and Seneca here in Santee for EVERYTHING that you've done. Thanks to Rex for jumping on a plane on last Friday and just flying here from Atlanta for the weekend. Thanks to Marie for driving over lasagna today.

But the real heroes are Carmen's mom and dad Sharon and Marty. My mom Loreen. My Dad and his wife Donna. These are the people who are keeping the wheel turning, doing the dishes, making the meals, visiting Carmen, cleaning up the house, and watching Dominic. Life would be considerably more difficult without them, or all of you supporting me.

If you are praying, or have a prayer group, the following is what I request. Carmen to again be deemed to be a transplant candidate (taken off temporarily for infection), be transported to the ICU at University of California San Diego, and be given a transplant. In a perfect world she would wake up again with new lungs and be able to breathe again.

Thanks again for all your support.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good Day

Carmen had a good day today. This is the first time I've thought this, so maybe things are starting to turn around! They sent a fiber optic camera and suction into both lungs and really got out a bunch of stuff. She handled the procedure well, keeping her saturation levels up the whole time. They got out what can be described as gel type secretions from the lungs and sent them to the lab for analysis. She rested the rest of the day as they are constantly trying to "dial in" the breathing machine. She looks peaceful and her skin from laying in the bed is improving. She is retaining a bit of fluid, and they are using a medication to reduce that. Maybe we can tack on a few more good days in a row and she can recover from this.

Very special thanks to Carmen's long time friend Michelle Gumprecht who sent up a ton of sandwiches, chips, and cookies from Panera Bread up to the ICU for us. Carmen would have enjoyed that as she really likes Panera Bread. Sorry Michelle that our conversation on the phone was so short, they were talking to me about the procedure when you called.

You guys are all great. Your support is really appreciated. Carmen has touched so many lives, and it apparent in this blog.

Dominic is good, had friends over all day playing Halo 3 (school is out due to the fires). I came home early from the hospital to try and catch up on my master's courses in college. Tough time to concentrate on college courses I'm not really interested in. Give you more updates tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Groundhog Day

Well as the title suggests, if you read the first paragraph of yesterday's blog, today is eerily similar.

Here are a few different things: She is starting to get a rash and some bedsores the Navy ordered a new bed that has lots of air circulation, using different pressure points etc... The bed came in today from the civilian community and they will be transfering (with no small effort) her to it. Dermatology came up and looked at her and determined that the rash is not due to the antibiotics (good news).

Man, next time you hear about a newspaper or TV station bashing Navy or Military Medicine, smile in an all knowing way. These guys and girls are really the best that there is. Ask anyone who as been here.

Thanks to Margaritaville Key West for sending a massive "get well" banner. Marty, Sharon and I put it up in Carmen's room. Thanks to Gina in South Carolina for the food sent to the house. Thanks to Amy (love ya Amy) in Key West for the multiple cards in addition to Denise et al from Margaritaville for the GREAT gift package. Melissa at Margaritaville, you are a wonderful artist (banner and picture).

I know I can't thank everyone every night so if I missed anyone, I sincerely apologize. Keep your prayers and prayer groups working, it appears to be working. Chaplain Cantrell has come in multiple times (including late in the night) and has done prayers for Carmen. He breaks me down every time during prayer and Marty and I have had discussions on "the why" that happens because nobody sees me as too "religious". Well, I'm spiritual in my own way and in my mind there is a true purity about a chaplain saying a prayer over the bed of a woman on a ventilator. Carmen would appreciate that, both my reaction and the chaplain being there for her.

I really don't really like country music. But the song of the day is "I got friends that do" by Tim McGraw. What a powerful song! Listen to it if you have a chance.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wild Fires, Part II

Carmen's day had a few twists and turns. I would classify her morning as "bad" and her afternoon and evening as "good". She had trouble with the intubation today, with O2 and CO2 swinging up and down. Her body doesn't liked to be moved around, but of course they have to do it to prevent bedsores, etc... She is still in an induced coma (needed to control her breathing). Although she was stable in the afternoon, I still wouldn't consider her to be "doing well". There is no doubt that she has a long hard road ahead of her. She is still fighting though, she is tough and wants to live. The doctors have all used the word "tenuous" to describe her condition.

We're still safe from the wild fires at this time. There are two big ones, one to the south and the other to the north of us. The smoke is really bad over the city. This is a pretty bad disaster for San Diego. Man, what a tough time! I always believed that the true nature of a person shows in adversity.

Dominic is okay. He knows his mom is asleep in the hospital with a tube breathing for her and that they are trying hard to fix her lungs. I'm okay and holding strong. I felt myself getting a little stressed today with Carmen's ups and downs so I went home to take a nap for an hour rather then develop a bad attitude.

The doctors and nurses at Balboa have really been great. It is a very professional hospital, and all the staff is really trying to save Carmen. In your prayer groups, please pray for their homes and families during these fires.

You can send cards (Laurie) to my address at:
10270 Michala Pl
Santee, Ca 92071

You cannot send real flowers to the ICU, although fake ones are okay. If you send cards I will put them up.

You guys are great. I really enjoying reading your posts and knowing that someone is reading this (cause you know I wouldn't do it if it wasn't for your urging). I'll write again tomorrow.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Wild Fires

Carmen's day was again essentially the same today. She is stable. She is still fighting the infection and had a little fever last night. Her white blood cell count is a little high but she's still on some high powered IV antibiotics. Carmen's oxygen saturation is still good, and is requiring less power (best way to explain it) on the ventilator. Not much happened (good or bad) today.

There are currently 8 wildfires out of control in San Diego. Our house is sort of surrounded by them (north, east, south) but we are in no danger at this time. In different areas of San Diego, entire housing complexes are burning. The cars parked on the street here are covered in ash. The air quality is very poor. Carmen would have had a tough time at home today if she wasn't in the hospital. Maybe that is one thing to be thankful for. The wildfires will be worse tomorrow, and a lot of the hospital staff has had to evacuate their families to hotels and friends houses. In addition, the hospital staff has to ALL stay at the hospital tonight, leaving their families to evacuate without them. It's sometimes tough when you have to leave family to take care of your job. Sort of like when I left Carmen and D during a hurricane to ride it out at sea on a Coast Guard cutter. It makes you appreciate people who serve others.

Carmen has a bunch of balloons in her room now thanks to the Chiefs at Deep Submergence Unit. Thanks guys.

Thanks for are your prayers and prayer groups. Keep it up, she's fighting.