Good Times and Boxed Whine

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.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Stable day

Well, nothing much changed today. The doctors are trying to ensure that Carmen is on the right amount of sedation medication, and since everyone is different, this is sometimes an unknown quantity. Her oxygen saturation is still good. Maybe I'll have some more answers on her future tomorrow...I'll keep everyone updated.

Special thanks to everyone who is in the area and has taken time to visit and spend time with Carmen. Carmen's friends and co-workers have made a tremendous effort to ensure her room is filled with cards from the children at her school. Everyone who comes and talks to Carmen makes a difference, I think the positive vibe has an effect on the human body. I tell her about all the people who have called, who have e-mailed, and who have responded to this blog.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Day 4, little better

Carmen's oxygen % was high all day, and they decided to try to give her a "Sedation Vacation" to ensure that her neurological status was still okay. It took awhile for her after 2 days of anesthesia to finally come out. Me and her dad Marty broken into tears when I told her to blink her eyes and she gave us a slight blink. When she finally woke up she startled Sharon who shoved Rex aka "Guy from the blog" out of the way on her way out the door. Marty was holding onto one of Carmen's hands while the nurse was holding the other. They asked her to squeeze her hands and she did. She also wiggled her toes when asked. Because she also was trying to breath against the machine, she was quickly sedated again. They are giving her less medication trying to "dial her in" to the right dose of sedation.

Special thanks to all of you reading this, all of you who have called or e-mailed, and all of you that are praying for us.

We came home from the hospital tonight to our house, with most of the grandparents here, Rex is here from Atlanta, and Candice is here, and we are eating, drinking wine, and telling stories. Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.

I appreciate you all.

Friday, October 19, 2007

18 Oct 07

Well... today was a long tough day. Carmen's health kinda took a nose dive in the early morning hours. I got the call at 5AM that they were unable to keep her oxygen % up even while using the ventilator. Here lungs are real stiff and they need a lot of pressure to inflate them. Anyway, the doctors were pretty pessimistic. She was unstable most of the morning. They switched her to a special ventilation machine normally used on infants. Carmen's parents arrived in 3 PM from Key West and she started to do better! Her oxygen % is in the 90s and stable.

She is putting up a great fight right now. All your thoughts and prayers must be helping!

I'll give you an update tomorrow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

News about Carmen

This is Mike writing this Blog entry.

Carmen is currently in the Balboa Naval Hospital in the ICU battleling a serious lung infection. All of your thoughts and prayers are needed and appreciated. She is a fighter and is in the fight for her life right now. She wants to survive and will not give up.

I'll try to give updates on here as I can. Thank you for all your support.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

my big call today!

Well I got a call today from UCSD, telling me that all the paperwork is done and that I am officially on the waiting list. She said to make sure I had a bag packed and a way to get to the hospital. That I can now be called at any moment. She didn't give me my score (ranking on the list), said that would come in the mail but that my blood type is A+ and that that is a much smaller list than the other blood types. So I'd be called sooner verses someone that is O+ or what not. So, as much as I'm ready to get a second chance at life. I'm sort of scared. My husband is away at the moment and if for some reason I was to get a call tonight, I really don't have a plan. I know I wont get a call probably for at least 6 months (all a guess but I could be wrong) I am just sort of freaking because we haven't finalized a few things, like my will and living trust that says " DO NOT TAKE ME OFF MACHINES, NO MATTER WHAT." I haven't even been to the hospital where they are going to do the procedure. I've always visited Dr. Yung at the UCSD in Hill Crest, but I'll need to go to La Jolla which isn't a big deal but I haven't even been there yet. So you know me I'm freaking out.
Man, I have a lot to do before this all happens. No not really. I just need to pack a bag, and get that living trust done. So tonight I'll pack a bag and I'll fill out the paper work for my living trust now and then all I have to do is get it signed my a notary or get an appointment with a JAG lawyer on base.
OK I'm officially having a panic attack. Must take 1/2 Valium and calm my nerves. Until I can think of something else to write.

Carmen San Diego

3 Things I'm happy for:
  1. The news that my wait will be less than others.
  2. My dogie, its her birthday today. She's so old. I just look forward to getting new lungs so I can walk this old dog again. We will be a good match; her and I.
  3. Dominic, he's been a big help since Mike has been gone. He really has helped out a great deal around the house and with me. I've been overly tired since Mike been gone and have had some terrible headaches. Why? Who knows but he's been a great helper. I love my boy, even when he's a pain in my rear end.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sat. Quote

"Good morning. Practice Love.... To be wronged is NOTHING unless you continue to remember it.... (Remember) There's no point in burying a hatchet if you're going to put a marker on the site.
God is Love Rev Run"

3 Things I'm happy about today:
  1. my slumber party with Sharon, Yvonne and Heidi. We all had a good time and great conversations but mostly about me this time which I hate.
  2. still laying in bed and having a quiet house even though Dominic has a sleepover last night to. Silence after a long night drinking is always nice.
  3. getting another day to live and spend with my husband, son and friends. Each day I get these days truly are blessing.

Friday, October 05, 2007

How do you learn to forgive someone?

This has been a skill I have never learned. I need to learn it because it is one of the things that keeps my body toxic. I just have never been taught this skill; not through my parents, friends, other family members and even when I was in counseling back in Key West. Yes, they all gave me advice and told me ways to do it but I don’t know how to use the technique. I know me, not being able to forgive the past or what people may have done to me prevent my present from not fully being enjoyable. It makes it hard to ever really love someone fully and to let my guard down. I’m always living in fear of “what if” my feelings get stomped on again. I guess you need examples to fully understand how toxic this is for me and my well being.

Example one this one is pretty big and maybe should be the last one but it’s the first one that probably caused me to start not trusting people or not being able to let my guards down and to fear what others think of me. Causing me to take the easy route and simply shutting that person (persons) out of my life. This is my biological father. You know many people never, once getting adopted by a step parent ever have to worry about meeting or seeing their biological father; but sadly due to my health I had to find out what else I needed to worry about. Although Marty IS my father, I can’t turn to him when it comes to medical questions. I say Charles is my DNA not my DAD because he really isn’t. Anyone can produce sperm and make a baby but it takes a stronger man to raise one. So see, there you go, I’m already talking negative about Charles because of the past. Anyhow, in my early 20’s is when I had to find him. I had so much going on health wise that when doctors would ask me about any past history I would say “well my mom…” My mom is in perfect health, so she wasn’t any help when it came to trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I was a little older when the adoption happened so I do remember a bit about my childhood; to make a long 34 year old story very short, I found him. It was very easy and that has caused me to never forgive him. I know actually he isn’t fully to blame; there’s a lot that is to blame. A bad marriage, the court system, the 70’s and things not being all that great for a black males, him not taking responsibility for his actions (child support and what not); the list goes on and on. Sadly once you give up your rights, you give them up. That parts hurts. I will never understand how anyone could give up their rights. I look at Dominic and think how could I have looked in that child’s eyes and decided “No, I’ll let someone else raise you.” Maybe Charles knew I’d have a better life with Marty and if he did he is right, Marty has given me the best life any child could ask their father to give. If that was the reason then I thank him, but it is still hard for me to fully understand. As a child it hurts and it still hurts now as an adult. I have been given the best life I could ever imagine and would never ask for better parents or a brother but I can’t lie it hurts that someone at one point didn’t want me.

Plus there is a whole heritage that I am missing out on because I am half black and my parents are both white. He tries now, Charles; as much as I let him. Mainly through emails, trying to work on our relationship and mending what ever I will allow but like I said my guards up and I fear getting hurt myself and for my family now. He had me in his 20’s and I know that a lot of years have gone by since then and he has grown up since then and people do change (shit I have) but I still don’t know how to let go of the past. I want to. I really do. I am not even sure if it’s that I want a relationship with him but I have a sister Samantha (actually 2 but one is MIA) that I have never met before. Like him, we communicate through emails and MySpace and if you read her page it says one of the people she’d like to meet is her big sister. I feel terrible for this because I am punishing her because I’m holding onto a grudge because of something my DNA has done. She always tells me that even though she’s never met me she has always looked up to me as a big sister or role model because of what I write her and the way I raise my child and present myself. It sucks. I don’t know how to let things go. I’d love to have a relationship with her like I do my brother ( and also my cousins) the ones I remember from my childhood. She doesn’t deserve this, none of them do. The past is the past and I should learn to forget it and move forward and allow people in my life that want to be there but I don’t know how. This could go on and on regarding my whole biological DNA relationship but it would end up being a book and I don’t really want to get that involved I just wanted to give examples.

Another is my ex husband. That guy put me through the wringer. He ruined my credit, verbally abused me and even a few times physically abused me towards the end. I could go on more about him but I’d prefer to block some of the things that he has done because it was so painful. But I hate him. I really do. I have visions of wanting to run him over in my car or breaking his knees so when he walked he felt pain and could remember the pain he put me through. (I guess I have watched too many Sopranos). He was just someone I finally let my guard down to and crushed me. Still to this day, I jump when someone enters a room, or am afraid to be alone at night just because of the crap he would threaten to me. It’s terrible. The problem is, he to may have matured and has become a better man, who’s to say, but regardless he’s not in my life and I haven’t seen him since the day of our divorce so why can’t I let it go and forgive? Why?

Another stupider one is once Mike’s friend Rex (sorry Rex that you are one of my examples) charged up my phone bill when Mike and I were barely dating and never paid for it. I was so poor after my divorce and waitressing, every dime was needed and I couldn’t afford the bill. So it screwed me up for the longest time and I hated, hated him for it. I hated Mike being his friend and wanted nothing to do with him. This went on for years. I was so upset about a phone bill. It took me years, yes years to get over it. Other things would happen during these years with Rex and it get me all boiled up again and we’d get into another fight and I wouldn’t speak to him for years. I actually think in Mike and my marriage I didn’t like Rex probably 7 of the 10 years. Pretty said again all because I don’t know how to forgive. I don’t know what or why Rex and I started to talk again. It’s funny because now we can sort of look back and laugh about it but it took me 7 years. 7!!

Another more funnier one was once at a bar crawl (when you go and have a drink from bar to bar) in Key West, this girl that worked with Mike said something rude about him and we were barely dating at the time but I wanted to punch her lights out. I mean I really wanted to fight her all over a dumb comment she said about him. I don’t think it even had to do with the alcohol, because to this day, actually as I’m typing I’m getting mad by the minute thinking of what she said and I can’t stand her all because of what she said. I still if someone brings up her name “Carroll” that’s her last name I don’t even remember her first name I want to flip out.

Oh and why we are talking about it, there’s another girl that I guess my husband and a few of the Italy guys had fun with and I wasn’t aware about Mike and her until Rex (yeah Rex you busted Mike on this one) blurted it out to me one night when he was visiting us in KW. Plus she was sending Mike all these letters (not really love letter but close enough for any girlfriend at the time to be suspicious about) Mike would just say “No, I was like a brother to her, blah blah blah.” Well I believed him until Rex busted him. The point to the story is this is Mike’s past, yet I’m upset and couldn’t forgive him for it for a long time. So you see, I’m really a mess and don’t know how to fix myself. If anyone else was to come to me with these problems, I’d probably laugh in their face (beside the DNA issue) but because it’s me I don’t know how to fix my issues.

I keep myself toxic because of things like this and it eats at me. Little things can happen with my husband and I and I will hold a grudge for ever or keep bringing it up every fight there after because I don’t know how to forgive and forget. Other peoples as well not just my husband, but he does get the blunt of most of it now, since I don’t have much of a social life anymore. I say I forgive, but never forget and that’s not healthy. I need to learn to forgive and forget because the only person that it hurts is me. I just don’t know how to do it. I can’t, I really don’t know how. I want to live and be happy and have relationships’ with people and live a life like sounds corny “As Jesus would want us to” but I don’t know how to let go of the past. Because of this it is screwing my present and future.

3 things I’m happy for today:
1. It being Friday and I survived my first full week back to work since school started. No more doc. Appointments for me for awhile. Oh and I am approved for 2 lungs. I found that out yesterday.
2. Soon as my dental clinic faxes over my stuff which they said they were going to do today, I will be officially be placed on the list and be waiting for my new set of lungs. That was the last of what I had to do before being cleared for being put on the donor list.
3.My friends from CT. Heidi and Sharon are coming here to visit tonight and then Yvonne coming over later on to meet them and hang out. It should be nice. We are having steak, rosemary potatoes, salad and apple crisp for dessert. Oh and I’m sure we are going to have numerous bottles of wine as well. That’s how we roll.