Sunday, November 30, 2014

Stewart's Restaurant and Fountain / the liquor store

It was before my time, yet it's still a source of pride.  The attached photos are of menus I had framed years ago. Get a load of those prices, and the overall style of design.  This now hangs in my studio/office.

"Stewart's Restaurant and Fountain" ('57-'62) right across the street from Loop's (in the log-cabin structure) in Montalvo, California. My grandparents, William "Mitch" Stewart and Thelma Inez Stewart owned it. In '62 they changed it to a liquor store (because that was more profitable). I'm not sure what the official name of it was, because we just called it "the liquor store". They sold it, to retire,  in the seventies. Last time I was in that area it was still Montalvo Liquor.

I don't remember the restaurant, as I was born in '61.  I DID have a chance to talk to an older gentleman who I worked with in the oilfields years ago who was a regular customer of the restaurant.  He told me that they had great food and very friendly service.  (That would be mostly my grandma and her sister Minnie and others?) I wasn't surprised.

I'm wondering if anybody has pictures of the restaurant?  I personally don't have any pictures (although I do have those menus) Anybody else recall the restaurant? I don't think I myself have pictures of the liquor store either.

I DO recall the liquor store . . . In the sixties, we would go there and get some candy. It was 10 cents for a candy bar then, and we would use our allowance or grandpa would 'buy' it for us. Also in the sixties, my dad worked there part-time . . . One night they were robbed at gunpoint . . . My father was held on the ground with a shotgun to the back of his head. Scary stuff!

Very fond memories overall!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Follow-Up: Still Kickin'

At just over a week out of the hospital, I feel good.  My only 'issues' are actually very small.  I remain a little stiff - mainly first thing in the morning - because of the bruising from the procedure (which saved my life, so no complaint there!), it's a slight bother to deal with wearing the oxygen (for another week, and only because it's supposed to help me heal faster), my lungs are weaker than I had realized (I tried to practice and needed to stop after a half hour). On the other hand, I've been walking up and down the street, and I feel fine.

People are suggesting that I should expect at least a month before I'm ready to perform again, and I'm aiming for two weeks! (Though I admit to being rather surprised by that attempt to practice.  . . . My breathing is all good . . . Oxygen level is great . . . Singing is another thing!)

I saw my hematologist today, and she said she will do testing at six months and discuss it then, but it seems that the decision will almost certainly be to keep me on Xarelto for life (at least as can be foreseen), because the risk of going off of it will likely be greater than staying on it. Especially because they can't actually say WHY this happened.  Apparently they usually cannot say why, just sometimes the blood goes haywire and starts coagulating in a bad way.  She even commented today that the huge clot in my leg "could disappear, could get smaller, or could stay the same" (????). The point was that the treatment would remain the same regardless.  (She also said that right now "I'm 100% sure it's still there")

So, I think the bottom line is that, aside from being on blood thinner the rest of my life and having this history, I will have a full recovery - it's just a matter of time.

Thanks again for caring . . .

Sunday, November 9, 2014

11/8/14 - The day I almost died

So . . . I'm on 'vacation' at St. Luke's . . . Unfortunately, this isn't an island in the Carribean. Instead, it's perhaps the best heart hospital in the world (where the first heart transplant was done).  The staff here is great, but I've told my wife that I don't think we should book this 'resort' next year!

But there's a good reason I'm here. Saturday morning, I was in bed, trying to recover from the flu, when suddenly my wife alerted me that one of our cats - the adventurous Japanese bobtail, Priscilla - had escaped through the bathroom window.  So, of course I jumped up, and ran outside to catch her.  It was a quick and easy retrieval, and in no time, I had her back in our bedroom .  . .

But as soon as I did, my heart suddenly felt 'out of control' I was big-time panicked . .  . I couldn' t breathe right and I was light headed.  I tried to focus my mind on getting my heart back to normal.  I didn't know it at the time, but the right side of my heart was desparately trying to push blood past a major 'saddle' pulmonary embolism.

Thankfully, my heart eventually won this little battle, and instead of failing (heart attack), it finally managed to push the blood through the blockage.  So, at that point, being a stupid, stubborn man, I thought, It's over, I'm okay.

My wife, being a brilliant and protective woman, suggested that we go to the ER. But of course, I said, "It's over now, I'm okay". But I'm curious by nature, and I kinda wondered what the hell had happened to me. So after thinking about it a little longer, I said, "Let's go ahead and go to the hospital so they can run tests and maybe tell us what the heck that was . . . "

Came to St. Luke's ER and they were great, took me right in . . . This the hospital where the first heart transplant was done . . . THE place to be in my situation. They asked a bunch of questions and did tests. As soon as I got back fron the CT Scan, the ER Doc came running into my little room and said, "I don't want to scare you, but the radiologist just called me and said,"is he still breathing?"  ER doc said, "You have multiple pulmonary embellisms . . . In both lungs and a major one in the 'saddle' (the split between right and left lungs).  You're lucky to be alive! A lot of people die from just one embollism and your lungs are full of them!" The attention level went up right away, and I got a 'free room upgrade' (to ICU) . . .

Since then we've found out that I have a "very long" blood clot in my left thigh that apparently broke off a piece, which ended up lodging in the 'saddle' between lungs, and then pieces broke off into each lung.

The current plan is that at about 6:00 tonight, they will operate  and infuse TPA, which should dissolve the clots.  Vitals are good, outlook is good. I will be receiving TPA for 24-48 hrs, and blood thinner for 6 months to the rest of my life.

I know the headline was a little dramatic . . . Believe me, when an ER doctor says, "You're lucky to be alive", it FEELS a little dramatic!

So, wish me luck . . . If you've actually read this far, thanks for caring, and I love you all!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Been a LONG while . . .

It's been a LONG while since I posted anything on my blog here . . .  Facebook makes it seem like MAYBE it's not 'beneficial' to have a blog . . . After all, I could post something to my Facebook page and viola! . . . my nearly 4,000 Facebook friends see my post, right?

Um, well . . . no, not really . . . not anymore . . . Facebook uses their 'special' algorithm to limit who actually can see posts.

With that in mind, maybe a blog makes sense again?

I'm not sure yet how often I'll use this blog vs. Facebook, but I AM sure that IF my actual family, friends, and fans subscribe to my blog, they (you?) will actually SEE what I say, instead of it being shown to only a Facebook-selected few!  THAT seems to make sense . . .

Most all of you will find this through the Facebook page - for now . . . But if you want to be sure not to miss something "Totally Historically Important" that I have to share . . .

Do us both a favor . . . Subscribe to this Blog!

We'll both be glad you did . . .