Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Blessed Event!

Michal & Courtney Owens
November 8, 2008

We have a new member in our family... a new daughter-in-law, and another Mrs. Owens!!

I have wanted to do an update on the blessed event sooner but as usual, life got in the way and more time passed than I realized! Then with Thanksgiving and guests visiting, it has still been a whirlwind!
It was a beautiful wedding and and the setting was picturesque. The weather was actually pretty good for November, just a little chilly and overcast at one point, but thankfully no rain.

Courtney did a great job planning the wedding and really worked hard on all the details.

She was an absolutely gorgeous bride: We were so proud of both her and Michal on their special day.

I really enjoyed the whole weekend, and I was pleased that our part of the festivities (the rehearsal dinner) went as well as it did. The rehearsal venue was at the Piedmont Country Club and they did a great job on the early "Thanksgiving dinner." The idea of a Thanksgiving dinner was all about the middle son, because it is his favorite meal of all time! (A little unconventional but it really turned out well.) For entertainment, we watched the slide show that Courtney's sister, Lindsey, and I helped put together that had various pictures of the couple, both now and as kids. There was quite the selection of pictures of them both!

Here is the bridal couple at the rehearsal dinner:
And here they are with Tom and I:The tables ended up looking very nice with the flower arrangements I made and I was thankful I was able to finish them in time.
A Big Thanks! goes to my neighbor Celeste for her help because it would have been even more stressful trying to find time to do crafts and take care of the heart patient!! Fortunately, the heart patient is doing well, is back to work, still doing rehab, and did great at the wedding. It was a long day for him but he really hung in there considering it was only 6 weeks ago that his chest was opened! Here he is with his boys: The wedding was so sweet and I loved watching the middle son on his wedding day! You can tell from the pictures that he was really happy!

The reception was a lot of fun and we all had fun dancing, eating, and celebrating. I am enclosing a link that the DJ made about the wedding lights and music. It is an "interesting" video considering it was made specifically by the DJ and is geared for other DJ's. Some of the parts are all "technical talk" but some of the parts really capture the fun and dancing and show the tables, food and fun. (fast forward the button to 1:30 to see the room and miss the driving part...)

DJ Wedding link.

Other reception memories:

Here is the new couple dancing their first dance to "Unchained Melodies": And here they are having a good time on the dance floor:
Here is Michal and I doing the mother of the groom dance to "In My Life" by the Beatles. I was squeezing Michal's thumb that he thinks he broke playing football, so he kept reminding me not to squeeze his hand.It was fun to see all the family members and friends that came to help celebrate with them. They had friends and family from England, China, Costa Rica, and all over the U.S. (It was a BIG wedding!) Here is some of the rowdy group that sang kinda loud to "Almost Heaven, West Virginia!" That song was a blast!Here was the really pretty cake:
I was sorry we didn't get any really good pictures of the grandson in his little tux, but the little guy was not feeling well and wanted held most of the day. (He "shared" his sickness with some of those near and dear to him, and it was not pretty!! I could sympathize even more with him after I had what he had on Mon. and ended up staying in bed all day!) He really was adorable in his little 18 month sized tux, even being sick!!! Here are his proud parents:And here is the other son and Jessy:
Overall, there were a few glitches, including a shuttle bus run that didn't happen and left the bridal couple stranded for a little while, but all in all it was a great day! The wedding couple went to the Bavarian Inn in WV for one night and then will go to the Dominican Republic for their honeymoon at a later date.

We are so happy to have Courtney in our family and are thrilled that Michal is so happy!
I am going to post a few more pictures of the wedding.
The groomsmen and Courtney:

The Bridesmaids and Michal:

The sisters and brothers:

Chrissi (3), Lori (2), Lindsey(5), Lisa (1), Courtney (4), Michal (2), Tommy(1), Jeffrey(3)
The bride and groom with the nieces and nephews-minus Ridge who was rolling down the hill:

The Owens family before the wedding: Teddy and Becky had not gotten there yet:

Mom, Michal, and Mamaw: Mr. & Mrs. Michal Owens taking their vows:

We wish them a long and happy life together!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tom is doing well!

Ok so a quick note to let all know that the patient is doing well. He is up walking, getting bored with being at home, and "tired of talking about food."

Mamaw has been a lifesaver with all her help with house work, kitchen detail and food preparations!! She left today to go back home and we will miss her greatly!!

I was talking to a friend and telling her how much I appreciated my neighbors and all their help during this stressful time. They have really been invaluable with bringing food, mowing the lawn, checking in on the patient, helping make wedding decorations for the upcoming wedding, sending cards, and all their gifts, good thoughts and prayers!! I still can't believe their generosity. The fact that they hired a cleaning crew to clean the house before we came home was amazing! That brought the discussion around to how nice it would be to actually have cleaning crews on a regular basis. My friend said she would really like a housekeeper that came daily, picked up the house and cooked, as opposed to a weekly or monthy clean crew...I told her it was REALLY nice to have a housekeeper!! Mamaw was doing all that around here and was my housekeeper.
It will now be a different story here as I will become the main cook.... I know, I heard all those sighs, and "poor Tom's". If you know me at all, you know I would much rather be out digging ditches or cleaning toilets as opposed to being in the kitchen!!!
I can't believe it has been almost 4 weeks now. The old boy is anxious to get back to work and may be able to go back sometime in the next week or two . The big hold up to return to work is really the healing of his sternum. He has had little to no pain in the last couple of days and will be glad when he can do more without worry of the sternum.
He really misses being able to hold baby Teddy. He still can't lift him for a couple of months yet. Anyway, we have had the pleasure of keeping Teddy more while his mom and dad are out and about and he is growing up soo fast!!

He is pretty smart too because when the patient had to do his breathing machine, otherwise known as "Mr. Pain", Teddy remembered us cheering and clapping to encourage grandpa in the hospital. (It was a real battle sometimes to get the patient to do his breathing treatment because that was about the only time he had significant pain.)

When Tom started doing his treatment at home, Teddy immediately stopped what he was doing and turned to watch grandpa breathe. He started clapping as soon as he realized what he was was very cute!

I was thinking the other day how far we have gone since those first couple of days of worry and stress. It is funny, in an ironic way, how one of the surgeons was describing what was going on with Tom's heart by comparing it to plumbing and pipes. I wanted to tell him that we had PLENTY of recent experience with plumbing and pipes!!
That is a whole other "plumbing story" that began with the OBB ( Owens Backyard Bash). It was definitately a problem when the downstairs toilet "backed up and overflowed" in the middle of the OBB with probably 130 people partying in the backyard, 6 kegs of beer and NO working toilet!!

We managed to make it through that little problem and thought replacing the old toilets would prevent further problems. Little did we know that we would be without a middle toilet for a week, since there was difficulty getting a toilet to fit under the "banjo" lipped counter. After many attempts at installing the appropriate toilets, we finally thought we were home free with three working new toilets. Little did we know that things were just beginning!
About a month after the OBB, I was taking a shower and had just put my creme rinse on my hair when Tom ran up and shouted "Turn off the water the downstairs toilet is overflowing!" Well, there I was standing in the shower, naked , wet, with creme rinse all over my hair thinking, "Now what do I do?" I came down stairs in old clothes and creme rinse and Tom took me outside and used the hose to rinse my hair. (That would have been a real picture opportunity but sorry no picture was taken of that!!)

After the hair crisis was averted, we then had to deal with the backup/overflow mess. Just our luck that this happened on Labor day. Does anyone care to hazard a guess about after hours/holiday plumber rates?! My first thought was, "do you think we could make it another day without water?" Funny, that was also my sister's first comment that "I would probably have waited a day without water". We are our dad's girls!!
The plumber came out, sort of unplugged the pipe but said "this is not guaranteed work because there is still a problem." Through many phone calls back and forth to the city water dept, the plumber coming again to run a camera through the pipes , and the city trying to decide whose problem it really was: ours or theirs. The city finally decided it was on their side (THANK YOU GOD!) It was like worker bees out front! They had the utility people mark where the utilities were, closed our road, brought in dump trucks, backhoes, and service vehicles like you wouldn't believe. They worked from early morning until 10 PM fixing the pipe.

They had to dig down 8 feet to get to the clean out valve that was buried ( lot of good it did down there- thank you pulte homes). They couldn't believe what they finally found. Our lateral line pipe that connects to the main sewer line in the middle of the street had NEVER been connected!! There was 3 feet of pipe missing!!

Here is the missing pipe picture:

Here is the fixed 3 foot section of piping:
We have lived here 20 years and fortunately not had a problem, so to speak. We think that the pipe that was not connected was laying on gravel and rock and it was all working like a French drain. Go figure. The city workers actually were laughing and in awe about the situation. They were not real happy about how long it took them to find and correct the problem, though. Anyway, after a month of plumbing problems, paying for new toilets ( that were not really needed in the first place), paying for plumbers on holidays, having fixed plumbing is: PRICELESS!! That is what we say about Tom having "new plumbing" in his heart!!

We are all thankful that Tom is progressing as fast as he has and doing well! Now it is on to the wedding preparations and celebration.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A blog I didn't want to write

Hello to all!
I just wanted to send out an update about the happenings around here. Some of you are obviously aware of what has been going on around here but I will apologize to any of you that we did not manage to let know in a timely fashion. I will also apologize for the lengthy note here. It has been a bumpy ride that reminds me why I never really liked roller coasters!! I also do not remember who I have told what as the days seem to melt together.
First off, let me say that Tom is at home and recovering from his open heart surgery on 9-18-08.
I will write a short synopsis of how we came to Tom being a member of the “mended hearts club.” (Let me assure you that he did NOT want to be a member of this club, but they inducted him anyway.)
We went to visit Jeffrey and Jessie at Virginia Tech on Sat, 9-13-08. There are 5 of them renting a big, older house in Blacksburg and we wanted to see their new living arrangements. We attended the Tech game on Sat. It was scorching hot and we climbed several hills, stadium stairs and sweated like pigs! It was neat to see the Hokie spirit in action and the fighter jets flying over. We left Blacksburg around 9:15 Am on Sun and were traveling interstate 81 to home. (It takes about 4 hours to get home.)
All was well until Tom started feeling “lightheaded and flushed” while driving 70 miles an hour down the interstate. Being the stoic guy that he is, he changed lanes in front of a tracker-trailer truck (as he says “I did it safely” and “I did the right thing”), and waited a few more minutes before telling me he was having problems. He decided a few yards past the exit to let me drive, so we had to drive to the next exit. The whole time I am driving to find the next exit, I am asking a million medical questions and he answered them all with “No”, except he “felt lightheaded.” At this point, we drive about 5 more minutes and pull off at some hole in the wall gas station and Tom says “we need gas”. While I am getting gas, going to the ladies room, buying aspirin for him (at his suggestion ---go figure, the nurse is so upset she doesn’t even remember this recommendation!) I do remember to ask about the nearest hospital. They tell me the nearest one is 20 min. the way we just came, or 1 ½ hours going forward, closer to home. After I told the info to Tom, and he agreed to going BACK…then, I was a REAL basket case. It was a wonder I didn’t cause him to have a heart attack….. with me driving 75 miles an hour, with no idea where we were going. It is a real miracle that I even found the hospital in the first place!! Let me be the first to tell you that they need more posted “H” signs for hospital locations!!!
Once we got to Roanoke Memorial Hospital, (with two dogs in the car no less), we waited 30 minutes before anyone even took his blood pressure! After they assessed him and he again answered “No” to all their questions, his blood pressure was only slightly elevated, and he was having no pain, they then proceeded to having us sit and wait 2 ½ hours more. In the process, I am calling Jeffrey to come get the dogs since he is 45 minutes away and the closest one to being able to help. Tom starts feeling better, and says “this is BS…I’m leaving… I feel better.” I proceeded to the desk and told them that we are traveling, my husband wants to leave because he “feels better”, and how long before he will be seen. They get him pretty quick after that and that was the beginning of all the “fun”. As the little gal who finally checked us in the ER said, “you are more significant than most of those out there, so we don’t want you to leave”.
Anyway, we end up spending the night in the “chest pain center” for observation. They do the nuclear stress test on Monday morning at 6 AM. They came and told us he “had some changes” on that test and that he needs a cardiac cath. All along Tom is thinking these symptoms are due to dehydration from the Hokies game and too much caffeine …or maybe even low potassium since he had a similar episode about 1 year ago. (This was the story we told them but in reality, we have found out that it was in April of 2006 that he had the previous episode.) The cardiac cath showed some blockages and that open heart surgery was the only surgery that would help.
One of our hardest decisions was transferring him closer to home. They wanted to do the surgery on Tuesday 9-15 down in Roanoke, but it was a logistical nightmare with no family nearby, follow-ups that would take a 3 hour drive, etc… Unfortunately, the doctor indicated he would not discharge Tom to drive home but wanted him transferred by ambulance. Because Roanoke is a level one trauma hospital and Fairfax Hospital (the hospital closer to home with a huge heart center) is also a level one trauma hospital, our insurance would not cover the ambulance ride to an equal care level hospital. (So that made it optional, based on patient request…go figure.)
Anyway, it took a full day delay to get all arranged and we ended leaving Roanoke at 10 PM via ambulance, and arrived at FFX Hospital at 2: 30 AM. Tom said that was the worst trip ever…bumping down 81, strapped to a gurney, with all the road work being done at night. By the time we saw a new cardiologist, and talked to the cardiac vascular surgeon, it was too late to have the sugery done on Wed…so we had another delay. Let me just say that waiting in a hospital with a hospital phobe, an uptight, stressed wife/nurse that only knows enough to be dangerous was MISERY!
They took Tom in for his surgery Thursday, 9-18-08 at 5:00AM. I thought waiting before surgery was bad but the actual surgery day was AGONY! They told us that he should be out around 11 AM and when we got the call at 10:30AM that they “had some trouble with the grafts” and were just then putting him on the heart pump, it was until 1:45 when they called to say he was off the pump. It was about 2:30 when we spoke with the doctor. To tell you the truth, I am not sure what all he said because I was just glad Tom made it out. He was on a ventilator when we got to see him, (this was expected) and he started breathing on his own fairly quickly (Thank God!) They took out all the millions of tubes and drains pretty quickly and began the process of moving him to the step down unit…as the ICU nurse said, “a patient’s level of importance is due to his “connections”.
He stayed in ICU about 24 hours, then moved to the step down unit on Fri, 9-19-08.
I will admit that I was a little out of control when we got to his new room because it was not a private room. Just our luck that there are only 3 rooms that aren’t private and we got one of them. IF there had been room to turn around in that little room that was originally designed as a single occupancy, I would have been fine but there was not even a chair for me to sit in! I took a lesson from my “let me be blunt sister” (she would have been proud of me), and threw a fit and got us moved to a private room. I was upset about throwing a little fit when I calmed down, but in this case, it was a good thing. (Becky made bread for the staff to “make amends”.) Tom was totally glad I could stay with him. All in all, the nursing care was really good. We had a little delay in getting him up to walk due to our nurse being overwhelmed with more patients than she could handle. I will be eternally grateful to Emme Paradise (friend of Michal’s that is an occupational therapist working at FFX) for coming after her work day and getting Tom up to walk.
By Sunday, (4 days after the surgery) they were saying we were going home. I will say I was a little concerned about taking the boy home then because he really had only been up and walking about 2-3 times. We were gearing up for discharge and the doctor pops his head in long enough to say, “Well, we are keeping him tonight because he had a period of fast heart rate (SVT for the medical junkies), this is not unusual, and if all is well, he will go home tomorrow.” The doctor then left before we could even catch our breath. I would say the doctor was in the room tops, 3 minutes, if that!
Tom did really well and we came home on Mon 9-22-08.
The patient is doing really well. He is up walking, not doing stairs just yet but we hope to do those today. If you asked him about the worst part of this, (other than the obvious change in life style from “healthy person” to cardiac patient), he would probably tell you that he hated the blood draws and changing the IV site on our last day there. He really hates needles and gets really uptight about those. They stuck him hourly for blood sugar checks for the first night in step down and he is one big bruise!! He also has named his breathing exercise machine as “Mr. Pain”. We are trying to reach a delicate balance between using “Mr. Pain” like Tom wants to vs how his wife/nurse wants him to do it! He really has been super in all that he has had to go thru and says that he only has pain basically when he does the breathing exercises. He is doing really well with the not smoking stuff right now and we hope that continues!! As the cardiologist told him when they were talking, “you WERE a smoker, right?”
Anyway, we are blessed that he is home, doing well. We are in the process of scheduling appointments, having the home health nurse check on him, and trying to move forward.
He has been on his computer some, checking his facebook account and trying to keep moving.
We both want to thank everyone that has helped us through this difficult time and for all your prayers, gifts, calls, and the million other things everyone has done for us. We both realize what great friends and family we are blessed to have and we can’t thank you all enough. The boys and their gals have really been unbelievable through this all. We love them very much and are so proud of them!
Tom has kept the teddy bear that Teddy gave him prior to surgery as his good luck charm.
Anyway, here is a picture of the patient up and about!!

Thanks again to all for everything and I will try to send updates as possible.
Love ,
Tina and Tom

PS Jeffrey says that The Hokies saved his life…because if it hadn’t been for the game (which they won) we might not have known.

Monday, June 02, 2008

1 Year Birthday Party

This was the cake that momma made for the party.

Take a good look at it, it will never look the same after Teddy gets into it.

Me thinks Teddy likes Chocolate cake

Yes Grandma, you may give Teddy a bath, says Momma.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tornado Tina

This is the aftermath of "Tina's Publishing" of Teddy's First year. We had a 1-year birthday party yesterday and she went to bed at 03:30 a.m. the night before. Bad mood anyone?

Those of you that know the Cleaning Terminator would be astonished that she left this cleanup job for 2.5 days. It is still here at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Here is thought provoking

Spring Time Mothers Day

Mom and her 3 sons at the engagement party.

Flower, flowers everywhere!

Mom does a good job outside, and the rain this spring has been good to us.

No thought provoking statements this time!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Random Blog from the Mystery Blogger

Enough said!
Had to put a picture of Teddy in here. At the engagement party with
Groom , Uncle Michal.
Oh the joy of having Cherry trees in the front yard.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Trip to West "By God" Virginia

We took a little getaway trip to West Virginia prior to Easter with most of the family. (We missed the # 2 guy and gal because he had to work and she was out of town.)

As always, we enjoyed being able to get together, have some time to chill-(we call this “front porch sittin’), and have the traditional LOROBI’S Pizza night!

Whenever we make a trip “home”, it just wouldn’t be the perfect trip without our Lorobi’s Pizza!

When I went on the internet to try to search for some info on Lorobi’s, all I could find was several plain address listings and this review page. I was reading the review and agreeing totally with the statements and then I realized that the reviewer was our niece!

(Great review Melissa aka: greengoddess85-otherwise know as our niece). She is a real fan and has even taken frozen Lorboi’s home to Wisconsin in the past.

Teddy got to have his first Lorobi’s experience:

You can tell he is a true member of the family because he liked as much as everyone else does!!

We didn’t really do anything noteworthy on our trip but we definitely like having all the family members take time from their busy schedules to get together. We were glad that Guy # 3 and his gal could get away from school and get to come!

It is always a little crazy with all the dogs (5 at one point!), people to feed (19 at one point), and babies to watch (1 little Teddy Bear!) It was good seeing the relatives and catching up.

As a side note regarding the trip: the weather was really rainy and we had lots of tractor-tailer “mist” to deal with…not my idea of a good time.

I do give extra bonus points to the hubby because he let me listen to a book on tape while we were driving in. I gotta confess that it was a romance CD and it was a real enlightening experience for him. (I'd tell you the title to the CD but I'm not sure either one of us would live that down!!)
He said at one point that he thought the CD was really boring (we didn’t get to the “good” parts while he was listening-haha!). I was surprised that I didn’t hear more sarcastic remarks about the book from him.
I did have to chuckle though because he totally got lost in the relationships and asked a question about the heroine “Gabby”. I started explaining and he said, and I quote, “How in the world did you get all of that out of what we just listened to??”

Needless to say, I put him out of his misery and let him listen to his music shortly after that!!