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Monday, July 17th, 2006

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Subject:Might as well use this space for memes
Time:11:33 pm.
(Click here to post your own answers for this meme.)

I miss somebody right now.  (The wife and kids... big time.) × I don't watch much TV these days.  (I think that's the only reason I will have an electric bill this month!) × I own lots of books.
I wear glasses or contact lenses.  (Frames. I'm still too much of a wuss to do contacts.) × I love to play video games(Not as much as I used to so I can't call it "love" anymore. Give me a XBox 360 and that might change.) I've tried marijuana.
I've watched porn movies.  (In the past. Now they just bore me to no end. The fast forward button gets more of a workout than anything else.) × I have been the psycho-ex in a past relationship. I believe honesty is usually the best policy.  (And most people can't take that.)
I curse sometimes.  (But I'm trying to tame the tongue.) × I have changed a lot mentally over the last year. × I carry my knife/razor everywhere with me.
it goes on...Collapse )

Monday, November 24th, 2003

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Subject:Say It Ain't 'Zo
Time:6:10 pm.
Here's another example of how life altering this whole kidney thing can be:

Alonzo Mourning retires

"The seven-time All-Star center will soon need a kidney transplant and will no longer be able to play professional basketball, New Jersey Nets president and general manager Rod Thorn announced on Monday morning."

I'm watching it on SportsCenter now, even though I heard about it since this morning. Needless to say this hits home HARD. Yeah, I'm not related to 'Zo but there's some solidarity in knowing how his life has changed because of his health condition. Now it's costing him his job and career. I pray that he gets a donor soon. I can testify that the difference post transplant is similar to night & day.

Thursday, October 30th, 2003


Subject:Didn't he used to be in dialysis?
Time:11:35 am.
That was the question I heard as I left the dialysis unit yesterday afternoon. I went there after my checkup with my nephrologist. I usually visit the nurses and patients at the unit after my doctor visits. I think going back there keeps me humble about how fortunate I am. I also hope I give some encouragement to the patients there.

So everything went well at the doctor's visit. My blood level is 11.3. My cyclosporin level is good. My blood pressure was slightly higher than usual but still in the normal range. They cut my steroids dosage to every other day so that should help with my attitude. But it also means I have to start some type of an exercise routine. No more fakin the funk. Speaking to my wife last night I may start using our treadmill again. With my wife doing Weight Watchers I may encourage her to start making some dinner meals from the cookbook for both of us. I might as well eat well too while she's trying to do the same. Results to follow...

Friday, October 24th, 2003


Subject:Buccho: The Beginning Part 2
Time:12:07 pm.
Mood: thankful.
Oh! it 's time to make amends
Cos' you've been
Burning the candle at both ends

- Candles, Dirty Vegas

Today marks two years since my transplant. "Thankful" is an understatement.

Yesterday the girls were in the kitchen with my wife. She was teaching my daughter how to make pumpkin bread. The day before that my son lost his first tooth. Sometimes I stop and think about how close I came to never experiencing these little things in life... and how significant they are to me now. Here's the rest of "how it happened."

The holidays brought congrats from family members, as we announced our third pregnancy. Even as New Year's Eve rolled around everyone could tell I wasn't myself. I had lost 35+ pounds in a matter of months. Jealousy turned to concern as I stopped eating. In January I could barely hold down one meal a day, spending most of the time, dry heaving and vomiting intermittently. Once again I reduced it to stress because my body had a weird way of handling stuff like big projects. After the project was over I got myself to our doctor. It was the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday. After hearing the complaints about waiting so long to come to him he ordered some x-rays, stress tests, blood tests and upper GI series. They were scheduled for the following Thursday, February 1st. The x-rays and blood tests were up to me.

Super Bowl Sunday I woke starving. We were planning to attend a party at the church because they were showing the game on a wall sized giant screen. I ate like I was trying to make up for a month of not eating. Everyone was happy to see me regain my appetite. That night when we got home I got violently sick. I started vomiting, but instead of just bile and water it was everything I consumed that day. I'm not exaggerating when I say this went on for more than a minute. In between the tears and sternum pains I lost the ability to stand and found myself very dehydrated. When it was all over my 4 month pregnant wife had to help me to my bed.

The next day I called in sick (duh). I tried to regain my energy with fluids and I felt better throughout the day. Later in the day I felt strong enough to go and get my x-rays and blood work done. That night (Monday, 1/29) it happened again. Whatever was in me left again. Tuesday morning I just laid around. My wife went to work and left me home with the kids. The phone rang around 10:30 am. It was the nurse from the doctor's office. She told me that they got my results from the blood work. She kept asking me how I'm feeling and if anyone was there with me. She asked me to call my mother-in-law over to watch the kids because my blood count was so low I could collapse at any time. As soon as my mother-in-law got to the house she tried to convince me to check into the hospital. This is where my guy ego kicked into ignorance. I had only been in a hospital three times, for the birth of my children and my own. In the meanwhile the nurse had contacted my wife at work suggesting the same thing because she could tell I wasn't taking this seriously. By the time my wife got home my overnight bag was packed. I was admitted, tested, and by 6:30 that evening my doctor came into the hospital room. "Well we found out why you've been sick. Your kidneys failed." I wasn't scared. I wasn't shocked. I was actually kind of relieved. I didn't know what had been happening to me and now I knew. "OK, what's next?" is all I could ask. He went on to explain that they had to give me Kayexalate to rapidly reduce my potassium count. It was so high that I was literally a day or two from having enough potassium in me to induce cardiac arrest and kill myself (similar to lethal injections).

The next morning I started hemodialysis. Initially it was done through two tubes inserted in my jugular vein in my neck. A month or so later a plastic tube was inserted into my chest, which provided lots of fun at bath time. Once I was released from the hospital I continued dialysis three times a week, 3.4-4 hours each session. Other things happened along the way like a failed fistula surgery, having to go out on short term disability on 9/11/01, etc. Some things I will never forget.

During the summer I placed myself on the kidney donation waiting list. In the meantime friends and family members discussed the possibility of becoming living donors. After my mother was rejected my best friend, Junior, went for blood work. Low and behold we had the exact same blood type. He jumped at the opportunity to be my donor. Well I was shocked. To this day I remain shocked that he actually did it.

Feel free to look back in October 2002 entries (the 23rd and 24th to be exact) for events from that day. And for those of you still going through dialysis, waiting for a donor, don't lose hope. Faith is all you have left to go on...

Thursday, October 23rd, 2003


Subject:Buccho: The Beginning Part 1
Time:5:12 pm.
On Friday I will be celebrating an anniversary of sorts. It marks two years since my kidney transplant. Last year I transcribed my (written) journal entries here. While re-reading those posts I noticed I never told the story of how the whole renal failure happened...

Prior to August 2000 I had what they called "a perfect bill of health." Besides work-related stress I was pretty healthy, muscular, and fit. I tried to donate blood whenever there was a work sponsored blood drive (anything to get away from cubicle hell). My work life was okay but my domestic life was a little different. My priorities were all screwed up. We had two kids, a new house, vehicles, the general middle-class demographic. I thought my sole responsibility was "financial provider" and that's it. I left the home life to my wife and only participated when I felt like it or I was forced to do so.

Fed up with my job and dealing with my manager I sort options to get a new job. That opportunity was presented in August, right before my 30th birthday. I didn't look back to see the dust as I left that place. To celebrate the new job and my 30th birthday I booked a trip to Las Vegas with my best friend, Junior. While neither of us gambled we planned to sleep late every morning, hang out every evening, and party every night. A day or two before we were supposed to leave for Vegas I started developing what I later found out was a sinus infection, something I never had. As I was leaving for Junior's house I decided that I wasn't going to let a little sniffle spoiled my plans. I loaded up on over the counter stuff and decided I'd cut back on the alcohol I planned to consume until I got better in a day or two. I wasn't going to cancel Vegas for this! We went. We partied hard. Graced with the gift of gab we ended up rolling VIP to every club we attended after our first night there. I was surprised that a week later my sinus infection wasn't any better than when I left home.

September rolled around and I started my new job. Without all my old work buddies around me I started eating light lunches at my desk and I started to lose weight. At least I thought it was because of the change in my diet. By the time November rolled around I had lost about 20 pounds without trying. I was impressed. I did notice a couple of other changes by the holidays. I was always thirsty. Dry air and bad ventilation at work I thought. I also started developing a funny, metallic taste in my mouth. I initially thought one of my fillings were coming out and I needed to see a dentist. Then I got sick...

Wednesday, July 30th, 2003


Time:2:36 pm.
Yesterday I went to the hospital because my nephrologist wanted me to schedule an echo cardiogram. It was nothing exciting, just routine. He wanted to get me checked out because he changed my meds awhile back and I was complaining about sounding like Darth Vader. Anyhoo after an extended wait period where my Palm even died on me I had the test done. The tech, Kathy, praised me for being a "dream patient" because it was so easy to get my scans on the monitor. Apparently some patients earlier in the day were so difficult she could hardly find their heart. Hence the delay...

After that I went up to the dialysis unit. The nurses are always so surprised to see me. They always complain how previous patients never return after they have a transplant. When I was leaving for my transplant I promised them I would. That got a "yeah right" response. Of course this compelled me so much that even if I never had intentions of returning there I would have to just to prove them wrong. Yeah, I'm that guy...

The truth of the matter is I like returning there. It keeps things in perspective. I don't think I'm suppose to forget the whole experience of what I went through being there for a year. I also like talking to the other patients, whether I know them or not. Sometimes they talk to me and cling to my words as if I'm their poster boy of hope. I'm blessed if that's how they truly see me. I met two gentlemen yesterday that just started dialysis recently. I spoke to them for awhile. I hope I helped them just a little and gave them some encouragement. It's "life changing" as one gentleman said. I don't think enough people understand that.

Friday, May 23rd, 2003

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Subject:Urology Visit
Time:1:57 pm.
I just came back from the urologist. It was a follow-up visit from my last cystoscopy. Fun. Just that word alone makes men cringe, provided they know what is done. I can't say I'm used to the idea but it doesn't bother me and I don't view it as something evasive. I need to keep that attitude because I have to do another one next week.

One more probe...

Friday, February 14th, 2003


Subject:A Great Valentine's Day Story
Time:10:12 pm.
I posted about this (A Match Made In Heaven) in my new blog the other day. I figured that the LJ community here would benefit for hearing a story like this. Keep your heads up...

Husband in need of kidney beats odds when he finds wife is a match

Monday, January 27th, 2003


Subject:Not Tonight, I've Got A Headache...
Time:2:03 pm.
Mood: okay.
I'm having problems controlling these sinus pressure headaches. The latest one occurred on Saturday night, coming home from a concert. It's a good thing that I know the difference between a regular headache, a migraine, and a sinus headache. I was in a stuffy van and I felt the pressure pushing down on my head. By the time I hit the cold air I was in excruitiating pain. It lasted until last night. My wife dragged me to a Super Bowl party and I guess getting out did me some good too.

If I can drag myself out of the house today I will head to the hospital for an overdue dexascan. I have an appointment on Wednesday with my nephrologist. Maybe he can figure out if it's one of my meds that's causing these sinus headaches. More to come...

Friday, January 10th, 2003


Subject:Friday Five, Late Edition
Time:10:23 pm.
Mood: happy.
1. Where are you right now? In my bedroom, at my computer desk.

2. What time is it?10:25 pm EST

3. What are you wearing?a Rocawear sweater and some Sean John jeans

4. Any people or animals around you? Describe them.My lovely wife is in our bathroom right next to me.

5. What are your plans for the weekend?Tonight: just returned from dinner. Going to watch a couple of DVDs with my wife, my best friend and his girlfriend. Tomorrow we're going to hang out at home before I drop my daughter and wife at a slumber party. Sunday is church & NFL playoffs. The best part is that it will be spent with friends.

Tuesday, December 10th, 2002

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Subject:This or That Tuesday
Time:10:30 am.
Mood: happy.
I haven't done one of these in awhile but with the holiday theme and all I thought I'd answer...

1. Real or artificial tree? Growing up we always had a fake tree. I didn't even know that you could keep a real tree in your house until I saw it in the movies. When I was dating my wife we got a real tree. I was against it then but now I like them. Guess what? She wants a fake tree now!

2. Real or artificial wreath? We really don't do the wreath thing too much but we have an artificial one that makes the rounds.

3. Open gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (or do you do another holiday such as Hannukkah)? We celebrate Festivus. Quick bring out the Festivus pole! Seriously, we open presents on Christmas morning. Now with the kids it's more special as we sit back and watch their eyes light up when they get their presents.

4. "It's A Wonderful Life" or "Miracle on 34th Street"? I have a family that watches "It's a Wonderful Life" in July. It's quite annoying. Actually most holiday movies are annoying to me. Pass...

5. Outdoor decorations, or just indoors? I like looking at other people's outdoor decorations but I usually just stick to the indoor ones.

6. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" or "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"? RUDY! RUDY! RUDY! Although I must say that I've been hearing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" the most this year. Am I randy or what?

7. Miniature lights or the larger ones? The miniature ones are so cute...

8. Store-bought or hand-made ornaments? We've done both. In the past it's been mostly store-bought but a couple years ago we start making our own to reflect different things going on at the time (ornaments, picture frames, etc).

9. TV Specials: The Grinch or Charlie Brown? The Grinch, and I don't mean that Jim Carrey garbage either...

10. Will you be staying at home for the holiday, or going visiting? BOTH! We'll be home for Christmas and then going to Florida after that...

Friday, November 29th, 2002


Subject:Enjoy The Silence
Time:5:42 am.
Mood: awake.

The most pristine sound on earth is silence. It is also silent at night but this is the time of day where I experience and appreciate it the most. I wish I was a morning person. It is only interrupted momentarily by a bird's morning song or the deep breathing of my wife laying next to me. Alas, this beautiful tryst with dawn's early light will not last. Soon there will be phones ringing, TVs blaring, and the sound of little feet pitter-pattering on their way to the potty.

Why do I always wake up early on Black Friday?

Wednesday, November 27th, 2002

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Subject:The Turkey Gets No Respect...
Time:5:35 pm.
Mood: content.
OK, please don't tell me I'm alone on this one...

It's just that every year it seems that the holiday season starts earlier and lasts longer. As I type this my wife is decorating (read as: overhauling) the living room with Christmas decorations. From my office I hear the chiming of the her Holiday Ice Skating Rink, an annual classic that never seems to lose its tune. It's cute... if you're in the holiday spirit. I guess I've been conditioned that the holidays start after Thanksgiving. No one cares about Thanksgiving anymore. I mean there are no presents exchanged. No magical icon to look forward to seeing. Nothing to spin but a drumstick once it's been sucked dry. I think if there were a consumer tie-in (besides the food) it would be a bigger deal. As my neighbor said this morning, "If it wasn't for Halloween, the Christmas season would start in July." I agreed. It gives everyone six months to get over the holidays, just in time to start again.

So tomorrow whether you're all-day roasting or deep frying the bird, having Turducken or going vegan-style, remember that it's more than a day off from work but an important day to give thanks, something we should do everyday.

Sunday, November 24th, 2002


Subject:Calgon, Take Me Away!
Time:6:38 pm.
Mood: crazy.
Hey God, there's nights you know I want to scream...
Bon Jovi - Hey God

Toys banging... children fighting, arguing, and eventually crying... Pandemonium running wild...

I read somewhere that some rabbits eat their young for no given reason. They have enough food and water but after the first or second litter they just start randomly eating their children. I think the reason can be summed up in one word: SANITY

Another relaxing Sunday evening after children were fed a steady diet of sugar all day...

Saturday, November 23rd, 2002

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Subject:Tears in Heaven
Time:10:59 pm.
Mood: indescribable.
How do you explain death & heaven to a 3 year old?

This is my current dilemma. My daughter is having difficulty grasping the concepts. What's even worse is, as a parent, I'm having more of a hard time explaining it.

Unfortunately there was a recent death in our family. A cousin lost her daughter, her only child. She accidently died at a birthday party when she choked while eating. Her own second birthday was just a week prior. Needless to say that our entire family was shaken by this tragedy. If anything it has served to bring our family closer. As my cousin has been sharing pictures, not only from that tragic day but also from the second birthday party my own daughter has been asking inquiring questions. "Who's that?" "That's your cousin." That answer sparked more interest since she's at an age where she's starting to realize that our family extends outside of our house. "Well where does she live?" We tried to explain to her that's she's in heaven with her great grandpa. "So can I go visit her?" Hearing those words just made my heart drop. Oh, to have the innocence of a little child again...

Well that was earlier this week. Today we had to deal with this situation again. My daughter went to a baby shower with my wife today. As they entered and got into the party my daughter started looking around the house. She proceeded to ask my wife where her cousin was. Once again my heart dropped.

So now I'm at wit's end. It's funny how we can go to school, educate ourselves with degrees and the such but then life's simple question can not be explained when prompted by an innocent three year old.

Dumbfounded is a good word for how I feel right now...

Monday, November 18th, 2002


Subject:Now This Is Bloody Overboard
Time:2:41 pm.
Mood: lazy.
I just heard the cockney accents of home decorators coming out of the TV in my living room. It seems that TLC and their American version of Trading Rooms ("Spaces" in the USA) is not enough for my wife. She is now digging in the television archives for the original British version of the show. And this is apparently not the first time she's watching this show. I caught her making comments like "Ooh, this is a good one" and "She's my favorite."

I hope she doesn't learn how to do Season Passes. I can see our TiVo is going to be full of this stuff...

Sunday, November 17th, 2002


Subject:another year...
Time:11:59 pm.
Mood: indescribable.
Seven years ago I married my best friend. Lucky for me she was female. I waited until the final stroke of the day to post about it.

Like my ho ro friend who shares this anniversary day, things have changed from days of past. Days past contained card exchanging at the break of dawn, breakfast in bed, and romantic interludes, whether materialistic or not. Today had separate church services, hours spent apart, and instead of saying "Happy Anniversary" kisses were exchanged across a room of family. There were even heated words exchanged. In the past an attempt would've been made to avoid this. Now it's different. More realistic? Who knows...

Nevertheless, I still smiled today thinking about that day I wore that tuxedo and bore that band of gold. Yeah, it still makes me smile. I like the fact that we can still communicate as friends, even when we're not feeling all that lovely dovey stuff. That can not exist 24-7. It's impossible. I don't care who you are. I want to maintain that foundation of friendship. If I can do that year in, year out, that in itself is an anniversary gift.

Anyhoo, it's time for the west coast repeat of The Sopranos. Maybe we'll cuddle after I see Christopher get beat with a toy xylophone.

Saturday, November 16th, 2002


Subject:Lazy Saturday
Time:4:15 pm.
Scnario: Saturday afternoon, wet and rainy outside, warm and cozy inside...

I'm checking out Kim Possible for the first time while the kids enjoy taking control of the TV. Cool animation without being too violent for the little ones. My son actually watched the entire Knicks game with me. He saw the return of Latrell Spreewell, saw some guy shoot a shot from mid court for a million dollars, and learned how to say "Allen Iverson" correctly. Ah, my beloved Knickerbockers still lost by one. They never fail to disappoint me.

Earlier scenario: kitchen, table covered with assorted bagels, Dunkin Donuts, and a pot of hot French Roast

I enjoy spending time with my in-laws. Weird huh? We just sat there, chatting, shooting the breeze, discussing the upcoming holidays. After they left I sat down with the Rebirth of Kirk Franklin while I worked on a web page.

It doesn't matter that next to nothing will be accomplished today. It doesn't matter that everyone is wearing PJs and sweats. All that matters is that we're hanging out as a family. And that all that matters...

Time to enjoy The Proud Family with my fam while waiting for the Pizza Hut delivery to arrive.

Thursday, October 31st, 2002


Time:10:19 am.
Mood: melancholy.

J-a-y are the letters of his name
Cutting and scratching are the aspects of his game
So check out the Master as he cuts these jams
And look at us with the mics in our hands
Then take a count, 1 2 3
Jam Master Jay, Run-D.M.C.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2002


Subject:Reunited... and It Feels So Good...
Time:6:40 pm.
Is it a little bit obsessive to miss your wireless network connection? I mean I can't say I've missed my laptop this week while I was away on a business trip. I had both my work laptop and my home one. I enjoyed watching Scratch and Pulp Fiction DVDs in the evenings. The only difference is I couldn't surf my Favorites with the greatest of ease. I was relegated to wired LAN connections. On top of that I had Big Brother watching me via a VPN setup. While I tried to concentrate on the presentations my multi-tasking brain wanted to listen to my favorite MP3s and check out what Robyn, Yvonne, and Mikey were doing in my favorite blogs or on the Zonk Portal. I mean I couldn't even get an open port to AIM anyone because of the private network. The horror! We've already decided that we're traveling with a wireless router on our next business trip. Just because the masses are forced to adhere to the rules there's no reason why we techies must do the same.

All I can say is it's good to be home in the land of the free networking. Time to hit some sites...

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