Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Thursday, April 30, 2009

As We Figured

So, the bad news is I'm seeing red, and no doubt my blood pressure is through the roof.

The good news is that this is all over stupid bureucratical BS rather than Dave's actual health. We spoke with the Cardiologist this afternoon. Nice guy. Really - personable, seemed to take an interest in his health... Only didn't quite grasp the purpose of our visit. A month ago when Dave saw him, they'd discovered that his cholesterol had mysteriously taken a significant down-swing. That's all great, even though it's quite odd that we didn't knowingly change anything to bring this about. He still wants Dave to lose weight... yeah yeah yeah.

(would be nice if he could walk or move without pain - thus allowing him to exercise... but details!)

Anyways, today he started right in on all those stats, again. And finally he says - so diet may really be your next best option since we're already using the other preventative factors to their maximum utility. So, would you like to see the Nutritionist?

I was really, nearly falling out of my chair. What we would like -- is an authorization to proceed with surgery!

Oh yeah, sure. But don't you want to talk to the Nutritionist? Read my lips - NO. I want to know why they 1) thought there was something funky with his tests last week enough to call you to consult, and 2) why you said Dave had to come in for more testing in order to do that consult.

Oh, well, the other doctors, of course, don't have access to Dave's history, and for some reason when he weighed in on the consult he didn't dig into the history either. For what he said today? Was that the 'abnormality' in Dave's ECG has been around for at least 2 years and is normal for Dave.

Well - that is possibly an over simplification. He did say there is an abnormality in his ECG that has been there for 2 years, but that the nuclear imaging test they did on him this week prooved once again that the abnormality does not indicate a mal-functioning heart. Good to know.

Now, can we make you an appointment for the Nutritionist?

Meanwhile Dave has been on the phone to try and get his surgery re-scheduled.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Weeks delay

So the cardiologist called this morning. Make that A cardiologist - the doc Dave usually sees was not available for some reason. The nurse started out saying things were fine to proceed with the surgery, and was going on to say she'd contact the orthopedist's office to tell them that when she paused. And then said -- No, no, sorry about that, the doctor has changed his mind. You need to come in for tests.

So, get in line to see the cardiologist, and then back in line to schedule surgery -- which has never been a speedy process in our experience. Assuming that all these tests don't rule out the surgery altogether? Dang, hadn't thought of that - is that a possibility? We still don't know what it was in the EKG that has everyone concerned.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

View from the inside

I knew Dave Cullen has been running ragged for several weeks now, doing all the press for his new book, "Columbine". I knew this because I have been helping him by updating his website, but being able to get a hold of him to find out what needs to be done next has been a challenge.

But as the frenzy winds down, he's blogged about his tour experience -- and it made me guffaw. Then chuckle; shake my head in amazement; preen; and then want to give him a hug. :-)


Not So Fast

So, on Tuesday's pre-op exams, Dave's EKG aparently warranted his cardiologist's sign off before the orthopedic surgeon would proceed. So the surgery was cancelled to be rescheduled. I've been putting off posting here, until we knew more... a day and a half later, we still don't know any more except that no one seems to be able to actually communicate with anyone else. Last news we heard, about an hour ago, is that somehow it is Dave's responsibility to get the test results to his cardiologist to review. Sorry? Couldn't someone have mentioned that on Tuesday? >:(


Friday, April 17, 2009

Then Fix It

Last year at this time Dave's back/sciatica started giving him a lot of pain. We were concerned what this would mean for our trip to England in June, so he excellated his visits to professionals. He had been working with a couple physical therapist and a chiropractor, but finally an orthopedist took some images of his back (duh - good idea) and found a herniated disk. Actually, thinking back now I don't think that diagnosis happened until after we came back from England... That was really terrific news because for months no one could really isolate what the cause was and we feared it was MS related and possibly untreatable.

On the ortopedist's advice, and also out of a reluctance to rush into surgery, he has not had any treatment. It has been imaged again, and while the herniation has shrunk, the pain is not any better.

SO: Dave is scheduled for surgery next Thursday. From what the surgeon says, it's the simplest back procedure: a diskectomy. They go in from the back, into the spine, and remove the portion of the disk that is pinching the nerves. If all goes well he'll be out the same day. We discussed some other procedures, disk replacement and fusion, but since Dave's pain is almost entirely in his leg and not in the back, he said those were much more invasive procedures and less applicable for his situation.

He'll be on recovery for at least 6 weeks following that. Fortunately we've recently had some good luck hiring new kennel staff (bad luck too - thankfully the good seems to have outweighed the bad). So he is ever so joyful about getting to be the one to stay in the office to play customer service rep. Not!

Keep your fingers crossed, it would be a long time in coming if he finally gets some relief.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

A 'Why Dun It'

A few days ago I was discussing a new book I'd just started reading. It was one I've been anticipating for a year or so. Not because I'm a big fan of the topic, for in fact I was somewhat nervous about the topic. No, I've been acquainted with the author for about 3 years and it's been really interesting to see the publishing world from the author's point of view. It's his first book, and anytime we talked about it he was so effusive I couldn't help but await publication with great anticipation.

The book is "Columbine" - the culmination of Dave Cullen's years of studying the tragedy, what lead up to it and the aftermath it spawned. Later this month is the 10th year anniversary. When the question was posed - why wait 10 years to publish the book? Dave laughed and confessed it was a LOT of information to assimilate. He chuckled, saying how especially exciting it was to get a book contract. And then extend for a year. And then another year... But then he grows introspective and admits that frankly, the story was still developing. It took years for much of the evidence to be released, during which time the drama of the aftershocks was still in much fluctuation. It was in conjunction with the 5th anniversary, 2004, that the psychological / psychiatric evaluation results were published. The killer's journals released in 2006. The permanent memorial wasn't completed until 2007.

Anyways, I was discussing the book, admitting that I hadn't know what to expect. It's a volatile topic, one I wasn't sure I was eager to dive back into. Living in Boulder at the time I don't recall ever trying to follow the story - but it permeated our lives for a very long time. I do remember the moment when I heard the breaking news.

There is a very large cast of characters -- the high school had 2000 students. Add to that the families, faculty, media, community members and law enforcement that are all intimately intertwined. Without thinking, I'd said it was a heck of a Who Dun It. Except, of course, we know exactly WHO, and yet the story Dave weaves remains spell binding. That conundrum puzzled me. Until, at the book signing I attended in Boulder last night, Dave said that he'd aimed to write -- "certainly not a Who Done It, but a How Dun It; a Why Dun It." Yes, exactly, that's it.

Dave focuses on a few dozen central characters and presents an incredibly personal view of events from their different perspectives. What is becoming one of my favorite lines of the book:

Mr. D had one major objective on Friday; Eric Harris had at least two. Mr. D wanted to impress on his kids the importance of wise choices. He wanted everyone back alive on Monday. Eric wanted ammo and a date for prom night.

Mr. D is the well loved principle of Columbine who, the Friday before before Prom, gave the students a pep-rally talk about not drinking and driving. The attacks happened the following Tuesday. The passage continues:

Eric and Dylan planned to be dead shortly after the weekend, but Friday night they had a little work to do: one last shift at Blackjack {a pizza delivery joint}. ... "Once I graduate, I think I'm gonna quit too," Eric told a friend who'd quit the week before. "But not now. When I graduate I'm going to get a job that's better for my future." He was lying. He had no intention of graduating.

Dylan had a bright future. He was heading to college, of course. Several schools had accepted him, and he and his dad had just visited Tucson. ... The decision was final; his mom was going to mail the deposit to the U of Ariz on Monday.

Throughout the book Dave masterfully intersperses chapters from the killers' backgrounds, leading up to the attack, with stories of the victims, survivors and the ongoing investigation. Beyond any other impression, I was so taken with how smoothly it reads. For some very uncomfortable scenes, never the less I could not put the book down. (I do recommend having tissues handy)

I managed to finish a mere 15 minutes before the book signing -- LOL. I was surprised, I guess, to find that most of the people who attended had not yet read it -- well, not the ones who asked questions at least. ;-) The book focuses a lot on the myths that were set into place very quickly, and which have been so pervasive several are still prevalent even though they have long since been disproved. For example that Eric and Dylan were social outcasts, taking out their vengeance upon those who had bullied them. Quite simply, nothing could be further from the truth -- and yet I think that was the very first question posed from the group.

One thing really got me at the signing -- I had not anticipated that Dave would bring his photocopies of Eric and Dylan's journals. These documents obviously play a huge role in the book, and it was incredibly erie to thumb through the pages and pages of hand written notes and drawings. Dave's copies were highlighted and dog eared, so it was easy to flip through and find the many sections that he's quoted or discussed in the book. It gave me chills.

The story is horrific, heartbreaking, and maddening. The book is seamless, clear, and a comprehensive view never before presented.

An Essay Dave wrote on writing the book.