Monday, June 27, 2011

Doctor, Doctor, it hurts when I do this...

Well, it sure was an eventful weekend, but I wouldn't wish most of it on my worst enemy. The great part of it: I had a blast yesterday doing the live broadcast at Alice's annual Summerthing concert. It was a beautiful day in Golden Gate Park with 20,000 of my closest friends out to see our free show with OneRepublic, Matt Nathanson, Michelle Branch, Parachute, and Andrew Allen. And I have to say that I work with some of the nicest, coolest people on the planet, which was in no greater evidence than yesterday...

Just showing up for the broadcast was quite challenging for me after I had a medical emergency on Saturday. Around noon I was puttering around the kitchen before work when I was suddenly hit with this sharp pain in the back of my neck. Having been a veteran of the "I slept in a weird position" scenario, I hoped that was all that it was. It eventually subsided after about two hours. But then around 3:00, while I was on the air, I got another blinding pain but this one was in the back of my head. Worst headache of my life, accompanied by nausea. I kept hoping it would go away but, after 6 hours of misery I realized that something was definitely not right. So I called 911 and got an ambulance ride to the ER. Steve left work and met me there.

After two CT scans (the second with a contrast dye to better show the blood vessels in my head) and some morphine, the inconclusive diagnosis is that I may have had a cerebral aneurysm. They released me from the ER at 3:15 yesterday morning with a prescription for Vicodin and orders to follow up with a neurologist and my primary care physician (because my blood pressure was very high, possibly a combination of the decongestant I was taking for my cold and my freaking out from the whole situation). But they told me that if I felt like working the next day, then go ahead and work. So after 4 hours of sleep I headed out for the concert, and it was just what I needed. Sunshine and blue sky are always good medicine for me (hence the name of my blog). And not one person I told about the crisis failed to say, "Do whatever you need to do, your health comes first. If you need to leave, then leave and we'll work things out." After a half-hour I was starting to feel awake and relatively pain-free, so I stayed for 3 1/2 of my scheduled 4-hour shift. And I had a really great time doing what I love to do, which is being on the air.

So to the San Francisco paramedics from the ambulance; the ER staff at St. Mary's Medical Center (including Moyra, my spirited Irish nurse); the amazing crew at Alice@97.3 (especially Michael Martin and Jayn!), Steve's boss Dennis who, without hesitation, told him to get out of work and join me; and of course Steve (my rock without whom I could have never gotten through all of this), a million thanks. Now time to rest up and get this thing figured out.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Fathers Day... what's that like?

So we've arrived at another Fathers Day, a holiday that is for the most part foreign to me. As most of my close friends know, my father died when I was only 3. He was just 42 when his third heart attack took his life.

I'm envious of my friends whose parents are still around. My sister Jean was 9 when we lost Dad, and I know it was tough on her because she had had long enough to establish memories of their time together. I, on the other hand, have just a couple of fleeting memories of him. One was of me at my most mischievously adorable... I went through this phase where I would get into the cupboard, find the open box of laundry detergent and dump it all over the kitchen floor. I remember Dad catching me in the act once and trying to be all stern and mad, but he couldn't pull it off and just started laughing.

The other memory I have of my dad is not a pleasant one. It's of him lying on our living room couch having one of his heart attacks. I don't remember if it was the first, second or last one. I only remember standing there looking up at him like, "What's wrong with Daddy?" Then I remember being picked up and taken out of the room.

Because I grew up without a father, I've subscribed to the "you can't miss what you never really had" school of thought. But now, as I get older, I see many of my friends having kids. I see that precious bond and I wonder about all of the things I missed out on after I lost Dad. But then the "everything happens for a reason" side of my brain takes over, and I realize that my life would have turned out far differently had my dad lived longer. And I've got a lot of really good people and things in my life to be thankful for.

So if your dad is still with you, please let him know how much he means to you while you still can. And to my father-in-law Tom, who has been one of my biggest cheerleaders in my belated return to college, Happy Fathers Day. See you at my graduation in August. :-)