Sunday, July 29, 2012

Important Updates Concerning Prevention and Management of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndromes....



     Since the reason this blog exists at all is the sudden and unexpected death of our youngest son Daniel, presumably due to a sudden arrhythmic episode, in the absence of anything else of any significance found on his autopsy,  it makes sense to being our readership updates from medical literature concerning sudden arrhythmic death syndromes or SADS.   To refresh, there are a number of sudden arrhythmic death syndromes, the ones with which you are likely most familiar are Brugada Syndrome, and Long QT Syndrome,  Short QT Syndrome,  but there are others.
                According to recent information from the SADS Foundation, the newest recommendations are that people with Brugada Syndrome, particularly with the Brugada Syndrome  Type I EKG, should avoid the drug Procaine (which is an analgesic), as it has the potential to alter their EKG.  Procaine is added to other drugs sometimes, especially injectable antibiotics in order to diminish pain when given as an intramuscular injection.  Procaine and its related counterparts are also given during dental procedures.  Certainly, we cannot completely exclude the use of these substances for those with a prior history of rhythm disturbance, but we can make our dentists and other physicians aware of a familial history of rhythm disturbances and remind them when a patient with Brugada Syndrome or arrhythmic disorder history personally, comes to the physician or dentist.  It is recommended that caution and close supervision be undertaken when using these drugs on this particular patient population.
               Also, it now may be possible to diagnose Long QT or the proneness to it, in fetuses of a variety of gestational ages.  Children with fetal arrhythmias should be evaluated for potential Long QT syndrome by a pediatric cardiologist NO MATTER WHAT YOUR OBSTETRICIAN TELLS YOU. He or she might be an excellent obstetrician but may not be up to date on all the nuances of pediatric cardiology.   More information is available on this and a variety of aspects of prenatal Long QT diagnosis, in the second article below.

Daniel was twelve at his passing, and would be sixteen today.      Daniel had a prenatal arrhythmia (before he was born and during labor) which disappeared when he was born and his umbilical cord was clamped.  We were categorically told that no evaluation by a pediatric cardiologist was required, by both our obstetrician and our pediatrician.  Sixteen years ago, this was the conventional thinking.  They were wrong.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

An Unclear Dream

This is similar to the car my mother was driving, only it was new, and she found it easy to drive.

      I know I have mentioned that in the past, I occasionally have dreams where I believe that Daniel, and my father sometimes communicate with me.  Early this morning I had a dream and I have not yet made sense of it.   For some reason unknown to me, in the dream,  I was producing a play using British children.  It wasn't a particularly good play, but it was wildly popular in the original, and it was felt to be a good experience for the children. Although I was hopelessly unqualified in every way for this task, except in being a parent,  I began.  The task was difficult. The children were much brighter and more articulate than I expected for their ages, and culturally knew different references than I, so when I was trying to communicate, I was not doing well. These children did not know the references from television I described, and they knew programs of which I had never heard.  When I offered to get candy or sweets at the end of a particularly difficult day, they asked for sweets, also of which I had never heard. (This was odd too, because I really do know all my British sweets, having been a connosieur while at school outside London.)   At the point at which I began having trouble teaching and guiding the children and their acting in the play, we took a break because my parents were arriving to help me with this task and see how we were faring.  My mother came in a dark vehicle with 1940s styling, although the vehicle was new.  This is interesting, because she passed in 2007, and in Heaven, as someone who never enjoyed driving, I would think that she would have someone drive for her.  My father drove in separately in a large black SUV, a style I had never seen. I was unsure as to what it was,. The vehicle turned out to be a cooperative hybrid project of a Mercedes-Benz and a Land Rover. I thought my Dad would have borrowed the car to visit me, but as it neared, I saw a Princeton sticker in the glass, not because he attended Princeton, but honoring his contributions to them.  This is interesting because both of my parents fought the culture of cars. My mother owned a car until her passing, but did not enjoy cars much. My father also found them a nuisance.  In fact, my father lived somewhere for the remainder of his life where he could use wonderful public transportation in the form of buses and trains,  and even ships in the harbor when he travelled great distances.   As they each  neared, I was excited, because I knew one of them brought Daniel with them to see me, although the dream ended before I did see him.   The place where all of this occurred was the Bantam Shopping Center in Mendham, NJ in the 1960s ,now known as the Village Shopping Center.  I haven't been to Mendham in years.

This is the shopping center I referred to, which is also known as "The Village Shopping Center".  This is one branch of how it appears today.  Interestingly, my parents were visiting me in the Village Shopping Center as it appeared in the 1960s.

               I have no idea what this brief dream really means.  It is likely not to be about drama or plays, because I have one aunt in Heaven who was a successful British actress, and she would have been qualified to help with my task, and we are quite close, so I suspect, this is about something else with which I am having trouble.  I don't know what this is about, but the only message I get is, "We are behind you, and we would even rent or drive cars to come and see you, in order to help with the tasks you have left to do".  Perhaps all it was, is an encouragement. I will graciously receive encouragement in these times, any way I can get them !

Friday, July 27, 2012

Daniel, We Are All Still Here

                               (Photo at our farm, by our daughter, a professional illustrator and photographer, Copyright Krehb Fotographie, 2012. All rights reserved )
                This is a young doe and her twin fawns who visits the front yard of the farm rather regularly. She and her prancing fawns will actually come up to our windows periodically and look inside. This year, a fair number of does here have had twin fawns.

      This morning, we are reminded of how beautiful the world can seem from the farm.  This is the place that Daniel lived almost all of his time on Earth, except for his first two years or so, which he spent in a suburban home.   There is always something to notice and study here.  It's either a dust devil or a tornado, an earthquake,  or a group of wild turkeys, or a donkey which escaped from distant neighbors, a fox, or a coyote.
       Daniel, we are still here, remembering your time here, and watching the natural world, just as you did.  I somehow feel connected to you in continuing to see the animals who brought you so much joy. I would imagine Fawnie, the fawn who was orphaned here, is with you, or available to you to see now.    We miss you Dan, but we are still here, still remembering, still being who you knew us to be, and still holding on to you.

I remember that this was one of Daniel's favorite videos

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Sometimes, we only have a limited view of the things which happen in our lives. We can only see immediately beyond the door, with a limited view of the road outside this home, and we can't see all the way across the greenery to the ocean. We also have no idea from this picture, what else is going on before and after the area shown in the picture.  Life is just like this.  Much more happens in life than what we are able to see and to understand, and yet,  it goes according to His plan and not our own.

       I ran a few errands today.  I went to my allergists appointment in the city, a distance from here.   This was the last physician to examine Daniel before his passing, and I remember so clearly what an excellent job he did on that last visit.   Once again, there was nothing to indicate that anything was wrong with Daniel before his sudden passing, almost four years ago.   Todays visit was a pleasant doctors appointment, an awful lot like visiting an old friend.
               Daniel would not like our focusing on his passing at every turn.  Although he wouldn't want us to sit in a denial bubble pretending that it had never happened, he would want us to salvage what we could of life, and do the best we could to enjoy the time which remains for us on Earth.  He would be tickled pink that so many people around the world know of him, and of his journey to Earth and what happened here when he got here, and then got called home on an apparently urgent matter.  Daniel always had incredible wisdom, even from just under two, when he could talk.  Daniel would likely say that everyone on Earth is important to God and that all of us live in Biblical times, and that there is much to learn from every life that comes here to Earth.    Once again, I try to focus on his life, and that life we made afterward, and not the loss and the emptiness of having lost him so suddenly, and in such a seemingly unusual and almost magical way.
                We send love and best wishes to all of you today.  Those who are worried about challenges to come, those who are in the midst of challenges now, and those who are dealing with the aftermath of something.  Challenges of one type or another eventually reach us all.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Remembering Colorado in Prayer


Jessica Redfield was an aspiring journalist, sportscaster, and  sportswriter, and was known by this name professionally.  After narrowly avoiding last month's Toronto shooting, Jessica was killed yesterday in the Colorado Movie Theater Shooting. She is remembered as a loving and wonderful daughter and friend, who enjoyed every moment of her life to the fullest.   She was also  known as Jessica Ghawi.

      One of the things I remember most about Daniel was his compassion for all people, and for wide varieties of situations.   Our family, and I am sure Daniel and my father, would wish to send support, love and condolences to the families impacted by the Colorado Theater Shooting, in Aurora, which occurred yesterday.   Thus far, twelve people have been killed, and seventy people injured as a mentally ill former Phd student dressed as "The Joker" and opened fire on families who came to see the midnight matinee of the latest Batman film.     Although Colorado does have a concealed weapons permit, (CCL program), the theater was part of a "gun free zone" and therefore, there was no one capable of returning fire and limiting the attack.   Please pray for the families who have been impacted by this act.

<<      Heavenly Father,   please be with those who lost children, be they adults or small, and others, in the Colorado Movie Theater attack.   Please be with those who have been injured, and help those around them to say and do the best things in order to help them through such a difficult and frightening time.  Help them to feel your love and support as they meet some of the greatest challenges they will ever meet in this life. Please help them to feel our prayers.  In Jesus name we pray.   Amen. >>

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On Momentous Occasions

The occasion of our daughter's buying her first home has been momentous indeed.
   Following Daniel's unexpected passing, there have been many momentous occasions in which his absence was palpably felt.  I think the first was the Christmas just after his passing.  The second was our daughter's  graduation from the university.  It seemed so strange not only to have my Dad not present for this milestone, but to have Daniel missing from it as well.   In a way we "felt" their presence there. We noted two empty chairs just behind us in a full coliseum. I did photograph them, but the pictures strangely did not come out. There have been numerous occasions in the last almost four years in which this loss is palpably felt.  I try to focus on the kids and family members who ARE here in the flesh.
                    This week, at long last, our daughter closed on her first house. She is extremely fortunate to have found and been able to buy this nice rural home.  Daniel, if he were here on Earth would be over the moon about it.  He would love the pond, the forest, and the field.  He would love the new house itself and would want the guest room prepared for him so that he could stay over with her, especially the first few nights that she is there.
                    I went with our daughter to the closing at her attorneys office, and it was unusual in that it was incredibly smooth and easy, and was attended by the her realtor and the mortgage banker.  In a strange way, I felt not only Daniel there, but my Dad as well.  I would rather have both of them here, in the flesh, but I do understand, that each of them look in, and they know what is happening, just as I know that God is a fixture in all of our lives as well.

This is the type of room in which many real estate closings occur.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Visitors in the Heat

The only camera close by when I saw our wild turkey friends was my cellphone.  I snapped pictures, but the pink covering on my cell obscured part of them. This is the best pic I could find which resembles the larger group which visited yesterday.

       When you live on a farm you are closer to the routines of the Earth, and I think, perhaps closer to seeing that our place on the Earth is a fleeting one.  We are here for a short time, and hold a figurative baton for just a while, before passing it off to a successor, sometimes too quickly, I am afraid.   In nature, animals in a place do this too.   For a time, this farm was overrun with black bears. We made all types of adjustments so as not to encourage them here too much.   We moved hummingbird feeders from the porch to a hummingbird feeding station, we put out less birdseed at a time, and we cleared up dry dog food after feeding, as all of these things will attract a hungry black bear.  In time, all of the bears but one moved on.  Now, we rarely see a male yearling, and he tolerates us, as if we are landscape, and occupy a parallel dimension.   For a time we had the era of the rabbits, then the era of the blacksnakes, and last year, the era of the foxes.   We had multiple dens of different colored foxes at different locations in our forested farm.  We had mostly red,  some gray fox, and even a black one.   This year, a red one became aggressive to humans, and had to be shot.  Rabies can be a problem here also.  It is a rarity that we have to shoot something here, but it does happen.
           Yesterday, I think we began a new era.  The harbingers of this new era were three adult turkeys and their fifteen offspring who came to drink out of our eldest son's pond, before exploring another area of our forest.   I hope these creatures stay.   Lately, we have had quite the animal exodus here.   Many different types of animals who do not normally make the farm their home have come here lately.    Guineas and herons were the two most recent which come to mind.

This is what a wild turkey hatchling looks like.

           Yesterday, as I drove up to the farm from the feedstore, and then past the farm gate, I saw three adult wild turkeys, and counted fifteen babies, a bit older than hatchlings.   They has been drinking from our son's pond and were heading over to another area of the forest. In all the years we have been here, I don't think I have seen such a large group of wild turkeys together.  I hope they will stay here.

             The knowledge that this farm is a place where we are guests as much as we are owners, and that the animals come here to use the resources, is one of the things Daniel liked best about it. For a place in the middle of nowhere, there is always something to do, something to watch or something interesting to which to listen.

UPDATE:    May 6, 2013:

The turkeys have indeed stayed.  One of them was startled this week by the truck of the equine vet arrived.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reflections on Our Princess Getting her own Kingdom

      Our daughter is the eldest of our now five children.  She was born in the mid-eighties, and then her first brother was born a year later.  She has been very interesting to raise, in part because she is nothing like me.  I am verbal, and tended to do well in those types of pursuits, and I am not terribly good at spatial relations issues and mathematics has challenged me. I have a primarily auditory memory   Our daughter, is terribly gifted in art, spatial relations,mathematics and physics, and primarily relies on visual inputs to learn. Many parents might not know this about their children, but having homeschooled everyone, I am very aware of the learning styles of each of us.
            Now in her twenties, a university graduate with a good job,  it is time for her either to get an apartment, or to buy a home.  Living in a rural community and commuting a distance to her job and her clients, we don't have apartments here. Many young adults remain with their parents after college until they buy or build their own homes.  Some of them wait until marriage to buy.  A few rent apartments and share the rent with friends, but less so these days, because many young people have no idea whether their jobs will last as long as their lease.
             Our daughter decided that with interest rates low, and some house prices low, that this might be a good time to buy. Rather than buying a car after college, she kept her old one, and began to put away her money. She paid her student loans each month, but saved as much as she could.  We charged her a modest rent which we thought helpful in allowing her to save sufficiently to buy a home.
             The adventure in selecting a home and ultimately buying one, would make a good contemporary book. We are told so much about "How great the interest rates are" and "How it is a buyers market" that it's easy to forget that the process is almost never easy.   As we have mentioned, our area had a rather significant earthquake and many damaged houses which should probably be bulldozed, simply sit for sale on Multiple Listing Services. For some of these homes,  "As is" might as well mean,  "Home is a worthless hazard, value is in the land, and septic and well which are on the lot."  She might be pre-qualified to get a mortgage. She might be ready to tackle normal homeownership, but she is not ready to tackle a challenging job with the rebuilding of a decimated house !

This funny picture seemed somehow fitting.  Our daughter is moving her twenty something years of books, art supplies, bookcases, and everything else herself in multiple car trips, and it is likely to look a little bit like this.  In addition, the car in the picture is a Peugeot.  My first car was a Peugeot and I miss it.  Even the turbans on the heads of the men in the car is a giggle for us. As hot as it may be during her move, we may have to do the same thing.

             Each time a new home is listed, our realtor e-mails us information and pictures, and I do a quick drive by. I can rule out most homes for her. If there is any promise at all, I e-mail the data to Stephanie at work, and we arrange a showing of that property with her realtor.  Unfortunately, when something good does appear, Stephanie often cannot get away from work quickly enough to view it.  Sometimes she can go and see it, but while she is sleeping on the decision overnight, someone else puts a contract on it.  She has lost a couple of great houses this way, and the process gets frustrating fast.   We went on like this for about seven months.
             One day a couple of months ago, a house came to my e-mail.  I went out immediately to look, and it was charming.  I made an appointment for Stephanie to see it as soon as possible, and fortunately, her own schedule allowed this. My husband and I went with her, and after she looked at everything, she placed an offer on the house immediately, contingent upon a whole house inspection. The contract was accepted, and the journey toward homeownership began.
              In most first home purchases, there is plenty that can, and does go wrong.  Often, it is problems with the house inspection itself, and those surprises leave the prospective buyer wondering if they wish to buy or not, or the seller wondering if they wish to pay to repair the deficiencies.  Sometimes, the appraisal does not meet expectations.  In our daughters case, the snags were surprises.  The house turned out not to have any major deficiencies and the well and septic were in good shape. Anything that must be done there is purely cosmetic.  However, while her loan was in underwriting, the company changed their requirements and would not approve her loan.  This left her scrambling for a new loan company in time to meet anything approaching the contractual closing date.  Things looked bleak as the original company recommended a mortgage broker who specialized in "unusual cases".  Our daughter's was unusual in that she doesn't use credit much, and therefore has a limited track record on her credit report.  Finally, a company was located who would make this loan, and would keep it as an investment themselves, rather than selling the loan bundled with others immediately.
             It is a great house and I could not be happier.  It has a wonderful large yard of several acres. It has a pond. It is large enough to provide space for all her interests and projects, and even a roommate if she so chooses, but it is small enough to allow her to maintain it properly.  It is far away enough that we will not trip over one another, yet close enough that we can see one another when we need or wish to.
             I think I am supposed to be a little bit melancholy at the prospect of our only daughter moving out to her own house.  As much as I adore her, I am elated.  I know what my first home meant to me, and I am excited to see our Princess make the jump to her own kingdom.   Daniel would be really proud of her also.  In fact, he once said that when she moved out, he was going with her, in part to deep an eye on her, as a protective brother might, and in part because it would be an exciting and new experience for him.  In a sense, I wonder if his spirit will not only watch our farm, but her home as well.

For someone who doesn't yet have a house, our daughter certainly has enough stuff for one !

This is a prior post on this subject:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Different Kind of Independence Day

This is the American flag used following the attacks on the US, by the television program, "Jericho".

              Daniel loved Independence Day.  You can look back on our prior blog posts, which I have listed below,  for each Independence Day since his passing, and see my related memories of prior Independence Days with him, and a running total of how we have spent those holidays since Daniel's departure from Earth.  Daniel also believed in honesty,  and so I will have to provide some of that too, in his honor.

              This is likely to be a very different Independence Day from the others.  A bit more than one half of the Eastern portion of the United States, including Texas and all the way to Illinois, were hit by a series of storms and tornadoes about a week ago, and there has been severe grid damage.  It is so bad, that many offices in DC have been closed for the entire week and even crews from Ontario, Canada are here to help to restring once new poles are installed.   Our own utility company in Virginia says this is the worse damage in this state at any time since we had power. Also in Virginia, they have stopped repairing neighborhoods and are focusing on the grid portions which supply hospitals.  Nursing homes are simply being provided with generators by Virginia Dominion Power.   One of our insurance agents is living in his office this week, because it, at least, has power    The remaining Western parts of the United States range from troubled to engulfed by really serious wildfires.  These fires have burned thousands of acres and hundreds of homes.  These have been the worst fires in the history of Colorado.   So, because fire departments are stretched on both sides of the country, fireworks have been prohibited in many municipalities.

             This is also a difficult Independence Day for the United States for other reasons.     We are in the home stretch for at least the first term the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama.   During his tenure, Mr. Obama has done a great deal to dismantle Constitutional freedoms in the name of a nebulous "right thing to do".    He also managed to force through a Nationalized Health Plan which is neither defined, or possible to fund. It is also known to be opposed by most Americans, who wanted some access issues improved in health care, but did not wish a sledgehammer taken to US medical care.   Mr. Obama has also provided over the worst economic conditions in the United States since the first Great Depression of the nineteen thirties, and although he cannot be held responsible for all of it, he bears responsibility for the last four years of it.   His administration has funded the green energy products of companies who quickly went bankrupt, and took the invested funds of the American people with them.  He could not have run the country into the ditch better, if that were his clear intention.  He also has ruled using Emperor edicts, which he calls Executive Orders, which I have listed, one by one, several posts ago.   Certainly Mr. Obama is not the first president to use them, but he is the first president to use them so frequently while completely bypassing  Congress whenever possible.   We also have our US Attorney General Eric Holder held in contempt of Congress.  Also this week, we endured the Chief Justice John Roberts providing an opinion in which he did not strike down Obamacare as unconstitutional, despite the fact that almost every Constitutional scholar says that our government cannot force us to buy any goods or services whatsoever......not low fat mayonnaise, not health insurance, and not an American made car.   Yet, Justice Roberts did what he is never supposed to do, he folded like a cheap lawn chair to political pressure, likely from the White House, and pronounced Obamacare not as simply unconstitutional, but as a tax, something the Obama administration denies.

             The US Federal Reserve, which is a series of banks which helps to smooth the ebb and flow of the money supply in the US has lost its mind.  It prints money in order to head off an economic collapse, when all that "quantitative easing" is known to do is to fuel inflation.
               Corruption and ineptitude, greed and graft have reached all the way up to the the office of the President and his minions, to the "independent"  Federal Reserve banking system, and now to the Supreme Court,   Please pray daily for our nation and its people.   It appears that we are not much better off than the people of the television series Jericho.   The future for our nation, and our freedoms is bleak, the leaders have their own peculiar agenda, and the people, many of whom are handicapped by an abyssmal educational system, are afraid to write to them.  Many of the  young people seek diversions and watch celebrities on television instead.

    We have some fireworks here. We are expecting a storm tonight, but after the rain, we may let a few off, and watch them very carefully.  I wonder where I can get the Jericho-styled flag ?   Perhaps following all the internal attacks to our government and our way of life, this is the correct flag after all.

Our prior posts for Independence Day: