Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Catharsis, Of Sorts

Yeah, so I played the show last Friday, and I have to admit that things went well for the most part. We had a decent crowd, the room sounded great. You have to love a venue that's combo rock hall, BBQ joint, and bowling alley. The Big Lebowski approves.

Anyway, I know we showed a bit of rust (especially that suck ass bass player), but the energy level was high, and people seemed genuinely pleased with the performance. I suppose when we're rocking the fuck out that most of those little mistakes may not really reach the ears of individual audience members, unless it's glaring.

I managed to make it through the first seven songs of the set just fine, but then we played "Boy". This is a song our guitar player wrote that is particularly haunting and sad, and about fear and death. Not to mention the bass carries the melody, and about 80% of the tune, musically. Well, I asked for us to play that song, because the lyrics hit home with particular impact these days. We rehearsed pre-show, and I started crying towards the end of the song.

Wouldn't you know it, about halfway through "Boy" on state, I pretty much began sobbing uncontrollably, thinking about my Good Doctor Mondo, now in the ICU bed for a full month. It hurts just typing that last bit. Anyway, it was pretty brutal, but I somehow got through it and only donked a couple notes of the melody. Of course, we still have three more songs to play after that point, and I was pretty ragged the rest of the night, but I (and we) got through it. Cathartic...yes, it was. I think I *need* to do this band thing during our difficult process right now.

The Good Doctor's mother is back in town and staying for...ever? Certainly through the next six weeks of so.

Okay, happier stuff...I made TWO final tables on the same day a couple days ago. One in a Bodog $30 NLHE, and one in a $5r LO8 tourney. Yep, you read that right...a Limit Omaha 8 that is also a rebuy. Head asplode. Naturally, I didn't finish better than 7th in either event, but a final table is a final table, especially when it feels like forever since you got there.

Carry on.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What Does Go On

Here we are, seemingly where we were an eternity the ICU, the Good Doctor Mondo hooked up like nobody's business. Time, while it passes eternal, seems like both an instant and an eon, even at the same time.

Today is her 26th day in the hospital, 24rd day in intensive care, and 22nd on a ventilator in a coma. And in some ways, nothing has changed. But she's resting in peace under the same sedative that killed the wacked out gloved on. Amazing how that stuff works under proper medical supervision.

Tonight I rejoin the band for the first time in a month. I'm not sure if I feel like it, or if I'll even make it through the show without breaking down from emotion or exhaustion. But everyone, from our families, to the medical staff, have urged me to do it. So I'm going to try.

What does suck is firm informed me that they're no longer paying me until I come back. On an intellectual level, I 100% completely understand this. I mean, I haven't worked in the last...three or so weeks, I guess. I can't remember my last billable hour. But it sucks just the same, especially as a couple of the lawyers suggested this wouldn't happen. But I can't really complain, it is what it is, even if it makes me think it's "just another law firm" and not the "award winning best place to work in Denver". I'm just venting, really. They already paid me 64 hours in the paid-time-off hole. Fortunately, we've got a bit put away so I don't think we'll have to put the house up for sale and max the credit cards any time real soon.

If I can share one piece of wisdom, it is this. Don't just not take each other for granted, but remember to not take for granted all of the little moments you share with your loved ones, from the most mundane to the most significant. Because, in the end, they are all significant and equally important.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, July 13, 2009

And Now, Recovery?

The Good Doctor Mondo has finally had her tracheotomy this morning, and she is out of surgery and back in her room. Much like my only poker bankroll, she is deeply sedated but relatively comfortable.

And now, we wait.

I've been told that events, such as the pace of reducing levels of sedation will be directly proportional to her ability to improve her lungs and oxygen saturation. I've been told any real significant improvement will still be slow, and I have no expectation that she'll even be out of ICU for another week or two.

But I actually got to give her a wee kiss on her lips! I'll say this much...surgical tape residue tastes like crap.

But the Good Doctor Mondo has never looked more beautiful to me.

Oh, brief poker comment to make this blog relevant, and the most minor of brags. That JokerStars $4.40 LHE event I final tabled last week? I've now played it three times over the last week and cashed...three times. Sample size, I know, but I seem to be getting a handle on when to be aggressive, and who I can push around, at this level. We'll see...when the Good Doctor awakes, I'm likely to be off of poker for quite some time, so I may play more limit today.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Opposite of Awesomeness

Thanks, doc. Thanks to your unfathomably stoopid donkeyfucker absentmindedness, the Good Doctor Mondo's tracheotomy has had to been postponed to 8am Monday morning.


Because as her surgeon, it was your job to ocommunicate to the nurses to stop her blood thinners 24 hours prior to surgery.

At least you had the good sense to not actually go through with the operation today.

And Yet, A Diversion

Over the last week or so, the longer this medical drama has gone on, certain nurses and social workers here have been urging me to do the kinds of things I would normally do to reduce stress. I've already missed two gigs with New Ben Franklins thus far, and numerous rehearsals. And that's not about to change because I'm not going 35 miles down to Denver while my baby is up here in a medical coma. I'm just not.

The band's been wonderful about this, and after two shows sans bass, it appears one of my nearest and dearest friends is going to stand in for me at our next show or two, but I digress.

In order to relax while sitting in her room overnight, I've actually begun to play some poker again. Mostly to give myself some relief from all the constant phone calls and text messages to answer, and part because I can't sleep. Since she's under heavier sedation now, while I will never leave her...the immutable fact is, she probably isn't even aware of my presence.

Anyway, I've managed to play some, and for the most part there is nothing to report.

But I did make what I believe to be my first final table in a LHE event, a $4.40 $1k guarantee on Stars. Amazing. I won something like 22 of my first 24 showdowns. Then I lost when my flopped set of queens went down to runner runner aces, and from then, it was a case of hanging on. Went out 7th of about 970 runners. And then barely slept.

I have to admit it was a good distraction, and there may be a bit more of that to come.

I want to thank everyone in this poker bloggiverse for all of their thoughts, well wishes, healing vibes, prayers, what have you. It has to be helping, it just has to.

Brief Update

It's now been just over two weeks since the Good Doctor Mondo was intubated, and to date, her progress has been interminably slow. In fact, she's pretty much as she was over a week ago. But there are some signs of improvement, and some signs that she may be beginning to give up some of this fluid in her lungs.

However, we're running into territory where keeping her on the ventilator risks possible serious, permanent damage to her mouth, throat, and vocal cords. As such, the doctors will be performing a tracheotomy in a few hours. The hope is that once they can lift her from the sedation she's been under all this time (because she'll no longer be on the vent), that she may actually be able to begin to recover.

Be well.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Just A Mere Side Story

The Good Doctor Mondo continues to battle and give it all she's got. Unfortunately, the end result of the last couple of days is that she's still pretty much where she was last Friday, which sucks. Hard. But I take comfort in knowing that's still a lot better than she was doing a week previous.

Anyway, I'd remembered I wanted to post a tiny bit about our Alaskan cruise, specifically, the casino action.

Yer boy Mondo won a tourney on the boat. Boy howdy, a single table tourney with $30 buy-in for a big pile of $175, woohoo! But for those itching to play on the boat, I offer one word of advice...don't.

Honestly, I've never seen a worse structure in my life. 2000 starting chips. Blinds start at 50/100 (that's right, you start with 20 BB). Blinds double. Every. Fifteen. Minutes. That's right, by 30 minutes in, you're at 200/400 with tourists who wouldn't know a fold button if it were glowing red in front of them.

Of course, that didn't stop me from playing almost every tournament on the boat. Played five of the six tourneys. Top two paid, and that was my only cash. Normally, I'd end up raise/folding to a highly uncoordinated flop and shove at some point in the first orbit or two, and then lose my push'n'pray flips. Got two outed at least once. But had a blast all the same on the trip overall.

Oh yeah, played my first ever casino craps on the boat. Man, that game could lead to a bad end for me, even if I broke even there.

Now that I think about it, didn't I already tell this story? Fuck it, I needed the distraction given current events...

Be well all, and remember those that truly matter, because none of this side shit does.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

And Now Comes the Tough Part

Happy 4th of July to all, especially all you firecrackin-poppin' 'mericans out there. Try not to lose a couple of fingers this year, okay?

Today is the 4th of July...

...the Good Doctor Mondo's 11th day in intensive care...

...the Good Doctor Mondo's 13th day in the hospital...

...the Good Doctor Mondo's 9th day on intubation/ventilator, and...

...the Good Doctor Mondo's 2nd day of relative awareness.

This is truly where it becomes difficult, for her and for me. For her, under a lighter load of sedation, she no longer has the luxury of going back under and losing her ongoing memories of this terrible experience. This is something she's going to begin to carry with her, going forward. When the nurses come to futz with her positioning, suction her mouth and the vent tubes, etc., not only is she going to remain exceedingly uncomfortable...she is going to be cognizant of it happening, and quite possibly remembering significant parts of it, too.

For myself, this is the most difficult part to watch. In fact, seeing her at this level of physical anxiety and stress is pretty much the worst thing I've had to witness since the last minutes before they intubated her last Friday.

The pace of recovery of the human body can be a fascinating, and yet frustrating, thing. My wife was simply so close to dying, that her body is taking an extremely long time to recover. While the pneumonia takes up less of her lungs, it is still there. At the most base levels of exertion (e.g., the nurses adjusting her positioning in bed), her oxygenation levels drop pretty fast. The positive is that her recovery time after each such episode seems to be decreasing...and that is the most tangible sign that she is improving.

The positive upshot of this is what leads the doctors to want to back off the sedation. That is, she's doing better. Not much better, but better. It finally took until a couple days ago for me to reach the point where I just knew my wife was going to live through this ordeal. And she will. But her road remains unfathomably long and hard. By all accounts, she's really not close to being able to be removed from the ventilator, and not close at all to leaving intensive care. So the vigil continues. And after that, all the vague hints I get from the medical staff are that it may even be a matter of a couple of months before my darling can come home. There's talk of telemetry wards, assisted care rehab centers, etc., but nobody's really telling me anything.

Sometimes, I wonder how we're going to cope. Her university and my employer have been wonderful thus far. But then, she's largely on a summer break, and my cases have slowed down, so we're not really missed yet. However, I have no idea what the future holds.

All I can hope is that this is not a mirage, and that my baby *is* getting better. I will be here for her no matter how long it takes.

In other news, one of our favorite distaff lawyers appears to have survived Day 1A of the Main Event with a fair bit more than double starting chips (or at least was there with 90 minutes to go). Go LJ!!!

I bought a small piece of her ME action last year and sadly saw her get outdrawn on and roached. Unfortunately, I wasn't really focusing on things, given my wife's issues right now, and missed out on my chance to back a strong player whose already barely missed one final table this year. I hope you guys out there didn't miss your chance. This may be LJ's year, and I'll say this much...she'd make the November Nine a heckuva lot more fun than Kelly Kim.

Oh, and Go Rockies!