Thursday, December 08, 2005

Good News, Bad News…

Did you ever notice, you get that ‘kiss/kick’ treatment from life, that you’ll get really good news, either right before, or right after really bad news?

It seems to happen to me on a fairly regular basis.

Let’s take Tuesday for example.

I worked from home on Tuesday, or “TeleCommuted” to use the popular term. I was having a very productive morning (which serves to put me in a good mood) when I got an email from my project manager telling my contract has been renewed through June of 2006, and that renewal through December of 2006 is a near certainty.

My day was just getting better by the minute!

The next email was from my sister Kathy, and it let all the wind out of my sails the instant I read it.

Mom was taken to the Hospital again early Tuesday morning. Once again in heart distress, once again with fluid build up in her lungs and placing pressure on her heart.

While I wanted to celebrate the contract renewal, and be happy, it was just not possible with her on my mind, the way she was, all day.

The folks at work have been great though. The next two weeks are ‘crunch time’ as the annual reissues of all of the publications I work with are due. When I told my project manager about my Mom, and assured her I’d find a way to get the reissues done, even if I had to do them remotely, she said, and I quote: “Family comes first, the reissues can wait if they need to.”

I can not recall a time when I’ve had a better manager to work for, or a better company overall.

That doesn’t change the fact that I’m not sure what to do about Mom, she doesn’t seem to think me being there is all that important, Andy and my sister think there’s not much I could really be doing anyway. I know I’d ‘feel’ better if I was there, but, I also know I’d ‘hover’ and she probably needs to rest without me ‘hovering’.

I’ve got someone who’s able to check out the credentials of her Doctors, I call her everyday, and talk with Kathy or Andy everyday… If she gets at all worse, I know I’ll head up there, but, for now, as long as she continues to get good care, and is improving, I’ll hold off “pointing the car North”.

Then Tuesday night I had a great chat with my friend and business associate Rick. We’ve sketched out our ‘game plan’ for the website(s) revamp, and moving to data driven web publishing, as opposed to static web pages.

Interestingly, a true ‘dynamic’ site, does not get properly searched and indexed by the search engine (Google, Yahoo etc..) crawlers. Our idea will keep the site constantly updated, all the pages refreshed and the ‘last changed’ date as current as the last page view.

I’ve got another “web guy” I know in England who has offered to help with the layout(s) and testing, in return for some help I’ve given him, which is way cool as I like what work of his I have seen, and our conversations about the direction of web development are definitely in line.

Rick brings ‘big site’ experience to the table, as he’s on the design/development team for a large online retailer. Me, well my main claim to fame has always been data, storing it, retrieving it and making sense of it.

Between the three of us, I’ve got high hopes for what we can accomplish.

On Wednesday I got a call about two, potentially very big projects that fall right in line with the talk Rick and I had on Tuesday night. The universe giving me a kiss again, the kick came when I got home and called the hospital, they’re doing that cardiac cath on Thursday. The cardiologist decided that something is going on, and he’s not willing to “not know exactly what” any longer.

I suppose it’s a good thing, I had one 6 years ago, and it was a fairly simple (from my end) procedure, no pain, and fairly interesting to watch on the monitor. I’m just worried that this is more serious than any of us has been willing to accept up until now.

Despite being excited though, about the professional possibilities, it’s all being run through the “crisis” filter, and will continue to be, until Mom’s out of the woods and gets a clean bill of health! I do wonder sometimes if it’s just me, or does this kind of ‘kick/kiss’ thing happen to everyone?

Just when I thought the cycle might be over, I had one more of those ‘kick/kiss’ days today.

Today was the start of the annual reissue of the industry publications I’m in charge of producing. Now, I’m not the only person involved, but the application I’ve been working on produces the documents that go to the printers and become the books.

Last year it took us about three days to get through the process. Today, it took about 4 hours, from start to initial approval. Definitely the shortest amount of time they’d ever been produced in. So, from a professional standpoint, I was feeling pretty good at the end of the day.

When I got home tonight, I called the hospital to check on Mom; see how the cardiac cath went, what the findings were and how she’s doing. She came through the procedure very well, but, they discovered that her mitral valve is leaking very badly and they’re talking about replacing it. That’s open heart surgery, and I’m not sure how I’m handling that news.

On one hand 30 or 40 years ago, they probably wouldn’t have even been able to attempt it so I’m happy there’s something they can do, on the other, I’m just very worried about her. I guess we’re never to old to worry about ‘Mom’.

If it happens to you, is it a rare thing, or what happens most often?

I usually get the kick first… as in “you’re no longer needed on this project” … which is then (thankfully) usually followed by a call where I’m asked “Would you be interested in a project that…” … Kick/kiss… this was a little different, for me anyway where I got the kiss first, (contract extension) then the kick (Mom’s in the hospital), then as a little added bonus another little kiss (Rick and I being in agreement on our direction)….another kick, Mom needing the cardiac cath… a kiss with the two project leads… another kiss when the reissue ran flawlessly… and a big kick finding out she’s going to need surgery….

I guess if I was to put on my ‘Zen’ hat I’d have to say that Mom “only” being in the hospital wasn’t a kick at all, but a kiss as it certainly could have been worse.

So tell me, what do you think? Kick or Kiss? Does this happen to you…

Oh.. and before I forget it… there will be another code post, probably either tomorrow or Saturday… You’ve been warned!

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Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

You are right - - you NEVER get too old to worry about your Mom.

I know what you are going through - - my Mom was very ill, and in and out of hospitals the last few years of her life. It was tough, and I made a lot of trips down home to see her and "hover" a bit - -

At least you have family members to help you out, which I did not, being an only child. Thankfully, I only lived about 35 miles away and could get there quickly if needed.

Your Mom is in my thoughts and prayers, as are you and the rest of your family. Be sure to keep us all posted on how she is doing.

(Dizzy Ms. Lizzy)

Bill said...

Liz - Thanks... Now that I know surgery is in the cards, I'll be 'pointing the car North' for the 800 mile trip pretty soon.

There's not much I can do for her before, or during, but like with her other surgeries, I'll be there when she comes out of recovery!

Thanks also for your thoughts and prayers, I do (and she does) appreciate them!

Jada's Gigi said...

I think this mountain/valley experience is just life being life. We have 3 kids and just when we think they are all settled and we can breathe....up pops a problem...usually serious. Or finances...just when we think we're making,headway...boom...somthing big like a new roof or a car dies...its never ending from the big stuff to the little stuff. I'd say...normal
I'll pray for your mom and your family.

Firehawk said...


Worrying about relatives (in my case, Dad) who are in the hospital or sick over the long haul can be really tough. We thought we were going to lose my dad (for the, oh, 5th time since '94) last Christmas. It was a bad time, but he pulled through. I hope your mom is going to do the same.

As far as the kiss/kick thing...I always feel that, when things look like they're going really badly, something comes around that helps you get along and not "crash". I guess I've always been a believer in that little bit of providence, since it always seems to come through for me.

Bill said...

Gigi - I think you're right... I have been wondering lately though!

It's the whole yin/yang thing, no good without bad, up without down... I could stand an extended 'up cycle' though!

Firehawk - Thanks bro... I know you've been there. At the moment I'm just waiting on info re: the surgery, if, when etc... then I can make plans.

re:kiss/kick... yep, my experience too... never too much good, or bad, in a row... a mix to keep us from flying too high, or too low, for too long... balance I guess.

No_Newz said...

Oh man! I'm sorry. Yeah, I get the kiss/kicks all the time. Life is like that. Kicks are supposed to make us be thankful for the kisses I guess.
Have you made a decision about going to see your mom? You seem to have a great and understanding boss. That is another kiss.
Good thoughts and prayers for your mom.
Have a great weekend!
Lois Lane
P.S. thanks for the warning of the next post. ;) (puts thinking cap on)

Bill said...

Lois - Thanks... I (we) appreciate all the thoughts and prayers!!

My project manager on this gig is 'off the hook' as managers go... She's concerned about one thing and that is that the work gets done, on time, and on budget. However, she's also very compassionate, when it's called for.

Thankful for the Kisses, or... the kisses make us hate the kicks a little less?

You have a great weekend too!

Spirit Of Owl said...

Hey Bill, first of all I'm really pulling for your mum, here. I can't imagine really how torn you must feel, being so far away and all.

When it comes to the ups and downs of life, well, you probably know enough about me by now to know what I make of that. In my darker moments, I probably think I've had more than my share of kicks.

But, very recently, a hand has been offered in help that I could never have expected. Faith in humanity, and a return to hope, can come at what seem the worst moments of all.

I'm not a man with of faith, so I can't offer you prayers. But my thoughts are certainly with you and your family, hoping for the best.

Bill said...

Spirit - Thanks bro... I am torn, but I'll be headed North soon.

Thoughts are as good as prayers my friend, really they are!

Some interesting things happened here today, I'll drop you an email tomorrow with some details.

Ilene said...

Go Bill, You won't be sorry. I know your heart wants too.

About the kiss/kick thing - I guess it's called balance.

I am thinking of you sending good energy to you and your Mom.


Beth said...

My father passed away this year and I think my mother is wanting to join him. I have a completely different view of life and death. I don't want to hold on to my parents. I want them to go when they're time is up and no hospital/pill to prevent it.

Bill said...

Ilene - Thanks, you're right of course and I always try to follow my heart.

Thanks for the energy, we can all use it right about now.

It is, after all, always about balance isn't it?

Beth - Believe it or not, I feel very much the same way. I'm not ready to lose Mom yet as she's really a pretty vibrant woman (well up until this all happened).

If the surgery can give her back her quality of life, I'm all for it.

I wouldn't wish for one more day with her though, if it meant she had to suffer at all. I came to that sentiment after my Dad died. He had a great day, wasn't sick, went to sleep and never woke up.

It was hard on the rest of us, but, in the grand sceme of things I'm not sure it gets much better than that for the person dying.