Friday, January 9, 2009

"13-0" It's not a quest....it's just what we do!


Congratulations to the 13-0 University of Utah Utes who just completed the only perfect season this year in major college football.
The UTES finished off the season, first, with an old fashioned fanny kicking of byu, 48-24 back on November 22. They intercepted Max Hall five times and recovered a

fumble for six turnovers. The outcome of the game put byu in third place in the conference, sending them for the fourth year in a row to the Las Vegas Bowl and its $1 million per team payoff. Go Cougars. (btw, they lost 31-21 to the 8-5 Arizona Wildcats.)
The victory made the the then 12-0 UTES the undisputed MWC Champions and assured them for the second time in five years, a berth in one of the BIG bowl games run by the evil bcs and its $18 million per team payoff. Unfortunately, being one of the great "unwashed," the UTES get to share their money with the five other non-qualifying conferences. After they pay their expenses, they should clear about $1.4 million. byu will even get between $300,000 and $400,000. (You're welcome cougars, glad we can be of help.)
UTAH is the first team from a confere
nce without an automatic bcs bid to play in one of the five bcs games two times, winning both times.
On Sunday, December 7th, it was announced that the UTES would be playing Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2nd, 2009. The UTES were put as a 9-10 point underdog, with one poll indicating that 89% of Americans thought that the Crimson Tide would beat us and beat us badly.
Come Januar
y 2nd, the nation and all of the sports experts were shocked when a determined UTAH team took the field in the Louisiana Superdome and handily beat the 4th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, a team that had been ranked #1 in the country for five weeks during the regular season.
It was said that UTAH couldn't keep up with the size and "southern speed" of a team from the SEC. Before the game was even eleven minutes old, the score was 21-0 for the UTES. They out hustled, out muscled and just plain out played Alabama, winning the game 31-17.
The win made the UTES the only undefeated
team left in the 11 major football conferences. Many thought that they should be national champions, but NOOOOOO... not in the evil empire that is the bcs. Oklahoma and Florida, both with one loss were picked by the computers and pollsters as the #1 and #2 teams in the land and given the opportunity to play in the bcs championship game. Florida went on to win the game and were declared the national champions of football. The UTES finished ranked #2 in the AP poll and #4 in the USA Today Coaches poll, behind Florida, USC and Texas, all one loss teams.
Division 1 college football is the ONLY co
llege sport in America that is not decided by a playoff system or competition. The UTES may not have been able to beat some of those other teams, but we sure would have like the opportunity to try.

GO UTES!!!


it's not a quest....it's just what we do















Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sleep-over at G and G's

G and G (grandma and grandpa) had a fun, if not crazy experience this weekend with the grandkids. Due to sickness (Riley), living in Colorado (Kathryn and Reese) and Arizona (Caden and Drake) only five of the little cuties were able to attend. Moms and Dads WERE NOT INVITED. We had to literally kick some of them out when they continued to just hang around. Talk about stifling the fun!

So, for your viewing enjoyment, here is a photo record of the big time.

Receiving instructions from "Boss G"

Dinner. Yummy Cheese and Pepperoni Pizza, breadsticks and 7-Up!!
You might notice in the preceding photo that there is a PARENT still there. She was politely asked to vacate the premises.

YUMMM! Breadsticks!!!
Movie Time!! Arthur's Perfect Christmas and Shrek The Halls


Making and decorating cookies

After movies, cookies, yummy pizza and general over-all FUN, "Helper G" was sent upstairs to help Caleb go to sleep. "BOSS G" and the rest of the kids worked on cool Santa hats in the basement. Then it was off to sleep. "Helper G" and Caleb were already having visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads upstairs. Here is the result of the late night craftiness.
Now it was off down the street to the church and our ward Christmas Brunch. Yes, we walked.
Here's some pictures from the brunch
It was a fun time. We hope the kids had a good time. They were great. We sure did miss the five who couldn't come. After all is said and done, "Boss G" and "Helper G" just have this to say, We love you all, but don't call us, we'll call you, at least for a couple of days. We need to recuperate.







Friday, November 28, 2008

What happens in Vegas....Don't worry, NOTHING HAPPENED!!!

We visited Las Vegas two weeks ago with son Spencer and his wife Amy.  We  had a great time. We ate way too much at some fantastic restaurants (Asian, Italian, French, MGM Grand food court).  We saw three great shows which included:

"PHANTOM"

"Phantom" was great.  The theater at the Venetian was constructed specifically for the production and gave you the feeling that you were "IN" a 19th century Paris opera house.  The special effects and pyrotechnics were fantastic.  The guy who played Phantom was good, but when you have listened to Michael Crawford do it for so many years, it's hard not to make comparisons.  Great production.

"BLUE MAN GROUP"

The highlight of the trip.  Absolutely amazing!  An hour and a half of noise, energy, excitement, and laugh-out-loud fun.  These guys are something else.  This show is totally entertaining and we would recommend it to anyone.  They do things with Twinkies and Cap'n Crunch that are just WRONG!!  Save up and go see BMG!

Afterwards, on the way out, who was in the the lobby?  One of the blue guys who graciously posed with one of his new fans!!! 


"O"

WOW!  Pretty amazing.  It's like a circus at the local pool.  It's really something to see what they can do to put on a "circus" in a pool of water.  Great fun and fantastic performances.

We had a great time.  Thanks to Spencer and Amy.  The food was great (although maybe too much), the hotel was fantastic and the shows were amaaaazing!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

AFFLICTION or BLESSING?

We've been taught throughout our lives that hidden among the many afflictions we are required to endure, come many of the most choice blessings from our Heavenly Father.  As a family, this past year has brought its fair share of trying times as well as many great blessings.

When I started my journey with chemotherapy a year ago, one of the side effects I was told I might expect was mouth sores.  Even though it hasn't been a constant thing, I have had experience with mouth sores.  Usually in the form of canker sores, I even had one bout with a couple of sores in the middle of my tongue that were determined to be a form of herpes. The medicine prescribed,  famcyclovir, is a commonly prescribed treatment for genital herpes!! 

I was confident that when the chemo was completed this past May that even though limited in occurences, I wouldn't be having anymore treatment related mouth sores. WRONG!!  Just a few weeks after treatment was completed, I had a couple of cankers that got pretty bad just inside my lower lip.  In about a week they ran their course and went away.

Then all h--- broke loose.  Just as the previous ones were finishing healing, what  started as a sore when I bit my lip while chewing, developed into something more.

Editor's note:
PARENTAL GUIDANCE RECOMMENDED
images may be to intense for
 small children or those with queasy stomachs

This sore started small while I was away on business and got larger as the week went by. When it didn't get any better, Barry (my brother the dentist) suggested that he might have an application that might help it. On Monday the 14th I went and saw him.  He immediately determined that he couldn't do anything to help it, but was concerned about the amount of inflammation in my gums which he said was due to large amounts of bacteria in my mouth.  He did some minor cleaning (too much pain) and gave me some toothpaste and mouthwash that would help keep the bacteria levels down until I could get in and do a full cleaning.

That afternoon at the INSISTENCE of my wife, I called Dr. Shehadeh's office to see what they could do.  They told me that they could call in a prescription (famcyclovir) or I could come right in and they would look at it.  I chose to make a visit to the doctor.

After the usual blood draw for a CBC, I saw Mike Cole, the physician's assistant.  While talking with Mike, Dr. Shehadeh came in to look at it.  Mary brought in the lab results, and as they looked at them together, I heard an simultaneous GASP! from each of them.

AT THIS POINT THE AFFLICTION BEGAN TO MANIFEST ITSELF AS A BLESSING 

The blood tests showed my white blood count to be 0.8 and my neutrophil level at 0.2.  Both of these levels are in the critically low range.  The "low of normal" level for the WBC is 3.6.  My temperature at the time was normal.  With such a low white blood count, they decided to give me an injection of Neulasta which is used to spur the growth of white blood cells in chemotherapy patients.  The catch with this injection is that the cost is approximately &6,000. After getting insurance approval, I got the shot.  All of a sudden the monster mouth sore, even though it hurt like h---, wasn't much of a concern.  I was sent home with a couple of prescriptions and instructions to call immediately if I had a temperature above 100 degrees. By the time I got the prescriptions filled and got home, my temperature was 101.4.  I immediately called the doctor who told me to go to LDS Hospital where I would be admitted that night.
  
It turns out that my condition had become neutropenic.  

Quoting from www.tirgan.com, "There are various types of cells in the blood.  The lowering of the white blood cells that fight infections is known as NEUTROPENIA.  It is the most important complication of chemotherapy.  It is almost always due to impairment of bone marrow to produce cells and normally occurs a few days to a few week after chemotherapy.
It is most severe in patients who receive aggressive treatments.

The signs and symptoms of Neutropenia depend on its severity.  However, patients with even mild forms can develop major problems.  Even in the most severe cases, it may have no signs at all, or it may cause fever and infection.  A fever in patients who have received chemotherapy must be taken seriously, requiring a complete evaluation.  Taking Tylenol or aspirin will only mask the infection and should be avoided.

One technical term of which cancer patients should be aware is "Febrile Neutropenia," which refers to having a fever while the white blood cell count is low.  Fever indicates the presence of an infection, which, in most cases originates from germs and bacteria that reside in the intestines or skin.

Febrile Neutropenia is a medical emergency and must be dealt with immediately.  Any temperature over 100.5 should be reported to the medical oncologist immediately.  Hours and minutes are critical."

The web site goes on to say:

IF LEFT UNTREATED, THIS COMPLICATION MAY
BECOME FATAL WITHIN A MATTER OF HOURS 

I spent the next three days and four nights at LDS hospital, hooked up to an IV, sometimes getting as many as four antibiotics.  One night, my temperature started spiking so the doctor ordered a full blood culture and chest x-rays.  Fortunately, all of the tests done came back negative.  They were very concerned about new infections and particularly the onset of pneumonia.  As the treatments progressed, my WBC went from 0.8 on Monday to 1.9 on Friday, with the neutrophils going from 0.2 on Monday to 1.3 on Friday.  Neither level great yet, but rising and good enough to get me off the IV and home. By the way, my mouth still hurts like h---, but has turned the corner and is getting better.

You wouldn't normally think that intense mouth sores, four night hospital stays, $6,000.00 shots, blood draws, 24 hr/day IV's, high temperatures and the such would be considered a blessing.

I have been blessed. Blessed by the above. Blessed to have a loving wife, mother, children and grandchildren.  Blessed by medical technology that indeed saves lives.  Blessed to have great doctors and medical staff who really care and aren't afraid to show that they care.

Thanks, everyone for blessing mine and Sharon's lives.  We love and appreciate all that you are and do.

In closing and on a less serious note, here is what I look forward to every morning when getting ready for the day.



Thursday, July 3, 2008

Music, Back In "The Day"

We recently got a USB Turntable.  What is a USB Turntable? you ask.  Good question.  A USB Turntable allows you to play an album, with a USB connection to a computer and save it to an MP3 file, which can be listened to on the computer, ipod, MP3 or even saved on a CD.

Your next question may very well be "What is an album?"  Back in the day, when we wanted to have the music of our favorite artists and enjoy it at home, we purchased for about $5.00, an album, a 12" diameter piece of vinyl with grooves in it that you play on a phonograph.  They came in 45's (that's what they played on the radio)  which had one song on each side, and 33 rpm formats.  The 33 rpm or LPs had a whole album.                  

            800px-Vynil_record               Record Player

That's the way it was in back in the day.  Albums were eventually replaced by cassette tapes and then by CD's.

With the USB Turntable, it allows us to be able to enjoy once again all of the albums that we collected in the early days .  We have dozens that we have kept over the years and now can finally enjoy them again. (It's a good thing that I didn't store them at Grandma Packer's or they would now be in the landfill with my baseball card collection.)  Just kidding, Mom!!  (And yes, I still have issues regarding my baseball card collection)

Anyway, to get on with the story,  each album came in a cardboard cover, or jacket.  Inside the jacket, holding the album itself is a paper "sleeve" or dust cover that gives the album extra protection. 

While converting "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel, I came upon the following printed on the dust cover.  I thought you might find it interesting and probably amusing. 

Here's How Records Give You More Of What You Want!

  • The Best For Less.  Records give you top quality for less money than any other recording form.
  • They Allow Selectivity Of Songs And Tracks.  With records it's easy to pick out the songs you want to play, or to play again a particular song or side.  All you have to do is lift the tone arm and place it where you want it.  You can't do this as easily with anything but a phonograph record.
  • They're The Top Quality In Sound.  Long-playing phonograph records look the same now as when they were introduced in 1948, but there's a world of difference.  Countless refinements and developments have been made to perfect the long-playing record's technical excellence and insure the best in sound reproduction and quality available in recorded form.
  • They'll Give You Hours Of Continuous And Uninterrupted Listening Pleasure.  Just stack them up on your automatic changer and relax.
  • They're Attractive, Informative And Easy To Store.  Record albums are never out of place.  Because of the aesthetic appeal of the jacket design, they're beautifully at home in any living room or library.  They've also got important information on the backs--about the artists, about the performances or about the program.  And because they're flat and not bulky, you can store hundreds in a minimum of space and still see every title.
  • It It's In Recorded Form, You Know It'll Be Available On Records.  Everything's on long-playing records these days...your favorite artists, shows, comedy, movie sound tracks, concerts, drama, documented history, educational material...you name it.  This is not so with any other kind of recording.
  • They Make A Great Gift.  Everybody you know loves music.  And practically everyone owns a phonograph.  Records are a gift that says a lot to the person you're giving them to.  And they keep on remembering.

And Remember...It Always Happens First On Records

Ahhhh, the good old days.