March 31, 2005


Thanks to everybody who has sent flowers! You are all so nice!

I'd like to suggest that others might want to wait a bit. She is in ICU and there are no flowers allowed in her room. She has a nice group on the nurses' station outside and I took the liberty of putting some in the ICU waiting room.

For now, maybe it's best to wait until she is moved out of ICU (~2-3 weeks).I'd also like to figure out a way to direct gifts somehow to the nursing staff the amazing, incredible nursing staff. If anybody has any good ideas, let me know.

You're an amazing group of friends -- thanks everybody or all the kindness toward both me and Riza.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:34 PM

Sleeping Peacefully

Riza is sleeping peacefully after a good and quiet day. Her temp is up a little(100.0 when I left) but they are managing it. She is back on the cooling blanket but she has a light blanket on top and doesn't seem to be shivering.

All other signs are looking very good. It's a waiting game and stable is good.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:14 PM

Yard Sale

I hope you won't find this macabre, but I am a pragmatic person.

Riza has been talking about moving to a smaller place. She thought, in five years, that we might look for a place with fewer floors.

Today I was thinking it likely that we might move much sooner, and I thought that I would start preparing. I wish to sell our bicycles and her scooter, and at least half the guitars.

If anybody know somebody who would like this jewel, it is a Malaguti Yesterday, 49cc so you don't need a license, less than 100 miles.

I will take some pictures of the bikes this weekend but I have two nice Cannondale mountain bikes with front shocks, one in Riza's size and one my size.

The guitars will probably go through Wildwood but if you've fallen in love with any of them, let me know.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:10 PM | Comments (4)

Rolling Through Day Four...

Our patient seems to be doing well. Some concern for temperature. Like so many things, it is a balancing act. Blood pressure can't be too high but can't be too low. Temperature should be low, but if they manage it with ice or a cooling blanket, it induces shivers which drive up her ICP (and sadden her husband, who has to watch...)

As was discussed in the meeting yesterday, this is a time of deterioration, and they are very happy to see her holding stable.

She looks good. Her swelling is down, and she is resting well. I did not speak to Dr. Nelson yet today if any new news develops, I will let you know!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:03 AM | Comments (2)

March 30, 2005


Pam, the head of training for the Neoro Nurses, gave a conference for the family to recap events, treatments, expectations, and answer questions. She is also a co-member of the State Stroke Task Force with Riza's brother, Mario.

The stroke was a large hemorrhage (in the basal ganglia, for those of you playing the home game) and she repeated amazement at how well Riza has recovered so far, and how well she has kept her abilities.

She thought that another two to three weeks in ICU was likely, then she can move to the neuro ward and begin more intensive physical and occupational therapy. Some have started already, and O.T. will test and work speech when she loses her breathing tube. That could be in a few days. All these predictions are, of course, subject to exigencies in her condition but it is good to see a map of sorts.

She will require extensive retraining and it will take some time to access her chances at full recovery. The area of the bleed is very important to both gross and fine motor skills, but may be far away from cognition, swallowing, and speech.

Interesting to note that many beliefs and practices have changed in the 12 years since her Mom had a stroke. The family had all lived through that and was warned that each case is different, and to be cautious of comparison. I am sure that is true but for me, Mom is the Gold Standard. She has bravely faced her challenges and has done very well.

EDUCATION TIME: look for stroke symptoms and call 911 right away. Everybody compliments me that I did it right, but this came so quickly and severely there wasn't a lot of choice. Also, direct the ambulance to a hospital with stroke protocols. I'll get some more information from Mario and post it here.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:14 PM

Good News / Bad News

That may be a standing headline for some time. But today the good news is better than the bad news is bad.

GOOD NEWS: CT-scan was good today. No new bleeding and the old stuff is dissipating. Swelling is down, and a left-right shift has receded.

BAD NEWS: She has pneumonia, which is extremely common. I guess if you pass out, you aspirate fluids into your lungs. Then if you get a breathing tube that doesn't allow you to cough it out, you get pneumonia.

So she'll be fine with the pneumonia, but it will require additional cleanings and manipulation of the breathing tube. And that is her least favorite activity (toothbrushing is up there...) Hubby hates to see her in discomfort.

More good news on comfort. Her temp is down and they have turned off a cooling blanket that made her shiver.

Long time left, but day four is starting out well. Doctor Nelson is still very optimistic.


Posted by John Kranz at 9:54 AM

March 29, 2005

Holding Her Own Through Day Three

Riza's nurse called her "our miracle girl" today. Riza would hate that sobriquet, but I loved it.

She was a little more sedated today as they added a small amount of morphine. Her Doctor just wants to be sure that she is comfortable and doesn't worry. I told Steven that I would bring in some stones records so that she could really enjoy it.

Good news from all the nurses, her Doc, and all the machines that monitor her. It was a tough day, when most patients show a lot of degradation yet Riza held her own.

There is a family conference at the hospital tomorrow (Wednesday) at 130 pm. The head of the Neuro nurses will summarize her condition and answer questions. Call me if you want to come, else I will summarize it here tomorrow night.

And one more thanks for all the kindness directed at me. You folks are great, and yes, I'm okay...

Posted by John Kranz at 9:13 PM | Comments (1)

Riza's Tatting

If I take over a tatting blog, I should dang well show a little tatting, huh?

Riza did this Celtic tatting last year. I was in Ireland and she took these pictures so she could show me.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:14 PM | Comments (1)

'Nother Good Day...

I hope you're not tired of the same old good news everyday but I had a good visit with Dr. Nelson today. He remains very pleased (her sodium is good, he was quite enthused by this). But she remains pretty responsive and she has shown a little more action on her right side.

Mostly, her basic health is pretty stable. Her nurses are trained to worry about a hundred things and she has kept in a good zone on most of them. Blood pressure not to low, not too high, temperature down but no shivering, ICP (I am guessing Internal Cranial Pressure) is the big worry and that has been good.

Doc said not to put too much on the old "third day" concern. He says we have to evenly worry about swelling for a couple of weeks, today is just a day. Her face is swollen a bit and he said that that will match, pari passu, her internal swelling.

Her big bandage is off, her room is reorganized and she looks good.

Did I mention the staff? I don't know how these folks do it, but they are amazing people. It's like watching a great pro hockey payer to watch these folks. They are purposeful, swift, they make amazing things look easy -- and they tend to be much more sympathetic than your average defenseman...

TECH NOTES: Hey, comments should be fixed! The page has a little picture with a password in it. Just type it in where it says "password." Seems stupid but it keeps the porn guys from spamming...

Posted by John Kranz at 9:44 AM | Comments (1)

March 28, 2005

Good Day

Riza's neurosurgeon just visited and she got very high marks for the day.

Her CT Scan is stable. Doc looks forward to its improving, but that normally takes time. Happily, it is not expanding, so stable is good.

I was pleased with a very peaceful day. She seemed so uncomfortable and restless yesterday. She denies being in any pain, but her breathing tube bothered her and they were shining lights in her eyes every hour. Today, the checkups are reduced, she has started some nutrition which has really helped her color and strength. She can grasp my hand VERY FIRMLY NOW -- it's great.

So, two good days and no I am not making up happy talk, it is going well.

Tomorrow is the dreaded third day, when most of swelling shows up. We're not out of the woods but neither I nor her surgeon dreamed we'd be where we are today.

Over & Out,

(Technical note -- oops, comments are broken, I will fix them soon)

Posted by John Kranz at 5:51 PM | Comments (2)

Monday looks good

Hey -- the Monday morning report is pretty good. She has some color back and some large motor skills on her right (bad) side.

Steve, her nurse last night, said she did very well. She responds to commands and nodded, no, there's no pain, but yes, she was restless. She hears verbal commands, she feels my holding her hand. And I hope I hope that she is sedated just enough to not be too discomforted.

Steve turned down her drugs last night and played a little Mozart. (I like this guy, He's a Navy nurse and served in the Philippines).

Posted by John Kranz at 10:09 AM

March 27, 2005

Neat Use For Blog

I am enjoying a casual browse through Riza's writings on this blog. Remembering some trips and some things she found interesting. Click on a monthly archive to the left.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:31 PM

A Good Easter for Riza

Sunday was a very good day for Riza.

After some very dark and serious news Saturday, my hope -- even an "up" guy like me, was narrow and brittle. Sunday, she surprised her neurosurgeon and her husband with some very good results and responses.

Her morning CT-Scan was pretty good. There is some more blood which might be left from the operation or new but it is not overwhelming. Riza recognized my voice when I walked in, opened her eyes, looked at me and picked up her hand (we are inveterate hand-holders). She can wiggle toes on her left side and squeeze my hand. (Hey, she's left handed!)

Doctors and nurses caution that many ups and downs lie ahead. But, taken as a slice in time, today was not only good, her Neurosurgeon said "he couldn't be happier," and that he never thought yesterday that she'd be this good today.

My hope ribbon widened considerably today. Many scary times lay ahead, but I will ignore medical device and thoroughly enjoy a good day today.

Lastly, thanks to all for genuine concern about me. I am okay and blown away by kindnesses shown me. My neighbors have been talking Skylark out in my absence. When I came home tonight, there was a plate of Easter Dinner in the 'fridge. Wow. Thanks to all. I know your offers are genuine and I will call if I need anything -- really.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:14 PM

The Luckiest Man in the World

It is not Lou Gerig, it is jk.

I have seen some looks and heard a few aloud comments about a supposed bad run of luck. My getting MS and Riza's stroke overwhelm folks. But let me remind everybody about my charmed life.

1) To be born in the late 20th Century, in America into a loving family is a pretty good head start. I did not have the Willa Cather life of my Grandparents or the smothering poverty, lack of opportunity and lack of freedom that many others have had to endure.

2) I met and married the right lady first time and at a young age. Whatever shakes down, I celebrate our life together.

3) I found, albeit through a circuitous route work that I enjoy and work lucrative enough to put a few very cool guitars in my closet.

Life is good. Tell somebody you love them today. That's a shallow and trite suggestion -- but it is right on!

Posted by John Kranz at 9:02 PM | Comments (1)