Monday, September 29, 2014

Sarah's Birthday

Happy Birthday Sarah!
I took Sarah's Birthday (September 28) off from writing in my blog to spend extra time with her this weekend. Friday we went to Mystic Lake Casino for a great dinner and then a comedy show with her sister and her husband. The show was hilarious, way better than I personally had expected. After the show we ended up talking to the headlining comic and then we hooked up with him and one of the other comic's and met at the main bar for a couple drinks. It was very cool and we got a few pictures with them. And yes, they were funny off stage too :)
Saturday we went to our awesome friends' wedding reception in Somerset. Congratulations Glenn and Jayme! Your wedding was beautiful this winter but I'm glad your reception wasn't then too, little chilly, lol. It was a beautiful fall evening and everything looked great, so sorry we had to skip out early.
Sunday, her actual birthday we watched the Packers stomp da bears and then we went with her family for the afternoon. Good times. Couple drinks, some ruebens, some mini golf, and a little bit of the viqueens game booo, lol. Thanks ladies ;)
Happy Birthday Sarah, I love you!


Postal Carriers

Tonight Sarah and I went to Region's Hospital to visit a long time friend of hers who had been transferred there from Westfield's here in New Richmond. I'm not going to get to why her friend is in the hospital because it really isn't my place. However, being there, and more specifically being in the ICU brought back some memories that I'd mostly rather forget.
While sitting in her friends room, I heard a beeping noise coming from the room next door. I wasn't sure what the sound was, but it gave me an unsettling feeling. The sound came again and it flipped a switch somewhere in my brain but couldn't put a finger on to what it was. I heard it a again and Sarah had obviously heard it now and turned to me with this astounding look on her face. I'm like what is that, and she said that noise is from a ventilator, do you remember? Oh shit, I felt some anxiety, unsettled. I was on a ventilator for most of my time in Regions, about 6 weeks worth. The ventilator basically makes that weird beeping sound when the patient stops breathing, and then kicks up the oxygen to your lungs. It could be just a couple seconds, or many many seconds or more. I don't remember much about it but I do remember the noise and how I would need Sarah to come in to the room and she would calm me down enough to start breathing better and my oxygen count would get back closer to normal. She'd hold me hand, I don't remember seeing her face, but I could hear her words, and she would talk to me, calm me down however she could, and I could feel the air going back into my lungs. It would take much, much longer for the nurses to get my oxygen levels back to normal so I'd call for Sarah somehow and she would fix me up relatively quickly. When you don't have your breath, just a second or two seems like forever.
It was a little bit of an uncomfortable feeling being there. I know the visit wasn't about me, Sarah's friend is in rough shape, but it was still weird being there. Couldn't say I recognized too much, some familiarity but I suppose rooms would be similar, but we were in the same floor that I spent most of my time there on. I went to Regions and was moved from there to the U of M both times in an ambulance because of the rough shape I was in. The Doctor on duty today was the pulmonary Doctor I saw last week for my lung testing. The nurse, not sure where he was from, I'd guess Africa, reminded me of several of my nurses that I had. It is a little difficult to understand them speaking, and most times I couldn't speak anyway, but they understood what I was trying to say the best they could.

This brought me back to many other memories I had from my time in the hospitals. Sarah likes to refer to them as 'false memories' which makes sense in a way - most of them were false, whether because they were hallucinations or never happened, or that they were memories in how they were dreams, awake or asleep that continue to stay with me. In this case, from today's hospital visit, it reminded me of a nurse I thought I had. Most nurses I had would always introduce themselves when they started their shifts, even if I've had them before because I rarely remembered them, let alone their names anyway. One black male nurse in particular would always come up to my bed every time he entered my room, look over me and show me his ID card and would say his name. It was one of those hyphenated names that I probably couldn't pronounce anyway, but it was nice that he did that so I would hopefully remember. While I had several nurses, several male nurses and several black male nurses, and I could be wrong on this one in particular, but one of them I was sure was trying to get me drunk or stoned. Felt hungover every time I woke up so assumed he kept getting me drunk. At least he was giving me something enough to make me sleep. He'd say I needed my rest, would ask me what degree of pain I was in and would mix up whatever recipe for me and soon enough I'd be sleeping. It made me feel like shit, and I asked them to stop giving me so much of it. Told Sarah about it and she asked them to lower the dosage. I think it was called seroquel, which had a couple different purposes, and I believe one of which was to assist in me sleeping.
Ok, so most of you know my friend Robbie. He's a mailman in New Richmond. Oh, and he's black. Not that any of that matters, it's just part of the story. Well, 'Robbie' comes into my hospital room, not as a visitor, but as my nurse. Yeah, messed up lol. So I'm talking to him, best I can, asking him what the hell is he doing working here and why, if he's still delivering mail and where he lives now. Think he told me he needed a side job and lives in Woodbury so the drive wasn't bad. Good lord.. Well, for whatever reason, 'Robbie' sounded like he had a cold, real horse-like, which in turn, was just like my real life, hyphenated nurse's voice was. (Weird?)

Well I told Sarah about my new nurse the next day, and like I'm sure she had gotten used to by then says, "Mike, honey, Robbie is not a nurse." I'm like well he was last night! Yeah, guess not lol.
Well a few nights later I see 'Robbie' again in my room and I try talking to him, try shooting the shit, and he looks at me like this dude's messed up and keeps quiet and to himself, just continues cleaning the room up and whatnot. I'm thinking whatever, do your job, don't talk to patients, whatever blah-blah. Then I remember what Sarah told me and I get kind of pissy, is it true..? Well of course it's freaking true dumb-shit, of course Robbie is not my ICU nurse. Ugh, I did it again. Damn medicine - he got me too drunk!


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Saturday, September 27, 2014


I have held on to this story to myself for awhile now, besides telling my family, but I think it's about time I should get it off my chest.
While I was hospitalized, Ryan ended up getting sick, had strep, was treated quickly and recovered quickly. I think at some point I must have overheard that he was sick or in the clinic or whatever. Well I had some ongoing nightmares about him and me being sick. One sticks out the worst and it affected me for awhile because I didn't know what was what or where I was for much of my time there.
In my dream I was in this hospital, a very creepy-insane-like hospital, there was flashing lights going all over the place and my room was mainly dark with water dripping from the ceilings. My so-called doctor or nurse, whatever he was, was getting me ready to take me to the elevator to go down, way down. He was taking me to my death. I was too sick and they had tried everything and it was only a matter of time until I would die. (This was basically real case in my situation.) Apparently this nurse was in a hurry to send me to my death. I was in my hospital bed and I was tied down with restraints (also true for a period of time) and was unable to talk very well. I did my best to talk, trying to tell him that I wasn't ready to die and to keep me off the elevator.
I am getting nowhere and he starts to wheel me away. As I'm getting closer I notice some people in the neighboring room. It's Ryan. I can't tell who he is with but he is crying. The scared cry, the cry that you know he just wants to be hugged as much as I want to hug him. He isn't feeling well and I'm not sure why. I then notice my nurses' hands, in particular his finger nails, all ugly and torn and uncut so long that they are basically pointy. He seems me looking at my scared son, looks over to him too and then back at me and gives me the creepiest smirk I've ever seen. My heart drops, then boils. This creepy freak is my kids nurse too!? No freaking way, what the hell has he been doing to him, why is my boy still so sick?!
Now I'm fighting ten times harder trying to break free, trying to talk, trying anything to get someones attention. I don't care about my elevator ride, I just want my kid!
I can't move. Nothing is working. I'm in the elevator and the door closes. I start going down, I throw up, but I'm too weak to move and the vomit stays in my mouth, tastes terrible.
Dream is over.
So confused.
Wish I could forget this dream in my head.


More to come.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hallucination (1 of many)

I thought I saw several things and people many times during my time in the hospital that I never did. Strange feeling I tell ya, not knowing what's real or what's not. As time went by and I started weaning off some of my medications Sarah tried convincing me of some things that were factual or not. Had to of been hard on her, seeing her husband all messed up and barely able to move, trying to explain objects or people that were not there.
I think the first time I realized that I actually was seeing things is when I thought I saw my good buddy Bill W. Lets back up a while here first though... My parents had come to visit me most every day of course, and one day they decided to bring me a gift for my room. Well I'm not much into flowers so they, for whatever reason, decide to bring me a large sunflower plant. Not really sure why, but it seemed to fit the room, and later on we ended up taking it home and putting it in our front window. Anyway, back to my story about Bill. It was late at night, quiet, probably after midnight. I can't sleep at night like normal at this point in my stay and I'm sick of TV so I start looking around. I glance outside my door and thought I recognized somebody. Sure as shit it's big Bill. Cool. I could go for a late night visitor, why not. Well Bill is all secretive. I see him, I don't see him. I see him again, now I don't. Then he walks closer than hides. I'm thinking what the hell is he doing? Planning on sneaking up and scaring the he-beat-death motionless creepy looking guy in the bed or what? Anyway he keeps getting closer and then I don't see him. Hmm, ok I guess he didn't want to stay or got scared to visit or whatever. Then I look over at my big ass sunflower plant and sure as hell, my big friend Bill is peeking around from behind the plant, trying not to be seen. Ok I won't scare him or whatever so I stay quiet, not sure if I pretended to sleep or not, but just laid calm as could be waiting for his move, but he never did. I fell asleep at some point and in the morning he was gone. Later that day I started to realize something.. Wow, I'm messed up! Why the hell would someone come visit me after visiting hours at 1:00 in the morning and why would he hide from me behind a plant. Wow I feel stupid, kind of made me laugh though too.

I still peeked around looking at that plant at times to see if he was there anyway ;-)


Thursday, September 25, 2014


Over the past two weeks I've gone to Regions Hospital Specialty Center for additional testing on my brain and my lungs. Before I got sick my vital organs were in good shape. Obviously my lungs were in terrible condition with my Blasto, and during my time in the hospital some other organs began to wear down, but most of them fought back and functions started becoming normal again. Here are tests taken on the two concerned organs, brain & lungs....

(Sorry this could be boring)

CT Scan or CAT Scan
Computerized Tomography is a diagnostic examination using x-rays and computer analysis to view structures of your body (brain) that are not visible with regular x-rays.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a way of looking inside the body. Instead of x-rays, the MRI scanner uses magnets and radio waves to produce clear pictures of your head, spine, or other body parts. An MRI scanner consists of a strong magnet with a radio transmitter and receiver. These instruments gather the information from your body. An MRI scan produces soft-tissue images and is used to distinguish normal, healthy soft tissue from abnormal tissue. 
At times they will give the patient an IV with a dye in it to show specific parts of your body during the MRI scan. Can't wear any metal or have any coins or a belt and had to take off my wedding ring, which oddly enough I lost that same night. Anyway..

You lie down in this large capsule type machine and you are to stay as still as possible for up to an hour. I think mine took about 45 minutes. I had the IV dye when they did mine. Maybe cause I was lying down but after all the several dozens of times getting needles lately, this one kinda hurt lol. While your inside this MRI capsule they do all sorts of loud and obnoxious beating sounds. Not sure how someone much bigger than me could fit into it comfortably at all, I mean my shoulders and arms were snugly up against the inside walls. I could see how someone could feel claustrophobic inside there but I just closed my eyes and listened to the music they offered. I think the first time I actually fell asleep for awhile, which is probably when I moved and they had me come back for another test.

Pulmonary Function Test
This measures the air moving in and out of your lungs. The tests are used to evaluate whether you can breathe normally. Besides helping to diagnose lung disorders, the tests may be important in planning treatment.

During the test, you wear nose clips to prevent air from entering or leaving through your nose. (duh) You breathe through a special machine called a spirometer that records the amount, force, and pattern of your breathing. You sit inside this booth about the size of a phone booth. (do they have phone booths anymore?) The test takes up to an hour, depending on how results come out.

I did this pulmonary test at 7:30 AM and I couldn't have any caffeine before hand as well as several other no-can-does before hand that didn't really apply to me. So I sit in this phone booth with this spirometer thing in my face and the tech asks me to do all sorts of different breathing actions. I really started to get light headed and felt funny for a good couple of hours afterwards. In the doctors office after the test I was a little worried about the results, for one because I was dizzy and for two because I became very hoarse and couldn't talk very well. Ok, and for three, this pulmonary test was very important because this is why I got sick; this fungus got into my lungs and the rest is living history. 

My MRI a few weeks back resulted in findings of way more brain bleeds than originally thought. They found one in my brain during my time in the hospital, but the MRI here showed as many as 30. Wow!? The doctor told us that in the room that day and we just looked at each other speechless. That was a tough day. But we went back for a 2nd MRI and the results were great! Although I did have up to that many brain bleeds, they had stopped and were drying up or whatever the hell they do. Strange thought. But good day!

My pulmonary test was pretty good as well, the doctor said considering where your lung functions were, they look fantastic. Some of the test results were I inhaled or exhaled showed some weakness, but nothing to get concerned about and didn't need to schedule a follow up for a year. So great day! As a couple of my buddies joked after I originally got out of the hospital is something like, "well cheek is a fun-gi" - dorks.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Mike's Place

I'm sure most all of you know that this past business of me owning a bar was not my first adventure. As I mentioned in a previous post titled "Me" I bought Mike's Place 'On Skid Row' back in June of 2000, and moved across the street to the newly revised name of just simply "Mike's Place." I had each place give or take for 3 years and both places hold tremendous places in my heart (and mind) over the years. During the 6+ years of owning those bar(s) I had some really amazing times, but I also had my share of majorly bad moments.
To start off my new career I was super excited to get my business going at 24 years of age, but I was also unfamiliar with so many aspects of running a business like insurance, taxes, deciding on being a corporation or not, licensing and even payroll. I used whatever resources I could find to help get me started off in the right direction. I was happy with how that began, I mean I had really no schooling or experience on these aspects. In all actuality, the reason I wanted to own a bar was not to sit back and watch, but because I wanted to work when I wanted to, have a lot of fun, and obviously make money!
After only maybe a few weeks of being open I had a couple visitors at my front door, one was an officer who I had gotten to know in high school and had a nice relationship with, and the other was the new chief of police in New Richmond. My friendly officer said that the chief wanted to meet me, it made me feel kind of important, I mean what a great start to my business that I get to meet and shake hands with the new chief of police. Yeah, wrong feeling. As I reach out my hand to shake the chiefs', he ignores my gesture and tells me that he has his eye on me and this bar. Gulp, wtf!?!? Oh...ok, I understand I say. (Jerk) Needless to say that left a poor taste in my mouth, but I went along my business.
At "Skid Row" there were fights, break-ins, proposals and parties. I remember the time this guy came into the bar one night all upset saying he was going to kick all of our asses and asked us all to come outside to fight, well, most of us came outside, and the guy ended up walking up to me and punched me across the face. Hurt like hell, couldn't chew right for weeks. One of the bar regulars came out and basically said pick on someone your own size, so the guy went to his car and he threatened us with a gun, waving it from the car, but it turned out to be a large flashlight, we told him to get lost and he ended up leaving and getting arrested a block away and the cops found a gun in his car trunk anyway. Idiot. I remember theme parties; one where I hope to find the picture, of our mexican night where I was pretending to be passed out in the corner of the bar with my over-sized sombrero and half buttoned shirt while holding a bottle of corona in my hand. Hilarious. 70's Night where the biggest black Norwegian man in Polk County wore his fake afro. Hilarious. Can't forget that dancing on the bar to 'America Pie' became a tradition, as well as going back and forth with the back alley neighbor - The Old Saloon and doing shots on the weekends. I remember getting broke into twice, the first time being the worst - they broke, destroyed, stole anything they could. Alarm system went off but it was too late. It was horrible. I called the cops and they did nothing besides take a report. Nice. The perpetrators obviously used a crow bar trying to get into the foosball table, golden tee machine and dart boards. Lost my ass. Couple friends of mine said they were going to get me a crow bar for Christmas, which was kind of funny. The second time I got broke into wasn't as bad but they broke my damn front door. Pissed me off more so because I had to stop and find friends to fix the door, luckily that were among the same group of friends that were heading to Lambeau for the weekend! Jerks!

So only after being in business a few weeks, there had to be some major changes inside the bar, in particular cleaning, in like major cleaning, installing a security alarm, putting in a stereo system that my friend Don hooked up through the juke box as well as taking down a small partial wall that put a small area of division within the bar. Now I'm not going to bust some people here, but quite possibly some people used that area to hide from wives and some others to hide from customers. Hey, wasn't my place to start with! Not a bad idea but it was taken down anyway. LOL. A couple friends of mine took over some major cleaning chores including literally wiping ceilings and walls to clean off smoke stains; many, many years worth of smoke stain, it was nasty. All of my changes didn't go over so
great with some of the local regulars, but most of the locals were coffee drinking older gentleman that, sorry wasn't going to be my clientele. One, however, became my best customer for 6 years. I
knew him somewhat before, a little from my days at Champ's, but mainly from seeing him at the
Shamrock as we had played some cribbage games for beers before. He would come in nearly every day, usually after work before he retired, and would not allow the younger group of customers that followed me to this bar get too comfortable at his place. He would play the juke box and find the slowest, saddest country music he could find. Of course he knew right where to find the songs because he played them all the time. Sometimes his antics would backfire, because many of us actually liked his music. Who ever was the most stubborn, us or him, it doesn't matter, most of us all started getting along really well and before long so many of us, young and old became friends.
Met many friends at this bar and one of them included and helped me make my decision on moving my bar as he said he would help construct the new place. Thank you Cory. Amazing.
(John) wasn't very excited about me moving to the new location (what was then Cullen Furniture, what is now the Wild Badger) but he came and visited to take a peek at construction of it and I think he livened up a little on it. Some people still to this day didn't agree with my decision about moving out of the old bar, most stating that I had a 'gold mine' at the old place. Don't get me wrong, things were going well at "Skid Row", but that place, from the inside out, was a disaster. The basement was falling apart, the walk in cooler was falling apart, the stairs to the basement was falling apart, the insulation was terrible, and the plumbing was not much better. I could have dumped a ton of cash into rebuilding or fixing the old place up, or I could move and start fresh. As a young man still in my 20's I decided on bigger is better. Overall I am happy with my decision. But like I mentioned earlier, there were some down moments at the newer place but most not involving my decision to move locations.
In this new place there were amazing times as well. We got John his very own bar stool, which was kept at the same place every day. There was the foosball regional tournament that was held at the bar, Sunday Funday's that included frying up chickens among other foods out back for packer games as well as sponsoring several dart teams and softball teams throughout my years there. The best was when my Budweiser distributor hooked the traveling softball team up with Bud Light sponsored gear and gave them donated jersey's and hat's. That was awesome. We had a few bands throughout the years and several other parties. Fun Fest and St. Patty's Days' were amazing being downtown and we had floats involved in most of the parade. Met many more friends as well. My very last fun fest I
decided to close up for the parade becuase it was too stressfull. The cops wanted security at each
door, security within the building, extra bartenders and nobody outside on the front 'porch' and sidewalk. I had asked for an extension and a partial block off of that area with no luck. Interesting now, huh... Anyway.
So, for the record, I don't resent my decisions. While I did end up selling it, while I did get a DUI one night after leaving there, while I did have to sit in on a city council meeting where I had to defend myself and the bar with dozens of so-called complaints filed by another jerk that lived close by, while I subsequently had to hire bouncers and had to install an extra door on the inside of my bar to help 'keep a better eye on customers,' I'm still proud of me decisions. I made many more friends, had many more good times, had a closing bar celebration that I'll always remember and to top it off, if I never would have moved there I would not have my son that I have today. As for John, he passed away. God bless him and his family.
I had several friends die through my years at both places, (JS and RK to name a few) several accidents, marriages, births, joys and tears.  I don't regret selling my bar either. It was my time to do so. I was tired of losing battles and with the dwindling business I was ready to sell while I was still in the positive. If I would have not sold this last bar, I would not have met Sarah and therefore not had my daughter.
Like I said, I didn't really know what I was doing with parts of my business like taxes, insurance, etc and said I'd never open a bar on my own again. But, Sarah did, so our business relationship worked well. She took care of those things that she knew and enjoyed and I did the 'bar' stuff that I knew and enjoyed. Perfect! Well close to that at least..
So, things apparently happen for a reason.
Me getting sick, closing the bar, moving out of our house, living with my parents, neither of us not working, Sarah in school... all must have a purpose. Life is good. Love you all.

Stay strong and live on!


Please feel free to remind me/us of some memories. I know I have plenty of them that I didn't state.
This will be closely monitored so keep them PG-13 hahaha.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thank you

Thank You

A great big thank you to all of those who said prayers, wrote letters, gave blessing through FB or personally or any other way, it was greatly appreciated and I really needed the helping words and I think you all helped me through this time. Thank you close friends, friends, acquaintances, and even those i harly knew or not even at all. Thank you for following my progress page and keeping up with Sarah as she tried at times to make light of each situation. Thank you to all that helped make my fund raising benefit a huge success and a lot of fun. I may have been super tired and weak but it was great seeing everyone showing their support. Emotions surely rose high that night. I didn’t even really mind being in the wheelchair. The community really gave me an awesome feeling on how seemingly everyone got together and showed all their kindness towards me and my family. Thank you R & D for hosting, serving food and serving many, many alcohol beverages.

I know I had asked for no visitors at the hospital(s) I was in because I was so sick I didn’t want people to see me the way I was. I had tubes going in and out of so many places and you could barely see my face, which was a scary sight in itself. It was difficult to communicate with anybody.  Later on when I was in Bethezda rehabbing I had 2 visitors, you know who you both are and I will always remember you both for coming to see me. Meant a great deal to me.

Thank you to my family; my parents, my brother and his wife who were all by my side more times than I can remember. It meant so much to me, standing by my side and helping any way possible, even if it was just to pretend that you knew what I was saying or at least trying to say! Thank you for keeping me company and helping with rehab or even using the bathroom.

Thank you to my in-laws, I know I was sleeping most times you visited but I know you were there, praying for me, comforting Sarah. Melissa, you did so much for the benefit with your busy schedule and did so much for Sarah during all of this time. It was all terrific.

Sarah. Thank you the most. Words can’t explain how amazing you were during all of this. 8, 9 months pregnant being there for me every day, every step of the way. I may not remember them, but I heard your words. You kept me going. You stayed sane. You gave birth to our baby without me by your side. You were unreal. Still are. Thank you. My rock.

Ryan and Scarlett. I’m here. And I’m not leaving. Love you both. Ryan, you are my big boy, understood daddy was sick and has been very mature through it all. He seemed to have grown so much since spring. So proud. Scarlett is my baby girl who hopefully won’t remember me not being there for her birth hahaha.

Thank you,
With love,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Green Bay, WI

This past weekend we were fortunate enough to get hooked up for a Packer Game weekend package. Back when I got sick, this nonprofit group called CORE (Chilren Of Restaurant Employees) contacted us about doing something beneficial for our family. Wow! We had talked about a few optons and it came down to either doing a trip to Disney Land, or a Packer game trip to Lambeau Field. We, of course choose the Lambeau Field option which included 2 hotel rooms for two nights, 4 pregame football passes, and 4 tickets to the game. We got to go on a behind the doors trip to see everything from the locker room, weight room, football practice facility with the 3 biggest 'movies screens' on the practie field i've ever seen, as well as meeting the equipment manager. We also saw all of the Lombardi Super Bowl trophy's in their glass cases as well as the tour bringing us out to the field through the tunnel where the players come through and got to walk across the championship labeled flooring and touch the same quotation plaque as all the players do. CORE had hooked our baby Scarlett up with Packer clothes and awesome Packer gear. Ryan had gotten a Rodgers jersey as well as some other great Packer attire for him as well. The highlight of the tour was Ryan getting to not only meet John Kuhn but he got to shake his hand, get his autograph and get several pictures with him. Amazing! Ryan absolutely loved it when during the game, the crowd cheered 'Kuuuuuuhn'

With all of this going on, it was the first time that most of us had been to Lambeau. I personally had been there many times for several games, mainly in the late 90's to early '00's which were a blast every time. So many of those stories should be a different post hahaha. Anyway, I remember being there some 30 years ago obviously as a youngster with my folks when the Packers were terrible but they still had a relatively good following. I recall back then, again with some help from my parents pictures, that a few of the players rode me and my brothers' bikes around. How great was that as a child growing up as a huge Packer fan!
This reminded me of how awesome it was to see not only my 7 year old son see a game for the first time, but for my wife for the first time in years as well, and especially my dad to be able to see a game in person for the first time ever at Lambeau. I believe my dad enjoyed all of the experiences the most. The game itself for on one of course, but he also got to see the half-time 'show' including the acknowledgment of many of his idols who were there as a part of the "all-time" packers club. He said that he broke a tear. Made my weekend. This was defiantly a once in a lifetime weekend.. Awesome!

P.S. We hooked up with some friends we knew after the game. Some friends have turned into great friends, some acquaintances have become really good friends and some strangers have become good friends as well. What a tremendous weekend!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hospital (ongoing)

Hey folks, I titled this 'ongoing' because I think I'll plan on using this topic to post multiple stories from my time staying in my hospitals. I've got at least a dozen stories, whether I write about them all here or not I have yet to decide. I hope not to offend any people or gross any one out with these stories, but this is how I remember things while at my time recovering at Bethezda. Some stories I laugh about, some make me angry, some make me want to cry. Some are too disturbing I'm not sure if I'm ready to re-live them. I keep repeating here that these are stories, because most of them never happened. Whether I dreamed about them while asleep, awake, or in the middle I'm not sure, but I remember them nonetheless. Because of all my time being sedated and all the drugs I was on and still am on, I struggled with and still have struggled with some post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The doctors were, and still are aware that this should happen and ask if I want medication and or counseling. Well I feel like I have a grasp on reality and know whats real or not real so no shrinks for this guy. Once again, this is as much for myself as it is for my family and friends. Hope you enjoy..

In no particular order..

1.  This one is true.
So it's early May. I wake up in the middle of the night. It's late and dark outside and it's storming out, nothing bad, just a storm and I felt kind of relaxed by it. Then it hits me.. where in the fuck am I !??!
Shit, shit shit, where am I? I'm thinking how drunk did I get last night? I don't even remember drinking.. Holy Christ, I'm dead, Sarah is going to kill me, after she cuts my nuts off. OK, think.. where is my phone, I can't find it. Who the hell's bed am I in? OMG I'm a married man, what am I doing here, where? Ok, don't move, think, think..Where is my phone, any phone, my keys, my clothes... Then I hear some talking in the next room. Oh fuck, I'm screwed, 'she' is coming back to bed. Ok, play dead, or at least asleep, maybe I'll figure out a way out of this. (Now I should probably back up here a little and say, back 'in the day' this wouldn't be so far fetched from something I may have gotten myself into.) I'm frozen, not sure if I could move if I had to (weird) so I'm going to stay here quiet and still as long as I can. Maybe this chick will leave and I can sneak out and figure the rest out later. I don't know where I am let alone where my car is or even what I drove, I just gotta get out of here and hope to find my phone and deal with the consequences then. I hear more talking now in the hallway, I'm terrified. Then a light comes on where she is and I can barely see her appearing to get dressed. Ok, she's getting dressed, maybe she's leaving soon and I can get out of here. Then I see a little more of her and notice she's a nurse. I'm like, where the hell did I meet a nurse? God I drank way too much.. Well, shortly after that she comes into the room, oh shit, I'm so screwed and busted, and then she walks to the bed and.... checks my vital signs.. God damn it was a freaking dream and this 'chick' is my nurse! I'm sleeping in my hospital bed like I'm supposed to! Nice! God I'm an idiot! Then I peed myself and had to call 'the chick' back in to change me.. awkward !



Monday, September 15, 2014


Hello everyone, Welcome to my blog. Here is a little something about me and what I am doing here. As I'm sure most of you know, I nearly lost the battle to a very bad illness I contracted by breathing in a spore earlier this year. We believe it was during my time on vacation up in the North Shore area back in October. Doctors feel that my strong immune system actually 'helped' lead to me getting this Blastomycosis with ARDS so very badly.  Since coming home, we have decided to close our business and put it up for sale. With that, there are some legal matters to deal with, but in the time being, and maybe a long time being, I am going to be a stay at home daddy since I can't work. It's been going pretty well, I'm enjoying my time with the kids and not working full time(plus) for once. I do get some free time, however, and have been trying to figure out what I can do to fill this time, as well as help me through some of my troubles accrued from this illness. This blog is hopefully going to cure both desires. Thank you for your time.

Little background about me. As most of you know, my name is Mike "Cheek" Moore. I met my long time buddy Jason McRoberts in kindergarten and we became good friends later in middle school and still to this day. I think it was about 6th grade he randomly came up with a nickname for me which of course was, Cheek. Sorry folks, some of you had it wrong for whatever reason, which is fine, but to set the record straight, it is Cheek. Heard many variations of it throughout my years but now you know! Jason tried to be the only one to call me Cheek for awhile but he soon allowed friends to use this nickname and then some others, then not before long it was used by nearly everyone, to this day.

I am 39 years old, am married to my wonderful wife Sarah, we have a 5 month old beautiful baby girl named Scarlett and an amazing and sweet boy named Ryan from a previous marriage. Sarah and I have been together since Ryan was about 1 year old and the two are amazing together, I couldn't ask for a better relationship.
I have one sibling, a brother that is one year older than me who lives with his family in Woodbury, MN. The two of us are close and we have a unique relationship that seems to fit us just right. My parents are both retired school teachers, although my dad is now on the NR School Board, who have always been there for me. This includes now, as we have been living with them for about a month now due to several outside factors.
I grew up in the country just outside of Emerald but have been in the New Richmond school system since Kindergarten and then graduated in 1994. I spent time at UW-Stout and UW-River Falls before I decided to go full time into bar tending. I started out at The Old Saloon in 1995 for about 1 and 1/2 years and  then moved on to Champ's Bar & Grill for about 4 years. In June of 2000 I decided to go out on my own and purchased Mike's Place "On Skid Row" and remained there for 3 years before I moved my business across the street for a larger location in which I stayed there for 3 more years before I decided to sell.
I then moved on to Ready Randy's and soon became their Front of the House and bar manager. I was there from the opening of the restaurant and stayed working there for 6 years when Sarah and I decided to open our own business in 2012. During this time I also decided to go back to college at WITC for my marketing associates degree.
I have had the pleasure of meeting many great people in this town, from being a student here, working here, and doing business with people in this community. Friends have changed as expected through the years because of families or whatever reasons but I will always remember the good times and look forward to seeing them again. Some friends have stayed the same while some are newer and have formed great relationships with and I am happy to call so many people, whether I see them as much or not: friends.

This is my blog. I wasn't really sure I wanted to do a blog because I didn't really understand what is was; it sounded snooty or something to me that wasn't 'my style.' Of course I really don't know what my style is! I wanted to use my time (not working anymore) to write things that happened to me when I got sick. Then that moved to more of a diary of things I enjoy. They both kind of formed into this. I hope you all will enjoy what I have to say. Please respond to whatever you may want or ask questions you may have.

Discharge from U of M

This is kind of long and winded with a lot of weird ass medical words and terms. I tried to add a few more simple words or meanings to help out (because I needed to know as well) with some of the difficult ones. Hope you 'enjoy' this, I plan to add my summary papers from Westfields, Regions, and Bethezda as well.. Thanks.

This is my Fairview (U of M) Hosptial Discharge Summary. Dates: 3/21/14 - 4/19/14
I had been at Regions since March 13 until I came [here] to U of M.

Discharge Diagnosis:
Blastomycosis Pneumonia
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) - March 21-April 3
Intubation (Breathing tube down my throat) March 18 - April 8
Tracheostomy (Breathing tube now cut into my throat) April 8 - May...? Exercises to help breathe
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) Tube Placement -Feeding tube into my belly. April 18 - until mid-June.

CT Scan - Head (Brain) March 25:
Small amount of subarachnoid hemorrhage involving the right high parietal sulci. There is associated scalp hematoma (bleed)  just anterior to the vertex.
Critical Result: Subarachnoid hemorrhage involving the right high parietal lobe.
     *On a more recent side note to this my latest MRI revealed up to 30 brain bleeds revealed in my brain. I go back Sept 16 and 23 for further testing and consulting.

MRI/MRA April 15:
1. Resolving small amount of high right parietal subarachnoid hemorrhage.
2. No intracranial aneurysm is identified.

Discharge Medications:
Amphotericin B lipid 500 mg
Inject 500 mg into the vein every 24 hours
-This the anti-fungal: Extremely toxic, 2nd to chemo

Cetirizine 5 mg tablet
1 tablet by PEG tube route daily
-For allergy, I was allergic to the Amphotericin

Cholecalciferol 50,000 units capsule
Take 1 capsule by mouth three time a week
-Vitamins (Vitamin D) For help with medicine absorptions

Docusate 50 mg liquid, 50 mg by Feeding Tube
Take two times daily
-Bowel regularity (diarrhea)

Guaifenesin-Codeine 100-10 mg/5ml
Take 5 mls by mouth every four hours
-For pain

Hydroxyzine 25 mg tablet
1 tablet by mouth every 6 hours
-For pain and itching

Ipratropium (Albuterol) 0.5 mg
Take 1 vial by nebulization four times daily
-For help with breathing

Intraconazole 10 mg solution
Take 200 mg by PEG Tube two times daily

Labetalol 100 mg tablet
Take 0.5 tablets by mouth every 12 hours
-For blood pressure

Multivitamins with minerals, liquid
Take 15 mls by oral or Feeding Tube daily

Ondansetron (Zofran) 4 mg tablet
1 tablet by mouth every 8 hours
-For nausea

Polyethylene Glycol packet
Take 17 g by Feeding Tube daily
-Bowel regularity (constipation)

Prochlorperazine 5 mg tablet
Take  1-2 tablets by mouth every 6 hours
-For nausea or vomiting

Quetiapine (Seroquel) 500 mg tablet
1 tablet by oral or Feeding Tube 3 times daily
-Sleep aid, anti-psychotic

Ranitidine 150 mg/10 ml syrup
Take by Feeding Tube 2 times daily
 -Reduces stomach acid

Sennosides 8.8 mg/5 ml syrup
Take by Feeding Tube 2 times daily
-Bowel regularity

Vitamin C 500 mg/5ml syrup
Take by PEG tube 2 times daily
-To help absorb acid

Brief History of Illness:
Mike is a 38 yr-old previously healthy gentleman admitted to Regions Hosptial for new onset ARDS in setting of blastomycosis pneumonia. During initial presentation at Regions, patient treated for CAP w/ Azithromycin and Ceftriaxone (commonly treated pneumonia) with no improvement in respiration. Patient represented on March 14, subsequently found to have positive blastomycosis in sputum and started amphotericin therapy. However, on March 18 patient found to have worsening respiratory distress, requiring intubation. Patient remained hypoxic despite ventilator therapy, undergoing pronation and eventual transfer to U of M for ECMO.

Hospital Course:
Blastomycosis pneumonia and ARDS. Patient initially diagnosed with this at Regions Hospital and subsequently started on Amphotericin IV  on March 18. Previous exposures noted upon further history with no immunodeficiency noted on further work-up (HIV negative). Due to worsening respiratory distress, patient intubation on March 18 and reclassified as ARDS due to new chest x-ray findings. However, patient remained persistently hypoxic requiring pronation and on March 21, due to worsening hypoxia, patient started on Hydrocortizone and transferred to U of M for ECMO therapy.

Patient completed ECMO on April 3 with continued improvement in oxygenation on ventilator with additional diuretic therapy and flolan. Patient weaned of flolan and on April 8 underwent tracheostomy placement and started on intraconazole therapy. On day prior to discharge, patient tolerated 6 hous of pressure support therapy.

Drug Rash:
Course complicated by drug rash due to intraconazole on April 12. (This is my son's birthday) Symptoms resolved with supportive cares, undergoing successful intraconazole desensitization therapy on April 17. Patient continued on amphotericin therapy from March 18-present (date of this discharge) with plans to monitor intraconazole levels on current therapy until therapeutic. Will then plan to discontinue amphotericin and continue intraconazole with plans to follow-up to monitor drug levels. Will continue vitamin C at time of intraconazole for further absorption.

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage:
On March 25, patient increasingly agitated with difficulty weaning from additional sedation. CT head demonstrated a small subarachnoid hemorrhage involving the right high parietal sulci. Repeat imaging on March 26 revealed minimal change. Hemorrhage considered secondary to ongoing ECMO therapy in setting of therapy. Patients platelets maintained above 80K, per neuro ICU recommendations. Angiogram on April 18 revealed no additional aneurysms or concerns for mycotic processes.

Acute Kidney Injury:
Patient's creatinine elevated by two. Creatinine continued to increase with contrast exposure on March 14 and initiation of amphotericin on March 18 to peak of 3.6 and new onset of oliguria (low output of urine). Given worsening renal function and oliguria, patient started on CRRT from March 23 - April 5 with subsequent improvement in creatinine and UOP. On day of discharge, patient's creatinine 1.5 with stable urine output of past 24 hrs.

Hypercalcemia: (high calcium in blood)
Elevated during admission, considered secondary to underlying immobilization. Vitamin D low and PTH appropriately low. Per discussion with nephrology, patient started on calcitiol with improvement in hypercalcemia. Continued improved therapy with additional physical/occupational therapies. Will plan to continue to monitor. Start Vitamin D 3 times weekly for 4 weeks.

Patient started on tube feeds during ECMO therapy for additional nutrition. PEG placed with plans to continued tube feeds with goal rate of 70 mL / hr. Will plan to follow nutrition needs, consider additional swallow evaluations when tracheostomy removed.

Condition at discharge:
Improved, stable.
Alert, interactive, fatigued affect.
Trach in place.
Respiratory crackles, no wheezes. Mild tachypnea.
Abdomen - soft, tender LUQ surrounding g-tube site through no erythema or drainage. Midly distended.  No masses, no rebound or gaurding
Skin- Improved rash with dequamation bilaterally, decreased erythema from presentation.
Alert, interactive, communicating non-verbally with mouthing words. Moving extremities against gravity.

Discharge Instructions and follow up:
Diet: Tube feeds
Activity: As tolerated
Follow up with infectious disease in 3-4 weeks
Discharge to rehabilitation facility (Bethezda)

I was transferred to Bethezda on April 19 by ambulance. (No memory of this, but have pictures) My beautiful daughter Scarlett was born April 13.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

March '14

This is how I recall what had happened to me. I will follow it up with exactly what had happened to me with the help of Sarah and other family members as well as hospital documents at a later date.

March 6th-9th (Thurs-Sun) I wasn't feeling very good - and in fact felt worse and worse until I finally asked my 8 months pregnant wife to bring me to the hospital ER on that Sunday. I feel like I have been  relatively healthy person in my life and tend to 'make it through' sicknesses that I generally have had the best I could. Now since working in smokeless bars for about 8 years my lungs have probably healed themselves pretty nicely over that time. But with having a family now and well, getting older (smarter?) I decided enough was enough, I felt like crap and could hardly breath so it was time to go in.

At Westfields in New Richmond I was diagnosed with pneumonia and sent to the pharmacy for a prescription. I vaguely remember much of any of this. Well Monday (or Tuesday?) come around and I still feel like hell and I'm on my way with Sarah for our OB appointment. Well things I assume went fine there but our baby Doctor said I looked terrible and needed to stay and I was then omitted into Westfields. I recall being hooked up to whatever machines and was finally getting some air to breathe for a little comfort. Not sure when at this point, but I had a few visitors, good friends of mine, stopped to say hello and see how I'm doing and maybe spread a little cheer to go around - I mean who is really that sick here at Westfields after all.. Anyway, my friends show me a small bottle of Crown Royal and jokingly ask if I wanted some. Well as sick and drained as I was I think I cracked a smile, but I do know that the booze got confiscated by the medical staff and then the nurse asked me if I needed a drink. Ha! The strange part was I could tell that someone was here because I could smell smoke and it really bothered me, made it harder to breathe and I had asked Sarah for no more visitors until I felt better...

Later that day (which was actually 2 days later!) one Doctor said I appeared to be getting better, but Sarah asked for another opinion because of how I was looking and another Doctor said I should go to Regions hospital in St. Paul. I remember some of the ambulance trip as I knew who the 2 first responders were and they talked to me on the way. I got to Regions and I believe I was moved to at least 2 different rooms before settling me in. I don't recall much more, I couldn't breathe and not sure if I could talk. The next 2 months were very, very cloudy to say the least. l know I missed my first St. Patrick's Day in New Richmond since I could remember, and my family tried to make it the best they could for me, bringing me a shirt and few other fun things. I know I talked to Sarah a little bit and I remember being scheduled for a PICC at some point as well as a getting rigors from my first dosage of ampho.

Then.. SLEEP

PICC - Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter
Ampho - Amphoteracin B (anti-fungal, extremely toxic, extremely painful. Intravenously given over 4 hours every day)
Rigors - Uncontrollable shakes

Crown Royal - an awesome whiskey with a fun history
St. Patrick's Day - my favorite holiday :)

Daily Medicine (+2)

This list is only what I've been taking since I have been home. (May 9, '14) There were much more while I was in the 4 hospitals I was cared at.

6:00 AM  - Hydrocodone (Vicodin) 2 pills @ 325 mg
                    Gabapentin (Neurotin) 2 pills @ 300 mg, later upped to 450 mg
                    Cymbalta - 1 pill, have now gone up to 2, and soon to 3/day

10:00 AM - Daily Vitamin - 1 pill - OTC
                     Vitamin C - 1 pill - OTC
                     Intraconazole (anti-fungal) 2 pills @ 100 mg
                     Metoprolol (blood pressure) 1 pill @ 25 mg - since discontinued
                     Potassium - 1 pill @ 20 mg
                     Furosemide (swelling) (makes me pee a lot) 1 pill @ 20 mg - going to try every other day
                     Vitamin D3 - 1 pill @ 5000 units (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday)

2:00 PM  -  Hydrocodone - 2 pills @ 325 mg
                    Gabapentin -2 pills @ 450 mg

10:00 PM - Vitamin C 1 pill
                     Intraconazole - 2 pills @ 100 mg
                     Metoprolol - since discontinued
                     Potassium - 1 pill @ 20 mg
                     Cetirizine (allergy) 1 pill - OTC
                     Hydrocodone - 2 pills @ 325
                     Gabapentin - 3 pills @ 350

I need to keep on a good schedule for this or it takes its toll on my body..i.e. worsened pain, vomiting, more more tired. They say if I were to stop taking several different types of these instead of weaning off I could get seizures. Either way I keep Ibuprofen near by for days I need some extra pain relief.

* I plan to list my other medicines while in my hospitals at a later date.




Not sure if this was a case of mixed medicine or what but I had quite the experience today. I was out on my scooter running errands today, and as I got home I felt this yucky feeling in my belly and I all of a sudden felt dizzy, sick, lightheaded and I started to sweat really bad. I realized I had taken my 10:00 daily morning medicine a half hour later but that's not overly abnormal or concerning. I ended up going into the bathroom, sat down on the toilet and held the garbage can waiting for the worst. I hadn't had much to eat during the morning, I wasn't hungover from the previous night and nobody else in the family has been sick. Well nothing happened in the bathroom besides I lost like a gallon of sweat, I couldn't believe how much I was sweating, it was unreal. Anyway, my legs are week to start with along with my horrible foot pain and as my sore tush, so I started worrying if I could even get up on my feet if I wanted to. (Anybody remember Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon 2?) Well I started feeling a little better and heard my baby girl fussing upstairs so I forced myself up. As I felt better to an extent, I was still not right, my belly hurt bad and had asked my dad for a puke bucket. Well Sarah had now just gotten home from college and noticed right away I looked like hell and she started feeding me water. I do drink a fair amount of water per day, but since taking my medication from my illness I should know better and be drinking more. So needless to say I was most likely dehydrated as well as not reacting well to the meds I took. I did end up not taking my 2:00 meds until 5:30 and took my 10:00 PM meds slightly early and my night has been fine ever since. I have, however, loaded up on my water intake on the evening though. Moral of the story, listen to your wife lol.

Sorry if this story was boring. I'm tired and off to bed, so tonight's 'story' is kind of a daily diary ;-)
Believe me I have plenty Moore stories :-)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


This could be a long ongoing topic. Some stories I have are grizzly, some sad, some funny, some never happened because of the medications I was under, some a mixture of many. I think this will help me get things out for my own self worth as well as for my family and friends. I would like to write about my time dealing with this fungal pneumonia I was diagnosed with this past March. Any questions you may have or comments, please feel free to post. Sarah knows much better what happened to me as I was out of it for most of the months in the 4 hospitals I was in, so some posts may be going off what she tells/reminds me of. I'm probably going to do some sort of scrap book in chronological order of things that happened with pictures, but for this section, my posts will probably just be random.. Like this one,

Here I believe I was early on in my time at my last hospital, Bethezda. 

        I was freaking out for 2 days and 2 nights in a row because I had strict orders from the Doctors to attack the Russians. To accomplish my apparent mission, I was to secretly receive football shaped balloons that were going to be dropped to me from the sky into my hospital bed and I was to fill them up with flavored jello. My time frame I was unaware of but I knew I had to hurry. When the balloon shaped footballs started landing in my room I frantically called for a nurse for help because I couldn't reach them, well needless to say, this didn't go as planned.. (I should back up quickly and say that I could not walk, barely move my legs and my upper body was very weak at this point) Ok, so the nurse comes in and she had to put me back into place in my bed because I was searching for these balloons, messing up my tubes and nearly falling off the bed. Then I asked how many ounces of jello the balloons would hold, because apparently I've been filling them up too much and they have been exploding on me. The nurse would play nice and tell me to go back to bed, but I kept trying to find the balloons. This got very frustrating because I thought I really, really needed to take care of this 'mission.'
For whatever reason, I got over it after these 2 days and went on to plenty of other wonderfully interesting memories. Oh, turns out that there were obviously no balloons and the explosions were, well lets just say I wet myself.

I have more stories about Russians later,


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