Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Still managing neuro and physical pain from the first bought, but getting better day by day, bit by bit and continuing to put my all in the battle.
I will begin posting more in the up-coming weeks about what I've been up to, continuing the story of my experience, and the parts of recovery and the disease that many people aren't aware of that effect me every single day.
Have a great day, and I hope everyone is having a great holiday season!
Friday, August 10, 2012
With medical bills piling up, along with regular cost of living increasing, it has come to our attention in the Rickard household that we have been running at a significant deficit each month. So, I will be hosting a livestream marathon soon in an effort to raise money to keep from losing our house.
I will post links to the video page as it comes up. Please let your friends know and make a donation if possible. Tune in, and watch the marathon, post questions and comments or call in and get on the live stream that way.
I will post info in an upcoming update as to what the donation page will be, what will be happening during the marathon, and all the other fun details.
As always, thanks for reading, and don't forget to post comments, questions, and anything else below if you feel so inclined.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
You begin recovery from something and you are considered better. But, that almost never means you are better. It means you are getting better, not worse. But, you may still be in pain, ill, or even terminal. Too many times we think since some is not in a hospital, they are fine, and they should act that way.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Amongst all the turmoil, aggravation, sadness, and frustrations I turn to my wife and daughter. They both smile at me and it takes me away. They show me love in a home, and I do my best to give them all the love I can.
It's never in the heat of the moment that you can learn from something. It seems it is always a day, week, or even several months past the event that you begin realizing the profound effect it has had on you (or myself since that is ultimately where this is going.)
Having a full time job with insurance. That is the dream for most. And yet, even having the luxury of insurance does not save us from life's real prices. Prices we pay with things other than money or monetary things.
Several weeks ago, I came home from a day at work. The sun was out, traffic seemed to crawl as it always does. The garage door opened with the same mechanical clunking sounds just like it always has.
But, unlike every other day, something small had arrived in the mail. Something unexplainable, and still frustrating to this day. You see, an interesting process occurs when you deal with hospital billing and insurance companies.
It turns out if an insurance company does not pay a bill within 30, 60, or sometimes 90 days depending on the conditions etc., the collecting party I.E. the hospital has legal ground to pursue the individual for payment.
This wouldn't be so frustrating if the bill this particular case happened to occur with was below say $250. Heck, I may even pass off a $500 bill if I knew I could be reimbursed for it. But, this particular occurrence landed a bill in our lap that, since insurance had not paid in 60 days, was now my responsibility even though I pay my monthly amount out of my check, I payed full deductible for the year etc., a bill that is nearly $150,000.00.
That's more than my house cost!
Now, I am not scoffing at this bill saying I'm not paying this blah blah blah. Besides, the treatment this cost is tied to, DID save my LIFE no questions asked. I would gladly pay every penny had I the means.
I sat on the couch and called every number I could find on that bill. I asked every possible way I could for help or assistance from the hospital. And, what I got was nothing. Ran around, questioned, have you asked your friends and family for help? Have you thought about selling your house? Do you have an extra vehicle you could sell to help pay for a portion of the bill?
I am floored at this point. I turn to my wife, who is now more red in the face than I am. It took several weeks before a smile returned to either of our faces. Only our daughter could produce laughter because she is still blissfully ignorant of this cruel world.
I don't know the purpose of this post. Venting, reflection, introspective evaluation on how I handled it. What I do know is that humble pie is a dish I grow tired of. Working helps, but to what end?
No matter how much I put in, it seems someone is always on the other end taking out 10 times as much 20 times faster.
I hope we can look back on this in out future, my wife and I, and think that it was a bonding time. That was a time when we pulled together as a family, stuck it out, and made it. All I know at this point is they can bill me all the money in the world, but they can't take my family's love, or my friends kindness.
Curveballs in life are funny sometimes. Especially when the sock you in the eye eh?
Monday, June 4, 2012
If you have any questions please please post them. Comments are greatly appreciated as well, and as always thank you so much for reading and supporting us through all this difficult time!
Also, my Youtube channel will be getting regular updates as well every Tuesday and Thursday. Not sure what about yet. I may start posting walk-throughs and gaming videos, or maybe digital art, and speed painting videos.
Friday, April 27, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
There are times when these moments though calm, quiet, and difficult to notice, have profound and permanent impressions on us.
In these moments we tend to become nervous. We seek distraction from all areas of our lives attempting to forget what may have triggered it. Or, we fight the change clinging to the old way of thinking or acting and become unjustifiably bitter towards the people in our lives that only seek to help and love us.
Change, it can be terrifying, enraging, justifying, explanatory, exciting.
I love my wife, daughter, family, friends, co-workers and so on. I loved the life I had before my disease. But, the strength this has shown me. The strength I have found within myself when I thought I had none. The fight I found to make it through to see my wife, daughter no matter the outcome. Just the ability to hear my daughter laugh, and my wife scold me for acting like a child. No matter if I was in a wheelchair, or confined to a bed unable to do more than blink and smile, or if I am standing with crutches and splints.
And yet those moments moved through my life as if they never happened. As if they were a breeze through the trees doing nothing more than changing the leaves and leaving a cool spring aroma in the air. The life I have now fits. It feels right, no matter how unfair it seems. And when I could stop distracting myself, and I could stop blaming people and things, and really revel in what I now have.
I embrace the moment, and I prepare for the future, whatever it may be. And I am happy that I have everyone in my life that I now do. I love my family more than I can even understand to explain. I am am prepared for the days ahead.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Im sorry for not posting in the last few weeks. Ive been extremely busy catching back up with everything in normal everyday life. Good.news.is I.start going back to work this coming week.
Happy Easter to all those who practice it. And to everyone else, I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are ready for a new week filled with new opportunities.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
When I made it home it was the best feeling ever.
Managing the medications I have to take seemed daunting at first, but after a few tests, and some creative thinking on how to manage the dosages at what not, I believe we have found a successful way to handle all the pills and injections I have.
I will continue the Road To Recovery portion of this blog shortly. I would just to take this post to say Thank You to everyone for all of the wonderful support, kind words, and everything else you did to make this event in our lives manageable.
With Love and Gratitude
~The Rickard Family
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Please take a moment, go to the page and Like it, and post some kind words of support if you have the time. It can be found at the address below.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
We entered the sliding doors to the hospital and around the corner we sped to a room who's number I couldn't read before we flew through the doors. The paramedic and EMT lined my stretcher up next the bed, grabbed the sheets I was on, and pulled me over to my new bed.
Rose, my mother in-law, and Robert came through the door shortly after the paramedic and EMT left. Shortly after them, a nurse walked through the door. They asked me the same hundred questions I had been asked once before already. Can you explain what happened? Do you know where you are? How long has this been going on?
Some of the questions they asked seemed very pointless. Others seemed to have an undertone of doom to them. After answering all the questions to doctor told me I would have to have a CAT Scan of my spine to make sure nothing was wrong with it. The nurses took blood, urine, and I'm pretty sure they had me sign the rights to my second born child somewhere between all the documents and questions.
Waiting for everything to be setup for the CAT Scan seemed to take forever. Sitting nervously with everyone in the room we all tried to make small talk about how foggy it was, how cool it was. It all seemed forced and unnatural. A small part of me wanted to scream at the top of my lungs.
To my surprise my grandfather and dad came walking through the door as we all waited. We hugged as they asked the inevitable questions all the same as the doctors, nurses, and paramedics had.
Finally the doctor came walking through the door and with the help of a nurse, informed me that the CAT Scan was ready. With that they grabbed my bed, flipped a switch on the floor out of my sight, and pulled my bed to out of the room.
We went to a small dark room with a large machine that resembled something out of a Tim Burton movie. A CAT Scan machine, for those who don't know, is a very large machine that has a very small tube like area the patient is shoved into for long periods of time where it feels like you cook on low.
I put the headphones on as they transferred me onto the sliding table. I had lain down and before I knew it they were sliding me into the tube. I remember I was given the chance to tell them what type of music I enjoyed so they could tune the headphones the gave me to something similar. I told them classical orchestra, and what they gave me was definitely not what I thought they would have chosen.
The machine sounded broken as I laid inside of it. It made grinding, creaking, and other noises I cant describe. I started sweating from he amount of heat generated both by my own body, and by the machine as it rumbled. After an hour the machine shut down, and I was pulled out. The nurses transferred me back onto the bed and wheeled me back into the patient room with my family waiting for me.
After another period of waiting the doctor returned to the my room.
Friday, March 2, 2012
After a few seconds Rose started talking and I could barely make out Roberts voice on the other end as it came through the speaker on her Infuse 4G. She asked me a few questions about how I was feeling, what I could do etc, until she sighed, said "OK, thanks." and the call ended.
I can remember the calm on her face as she put her hand on my cheek and said "Robert's on his way honey. He said to wait till he gets here and we can figure out whats going on."
"OK honey," I said putting my hand on hers and kissing her.
The next few minutes passed silently as Rose kept moving my legs left and then right, inward and then out. We looked at each other and I could tell she was worried, but she kept calm and just kept repeating that it would be OK.
The phone rang startling Rose and I. It was Robert on the other line. I could tell it was him because the phone has a great speaker and it bleeds over into the surroundings a little. Rose started answering questions he must have been asking with short yes and no responses.
She grabbed put the phone down telling Robert to hold on a sec and looked at me with both her hands held towards me as if to assist me in sitting up.
"Hold my hands honey, and squeeze them as hard as your can." She said looking me in the eyes.
I grabbed her hands and did as she asked with a puzzled look on my face. I noticed it instantly, the weakness in my right hand. It was as if it was the first time I used my hand to do anything in months.
Rose told me to let go and relax as she picked the phone back up. "He's weak in his right hand." She confirmed.
After a few seconds more of talking on the phone she hung up and without looking at me called 911 and told me, "He said to call an ambulance honey. He's on his way, but he said we need to get you to a hospital."
I know she was panicked slightly now, because her voice was shaking lightly as the dispatcher answered the phone and she began nervously answering questions about where we were and what was happening. All I could think about was how in the hell this could be happening. Strep throat, then walking pneumonia, next was appendicitis requiring surgery, and now this!
The next 10 minutes where the worst in my life. Rose and I stared in each others eyes while we waited for either the Ambulance or Robert to show up. The sun was just now coming up at about 6:45 AM, and I could see the cool blue light coming through the window shades as I lay there on the bed, Rosemary sitting by my side holding my hand.
After about 5 minutes the quiet silence of the morning was broken by the sharp siren of ambulance as it entered the addition. "Well honey, I think that's my ride." I said with a fake smile on my face.
The ambulance showed up much quicker than I or Rose had expected. Rose went downstairs to unlock the door and let the EMT's in the house. I could hear Izzy, our 7 year old Golden Retriever let out her single bark as the door opened and muffled voices started filling the downstairs.
The EMT's were quick. They came upstairs, around the banister, and into the bedroom talking into their walkies-talkies. Beeps and static filled the silence of the bedroom as one of the men came to the bedside and started asking me the normal questions. Who are you, what's going on, how long ago did you notice to issue? All the while I felt completely embarrassed as they asked questions, pulled a tilted wheelchair into the room, and lifted on to it.
Before I realized I was being taken outside in the cold morning frost on a stretcher. "Where would you like to go today Mr. Rickard?" I heard the paramedic ask as they lifted my stretcher into the back of the ambulance.
"St. Vincent off exit 10 please." I answered awkwardly.
And with that we sped out of the neighborhood, taking the main route to St. Vincent with my wife and Robert close behind us.
Have you ever had a back ache? Most everyone can relate to the pain of a back ache. My back hurt llike normal for a few days. A dull pressure that went away with a little stretch here and there. A pop here and a crack there would alleviate the pressure that seemed to grip my spine. Then, my back began popping with normal movement. I didn't have to even try, it would just crack.
At this point is was Friday and after speaking with my family doctor I began talking the medication she prescribed. It helped a little bit, which was enough to keep taking the meds, but it didn't stop completely or close enough to even go to sleep for the most part.
The first night went by and nothing odd or out of the ordinary occurred. I played some games, watched some YouTube™ videos and stressed a little about what was going to happen in the next day. This all went on while the pain I had in my back began to spread a little, and get more and more severe.
Saturday night and Sunday night went on almost identical to Friday except for the increasing amount of pain.
By the time Monday night rolled around it took everything I had just to sit still on the heating pad that so quietly melted the edge off of the throbbing that now sped its way down my upper back.
I lay in bed roughly at midnight or 1 am on Tuesday dreading waking up to go to work. I lay there twisting and turning, back aching, needing to pop when I thought maybe laying on the heating pad would help. So, I went downstairs and grab the pad, and when I returned to bed I set the pad on the bed and turn the heat on.
It felt wonderful when I finally settled and lay still for several minutes. But, with each move I hurt more and more. So, I grabbed the Ipad2 and lay as still as I could reading webcomics like CAD-comic.com and goblinscomic.com.
The clock ticked on, and I lay as still as possible and read. Several hours passed with little discomfort while I caught up on all my reading. Finally the alarm started sounding from the digital clock on the bookshelf across the room. The orange glow from the number read 6:30 as it were teasing me over the lack of sleep.
I put the Ipad2 down on the bed next to me, and when I tried to get up I couldn't get my legs to swing to the side. They acted like they were asleep, only without the tingly sensation you usually get. "Ok," I thought to myself, "they are probably just asleep." I told myself quietly as not to wake my wife next to me.
After several minutes attempting to get my legs to work I finally grabbed my wifes shoulder and gently nudged her back and forth to wake her up.
"Honey?" I said softly, "Honey, get up sweety." my voice growing more nervous.
I could here her begin to wake up in her breathing as she mumbled "What is it babe?"
"Honey, somethings wrong here. I can't get my legs to move." I said remaining as calm as I could, "Can you get the alarm and help me?"
Thursday, March 1, 2012
What I have been diagnosed with is a disease called Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). What the medical professionals of Methodist Hospital of Indianapolis have taught me about the disease is as follows:
1. It is rare - affecting only 1 out of every 100,000 people every year (so rare that I had to add it to my dictionary so it would stop telling me I have spelled it incorrectly.)
2. It is different for every person that develops the disease (meaning recovery cannot be predicted for every person based on treatment)
3. It is unknown what exactly causes this disease
4. It is thought that the disease is triggered when your bodies immune system fights off a virus. After fighting the virus a chemical change occurs causing your antibodies to misinterpret your nerve cells as foreign bodies.
5. It is at this point your antibodies begin attacking and destroying the myelin sheath around your nerve cells.
6. The myelin sheath is what insulates your nerves, allowing them to carry a signal from the brain to whatever part of your body you want to move.
What does this mean for someone suffering from GBS?
In short you lose the ability to move first your toes, feet, legs, and so on moving up the body. This disease can make it impossible to breath on your own, requiring the use of a breathing tube if it progresses that far.
Now I know what you are thinking at this point. "Holy cheese sticks Mr. William! That is scary!"
My response is yes, it is scary. But, when facing a challenge like this, I was not given an option to say "It's too difficult, too scary. I don't want to accept this challenge."
To that end, I have been, and will continue to fight as hard as I can. I will continue to love all the good things in my life, to learn from all of the stumbles and failures I have. This is my life, and it has been built by not only myself, but all of those who have chosen to help.
I remain in Methodist ICU under strict observation until they are certain that the disease is in remission and will not interrupt my ability to breath.
Please stay tuned to find out more and thank you for the support you have given.