Jason's Untimely Thoughts

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Archive for July, 2008

How Are You?

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How many times a day in normal circumstances are you asked that question?  20?  50?  I know I use it as a typical greeting all the time.  I wonder how long it will be until it’s a typical greeting to me again?  It borders on making me angry that I know people actually mean it when they ask now.

The honest answer, which I’ve finally started telling people, is “I don’t know.”  Sometimes I’m fine, which then makes me mad for being fine.  Sometimes I’m not, which then makes me mad for feeling sorry for myself.  Sometimes I’m fine until it’s clear the person asking is feeling sorry for me, at which point I get mad at them.  And none of those mads are really mads, just another set of thoughts that happen.

The other part of the answer is it doesn’t really matter, however I am now is only going to last for a few minutes.  I’ll then either find something to distract me or will become distracted by my thoughts.  Yeah, yeah, I know it matters, my point is it just doesn’t last long, no matter the current situation.

I know I’m not fine at work.  I’m here, doing stuff, but not enough.  I’m having an extremely difficult time figuring out how to focus on the more mundane parts of my job.  I will because I need to and they need me to, but I’m thankful that everyone here is looking out for me and asking “How Are You?” too.

People keep encouraging me to keep blogging my thoughts.  I’m remembering that I named this stupid thing “Untimely Thoughts” after attending a funeral and wondering if I should rename it now.

Written by Jason Becking

July 31st, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Posted in Mindless Ramblings

An Update for Update’s Sake

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Today is Saturday, it’s the first day where I haven’t had ‘something’ to do.  Routine has been very helpful to me, and lack of same is failing me mostly today.  Normal Saturday routine when we had nothing to do would have been doing random junk with Sarah and the kids all day.  I can’t, of course, and it sucks.

The kids spent part of today at Sarah’s dad’s house, with me allegedly being productive at the house.  While I did accomplish some, feel like mostly what I accomplished was looking around and wishing Sarah was here.  It’s an any weepy girl from any weepy Hallmark commercial day for me.  A big outdoor BBQ at friends’ tonight, though, which should be good for the kiddos and me.

I’ve started the search for memorial stones, with as little luck as I would have expected.  I’m generally looking to start from something like this, if anyone knows of any place.   Start from there, then include some brass, some gerber daisies, a sun, and I’ll go on and on toward tackiness I’m afraid.

Just so it’s in this space too, I’ve created a webpage in memorial to Sarah.  I’ll update it as time goes on and other memorials continue to happen or be written.   It’ll also serve as the main page of becking.com until whatever random moment feels appropriate to change it.

Speaking of random moments to change, I’ll say that some of the hardest junk coming up recently are stupid decisions like when is the appropriate time to turn off an e-mail address or a cell phone.  I ended up doing it when I dreaded checking them more than I despised taking the action to turn them off.  Similarly, if anyone works for the Social Security office, you should give serious thought to improving your stupid automated phone system.  It’s bad enough having to make that call, considerably worse having to make it repeatedly because the idiotic system keeps telling you to call back later and hanging up on you.

Finally, football season approaches.  While the thought of Golden Girls in the fall is appealing to the family (mostly to Adelaide, but to me and various papas too), the thought of the upcoming season is extremely bittersweet for me.  During the games I spent a lot of time communicating with Sarah.  Glances and text messages and laughter.  Post-game we’d each do our own breakdowns of what happened for us and then I’d spend a few hours reviewing her pictures.  Tailgates, 14-0, generally Mizzou-RAH-edness will no doubt happen, but I’m having a hard time imaging it right now.

on a side note, hug your friends and family.

Written by Jason Becking

July 26th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

A Party For Sarah

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The whole family is in Columbia now.  As we were leaving this morning, Adelaide asked “Are we going to have a party for Mom when we get to Columbia?”  Yes, absolutely!  Two in fact.  While we always try to be much more about the celebration, that is certainly the case now.

Visitation will be on Friday, July 11, from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.  Family is welcome at 3:00.
The Party Honoring Sarah will be on Saturday, July 12, at 2:00 p.m.

Both events are at Launer Auditorium on the campus of Columbia College, 1001 Rogers Street.  Warren Funeral Chapel is handling the arrangements, with much help from the fabulous people at Columbia College.

We’ve also received many questions about flowers, etc.  While nothing is required and anything is appreciated, we’d encourage you to consider giving to one of the following in lieu of flowers, especially one of the first two.

Palliative Care Gift Account
Ellis Fischel Cancer Center

Development Office
One Hospital Drive, DC066.00
Columbia, MO 65212

Missouri School of Journalism

103 Neff Hall
Columbia, MO 65211

Adelaide and Jack Becking Education Account
Boone County National Bank

PO Box 678
Columbia, MO  65205

Or a charity of your choice.

Written by Jason Becking

July 9th, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Posted in Sarah Wins

Sarah Elizabeth Messer Becking, 1972-2008

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Sarah died yesterday afternoon, July 7, 2008, in Kenner, Louisiana.  She was 36 years and 1 month old, and left us way too damned soon.  She encountered more complications early that morning, which caused both lung and blood pressure difficulties.  They were able to stabilize her a couple of times, but only briefly.  Despite the fight she put up and the hard work of the nurses and doctors, we simply lost her too soon.

She was a loving wife, a great friend, had a happy spirit, saw the best in people, and was an outstanding mother.  The kids and I are in Malden now, will be returning to Columbia tomorrow.  Sarah’s mom and dad are en route to Columbia now to be with her brother and his family.

There’s simply nothing about it that seems fair or right, but I guess that’s why they call it fate.  Perhaps the incident two years ago was simply a wake up call so we could fully appreciate these past two years, which we certainly did.

Arrangement planning has not begun, really, but I would expect services on Friday or Saturday in Columbia.  I appreciate all the notes and phone calls of support and offers to help.  I will clearly need help, as will the kids.  They need their mom and I can’t do that.

I close this e-mail the way I’ve ended most phone conversations, go hug your friends and family.

Sarah loved you all, and I appreciate that love flowing back toward us now.

Written by Jason Becking

July 8th, 2008 at 9:19 am

Posted in Sarah Wins

July 6 Update

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In my last update, I mentioned that Sarah was back in ICU, on the ventillator, under sedation.  Those things are still true, and likely to remain true for the next few days.

What has changed, though, is my definition of progress.   That update called general stability throughout the day as progress, where we now hear reports of improvement daily.  It’s details like liver function being improved, blood pressure being higher, platelet count being higher, etc.  And every day there’s a detail or two mixed in that’s slightly worse, some of those details are predictable while an occasional surprise pops up.  However, the overall picture for each of the past three days is improved.  And that improvement allows them to make bigger changes to her treatment, over time hopefully speeding up the recovery.

The best news of today is they feel like the infection is under control or better.  They’re still monitoring for something different too, and we’re still watching for other signs, but it seems to be an improvement.  She still has a pretty good fever, which is causing some concern still, but they link it more (now) to her central nervous system still fighting.  While it’s no longer necessary, her system (maybe still remembering the pain from earlier, the trauma of the surgery, and likely impacted by coming off some medication) is still in ‘AGHH!’ mode.  Fever, higher heart rate, higher breathing rate, and higher blood pressure are part of that until her internal system resets, which we fully expect to happen.

While not giving me a quote for the e-mail, when asked the doc indicated we’ll likely be involved with this for another 3 weeks or so, counting some physical therapy necessary due to the amount of time Sarah will have gone with minimal movement.  Not major, should recover from that part quickly, but naturally more quickly the sooner she can start.  And not how we intended to spend July, but that’s how it is.

So, all that said, a lack of an update for a day or two (or three or four) doesn’t indicate much.   Progress at the moment is slow, and is likely to continue to move more slowly than we’d wish, but progress is progress and we’ll take it.

Thanks to all for the continued thoughts and prayers.  The kids are still in Malden, and at this point I’m not sure they’ll ever want to return to Columbia.  Sorry I haven’t returned every call, e-mail, or text message.  Most times it depends on timing more than how much I like you.  Most times.  On a side note, screw ku.

Written by Jason Becking

July 6th, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Posted in Sarah Wins

Update #5

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Sarah remains in ICU, on the ventillator, under sedation.  That’s been the case since Monday at around 10:00.  She was moved back to ICU on Sunday.  They’ve told us she has a staph infection (MRSA), which they’ve been treating with antibiotics for a couple of days now.  They actually told me of that infection yesterday, but it took me a solid 24-hours to figure out what they were saying.

Today is the first 24-hour period in a while, perhaps since surgery, where everything they track remained stable throughout the day.  That in itself is progress at the moment.  The doctor describes the situation as playing a chess game, which seems an apt description.  They make slight adjustments to her treatment, which then hopefully make slight improvements for Sarah, and the game goes on.  And no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to find anything to suggest to the docs to make it better faster.

She has a fever off-and-on, which is natural with the infection.  As her fever rises, so does her heart rate, which is also natural.  For the vast majority of today she rested comfortably, breathed easily (with the ventillator), and was very stable.  She has picked up a bit of a fever late in the day, but all has remained relatively stable since, with the temperature leveling off.

Progress at the moment is measured in baby steps.  I’d prefer it be giant leaps, naturally, or with a wheel chair rolling out the door, but am happy to be measuring progress.

Here’s to more progress tomorrow, Happy 4th of July to you and yours — or Poke a Beaker with a Sparkler Day, as we like to call it.

Written by Jason Becking

July 3rd, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Posted in Sarah Wins

New Orleans Update #4

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Technology sucks, but Sarah doesn’t. I hear that some haven’t received the update below, and the blog appears to be having issues as well (although it shows up fine on my iPhone).

Since Update #3, we showed up in the ICU this morning to find further improvement. While there were some rather large bumps along the way today, I go to bed tonight with the measurables all being better than they were this time last night. Her basic treatment is unchanged since last night, but the numbers are all either normal or coming that direction.

She has some infection in her lungs, which is unfortunately common and understandable given everything below. That’s seemingly the biggest obstacle at the moment. With that though, she clearly has amazing strength and will power, so we’ll be past it soon enough.

Thanks to all for the continued thoughts and prayers. And on a side note, screw ku.

*** Update on July 2, 11:53 p.m.
Sarah had a pretty stable day today, with no real changes overall.  There was a repeat of one of the “rather large bumps” from yesterday, but it was a bit smaller and handled more smoothly by all (including me).

Written by Jason Becking

July 1st, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Posted in Sarah Wins