[December 10, 2004] - Thank GOD, we finished the move! Some 500+ people, their computers and all assorted bits of dust and whatnot were moved from the downtown Park Street facility and the Outlet Point extension over to Building C of the old PMSC complex in Blythewood, SC. All headquarters employees are now in one building again after five years, and we actually OWN the building this time. Now that I've had some time to reflect on it, I have to say that the facility is better than I thought it would be. I'm getting used to the drive, too.
Things will continue to be hectic for awhile as everyone in the IT group now has to pick up all the projects and tasks that were dropped back in late October when the move started and resume work on them. I expect that things won't settle down for sure until November 2005. Hopefully at that point we will have fixed what needed to be fixed, upgraded what needed to be upgraded and implemented what needed to be implemented. Well, at least until Governor Sanford gets another idea that turns into a policy or law that has to be implemented by the DMV's Division of Information Technology in under two weeks, that is. :p
[January 26, 2005] - Aunt Peggy (my dad's aunt) died after a prolonged illness and was buried near Toccoa, GA.
[February 7, 2005] - OW! On Saturday evening I was sitting down at home after a horribly long extra day at work. I was eating some granola for dinner when suddenly I felt and heard a loud "crack!" I thought to myself 'man, that's some crunchy granola' and then resumed chewing. It wasn't long before I realized that I was experiencing minor pain on the left side of my jaw every time I bit down on something rather firm. After I was done eating, I went to brush my teeth and felt around and sure enough I'd snapped a rear molar in half (across the length, not the width of the tooth).
This tooth has long been the problem child in my mouth. Back in 1995 this tooth had chipped while I was eating some mexican food with my old college buddies in Florence, SC during a visit. The tooth had fractured badly, and it was initally patched with an inlay. But the pain from eating became so bad that over a year later it required a root canal and a larger inlay. Fast foward 8 years from that point to the present and the tooth had gotten so brittle that it was destined to crack. So on Tuesday I scheduled an appointment with a dentist to have the tooth pulled.
The dentist numbed me up and begun disassembly of the remains of the ruined molar. He managed to get the crown off with little problem, but after that he ran into a problem that is common with root canals. Once the pulp has been removed, the tooth is dead. When that happens, the tooth no longer receives nutrients and becomes brittle and inert. Once inert, the roots can integrate with the surrounding bone of the jaw and become nearly impossible to get out. This is what happened to me. The root wasn't coming out without a fight, so the dentist had to schedule emergency surgery for me with the local hospital.
With a 50-pound wad of gauze stuck in my mouth, I drove myself from the dentist's office to the local hospital. There I filled out more paperwork, mumbled my way through a sequence of questions, prepaid for the procedure and then was walked into the operating room. Since I was still numb from the dentist's visit, I wound up going under the knife immediately. Well, knife and chisel (and I'm quite sure a jackhammer, blasting cap and gas-powered auger were also used. . . :p )
Anyhow, after 10 minutes of pounding, twisting and shoving by the oral surgeon the troublesome roots were loosened from the jawbone with a couple of extremely loud "CRACK"s. At that point his assistant, one of the prettiest women I've ever seen (possessing hazel eyes, a petite frame and long dark hair pulled into a tomboyish-styled ponytail *wanton stare* ), extracted the remains of the roots with a vacuum wand and then packed another 50 pounds of gauze in my mouth and told me to bite down with all my might.
Afterwards they handed me a sheet of post-op instructions and sent me on my way home. The next day I felt as if I'd had an elephant high-kick me in my jaw, so I stayed at home until I felt well enough to return to work. While this meant a few days away from work, I do hate the fact that (in most cases) the only time I manage to take off from work is spent either recuperating from bad colds or resting up after surgery instead of enjoying myself.
[April 13, 2005] - My mother has been dealing with a worsening back problem, leaving her numb along her right leg and also prone to falling. Preliminary examinations showed that she had a deteriorated disc between her third and fourth vertebra. The situation got bad enough that on Wednesday she had to undergo back surgery. They fused her vertebrae (and also discovered while they were down there that she had scoliosis, which none of us had even suspected). She came through the five hour procedure just fine and was back at home on the following Saturday. She's making great progress as each day passes, and we're hoping that within two months she'll be fully mobile and ready to resume a normal life.
[April 18, 2005] - Grandmother died just as I was leaving work today. Jean Halse (prounounced Halsey) Roberts was one of those rare people that you're lucky to know, and even luckier to be related to. The link to the British half of my family, she personified the British traits of perseverence and courage. As a telephone operator in the tunnels below London during the height of WWII, she could've earned the mantles of "strength" and "courage" simply for the part she played in the war effort. But as I had mentioned in a previous post, she'd suffered through two bouts of cancer, endless Blitz bombing runs by Hitler's Luftwaffe and a difficult adjustment period when she moved with my grandfather to the United States just after the end of WWII.
I believe that our family was pretty lucky where my parents and grandparents are/were concerned. Most people gripe about (or outright hate) their in-laws, but I can say that my parents got along well with each of their in-laws. Also, all of my grandparents got along well with each other and enjoyed the times when we were all together. It made the death of my maternal Grandmother as hard to take for my dad as it had for mom.
I've seen a lot of deaths over the past year and a half and each one has brought forth a different reaction. In the case of Grandmother, my primary reaction is one of relief. I am glad she is no longer suffering from the pancreatic cancer that was consuming her. I'm likewise glad that she no longer has to suffer with the immobility that her arthritis gave her or the incontinence brought on by her previous bout with cancer. She's in a better place, where she's whole, moving freely and with family members long passed.
England has lost one of her most shining examples of just what it is to BE British, and I've lost the grandparent that I felt closest to over the years. I'm happy for her for the freedom she has gained, but I'll certainly miss her presence and her counsel.
[May 05, 2005] - It's official now! I have moved out of the condo that I'd occupied for over eleven years and into much better digs. The six month ordeal with the mortgage lenders, real estate lawyers, random brokers and whatnot has culminated in the purchase of this house. I'm quite happy with my new home and am damned glad that the move is over with. Thank GOD I don't do moving for a living. It would be a very short career if I did. :)
[June 02, 2005] - Well I don't know why this keeps happening to us, but I'm sure someone up there is laughing at us. Mom broke her leg today while she was walking around the front porch. I had to drop everything and rush over to my parents' place, help get mom into the car and then spirit both parents to the emergency room. We verified that she broke her left leg and sprained her right ankle, which means that for the next four weeks she has to use a wheelchair to get around at the house and at work. It's been bad enough on her the past month or so because of her back surgery and the death of her mother. With this additional stress, I don't know how she deals with it all...
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