Home bound.

Hi all,
This week is about coming home for the first time since I was admitted to the hospital. It was a pretty big deal. I had been pretty close to death, gone through my first open heart surgery, and now had a device that my life was depending on. I had to clean and change the hole where the chord went into my body to make the LVAD, the pump, go. I had to remember to take meds everyday. There were a lot of things to remember, to possibly forget or do wrong and to freak out about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, having two exceptionally active and curious four year olds in the midst of equipment that could not be tampered with or supplies that had to stay as bacteria free as possible was a concern too. Despite all this, things went fantastically well. The kids were amazing an we had none of the troubles I had anticipated. Per usual, Christine had to coordinate a bunch of stuff, the grandparents were basically a second set of parents during all this time, plus friends who helped out with various needs. I don’t know how many times I was called “The Bionic Man” or a “Cy-borg” during this time.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and hope you’re all doing really well.

 

Hugs,

Stefan

Holiday time…

Hi all,

Happy Holidays to everyone and thanks for all the support!

The end of the year always seem to rush up on me, so here we are all of the sudden. I am taking a well needed break and get to spend some quality time with my family. I hope you all are doing something nice for yourselves and get some time to relax.

holiday time image

My new installements have been coming slower this past half year, due to me being more busy with my company, but I am aiming to balance things a bit differently in 2018. I guess I simply need to add more hours to the day. Overall, 2017 was a good year and I am looking forward to an exciting 2018.

Please stay in touch, hug each other and enjoy being alive!

Stefan

Family closeness…

This week talks about family closeness and more time in temp housing. Somebody had to be with me at all times to make sure everything was ok. I was lucky to have my mom come over to the US to help out. Christine had to be home with the kids for most of the time, but, thanks to all the unbelievable help from her parents, was able to come down so we could be together here and there.

I can’t imagine how overwhelming it must have been for Christine and my mom. Christine had to hold up the fort at home, deal with the kids and take care of all the communication and practicalities. My mom who was 69 at the time and had trekked over here on her own. She had to deal with the crisis situation in a foreign country, in a second language, and drive me back and forth to the hospital, to the pharmacy or wherever I needed to go.

0236_iLeftMy family closeness

Staying in the same room, 24/7, for close to three weeks offered some precious quality time. We talked about our family, old adventures, growing up, my mom’s life history (which is interesting to say the least) and a bunch of other random things. Needless to say that kind of extended time together never happens anymore. With anybody. At the same time, it also awakened the good ol’ parent-kid relationship full force and there a few big blow-outs, sometimes with yelling and tears. It all ended well though and I am certainly lucky to have the families I have around me.

Thanks all for stopping by and reading.

Time flies…

I don’t know why I haven’t posted anything until now, but here we go.

Since my paying work started to pick up earlier this year I got busy to the point of not wanting to cram any all-nighters in order to get the weekly episode of this done. However, I was totally baffled to see that the last round was all the way back in March! Time flies.

iLeftMyHeart_time flies

So, during this time I have produced a bunch of video graphics and animation. I am attempting to move my company Stefangus Design up a notch in seriousness to make it work in a more sustainable way.

Years ago I used to play guitar and croon in a band, and I am finally mixing and producing the album we recorded back in – wait for it – 2008! The songs will be released in a series of online “singles” (remember 7″ records? For those of you who were born after CD’s bit the dust). You can check out the first batch here: https://luminousfamilytrust.bandcamp.com.

To wrap this up, the plan is still to finish this story here online, and then make a book of it.

That’s it for now. Hope you’re all doing great and see you soon.

 

Peace and quiet…

Time flies. I skipped last week since I was up to my earlobes in work, but now I’m back!

This week talks about getting out of the ICU and moving to the piece and quiet on a regular cardiovascular unit. I got my own room which was incredible. After spending, I forget how long, in the higher energy ICU it was like being let out in a sunny meadow. In the ICU they have constant check on everything that goes on in your body since you’re fresh out of the oven. Like I said in the comic, there are alarms going off constantly for disconnected tubes or end of IV-cycles (when all of whatever medicine has been pumped into somebody’s body) or if there is some urgent event. I felt very safe there since I was surrounded by people who were focusing on me being ok every hour of the day and night. The flip side of that coin is that it can be hard to get good rest there. I can’t remember if I wrote this before, but a nurse said something like “it’s ironic that the hospital is not really the best place to get some good rest”. Apart from the alarms there are tests and x-rays and studies and check-in’s. And that’s not counting the crazy lady in the next room who screams that she needs to speak to someone who understands Russian. I felt for her. Being in the hospital can be scary, and not understanding what the hell people around you are talking about as they poke you is not going to make it better.

So, my own room felt incredible. There continued to be tight checks on everything, but I could close the door and have my own space, I could have visitors. Of course, in the back of my head I was often thinking “this shit ain’t free”, but the comfort at the moment was the most important.

So, anyway, I hope you’re all doing well, or at least decent. Thanks for reading!

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Aching tooth…

It’s been a pretty busy two weeks with a dear visit from family and some tight deadline work. I finally managed to get this episode together that partially deals with, while still being in the ICU, getting a crazy toothache. It just came on all of the sudden and it was really bad. I had to soothe it with ice water first and the water had to be in my mouth constantly, otherwise the pain would escalate to a brutal level. We’re talking writhing-in-my-chair level. It would move from my molar in the back to the front teeth and then back again. I finally managed to take even more painkillers, in between the other painkillers I already took. So, there I was, after open heart surgery, and the worst pain was not in my chest but in my tooth! It was laughable. After a few days a dentist finally managed to come in and she spotted a tiny (!) cavity in one of my molars. Needless to say I immediately booked a time with a dentist to have it fixed as soon as I could leave the hospital. Then, as sudden as it appreared, the ache disappeared. About 1.5 years later my regular dentist spotted the tiny cavity and fixed it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week also talks about being surprised about the kind of social help that would pop up in the US system when I least expected it. Growing up in social democratic Sweden in the 70’s and 80’s, the social welfare system in the US could feel heartless and meager in comparison. I guess to sum it up, it feels like I have learned that there is help to be had here too. It just kicks in way later and you have to be in a way more dire shape in order to qualify. Better or worse? That’s a good discussion to have at some point. Right now I am too tired.

Again, thanks all for coming here to read and I hope you’re all doing ok.