Thursday, September 27, 2007

Updates on my Uncle Walt and other family news

It's been a little while since I shared updates about my Uncle Walt Mitchell, who for the past month or so has been in a Cleveland hospital for serious complications related to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (illustration of normal heart vs heart with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). Below is the text of recent emails my Mom sent out with updates she received from my cousin.

The first one is from September 25, 2007:

Ken just called. Walt is going back in for surgery tommorow. He has fluid building up around the artificial device they have to drain. His blood pressure is low, his white blood cell count is high, and he has a fever. His kidney output has decreased again.

Ken said the surgeon said they think he may have something called cardiac capanoid (not sure I'm spelling it right). I don't know what it is or what is done if you have it. Before he could say much more about it he got a call and had to go.

Ken said he just doesn't have a good feeling about this. He is really scared for his Dad. This is the first time he has ever sounded less than upbeat about his Dad's condition so I am concerned.

He said something really nice about his Dad. He said his Dad is his hero for all he has gone through and has never felt sorry for himself and given the best fight he could. Makes me proud of my brother too and I know he has what I've always called "the Mitchell determination".

Continue to pray and when I hear more I will let all of you know.
This update came in just last night (September 26, 2007):
Ken just called. Walt is out of surgery. The surgery took about 3 1/2 hrs.

He had about a litre of blood pooled behind his artificial heart, and they found the source of bleeding and tied it off. Ken said he was already out of recovery, back in his room and tubes removed but was still asleep.

Keep the prayes going, it looks like they are working.

If things continue to do well for him, he may have the transplant within 2 months.



PS- I talked to [my oldest sister] Pat and she had talked to [our sister] Mary, so Pat updated me on [Mary's husband,] Uncle Dave. Dave had surgery last week, and he is healing.

This has been going on with him for some time now, and it was important this was successful, because if not, it would have affected his quality of life for his future.

Let's hope he continues to do well and life gets back to normal for him.
Amen. Thank you so much for keeping my family in your thoughts and prayers. As you can see, it's helping.

In a related e-mail from this past Sunday, my Mom asked if I could help start a Mitchell family blog, as a way for all of us to provide updates on stuff. I'm looking into that as well as setting up a private call for everyone over at

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Interviewed in the Dayton Daily News

I was recently interviewed for a piece in the Dayton Daily News about the Harry Potter series and faith. I just found out that the article is available online here and will be in the print edition either Saturday (9/22/2007) or Sunday (9/23/2007).

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Update on My Uncle Walt - some good news

I know that some of you have been following the news about my Uncle Walt since I first posted about his condition last week and the subsequent update. This e-mail came in from my Mom Sunday night:

Talked to [Walt's son] Ken a little bit ago, and Walt is improving somewhat. His kidneys are functioning almost at full capacity. Ken said his ankles are so small that he and [his sister]Julie don't ever remember them being so skinny. The artificial heart seems to be doing what it's supposed to do.

Walt was awake off and on and doesn't remember this whole ordeal, which is just as well. He isn't in any real bad pain more uncomfortable, which is amazing to me. He will be in ICU for about 4-5 more days and then will get moved to another room and start PT.

Praise God! Prayers do work.

He is by no means out of the woods but is on his way. If things continue to go well, he could be back at the top of the transplant list in 2 weeks to 2 months.

Keep praying.

Margaret Welker
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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Friday night update on my uncle Walt

This email came in from my Mom last night:

Ken says Walt is somewhat stable, but doctors are concerned his kidneys are not functioning well. He has very little output, and what there is, is tinged with blood. They were starting him on diferent meds today and hoping this makes a difference.

Once Walt has stabilized, he will be a candidate for a human transplant again. Right now he is level 7, which means he is still on the list, but it's suspended for the time being. Once he stabilizes, he moves up to what is known as level 1A, which means he is at the top of the list.

Walt did resume some consciousness today a couple times, and he wrote Ken a note saying he was going home tommorow! Ken said he doesn't think Walt even knows he has the artificial heart. He is still on a ventilator.

The artificial heart is hooked up to a large machine at the foot of the bed that has among other things 2 air tanks. Apparently the artificial heart works with air, not electric. In the hospital the air is coming from inside the walls, but the air tanks are there in case of an emergency when the air supply would be cut off. Between the two tanks he would have about a 2 1/2 hour air supply.

As I am updated tomorrow, I will update again.

Keep up the prayers it seems they are working.

Todd Van Hoosear and Ryan Stiles - Twins Separated at Birth?

Originally uploaded by tvanhoosear
You be the judge.

It's so funny how we get to certain places on the web.
  1. Yesterday on Twitter, C.C. Chapman encouraged people to take pictures of themselves at work, upload them to Flickr, and tag them with "slackershots". He even registered to point to the tag page for it.
  2. One of our fellow Twitter friends, Todd Van Hoosear, uploaded a picture of himself.
  3. I browsed the gallery and remarked on Twitter that his picture resembled Ryan Stiles of Whose Line Is It Anyway?
  4. Todd then posted the picture you see in this post and mentioned it on Twitter.
Todd and I have never met in person, but I sure hope we get to at some point.
What's that? You want to know what picture I submitted? I didn't have my camera with me yesterday, so I resubmitted my picture as a Home Fry Speed Demon.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Update on My Uncle Walt - Prayer request

Hi there.

A number of people have asked for an update on my maternal uncle, Walt Mitchell. He has a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. His mom died from it back in 1975 when she was about his age now. Another brother and his son also have it.

He has been in a hospital in Cleveland for the past month because his condition recently worsened. He was put on the top of the donor list, and a heart came in, but unfortunately it wasn't healthy enough for a transplant. After several days, the doctors needed to operate to get him on a mechanical heart.

On Tuesday (9/11) they operated for about 8 hours and couldn't complete the operation because of complications. Apparently Walt had a build up of plaque around his heart, and they spent about 4 hours trying to scrape it loose. The 70% chance of survival went down to 50%.

At one point they had to bring him back to consciousness to make sure he hadn't stroked. They wanted to get him stabilized so that they could go back in yesterday.

According to a recent update from my Mom via my cousin, my uncle Walt didn't have the surgery. He had been running 102 fever, his kidneys have not been not functioning well, and has had very low blood pressure.

The doctors told my cousin Ken that today they are going to go in and remove a part of the diseased heart and replace with some kind of artificial heart. This is basically a stop-gap measure to keep him alive until another decision can be made (we're assuming getting a human donor heart) when he recovers from this surgery. There are lots of risks to this surgery.

Ken said he does talk to Walt and has told him we all are praying for him, and Walt lightly squeezes Ken's hand. Just wanted you all to be encouraged by that.

Right now Walt is being kept sedated for pain reasons and to keep him calm.

There is still hope so keep praying. We know the Great Physician has His plan.

Thursday night update from my Mom: Walt went into surgery @ 2PM Cincinnati time and didn't come out until about 10PM. He is doing about as well as can be expected the doctors said so we are cautiously optimistic. I don't know too many more details because I was at a meeting when Ken called and he left a voice message.
I will try to get another update tomorrow ASAP. Keep praying he continues to do well.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mental Monday

The face for audio
Originally uploaded by danieljohnsonjr
Mood: down

Where did the weekend go? I obviously know where it went, but it just seemed like Monday morning came up all of a sudden.

I'm having a down morning, mostly circumstantial-type depression. We have a lot of personal things going on in the family right now, and the stress from that contributes to it. In addition, pressure from work - new boss, new boss's boss - you know what I mean.

In addition, I still feel a lot from being at the One Voice Walk yesterday.

I want to be careful and not let my emotions get out of control. I have prayed and will pray, because I believe that God can handle and even take away the anxieties I feel. I also know (in my head, at least) that I'm not given more than I can handle. I need to remind myself constantly of that and get it down into my heart.

Two statements I remember having on my markerboard earlier this year:
  • You are better than you think you are.
  • You can do more than you think you can
Letting it marinate and letting the down engine do its thing.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

One Voice Walk 2007

One Voice Walk 2007
Originally uploaded by danieljohnsonjr
Have you've been wondering where I've been this past month? I've been doing some online publicity as a New Media Consultant for the 4th Annual One Voice Domestic Violence Community Awareness Walk, which was held in Cincinnati, Ohio this morning. I took lots of pictures and recorded lots of audio from the event.

Hearing personal stories really moved me. I honestly felt a flood of emotions ranging from sadness, outrage, hurt, compassion, and more. It was really a lot to take in. And rightfully so. Domestic violence is an anathema to our society and must be stopped.

I really enjoyed interviewing people from the various local organizations and finding out what they are doing to help raise awareness for and to prevent domestic violence.

During the walk, I talked with other participants. In nearly all the interviews, I asked folks why they came. Really great discussions.

Do a Google search (aka 'google') "onevoicewalk", and you'll find this content as it all becomes available. For now, I encourage you to check out these specific websites: - the official website, with information about how to donate - pictures taken during the event, with more to come - microblog of updates from before, during, and after the event - MySpace page - Journey Inside My Mind Podcast, where audio content from the walk will be posted

Speaking of the Journey Inside My Mind Podcast, head over there for the recent episode, Music for the One Voice Walk.

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