A New Chapter

Today a new chapter starts for the Melton house. Jeff started his new job today in a whole new career field. I am excited for him and so very proud to be his wife.

The last several years have taken their toll on us, but I feel the wind beginning to pick up and to stir with hope and newness. I am at a peaceful place, maybe for the first time in my adult life. I want to be still and to let my Abba Father speak to me. I want to bask in his tender love and grace.

If you want to continue to follow my personal journey you can do so on my personal blog (www.kristinamelton.com). Now that things are settling down to a more normal pace the updates on this blog will go back to family updates. :) Grace and peace.

upcoming changes — roadmap and rationale

Over the coming months, I plan to make a number of changes to the way my family and I connect with the world. The first change will be to our email server. Last spring, we quit using our Google accounts for anything except access to Google’s Android application store. I moved all our email, contacts and calendar to a server “in the cloud” that I administer myself. That’s been a successful experiment, and I’m ready to move it into the next phase: Bringing that server down out of cloud and under my physical control at home. It’ll save us a few dollars, too, and that’s always welcome.

In addition to bringing the mailserver home, I will be merging my online personae. For a number of years, I’ve maintained a public/private persona split. I’ll begin bringing those together in coming weeks, and eventually all of my email and blogging will move to The Melton Plantation. That merge is as much about consistency and values as it is about simplicity. It’s time everyone who finds me online sees the same picture, for better or worse. I’ll also be closing down Kristina’s eponymous site, moving her email and blog to The Melton Plantation.

These moves will, among other things, allow me to continue teaching myself a few new things. I like server administration, and this is going to be a good stretch for me in that respect. I have no experience in building, launching or maintaining personal websites, and I plan to move our blogs off free hosted services (Tumblr and Posterous) to self-hosted solutions. This will give me an opportunity to work with a number of different blogging platforms. My reasoning for consolidating our domains, then, is in part to keep the task manageable. It will also save us some money. Just as I don’t need compartmentalized sharing, having come to realize it’s inconsistent with my other values; I don’t need vanity link-shortening. And so the five domains we now own will point to one for a time, after which four of them will revert to ownership by others.

At the same time, I’ll be closing my Twitter accounts, moving to an account at App.net. There are few people with whom I regularly interact only on Twitter, and all of you know how to find me elsewhere. I’ll not go into great detail here about that change. That may best be served by a post of its own, but those of you who know something about my philosophies on technology, privacy and the internet won’t need much of an explanation. The rest of you will be utterly and irreparably confused. [waves at Mom] There are precious few of my close friends and acquaintances who both understand and agree with my positions, so I’ll not waste our time pontificating. My App.net username will likely be changing during this transition, as well, but I doubt that will matter to many of you. If you want to find me there, suffice it to say it’ll be linked from my blog. Kristina will, as far as I know, be keeping her Facebook and Twitter accounts live.

I also expect I’ll be implementing significant changes to my mobile connectivity over the coming months. Once the transition is complete, I won’t be checking email, IM or whatever-else while I’m out, and I probably won’t respond to text messages. That will most likely mean you’ll need to pick up the phone, dial my number, and talk to me live if you want to get in touch with me right away. I’m out of contract on our cellphone plan, so it’s a good time for me to consider other options. I don’t need constant connectivity; I probably never did. In fact, I’m not convinced it’s healthy for any of us, but that’s another rabbit trail I won’t chase just yet. I’ve talked about moving to a no-contract pay-as-you-go service with a top-end smartphone — and I may yet do that — but it’s looking less likely by the day. It would be simpler, of course, if I kept the phone number I’ve had for nearly 11 years. But that has its own philosophical and practical implications. So my number is likely to also change as part of this process. In fact, I may eventually take a cue from a friend on App.net, and eschew myself of a mobile phone altogether, in favor of a portable HAM radio. I recognize many of the limitations and complications of taking a step like that, and I understand there are probably issues I’ve yet to consider, so it’s not a move I’ll make lightly. Kristina will — again, as far as I know — be keeping her mobile phone and number. As with the internet-based changes, my motivations here orbit primarily around simplicity and economics. There are deeper philosophical motivations, perhaps, but those aren’t well-formed enough to yet be put into words, so I’ll leave them for now to percolate.

I’m still mapping out some of this in my head, and since a good bit of this is new territory, I’ll be taking it slowly. It may be an ugly, frustrating process, during which I expect to curse a great deal, either publicly or privately. So it is with new endeavors, valuable as they may be. I’m posting this everywhere in hopes that no one will worry or get left behind. I may take as little as three months to get all the server work done, but I’d say it’s more likely to take me six. The unused domains will probably (hopefully?) redirect until November-ish, when they’ll revert to other owners. The Posterous and Tumblr blogs may stay live through the end of 2013, solely to point stragglers to the new site. We’ll see. Any phone transition will happen over a relatively short period of time, and is more likely to be sooner than later. Since I don’t yet have an amateur radio license, any moves I’d make to HAM will take somewhat longer.

As always, you’re welcome to ask questions. I may not answer them at all, or to your satisfaction. Such is life.

We're home. Now what?

We go back to Little Rock on the 10th of December to get Kristina's staples and stitches taken out.

But mostly, we wait. The neurosurgeon told us it might take six to eight weeks for the swelling in her eyes to subside, and that we might not know what the permanent damage is until then.

Kristina's short-term disability claim was approved for the 30 days ending November 26. I've had to hassle them every step of the way so far, so I don't expect it to be any different getting her approved for another 60 days. That lady's going to get really tired of talking to me, and unless she realizes resistance is futile, her vocabulary is going to continue to expand.

Going home!

They're going to discharge Kristina shortly, and we'll be on the road for Bentonville. Everyone seems very pleased with how she's doing. She's in great spirits. We're hoping for an uneventful trip home and an early bedtime. :-)

An update from Teena.

Generally speaking, I'm doing pretty well. The doctor was pleased with how surgery went.

My husband is amazing, I've been particularly grateful for his general knowledge of the medical world. He plays the bulldog when necessary, yet is so very gentle and kind to me.

The staff here at the hospital are all very sweet and take excellent care of me.

I found myself wide awake at 4:30 this morning. For any number of things, I'm sure. I have an IV by my head whose electronic piece clicks away every 60 seconds or so. I have leg cuffs on (think blood pressure cuff) that run from my ankles almost all the way to my knees. They alternate legs and fill and release every 60 seconds. Not to mention all the sleep I got yesterday in recovery and off and on sleep all yesterday afternoon. So needless to say I'm awake and bored. :-*

The doc said if I can get up and move around without a spinal headache I may be released today. If not I may be here another night. So we'll see how that goes. He also said that the swelling behind my eyes may take up to 6-8 weeks to go down fully. So my eyesight may continue to improve over that amount of time. But thank goodness, no more diamox causing tingly feet and hands and other nuisance types of side effects like being groggy all the time.

Well, thats all I've got for now.

Grace and peace!

Surgery update

*UPDATE @ 2:20 PM*

Kristina is in her room now. 524 at Baptist Hospital, Little Rock. She's pretty worn out and sore, so she's resting quietly.

*UPDATE @ 11:30 AM*

Dr. Reding says Kristina's surgery went well. She'll need to lay flat until tomorrow sometime. When we come home will depend on how she does when she gets up and around then.

I'll post her room number when I have it.

*UPDATE @ 10:45 AM*

They're closing her up now, so it sounds like the surgery went more quickly than expected.

*UPDATE @ 9:30 AM*

I was wrong. They just called me and said they were starting the surgery. So we're looking at surgery wrapping up around noon.

*UPDATE @ 9:15 AM*

They rolled Kristina out of pre-op about an hour ago, and were supposed to let me know when surgery actually started. They haven't changed her status on the monitor, and haven't called me, but I'm guessing that's an oversight.

Kristina and I are waiting in pre-op. They ordered a special shunt for her yesterday afternoon, and are waiting for it to arrive. Once they take her back, surgery is scheduled to take two and a half hours. I don't expect to see her after surgery until they have her settled in her room.

Surgery tomorrow

Kristina and I drove down to Little Rock last night, and she had her spinal tap this morning. Her opening pressure was basically normal, but seems to be fluctuating quite a bit. Given the mild headaches she's had the last few days and the recent degradation of her vision, Dr. Reding thinks a shunt is a good idea.

We don't yet know what time her surgery will be, but we expect her to be hospitalized at least Thursday night, and maybe Friday night as well.

Further updates on Teena's health, or Upcoming Road Trip To See The Doctor Least Likely To Screw Up

The neurosurgeon in Little Rock called us back this evening about 5 o'clock. It turns out that when the hospital performed Kristina's last spinal tap, they did the procedure incorrectly, rendering the results useless. So we'll be making a second flying trip to Little Rock. We need to be down there Wednesday morning for a spinal tap, under the skillful hand of the neurosurgeon, who seems to be the only medical professional in the chain that actually knows what he's doing. If her opening pressure is still high, then he'll put a shunt in a couple days later.

Grandma Jeanne (Teena's mom) is making yet another last-minute flight to XNA from Charlotte, and will be staying at our house with Aylin. She's been a huge help to us, and an amazing emotional support for Kristina. The sacrifice she's made, flying back and forth, staying away from home for such long stretches, is huge, and we appreciate her a lot.

We'll keep you posted as much as we can.

Teena update (11/26/12)

Kristina's vision, while still measurably better than it was at its worst, has degraded noticeably in the last 24-48 hours. We had an appointment with the opthalmologist this morning, and he's bumped by 50% the dosage of the medication she's taking. The opthalmologist and I both have calls in to the neurosurgeon in Little Rock to see what next step he suggests, and we hope to hear from him today.

If we're not in Little Rock, she'll have yet another spinal tap Thursday morning.