Zev Newsletter

July 1998

July began with both Jonathan and Benjamin throwing up. This was especially poor timing, because on July 2nd, we had (non-refundable) tickets to fly to New York (all four of us) for a wedding. This was a big family event, with Marc's mother, uncle, sister and sister's family all flying back for the wedding too. So back to the doctor we went. We were late getting to the doctor because I had to deal with Benjamin throwing up again in the parking lot. Then just as the doctor walked into the exam room, Jonathan threw up. The diagnosis for both of them was a stomach virus. At least their ears were clear! The doctor told us that medically, flying was not a problem. On the other hand, if the kids were throwing up on the airplane, it could be unpleasant for us! But we decided to risk it and fly as planned.

The plane flight was uneventful. Even though we hadn't bought a seat for Benjamin, we brought his carseat on the airplane. We were lucky and had an empty seat next to Jackie so we were able to use it. To her great relief, Benjamin was as good as one could reasonably expect a 1-year old to be. Marc's cousin Susanne (the mother of the groom) met us at the airport. After checking into the hotel and dinner, we went to Susanne's house, where the boys had a great time pestering Susanne's dog.

Then, at 6 a.m. the next morning (3 a.m. California time), we awoke to the sound of Jonathan throwing up. A quick check of Benjamin revealed that he was also ill, with a fever that turned out to be 101.8. Are we having fun yet? We took things easy that day, just hanging around the hotel. The only thing we did was a party in the evening for the families of the bride and groom at the bride's parents house. The next day (July 4th), Jonathan seemed much better. Benjamin seemed a little crabby, but wasn't running a fever. We decided to go to the mall for lunch and shopping.

After lunch, Benjamin fell asleep in the stroller. When he woke up, he was a very crabby boy, but we didn't think much of it, he usually wakes up unhappy. He got more and more unhappy, and Jackie decided to nurse him, something she doesn't usually do in public places anymore. Well he nursed a little and then got more and more upset. He started twisting and turning in Jackie's arms, arching back and wailing as loud as he could. It could be heard all over the mall. He was flailing around so much, that Jackie couldn't hold him while standing. Anything they tried to do to calm him or distract him only made him scream louder and writhe about even more. This went on for about half an hour, and we knew that this was something completely out of the ordinary. We spoke to the people at the information booth, who called security. The security person called for an ambulance. By the time the ambulance got there, another half an hour to 45 minutes had passed, and Benjamin had actually calmed down. We were definitely wanted Benjamin to be seen by a doctor, however, and rather than risk a worse problem in our own car, or getting lost, we decided to have the ambulance take Benjamin to the hospital. So Jackie and Benjamin had a ride to the hospital in an ambulance (no siren), with Marc following in the car. Jonathan stayed with Marc's sister, Rhona. The problem turned out to be a reoccurrence of the ear infection that Benjamin had had the week before we left. After drops in his ear to relieve the pain and a double dose of antibiotics, Benjamin was a much happier boy. When we got back among the rest of the family, everyone commented on what a different child he was. In retrospect, he probably had an earache from the plane flight which got worse and worse until he couldn't take it anymore.

Both boys stayed healthy for the rest of the trip. The next day was the wedding, which was very nice. The ceremony was outside at Villa Lombardi's in Long Island. The weather was perfect, and the bride was lovely (of course!) Jonathan came to the wedding (in a tuxedo - after all, it was black tie!) Benjamin stayed at the hotel with a sitter. Although Benjamin has been horrid for every other sitter we've ever used, he was an angel for this one.

The next day we met a cousin of Jackie's that lives on Long Island that we'd never met before. Cousin Sandy joined us for a trip to the Empire State Building by train, which the boys enjoyed immensely. Jonathan was excited that he could see the Statue of Liberty from the top of the building, which he remembered from our last trip to New York, two years ago (for the groom's brother's wedding).

The next day (Tuesday), we had tickets to fly home. Our flight was at 10 a.m. and (not knowing what commute traffic was like on Long Island) we planned on leaving the hotel at 7 a.m. for the airport. That was the *plan*.

At about 5:30 a.m., Marc was awakened by a knock at the door. Not the door to the hallway but the door connecting our room to the room shared by Marc's mother (Blanche) and uncle (Walter). Knowing that Walter was also flying home that day (at noon on a different airline) Marc assumed that it had something to do with that. At 5 in the morning you don't think very clearly. As soon as the door was opened Marc realized why he was needed. Blanche was clearly in a great deal of pain. The pain was in her chest and back and had started a little after 5 a.m. The two nitroglycerine pills she had taken had not helped ease her discomfort. Blanche had a heart attack in February 1990 and has had about half-dozen angioplasties since. Marc and Walter conferred and decided to call the paramedics, and to wait a little before waking Marc's sister - someone should get a little sleep!

The first to arrive was the Police who took her name and address and a brief history. They decided to give Blanche oxygen, but the canister either didn't work or was empty so one of the cops had to go back to the car for another canister. Eventually the paramedics arrived and took Blanche's name and address and a brief history. At this point both the Police and the Paramedics had been told about the multiple angioplasties [remember this]. Blanche was now asking for Rhona so Marc and Walter went down the hall to wake her up. Marc explained the situation and said that he waited to wake her so she could sleep. Rhona stated that she had not been asleep. She had woken up a little after 5 a.m. with knot in her stomach that she could not explain. [pretty weird, huh?]

They paramedics decided it was time to take Blanche to the hospital. Marc woke Jackie to tell her that he was going in the ambulance with his mom. Marc put on some shoes and a shirt and off they went. On the way to the ambulance there was a discussion amongst the paramedics over which hospital to go to. It was finally decided to go to Good Samaritan. The police would give Walter directions on how to get there. The ride was uneventful (all things considered) and Blanche was taken to the emergency cardiac unit, where they got her settled and gave her some drugs for the pain. After awhile, they told Marc that the EKG showed no sign of heart attack, but since Blanche had all the symptoms of angina, that's how they were treating her. It turns out that the doctor attending her was not a cardiologist, but they had called one who was on his way.

At about 6:45 a.m., Marc called Jackie at the hotel and they decided that she would take the boys home on the scheduled flight and Marc would play it by ear. Jackie repacked the bags so that what was left of Marc's clean clothes (he tends to over pack a little "just in case") were in the small bag, and planned on leaving that bag and Marc's computer with Rhona. Jackie asked if Reid and Walter had arrived, but they had not. Jackie thought it was odd because they had left right after the ambulance. Marc checked on his mother again, and after a little while went to look for the "lost boys". Coincidentally, after Blanche's first heart attack, Marc was the first arrive at the hospital and the rest of the family arrived together but got lost in the hospital looking for Blanche because the hospital's computer could not keep up with how fast they were moving her from treatment to treatment. Marc eventually found Walter and Reid. They were completely annoyed because they found the directions they were given to be close to useless. Note: Long Island residents give the worst directions imaginable - they assume things like; when they tell you to get off the Parkway on Main Street that you will know that the exit sign really says 27A. This is not a one-time observation. The last time we were in Long Island, we were repeatedly given equally poor directions by a variety of individuals.

Jackie was more than a little daunted by the prospect of a five-hour flight with two small boys and only one adult to keep them occupied! Not to mention the logistics of moving all of the luggage, which included a car seat and a stroller. But it actually wasn't as bad as she feared. She checked the luggage at the curb, leaving her with only the car seat, stroller, a bag with food, and a backpack with toys. Then she returned the rental car. Benjamin was actually asleep, requiring her to carry him in the carseat, while Jonathan pushed the stroller. The plane seats were 2-3-2, so when she checked in, she was given seats on the side of the aircraft (remember that we hadn't paid for a seat for Benjamin). After thinking about it, she went back and asked to switch to middle seats - specifically two aisle seats with an empty one between. If the middle seat became assigned, she would switch with the person in that seat. Fortunately, the empty one was not filled and she had a seat for Benjamin for the flight home. Once again, Benjamin and Jonathan were angels on the flight. Jonathan got to watch (but not hear) "Titanic." Benjamin actually slept through the second half of the movie, giving Jackie a nice break. The worst part of the flight was getting all of the luggage and the two kids the 50 feet from the luggage carousel to the parking lot shuttle pickup.

Jackie's saga was not quite over. In all the confusion of packing and repacking, she left Benjamin's antibiotics in the hotel. So before they had even left the L.A. airport for home, Jackie called our pediatrician and said, "Help, we need more antibiotics!" The pediatrician wouldn't write a prescription for antibiotics without seeing the child, so she went straight from the airport to the pediatrician's office. Good thing too. There were only 2 days left on the antibiotic (a full course is 5 days), but the pediatrician had us give it to Benjamin for 4 more days. Fortunately, it did the trick, and when the antibiotics were done, the ear infection was gone.

But what had happened to Blanche? Soon after Walter and Reid arrived they admitted Blanche, but left her in emergency waiting for the cardiologist, who finally arrived. He told them the same thing the first doctor did about the EKG. He stated that they would observe Blanche for two days and then decide what to do. The doctor also said that if Blanche needed another angioplasty that they would have to move her to another hospital because the hospital she was in could not perform angioplasty. After all the debate the ambulance drivers had, they picked a hospital that could not perform the one procedure she was most likely to need, considering the history she gave them. Go figure. Since Rhona was already staying in New York, and there wasn't really anything Marc could do but sit around, he decided to fly home on the noon flight.

On Wednesday they decided that Blanche indeed needed an angioplasty, and moved her to North Shore Medical Center. As it happens, Susanne's husband Jimmy has a friend who is an Internist on staff at that hospital, who is in turn a friend of the head of cardiac medicine, who became Blanche's doctor. That evening Blanche had an angioplasty and they inserted two stents (metal frames that serve to keep the arteries open) to go with the one she already had. Marc is now regretting his decision to leave New York, but at this point it was too late to change it, so he worked to prepare for his important project review and demonstration the next day.

On Thursday morning just before the project review, Marc calls New York in hopes of hearing that Blanche is doing well - but there is no such luck. It turns out that while the doctor was routinely checking his work, he realized that Blanche needed yet another angioplasty. During the angioplasty, he inserted three more stents - making the total now six and bringing up the question of whether she will set off the metal detector at the airport. Marc has now broken the cardinal rule "Don't ask a question if you don't want to hear the answer". Luckily, that was the last of the unpleasant news for the day. The project review and demonstration went better than Marc or his boss expected, with the customer being very impressed with the work and expressing some interested in providing further funding. Marc's boss so appreciated his team's effort on the project that she gave everyone Flash Bonuses. Blanche was recovering nicely (finally) and was eventually moved into a room with a telephone so Marc could talk to her, much relieving some of his anxieties.

On Sunday, Marc took Jonathan to his first Baseball game. They used Walter's season tickets, right behind home plate. Walter couldn't use them because he was picking-up Rhona and family from the airport. Jonathan had a great time, he sat in his seat and watched the whole game - he didn't want to miss even one second of the game. Coincidentally it was Helmet Day, so Jonathan also got to take home a cool souvenir of his first ball game. On Monday, Marc got e-mail from one of the Senior VPs at his company saying that he had setup a 45 minute demo of Marc's project for an important Program Manager at the Joint Planning Office. The demo was to be on Friday! Under normal circumstance Marc would try to duck the trip and let his boss go, but in this case Marc saw a golden opportunity. After checking with his mother and finding out she was planning on flying home Saturday, Marc called the travel agent. He found that he could go to DC for his demo, then fly to NY and fly home with his mom for less money than just flying to DC for the day. It only required visiting 5 different airports for 3 non-stop flights! So that is what he did.

On the way home from New York, Marc called from the airport to say he was on his way home. Unfortunately for him, he called when Jackie was in the middle of dealing with an ant invasion. She was crabby because (on top of having ants all over the place) Benjamin was screaming because she wouldn't pick him up. Apparently, Marc hadn't learned that cardinal rule, "Don't ask a question if you don't want to hear the answer!"

June's newsletter reported that our bunnies had gotten together again. This time we had better success. Jackie knew that the female had given birth on the 22nd, but she was afraid to look and see if any survived. After a week, she heard them moving and poked her head into the nest box. To her amazement, she found 6 babies in there! Fun stuff! Anyone want a bunny?

The last week in July, Marc went to Madison, Wisconsin, for the AAAI Convention. Jackie was a little jealous - that convention sounded like fun. He did miss out on our *nice * warm weather. While he was in Madison, it was 107, 108, and 106. I think that the next day was a little cooler (only 102 or so!) The poor bunnies were sweltering! Jackie puts a water bottle for each bunny in the freezer each evening and puts one in each cage in the morning for the bunnies to have something cool to rest against. One day, Jackie dipped the female into the pool, but she hated that! We're a little amazed that the babies have survived the heat!

The last week in July, Jonathan did the week of swim class that he missed in June due to being sick. He's turned into quite the swimmer. It's truly amazing to compare how he was at the beginning of the summer (can't swim at all) to how he is now (he can swim from one end of the pool to the other.) He loves to jump off the diving board. We've been spending a lot of time in the pool to beat the heat.

We think that July was just a jinxed month. At the end of the month, Jackie's cousin Debra was admitted to the hospital with what was eventually diagnosed as cancer. She is now in chemotherapy and we are all praying for a positive outcome. Jackie's Uncle Mickey is also in the hospital. Our thoughts and best wishes are with him too.

Whew! That's all for July! You can check out our websites at http://www.isx.com/~jzev and http://isx.com/~mzev/personal. The former has the non-profit organizations that Jackie is involved in and a complete genealogy for the Zev family. The latter has pictures of the boys.

You can also read our

Created 8/16/98. Send corrections, criticisms and comments to Jackie at: jzev@isx.com