Thursday, July 02, 2009

Broken Dreams Barbie

My sister-in-law just unearthed some of her old toys that have been in hiding for 20-some years. A couple nights ago, she was showing us these toys in a trip down memory lane. One of them is a little ballerina doll that spins around when you push down a plunger that comes out of her head (yes, a little odd, but it's a toy). Unfortunately, one of her legs (the one on which she's supposed to twirl) hyperextends at the knee. This is hilarious to me. I imagine the doll having little phrases, such as "Oh, my leg! I'll never dance again!" "The pain is unbearable!" and "I don't have health insurance!"


Heidi and I have expanded this admittedly morbid joke to a line of dolls (Barbie is a good placeholder, but it could be a different line of toys) called the Broken Dreams Barbie line. Each would have its own playset, which would hook into the Boulevard of Broken Dreams playset (which comes with a "Street Corner"). Some of the dolls are a little too sick/mean/dirty for me to post here, but I'll give you a few ideas:

-"Ex-Child Actor Barbie" with McDonald's playset
-"Philosophy Major Barbie" with Telemarketing Call Center playset
-"Homeless Barbie" complete with 3-wheeled shopping cart (naturally, she wouldn't have a playset)
-"Pimp Ken" (who has the obvious counterpart that we're not going to discuss here)

There are numerous others that we're thinking of, but since many people who read this don't get my sense of humor sometimes, it's better to let this stand as is. Although this has become a common topic of conversation over the dinner table at Chez Fisher. Maybe we'll actually get these into production in time to traumatize Nola!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Obligatory New Father Post

On Tuesday, April 14th at 3:54pm, Nola Mercy En-Ai Fisher was born. She was 6 lbs 2 oz and 21 inches. I have participated in the creation of another human being. Holy Crap.

I've heard numerous new fathers talking about how life-changing an experience, how unutterably wonderful it is, and I never understood it. I'm still getting there. When huge, monstrous events happen that have such intense amounts of emotion tied to them, I tend to process the information for many days (or weeks). I'm still processing, I think. Only just today have I been able to hold her and think of her in any way beyond just intellectual acknowledgement that she is actually my daughter. But I'm still chugging through the huge emotional impact. Over the past few days I noticed that when I'm not there, I couldn't wait to hear her plaintive little whiny cry/whimper again. Now (and I doubt this is going to last), crying is not an annoyance to me, but rather a signal of life. For the first time in my life, I've started singing little spontaneous songs as I'm holding her. I've also noticed that I'm much more open and accepting of other people, as if the world is a better place.

Let me tell you how everything happened:
I had been up too late, playing a free trial of Age of Conan (which I recommend, by the way), so I got up a bit late that morning. As such, I was rushing around to get myself ready in time for work. Heidi had gone to the bathroom and taken a shower after I got done, and when she came out, she told me she thought her water might have broken. She lay down on the bed for a bit and nothing seemed out of the ordinary, so I decided to head to work. As I was walking to the bus stop, I saw the far-too-familiar sight of the bus driving by as I was two blocks away. I've gotten used to that, so I wasn't a huge deal to me. However, just before I got to the bus stop, Heidi calls me and said, "Yep, my water broke." I turned right around and headed back home as she called her doctor.

What followed next was a pretty quick labor. I should state right now that Prentice Women's Hospital is a very nice hospital in which there is one patient per delivery room and one patient per room in recovery. It's one of the few hospitals I've been in that wasn't depressing and scary. In any case, the hospital staff kept a pretty close eye on Heidi's blood pressure and the baby's heart rate during the labor. At each contraction, the baby's heart rate dipped a little bit, which is fairly common. However, at one point, the baby's heart rate dropped from it's usual 140 to the mid 50's, and didn't come back up. Immediately, there were a dozen people in the room and Heidi was rushed out to an operating room. They left me in the normal delivery room, alone and clueless. This was a pretty rough time for me. It was as if I walked off a cliff and fell into the sea, and didn't know when or if I would rise back to the surface. I called people to pray, and then sat there alone, praying on my own. After about 10 minutes, someone came in and told me that the baby's heart rate came back up and both mother and baby looked like they were doing OK. Then she left, asking me to stay where I was, and I was sitting there alone for another 20 minutes. Eventually, our nurse came into the delivery room and took me back to the OR. This wasn't something that any of the medical professionals thought of, but Heidi had asked them to go get me, as she knew I'd be panicked. I married a good woman.

When I got in the OR, Heidi was on a table, surrounded by a few doctors and nurses, who were discussing whether or not she should go back to the delivery room to finish up delivering normally. Heidi had dilated from 5 cm to 9 cm (10 cm is fully dilated) in the space of an hour, and the kid had had a hard time tolerating that. Evidently the motion of rushing her to the OR had worked it's magic, and the kid was in much better shape. They waited for two hours to see if she should go back to the delivery room and finish up. After that, the doctors realized that Heidi was not dilating any more despite some pretty intense contractions, and determined that the baby should come out via Caesarian. Since this wasn't an emergency C-Section, I was able to stay in the room with Heidi; they put a sheet up between us and the operation, so we could avoid the nastiness. Before I knew it (but what seemed like 30 years), the baby was out and shrieking her tiny little lungs out.

She tested almost perfectly on the Apgar test (a scale that measures the health of a newborn), but since she was still considered a preemie (she was 36 weeks, 6 days; 37 weeks is acceptably "full term"), they wanted to run some tests on her, and the test that measures her ability to regulate the glucose level in her blood came back a little weak. So they took her to the NICU, where she still is.

For a NICU, Prentice's is very nice. We're able to have an alcove to ourselves, and we have 24/7 visiting. They have a solid once-every-three-hours feeding schedule, which is convenient, because we know when to go down and be with her, and then at night we actually can get an adequate night's sleep. Still, Nola had to have a Dextrose IV for the first couple days of her life. she soon established her ability to maintain a good glucose level, but then the staff doctor noticed she was a little jaundiced. Jaundice is really common for Asian kids (Heidi had it much worse when she was freshly out of the oven), so this was nothing unusual, but still a bit annoying. Tomorrow, if all goes well (which the doctor is confident it will), she will be here in the room with us, as Heidi finishes up her recuperation.

So yeah, I am responisble for creating another human being. That human being is partially me. Blows my mind.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

William Chen, 1939-2008

My Father-in-law died on Sunday. The funeral was yesterday. It's been a busy week.

We originally were on a cruise to the Caribbean all week. The first couple days we had were freakin' glorious, but Sunday night we got the call, and the next day we were landing in the Dominican Republic. The ship had 24 passengers that didn't make it down in time for the launch from Miami, and instead went through Santo Domingo and took the 2 1/2 hour cab ride from the Santo Domingo airport to Samana, the port in which the ship was. We took the other way. We really felt the prayers of our friends & family on the way back, and all our flights (and the cab ride) not only left on time, but came in 20-30 minutes ahead of schedule. It was pretty cool, for being such an exhausting and difficult travel day.

The next few days were a busy time of making funeral arrangements. I never really realized how much work goes into a funeral; it's slightly more complex than a typical "party," but you're also mourning the loss of whoever it was.

I didn't know my father-in-law for a very long time; it was coming up on four years. In that time, I did realize that his motivation for the vast majority of his thoughts and actions was love. He was irascible, opinionated, and grumpy, but that was on the surface, whereas his love for God and his family was the deepest part of him. He was a brilliant, creative man, if a bit disorganized, who would frequently bite off more than he could chew, and then figure out how to finish whatever project as he went.

Heidi gets a lot of her personality from him: not so much with the grumpy aspect (and I hope that doesn't increase with age), but his stubbornness, creativity, sense of humor and attention span are hers.

I knew this was coming, but it still saddens me. For me, it's more of a regret that he won't get to meet his granddaughter (at least not for a long while), and an understanding that I'll miss him. I spent most of this week doing support work, and that will continue for months to come.

If he drank, I'd pour a forty for him. In lieu of that, I'll just say I loved him and miss him.