Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Good Week

Hi Everyone!

 Last Friday I decided that I needed to move my 1970 Boss 302 car parts from our house ( that we sold in San Jose) to our house in Walnut Creek.  Our plan was to get in our new/used Toyota truck and head down there to pick them up.  After many attempts to get in the truck we decided to call it off.  Earlier in the week I was talking to Chris Van Andel – he offered to help me retrieve my car parts in San Jose.  I called him and he was more than happy to help!  We ER Chris in San Jose and packed his van full of parts.  We then headed north to Walnut Creek.  Much to our surprise, traffic was icing along for a Friday afternoon.  We arrived in WC, unloaded, and Chris shot the shit with me for several hours hanging on the driveway.  It was nice to just hang out and visit with my good friend.
Friday night,  Anneliese and I decided to venture out to my daughters’ HS football Game – where her cheer team was mentoring the young girls and performing with them.
It was good to get out and I saw lots of good friends from high school.  I even decided to bring out my “4th child”, my Canon Mark III 1D.  It was fun taking pics of everyone but I quickly figured out that a big camera and a big lens are hard to holdup without almost falling over in my chair.    Saturday started very wet -and I quickly figured out that rain and being in a wheelchair do not mix.  We ventured out to breakfast and by the time Anneliese, Eddie and myself sat down – we were drenched –  but had a great breakfast.  When we got home, I quickly noticed that the gutters were over flowing and water was spilling over and bouncing in through the open door.  I told Anneliese that, ” if I was normal and could walk, I would be out there cleaning those right now”.  My amazing wife said, tell me how to unplug the gutters and I will.  She proceeded to drag a 10 foot ladder around the house and unclog all of the gutters. Anneliese is amazing and I love her very much.
Sunday started with my friend Steve coming over, who is also a paraplegic, I met at a stop light when I asked about his hand cycle.  Steve has been a great friend and a wealth of knowledge for me.  He was at my house to show me that a paraplegic could get into my truck.  We spent a few hours talking and him showing me transfers In and out of trucks.
Thanks Steve.  Later that day, I was greeted by great friends, Martin Szwarc and the Normans.  Kenny rounded the kids and had them break down all the boxes on the side of the house and they proceeded to load the truck full of recycle.  It was nice to watch the boys all work together.  Kenny brought over old road racing posters – and we proceeded to decorate my empty garage with mid 90’s era road racing poster.  They’re great.
The girls folded laundry on the floor, the kids shot Nerf guns and Kenny, Martin and I
sat around BS and laughed about funny racetrack stories.  We all then decided to order Chinese Food, as we were starving. We laughed while eating, as half of them sat on the floor and the other half sat on the counter ( still waiting on furniture.). What a great time with good friends.
This week we made a lot of progress with confirming appointments and testing new equipment.  On Friday, I will be heading to the wound clinic,  for much needed surgery on my horrible pressure sores.  My tailbone is pretty  bad and they are unclear of how severe this wound is.  Its pretty deep. My home health nurse suggested a hyperbaric chamber while I’m there- I’ll let you know!!
I’m hoping tomorrow gives me answers and much needed help with these.
I also tested a standing frame – which I ordered,  to help me with my circulation and all around health.
Monday is my MUCH awaited surgery at Stanford to get my filter out.  I’m told it will be about a 3 hour surgery and I’m hoping it works!  This doc seems pretty confident that he can help me.  I will bet there all day, here’s to my surgery and them getting this filter out!
We are going to Laguna Seca on Saturday – to watch my good friend Steve Rapp, try and rap up the Harley Davidson Championship.  Should be a fun day seeing everyone and watching great Racing.
Thanks again for the continued support – I’m hoping this surgery goes ok because I’m looking forward to the Benefit at Sonoma Raceway on Nov. 18th!
I’ll blog next week and let you know!!
Me and Chris hanging out.
Me and Chris hanging out.







Anny and Eddie cleaning the gutters

Look!  I'm standing!  I'm Taller than Berto again!
Look! I’m standing! I’m Taller than Berto again!







My friend, Steve, explaining how to get into my truck.

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And he did it!

Lisa and Anneliese folding laundry on the floor, now that's good friends!
Lisa and Anneliese folding laundry on the floor, now that’s good friends!
     Guess what?  DMV sent me a temporary Placard until January!  Right on, I'm only paralyzed until January!   Guess what?  DMV sent me a temporary Placard until January!  Right on, I'm only paralyzed until January!
Guess what? DMV sent me a temporary Placard until January! Right on, I’m only paralyzed until January!
Kenny's at the house hanging Anneliese's good luck bell outside.
Kenny’s at the house hanging Anneliese’s good luck bell outside.












Back to the big house

Hello Everyone,
Since I last posted, I had a really tough week physically and ultimately emotionally. My stomach just wouldn’t allow me to eat and I began eating only soup and plain white rice. As Anneliese was watching me get thinner and thinner and my bed sores looking worse – she decided on Friday – enough was enough and loaded me up and took me to the ER. Even though I had minimal energy, I told her, we are not leaving until my custom cool wheelchair gets here.  I’m not riding in that other one one more minute.  Once I received it, I went over all the bells and whistles (thanks to all of your generous donations!). It’s incredible!  Anneliese broke it down, put me in the car and put my new “wheels” in the back and drove to the ER.  Friday the 13th it was…  We were there 8 hours until they said, you are here with us for a few days.  I checked into my new digs where I can only hope they are going to help me figure out why I feel sick 23 out of 24 hours a day.    I had an endoscopy Monday where they have found I’m not digesting my food until the next day.  I have only been able to eat if they give me strong pain medicine.  A team of  pain docs came in and told me they don’t want me on these if I can handle it (which I’m grateful for).   Although, they do want me taking them if i dont feel like eating.  Eating is a priority – I’m a little malnourished and need to gain weight and get stronger in order to heal.   If anyone wants to bring me high caloric bland food, I’m in!  Pain Docs say that my “Chi” is all screwed up and we need to get it back on track.  They ordered Acupuncture for me and performed it at bedside on Tuesday.  It was pretty cool.   Anneliese has done some research and had already contacted a doctor in San Jose that specializes in helping SCI patients.  She’s been trying to convince me to try it. These pain docs here actually helped convince me she might be on to something!
My wounds are not too good at all –  especially my tail bone.   I have a wound nurse coming to the house weekly  now.  At the hospital, the wound nurse taught Anneliese  how to “slough” off the dead skin and pack the wound with Medi-Honey.  Anneliese will be able to take care of the wounds on the “off” days the nurse won’t be there.
The day I went to the hospital – my brother and sister in-law moved out.  The house was pretty empty and a little scary without me there.  Anneliese and Eddie chose to stay at Alli and Jacks for the first couple of nights – at least until they got TV.    Hopefully we can get our furniture here in the next week or so.  We have our bedroom set up so that is nice.
My Ex-wife Jen has been so great in helping Anneliese and I with everything we need.  Anneliese gave her a much needed list today for Target –  Jen and my son, Jack, went shopping  They came back with all of our essentials.   Before Jen left for shopping,  she was at our house arranging the house to get cleaned after the move out.
Jen was at the house with her house cleaner and hears a knock on the door.  Our next door neighbors’  girlfriend is at the door worried about her boyfriend who hasn’t answered her calls.  Jen asks her – “what can I do for you to help you.?”   She asked Jen to go around the back to look in the window to see if she can see anyone.  The girlfriend didn’t feel comfortable doing by herself.    Jen looks through the window and finds him in an “unnatural” position  on the bed.  She knew she needed to call 911 immediately!   He was only 56.  Jen texts Anneliese – “before you come home, call me.”    She doesn’t want Anneliese to pull up to see police &  fire outside.  She gets a hold of her and says, thank God it was her there and not Anneliese!  It might have been too much if Anneliese had to see what Jen did!!  Crazy how things play out!!  Our street name is Shady Lane….  Lots going on – on Shady lane!!
Anneliese is working hard, organizing our items to be moved from San Jose to Walnut Creek.   She’s getting the house touched up with paint,  fixing some electrical issues as welI as slowly making it our home again. I  have been so incredibly blessed with the most amazing friends and even more an amazing wife.  My friend Kenny went out and bought us 4 huge racks for our garage, put them together, organized the few items we had in the garage, swept it all out, found a hose – watered all the brown spots on our grass.   He took care of things like it was his
 house.      My other good friend, Mike, came over to help my poor wife and Eddie get TV in our house.  We had a cable box that was ordered but it didn’t work.  He worked on this and spent an hour on the phone with the provider.  Finally,  a couple days later he was able to find another box to make it work.  We finally have TV & Internet!!  Thanks so much Mike for taking the time to continuously help us..
I just want to say thank you to our incredible friends  that continue to help us when we are stranded without the help of me doing things.   Thanks to all that continue to help us become functional when I’m not able to help.    Thank you Auntie Kelly, who on a drop of a dime, came on Friday to help Anneliese with Eddie when I had to go to ER – and ALWAYS is there for us to drive, stay and simply call to ask if there is anything she can help with.
It continues to amaze both Anneliese and I – people’s willingness to drop everything to help us.  We never have to ask,  thank you everyone for your unbelievable graciousness in these really tough times.  It helps me out when my wife gets the much needed help that I use to do for her.  Ill get there,  but some things like hanging a new light is just too difficult for me. The daily messages that  Anneliese receives  offering their support and help is wonderful.
Both of our employers continue to be so supportive.  My Employer, ASA Computers, has been so supportive with visits, emails, phone calls.  Anneliese’s Boss  has rearranged her Territory to the East Bay and continues to include her on decisions being made while she is out.  She is so grateful for the support of her co-workers and keeping things going while she is on this leave of absence to help me.
I finally got checked out of the hospital on Tuesday night with 3 new additional  medications.  Thanks Craig,  for hangin with us all day of discharge – you had me laughing so hard that i think i scared the hospital staff!  My new “weakened” lungs result in a unique new laugh, between Craig, Anneliese and I, i think there were a lot of tears- this time in a good way!,    Officer Jelly Donut – aka, OJD, your damn stories kill me and make me laugh like Horshack from ThevTV show, Welcome Back Kotter”. You’re a damn good friend.
Wednesday was our long anticipated appointment with the Doc at Stanford for the filter and blood clots.  We think it was fantastic!  He believes he can get it out and definitely believes they do more harm than good at this point.  He also confirmed Anneliese’s speculation that this can be causing some of my stomach issues.  He will review my last CT scan and confirm I’m stable enough and then will schedule.
Before we had our appointment at Stanford we stopped by my Employer, ASA. We didn’t let anyone know we were coming so it made it that much more of a surprise. Everyone was so surprised and welcoming and made me feel I hadn’t been gone a day. They all stood around me like I’m some kind of celebrity.  The owner and his wife of the company assured Anneliese they are there to support us in anyway.  She even mentioned they are available to help move us on the weekends!  I work with incredible people!  Thank you!
Tonight we had dinner with little Eddie and his dad in Los Altos.   Anneliese’s other sister in law, Theresa came along with her kids, Jackson, Jessica and Jenna.  The older kids took the time out to come be the restaurant to give me a hug and visit awhile before they jetted out to tutoring classes.  Theresa came in and looked at me and gave me the biggest hug, she had to leave because she started to cry.  She came back in and I told her, don’t start because I will get started and I won’t stop either.  We had some great laughs and great family time.  It was really good and felt so good to be at the table with all of them.  Ps thanks for the din din Theresa.
Lastly, I want to continuously thank my buddies, Pete and Berto.  They are working so hard on the track day,   auction and benefit on November 18th.  Thank you guys for your relentless hard work and dedication to our friendship.
  Gosh,  it’s good to be back in our home  – just really love our spot here in Walnut Creek.  Looking forward to getting our things moved here soon.  Here’s to a good week!
Thanks for the continued support and messages – love reading them.
At ASA with my  co-workers
At ASA with my

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 Feeling pretty lousy in the ER but smiling
Feeling pretty lousy in the ER but smiling
When I showed up at house - Kenny had set up the essentials.  The clock, the tequila he gave me the Friday night before race weekend and Ricky Corey gave me his number one trophy he won the day of my accident.
When I showed up at house – Kenny had set up the essentials. The clock, the tequila he gave me the Friday night before race weekend and Ricky Corey gave me his number one trophy he won the day of my accident.


At Stanford to see the Filter Doc
At Stanford to see the Filter Doc
After my Appt at Stanford, Great Day!
After my Appt at Stanford, Great Day!

Back at the Track for the First time

Hello Everyone,

Last Saturday, August 31st, I asked Anneliese, if we could go to Sears Point to watch the AFM practices and races.  She looked at me and said, are you sure you want to go?  I said, ” yes I think I”m ready”.  On our drive out there I was very emotional,  I wasn’t aware that I would be.
Lucky for me, the Bay Bridge was closed –  the traffic was pretty backed up. This gave Anneliese and myself time to reflect on what was in front of us.  Anneliese wasn’t sure it was a good idea to go so soon after the accident- but, I insisted that I could handle it – besides….  Kenny, Lisa and Kyle were there with their trailer.  If I needed a refuge away from everything I could go in and lay down and take it all in if need be. We were very emotional on the drive over worried about the unexpected.  When we arrived, we drove around the back of the parking lot to Kenny’s trailer and unloaded our few things.  Two of the first people I saw (other than Kenny, Lisa and Kyle – who treat us like family always) were Tom Montano and Greg Mcullough
– who acted as though I’ve never been gone – which made me feel so good. Thanks guys.
Unfortunately, that would be short lived.  I really wanted to see the turn workers and say hello before they went back on track after lunch.  I pointed my chair down hill and away I went, Kenny followed behind me to make sure I was ok.  As I was heading down I noticed people in the pits staring at me and pointing, a few waved to me but, the majority, looked at me as though I was an alien.  I continued on…    I got to the turn workers as they were loading up in their trucks to head back on the track  – they were all fantastic and greeted me with open arms.  From there,  I headed to the garages, one of the first people I saw was Race Director, Barbara Smith, who gave both Anneliese and I a huge hug – making us finally feel comfortable in an environment that I wasn’t sure if I was comfortable with anymore.
We moved down the garages where I was greeted by many of my close friends,  and many of my AFM race competitors.  The next practice group was rolling out and I went down to start/finish to say hello and watch some practice.  While I was down there Group 5 was lining up. – Number “1” AFM plate holder, Ricky Corey, pulled out of line,  to shake my hand, followed by Tim Scarrott – which really made my day… Thank you guys.
By this time,  I was getting tired so I headed to Kenny’s trailer to take a rest.  After a little down time it was time for afternoon races.  Earlier, Barb had said that I should try my hand at announcing, and they should unlock the handicap elevator to get up to the announcers booth.    We headed up there, we met Vik Anderson, who was calling the races.  He encouraged me to grab the mic….  I wanted to watch him announce before I took that on.  Turns out their was a long red flag that required medical assistance which delayed things.  Anneliese and I looked at each other and knew it was time to go.  On the way back more greetings and blank stares.  I couldn’t help but wonder, was the place I was so comfortable for so many years – now making me feel like an outsider?.
It’s a bizarre feeling, unless your in my shoes, you would not understand the feeling I felt.  I’ve raced for half my life, and to feel uneasy was tough.

The only real thing to talk about in the next week is my AMAZING new bathroom, which was successfully completed- after a month,  I could finally move out of the hotel and into our house!  On Sunday after the races, our contractor, and friends-  Dom and Doreen came over.  Dom spent all day, until 9pm, installing my sink, toilet etc.    In the meantime, Doreen was helping my wife – organizing our  bedroom.  Thanks for the help both of you.

Our roommates, my brother and sister in law, Jon and Molly, have been so understanding with our situation and realized the best place for me was in Walnut Creek by family.
They have found a house about 3 miles from us and are currently packing up all their things to move out next weekend.  Thanks for the continued support and understanding Jon & Molls- going to miss your cooking for sure!

My health continues to be a challenge.  I’m heading to GI doc tomorrow- I’ve seen a Vascular Surgeon last week that gave me some discouraging news about my blood clots and blood thinners.  I’m looking to get an appointment with a world renown Stanford Doc for an important appointment regarding an upcoming surgery and my filter.  I’ll keep you up to date in the next few weeks.

I want to thank everyone who continuously checks in on us and comes over to see us, not to mention those that invite us over to their homes for dinner.  We can’t thank you enough for continuing to include our unconventional lives into your conventional ones.  Thanks Mike and Laura for building a ramp so I could go outside to enjoy dinner with you at your house.

Also, A Big THANK YOU  from Anneliese and I for those that continuously take the time to read our blog and continue to help support us on this new life long journey.


P.S. Here is the link for info on the Track Day

Alli and Jack washing my truck for the last time.  It's leaving us on Monday.
Alli and Jack washing my truck for the last time. It’s leaving us on Monday.


My first hair cut in my chair at the barber shop.
My first hair cut in my chair at the barber shop.




My poor heels with bed sores.  We are trying to nurse them back to health along with the one on my back.
My poor heels with bed sores. We are trying to nurse them back to health along with the one on my back.


My beautiful new bathroom where I can finally shower.
My beautiful new bathroom where I can finally shower.

Eddies first day of 5th grade.Eddies first day of 5th grade.

A fabulous beet salad that Molly made.
A fabulous beet salad that Molly made.
Dom setting the much needed toliet!
Dom setting the much needed toliet!
Me freezing and it's 95 degrees outside.
Me freezing and it’s 95 degrees outside.
I'm freezing again and have wrapped this around my head with a heating pad.  Keep in mind it's about 80 degrees outside.
I’m freezing again and have wrapped this around my head with a heating pad. Keep in mind it’s about 80 degrees outside.
In the announcers booth at Sears Point
In the announcers booth at Sears Point
Saying hello to the turn workers for first time after my accident.
Saying hello to the turn workers for first time after my accident.


At Sears Point with Greg McCullough.
At Sears Point with Greg McCullough.
I immediately break out in hives when taking a new medication.
I immediately break out in hives when taking a new medication.
Eddie consoling me after some discouraging news from my vascular surgeon.  Rough day.
Eddie consoling me after some discouraging news from my vascular surgeon. Rough day.