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The Story of my Stroke

Posted by Tony Padegimas on July 3, 2015

I had a stroke, and that has been of interest to a wide variety of parties, so I am recording the essential facts behind that ordeal here in the purely selfish hope of not having to repeat the story a dozen times or more.

Around the end of May, I began to have a persistent, low-grade fever.  It had no other accompanying symptoms other than the fever itself: sweats, chills, loss of energy, but no coughing or congestion. Since I had endured a similar ailment a few months earlier, and beat it after 5-6 days, I soldiered through it for two weeks, hoping I could once again beat it on my own.  I have long been concerned about the growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, which has been attributed to overuse of antibiotics, and I did not wish to be part of that dynamic if I didn’t have ro.

That approach was in error, as shall be detailed shortly.

By week three I had had enough, but I could not arrange an appointment with my primary care physician for yet another week. This is mostly due to not having a primary care physician, and new patients go` to the back of the line.

My wife, meanwhile called my cardiologist (I have a congenital heart murmur – so I have  cardiologist), and they told her I should go to the ER or urgent care and get checked out in case this infection was in my heart.  So off we went to urgent care. This would be Tuesday, June 16. When we get there, however, I was not running a fever. (It has always been intermittent.) So the PA just shrugged, wrote a report that read essentially “could not duplicate problem”, took my $75, and sent us on our way. Immediately after my wife called her primary care doctor to get an appointment for me, but none could be had until June 24.

We bought a thermometer. Every once in a while I’d take my temp. Half the time it would be normal and half the time it would be around a hundred or so. Meanwhile, with work slow for the first time since January, I laid low.

On Tuesday the 23rd I woke up with back pain. This is not unusual, I have had intermittent back problems for years. We now know it’s arthritis. On that day it did not keep me from doing anything, I just walked slowly and carefully. I only mention it because it informs later events.

Wednesday, June 24 I finally make I to Dr. Hawks (the primary care doc), who takes me at my word about my phasing fever, and summarily prescribes a round of  Azithromycin. I did not mention my back, because on that morning it seemed improved over the day before.

Driving home that morning, almost certainly running a fever, I noticed a lack of responsiveness in my left hand. I assumed it was related to my back problem (fever), and was cursing myself for not bringing up my back to Doc Hawks.

We now know this was the stroke. The most common type of stroke, and the one that will dominate your typical stroke web page is a ischemic stroke, the result of plaque build-up in the brain’s blood vessels. That is not the sort of stroke I suffered.

I suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, where a blood vessel in the brain leaks for reasons. In my case the culprit was rogue bacteria having misadventures in my bloodstream. The result was some bleeding in the upper right quadrant of my brain which controls specifically operations of my left hand, and the ability to inventory theatrical equipment in hostile environments (seriously, they showed me on a chart).

I didn’t know any of this at the time, of course. I knew something was weird with my hand, and that I probably should not be driving the car I was driving anyway. I made it home anyway, parking the car in the driveway at a 30 degree angle. My son came home a few hours later and informed me that I was done driving for the day.

Stroke, as a causal agent, had yet to occur to any of us yet.

That afternoon my back seized up to the point where I could barely walk. My wife got us a hotel room with a Jacuzzi, which I never used because I was unable at that point to make the journey on foot.  After a painful night, we went to a nearby FastMed, where:

·        They noticed I was running a fever, but backed off of that when I told them my primary had already put me on antibiotics.

·        Thought it strange that my left hand was unresponsive, and did not think it was related to my back at all.

·        Gave me an injection of muscle relaxants.

·        Then my wife noticed my eye was drooping, and the PA put all the pieces together.

An hour later I was admitted to Banner Desert (the closest ER) as a stroke victim.

The underlying condition turned out to be endocarditis, a bacterial infection in my heart. Some part of this had broken off, found its way up into my brain, and caused some bleeding.  This, in turn, degraded the functionality of my left hand, and permanently damaged my ability to do inventory in warehouses that lack temperature control.  I haven’t tested the latter, but I’m pretty confident that this is totally true.

It is Thursday, July 2nd, and I was discharged a few hours ago. I won’t detail my eight days as a guest of Banner Mesa. The highlights include: A full MRI of my head, and a full MRI of my waist and pelvis; regular infusions of antibiotics via IV; 2-3 blood draws per day; a transesophageal echo-cardiogram – which is not as  much fun as it sounds; and yesterday afternoon,  a PICC  line which is a long-term IV inserted into a large artery in my arm, with a tube running nearly to my heart. That’s not as fun as it sounds either.

I learned a few things worth mentioning:

·        If they put the word “stroke” on your chart, you fly through admissions like a carnival ride.

·        My back problems are actually arthritis. It’s that simple.

·        I really do have an anxiety issue with needle sticks that is disproportionate to the actual physical discomfort.

·        Percocet gives me apnea, but the arthritis just melts away.

·        Eight days in a hospital gown will really make you appreciate clothes.

·        Banner’s wifi is an unfunny joke.

·        There exists a DVD of tropical fish antics set to classical music. Banner’s in-house cable dedicates a channel to repeating this DVD, and it will put you right out, no matter how anxious you think you are. Every hotel should have this. (My wife later bought this DVD.)

·        My wife is relentlessly awesome, and was literally by my side for 90% of the ordeal.

The PICC line is so I can continue the IV antibiotic regime at home (which I am doing literally as I write this). I get to do this twice a day at 12 hour intervals [ 8am and 8pm]. It is expected that this will continue for at least six weeks. Assuming nothing else becomes infected.

This means that I am on limited duty as long as this thing is in my arm. It also means I have an appointment with my antibiotics every 12 hours that I absolutely have to keep.

It also means that I am not realistically going on any significant vacation this summer.  So it goes. The blood has largely dissipated from my brain, and I have full function of my left hand again. The thought of counting rigging hardware still makes me dizzy and nauseous, however.

As these things go, I have been very fortunate, not only from the good progress of my recovery, but also, and more importantly, from the unquestioning support of my friends, family and employers. Deep gratitude to one and all.

That’s what happened with my stroke.

Now you know.


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Octopus + Coconut

Posted by Tony Padegimas on June 12, 2015

Longtime followers of this blog might remember that we chronicle the antics of our flexible friends the octopi from time to time.

This is one of those times:


The octopus is apparently using the coconut shell as some sort of portable shelter. Draw your own conclusions.

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Placeholder with links

Posted by Tony Padegimas on December 19, 2014

And not all for this blog either..

For Are We Lost Yet:

Walnut Canyon designations proposals from AZ Daily Sun

Exploring Venus via Blimp


More later.

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Because it is hard…

Posted by Tony Padegimas on November 21, 2014

We have decided to learn Blender not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Also, it is free, and established past the point where it will not suddenly vanish.

It is not, however, well documented. We’ll dump sone links in that regard in a moment.

The hard part of 3D printing does not seem to be the printing. That can be an annoying technical challenge, but I am a technician by trade, so undeterred by that. The hard part – the value-added part – is turning an idea into a useful digital file. There are many applications that can do this, but we have chosen Blender because it is free hard.

Anyhoo – here’s where that process is starting:


That site warns:

Blender is not the kind of software you can launch into and grope about until you find your way. It’s not like exploring an unfamiliar city. It’s more like flying a spaceship. If you hop into the pilot’s seat without knowing the fundamentals, you’ll be lucky to ever get off the ground, and it’d take a miracle for you to reach your destination safely.

Okay then.




I’ll update on this subject once I’ve plowed through this.


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3D printing research link dump

Posted by Tony Padegimas on November 18, 2014

I’m looking into getting a 3D printer for reasons, and this is the link dump for that research. Not constructed for public consumption, but you are welcome to come in (in the same way that my storage room is not fit for company, but if you want to poke around while I have it open…)

Today we’re looking at software requirements.


A very basic FAQ site.


and their list of software.

Makerbot’s flowchart:



Wikipedia – because I’m not being graded for this assignment:



Now for some shopping around:


So 2-3 grand for the top name brand models.

Wirde on how SLA beats FFF except when you want to actually buy the thing:


Same model FFF (filament layering) on left. SLA on right.

So let me explain real quick. There are two basic consumer-level 3D printing technology approaches. One is the FFF approach which adds layers of melted filament – essentially a highly precise glue gun. This is fast and cheap but with real limits on the resolution. This is waht most of the consumer level printers use.

The other approach is laser or even photemetric reduction of resin, where lasers, or even specific light melts a volume of resin. This is more expensive, both for the printers and the resin but the results are far superior.


An example of a good laser/resin printer:


(this is a kit – remember, off-the-shelf does not exist yet.)

A review of a highly rated FFF printer for similar money:



So if I’m willing to learn Blender, I can do what I want for $2k,  or  $2.5 k comfortably.

Now you know.

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TARDIS / Outhouse correlation taken a bit too far.

Posted by Tony Padegimas on August 31, 2014


An actual thing in Bristol, England.



Now you know.

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Octopus vs jar

Posted by Tony Padegimas on May 12, 2014

On occasions, this blog monitors the antics of our future replacement species: the octopi.




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My weird book contract dillema

Posted by Tony Padegimas on April 11, 2014

So I entered my space opera novel (one of 64) in a contest and placed – I guess. Anyway, I “won” a publishing contract with the publisher, a small outfit that does mostly e-books (that I will decline to name at the moment). It is a surprisingly hard decision whether to sign t or not. So if you have a moment, follow me while I puzzle out the problem.

There’s no out of pocket for me. The Publisher covers or provides editing, cover art, printing and the like.

They are not asking for all rights, just license to publish.

There is zero advance.

The royalty rates are at the low end of acceptable, but acceptable.

I am required to complete their 3 month marketing academy (In lieu of an advance, they claim).

I would be required to establish a website that they approve, at my expense.

They want me to cut down from 130k to 110k words.

These guys are small, but they are not a vanity press. The money flows (or at least trickles)  in the right direction. I am resigned that no matter where I go with this, I will not see a sizable advance, and I will be called upon to do the bulk if not the entirety of the marketing work.


  • I could have a book out by this time next year.
  • It would be from an actual publisher that is not myself.
  • This offer is in my hands, right now. All other opportunities currently exist only in my mind.
  • I might actually learn something in their class.


  • I’ve never heard of these guys, and likely, neither have you.
  • The contract is not as clear as I would prefer about which rights I am granting.
  • 20k words is about four full chapters, or all references to a major character. The plot has a lot of moving, interlocking parts.
  • I don’t mind putting together a website. I  mind getting someone to sign off on it that isn’t paying for it.
  • No sensible adult mistakes a required class for payment.
  • This is a small pond when I honestly think I could make it in the open ocean.
  • I could write a lot of fun books using this universe, unless I somehow lose control of it all right here.

There are logistical benefits to having a decision by Monday. I will update as thoughts occur.

UPDATE: This thread continues in my other blog “One of 64” (who would have seen that coming?)




Now you know.


Posted in Writing, writing biz | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Physicists speculate on making a space-time crystal

Posted by Tony Padegimas on March 31, 2014

Physicists speculate on making a space-time crystal

From Physics.org, via Popular Science

Nobody knows what this thing could do or lead to, and it requires a “better ion trap” thatn we can devise right now, but the point is coming home and saying, “Today, we crystallized space-time” and NOT be quoting Dr. Who.

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Ancient toilets

Posted by Tony Padegimas on February 11, 2014

This guy also has some great vids on the use and abuse of ancient weapons.
Oh – and this blog is not dead.

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