Dr. Richard Chop

This post is not about Dr. Richard Chop. Yes he is a vasectomy specialist in Austin. I didn't visit him. I just liked his name and I'm sure he's a fine doctor. Please visit his profile page to get information about him.

I won't beat around the bush. I got a vasectomy today. That's right, I had a guy I've met only a dozen or so times go at my sac with a sharp object, and it was covered under insurance.

I'm on some pain medicine, now, so whatever ramblings contained herein are of course subject to interpretation.

Guys, it wasn't bad. There was the occasional pin prick for the local anesthetic (sp, apologies to my uncle in Colorado Springs) followed by some pretty damned uncomfortable nad smooshing and arranging. But then the numbness took over and I was left chatting with the good Doctor about Battlestar Gallactica. It was very surreal.

So now I have to take another day off for bed rest, and as I write this with an ice pack on my groin, I have to remind myself that I took this one for the team. We have two wonderful children and even if we had two horrible children, we have two children. That's enough. I like kids, I like my kids, I like other peoples' kids, but two is enough. Two is almost two too many to have Mrs. A deliver.

After pushing out two melons through a lemon hole, the least I could do is feel like I've been kicked in the groin for a week.

I can't lift anything for a week, it'll be about 6 months until it's safe to go smokeless while makin' whoopee, but so far it's not bad. I can't walk really well yet, but it's only be about 10 hours since the operation. I got a milk shake out of it and a good nap.

Not a bad day, other than the nut wounds.


Get your asses over to Flikr, people. It's Mrs. A's latest and greatest toy and there's some good shit.


New Photos

For those regular readers, if you notice the new link to your right, that is where all photo updates will be occuring. In an effort to conserve space and adapt a more user friendly upload process, Mrs. A went with Flickr for all our family photo hosting needs.

This blog will be updated as regularly as before, just no pictures.

(If you're using anything but Internet Explorer, all the sidebar stuff is way down at the bottom of the page. Sorry about that, I have no control over Blogger not working with Mozilla or Firefox or Opera.)




I know I haven't really kept readers abreast of Mrs. Austin's knee situation as much as I could have, but really where's the time? No pictures of swollen knees in a brace, no pictures of Mrs. A reclining ever so gently in her rehab knee bending machine.

However, you folks are in for a treat. Mrs. A just got back from a doctor visit during which time they removed her stitches. Not only does she not have to wear dressings and bandages anymore, but she can take a shower without having to treat her leg like a leftover sandwich AND she can start weaning herself off her crutches. It's a momentous day.

The doctor also sent home her photos from the surgery. These were the arthroscopic photos, so while they may look vaguely internal, there's really nothing recognizable about them. Mrs. A gave me the info on each pic and I will do the same for you fine readers.

Again, they are internal images, but not bloody or gory. They look more like if you were preparing a turkey. Dad, just stop here, you'll pass out and Grandma Brighton will have to cart your ass off to the hospital.

These are the images taken before surgery. In the image on the right we're looking past the femur (top) as the dark object/tool is pulling away the meniscus. The reddish pinkish area is the ACL or what's left of it. The 2nd image is the ACL from the front. Yeah, it's hard to tell if that's really what's supposed to be there or not. I don't know medicine, so I have no frame of reference. When you see the reconstruction, you'll appreciate the damage better. It's not supposed to look like someone took a shotgun to a gooseberry pie. The third image is the damage from the back. That little white sausage thing is what's left of the ligament.

Here's the newly inserted cadaver ligament. We found out today it was from a 30 year old, no mention of sex or athletic ability. Donor could have been a 400 lbs. accountant or a 110 lbs. aerobic instructor, we can only guess. The image on the left, the big band of what looks like hair, is the front of the replacement ACL. The image on the right is the rear view. Now go back and look at the first few pictures. Pretty horrendous trauma, wouldn't you say?

These last two are what's known as collateral damage. I guess in this case it's Lateral Damage? (heh, damn that was funny.) Anyway, in these two you can see small tears in the medial and lateral collateral ligament. These heal on their own and don't usually require replacements.

So she's on the road to recovery. It'll be several months of PT and wearing a large Robo-brace. Then a smaller brace, then now brace unless she wants to run somewhere or jump on the trampoline...or go skiing. That's right. In 2 years she'll be able to go skiing again and man if I'm not going to make sure she only skiis when it's sunny and wearing goggles.

Or maybe we'll just buy and inner tube and find a large hill.


Who cares if it was a classic, let's jack with it...


Please sign my petition.


News from the home front:

Other than hockey being canceled we've got little to focus on other than Mrs. Austin's knee. Rowan's RUV is something that will just take time to heal, so we have to wait for that. Think of it as ear tubes, kids just have to grow out of it, sometimes it requires a procedure, sometimes not. She's in good spirits, likes school and her friends so I'm not terribly worried. The thought of her getting her kidney's operated on scares the clothes off me but that's down the road if at all.

Mrs. A can't seem to stay immobile. She'll hate me for saying this, but she's as stubborn as a mule. I won't go into details. She's in a lot of pain, she falls a lot and we have to ask for a lot of help from friends and family. It's frustrating for her because she's tired of the pain and it's frustrating for me because there's very little I can do to help.

I don't know, I thought after a week it'd be over with and she'd be starting on her PT, but she's worse off now than when she first hurt it. She's in constant pain and doesn't know how to just sit the fuck down and not do anything. I'm worried she'll really jack up her knee for good or have to go back for more surgery.

She knows I love her and I'm doing all I can, and she's doing the best she can. We were hoping that after the surgery, the mobility might start coming back and the pain would lessen. All the nurses told us wonderful stories about people jumping out of beds and playing basketball in 6 months. No one mentioned that the first couple weeks is like living with a skinless, cancer ridden quadrapalegic.

Well, we'll keep you all posted. Go sign the petition, it'll make you feel better.


Dear Fan:

On behalf of the 30 NHL teams, I want to say how sorry we are that, given the practical reality that there are not enough days available to play a representative regular season and Stanley Cup Playoff, we have been left with no choice but to cancel the remainder of the games scheduled for the 2004-05 campaign.

The NHL is very fortunate to enjoy the support of the most loyal and passionate fans in all of professional sports, and we want you to know how very much we appreciate the patience and understanding you have shown the NHL during this very difficult time in our history. We understand the impact this dispute has had on you, our loyal fans, and I want you to know we worked very hard, starting as far back as 1999, to prevent this from happening.

Our intention throughout the collective bargaining process has been, and continues to be, the creation of an enduring partnership with our players that will allow you to enjoy a world-class product, at affordable prices, and enter each season confident that your favorite team can compete for the most cherished trophy in pro sports, the Stanley Cup. Our resolve to deliver on that promise will not change.

While various economic systems we have proposed to the players' Union would have permitted the maintenance of an average salary in the neighborhood of $1.3 million (U.S.), and would have allocated as much as 55% of every dollar of revenue that the League and Clubs can generate to the players, Union leadership has not shown, to date, any interest in sharing our vision for the future.

Accordingly, we remain resolute, for the good of the League and our fans, to postpone our return to the ice until we can assure you that the current business issues have been resolved in a way that assures the long-term viability of all our Clubs. I can promise you, though, that when NHL hockey does return, it will be in a way that allows our great game to prosper for years to come, both on and off the ice.


Gary B. Bettman

-They can all blow me. Stupid greedy SOB's the lot of them.


That was a wicked hit, Tom. Let's hope it's not his knee.

It's been a couple years since Mrs. A and I have been skiing. We decided since she was getting ready to go back to work it might be best if we went earlier instead of waiting. So we packed up the kids and the bags and flew up to Colorado.

Colorado isn't gripped with the bitter cold and heavy snow the folks back east received over the past couple weeks, but it's still cold and it still has snow. You can't just go up into the mountains in January and expect a lot of butterflies and sunny meadows. Colorado is actually one of the sunniest places in the US. Doesn't mean it's warmer, just sunnier. Weird lil' fact, I know.

So we stayed with my Dad and Stepmom for the duration and put in a few visits to my Mom and Stepdad as well as some other relatives. Living in Colorado all my life then moving to Texas really drove home the fact that an hour drive somewhere is nothing. From Denver, you can be out of the state in about three hours. From Austin it'd take you five if you just went straight south. From Austin to Amarillo is almost 10 hours. Texas is big, ya'll.

Up the hills we go. Leaving the kids with granpa for the day, Mrs. Austin and I head to loveland to do a little shushing on the baby slopes (we're not great skiiers) and possibly staying the night close by. After about 10 runs, one on a nearby killer death hill we came to find out is no harder than the baby slopes, Mrs. Austin wiped out. Now, when I say wiped out, I don't mean spun out a little and fell on her ass, I mean she crashed like star in the death throws of going super nova. Accompanying this abatement was a cry the likes of which I've never heard. It was a primal, gut wrenching scream that immediately spoke of the pain that lay hidden.

By the time I was able to stop and get my skiis off and waddle back up the mountain, she was already prone and clawing at the snow begging me to get her boot off. After several calls from the lift overhead NOT to take it off, I instead took a picture while we waited for the Ski Patrol to arrive.

The picture was her idea, really. Don't anyone get on my case for being an asshat for not helping. Injury on a slope? What would you do? Exactly.

They snowmobiled her down to the little first aid center and put some snow on it. It was already starting to swell. We called the rest of the trip off and headed home, stopping at a drug store to pick up some scripts and a brace. This whole time I'm coming down with the flu. So when she bought it my third or forth thought was, "Sweet, we can go home now."

The rest of the weekend was spent taking it easy. A drive down to see my mom in Colorado Springs, watched some movies, had some folks over for dinner, pretty laid back. Mrs. A was in a lot of pain and I was sick as a dog, but for some reason, this time more than any since I've moved down here, we had a good time in Colorado. We didn't fight, we didn't go to sleep angry, we didn't pass days in the cold silence that comes from being away from home and pissed at the other person. It was definitely one of the most memorably trips we've had.

Lil Miss Austin loved the snow. She'd only seen it maybe twice in her life and when she was very small, so this will hopefully be a fond memory for her. Mrs. A recalled a time when her family would go to Cloudcroft, NM and go sledding. She said she couldn't have been more than 3 at the time, so this was something we had to do, get the kids to play in the snow.

While we were up there, Mrs. A got her new camera delivered. Her photography is going gang busters and honestly, with her level of customer service and friendliness and at the rates she charges, I don't see it being long before she won't have to go back to Swell Computers to help support the family. This new camera takes some mighty nice shots.

Coming home, Mrs. A visits a specialist and gets an MRI done. We now know that she has a torn ACL and MCL and brused bones and other ligaments. The MCL will heal on its own, but the ACL will need replacement. She goes in for surgery this coming Friday. They're going to use a cadaver replacement instead of taking a bit from her hip. That's less recovery time, but they're accelerating the surgery date because she has to be off crutches by her first wedding in March, so that will take more rehab time. All in all she's looking at 6 months of recovery and then about 2 years before she can ski again. All activities from now on will require a brace.

I don't know if she takes heart in it, but I tried to tell her she has one of the most famous sporting injuries ever, the dreaded ACL. She's in good spirits about it, but I know it's a crushing blow to have something like this happen. She could use some support, so give her a shout and let her know she's still a cool kid and not a broken doll.