• Massachusetts Hardwood Floor Installation

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    I’m pretty excited about my niece and nephew’s new business doing hardwood floors in Massachusetts.  They live in Massachusetts and started their own business after being successful at hardwood flooring for years.  My nephew is Greg Selby and he started Finish First Floors.

    Finish First Floors offers hardwood floor installation and refinishing in eastern Massachusetts.  They are based out of Uxbridge but service the entire area.  You can see their new site (which my niece made) at www.FinishFirstFloors.com.

    I’m happy to have another entrepreneur in the family.  Greg will do great.  He’s very talented as you can see from the pictures on their site.  If you’re in Massachusetts and need hardwood flooring, check out the site and contact them.

  • Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s (Experience)

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    In May 1992 my father (John W. Creed) was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

    According to Wikipedia, Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system.  But from my viewpoint, it is a disease that has slowly caused my dad to slow down and move in ways he has no control over.  It has also changed his appearance some.  More recently, either the disease or the meds he takes for it seems to affect his thinking.  He can get confused easily at times.

    But he’s definitely still dad.  He has his same sense of humor, loves his family, loves bluegrass music, and playing guitar with his lifelong pal, Eddie.  He also has a deep love for God.  Both he and mom have lovingly instilled that in their children (Tammy and I) and their two grandchildren (Tammy’s daughters Becky and Kayla).

    DBS

    Over the years since dad was diagnosed, he has primarily taken medications for Parkinson’s.  He is currently up to about 20 pills per day.  Of these 14 are specifically for Parkinson’s, namely Carbidopa (Sinemet) and Ropinirole.  Various other ones help with the side effects, etc.  But about two years ago, the doctor encouraged him to look into Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s.  Dad resisted at first, but the doctor encouraged him again a few months ago.

    The procedure for Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s is described well on WebMD here.  As you can see from the picture, they put an electrode into your brain.  It is connected to a “pulse generator” which is placed under the skin near the collar bone.  This is then programmed to help especially with the involuntary movements and usually allows patients to cut down on medication too.

    The first step was to meet with the surgeon.  Dad had this consultation two months ago.  Not only did he confirm that dad was a good candidate, but it put his mind at ease.  He explained that Deep Brain Stimulation is something that has been done for years.  Dad’s surgeon (Doctor Eskandar at Mass General Hospital in Boston, MA) has done this surgery hundreds of times for many years, now.  It obviously still has real risks, but that made our whole family feel better.  They set the surgery for Thursday, August 15, 2013.

    DadMGHOn Wednesday, August 14, my wife and I flew up from Charlotte to Boston to be with dad.  We got a rental car, checked into our hotel and took the shuttle service to the hospital.  It was the day before and dad needed an MRI.  After the MRI, he got admitted and we spent the day at his room.  He was able to eat until midnight.  My mom, sister, and wife all stayed with him until it was time for him to rest for the night.

    On Thursday, we got to the hospital at 7:30 AM but dad was not in his room.  The nurses were kind enough to call down to the pre-operation room and they let us visit him there.  Interestingly, they made us put on “bunny suits” to make our way to see him.  My mom and sister are shown here in their suits.  We could not help but wonder if this was really necessary or if they just wanted to laugh at us as we walked to my dad’s room.  It was worth it.  We got to spend an hour or so with dad before they brought him to the surgery room.

    BunnySuits

    Mass General has a great way of keeping family members updated during surgery.  They told us dad went into the surgery room around 10:00 AM.  He went through prep for an about an hour or two.  Dad explains that it was during this time that they clamped his head down so that it would not move.  Then, the actual surgery took a couple hours.  Not too long after, dad was back in his room by late afternoon.

    Dad was a little emotional at first when he got back to his room.  This is understandable, because he was awake during the surgery prep and surgery itself.  Also, his meds make him a little extra emotional.  Of course, dad has always been an emotional person by nature.  In fact, he’s passed that on to me.  I’m always the first one to cry and my wife tends to make fun of me because of it.  No laughing!  Us Creed men are emotional sometimes.  We can’t help it!  Right dad?!?

    FamilyHospitalThat evening we all were with dad at the hospital.  To everyone else he is known as “Papa”.  But to me, he is just dad.

    You can see the entire family around his bed here.  You might notice that they had to shave most of his hair off (obviously).  Amazingly, my dad is 68 years old and his hair started growing back the very next day.  (I think his hair is thicker than mine.)

    At this point, the electrode is in.  But dad needs to go back in a few weeks to have the “pulse generator” (as shown in the picture above) put in.  Even then, we won’t see the benefits of the surgery.  It will be weeks later that it actually gets turned on and programmed.

    Dad actually went home on Friday, the day after the surgery.  On Saturday, he felt well enough to spend the day outside for a cookout with the whole family.  You can see him below with his spiffy new hat that he’ll be wearing while his hair continues to grow in.

    Family CookoutWe went to breakfast together on Sunday morning before my wife and I flew home.  He looked great and feels good overall.  He is still on the same amount of medication as before but did not need to take anything new because of the surgery.  In the weeks ahead, we hope he can come off a lot of the medications he is taking now for Parkinson’s.

    By the way, special thanks to our life-long friend of the family Debi Kent for taking the family cookout picture.  She’s part of the family too, but someone needed to take the picture.

    Thanks also to my best friend Erik Easler who came into Boston to sit with me at Mass General Hospital the entire time dad was in surgery.  He (and all Easlers) are part of our family, too.  Unfortunately, Erik had been sick so he was not able to visit dad in his room, but he sent this special message below to dad to congratulate him on his successful surgery.

    Erik Easler

    All our family and friends are very appreciative to the excellent staff at the hospital for treating our father so well and performing this surgery.  The facility was great and the nurses were top notch.  Special thanks to Doctor Eskandar and his entire staff.

    If you’d like to read more and see more pictures, you can read my sister’s account of what happened on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

  • What I’ve been doing and will do

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    I know my family and some of my friends read this blog to stay updated on me, so here are some things I’m doing and what I will be doing.

    FAMILY:  Both of my nieces visited my wife and I (from Massachusetts) over the last month or two.  The 20–year old stayed for one week, but the 18–year old stayed for an additional three weeks.  We loved having them both.  I’m so proud of my sister (who I constantly like to tease) and her husband for raising such wonderful girls.  We love having them.

    Also, my parents are visiting next week.  I’m really excited about spending time with both of them.  My dad recently retired.  So we’re glad he can visit us and not have to rush back to work after.

    TRIPS:  Last week we went to the US National Whitewater Center.  It’s only 30 minutes from home and we got to do whitewater rafting and a 1,000 foot zip line.

    Sandy and I are especially looking forward to spending two weeks in Europe in July/August.  We will be visiting Austria and Greece.

    WORK:  Work is going well.  The economy does not seem to be affecting our industry.  Since January I have only been working 4 to 4–1/2 days per week.  It’s been my goal for a long time.  I finally got there.

  • Visiting the Family in Cold Massachusetts in February

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    Looks like I’ll be heading up to Massachusetts later this month.  I’m looking forward to spending time with family, especially my dad who recently retired.

    I’m flying out of Charlotte on Saturday, Feb 21 9:30 AM and will arrive in Boston at 11:37 AM.

    I’m flying home on Wednesday, Feb 25 8:00 AM and will arrive in Charlotte at 10:24 PM.

    I hope it’s not too freezing cold, but it probably will be.  They keep getting hammered with snow up there.

  • Mom and Dad Visit This Week

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    I have only blogged once per month over the past two months.  I’ve got to get back in action again.

    This past week my mom and dad visited from Milford, Massachusetts.  For those of you that don’t know, I grew up in the cold region of New England (Go Celtics)!  I lived the same small apartment with my sister and parents until I turned 21 and moved to New York.

    I always enjoy when my mom and dad visit.  (I know you read this mom!)

    But the thing I enjoyed most this time was just talking.  Both my parents have always been a pleasure to talk with.  I’ve always been impressed with how many close friends they both have.  In these days we live in, it’s uncommon for people to stay close friends with so many people for such a long time.

    My parents are different.  As we reminisce about old times, they still keep up with and talk with many of the friends they had when I growing up in that third floor apartment in the 1970s. 

    My parent’s friends are now in all parts of the country.  But they keep in touch with so many of them.  They care about these friends and I know for sure that many of these friends still care very deeply for my parents.

    It’s interesting that this got passed down to my sister and I.  We both are the same way.  In fact, many of our closest friends are the children of my parent’s friends.

    Both family and friends mean a lot to my parents and I’ll always owe that aspect of my personality to them.

    Thanks mom and dad!

    I love you both.

    Corey

  • My next trip to visit family

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    This morning I booked my next flight on Skybus to go up to Massachusetts to visit family.  This time I will be going by myself (without Sandy).

    I fly up on Wednesday, August 27 at 3:15 PM and arrive 4:51 PM.

    I return on Tuesday, September 2 at 5:16 PM and arrive 6:58 PM.

    The tickets cost $35 and $10 each.  I’m checking one bag each way ($10 each) and taxes and fees were $12.  Total cost of traveling from NC to MA is $77. 

    (Not bad!)

  • My wife ran away and started a rock band

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    For a week now my wife has been in New York without me.  After being there a few days, she called me late one night to tell me that she has been playing the new video game Rock Band.

    If you haven’t seen this game, it comes with a guitar, drum set, and microphone.  To win, you need to hit the drums or strum (actually flick) the guitar at the right time while rock songs play on the screen.

    Sandy told me that she plays the drums.  Her friend Jennifer Francis plays the guitar, and her friend Melissa Courteau sings.  At the beginning of the week, they were playing together every day.

    In fact, while I’m writing this tonight, she just called.  

  • My Italian Greyhounds Playing! Bennett and Brady

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    I guess it’s about time that I do a blog post about my two Italian Grehounds, Bennett and Brady.  Here they are playing.  You can start the video below and I’ll write some more about them below.

    Bennett:  He’s the brown one and is about a year older.  We first got Bennett when I was starting my business in 2004.  When Sandy would go to work, I would work at home growing my business.  As you probably know by now, I don’t really like being alone.  So, I would play with Bennett several times every day.  Some think that I taught him to be a little crazy, like me.

    Brady:  We got Brady about a year later.  He’s a my wife’s favorite.  He’s typically not as crazy and loves snuggling on the sofa with Sandy every chance he gets.

    When playing, Bennett loves to chase and fetch.  Brady doesn’t fetch.  He loves tug-of-war.  If he wins, he keeps what he wins and never returns it.  You can see that in this video.

    My wife and I absolutely love these dogs.  I hope you enjoy watching them play.  When they play, they both get pretty crazy.  But most of the time they are actually sleeping on the sofa (or in the bed if we let them).

  • I learned to ski in Mount Cranmore this week

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    Sandy and I flew in to Massachusetts via Skybus last Saturday and my mom and dad picked us up. 

    On Monday we took my nieces, Becky and Kayla Bonnell to New Hampshire.  We wanted to do something fun with them.  So on Tuesday we went over to Mount Cranmore.  We got a full day pass which included equipment rental, lift ticket, and even a two-hour lesson.

    My wife knew how to ski, but my nieces and I had never done it before.  In the beginning, there was a lot of falling, as this video shows…

    But after our two-hour lesson, we all started doing better. 

  • Samuel Lighttiser – My Nephew

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    DSCN0920This week I’m in Florida trying to help out with my new nephew Sam Lighttiser.  He was born on October 22, 2007 and we were down to visit back in November when he was only a few weeks old.

    His father has already made a website for him at http://sam.lighttiser.com and you can see more pictures there.  But I thought I’d post a few here as well.  These are from our first visit in November.

  • Don’t rush fried eggs

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    I learned something this morning.  For months now I have been driving through McDonalds several times per week buying an egg McMuffin for breakfast.  But my wife tells me it’s too expensive. 

    So this morning I finally broke down and made my own eggs for breakfast.  Unfortunately, I turned the heat up too high (trying to rush) and ended up forcing down fried eggs that were runny on the inside.

    Pretty gross.