Friday, January 23, 2009

An Update on Matt's Health

For those of you who are trying to follow Matt's blog about his testicular cancer, I'm providing an alternate place to find out how he's doing. He has just come off of six straight days of chemotherapy, following surgery to remove one of his testicles, repair a hernia, and to put a shunt in his shoulder for the chemo. He is one sick puppy. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, and I'll try to keep you updated when he's too sick to write. He will be going back to the doctor once a week for three weeks for more chemo, and then he'll be admitted to the hospital for another six straight days. Please send him lots of hugs and encouragement, either here or on his

Friday, May 2, 2008

If you love LBMKE then you'll really enjoy TMR

Hey Kids,

Leslie created this site with a sincere desire to somehow encourage the world to recognize that I know too much about too many stupid things. I think she thinks I'll get a radio or TV program someday where they will connect wires to my gigantic head and slowly extract random info for the audiences pleasure. That will certainly be the case when our alien overlords arrive. In the meantime, I mention the origin story to invite you to the blog I have been running for several years. It has gone through various states, but I mostly deals with movies and coming attractions. So check it out @ I am trying to be more proactive and writing more regular feature based articles including weekend movie recommendations.


P.S. Whilst I usually won't post anything too racy, it is usually a PG level blog without the swears. Mostly. Enter if you dare.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

RSS Awareness Day

RSS Awareness Day

Apparently today is RSS Awareness day. So in light of my last post, let's celebrate by using RSS to save ourselves time and save the internet some bandwidth!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I Had NO Idea!

I really didn't! I had no idea this RSS thing existed. Matt, why DO you know everything? It's scary sometimes! I guess I'd better stop shopping and start studying!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Real Simple Syndication Part 1

Per a request from Burke, I am going to do a short series on how to use Real Simple Syndication(RSS) on the web.

RSS is a simplified way to aggregate web data in one uniform place. What this means in simpler terms is that information from many different places can be gathered quickly to one place. The best usage is on frequently read websites or blogs. An RSS reader can periodically gather the headlines of any new material appearing on your favorite sites. This can be helpful when trying to keep up to date on all of the family blogs.

A quality RSS reader will let you know when a site has changed and pull the article to you. This alleviates the time spent having to navigate to each individual page. This isn't limited to just blogs or news sites. RSS is really powerful. I use a google search powered feed to keep up to date on important company information. I also keep track of sale items on certain websites like Amazon, Ebay and Woot.

Here's an example of my favorite RSS reader, Google Reader. Click on the pic for a larger view. You can see that I am tracking over 100 websites categorized in multiple folders. This is a shot of my "family blogs" folder. I can look at the list in two ways, by individual blogs or by folder. If I choose to look by folder the individual articles will appear chronologically in the order that they were pulled to the reader. So I can essentially read all of them at once without having to read each individually. I am able to sift through thousands of headlines each week instead of hundreds. It's a real time saver, Clark! As I skim, Google Reader marks each as read and indexes them. This is where it gets really powerful. Reader has integrated Google's search technology to keep track of what you have read. If you can't remember where you saw a certain news item or recipe you can use Readers integrated search to find the data within articles you have read! This saves you from having to skim through a sizable blog or trying to find a single article using a broader search tool.

Getting started is simple. Internet Explorer 7 has a built in RSS reader but it's rudimentary at best. I would avoid it. I have used most popular readers and as you can tell from this article, I think Google has done it right. Go to to start. It has a great video that will explain how to use it and they have a bunch of awesome pre-built feeds in multiple categories. Plus if you already have a google account(blogger, gmail, picasa, etc.), it's waiting for you already!


If you have any questions or need help, leave a comment and I will address them here so everyone can benefit.

FYI - The big orange logo above is used by many sites to indicate whether or not they have a feed available. Where that feed exists depends on each individual site.

Hope this is what you want, Burkie.

Bad Blogger

Okay, I think I'm the world's worst blogger! I haven't written anything for months, and I'm sure Matt has stopped because I have! March was a very bad month because we lost our two young cousins, and then April seems to be very busy! We had a happy occasion this past weekend, though, when our nephew, Nick and his new wife Tiffany got married! I saw Matt and Liz's apartment for the first time--very nice! Liz was in charge of making sure the wedding went smoothly, and she was awesome! I hope Matt has some new words of wisdom for us!! (hint, hint!)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome


The cause of ARDS is not well known. Current scientific information supports several theories about its development, but the precise reason ARDS occurs remains unknown. What is known, however, is that ARDS can come about by either of two basic mechanisms.

The first is a direct physical or toxic injury to the lungs. Examples include inhalation of vomited stomach contents (aspiration), smoke or other toxic fumes, and a severe 'bruising' of the lungs that usually occurs after a severe blow to the chest.

The second mechanism is more common, but less understood. This is an indirect, blood-born injury to the lungs. When a person is very sick or the body is severely injured, some chemical signals are released into the bloodstream. These signals reach the lung, and the lung reacts by becoming inflamed, thus causing lung failure. Examples of this type of indirect lung injury include the presence of severe infection (sepsis) and severe injury (trauma) - the two most common factors in ARDS cases. Other examples are severe bleeding (resulting in massive blood transfusions), severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) and some types of drug overdoses.

ARDS has generally been characterized into three stages. In full-blown cases, these three stages unfold sequentially over a period of several weeks to several months.

1 Exudative stage: Characterized by accumulation in the alveoli of excessive fluid, protein and inflammatory cells that have entered the air spaces from the alveolar capillaries. The exudative phase unfolds over the first 2 to 4 days after onset of lung injury.

2 Fibroproliferative (or proliferative) stage: Connective tissue and other structural elements in the lungs proliferate in response to the initial injury. Under a microscope, lung tissue appears densely cellular. Also, at this stage, there is a danger of pneumonia sepsis and rupture of the lungs causing leakage of air into surrounding areas.

3 Resolution and Recovery: During this stage, the lung reorganizes and recovers. Lung function may continue to improve for as long as 6-12 months and sometimes longer, depending on the precipitating condition and severity of the injury. It is important to remember that there may be and often are different levels of pulmonary recovery amongst individuals who suffer from ARDS.

Treatment primarily involves supportive care in an intensive care unit (ICU), including use of a mechanical ventilator (vent) and supplemental oxygen. The goal of mechanical ventilation is to support the patient's breathing during the time needed for the patient's lungs to heal. Good progress has been made recently in improving the use of ventilators.

The seriousness and unpredictability of ARDS can emotionally devastate patients, family, friends, as well as doctors and nurses, especially since very few cases of ARDS are alike. Some patients get better quickly within several days, and others take weeks or months to improve. Some patients have no complications and others seem to develop every possible complication of ARDS. Finally, some victims die quickly, while others die after a long and trying illness.

While ARDS is a very serious syndrome, people can and do survive! It is important family and friends of the patient remain hopeful, and seek guidance from others, including ARDS survivors, families and friends of survivors.

From Matt:

Statistically over 60% of ARDS patients survive and although that might be daunting it is important to note that the underlying causes of this syndrome are yet to be determined. When it was first defined in the late 1960's it was 100% fatal. I am grateful that we live in a time where medical science can give us 60% and family powerful in the spirit to make up the 40% we need.

My experiences with Colton have been marked by a deep respect and love for him. He (and his brothers) are much finer men then I ever was at that age. When someone complains about teenagers not living up to the standards set by the generations that preceded them, I always think of the Stewart boys and the great kindness they continue to share with those around them especially to my parents. My heart and continued respect goes out to Colton and his family whom I love deeply.

Sources and resources: