Tag Archive: family


This post is not for my dearest Heather (who really needs to stop reading this now) as she’s lived through this more than enough for five lifetimes.

I am still gathering thoughts and impressions over this. I also still fully intend to write a book on our experiences. But one can say that after three and a half years this part of the journey is over.

I am home recovering today because going back into work on the East Coast Monday morning after 10 days on the west coast and travelling roughly 8 hours on the day before with a 4am wake up and landing at midnight (Pacific) (an hour late) may not have been the wisest idea.

During the case we asked for $1.4(M). This was based on several things not the least was permanent spinal damage that was going to cause a life of pain managed by monthly prescriptions of closely monitored narcotics, MRIs every 1-2 years to assure the damage wasn’t getting worse, the loss of our ability to have further children (Narcotics really aren’t good for children in utero), and the general upheaval to our lives. (The breakdown was $1M for Heather, $300K for myself, and $100K for Aiden)

The testimony of the “Independent” Medical Examiners, which is legal talk for Doctors hired by the defense to destroy the credibility of the injured party, were horrifying. Both made Heather out to be someone who was suffering from Scoliosis from before the accident and overselling her pain. They also went so far as to say that narcotics were bad for her.

The closing argument from the defense attorney was horrid. Any desire I ever had for legal work evaporated as he bent the misinformation into truth and bent the truth into unreliability. It was in a word sickening. This included such statements as, “I’m an only child and I’m happy.” I do not know how this man lives with himself. And I hate the argument, “You were just doing your job.”

The jury came back and awarded fair damages for medical work done in Washington (<20K which will likely all go to repay subrogation), but once we moved it was considered unnecessary. I’m not really sure how leaving a state cures someone. They believed no future medical costs were necessary. There was some pain and suffering as Washington mandates its award if economic damages are awarded. On Aiden and my behalf they awarded chump change for pain and suffering. Of whatever we see, 25% goes to the lawyer as payment.

Our lawyer informed us that two jury members utterly believed our story and were prepared to offer us what we asked for. One elderly woman however utterly felt that Heather was a narcotics addict and believed everything else. And the rest of the jury… compromised in the middle. Well conservative side of middle.

We’ve now seen what works and what horrendously doesn’t work in the Justice system. We know the games and powers that insurance companies use to batter away at the will and confidence of victims.

Make no mistake, Heather has received permanent spinal injury from the accident that she was a victim of. The type of injury can cause an array of neurological damage that she as been blissfully spared (so far). At the same time it also causes pain that is on par with delivering a child 24/7 and will live with that forever.

The insurance company and the defense lawyer where solidly aware of that. But did their jobs to undermine her as a victim. That is their jobs. Ours is to learn and to change the system so that the innocent aren’t damaged to the level we were.

CPT Sampson Luke and FamilyI don’t talk about my blood family very often. I’m not just referring to online. My first cousin who is just a year younger than myself, lost her husband suddenly a little over a month ago. CPT Samson T. Luke was on a National Guard drill weekend. The family was notified that his death was an “active” status death. Two weeks later this was changed with no explanation to “inactive” death status. As a result much of the monetary, education, and health care, and funereal benefits are being denied that were previously promised. You can see more on this story from an excerpt of a CNN report.

CPT Luke leaves behind my cousin Miranda and their four children. This is an urgent matter as Miranda has been left fighting the DoD for the benefits promised rather than taking care of her family and trying to move on from this horrible tragedy. The Department of Defense is deciding if the family is eligible to receive benefits they had been promised and are entitled. If you feel moved to help  please cut and paste the letter below, dating and signing your name and address and mailing as quickly as possible as this is a time sensitive matter. Please feel free to distribute this letter to anyone that may want to help. Thank you advance for your support.

DATE
Dr. Robert Gates
U.S. Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington D.C. 20301

Dr. Gates,

I am writing on behalf of CPT Samson T. Luke’s family. CPT Luke passed away January 10, 2010 during a Arkansas National Guard drill weekend. His wife, Miranda, and their four children were told Sam’s death was an “active” status death. Two and a half weeks later CPT Luke’s status was inexplicably changed to an “inactive” death status. This action denies the family the monetary, education, health care benefits and funeral expenses that were promised.

CPT Luke was active duty Army and now in the National Guard for over a decade serving two times in Iraq. Sam’s family has supported Sam and the military throughout his career.
This family has been through so much. They deserve the proper consideration in this matter. Please return CPT Luke’s death status back to “active” and help this military widow provide for their four young children during this difficult time.

This situation is of the utmost concern to me and I would like be kept informed of the resolution of this matter. I can be reached at:

YOUR NAME
YOUR ADDRESS
AND/OR EMAIL

Sincerely,
SIGNATURE

First off my apologies for an unending supply of “Undisclosed location”s.

The story goes back to April of last year.

To soften my paranoia of nobody showing up for my 40th birthday, I threw an Aries Bash for all the local Aries births. We had about 5 guests of honour with Aries birthdays. But beyond my wildest dreams of people appearing for my party; no surprise was as sweet as the one that was planned entirely behind my back. For about a month a small contingency pooled their resources and brought SJ Tucker and K out by plane for the weekend from Arkansas.

The story was briefly mentioned in a blog post from that weekend. Sooj and K showed up while we were labouring with Aiden in a high chair. It was cursed by many that a camera was not available to show me not merely with jaw on the floor, but rendered speechless (for one of the rare times).

Sooj and Betsy Tinney (2/3 of Tricky Pixie) took over the basement and gave an amazing house concert. Two things then transpired that night. stealthcello, s00j, omnisti, and plan instigator ladydrakania were made 100% officially family to us. I made them Freeple certificates and all. Secondarily, I looked S00j in the eye and told her that one day I would exact revenge when she least expected it.

Okay Sherman, out of the Wayback and back to 2009.

I have been interviewing with a company in St. Louis, Missouri. I will admit, this was not where I would ever have seen myself going. I have been through St. Louis _once_. I was driving from Pittsburgh to San Diego to move. I stopped to see the Arch. I don’t remember what prompted me during the interview process to check; but I remember noticing that SJ was planning on playing St. Louis at some point.

As things proceeded with the interviews for the company; I thought… okay.. wouldn’t it be hilarious if I could some how make a trip out there when she is playing there. And then the call came that they wanted to fly me out for a face-to-face. The original plan was to fly out on a Thursday night and leave Sunday. That wasn’t going to work because one of the people that wanted to interview me wasn’t going to be in last week. So they decided to have me come in Friday and interview Monday. The reason for the weekend was to let me poke around the area and see what I thought of the area. This turned out to not merely be the weekend that Sooj was performing in St. Louis. But it was her birthday weekend.

Knowing that it wouldn’t just be my decision, I quickly got tickets for jnanacandra and aiden_freeman to join me. Well, now we obviously had to keep it secret from SJ & K, but had to make sure we knew where the concert was. And well, we can’t keep a secret either; so we had to tell a few people. Then Heather made the long post about “undisclosed locations” and many people started asking. We contacted the host of the tonight’s concert a few days ago.

As it turned out; we showed up at her house pretty much as K and SJ were unloading the truck. Knowing that the camera was the essential bit: I pulled up to the curb, jumped out, and yelled, “Hey, can I help you carry some of that stuff.” K looked back at me, confused and said sure. Then there was a pause followed by… “Wait..” and then a full on Gypsy, “Heeeeeyyy” And there was hugging.

Well, Sooj was watching from the door but may not have seen clearly. She came out and there was much more hugging. Our surprise was a great success. But lest we leave out the birthday end of things. Heather is a contributor for the Ravens project. She’s done an amazing pen & ink based on a VERY popular photograph of Sooj. (Yes, that one; and if you don’t know what I’m talking about; you’ll find out.) Heather presented the original to Sooj as a gift. The result (albeit blurry) we think conveys the emotion we were shooting for with great success.

We will have more pictures tomorrow as we will probably spend the day with SJ and K and then attend her birthday concert. We were unable to stay for tonight’s due to a prior engagement which may wind up being another extended post altogether. The whole night was intense. There will be many photos of the St. Louis b’day concert and maybe if we can pull it off, other added treats.

Thank you again to everyone who helped.. even if it was just to be in on the secret.

SJ and K are seeming to be enjoying St. Louis very much. Seems we are too.

Edit
I almost blew it chatting with K earlier in the week. He told me he was in Arkansas… I said reflexively.. “So, are you going to be popping up on my doorstep unexpectedly?”

He assumed I meant the last time he was in Arkansas. :)

Edit2
Put in the link for the Ravens Project which you all know about now. RIGHT?!?!?!

For now on my Facebook account.

More later.

Edit: Sorry, you’ll need a facebook acct to see them for now. Will move them here when I have time

So, the weekend started with me doing a presentation on programming in a new language to my team. My first presentation and about 80% of my team is in there. Lots of people. No pressure 😉

Afterwards we had a Friday celebration for a really cool guy on the team that has now been in our group for 10 years. I spent the bulk of that period discussing Doctor Who and Highlander and explained that Highlander IV was actually a really amazingly good movie.

I get to the car. There is reggae music playing. shimmeringjemmy really doesn’t like Reggae… so… weird.

I get in the car and she looks at me and says, “Sorry I don’t have room to get down on one knee… but, would you like your ex-girlfriend’s ring.” Which she then placed on my finger.

This unto itself requires explanation…. A really cool person I was involved with about 1 year and a half back and I exchanged rings. After we broke up she asked me to keep the ring she gave me. And I wear it daily. I took it in last week for a cleaning to a jeweler we use.

H picked it up today while I was at work. But, in our family sense of humour.. she couldn’t merely hand it over. So, she came up with the contrived sentence above. Which between the reggae, the class, the discussion on Highlander, and everything else… my brain went FWEEEEEEE!

Guess it’s time for a new Doctor Who… At least that’ll make sense. It’s not like unexpected relatives are gonna pop up out of nowhere for the Doctor.