Tuesday, November 30, 2010

5th And State And Carla Fox And Art By Karena

I am overwhelmed. I promise to get back to regular blogging soon.

In the meantime three lovely ladies, Debra Philips of the blog, 5th and State, and artist, Carla Fox, and artist, Karena have cooked up a little thoughtfulness for Alberto.

Go HERE to see!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Key To The Heart

Mona at Providence Design is still having her wonderful grand opening of her online shop.
The shop features the bijoux of designer Kay Smith with Ava J Creations. Don't wait until Black Friday to shop! Please shop now with Mona, because she is generously giving 10% of all sales during the grand opening sale which ends Novemeber 22 to Alberto Paz for the fund raiser on his behalf.

Go HERE to read more and shop!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Win A Trip To Spend Christmas In New Orleans!

Christmas is just around the corner–and where better to spend the joyous season than in the most joyous city – New Orleans! But don’t take it from me, take it from one of our favorite local actors and Mad Men star Bryan Batt. Plus, this holiday, you could win a $4000 shopping spree, plus a three-night stay at the Loews Hotel, free airfare, and two Reveillon dinners. Very jolly indeed! Go HERE to enter, and happy holidays!

via GoNOLA.com

Divine Providence By Design

Providence Ltd. Design Shop
Grand Opening of their great online shop

Alberto is doing better this week. We both have post traumatic stress, but lots of rest is helping.
One thing we do everyday is read all the blog comments, and emails, and Facebook comments wishing us well. We marvel at the Paypal donations still coming in. And we love when our friends in New Orleans stop by to visit us, bearing food, donations, and hugs and kisses.
A New Orleans friend paid for the Flying Nurses with her credit card at the time of our flight home, and I must pay her back in full by December 1, so every donation is so appreciated.

With tears in his eyes, Alberto tells me he is most touched by the bloggers. He still can't wrap his mind around strangers helping us, and not judging us. I keep telling him, this is what bloggers do, this is what bloggers are about. You are not strangers, but a unique family of friends.

The other day I got an email out of the blue. I share it with you:


You probably don't know me. I have followed your blog for some time and commented occasionally. The situation with your husband Alberto, really touches my heart.

When you said that you held Alberto and he was as if an infant, I felt your pain.

OK, I am launching an online store tomorrow. We are going to promote it every way we can. We are doing all sorts of giveaways and E-mail blasts etc. We think eventually, it will be a good thing for us. We don't have a clue if we will sell anything out of the chute or not, but we want to give you and your husband 10% of anything we do through the grand opening . The grand opening is the 16th through the 22nd. I'm going to E-mail D├ęcor To Adore and see if we can add this to the link auction, even though it is not really an auction.

I'm sorry this is so last minute. We have been extremely busy. I'm not really ready to launch the store but things are never going to slow down, so I'm just going for it.

I hope we do a lot of business and can send you a big check. You are already in my prayers. Mona

I read this to Alberto, my voice filled with tears. This is what bloggers do.

So please go over to Mona's new online store, Providence Ltd. Design Shop HERE, and have some fun shopping.

Also check out her blog Providence Design HERE.

And please continue to donate on Paypal HERE - you just type in our Paypal email address: boutique@planet-tango.com

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sleeping In Our Own Bed

I brought Alberto home on from the hospital on Tuesday. Alberto is making his recovery. His poor body took a beating (he has some broken ribs from the very aggressive CPR that saved his life in the airport), though he is in pretty good shape and seems "normal" most of the time. We are just trying to rest, and control our panic attacks. The image of him laying dying on the airport floor Calgary is tough for me to shake. Fortunately Alberto has no memory of what happened to him. In time he will be able to do all the things we love: live, love, and dance tango. Thank you for your prayers and/or donation. You got us home for the care and treatment he needed, and where he needed it.

The bedroom Alberto came home to, thanks to all of you!

The hospital in Calgary was a dump. It was shocking by American standards. It is old and crowded, with very small spaces allotted for a patient on a recovery ward. Still our family infused it with love and life, and made it homey. Ripped curtains, shabby bedding, worn out floors, ugly walls, a crowded coed ward, out dated bathrooms, all receded as we only saw Alberto and him getting stronger.

The nurses, nurses aides, cleaning staff, and doctors gave him good care. They saved his life. The family (his two amazing and loving children Gina and Albie, and me) brought him back full throttle, with round-the-clock love and care. Alberto is so courageous and an amazing force and he improved daily as no one in the hospital expected him to. We called ourselves Team Alberto, and we never doubted that we would win.

The bedroom of Alberto Paz and The Visual Vamp
Dwell Studio just sent us this beautiful duvet,
for a photo shoot with Brian Patrick Flynn in New Orleans

Then they held us hostage. They only wanted one treatment for Alberto, and when our doctor in New Orleans disagreed and requested we be released to fly home commercially, they refused. They gave us two options: Open heart surgery or travel by Medivac which we had to pay $35,000 upfront for. They seemed incredulous that an American family couldn't raise this money instantly.

Visual Vamp dining room
Patricia (PVE) and her husband John Charles,

sent us the most amazing box of fruit and healthy goodies

Days went by with no solution, until his children found an organization called Flying Nurses International. The cost was $10,000. to have us fly home with a medical escort. At first the Canadian doctor who held all the cards, refused. The manager from Flying Nurses, a high level cardiac nurse finally got the doctor to listen to her, and a compromise was struck and the doctor released us. All of your donations made it possible to come home, and Alberto, me, and our family will be forever grateful.

After we booked with Flying Nurses the Canadian doctor had to nerve to tell us that Medivac "is a scam", that "Medicare is welfare medicine", and that our doctor was wrong. We were so happy to find Flying Nurses and we asked the social worker at the hospital to keep it on file for other families who might face our situation. She acted like she never heard of the Flying Nurses before.
The next day her assistant told us the hospital uses Flying Nurses "all the time, for far sicker patients tan Alberto".

I need to get back to work and I need some new calling cards
Anne Harewell (Annechovie) is making a gift of them to me and Alberto

Once we arrived in New Orleans, we were received at a beautiful sparkling hospital where "Medicare welfare" provided first class treatment. Alberto's doctor, Dr. Siddharta Bhansali did two stents the Canadian doctors refused to do. It took him 45 minutes, and Alberto's artery is wide open and gorgeous. Open heart bypass surgery is a very dangerous option for Alberto. Because of his artery disease there is 100% chance he would suffer a stroke if he survived it. Our doctor has been advising us to not do bypass for as long possible, which could be for 30 years.

Alberto Paz when we arrived at Ochsner Baptist Hospital in New Orleans

The Canadians are sending me a bill for our over extended stay in their hospital.
Somewhere around $200,000. Alberto's life is priceless, but...
Medicare kicks in $5000. to foreign hospitals. Travel insurance would have helped, except we were refused because Alberto has a pre-existing condition. He did have a check up just before we traveled, and he was given the okay to travel. The last six months have been amazing. Alberto had three stents done last May, and it was like we were given a new lease on life. He was in amazing shape, going to the gym, eating well, taking his meds, doing projects around the house, and we were dancing like we were 40 years old, just kicking ass and having so much fun, taking every opportunity to enjoy the second chance we were given, thanks to Dr. Bhansali.

I have heard that many of you did blog posts about us. Please email me the links so I can show them to Alberto. He is like a happy child when I show him all the donations, emails, and Facebook messages. Your love and support is the best medicine!

So now God has given us yet another chance, and we plan to enjoy every minute of life we have been given, with all of our love and endless gratitude. Again we thank all of you from our very core, and you will be remembered in our answered prayers forever.

Our friends have been stopping by our house, bringing groceries and food, and cheering us up with their embrace and conversation. Anyone in New Orleans please feel free to come by the house. Your company is very healing.

Donations are still being made at Paypal, by typing in our email address: boutique@planet-tango.com

Monday, November 8, 2010

Easing Into New Orleans

Alberto & Valorie in the hospital in Canada

Alberto and I are home in New Orleans. Back in the USA.

We got here last night, after a very long day of travel from Calgary, Canada, with a medical escort (Flying Nurses International).

It cost $10,000, and the money was raised by all of you bloggers, our tango students, mutual tango friends and dancers, and tango promoters all over the world.

We went directly from the airport by ambulance to Ochsner Baptist Hospital on Napoleon Avenue.

We decided to not tell too many people about the trip home. The pressure of communicating during this dangerous trip home was too much for us. Alberto asked that he be sequestered.
A handful of people were told, family members, and friends in New Orleans who helped expedite things for us. We wanted to ease in gently under the radar, and get Alberto safely tucked in.

Alberto is in good condition considering all that has happened. He memory is 99% back; he can talk, read, write, walk, eat and feed himself. He can dance a few steps. He seems so normal. But his artery disease is a ticking time bomb, and right now, right this very minute, he is back on the operating table for another angioplasty "surgery". So now more waiting and praying, because the blockage is in a tricky place, and the risks are high.

We are so happy to be back home and we hope to be out of the hospital and back in our house with Cholo very very soon.

Waiting and praying is something I have become expert at. Please join me.

I will be writing another post about this whole experience later - falling ill in a foreign country has been an experience I will never forget, and I have alot to say about it. It's been our "come to Jesus" moment and has changed our family's life forever.

Please keep donations coming. There is no socialized medicine in Canada for visitors, eh? And though Alberto has Medicare, it did not cross the border. The country of Canada is sending moi a whopping bill, and we racked up huge expenses just with day to to day things while caring for Alberto in Canada. Please give to: boutique@planet-tango.com

For all of you who have contributed, I will get to proper thank you notes sometime in the future.
In the meantime, let this suffice as a preliminary thank you note from the bottom of my heart, and from Alberto's healing heart.

Thank you from Alberto and Valorie
photo in the hospital in Canada taken by Alberto's daughter Gina

Alberto Paz is out of surgery in NEW ORLEANS! His doctor, Dr. Bhansali is brilliant! He did the stent in record time, and saved Alberto from having the dangerous open heart surgery the Canadian doctors were holding us hostage for. Thank you everyone for your donations and prayers to get us home! We hope to leave the hospital tomorrow or Wednesday! More later...xo xo

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bloggers Are Here

A week ago Alberto lay on an airport floor in Canada, dying. Tonight he is resting well on the recovery ward.

Thanks to all of you bloggers, our tango friends all around the world, and friends and famliy, we are getting closer to getting home to New Orleans for him to be treated there.

Keep praying, and please keep sending those donations.

If his progress continues, and we can get the doctors here to release us, we can leave for home in a week or so.

I will forever be proud to know of all of you incredilbe bloggers, and the next time someone looks at me askance and asks why on earth I am a blogger, I will smile and say because of all of you.

Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you

Mil gracias.