Monday, January 2, 2012

A Look Back - N. Piccolo

Well, here it is the ever dreaded 2012 - end of the world scares shall begin hence forth. Pfft, whatever this "End of The World" has been talked about for last 100+ years.  People say "but we have the Mayan Calender." Oh that's nice, I have the new " Logical Thinking" calender and it has a few pictures. We have all year to debate that issue so I'd like to take a look back at last year and reflect a few key events that made last year special to us here at DFFT.

On a personal note last January 1, 2011, I celebrated my 2nd sober New Years in 12+ years by sleeping in with Tweenky. At the end of the month I took Tweenky out for an authentic Italian dinner in Gulfport, MS at Pasta Italia Trattoria. About half way through our salad, Tweenky suffered a severe nose bleed and we ended up in the hospital. There we discovered that she had high blood pressure which resulted in a posterior tear in her nasal cavity, but the high blood pressure was caused by her being pregnant...... Yes I said pregnant, something I was told previously some years ago would be impossible for me after sustaining an injury and some painful swelling. Nevertheless, the results came back positive and she was approximately 21-22 weeks and it was a boy. We were both surprised, scared, excited and lost to say the least. Neither of us had planned on ever having kids - it was something I once longed for but had been denied early on in life, thus given up on. Tweenky had decided that she hadn't had any yet and just didn't really think she wanted to have any as she got older.

It was about a week later when I got up for work and she said she was having trouble seeing; in fact she had gone completely blind for a few minutes and then the seizures happened. I had managed to get her into the car when she came back around and we headed straight to the hospital where she had 2 more seizures in the ER. After finally getting her stable, they tried 3-4 different times and with different equipment to find and check the baby's heartbeat. The ER doctor took me outside and said, "There's no heartbeat or movement and we are moving her to labor and delivery." I felt my world stop, fall around me, and there was nothing else around me except Tweenky. After calling family on both sides, I stayed at her side while the ob-gyn ran tests. It was within a half hour the doctor confirmed that our son had in fact died, but that was only part of the problem. Tweenky was suffering a severe type of pre-eclampsia called HELLP Syndrome, symptoms of DIC and her kidneys were barely functioning. Her platelet count had dropped to almost 30,000; it should be around 250-300,000. This meant surgically removing our son (which would stop the DIC and release from the HELLP syndrome) was not an option and she would have to perform a vaginal birth. Tweenky fell in and out of consciousness 3 times after being moved to the ICU. I know that it was 3 times because, when she would come around and ask what was going on, I had to tell her that we lost the baby each time. The doctors came to me with paper work for a blood transfusion and other life-saving permissions, I signed them all without hesitation. I wanted them to do everything imaginably possible to save her. All the while they were telling us to plan for the worst. Thankfully, she was given prostaglandin suppositories to induce labor; otherwise, she would continue to slowly die from our dead son who was now becoming septic to her body. I spent the next week at her side in the hospital as she slowly recovered. Though she suffered seizures, there wasn't any permanent damage. Personal care, medicine for high blood pressure and depression would be a constant fixture for a long while. I quit my job in Biloxi and we moved  just north of Tupelo, MS, to be closer to family.

I started up my own company and this allowed us to work around "Our" schedule. Having more free time, we took time for ourselves and went to Lake Hypatia in Talledega, AL, in July and met with other freethinkers,  atheists, and agnostics. We met people from all over the south and a few from far reaches of the US - even Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor. But only 3 people were from MS and we were 2 of them. This was a thought-provoking experience as we talked to and heard from several others about their podcasts, web sites, blogs, and other activities they were engaged in. It was invigorating and inspiring at the same time. "We could do this!" or "We should do this!" were constant conversation pieces over the next few months.

August, hot as usual and not just from the weather, this was the first we had heard about "Amendment 26" and it was a close and personal subject that struck a nerve with us both so deep that, by the first week of September, the Deep Fried Free Thinkers was born. We stumbled into existence and were soon into a full sprint. We joined every group we could find that was against this insane, bible-driven amendment and put all of our energy into getting the word out to everyone any way we could. By the time the election was over and the amendment defeated, we had joined 10 Facebook groups, produced 21 videos, 50 blog posts, and it wasn't over.

We continued covering issues like Phil Bryant and his "Satan wins" and thwarting AFA attempts to continue personhood by making counter videos and exposing their lies every chance we got. All the while, we were searching every state for more groups that are in opposition to personhood and letting them know of national groups like Americans Against Personhood and Parents Against Personhood. Hoping that by having national groups, more people would get informed and stand up against it.

What started out as the worst possible year of our lives has turned into a fun adventure in the end. We have learned a great deal and have so much more to discover. Even after 5 podcasts, 35 videos, and 64 blog posts, there is still so much for us to learn and teach as well. We look forward to reading every email, comment, and article that is sent to us and replying to as many as possible.

Thank you all from the bottoms of our hearts, for all your support and words of encouragement, without which the DFFT would be all for naught.

Thank you,

Nathan Piccolo and Tweenky Dee