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(Apologies for the gruffness, but this is a severe sore point with me.)
As you've noticed, we're blue again. It's an unfortunate byproduct of the upgrade process that will require some CSS and template bit updating over the next day or so. However, the forums ARE upgraded to the latest version, so you may notice some changes here and there and there'll be some new features I'll be unveiling as the forum template is repaired.
The Gallery and Chat functions have also been upgraded as well.
Thank you, all of you, from the bottom of my heart for all the well wishes. I AM home from the hospital now recovering from a bout of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever -- yeah, I had the same reaction, too -- that left me laid up in Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak for over a week.
Plenty of times I felt like a patient on House -- apparently cases of this illness are extremely rare (only 800 Americans get diagnosed with it a year) -- as I had at least a dozen different doctors and infectious disease specialists looking at me during my stay. It appears as though I fell victim to a tick bite sometime two weeks ago as I ventured back home and helped plant around 175 saplings in my parents' wooded area behind the house. About a week after that I started to get an intense fever and ultimately broke out in red spots everywhere (palms, arms, legs, feet -- everywhere). That and a fever hitting 102.9F freaked me out sufficienly enough to get me into the ER.
There it seemed the primary worry was meningitis, so I went through the battery of tests for that (CT scan, xrays, standard blood/urine tests) -- even the dreaded lumbar puncture. Yes, they are horrible. I didn't have the stiffness in the neck or other classic meningitis symptoms, which left a lot of people stumped.
After I was admitted my fever continued to rise, spiking at around 104.5F sometime mid-last week. I was on a cooling blanket for a large portion of that time while I was fed a steady supply of antibiotics. Basically, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever had come into focus because all of the tests I'd undergone basically ruled everything out.
I started turning the corner over the weekend (the biggest hurdle was managing my own temperature without the assistance of the cooling blanket) and after a few days of that (and some improving lab results) I was discharged around noon on Tuesday.
Naturally this whole thing has left me embarassingly weak. For the first four days of the illness I was unable to sleep and had to be put on pain and sleep meds just so my body could get some semblence of rest. I'm going to spend the next few days trying to ramp my strength back up and hopefully things will return to normal.
I do have to say that I'm thankful I didn't decide to Wikipedia this illness while I was still admitted. I really didn't have any idea how serious this whole thing was (or could've been), but the bevvy of "Jesus, Matt, you really scared the crap out of us" comments I've heard now that I've been home have really shed some light on this whole thing.
Of course, it was painful watcing the the Wings' ultimate playoff demise while laid up in a hospital, but I did give some of the nurses a good laugh with my constaint pained "yyyesssss!" and totally weak fistpumps during the first period of Game 4. They all thought I was in pain but I had to grimace out a "nooo... I'm happ-pppy!"
Again -- thank you to ALL OF YOU -- for your patience and well wishes. I'll be back to 100% shortly!
Although I'm still kind of "testing" it out, I added a new Gallery feature to the web site over the weekend and I'm encouraging our photoshoppers here to add their work to the "Photoshop War" categories, which you can do so by following this link:
The biggest thing with Howard is confidence. I think once he gets it he's unflappable, but Game 4 will be the ultimate determining factor of that. The 4th goal was situationally devastating but the other three I'd blame more on his defense (with a dash of inability to control rebounds).
As I mentioned in the GDT, I believe Babcock's married to him.
This may be a bit out of left field, but I think if Osgood had responded with a solid or spectacular effort when he made his start in Philadelphia then Babcock may look more toward him if Howard continues to falter in Game 4. As it stands, I'd be shocked to see Osgood in anything other than mop-up duty.
Miserable effort. Cutesy passes, no consistent forecheck, too much play from outside the circles. It's not a coincidence that the Wings' best scoring chances from this game and in general come from hammering the Phoenix defense on the forecheck and then crashing the net.