A Letter to Julia

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Chapter 8

New Job, New Home, Bright Future

My parents had owned the property on Pipe Lake since 1953.After my mother died my father passed it on to my brother and me.My brother didn’t use the property much so he signed it over to his two children.They were married and had their own children.We have known several friends that grew up with vacation property and as the siblings grew up and got married tried to keep the property and share it.Eventually the problems of maintenance and sharing become too burdensome.The same was true for us as all our families were becoming bigger and older with more friends added to the mix.The other problem concerned the trees on the lot.The Douglas fir and Maple trees were growing taller every year and some were tall enough to hit the neighbor’s house if they fell.Compounding the risk was the layer of clay and wet soil on top of that layer that underlined the property along the lake edge.This made for shallow roots and rotted tree trunks.

About the time Mary had Julia, Helen and I were having trouble making the house payments on our Hobart log home and paying our share of the property taxes on the lake property.Building our own houses over the years was both emotionally and financially rewarding.There is a lot of satisfaction in standing on the floor of homes we built knowing what got us there was our own hard work.However, by building and selling we ended up with a 6000 square foot log home that was worth way more than my salary could have afforded.Consequently, our property taxes were much higher than normal for my income.

Problems with sharing the lake and our own financial problems made us start thinking seriously about what to do.One choice was to sell the lake property and stay in the Hobart log home.The other choice was to sell the Hobart log home and build on the lake property.After discussing it with our family Helen and I decided it would be better to keep the property that has been in the family since 1953 and sell the Hobart log home.We planned to also build the new home out of logs.In 2001 I started drawing plans for the new home.This time the process would be more complicated.New energy requirements adopted since we built the Hobart log home would mean extensive calculations on the energy losses through the window and walls as well as the method of heating.Further complicating my “do it yourself” project were the new earthquake codes. Western Washington was in a high probability of earthquake designation.Now, as I had in the past, I could no longer do my own calculations for beam sizes, but had to hire an engineer to calculate them for me.

Because of all theses knew requirements I had to first draw the plans and then submit them to an engineer.The engineer figured out all the special connectors and extra bracing I would need for earthquake protection and then I had to redraw the plans to incorporate them.Luckily I was able to calculate the heating and insulation requirements on my own and to justify the number and size of the windows and doors we had wanted.

December 26, 2010:The New Year is almost here and I’ve just received my first reply to my video from a person who took Mirapex.I’ll call him John to hide his identity. He was still taking it, but was hoping to stop soon.He has suffered many of the same reactions as Mary. Because of the personal nature of his reply I don’t feel that I should provide any details about him or his heartbreaking story.John did confide that if it wasn’t for “a loving and supportive wife and family” that he would be dead by now.I’ll try to be as supportive as I can when I reply

.

January 18, 2011:John just emailed me and he has stopped taking Mirapex for about a week.He is going through a living hell on earth.Studies have shown that Mirapex withdrawal can be as severe as withdrawal from cocaine. It is called DAWS or Dopamine Agonist Withdrawal Syndrome.I’m going to devote a later chapter of this book to explaining the research showing how Mirapex affects the brain and why it causes compulsive behaviors that differs among victims.I’ll also explain DAWS in more detail and if I get enough responses to my video show the compilation of the different compulsive behaviors.

Here is the email I just sent back to him:

“Have hope---Mary is proof that there is life after Mirapex. She had a rough time coming off the drug as she couldn’t understand that 3 years had passed and she couldn’t remember who had died during that time and who wasn’t still alive. She had a lot of catching up to do. I did get one of the first smiles out of her when (after quitting Mirapex) I told her that I didn’t want to bring her more bad news about people that died, but----- president Abraham Lincoln also was dead.

She also couldn’t tell time on a regular clock.

She had to relearn how to find addresses.

She couldn’t figure out how her daughter had gotten so big

She went through a stage where she thought every one in the family were geniuses (really---- but she soon leaned otherwise)

Now she is over the physical effects of the drug, but she has trouble talking about what happened to her.Our thoughts and prayers are with you also.

John”

Mary Joe and Julia are happy in their condo in Issaquah, but it has no yard and Mary loves to garden.She has put pots on their small deck.Anyone who is a gardener would know that a deck with pots just is not the same as a yard to landscape and work in.Mary still did not have a lot of spare energy, but gardening did seem to refresh her.Her health was still a big factor in her life and Helen and I had to make frequent trips into Issaquah to help out with Julia and take care of Mary.From the point of view of ease of maintenance the second story condo made good sense.But emotionally Mary’s heart was still yearning for a yard. Being at Pipe Lake, near water, also made her feel better.Maybe Mary felt the spirit of her grandfather there or just liked the smell, looks and feel of the water.Whatever it was, when she was there she felt better.

Helen and I were going to move to the lake, but we had to draw the plans, get them approved and then build the home ourselves.That would be in the future, but we started thinking of Mary and Joe moving into the neighborhood of our lake property.That way they could have a yard and use our property for lake access.Property on the lake was expensive and out of their price range, but away from the lake there were lots of houses they could afford.So Mary and I started looking for homes on my days off while Joe worked.Anything we found that Mary liked, she and Joe went back to look at.

Mary and I looked at a lot of houses in the neighborhoods surrounding our lake property, but they were having trouble finding what they wanted.I knew that we could rebuild them to be more like what they envisioned, but the basics were not there.Looking back on the search I now think that it was the neighborhoods compared to actual property on the lake that was keeping them from finding what they liked.

We were still looking in the summer of 2001 when a small cabin popped up for sale on the lake.The cabin was only about a block east of our property.It was very small, just on bedroom, a small kitchen and dining room and no basement.It was very cute, but would need some foundation and extensive insulation work before it could be lived in over the winter.Mary was smitten.Joe was more cautious as the burden of building a real home there would fall on him.Mary had lived through several episodes of our own homebuilding and was fine with that.She had helped me when she was able putting up logs and pulling wires through walls.Mary was not at all dismayed at the prospect of eventually building.Several people were interested in buying that property and small cabin, but were held up with getting estimates from builders and architects. We didn’t need that kind of advice as we already had years of home building experience under our belts.

January 21, 2011: Mary and Joe just got the notice today that their bankruptcy has been discharged. This is very, very good news as now H. Lee Thompson can complete the filing of a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Mirapex.Until the bankruptcy was discharged the creditors could try to claim any settlement Mary received.Since a settlement was problematic at that time the bankruptcy was discharged and Mary and Joe were finally free from that onus.

Mary and Joe were able to get the jump on the other buyers and Mary felt that her love for the lake and our long history there also helped tip the purchase in her favor.On August 25, 2001 our family came together and helped Mary, Joe and Julia move into their new home on the lake.Mary was now only fifteen minutes away from us.This would make it way easier to help her and when we moved we would be only a minute walk away.Once we starting building our own lake home we could use their bathroom and wouldn’t have rent a Sanican as we did when we built the house in Hobart.

We were just in the process of cutting down the trees on the property to save the wood for future bonfires when they moved into their new cabin.In spite of Mary’s chronic illness all our futures looked good.Mirapex was also in the future.I don’t think that we would have been so happy if we would have known that because of the effects of Mirapex, 11 years later they would be trapped in an unfinished home with leaking roof, and all of them would still be sleeping in the same small bedroom.

February 15, 2011: Another email arrived today. It is from a man that is taking Mirapex for Parkinson’s disease.It is the only drug that has helped him and he does not have the devastating compulsive behavior side effects that Mary and John experienced.Helen and I have a friend that has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s so I passed the information along to her.

Not everyone that takes Mirapex develops compulsive behaviors, and this new email is proof that the drug helps many people with Parkinson’s.Modern medicine saves many lives and Mary has depended on modern drugs to survive Lupus.We just want them to clean up the mess they made in our lives.

We started to put in the footings for the new lake home in May of 2002.We were able to stay living in our log home in Hobart while we built.The foundation work turned out to be a lot harder than we planned. Pipe Lake is situated on the top of a rise in the local topography.The lake sits in a bowl in the middle of this rise and the land slopes down in all directions away from it.To the west and east, where the outlet of the lake is, the slope is pretty steep.A layer of clay is why the lake is there and underground springs feed the lake from underneath.In summer, when the lake has warmed up the springs can be felt by the plumes of cold water hitting our feet.The temperature at the bottom in the deepest part of the lake year-round is in the high 30’s.These springs cannot originate from the small rise at the rim of the lake, but have to travel long distances underground from the surrounding hills and mountains in underground channels until they surface in the lake.

When we dug for the foundation it was spring, but not a particularity wet one.We immediately ran into the clay layer as it sloped up and away from the lake bed.Unfortunately for us the exposed clay layer contained several small springs that dripped from the newly exposed bank behind the footings for the foundation.We struggled more than a month to contain the water, but finally gave up and hand dug a trench for an additional drain a foot below the traditional footing drains.This did the trick, but was pretty taxing for me in the process.After all, I was no longer in my forties as when I was building the Hobart log home.I found I had to pace myself more.

We were making steady, but slow progress on the lake house and Mary was making changes in her life also.In August of 2002 Mary decided she wanted to go back to work to help out with their finances and save up money for building on their house.The small cabin was OK for the time being since Julia was still a baby, but once she left the baby stage they would soon outgrow the single bedroom.Mary had extensive experience with administrating contracts at Microsoft so she took a position with Accenture as a Contract Administrator.Her work was part time which fit her need for more rest than the average person.Lupus never missed a day at her side.

We continued to work on our lake house all of 2003.By December of 2003 we were getting close to completion.All the plumbing and wiring was in, the plasterboard was up and the rooms painted.The front deck that ran the length of the house was also done.We had cantilevered the deck using four by twelve’s.We did this on purpose so we would not have posts underneath getting in the way of the lake view from the basement rec-room.The window and doors were ordered, but hadn’t arrived yet, so we had plastic over the openings.

On December 4, 2003 disaster struck. Maple Valley, where the lake home was located, is right up against the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.Occasionally high air pressure east of the Cascades and low pressure west of the Cascades forces air to blow over the mountains and down into the communities along the foothills.This is not uncommon in the winter when storms move in from the Pacific Ocean over Western Washington.However, the winds do not often reach destructive speeds.This time the low pressure was especially deep and the high pressure higher than normal.Also the structure of the atmosphere was well suited to the development of mountain waves in the air forced over the mountains.Mountain waves bring down higher velocity air down to the ground from upper levels of the atmosphere.

We were in the Hobart log home when the power went out at 5:15 in the morning and with it the phone.I purposely built the Hobart home away from any trees knowing about the possibility of strong east wind events from my work at the University of Washington.Helen was supposed to pick up Julia and take her to pre-school in Maple Valley that day and I was going into work.I stayed home to drive her instead as I was worried about the wind.Normally the drive from our Hobart home to the lake was about fifteen minutes.We took our truck which turned out to be a very wise decision.

With the power went the phone connection and we didn’t have cell phones at that time so we couldn’t contact Mary.As soon as we got out of our neighborhood we realized how bad the winds were.Trees were down across the back road to Maple Valley but they were tall and had hit trees on the other side of the road so we were able to squeeze underneath them.The steady wind was close to 50-60 mph and the gusts were close to 100.It was the gusts that were bringing down huge clumps of trees.We struggled along until the main road was totally blocked by fallen trees.We turned around and took a back way along the Cedar River.This was more sheltered and the road, besides being covered with limbs, was passable.

Helen was becoming frightened for Mary and Julia because they were alone in the little cabin on the lake.We had cut down the tallest trees on the lake property when we built, but there were two left between our house and the neighbor’s to the east.On the other hand Mary’s cabin was surrounded on all sides by very tall and large Douglas firs.The firs made the cabin seem in the woods, but now I was starting to get worried myself as I saw the destruction around me.

We came out of the protection of the river and emerged in a neighborhood with trees down all around.One spot was very open to the wind and the trees to our left were whipping all around in the gusty wind.All of a sudden a big gust hit and several roared down right in front of us.Several limbs hit the top of the truck, but didn’t make it through the roof.We turned around and tried another route.In one stretch of road we noticed that the highest gusts were every so often so we waited until the gusts died down and then we dashed alongside the highest trees.It took us over two hours of terror to reach the lake.

We found Mary and Julia huddled in the basement of our almost completed lake house.The basement was constructed of 8 inch thick concrete walls so it was safe from the storm.Mary had fled there from her house after several giant firs crashed down in the front yard.She and Julia were terrified as they made their way down the street in the strong wind to our basement.While they were huddled together the large fir to our east crashed down on our deck pushing our cantilevered beams up through the floor above Mary and Julia.The fir was so large that it smashed our deck and crunched the roof of our neighbors to the west.When we found them they were crying in each other’s arms.The neighbors took in Mary and Julia and while the storm was still raging the neighbor and I cut the tree away from his roof and temporarily patched it.Mary’s and Joe’s house had been spared, but our deck and front room were a mess with half the deck broken and hanging off the front of the house.

This really set us back on construction, as we couldn’t install the windows along the front of the house until the deck was fixed and we couldn’t fix the deck until the insurance was figured out.The insurance problem was compounded by the fact that the deck had been cantilevered and now several of the beams were busted off at the edge of the house.The only way to fix the deck and keep the cantilevered design was to jack up the house and slip in new beams, a tremendous and expensive undertaking.The insurance company was troubled by this and kept sending more adjusters.I was getting anxious to move as we had sold our Hobart home and the buyers were also getting anxious.We had already moved in a lot of their stuff into the dance hall.

Finally I got tired of waiting for a settlement and my son Adam and I jacked the deck into place using whole house jacks.We put a beam under the length of the deck and added posts.We repaired the front room floor and sistered two by twelve’s on the cracked beams.In a week we had the damage repaired but the deck was no longer cantilevered. That got us going again and we spent our first night in the new home on June 29th, 2004.Now our plans were complete.We were just down the street from Mary and could more easily help her when she needed it.

February 17, 2011: H Lee Thompson filed a lawsuit today on behalf of Mary and Joe against the manufacturers of Mirapex.They are Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer,. Pharmacia & Upjohn Company LLC, and Pharmacia Corporation.

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