Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 517

When you only eat one meal a day you want that meal to count.

I've still been juicing twice a day, even taking juice with me to the hospital. But at least once a day I have "real" food. The other day it was oh-so-good chicken tacos at Alejandra's, last night it was cube steak and roasted red potatoes at my mom's, and today it was a birthday lunch.

My friend from work - the one who took me out for my birthday last year, the one who I went to the movies/show with last summer, the one whose birthday I forgot in October  - took me out for a belated birthday lunch. I got to choose the place and time.

Red Robin. 12:15. Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich. Need I say more?

Other than yes, I ate it all. And thank you to (you know who you are) for the lunch, the gift card to the fabric store, and the good conversation.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 516

All the work that went into planting the garden this spring - clearing the plot, putting down landscape fabric to deter weeds, laying the used timbers from the rose garden to mark the beds, and weeding, weeding, and weeding.

All that work and a harvest that isn't exactly worth a picture. It's way down from last year, but that probably has to do with the neglect it has suffered over the last four weeks. But at least it's just enough to supplement my grocery store veggies and keep my mom supplied. We have red potatoes but they didn't make the picture.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 515

Every morning I drive by a coffee place that has a new slogan each day. The sayings are typically pretty darn insightful, but I'm not a coffee drinker so I never stop to write them down or take a picture of any of them. But I had to get gas nearby and found myself stopped at the stop sign smack dab in front of the board. Must have been fate.

Except I don't know who it best fits. Hubby and his therapy or me and my exercise bike.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 514

A year ago today I wrote about how my husband was at a conference and wouldn't be home. No going somewhere, no dinner out, no special dinner in. Last year on this day I spent my time in the sewing room and in the gardens.

Why is this day so special? It's our anniversary. 28 years. And just like last year, my husband is away and won't be home.

But I did go his way. I spent the afternoon with him watching NASCAR on the TV in his room. (Mostly he slept, I watched.) When they wheeled him away to go have his dinner with the other patients, I drove back to Marsing and had dinner at Alejandra's.

$3.18 bought me two of the tastiest chicken tacos with some chips and salsa. I'm a cheap anniversary date, especially when I'm by myself.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 513

Who plants peppers that grow upside down? That would be me. I don't know if it happened in the mix-up at the greenhouse or if I intentionally chose them, but they are not growing in a way I would expect peppers to grow.

I guess kind of like our lives right now. Hospital, day nine, no improvement.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 512

When I showed up at the hospital early this morning I warned my husband that things weren't going to go as planned and we might as well just go with the flow. I knew this because of my horoscope for the day:
In order to persevere during this potentially tumultuous day, you are going to have to take a bit of a 'so what?' attitude to all the goings-on.

He didn't heed my advice. But tomorrow will be a new day in a new hospital in a different town as this afternoon he was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Boise. He'll be closer to my mom and daughter, but about an hour from me. I haven't figured it all out yet. I'm going to bed early and will think on it tomorrow.

But as for my picture...every morning on the way to the hospital I pass a potential picture. Doesn't seem quite right - such an old, weathered barn sitting next to a ? (I have to admit, I don't know if it's a cell phone tower or an emergency tower or what.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 511

Today was a numbers game. I thought this morning's numbers from my donation receipt were going to be what stood out:
  • 3 boxes clothing
  • 10 boxes housewares and misc
  • 15 boxes Christmas and other
  • 2 pieces luggage
  • 3 boxes books
That's a lot of money I sent out the door right there.

But when the air conditioner guy diagnosed our problem as a bad motor, the cost of the repair got me. Paid in full when work was done. It is now fixed and it's oh-so-nice and cool in the house, but I'm $600 poorer.

While we waited for the air conditioner repair guy to finish up, my daughter, the greatest helper in the world, tackled the rose garden. Unfortunately, she was tackled when she got a bit too close to a wasp nest. She left the area with seven wasp stings. Seven.

The kiddo's number topped them all today, but at some point one single smarty-pants squirrel decided to hide his walnut in our herb garden. That Mr. Smarty Pants never came back for it and has left us with a baby walnut tree. Thanks to Ms. Seven-Sting Daughter, Mr. Smarty Pants will have to go hungry.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 510

As a teacher, you have those kids (let's call them stinkers) who are somewhat of troublemakers. They're loud, noisy, always bothering other kids, not ever doing what they are supposed to be doing. And they're hardly ever absent.

Whether it's the energy level that keeps them well or what, they are certainly hard to keep down (and keep quiet). But occasionally those kiddos do get sick. How can a teacher tell when those kiddos aren't feeling well? The classroom is calm. The kiddo is quiet, calm, and just goes with the flow. I thought adults were the same way.

Guess not.

After spending hour after hour with sick hubby, he's not become any more pleasant. When he feels well he's impatient and grumpy. When he's sick - same thing. These last couple days have been particularly bad. I even had to turn my mom away from visiting today. I should have turned myself away as well. In fact, I almost walked out of the hospital room on him. But I stuck around, thinking it might get better. Nope. No matter who it was - me or the nurses - he was not a nice person.

Which left me wondering - what happened to that strong, confident person I found on the trip? (That person being me.) Too many days of sitting in the hospital with him. Too many days of driving home with the sun setting in my eyes, big windshield cracks down my side of the window making it difficult to see. Too many days of walking into a house with no working air conditioning and seeing 89 degrees on the thermostat and knowing it won't drop below 80 by morning. Too many days of yard sale stuff in the living room.

It was enough to make me start to cry on the way home. But I caught myself. Both the air conditioner and windshield repair folks are coming tomorrow afternoon. Biopsy results should be back tomorrow evening. There is talk of moving hubby to a rehab center for him to work on being able to walk again.

Then daughter came home tonight and we loaded up both our vehicles with the yard sale stuff (unfortunately she'll have to make a second trip - just too much stuff). She also brought the movie Grease and we're having a late-night girls' movie night downstairs in the cooler basement. And she said I can sing all I want!

I know things will get better so for now I'm holding off the tears. (Other than maybe shedding a tear when I say goodbye to all the stuff that I once held dear.) I also added pictures of our "supervisors" when we were working.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 509

With 10 surgeries under my belt I'm a pretty good patient. I know what to expect, I know what to do, I know how it feels. As a patient's spouse I'm finding I'm not as competent.

I show up in the morning, stay into the evening, and head home. I bring bottled water to drink and some days I leave the hospital for lunch and some days I bring my juice and a granola bar. One day I brought the laptop, another day I sorted through the mail, and another day read newspapers and magazines. School-related phone calls and e-mails are inudating me, but at this point I'm trying to ignore them as best I can. I mostly do Sudoku, play Words with Friends with my daughter (when she's not working) and wait for hubby to grumble something at me when he wakes up. Today I got smart and brought my slippers to change into.

But is that what I'm supposed to do? He doesn't have visitors to entertain, he doesn't have a roommate. It is just the two of us. Him sleeping and me trying to keep myself busy.

I feel guilty when I'm not there. But when I am there I feel like I don't know what I'm supposed to do (other than sit with him). Thank goodness for my pictures - I know what to do there.

Today it's the broccoli trees. When our daughter was little and we drove Farmway Road I always made comments about the broccoli trees. Having never eaten or purchased or even paid attention to broccoli before, I thought these trees resembled broccoli. Now that we've grown broccoli, I buy broccoli, and I even occasionally eat broccoli (gasp) I still think the trees look like broccoli.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 508

My living room is overflowing with stuff. Yard sale stuff.

Before our trip we went through closets, drawers, bookshelves, cabinets, the storage shed in the backyard and my sewing room, looking for things to get rid of. Downsize. We found bunches of things and stored them downstairs in the basement in preparation for the yard sale. Then while we were gone, we had our daughter move everything up to the living room so it would be an easy move to the carport for the yard sale.

That yard sale was scheduled for the Friday and Saturday before I started back to work. Being my first day back is August 1, coming week is the yard sale was the yard sale.

With hubby not improving and no word from the doctor about when he might be discharged - or when he might be better - I have a living room full of stuff going nowhere. Time for an alternate plan. The organization I usually donate things to no longer does pickups out here in Marsing so I'm on the search for another group. A group that can pick up this week. Coming back to an empty house (but full living room) is driving me nuts.

Also driving me nuts is pulling into the driveway every night seeing the overflowing wildflower-turned-perennial garden. Time to start whacking away at it (as soon as I can find the time).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 507

We heard the word diurese quite a bit today. As far as I can tell that's the medical term for getting rid of excess fluid by going to the bathroom. As in, they are forcing him to diurese. His IV has been cut off, he's on a cardiac/low sodium diet, his Sprite supply has been reduced, and they are adding and even again doubling some medications all in the hopes the fluid will be purged from his system.

But at this point, the kidneys still have not kicked in. He isn't eating much, he's sleeping most of the time, and he's too weak to get out of bed on his own. They've given up on even helping him to the bathroom. Thankfully he's not in pain, but he certainly isn't well.

With so many unknowns, it's nice I have some knowns right now - my flowers. Coneflowers. I couldn't decide on which picture I liked best so you get them both.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 506

He's been through tests, tests, and more tests, and he has a diagnosis.

Renal failure.

His kidneys are operating at 20% of normal and the doctors don't know why. A kidney biopsy is scheduled for Monday, and a specialist visited with us today and gave us worst case scenario (at least I hope it was worst-case). In the meantime he remains in the hospital as they try and get the 20 pounds (yikes) of fluid he put on in the last two weeks since we've been gone.

I'm not home much now, but I did take a picture of my flowers that look like thistles. I saw some in a planter box in Ketchikan just last week but theirs hadn't turned colors yet. Mine have.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 505: Home

I thought the worst part of returning home was going to be needing to get the windshield replaced after a big, huge, long crack developed on my way to Vancouver.

Then I thought the worst part was having to deal with the non-working air conditioner at home.

After leaving Vancouver yesterday, I then thought having to drive home with this brand new rock chip smack dab in my line of sight was going to be the worst part. (It was pretty bad, making me cross-eyed all these last two days.)

But none of those was the worst. What was?

On our way back to town we stopped at the doctor's office to get hubby checked out. The doctor sent hubby straight from his office to the hospital for an overnight stay. He has already been through several tests and has another one coming up before midnight.

Let's hope by tomorrow this time we have some answers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 504: Back to Vancouver

I decided I won't ever drive in Vancouver, British Columbia again.

When we arrived a couple weeks back traffic into downtown was horrific. Yes, there were three lanes going in each direction, but cars and buses and taxis and bikes were swerving in and out of those narrow lanes with no apparent rhyme or reason. In a city of over half a million people it was stressful to get to our hotel.

But today as we left the cruise ship we took a taxi back to the hotel where we left the car. As I watched the taxi driver maneuver in morning rush hour traffic, I figured it out.

Three lanes. The middle lane is the go-straight lane. The left lane is the go-straight lane until you get to an intersection. Then it becomes a go-straight lane and a left turn lane. The right lane is a bus lane and/or a parking lane - except when it's not. If no one is parked in that lane, go right ahead and use it as a go-straight lane. And even if someone is parked in that lane? Drive in that lane until you get to that car, then dart back into the middle lane, then dart back into the parking lane when you can.

Basically consider those cars turning left in the left lane and those cars parked in the right lane as obstacles in your road race. I won't do it again, but when I drove out this morning I adopted a taxi-driver aggression and made good time!

But today's picture isn't of the mess of traffic. It's of a huge pile of yellow stuff out at the docks. Sulfur. I'm not sure what it's used for, but it sure is bright.

And on another note...No Happy Birthday ever sprang from hubby's mouth but I did I eat a couple bites of my birthday cake by myself (way too much chocolate for me), but thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. It means a lot to me so a big thank you!

And for the questions about him - he made two trips to the ship's doctor but unfortunately he didn't follow all of her recommendations. His resistance to doctor's instructions (and my pestering) may have been detrimental decisions so we're trying to get him into his own doctor as soon as we hit town. Right now we're again stuck in Yakima (just like on the way up) but hope to get ourselves home tomorrow. I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 503: Birthday at Sea

How does one celebrate their 47th birthday while on a cruise ship? You:
  • eat a bowl of Special K at breakfast. Alone.  
  • thank your room steward for the birthday decorations out your door.
  • have a pepperoni and red onion pizza for lunch and eat it while watching the ocean waves. Alone. 
  • stand in the “Dessert Extravaganza” line by yourself to snag the desserts you missed getting to taste last week.
  • think the vanilla cake is going to taste the best, but it doesn’t. 
  • take the jello dessert back to your room and stick it in your fridge but find out later your husband ate it. 
  • look forward to a nice sit down dinner in the dining room, but knowing you’ll be alone it’ll probably be the buffet line instead.
All these wonderful experiences I’ve had these last couple weeks – all the confidence I’ve built, the things I’ve done and seen – it’s not enough to get me out of the funk (yes, I’m being selfish right now) of not hearing Happy Birthday from my husband. Here’s hoping I hear it from him before the day is over. If not, I have a cake Princess sent my way that will have to do.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 502: Ketchikan

Today should have been the day my husband was taking the pictures. The day he was going to catch a salmon, a day he was going to put all that physical therapy to good use.

Nope. Still not feeling well, he cancelled his salmon fishing trip. I’m certain he will regret that decision, but my hounding him to get out of the room for the last two weeks has gotten me nowhere so I’ve given up.

With his absence this vacation has turned into a solo one. Dinner alone, swimming in the pool alone, traveling the towns alone, trips to tops of mountains and across canyons, all alone.  

But today I had someone to talk to, someone to spend time with. The school secretary where I work just so happens to be on a cruise to Alaska this week. Not on our ship, but in the ship sitting at the docks with us here in Ketchikan today. So I got to tag along with her and some of her family on a walking tour of Ketchikan. We went to jewelry shops, souvenir shops, t-shirt shops, Walmart, and even the quilt shop.

This quilt shop is the largest in southeast Alaska and pretty much takes up half the second floor of a building. Look at just one of their quilt displays. 
 I did snatch up some 40% off fat quarters. Another batch of fabric for my next batch of Alaska-bound quilts.
We also took a taxi-tour out to…
Where we got a glimpse of the Tlingit and Haida Indian culture through the 14 totem poles and a clan house. 
And saw wildflowers and berries…

Their ship left before ours so I had a bit of extra time to head out to Creek Street. The historic boardwalk was a Red Light District during the Gold Rush. I walked the area, hoping to catch the spawning salmon. I never saw any, but I heard others talk of seeing some moving upstream. 
I did however, stop for lunch out on the boardwalk. Look who peeked up at me as I was eating…
Such a great day. A gorgeous, sunny, walk-filled, fun-filled day.
Thanks ladies, for letting me tag along.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 501: Juneau

Today was the second attempt at getting up Mt. Roberts Tramway in Juneau. Last week it was rainy, today it was not.
From the top of mountain I could see everything. The town, mountains, the cruise ship.
I even saw a bald eagle that had been shot in the beak and has a torn retina. The bird has recovered all he can, but is unable to be released back into the wild. He still can fly though, and gave me quite a start when he headed toward me as I was snapping a picture.

After coming down the mountain, I found the quilt shop I was looking for. No sale items (which means no purchase for me) but I discovered buttons. They had two separate cases of buttons of all shapes and sizes. I wonder what my mom would think of all these.
These last few days I’ve put quite a few miles on these feet. I’m quite surprise that I’ve kept my stamina up with all this walking. A long day, a full day, another day of pushing myself beyond what I thought I could do. Who knew I really would go up and down in a tram, look out over (and down) viewing platforms with absolutely no fear of heights? And who knew I could walk this much? Although, I have to admit today I had to take quite a few sit down breaks on my way back to the cruise ship. I wasn’t the only one taking a break.

The ravens sure seem used to people.

A nice sunset out our balcony is a good way to end a day. Full disclosure, though – I took this picture last night as we left Skagway and passed by Haines, Alaska.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 500: Old time Skagway

In August of 1896 gold was discovered near where the Klondike and Yukon rivers joined in northwestern Canada. Skagway became the major gateway for the Klondike Gold Rush and tents lined Broadway Street as the town grew by leaps and bounds. But by December of 1896 wooden buildings replaced the tents and then, less than two years later, Skagway had boardwalks on both sides, brick chimneys, railroad tracks, and utility poles. 80 saloons, three breweries, and many brothels occupied the town.

Many of those original buildings have been restored to exact standards including historical paint schemes and sign fonts. As I meandered town today (wanted to get to the quilt shop again) I took some pictures in black and white. I did take one in color of such a pretty car.
Just imagine what life was like just over 100 years ago…

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 499: Glacier Bay Birds

I’ve got my sea legs back thanks to the patch. I’m wondering if it was seasickness or just a little stomach thing. Hubby didn’t have problems even without the patch – and he’s one that has to take Dramamine before even a short one hour flight.

So I’m back to myself and the ship is back to Glacier Bay National Park today. Today’s weather for it wasn’t nearly as nice as when we were here just a few days ago. And for some reason, this time the seagulls were flying all around the ship when we were viewing the Margerie Glacier. So instead of taking more pictures of just the glacier again, I went with the birds and did some little fancy edging to the pictures.
Gotta make it interesting somehow!