Living Well with a Bad Diagnosis - Lung Disease

Friday, February 23, 2018

Fighting to Improve Stamina

Success! It was a fantastic day in the rehab class yesterday. I could really feel the improvement of my stamina after working in the gardens. Bit by bit, it is coming back. I was able to do more on the bike with less struggle. My saturation numbers were excellent.

I was also able to speak with classmate Barry (a tennis pro who lives here on the coastside) about driving Jeannie to rehab class when I am not available. We booked him for a date mid-March when Michael and I have a board meeting retreat at my university hospital. In a couple of weeks, I will mention that she will need help while I am on the road trip in May. Jeannie will be so happy to hear the news.

It hailed here yesterday! A very rare event so close to the ocean. It is still cold today so I think mom and I will spend some time at the mall with lunch at Nordstrom. Warm and cosy.

My weekend plans include working an area in the gardens between Ron and us. It needs lots of weeding and lots of removal of plants that have grown too big for the space. I will be cleaning it all out while listening to the SF Giants broadcast from Spring training.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Weedless!

With all good intentions yesterday morning, things didn't turn out as planned. I pulled the house together for the housekeepers then sat down to catch my breath. I drifted off to sleep. The phone rang. We are a rare home who still has a land line and it has been very active with calls from scammers. There were three within and hour, each time waking me but I fell back to sleep after each one. Finally, I got up and thought about not going into the garden. Nope. Not okay. Get dressed and get out there.

I weeded the entire back gardens and turned a pathway of dirt. After almost two hours, I was finished and it looked fantastic. From to the gardens to the phones.

Yesterday's mail brought a bill from a hospital when I fell in Palm Springs in January 2017 for around $77.00. This was the first bill I had ever received and, with my excellent insurance, I knew there was something amiss. I never see hospital bills.

Speaking with a lovely woman in the business department, I requested the Medicare number and date that they were paid. I was going to phone Medicare to see why I still had a balance owed on the bill. It took her a bit of time to pull it up and when I asked for the amount paid, the problem became clear.

On the statement, the $4K bill was reduced to $3K and reduced again for Medicare for $303.00. When I had seen that on the statement, I thought Medicare paid the $3K and my AARP gap coverage paid the $303.00. Nope. Medicare paid the $303 and there was no payment from AARP. She looked it up and found they had not been billed. As we were on the line, she re-billed AARP. I owe nothing. She was marvelous to work with and I took the survey afterwards. She was that good.

At this point I was feeling great. I was energized from the gardening, the hospital bill problem was solved and finally I needed to phone Betty, Chip's wife. We had not be able to talk when I spoke with Chip two days ago. After almost two hours, I had just put the phone down when Michael walked through the door.

It was a very satisfying day.

This morning, I feel great and filled with energy. Jeannie is seeing an eye doctor today so I am going to the rehab class alone. Heading to the mall, I am going over the pass early to see if I can find some clothes for the road trip. A shirt. Light blouse. Maybe some shoes. It will be fun to wander and try to find some good sales. AND, there is an Irish Fiddling rehearsal tonight. Hope my higher energy level lasts all day!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Stress-Filled Sleep

Leaving the rehab class, both Jeannie and I felt filled with energy. I was dripping wet. It was a good workout. Today, the goal is to workout in the garden for a bit this morning. Pulling weeds and turning dirt (with a long handled three-prong tool) is on the agenda.

Over a year ago, I fell at the hotel in Palm Springs and sprained my knee (three months later to be fractured by another fall) and I just received a bill from the hospital. It makes no sense. I will be phoning them to get the Medicare number then will phone Medicare to find out why they did not cover $77.00. With Medicare and my excellent United Health gap coverage, it should have been totally paid.

That along with two other issues were in the mail last evening. It bothered me all night and I had all sorts of dreams where I was dealing with problems.

Everything is falling into place for the trip and I will begin to make hotel reservations within the next couple of days. It will become real. It is then when I will make the endless lists so I don't forget anything. Exciting but somewhat scary. It is like planning a trip into the unknown.

Again, I need to remind myself everyday to do something to help build my stamina for this trip. Working in the gardens, going for a walk, moving my body more than just the rehab class.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Stellar Recovery

I am feeling so great. It's odd but even my balance is better, I have not needed a nap in days and days but the even more shocking news is that I have been staying awake until bedtime. No more falling asleep on the couch.

Recovering well.

My mom even noticed a difference when we were together yesterday. She said my eyes were clearer and that I looked different. A good different.

Michael and I reviewed the itinerary for the trip later in the afternoon, I filled in more details, phoned my brother but messaged his mom, British Don, our friend Christien and our Ohio friends to confirm if our dates would work with their schedules. So far, so good but I am still waiting to hear from two of them. Once I get a thumbs up from everyone, I will begin to make the 19 nights of hotel reservations.

Rehab class today! Jeannie and I will head over the pass after I grab a few groceries from Safeway in town. It is freezing cold here, a rare event. We are not used to having to wear so many layers of clothing and hearing the heater on throughout the night.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Making Lists

After all my work in the gardens on Saturday, we went for a lovely ride down the coast for breakfast Sunday morning. While waiting for a table, we chatted with three really great kids from Santa Cruz who were also waiting for a table. We talked about the famous pies and that there was no shame in having pie after breakfast! They laughed! The male mentioned he was a twin, Michael shook his hand and said, "Me, too!" Both identical. Both had stories to tell. They were called for their table and we followed just a short time later.

When ordering our breakfast (which we split), Michael told our waitress that he wanted to buy three pieces of pie for their table. She told them after they ate, they were so surprised and we had a nice, quick chat again on our way out the door. Nice kids.

After we got home, our work began. We had paperwork for a very small union retirement benefits for Michael, which just took a few minutes. Then, we plotted out our road trip in May. What a lot of work. After almost three hours, it was not anywhere near finished but we now have the basic plan, some hotels located and realized that we were going to be on the road for three weeks.

We both had the same idea at the same time - due to being together for so many years, I guess - that we invited Michael's sister Anna and her husband Doug to enjoy our house while we are gone during the second week of our trip. They can get away from the heat of the Southern California desert and they can help us by watering the garden upon their arrival and again before they leave. That should hold it for the entire trip.

Anna is the only person I would ever invite to stay in our house without us. She is the most organized and cleanest human on earth and I fully anticipate that when we return, everything will be perfect and even better than when we left.

So, now the work begins. Lists. Lots of lists. Lists to do to prepare for the actual trip, lists to do for the house and garden, lists of things for Anna and Doug like restaurants, where the sprinklers spigots are located, how to turn on the furnace in the morning, etc.

We also realized we need new glasses and I need new contact lenses before the trip. Add that to the list!

It is going to be exhausting, I will need all the stamina I can muster but the moment we pull out of the driveway the first morning of our trip, it will all be worth the it.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Garden Workout

The goal was to work in the gardens for the first time in months. I wanted to move my body, help build my stamina back and to remove the winter messes. Was I going to be able to do all that I wanted to do? I set a simple goal of an hour.

Strapping the oxygen backpack on and listening to sports talk radio, I began by trimming all the vegetation that had been growing along our parking bay and driveway. There are lights in the pavers and the plants had grown over some of the lights. While there, I also cleaned up other vegetation on the other side of the driveway and the rosemary around the mailbox.

By the time I raked up all the big bits, used the blower and sprayed some poison to kill anything growing between the pavers, I had been working for 1.25 hours.

I had to make a decision. How did I feel? Could I continue without overdoing it and pushing myself too hard?

Into the back yard I went.

At the far back corner, I hand trimmed several plants, trimmed more along the back fence, topped the lemon bush then cut a bit and there.

Another hour flew by.

Looking around, I realized that it was enough for one day. Next time in the garden? The back yard weeding then, the focus will move to the side yard between Ron and us. That will take some time!

This morning, I am just a little stiff but I slept like a baby and woke up later than usual.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Making Plans

Rehab was great but I still can't do my entire time on the bike. The rest of the routine is fine. My plan is to be with mom today then hit the little hidden garden tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to do a bit more. We will see.

Building stamina is the ultimate goal.

Sunday, we will be actually plotting our road trip in May. So many people to visit and so many places we want to see one more time. Each trip, we often wonder if it will be my last one before needing lungs or too ill to travel. As we are now older, we are going to remember that we can no longer drive twelve hours a day for a few days to get quicker to the center of the country.

Our goals will be to visit British Don in his new digs in Oklahoma City, the park in Arkansas where one can search for diamonds, the bourbon trail for Michael to get the last stamp on our passports for our t-shirts, our friends in southern Ohio, my uncle and his wife's graves in Chattanooga, Michael's mom and sister in Knoxville, my friend Christien in Raleigh and my brother and his wife in New Mexico. But, we are planning to meet British Don in Charleston then drive together to Savannah before dropping him at an airport as we begin to head west along the southern border to my brother's home in central New Mexico.

It should take around three weeks.

The challenge of the trip is in the preparation: arranging for the mail, bills, watering the garden, cancelling oxygen deliveries, cancelling housekeepers, packing then repacking, ordering medications, making all the hotel reservations and millions of details. Very stressful and each trip I wonder if it is worth it all but then when we pull out of the driveway before dawn, we are free. No worries. No doctors. Nowhere we have to be. The vacation really begins.

We stay primarily at Hampton Inns as they have great locations, good prices, delicious free breakfasts and clean bedspreads when they change the sheets. In our routine, we wipe down everything in the room with Clorox Wipes, especially the TV remote. Light switches to toilet flusher are all cleaned. Just takes a minute or two as we are now pros at wiping down a room.

The excitement begins!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Valentine's Day

It was so sweet to spend some time with Lois yesterday especially when she reminded me that her husband died a year ago. It has been a difficult year for her to begin to adjust her life with the huge hole of this loss. They met in graduate school. She is in her late 60s. They built a life together.

We met at the other rehab way back in 2006 and began a friendship based on music. She sings with a professional chorus and has enjoyed the Mozart Festival in Austria every year for the past twenty years. Last year, she cancelled her year-long reservations as her husband was dying. We met yesterday so she could share all the concerts she attended - three to four per day for ten days - and just catch up with each other's lives. Many times, she would be brought to tears while talking  about either music or issues she was dealing with regarding her husband. So much music they had shared brought back so many memories. I remember that listening to some music after my dad died was impossible for a few years. The memories were too painful. I am so glad that her tears were able to flow freely. She has been seeing a grief counselor who has been encouraging her to work her way through the grief and not suppress it.

Later in the afternoon, Michael and I bought two fresh Dungeness crabs at the harbor for a special Valentine's Day dinner. It was our first of the season. We talked and laughed and enjoyed the evening together.

Grateful for every day together.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love and Concern

Happy Valentine's Day! We usually don't celebrate it with anything very special except for kisses but today, there will be cake! I am meeting Lois at a fantastic Italian bakery this morning where she will share photos and music stuff from the recent Mozart Festival in Salzburg, Austria. While there, I am going to buy Michael his favorite tiramisu for dessert this evening after we go down to the harbor to buy some fresh crab for dinner. It will be the first time we will eat crab this season!

I am worried about Jeannie. She was told by Hospice that they didn't want her on the RediWheel bus anymore and not to go to rehab without me driving. So, while I was ill these past four weeks, she was homebound. She was extremely anxious and really didn't leave her tiny apartment except to buy food. Hospice offered to have a volunteer to chat with her but she really needs a local volunteer to drive her over the pass, wait and hour and drive her home when I am unable to get her to the class.

My biggest concern is that Michael and I are planning a long road trip to visit his mom in Tennessee for almost the entire month of May. We talked about having her contact Hospice to see if they have local volunteers who could drive her to rehab while we are gone then I remembered that Catholic churches also offer volunteer drivers in this area. She was going to make the calls.

She looked horrible. She was wheezing so loudly that I could hear it. She was really struggling throughout the class.

I felt the workout but was able to do my entire routine except for the bike. It's always the bike that totally causes shortness of breath. No stiffness this morning and I am looking forward to seeing what I can do tomorrow.

Last night's Irish Fiddling rehearsal was great and we learned two new songs in preparation for three St. Patrick's Day gigs. But, it had been a long day and rehab wore me out! I was done after an hour, Michael dragged my bass home and I was snoring within minutes. Great night's sleep!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sleep, Finally

Back to rehab today! I am so ready to move my body again.

While hanging by the mailboxes with Ron yesterday, the singer from the Irish Fiddling group drove by to drop Leslie off at her house. Dave hopped out of his car and walked over to us! It was amazing. Surgery is planned in March and it will be a long recovery. Turns out he did some ligament damage and maybe other issues but he will not need a full replacement, thank goodness. He is actually going to drive himself to the rehearsal tonight at Leslie's house.

Yesterday, I solved mom's WiFi issue so her Jitterbug phone will no longer eat her limited data plan. We had her glasses tightened at Costco, bought new electric toothbrushes and two pounds of Peet's coffee before we had a light lunch. It was a really nice day of getting caught up from the weekend. Her drumming class is wrapping up and she is really going to miss it. They will continue to meet for a couple of weeks so they can make their own drums and the group is making plans to continue to meet on their own. Drumming. My mom. Amazing.

She was also involved in some kind of domino game that is very involved and is the big hit where she lives. They play for hours every Sunday. She used to hate the weekends as they seemed to go on endlessly. Now, they fly by. She had so much to share.

After our fun day together, I cooked for a few hours. For breakfasts or lunches, I made a ground chicken crusted pizza that is delicious then the Eggplant Casserole for dinner. After I had everything made, dinner served, the kitchen cleaned up, Michael mentioned that he was going to need some protein for breakfast so....back to the kitchen to bake some cherrywood smoked bacon for this morning. The house smelled divine!

I made Michael promise to not let me fall asleep before bedtime as I have been having sleep issues. Thinking I wore myself out, I hoped to have a good night's sleep. It worked. I slept eight hours before awakening then drifted back to sleep for another hour. I am ready for rehab and the rehearsal today!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Ready for the Week

A quick blog this morning. Mom is expecting me to arrive early for a phone conversation with Comcast regarding her WiFi password. Long story. Then, off to Costco and lunch. Michael and I did the grocery shopping yesterday so I will return home from mom's this afternoon to do a bit of cooking! First up is an Eggplant Casserole dinner (kind of like lasagna without noodles) then a Ground Chicken Crust pizza for my lunches for the week. That will keep me busy!

I love to start the week with my medication holder filled for the upcoming week, the laundry done, the groceries for the week in the house, cleaned bedsheets and gas in the cars. Almost made it this Monday except for the gas.

The big news is that I am returning to my life this week. Tomorrow will be a big day as I will be returning to the rehab class after a month. In the evening, the Irish Fiddling group will see me at their rehearsal for the first time in a month, too. Going to be one heck of a day.

On March 1st, I am meeting with the head of the Lung Transplant Clinic to discuss options involving my failed Nissen fundoplication. I need to make some decisions on next steps.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Missed

Michael and I both had a Saturday where nothing went right. It all turned out with no damage or injury but still. He had to change the coil packs and spark plugs in his car. No problem. He bought everything, let the car cool down then installed all the new parts before jumping in to do the test drive. It was sputtering. Nuts. He cooled it down and tired again. Nope. Sputtering.

He paced and thought. He decided to cool the engine down again, take everything out and try again. After it was cooled, he noticed that about three of the do-hickies were not pressed in all the way. Started it up and bingo. He headed home.

I love when he does this sort of things and saves us hundreds of dollars.

Me? I was going to meet Dave and his wife at a place on our Main Street around noon. They texted that they would be there and invited anyone to join them. I wanted to see his poor knee that he destroyed while rescuing a student. He just learned that he needed an entire knee replacement. Yikes! So, I ran into town to buy a few needed things at Safeway, fought tourist traffic back home then drove into town to meet them about 11:45.

Noon.

I was alone listening to a guy with a guitar singing one of his songs about a hot tube in his garage. It was brutal. The clouds rolled in and it suddenly was very cool and I was cold, even sitting in the sun. I was also really hungry but the line for sandwiches was out the door. Dave kept sending updates and noted that they had another errand to run before driving over the pass.

Probably another hour or more of waiting, I was freezing and the guy was now singing about paint drying. I got up, walked half a block and had the most delicious lamb shawarma while watching the tourists walk by my window.  

Another update from Dave. They were going to buy his wife a new dress as she has been so wonderful after his accident. I figured maybe another hour for that to happen. So, after lunch I headed home in brutal tourist traffic.

Thirty minutes later, they had arrived. I didn't go back to town.

Such a weird day. I did get some bills paid and made a fantastic dinner of fresh salmon, tiny green beans and a rare baked potato for Michael.

All is well. We are heading into the world today, will enjoy a quick lunch somewhere then do the grocery shopping for the week. Together.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Forced Changes

My eyes were fine. I was worried that the pressures might be high due to the use of my inhalers at six times the normal rate due to the pneumonia. Nope. Seventeen for both eyes.

Two weeks ago, my oxygen delivery person noticed a fallen portable basketball hoop was on Leslie's lawn and asked about it. He said that he would love it if they were getting rid of it. I spoke with Leslie, she spoke to our new neighbors who didn't want it sooooo, she gave it to Art. The problem was I could not reach him until the delivery yesterday so I left a note on the tank. Michael and I happened to be home when he arrived to fill my tank, we gave him the good news, he and Michael took it apart and loaded it into his truck then, there were smiles all around.

Leslie flew out to Nashville yesterday morning so I took a photo of her front yard without the basketball apparatus on her lawn and sent it to her. She said it took her a few minutes to realize it was gone. So very happy.

I heard from Dave yesterday. He was out in the world on crutches and joining his wife, who was substituting for him with a student. They were all meeting at Safeway to teach the student how to use the electric shopping carts. He and I had an interesting conversation about how his injury will change him. The forced timeout of life allows for lots of contemplation and things become clearer. After I was told I didn't have long to live in 2005, it took awhile to get it settled in my body then I removed a lot from our lives. Anything negative went. I explained to Dave that to live being grateful for everyday is a lovely way to live. The appreciation of being mobile and able to physically do activities of daily living is huge and will never be taken for granted again. He said his injury is already changing him.

Today is toenail day with mom. It is a much needed appointment as the weather is in the 70s here and I want to wear sandals! We will have a bit of lunch afterwards and I will insure that we will never stop talking the entire day.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Box Delivered

Michael delivered the Man Box to Dave just before lunch yesterday. He was so touched to received all the goodies but our card brought him to tears. Michael described his injury to me and it doesn't sound good. The swelling was so severe from below to above the knee that they have to wait for the swelling to go down before they can take an MRI for a proper diagnosis. He said it was about twice the size as the other leg.

One nasty injury. He was bored and in pain and was beginning to realize that this is going to be a long process. Probably surgery will be involved followed by lots of rehab.

Our Irish Fiddling group is booked for three gigs around St. Patrick's Day. We need Dave. We need rehearsals and lots of tweaking. He said that with help setting up, he will be playing. The rehearsal was at his house last night and I will probably join them next week.

What a guy.

Yesterday was the most active I have been since mid-January. After meeting with the alarm company tech, I ran errands then washed the windows! It was warm and simple with my Windex pad on a stick. While the hose was out, I watered some plants before finally poisoning the weeds that have taken over our driveway and side yard while I have been housebound.

No need for a nap again but I was tired and fought to stay awake until bedtime. After ten hours of sleep, I feel great this morning. The housekeepers are due and I have an appointment with my glaucoma doctor this morning while they are cleaning. My eye pressure is probably not going to be good as I have used my inhaler so much when I had pneumonia. It drives the pressure up. It should be interesting.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

No More Brain Fog

It took a total of three hours from beginning to end. Three different stores. Groceries are now in the house for a week! Simple foods of roasted turkey breast, salmon and a gyro burger over a Greek Salad. My stomach is still not totally happy but it is doing better. I am no longer nauseous but I did have some surgery site stomach pain yesterday morning. So, I will be sending an email to the surgeon today regarding the vomiting (not supposed to do that with a Nissen fundoplication) and the recent food and pain issues.

Also yesterday, I contacted rehab to request they send the "okay to return to rehab" form to my primary doctor then I emailed her that it was coming. Done. Another sign that I am recovering is that I did not even have a nap yesterday AND I made it to bedtime without nodding off.

While shopping, I put together a package for the injured Irish Fiddling singer/guitarist Dave, which includes four tiny bottles of Irish Whiskey, two cans of his favorite local beer, Molinari salami, crackers, Moscow Mule flavored potato chips (!), truffle cheese, goat cheese covered in tiny blueberries, caramels covered with dark chocolate, small orchid, peanut butter stuffed pretzels and I think that is it. Michael is going to drop it by his house around noon in the "Man Box" that Shelley and Russ made for Michael one Christmas. It is a nice box with "Man Box" in bold print. Michael is going to tell Dave to pass it along to someone else who is deserving.

This morning, the alarm guy is due right at 8AM for probably less than an hour. After he leaves, I am going to wash all the windows and begin the dreaded chore of setting up the files for the year. That should take several hours.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Consider Pulmonary Rehab

It's amazing how much better I feel just a week after seeing my primary doctor. To return to rehab class next week, I will need her approval so I will jump through those hoops today. First, contact rehab to have them send a form to her just to sign and return. Second, email the doctor to let her know it is coming to her FAX machine. Hopefully, it will all just happen as planned.

Dave, the singer/guitarist of our Irish Fiddling group, was working couple of days ago and needed to jump to the rescue of a young girl before she fell off a 15' cliff. In the process, he really messed up his right leg. His driving leg. The pain was so severe that the EMTs had to wait for the morphine to kick in before they could move him. They and the police kept referring to him as a hero.

I adore him. He and Michael went to the same schools in Southern California, decades apart, and they really have a bond.

He is stuck at home, they are waiting for the swelling to go down before an MRI but believe he really tore up the ligaments. So, while I am food shopping today, I am going to put together a "First Aid" basket to include goodies like his favorite beer, small bottles of Irish Whiskey, Molinari salami, crackers, nuts, chocolates and other goodies. Things to munch on while he is home alone all day. Michael will drop it off at his house over the pass tomorrow morning.

It was funny when Dave commented that our group needed an RN on staff for the one violinist going through chemo, me going through pneumonia and now him! Half the group is struggling medically.

Yesterday, I was texting Michael's youngest cousin to let her know there was a problem with her mom's Facebook account. She shared that her mom had just been diagnosed with COPD and was now on supplemental oxygen. I wrote back and pleaded with her to have her mom talk with her doctor about pulmonary rehab and encourage her to join ASAP.

If I can share one thing to anyone who has a lung disease is that pulmonary rehab will improve your quality of life and probably extend it. It begins with two days a week classes. I added three more days at another hospital for years then tweaked it to include one day for yoga. I also have worked in my massive gardens 2-5 hours every Saturday well before I was ill and have continued until just recently. Different muscles then what I was working on in the gym. I am still here since being told I didn't have long to live in 2005. I credit Dr. K., good medication and pulmonary rehab.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Recovering From the Weekend

I think I did just a bit too much last weekend. I am feeling it today!

We met with the alarm rep early Saturday morning after being with mom at her eye doctor on Friday. I crawled into bed but knew I had to be ready for the alarm appointment. He discovered that the alarm kept going off due to a problem with one of the pads. He disconnected it, ordered a new one and made another appointment to install it on Wednesday morning. After a Safeway run, I tried to sleep before a shower and the 21st birthday party of Jim and Kathy's granddaughter.

So, it was at the Ritz. I had been told to dress in a casual manner and that a local Mexican restaurant was catering it. Seemed odd. This was the Ritz, after all. Never questioned it. Saturday was so beautiful here that the traffic trying to get back over the pass was backed up for miles. We were going against the grain, thankfully, so we were fine.

On the road to the Ritz, Michael realized that the father of the birthday girl was behind us. He pulled over to let him pass and we pulled in behind him. At the little check-in house, the attendant told us to proceed to the front door of the Ritz for valet parking. I noticed that the father of the birthday girl was heading down the hill toward the pro shop. "Follow Tommy," I said. Nope, he did what he had been told to do and drove to the valet parking.

We walked to the ballroom at the Ritz and there was a meeting of doctors from Stanford. Nope. Wrong. I motioned to Michael to follow me. We walked downhill to the pro shop where they were setting up for the party. I asked where everyone was? Oops, no party for another half hour. Then, we realized it was not our party! She suggested it might be at the pool facility, another long walk across a bridge and a field.

Just then, we heard bagpipes and looked up to see a lot of people gathered around the cliffs watching the sunset while the bagpipes played on. We kept walking. I was now hot and short of breath. We walked past people sitting outside, we walked off the trail and down a hill, we walked along the side of the pool and the back side of the building before we stumbled upon the party.

We found it! Finally! It was in a very casual setting and I was so glad that I did not dress up! We were able to talk with people we had not seen in a while and I met a wonderful woman. We had a great chat, which made the evening very fun.

She and her boyfriend (who we knew) drove us back to our car and we paid the valet to retrieve it. An adventure, for sure.

Sunday morning, we decided to drive the ridge road to Los Gatos then Highway 17 to Santa Cruz then north to home. We love the ridge road with its ability to see both the ocean and the Bay Area cities at the same time. No traffic. Beautiful drive. The southern part of the ridge road had been closed for several months as it had fallen in. It just opened and we wanted to see it. What a ride. At one point, we were on a tiny road with tons of switchbacks and my stomach was beginning to protest. We made a few wrong turns, finally were able to figure it out but, man, it was rough. We will never do that again. There was so much damage along the way. Many trees down. Lots of slides and problems with the sides to the road.

We limped into Los Gatos, found a small coffee shop near the high school and split a turkey sandwich. Michael needed food for his blood sugar. Over the mountain to Santa Cruz, it was cool and overcast but the sun warmed us up as we drove north. I must admit to falling asleep during the drive. I was so relaxed and comfortable.

After four hours, we were home. It was fun, very little traffic as everyone was in Super Bowl mode. We watched the game, enjoyed our chili and I was asleep right on time. A nice, busy weekend but maybe a bit too much as I continue to recover. I will be cooling my jets for the rest of the week!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Busy Weekend

The liver appointment went well. The doctor arrived and asked how I was feeling. I told him about the ER visit with the flu/pneumonia and he took a deep sigh of relief. He had glanced at my file before entering the room and saw I had liver function blood tests on 1/17 and they were horrible. Being so ill explained the numbers as he told me that an infection affects liver function. Who knew?

Just to be safe, I am going to retake those blood tests in a few weeks and he fully expects them to be returned to their benign levels. All these problems with my liver have been caused by my use of imuran since 2006. A long time.

Mom has her shot in her eye to fight her macular degeneration today. I am going to drive her to the appointment and we will probably have a quick lunch afterwards. I am dragging bit from yesterday and I will need plenty of energy on Saturday.

Suddenly, my dance card is full: Mom today, the alarm company rep is coming at 8AM tomorrow morning then we have a 21st birthday party for Jim and Kathy's granddaughter in the evening followed by the Super Bowl on Sunday. So much!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Liver Appointment

I am driving to my liver clinic appointment alone today. It is a long drive and I really don't have my stamina back. Yesterday, I did go out into the sunshine and watered my garden and pots. It also gave me an opportunity to see how much work needs to be done and I developed a plan instead of feeling overwhelmed. I will focus on one small section of each garden area and attack it everyday. Before long, it will all be back under control. Maybe it will also help bring my stamina back.

My liver appointment is to review my blood tests and an annual check in. My fatty live was due to medication and I have a small amount of hardening in the liver, not enough to cause lung transplant problems. I am so grateful that I have never enjoyed alcohol and was never one to have a glass of wine with dinner. I am sure my liver would be at serious levels if that had been my routine though the years.

I plan to give myself more time to drive in, try not to stress out over traffic and arrive to the appointment early.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Worried about Mom

About 7:00PM, my cell phone gave a quick one ring then showed it was from mom. I tried calling right back and learned it had come from her Jitterbug cell phone. My call went right to voicemail. I tried her house phone and it also went right to voicemail. Hmmm. Maybe my sister was calling the house phone and they were talking.

I called each phone on and off for an hour.

There is a Fire Dispatch web site on my computer where I can see problems in the county but it also allows me to see if the fire department has been called to my mom's complex. I checked and they were there.

I began to really worry.

Around 8:00PM, Michael said to throw on some clothes and let's go over the pass to her place. Off we went. I so hoped she was fine, maybe the phone was off the hook or some other problem. We arrived, almost ran up the stairs and my heart felt better when I saw that her bathroom light was on. Michael was ahead of me, knocked loudly on the door, opened it with my key and said, "It's empty!"

My heart just stopped.

I ran in, the front room/kitchen was dark then I tried her closed bedroom door, which was locked. I knocked while loudly saying, "Mom! Hi mom! It's us" I heard movement, the door opened and I was never so happy to see her. She was ready for bed and we caught her brushing her teeth. We hugged each other so hard.

Michael headed to her refrigerator for some special chocolate milk and her stash of goodies while we talked. Apparently, her cable went out as her TV and phones were not working. She had called Comcast on her Jitterbug and they were going to call her in the morning.

I was looking around and it just didn't make sense. Yes, the TVs and phones were down but some lights and clocks in both rooms were also not working. It clearly wasn't a cable issue but an electricity issue. With a cookie in his hand, Michael asked if she had a fuse box. Yes! He opened it and found that a switched had popped. He switched it on and we watched her Comcast modem begin to light and suddenly, the phones and the TVs worked. She was thrilled. She had TV! She had her computer! She had lights!

We stayed a bit longer, chatted a bit then I promised to see her on Friday for her shot in her eye.

It turned out fine in the end but boy, it was a wild ride!