Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.

Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.
Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Time "Marches" On - Tues., March 1, 2016

I am determined to bring my blog up to date. We now travel back in time to March 1. Susan and I met at Crownridge Canyon Natural Area for a 10k Volksmarch up around the canyon then into a new neighborhood next to the natural area. The walk was quite hilly.

The Crownridge Canyon Volksmarch route was changed a little this year. We used to do more of the walk on a busy street, but now it goes from the natural area over one block, then we climb the hill up into the new neighborhood.

In March, the bluebonnets were just starting to bloom
Redbud tree in full bloom
Once we left the natural area, we headed up into The Heights of Crownridge. We really wanted to tour an Open House or the sales home; however, it was not open on a Tuesday afternoon. We satisfied our curiosity by looking in the windows. Nice digs.

All new construction
Looks ready to move in
This one is occupied.
Buttercup (Rananculus macranthus)
With that, we each headed home. Another beautiful walking day.

Korea Connection - Sat., Aug. 27, 2016

None of us truly knows where life is going to take us. Sure we might have grand plans with places to go and things to do. And there's the ever-present pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps advice: "plan your life and work your plan " (or something to that effect) or "if you don't design your own life plan, you'll fall into someone else's plan." I'm sure you've heard these or similar quotes.

I think I live more by the chaos theory: live life as an adventure and see where it takes you. We had a dose of that this past weekend.

Bob and I were looking at photos of our good friends Kevin and Stefania. The last we knew they were living in Korea. But on Facebook we were seeing photos of them on the River Walk in San Antonio. We were scratching our heads wondering if the photos were memories like Facebook likes to post of your past. But they kept posting photos that showed as six hours ago or two hours ago.

We contacted Kevin and Stefania on Facebook. Lo and behold, they were in San Antonio. We were all free on Saturday night, so we picked them up at Airmen's Base entrance of  Lackland's training center and took them out to Random Beer Garden. There we could eat, have a couple of beers and catch up with where we had all been.

Kevin and Stefania were introduced to us through mutual friends about 20 years ago in Oregon. They lived in Corvallis and we lived near Wilsonville, Oregon. Our home on the Willamette River was perfect for afternoons of waterskiing, barbecuing, and enjoying the company of our friends. We usually had big potluck dinners on our deck.

We moved away to Tacoma, Washington, and they visited us there before we moved to Hawaii. Kevin went to school to learn Library Science and then went to work as an air force civilian. We kept track of them as they moved to Colorado, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and then Korea. So we were very surprised to see them in San Antonio.

Kevin's training class at Lackland Air Force Base was the main reason they were here. It was their first time to San Antonio. Since they had already been in town for four days, they had done the River Walk and the Alamo.

It was a beautiful evening so we took them to Random Beer Garden out by Boerne City Lake. There are food trucks and music, not to mention lots of beers on tap. The music wasn't loud so we were able to carry on a conversation. We had such a great visit. It was like we had never been apart for over ten years. There's a lot to be said for good friends!

80 beers on tap
We ate pizza from Z's Pizza
Look at that wall of taps!
Stefania and Kevin
Stefania, Bob, me
Stefania, Kevin and me
Kevin, Stefania, Bob, me
Talk flowed freely and we learned what it's like to live in Seoul, Korea (crowded, advertising on every inch of buildings, buildings on every square foot of land, hard to learn the language, people are very nice). Then we talked about where we all had lived since we last met. Kevin and Stefania invited us to visit them in Korea. Well, howdy, that wasn't on our bucket list! Kevin has a two-year contract for his library job in Korea. 

Unfortunately, we had to break up our reminiscing. Kevin and Stefania had to leave for the airport at 3:45 a.m. and I had to be at work Sunday morning. We took them back to the Airmen's Gate and said our good-byes while they waited for a shuttle from their hotel to pick them up at the gate.

It was a wonderful evening! Hugs to you, Kevin and Stefania. We're happy you made it home safely.

Just Before Dawn - Mon., Aug. 29, 2016

Bob is back to his normally scheduled marathon training and he feels great. I'm so happy for him.

His accounting job is going very well and the company is growing. He is finally settling in after 1-1/2 years. In addition, he does part-time consulting for three other companies.

In other news, we have been working to get completely out of debt. In July, we sold our rental home in Fife, Washington. Now we are just about to close on the duplex we have owned in Oregon for 25 years. It will be such a relief to be rid of those high-maintenance properties. Well it's not really the properties that are high maintenance, it's the renters. Our stress level will go way down not having to deal with that anymore!

I just finished working four 10-hour days (worked Sunday to cover for a co-worker). Susan and I hadn't walked for 12 days and this morning we had a window of opportunity with 0% chance of rain before 9 a.m.

At 6:30 a.m. we met at McDonalds and signed in for our walk, then drove about 1/2 mile to the start point on the Leon Creek Greenway Trail. This is the trail we tried to walk ten days ago that was underwater in three different directions.

We started walking before dawn and could barely see. A small animal crossed our path and we weren't sure what it was. Susan was getting pretty close when I said, "That's a skunk!" She slowed down immediately. We must have been about 20' away from that skunk! I thought of taking a photo of it but it would have required flash and I didn't feel like startling a skunk! P.U. that would have made an really bad start to the day.

No water across the trail today. We made good time on our 6.2 miles. Other animals we spotted were bunnies and deer. We saw three rabbits and numerous deer. I didn't have my camera out, so no wildlife photos.

Because of all the rain we've had lately, the grasses and trees are very pretty. More wildflowers are blooming as well.

Leon Creek Greenway bike path
Pretty sky early this morning
Sensitive briar or Cat's claw (Schrania uncinata)
Snow-on-the-Mountain (Euphorbia marginata)_
Poisonbean, rattlebox, rattlebush
(Sesbania drummondii)
Poisonbean, rattlebox, rattlebush
(Sesbania drummondii)
When we finished walking Susan headed home to get ready for her dental appointment and I went shopping at H-E-B, THE Texas grocery chain. The H-E-B I visited today was an old store that was re-done. They built a parking garage underneath and the store above it. They have shopping cart escalators or you can take an elevator up and down.

The design of the build is very retro. I like it.

H-E-B grocery on Nogalitos in San Antonio, TX
H-E-B are the initials of the founder, but their advertising claims Here Everything's Better (HEB).

The deli was calling my name and I bought thick-sliced turkey breast, then bought pepper jack and medium Cheddar cheeses, along with avocado. A couple of days ago we ate dinner and shopped at H-E-B Central Market. We bought excellent three-seed bread which was begging me to make a good sandwich on it. Of course, you should never shop when you're hungry, but I did anyway.

I had breakfast at 5:30 a.m. and had just finished a quick 6.2 mile walk so I was hungry. As soon as I got home at 9:30 a.m., I made a wonderful turkey breast sandwich with avocado and pepper jack cheese. Mmmmmmm.

Then it rained. We only had a 15-20% chance of rain, but we got some which to me is 100% chance of rain! The ground got wet, but we don't have to wade out of our 5th wheel. Yay!

It's 3 p.m. now and the sun just came out. I walked up to the RV park office earlier to buy supplies and it was insanely humid out. Very hot and miserable. I'm happy to be back in air-conditioned comfort!

Here's what it looks like when I sit at my computer...this is normal whenever I sit here at the table.
Bowie is plastered against my hip
dreaming of the birds outside the window.
Sunnie is plastered against the back of my computer screen.
I think I'll spend time catching up on some blogs from earlier in the year.

Travel Bug out.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Nature of Things - Thurs., Aug. 25, 2016

Trees are being trimmed and taken down all around the RV park because they are diseased, rotted or have been struck by lightning. A small palm tree was taken out right next to our 5th wheel. That palm was the shade for our shower skylight. Now if we take a shower mid-morning, the sun beats in on us. Unfortunately, a large pecan tree in another section of the park had to be removed because it had been struck by lightning a few months ago.

In the past two weeks, nature had more rain in store for us as well. Nature provides the best watering system for the park which is now very green. The grass is luxuriant and our temperatures cooled from the low 100s to the low 80s earlier in the week. For August, those lows are a wonderful relief. Now the temps have crept back up to the 90s.

Since I haven't written for over a week, I've got some catching up to do!

First, happy birthday to my son, Michael Gmirkin, who turned 37 this week. He lives in the Portland, Oregon area and took a couple of days off from work to celebrate. In early August, he and some friends went to Las Vegas for the Star Trek Convention. They had a blast and all dressed in costumes. The convention consisted of workshops, entertainment, karaoke, guest speakers, a showing of the new "Star Trek Beyond" movie, banquet and lots more.

In other news, Bob is doing great. He had an appointment with his cardiologist this week who proclaimed him free from atrial fibrillation following his latest catheter ablation procedure. Plus Bob has had the tube removed from his neck and his neck incision is healing well. Bob has been cleared by his docs to start marathon training. Bob began his Honolulu Marathon training this past week and reports he is keeping up with his training group.

On Wednesday, August 17, Susan M. and I planned a 10k walk along Leon Creek. We signed in, got our walk instructions and proceeded to the trailhead. We walked 1/3 mile and encountered deep water over the trail. Well, we reasoned, the trail goes the opposite direction from the trialhead as well. We'll walk that direction. That didn't work so well, either. We came to a second portion of the trail that was flooded.

2nd flooded crossing
Yet again, we tried one more off-shoot trail only to find even more water in that direction. The current was flowing pretty strong in the area below. It's nice there was a bridge across the creek, but we couldn't get to it!

The third crossing we tried was the most flooded!

Sign says, "Do not cross when under water."
A City of San Antonio Parks & Rec Trail Steward was on the trail taking photos to do an assessment of how to improve the flow of water to keep it off the trails. He said a number of other trail stewards were all around San Antonio doing similar photos and studies. 

 We ended up walking only 4k. It was better than not walking at all.

Thursday through Saturday, I worked. Sunday, Susan, Bob and I wanted to walk but rain was again in the forecast. Instead, we met Susan at Wonderland Mall where she was enjoying a gyro lunch when we arrived. After she ate, we went to the Santikos Bijou theater to see "Anthropoid." The movie is a true story about a 1941 British top-secret mission, called Anthropoid, using Czech paratroopers to land in Czechoslovakia. They are to assassinate Hitler's third in command. With Czechoslovakia under lock down, the lads on the mission must plan the assassination by studying the best place and time to make it happen. I can sum up this movie in two words: disturbing and overkill (overkill both literally and figuratively). Unless you don't mind seeing graphic violence and gross mistreatment of citizens by the Nazis, stay away from this movie. All three of us left the theater deeply disturbed by what we had seen.

When I see a movie like this, it makes me wonder...we are quick to judge how long it took to stop the Nazis from the path of genocide they were on. How are people looking back at our current times going to judge the civilized nations of the world for not stopping the genocide, terrorism and brutality brought about by ISIS? Millions have been killed and people in parts of the world cannot live lives free of terror and fear. I think we, too, will be judged harshly.

After the movie, Bob and I went to brunch at an Indian restaurant behind the Wonderland Mall. The buffet was very good and we will go back.

Monday, Susan and I again planned to walk. We agreed we'd check the weather in the morning and make our decision. At 6:00 a.m. the forecast was for 50-55% chance of thunderstorms. I texted Susan and told her we had thunder and lightning at our place and I was going back to bed. We did not walk Monday either. It rained quite a bit so I was glad I opted for more sleep. Monday afternoon, I vacuumed and did eight loads of laundry.

After all the chores, I watched my Netflix selection which was "Belle," a movie based on a true story about an illegitimate mulatto who was the "daughter" of a British Admiral and a slave. Bob and I loved the movie. It blends history and a wonderful love story along with the societal norms of the 18th century. Her interactions with her "uncle," the Lord Chief Justice, help to abolish the slave trade based on the true trial of the the slave-ship Zong.

Both Susan and I had other plans Tuesday and Wednesday so no walking those days either.

Tuesday, I was able to go for 60-minute massage in the morning. I re-vacuumed Tuesday afternoon, then scrubbed the floors.

Wednesday, I had my mammogram (ouch) and I should see the results of that by next week. I have no family history of breast cancer, so hopefully it will be normal.

After the mammogram I met Bob for lunch at Olive Garden. We each had one of their Tuscan Duo lunch specials for $6.99/$7.99. I had the spaghetti bowl and unlimited salad. Bob had Grilled Chicken Piadina which is basically a chicken quesadilla with veggies in it. My spaghetti was served in a cereal bowl or small soup bowl, so it was a nice serving and I did not over-eat. Bob's serving was four slices and was just right for a light lunch.

When lunch was over, Bob went back to work. It was still 45 minutes until my hair appointment, so I shopped at Burlington Coat Factory where I found two cute tops and some skinny jeans, all for $42. My hair appointment was for cut and color. I'm still not sure if I like my inverted bob or not. I may go back to short hair. First I'm growing it out to where I think I'll like it and see at that time.

From the hairdresser, I headed to Costco to get my tires rotated. I found that 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday is a great time to get tire work done at Costco. I got the car in almost immediately. They estimated 1-1/2 hours, but the work was done in one hour!

I went home from Costco, changed clothes, and Bob and I headed out to Wolff Municipal Stadium to see the AA San Antonio Missions play the Frisco Rough Riders. The Missions were up 3 to 1 when we left in the 7th inning. The Missions ended up winning 4 to 3.

I have to go back to work to get some rest! Today, Thursday, was a very quiet day. August is our slowest month of the year. I keep expecting a flurry of phone calls to make reservations for Labor Day Weekend. Pretty soon travelers will realize Labor Day is only one week away!

Oh, today the Volksmarchers celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service with a 10k Volksmarch from Mission San Jose to Mission San Juan. At the end of the walk, the Volksmarch volunteers provided a Happy Birthday cake to walkers. They also took cake in to the park rangers in the visitor center at Mission San Jose. My friend, Susan, told me the rangers were really impressed. Since Mission San Jose is only 3/4 mile from Travelers World, Susan stopped by and gave me a piece of cake as well. She is so sweet. Thank you, Susan!

That's my summation of the nature of things for the past nine days. Thanks for stopping by. All comments are very much appreciated.

Here's a photo of the fur-kids.

Sunnie and Bowie

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Little of This and A Little of That - Tues., Aug. 16, 2016

On the Friday after his Wednesday surgery, Bob went to work because he had so much to do. He "could give me 50 reasons" he had to be there. At work, tiredness set in for him about 3:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday were regular work days for me. Well, Saturday wasn't exactly regular. We had thunderstorms and lots of rain. The power went out (no computers, lights, copiers, phones, etc.) for about 50 minutes. This was a big power outage affecting about 1,500 customers.

It could have been worse...about a week ago when Delia was working, she and Brenda were without power in the office all day. At that time there was power in the rest of the park, so they were able to run power cords to the ice machine and the ice cream freezer!

Bob worked all day Saturday too. He was still tired, but did better than Friday. He was still having headaches.

Sunday, we were going to do a walk early in the morning with Susan M.; however, rain was in the forecast so we skipped walking. For lunch, Susan, Bob and I went to Dave and Busters. Bob had a dish called the "Lawnmower" which consisted of a huge platter filled with fresh veggies of all kinds, avocado, bacon, and blue cheese. I had shrimp skewers with seasoned rice and broccoli, and Susan had hamburger sliders and fries.

After lunch, we went to see "Captain Fantastic" with Viggo Mortensen as a dad who chose to raise his five children in the woods. We learn how they hunt, learn, and have fun. We also learn about their absent mother who "is in the hospital." You can tell they love each other very much, but they are lacking in the social skills that come from being around other people. The movie is irreverant, funny, touching, and unusual. All of us liked it, but not everyone will.

After the movie, we walked Susan around the model railroad exhibit. She loved it.

Susan headed home. Bob and I walked the mall because Bob felt a need for some exercise after all his time in the hospital. The rest of Sunday we relaxed.

Monday Susan and I were supposed to walk early. Sunday night we checked the weather and saw an 80% chance of rain, so we decided not to walk. But we decided to see "Jason Bourne." She hadn't seen it and I wanted to see it again. Normally we would have lunch, but I was on a liquid diet for the rest of the day (more on that later).

Tomorrow is my colonoscopy, so breakfast today was limited to oatmeal or other whole grain cereal. As I stated above, the rest of Monday (until midnight) was clear liquids only. Nothing at all after midnight, including water.

At 10:30 a.m. Monday I had my chiropractor appointment and the meditation class they offer. I have officially lost 25 lb. My pant size has gone from size 16 to size 8. My goal is size 6, so that's another 10-15 lb. I feel great.

Susan and I met at the theater at 12:40 p.m. "Jason Bourne" was just as good the second time, although I did nap a little through this one. The rest of the afternoon was spent quietly at home.

My big test for the day was the prep for colonoscopy. I had to drink one gallon of water starting between 4-6 p.m.: eight ounces every ten minutes. The rest of the evening was spent in the bathroom. Aaack! That was the absolute worst part of the whole colonoscopy experience: the prep.

Today, Bob dropped me off at the gastroenterologist's office at 8:00 a.m. He went to work 1/2 hour away. We both thought I'd be there until at least 11:30 a.m.

At 8:30, I was taken back to the pre-surgical area. OMG, what a zoo. It was like a super-highway of people on beds being taken for endoscopy or colonoscopy. I've never seen anything like it.

By 8:45, I had all my paperwork done, was gowned, on the gurney and joined the superhighway to operating rooms. They put in an IV. The anesthesiologist, nurses and doctor talked to me. The anesthesiologist asked me if I was getting sleepy yet. I said, "No. Is the back of my throat supposed to be burning?" She said, "No." That's all I remember until they woke me up.

At 9:35 or so Bob walked in the door to pick me up. Wow, that was really fast. Speaking of fast, I had been fasting since Monday morning and was starving. They gave me a cup of apple juice in recovery, but said I could resume a full diet. Score! I asked Bob if he would take me to breakfast at Guenther House or IHOP. He wanted IHOP so off we went. After a satisfying breakfast, Bob dropped me off at the 5th wheel and he headed back to work. I went to bed and cat-napped with the cats for another two hours.

Meanwhile, Bob went to work until 1:00 p.m. He had an appointment at 1:30 p.m. to get his drainage tube removed. His experience wasn't as quick as mine. He waited two hours before the doctor removed his tube (which took about five minutes). Then he went back to work. He'll be working late tonight because his boss asked him to do a special project due by tomorrow morning.

The doctor told Bob he's cleared to walk until Saturday. On Saturday, he can start his marathon training as long as he isn't too tired. That was music to his ears. He gets stir-crazy, cabin fever if he has to sit still too long!

It seems we can now get back to our regularly scheduled lives. Medical stuff can go away for at least a year. (Well, not quite. I have a couple more appointments scheduled in the next two weeks - mammogram and a visit with an orthopedic doctor to look at my cramping hand.)

Texas has been having rain and our temperatures have dropped from 101 to 78, but still with high humidity. I'd rather have high humidity at 78 degrees rather at 100 degrees! Rain is predicted through the weekend. We'll see how that affects our weekend walk and run.

So, a little of this and a little of that. Travel Bug out.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Death to Cancer - Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016

What a hectic couple of days...

Wednesday: Susan M. and I did a 10k Volksmarch from Mission San Jose to Mission San Juan. I was up at 5:00 a.m. so I could meet her at 6:30 a.m. BTSCU (before the sun comes up). It is so friggin' hot and humid in South Texas right now that we have to start very early to finish shortly after the sun comes up (8:20 a.m.) Still, we were both soaked with sweat. We decided to go to "Star Trek Beyond" at 2:00 p.m. because Bob's surgery was scheduled for 2 and they had to prep him and administer anesthesia before surgery. That gave us time to shower and have lunch (or so we thought).

At 10:30 a.m. I took Bob to the hospital where he checked in at 11:00 a.m. and did the requisite paperwork. About 11:30 they called him back to the preoperative area. I had eaten breakfast at 5:30 a.m. and was getting hungry. I decided not to eat because I wanted to be in the waiting area when they called me back to the pre-op area and Susan and I wanted to go out to lunch before the movie.

Around 12:15, they finally called me back to be with Bob. By that time, I had read almost a whole issue of Texas Highways from 2015. We thought sure a nurse or someone would come in and tell us when Bob would go to surgery. 12:40 came and went, then 1:00 p.m., still no one. I was bored because I forgot to bring something to read. Bob was happily engrossed in his new John Grisham novel.

Susan M. was texting me asking when I could meet her for lunch. When I told her I didn't know, she said she was going to drive to the theater which was 1/2 hour from her home and to let her know if we would meet for lunch or meet at the theater at 2:00 p.m.

1:45 rolled around and still no word on surgery; I went to the nurses station to ask when he would be taken to surgery. They let us know pretty quickly that Bob's surgery had been delayed to 3:00 p.m. Bob said I should go to the movie.

I called Susan who had already bought our tickets and told her I'd be there in about 20 minutes. She had a big tub of popcorn waiting. What a friend. I arrived at the theater at 2:10 and the previews were still playing. (I found out later that Bob didn't go to anesthesia until 3:30 p.m.)

We enjoyed the movie, then I headed home to get Bob's clothes and computer so he'd have them when he woke up. Since I hadn't had lunch (except 1/2 tub of popcorn) I warmed up two chicken thighs and steamed broccoli. When dinner was over, I gathered up Bob's stuff, a book for me and some magazines.

As I was driving to the hospital, Bob's neck surgeon called me. He said he was done with his portion of the procedure. He's pretty sure they removed all the cancer. Part of Bob's sternocleidomastoid muscle was removed and they cut a small nerve which may cause  numbness around his ear for the rest of his life.

They tested the edges and the deep parts of the incision to make sure they were clear of cancer cells, and they took more samples that were being sent to a lab for pathology. They will have the results of those samples in a week.

Now here's the fascinating part and appeals to my scientific curiosity...The neck is a small area for all the muscles, veins, nerves, and arteries to make their way up into the brain. By removing part of the neck muscle, those arteries, nerves and veins would only have a thin layer of skin over them if they closed up his wound as it was. The muscle they took out had protected them. So, they put cadaver skin in the wound to provide protection, and the plastic surgeon did a partial face lift pulling muscle from under the chin up toward his ear to provide even more protection. To close it all up, the plastic surgeon pulled some loose skin from under his neck and tightened it over all the layers, then stitched it up. Here is a photo of this year's scar, which is shaped like an upside-down "V" or "Y."

When a muscle is cut, the body produces a lot of fluid. In order for this fluid to be removed, a drain tube was put in the wound. You can see it to the right of the incision. It drains down into a little bulb that we have to empty and measure whenever it gets half full. After the fluid drainage slows down, the doctor will remove the tube.

I arrived at the hospital at 7:00 p.m. Not too long after I arrived, Dr. Miller (neck doctor) came into the waiting room to talk to me. He said he just left the operating room and Dr. Stallworth (plastic surgeon) was finishing the plastic surgery. They were closing up the wound. That was about 7:30 p.m. 

At 8:00 p.m., Dr. Stallworth came and explained what he had done and the final stitches were being put in. Bob would be out of surgery soon. After that, I received text messages (Patient Updates) on my phone at 8:35 and 9:18 p.m. The one at 9:18 p.m. said "Your loved one is sleeping." About 10:00 p.m., I was taken back to the post-op recovery area. Bob had been asking for me. He was still very much out of it. The nurses said I could spend five minutes with him.

In postop recovery while Bob was coming out from under the anesthetic, he was Mr. Comedian. One of the first things he said to me as he was waking up was, "Where's the buffet?" (He hadn't eaten for 24 hours.)

When I explained his scar last year looked like an "S" and this year it looks like a "V." He said, "Oh, we're working our way through the alphabet."

I emphatically stated, "No, no we're not!!"

Then the nurse asked him if there was anything else he wanted and he blurted out, "I want you to pay my medical bills." We all cracked up.

I was with him about 20 minutes, but he obviously needed more sleep. I went back to the waiting room.

At 11:30 p.m. a ward clerk came to get me. I was so exhausted having been up since 5:00 a.m. Bob was feeling pretty chipper by this point. They brought him jello and water so he could eat and gave him a pain pill. He is having a moderate headache on the left upper side of his head. I spent 1/2 hour with Bob, then headed home. I had to be up at 6 a.m. for work. I got to bed at 1 a.m. The cats and I crashed.

Thursday: We thought Bob would be discharged around 10 or 11 a.m. this morning. Ha! I had a text from Bob at 7:30 a.m. saying he was eating breakfast and the nurses would do their paperwork and he'd be ready to go home at 8:30 or 9 a.m. I let my boss know right away that I had to leave by 8 or 8:15.

I was at the hospital a little before 9 a.m. and we left about 9:30 a.m. On the way home we stopped at Walgreens to get a prescription filled and I had him home a little after 10 a.m. I was back at work by 10:45 a.m.

Bob was settled in his easy chair with his computer and his phone. He worked part of the afternoon and napped some too. We are hoping this surgery (his fifth on that side) is now completely gone and we won't have to go through this again. In the meantime, the dermatologist is going to keep a much closer eye on this area. They will examine his neck more often.
See how puffy the right side of his face is?
After work, I picked up Pad Thai for dinner, then did five loads of laundry. I am very tired. Bob is sleeping in the easy chair because of the drain tube in his neck.

Time for me to sleep too. Good night all. Have a good weekend.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Bob's Consultation and a Movie Review - Sun., Aug. 7, 2016

On Friday, Bob met with the neck surgeon and the plastic surgeon. They prodded and poked his wound so they would have an idea of what surgery is needed next.

The neck surgeon said he will have to remove part of the muscle that controls the shrug response. They will have to carefully keep nerves out of the way.

When Bob had his surgery on Wednesday, the doctor's office did not give him any post-surgical instructions. Bob had me change his gauze dressing a couple of times, but we didn't do anything special. The wound is huge - about 4 inches across and two inches tall, plus it is over 1/2" deep. He wanted me to take a photo of it to share with family. I told him no.

Sunday morning Bob woke up telling me he had a headache. Bob NEVER gets headaches. I told him he needed to call his Mohs surgeon to make sure everything was okay. He wasn't going to call the doctor.

However, when he went to take his shower, the gauze pad was stuck in his neck wound and he couldn't get it out. I told him to take his shower and let the water run on the wound and it would probably come off. Wrong.

While he was in the shower, he asked me to cut off as much of the bandage as I could because it was waterlogged and heavy and was pulling on his wound. When I tried to cut the bandage, the scissors pulled on the bandage and he let out a scream. Apparently the bandage was stuck onto a nerve; the nerve that goes into his head and is causing the headache. I got sharper scissors and was able to cut the bandage off.

When he got out of the shower, I put another bandage over the wound. He called his doctor, but got the answering service. Thankfully his doctor called back quickly.

The doctor told him he needed to get back in the shower and soak the bandage and wound. He also reminded Bob that we should be using Vaseline in the wound and a non-stick bandage. In the shower, Bob was able to pull off the small piece of gauze that was left, but it really hurt him. 

I went to Walgreen's to buy some Vaseline. When I returned, I put Vaseline on a non-stick pad and taped it on his wound. Bob is much better now.

This afternoon, we went to see a movie called "Hunt for the Wilderpeople." What an interesting and good movie. It is about a 13-year-old boy (Ricky Baker) in New Zealand who was lost in the Child Protective Services system, being shuffled from foster home to foster home. Considered a problem child (thievery, graffiti, running away, kicking stuff, and a wannabe gangster), he didn't last long in any home. Finally a couple was willing to take him in. They lived near the bush in New Zealand, far away from a city.

Bella made him feel more at home than anywhere else he had been in his life. He started to feel loved.

When an unexpected tragedy occurred, Ricky ran away into the bush. This movie is about how he ran from Child Protective Services and survived in the bush. You will enjoy the humor and the story as it unfolds.

As we left the theater in the Wonderland of the Americas Mall, the San Antonio Model Railroad Association (SAMRA) members had their display trains running. We spent a few minutes watching the trains go around and looking at the sets they built. We enjoyed that.

Whistle Stop Cafe - SAMRA train display set

SAMRA model trains

There were even a number of camping sets!
As we were leaving the mall, Bob's doctor called back to make sure he was doing okay. That was very thoughtful of him.

Our quiet evening at home consisted of eating dinner, watching 60 Minutes, and HGTV's Beachfront Bargain Hunt, Mexico Life, and Island Hunters. Bob is still having headaches from the exposed nerve in his neck, but at least the bandage isn't sticking to it anymore.

That's all from here. Have a good week.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sick of two-party presidential system - Wed., Aug. 3, 2016

Tonight we are going to watch CNN Town Hall: Libertarian Party. Anderson Cooper will moderate a conversation with the Libertarian Presidential and VP candidates: Gary Johnson and William Weld, both former Republican governors. Hopefully they will have something different to say and are not in the corrupt political fray. Just sayin'. Might be worth your while to watch too.

Let's see if they bring some common sense and reason into this election. Our minds are open. Are yours?
Photo from our cruise last fall

Bob's Home, More Surgery Required - Wed., Aug. 3, 2016

This morning Bob went to his Mohs surgeon who performed Mohs skin cancer removal surgery in the office. When the surgery was done, samples of the edges of the excision were sent to the lab to see if all the cancer cells has been removed. They had not.

His Mohs surgeon did a second surgery in the office to remove as much of the basal cell cancer as he could, but the Mohs surgeon cannot go deep on neck surgeries due to the nerves, muscles and arteries that are there.

What his Mohs surgeon did find is that the basal cell cancer is entwined around a muscle. This is going to require a neck surgeon and a plastic surgeon. Bob is now waiting to hear from the other two surgeons who are going to consult and let him know when they can do the surgery. It was originally scheduled with the plastic surgeon for tomorrow, but because this needs more complicated surgery, it looks like Bob will have to wait. It all depends on what the other two doctors decide and what their schedules look like.

The risk with the deeper surgery is that they might have to take part of a nerve which would cause some facial numbness or pins-and-needles sensations, or they may have to take part of a muscle which could cause problems with shoulder shrugging.

Right now, this is what Bob's neck looks like.

Bob is tired, but we went to lunch at Olive Garden because he hadn't had anything to eat since last night. Now he's just exhausted and wants to sleep.

Thank you to everyone who sent love, hugs and prayers. We appreciate it. As soon as we know more, we'll update everyone.

Surgery for Bob - Wed., Aug. 3, 2016

Caution: Graphic photo below.

On February 24, 2015, Bob had Mohs surgery on his neck to remove a large basal cell carcinoma (the non-malignant kind). The cancer was deep into his neck and was close to a nerve that could affect the feeling in his face.

Because it was a large wound, he had to have plastic surgery to close it up on March 11, 2015.  
Bob's scar from plastic surgery reconstruction
For months after that surgery, he had pins-and-needles sensation on the lower left side of his face. The scar healed up nicely and you could barely see where he had the surgery.

Fast forward to early 2016. Bob started feeling a hard lump in the exact same place he had his last basal cell carcinoma removed. When he went to his dermatologist in June 2016, they did a biopsy and found the basal cell carcinoma had returned.

Today is the day Bob is going in for outpatient repeat Mohs surgery in the dermatologist's office. The lump that needs to be removed is the size of a quarter. We're hoping this hasn't gone down into the nerve and that they will be able to remove it all.

If the wound is large, he will have to go back in for another plastic surgery reconstruction. We'll keep you posted.

Full of Hot Air - Tues., Aug. 2, 2016

And I'm not talking about politicians. Monday evening our air conditioner started making very strange noises. I was home by myself as Bob was working late. We have two AC units and our optional AC started clicking. Then it sounded like it was trying to go on, but just couldn't quite get there. It sounded so bad, I called Bob and asked him to come home to see if he could do anything. I had already turned off both thermostats. Even though the thermostats were off, the AC was still trying to come on. I was afraid the thing was going to start a fire.

My neighbors were outside, so I asked Charley if he knew anything about ACs. He didn't really, but came over to see if there was anything he could do. He asked me where the breakers were and I showed him. He took off the panel and turned off both breakers. I thanked him profusely and called Bob to let him know what the neighbor did, and to let him know he didn't need to rush home. I called an RV repair man to see if he could come over on Tuesday. He was closed for the night, so I left a message.

Sunny looking like the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland
It was 98 degrees outside. Inside, the temperature was 86 and climbing. I turned on our three box fans. The temperature still climbed to 94 degrees inside. It was like a sauna.

When the sun went down and it was cooler outside than inside, I opened the door and all the windows. The temperature went back down to about 88 degrees. By morning, it was 82 inside.

At 8 a.m. I called the repairman. He was not available in the morning as he had to install a cooling unit somewhere else. He thought he would be available in the afternoon. When I explained the problem to him, and told him that even though both breakers were off the one unit was still clicking, he said it was the relay box. I told him I had appointments and wouldn't be home until 1 p.m. He said that was fine because he wouldn't be here by then.

When I returned home from my appointments around 1:30 p.m., it was 92 degrees INSIDE. When I hadn't heard from our repairman (Allen) by 3 p.m., I called to find out his status. It was 96 degrees inside even with all the fans running. Bowie was panting. Allen said he would be out after he fed his dog.

He arrived about 4 p.m. and thankfully had our exact relay box and a new thermostat to go with it. Both items were installed in an hour and we had air conditioning again!! Total cost: $237. We're happy, cool campers again!