Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Seafood in Arizona

AJ, AZ -  High 76  Low 54 

This has really been a strange month weatherwise. Not that I'm complaining because it has been a fantastic Spring.  We've had a couple of storms go through but most of the days have been perfect temperatures in the 70s or low 80s and cool evenings. Who knows what the summer is going to bring.

On May 17 we celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary. It was a wonderful day. We went to the movies to see A Dog's Journey. A really good family movie even though I cried. 

We also went out to dinner to celebrate.  We decided to try Seafood Restaurant and Market. Reviews were mixed but I really wanted crab cakes.


My crab cakes were really good. I even had one to bring home.



Jim ordered the Maine lobster tails and said they were excellent.  He didn't have any leftovers to bring home.


We would definitely go back for another meal. A wonderful way to celebrate with my love.

There are a few folks left in the park. Tuesday morning we had coffee and cinnamon rolls. We sat around and visited for two hours. The smaller group makes it easy to hear what everyone is saying and get to know each other better.



Meanwhile at home, Rocky still carries on when Jim is gone and Skittlez keeps us entertained just by being herself. In this picture she got herself caught in the sleeve of my top and I had to go rescue her. She has also shut the door to our bedroom a couple of times with her trapped in the bedroom. 



It has been nice not having doctor appointments every few days. Life is uneventful and peaceful most of the time.

The Superstitions in the afternoon.

 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Miscellaneous Stuff

We have been having a beautiful Spring but also a couple of storms. Most of the storms have just sent us wind and no rain. But a couple days ago, we had a wonderful refreshing downpour. 

The following pictures are of clouds over the Superstitions from our trailer.




These next two pictures were taken by our park managers. I'm really glad I didn't see this first cloud formation because it's scary just looking at the picture.




Skittlez seems to think I need to be up to see the sunrise. As soon as it gets a little bit light, she wants me out of bed and food placed before her.


Ginny and Mickey took off this week headed East. Before she left she took pictures of some of the gorgeous blooms in our park.






Jim is progressing slowly. He's actually had two weeks with no doctor appointments. He's started to work on my honey-do list and that should keep him busy for a couple of months. 

A bunch of us from the park are going to Taco Bell tonight. Seems when the Diamond Backs accomplish something (I don't know what), Taco Bell offers three free tacos with the purchase of a large drink. This is about as exciting as our life is.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

A Perfect Evening

Tempe, AZ   High 89  Low 64

I know I couldn't have survived these last four months without the help of Ginny and Mickey. From taking care of the propane for me, moral support when I had a breakdown, to completely taking care of Skitz and Rocky for us - they were always right there. The night I had to call 911 for Jim, Ginny threw on a bathrobe and came over to make sure I was okay and to take care of the dogs. I can't begin to thank them for all they have done for us.

We did want to take them out to dinner and as you all know, I love Groupon. I found one for The Watershed, a restaurant located in the Lakes community on Lakeshore Drive in Tempe. Another adventure since we had never been here or knew of anyone who had ever eaten there.

I forgot to take a picture of the entrance so I found this one on the web which was taken by Dana Voigt.



 Thursday night was the night and we could not have picked a more perfect evening. The weather was incredible. 

Ginny and Jim ordered the lobster ravioli and crab meatballs. Mickey and I had the fish and chips. The food was very good. My only complaint was that the bar did not have a blender and could not make frozen drinks. I couldn't believe that a bar would not have a blender.



After dinner the Groupon also included a boat ride through the upscale neighborhood. They only allow electric motors so the ride was so quiet and peaceful. The lake is 55 acres and there were a lot of boats tied up to docks by the houses. One guy has a really unique "boat".

I bet this place is beautiful at Christmas time when they have their boat parade.




To end this wonderful evening with such good friends, we were treated to this incredible sunset.



Thanks again Ginny and Mickey. We sure are going to miss you this summer.







Thursday, May 2, 2019

Jim Update

AJ, AZ   High 90  Low 68

Our Spring has been quite beautiful this year except for all the pollen in the air. We did reach 99 last week but the nights are still cooling down for good sleeping with just the fan going. 

We have been averaging three doctor appointments or lab work every week. BUT -  Jim has finally turned that proverbial corner. Most of his doctors don't want to see him for three months. That is really great news. 

However, you notice that I said MOST. We do have another new situation to deal with. Jim's cardiologist had sonograms done on Jim's legs. Back in 2012 Jim had a femoral artery blockage in his left leg. Had to have a stent and a bypass done on that leg. Then in 2015 he had the same issues with his right leg. Now it appears his left leg has a blockage again. We meet with the vascular surgeon later this month. 

Now - back to the good. Jim really is feeling much better. He has lost 30 pounds and is maintaining that weight. His blood sugar is good, his blood pressure is good, he's not retaining fluid, and his colon is behaving itself. He's able to walk 1/4 of a mile without having to stop and rest. He still needs a couple of naps every day and he has a long ways to go to get his strength back, but it is so wonderful to see all his improvements. He's no longer "fragile" and my heart is happy.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Grounded

This is such a hard post for me to write. And yet in some ways I am so relieved. Because of Jim's medical issues, we will not be traveling at all this summer. Yep - we will be spending the summer in the warmth of the Arizona sunshine.  



Jim is doing much better but we have a long road in front of us. He still gets out of breath but nothing like he used to. He also has anemia and the doctors have yet to really address that problem. He is taking daily walks and can walk all the way around the park which is 1/3 of a mile as long as he uses his walker and stops to rest a few times.

He is on a low fiber, low salt diet. Coming up with a meal plan is quite a challenge. But he is slowly adding some fiber back into his system and everything seems to be going just fine in that respect. He has to weigh himself daily. If he gains two pounds over night or five pounds during one week, we have to immediately see the doctor. So far so good. He has lost 25 pounds but I sure wouldn't recommend doing it his way.

He can now use his left arm (cause his six weeks after the pacemaker was put in) is up. That really is a big help for me. Especially with the dogs. They both have back and leg issues so they need to be carried outside. I have trouble getting myself up and down steps let alone carrying a dog even though they are little.

We allow time for lots of naps especially after doing anything like going out to eat or doing some shopping.We are really careful not to push his energy levels too hard. We have at least two doctor appointments scheduled every week for the next few weeks so we have lots to keep us "entertained".

It's hard for me to know we won't be traveling this summer. I had already plotted out a lot of our journey north to Canyon Ferry but that is all on hold. Jim is struggling with the fact that he won't be catching any walleye this summer. However, we think that if we take this year to rest and recover, we can once again do some traveling and fishing next summer. 

I totally forgot to tell you about Todd's win in my last post. We have coffee and donuts every Tuesday morning and we drug Todd with us. They do a 50/50 drawing with 1/2 going to the Park and the other half split in half for two winners. We've been buying tickets off and on for ten years and have never won. But yup - Todd won. $20. He and Michaela are headed for Las Vegas in a few days so he's taking his lucky $20 with them. Good luck kids.

I probably won't have much to blog about this summer but I will check in every once in awhile. Hope every one has a summer full of adventure and safe travels. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

TODD

AJ, AZ   High  97  Low 64

We got a very welcoming phone call from Todd when he told us he was going to come visit for a few days. Made our day, week, month, year - well you get the idea. However, I needed to let him know that we had a list of chores he was going to do while he was here.

This is his reply - "Oh I figured you would! Feed me, house me, love me, and take me to a 7-11 at least once and I will be your humble servant!"  I think that's more than fair. 

We picked him up at the Phoenix - Mesa airport which is a breeze to get to for us. I didn't realize I got this little girl running to greet someone but I love it. I can no longer run so I waited for Todd to get to us.


 Todd and Jim


Poor Todd. Country music is really not his thing but we already had tickets to the Legends of Country show for Sunday night. So he went with us and we all enjoyed ourselves. Todd was by far the youngest person at the showThese performers do the country music that Jim and I used to listen to and Todd was surprised at how many of the songs he recognized.



The biggest project that we had for Todd was the truck. He completely detailed the truck for us inside and out. It looks beautiful. The rest of the project was changing glow plugs. (glow plugs are a heating device that aids in starting a diesel). We needed three of them changed. As you can see Jim made a really good supervisor.


Todd loves to work on vehicles as long as they belong to him or his family. He likes working in the parts department at the Ford dealership rather than out in the service shop.


His reward as a trip to 7-11 for a slurpee. Todd grew up on slurpees when we lived in Virginia. Montana doesn't have any 7-11's so when he comes to visit it is always a stop we make.




We had lots of little chores for him and he gave me a break from taking the garbage out as well as carrying the dogs in and out many times a day. Another chore he did for us was to vacuum under the loveseat. I had totally forgotten that we have a central vac system because I use my light weight vacuum. But he hauled the central vac out and got down under the love seat. Neither Jim nor I can get down or back up.





We went out to eat a couple of times and also grilled at home. It was just a most wonderful visit and we are so grateful he took the time to come down. And we are especially thankful that his beautiful wife, Michaela, was willing to stay home and take care of their four fur babies. But I'm sure hoping next time she gets to come with him. 

We are so proud of the man this son of ours has become.




 



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

End of the Season

 AJ, AZ   High 89  Low 61

(I started this post a couple of weeks ago. My blogging mojo seems to have disappeared.)

Last Saturday we had our end of the season party. I cannot believe it is time for people to head out already. Like Jim said "It feels like we are just getting here." We seem to have lost this entire season with all of Jim's medical issues.

The party was a great time. Hawaiian theme with chicken and pork and all the sides with more than enough desserts. We held it outside around the pool and the weather was perfect.




Jim felt up to going to the party and Marv picked him up with his golf cart. We had a good time but it really wore him out.



The chicken dance.


And a beautiful sunset to go with the party.


Thanks to Wendy for all these wonderful pictures. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Pretty in Pink, and Blue, and Green, and Yellow, and Orange

A beautiful pink and blue sunset.


I am so exhausted and it's really hard to blog when your brain is just mush. But I really need to get caught up on the Jim saga before I forget some of it.

Jim came home on Friday and we had great hopes that with the low fiber diet and the antibiotics he was on the road to recovery. We had a follow up appointment with the pacemaker technician and everything was working correctly. The only problem is we still didn't have a monitor so nobody is checking to see what Jim's heart is doing. We also had another follow up with the GI doctor (Jodi). She mentioned that he was anemic and wanted him to have blood work done again and see her in two weeks to follow up on that. She will also be scheduling another colonoscopy when she feels his colon has healed enough. 

At home, Jim was not eating. You know something is wrong if he isn't eating. His breathing was also getting worse. Remember - the pacemaker was supposed to help him breathe better. We kept hoping things would get better but Saturday night about midnight he woke me up because he can't breathe. I was going to drive him to the ER but he couldn't even get to the truck. I called 911 and they showed up about five minutes later. Our trailer was filled up with seven big husky men all working on Jim. Once they got him stabilized, they picked him up in a sling chair and off to the ER once again.

Like I said in my last post, this ER can only stabilize people and then find them a room at a hospital that can help them. Finding a hospital room in this area during snowbird season is a real challenge. It took them almost 15 hours to finally find a room at Banner Baywood. Once again he got transported to another hospital. While in the ER they determined that he had fluid on his lungs, a result of congestive heart failure. The blood tests also showed that his red blood cell count had really improved which is a good thing.

Banner Baywood is actually the hospital that my Aunt Happy built (well her money built) many years ago. They have excellent heart doctors and Jim is definitely right where he needs to be. They put him on a diuretic and that has really helped to remove the fluid from his chest which means that he can breathe better. In fact, I just talked to him and he says he feels better than he has in weeks. He's also up and walking around. Hopefully this time when I bring him home he can stay here.

Time to change the subject. We have had a wet and cold winter. Probably the worst since we've been here. And it lasted for a long time. Usually we have a couple of bad days and then it warms up but not this year. What that means is that our desert is green, green, green. I've taken a couple of pictures but they aren't very good.



We also have these beautiful yellow flowers blooming just down the road from us.


However, this next picture is incredible. Our neighbor Wendy told us where to find these flowers so we stopped so I could take some pictures. I have never seen the desert bloom like it is this year. So overwhelmingly beautiful. No need to touch up this piece of God's work.


I just talked to Jim and we're not sure when he'll be coming home but hopefully not too long. 

(he's not here to proof this so please forgive the scattered thoughts)


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Fragile

AJ, AZ   High 81 or 62 (depends on the day) 

Fragile – (of a person) not strong or sturdy; delicate and vulnerable. weak, delicate, frail, debilitated, tottery, shaky, trembly, ill, unwell, ailing, poorly, sickly, infirm, feeble, enfeebled, unsound

This is how the Emergency Room doctor described my husband a week ago. My strong, protective, able to do anything, defender. The man who has always been there for me when I am falling apart. The man who’s eyes light up when I walk into the room.

Fragile – when the doctor said that, I looked at Jim and realized that he was in so much pain and wasn’t able to be the strong one right now and it shook me to my core.

We have been through so much together – two heart bypass surgeries, lung cancer, femoral artery bypasses, a pacemaker as well as my broken ankle and ruptured Achilles tendon. He’s always been strong and never once has anyone ever called him fragile. Age does catch up to us.

He had his pacemaker put in Tuesday morning, Tuesday afternoon he started having terrible stomach cramps. We all thought it was the surgery, the sedation, the pain medication – something like that. So Wednesday I brought him home. He was in terrible pain but it seemed to get to be getting better and on Saturday he felt good enough to walk across the street to visit with friends. But Sunday morning he was in so much pain he couldn’t stand up straight and we headed for the ER here in AJ.

They took some scans, did some blood work and finally decided that he needed a GI doctor. Banner Goldfield is a very small hospital and they do not have any specialists so they transported him to Banner Ironwood. For three days they ran tests, took x-rays, more scans, ekgs, and put him on antibiotics and morphine.

They finally decided that they needed to do a colonoscopy to find out what was going on inside. Thursday the GI doc (Dr. Wang) finally did the colonoscopy but they could only do a partial one. Jim’s colon was severely ulcerated and they were unable to go any further. The inflammation of the colon was probably caused by a lack of blood flow to the colon. They sent a couple of samples off for a biopsy and we should get those results in a few days. The good news is that the colon will heal itself with medications and a low fiber diet. May take a few months but no more pain makes it all worth while.

The colonoscopy was able to relieve a lot of the gas that had built up in his colon and with the antibiotics in his system, he actually started to feel better. Friday I got to bring him home. He’s really weak from laying in bed for five days. And he went almost 10 days with no solid food. We have to work on getting his strength back and figuring out what he can and can’t eat.

We have follow up appointments with the GI doctor, his cardiologist, his primary care doctor, and his electrician for his pacemaker.

I document all of this information so that I have it to refresh my memory. I needed information from his previous medical issues when we were in the ER and being able to access my blog gave me the information I needed.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

I have been really busy taking care of Jim and two old dogs and haven't read a lot of blogs lately. I'm hoping next week eases up a bit and I can catch up.

This is the beautiful throw I won in a raffle by Promised Land Dachshund Rescue. 



I really wanted to get a picture of both the pups with the throw but Rocky refused to cooperate. Skittlez was more than happy to snuggle with me while we were having our winter weather.



Arizona got a whole bunch of snow - 40 inches up in Flagstaff, 2 feet in Payson. Our Superstition Mountains were covered and Four Peaks were incredibly beautiful covered in snow. I didn't get a chance to get out to take any pictures so google snow in Arizona and you can see some of the beauty.

At our house we did not get any snow for which I'm grateful but we had rain and more rain and more rain. Steve, from our park, took this picture of our detention pond. Horseshoes - no, Kayaking - yes.


Meanwhile Rocky was making himself comfortable on my pillow.


This week the weather is back to normal - high 70's during the day and in the lower 50's at night. Perfect.

I started this last Tuesday so hopefully I can get it finished today and posted.

Jim got his new battery booster (pacemaker) this morning. The surgery took awhile longer than was expected and the doctor explained that he had a great deal of difficulty getting the wire into the left ventricle but was finally successful. 





He will be coming home tomorrow and I'm not sure who will be happier - me or Rocky. 
 
I got to bring Jim home on Wednesday. The recovery from the surgery itself is doing great. But Jim has had terrible stomach pains that don't seem to have anything to do with the surgery. At first we figured they were gas cramps caused by the pain medication or his not being able to eat before the surgery. However, those kinds of problems should have been resolved with a day or two and he's still having pain. He also doesn't want to eat anything. That's not good for a diabetic so I'm doing the best I can to get some food in him.

We put in a call to the doctor's office but as per usual we did not get a call back. He also called the hospital follow up number and that was a waste of time. If he's not better by Monday we will be going to Urgent Care.

I'm really hoping that next week sees a big improvement for all of us.

 








Friday, February 15, 2019

Finally - A Date

AJ, AZ   High 57  Low 48  Rain (We’ve had a lot of rain this winter and it’s been quite chilly.)


We have spent a lot of time in doctors’ offices so far this year and as most of you know the magazine selection in these offices are pretty pathetic. But this one just really got my attention.



Now look at the date of this magazine.





25 years – it really must qualify as an antique by now.

 
They finally got Jim scheduled at Shea Hospital in Scottsdale on February 26th to have his heart helper implanted. The Electrician, Dr. Tom Mattioni, told us it would take about two hours but they will keep him overnight to make sure there are no complications. We were really impressed with Dr. Mattioni. He explained in depth about how damaged Jim’s heart is and how this new device will really make a difference in how he feels. I just wish we didn’t have to wait almost two weeks. 

This is what the device looks like. One wire goes into the top of the heart, one goes into the left side of the heart, and the third into the right side. The two wires on the sides of the heart make the heart beat normally and more efficiently. This device gets implanted under the skin up near the collar bone on the left side of his chest. 



After the surgery he’s going to be restricted for about six weeks from raising his arm up in the air, twisting his shoulder or lifting more than ten pounds with his left arm. This is to allow enough scar tissue to grow around the wires to keep them in place. He’s been practicing getting dressed without raising his arm and also lifting the dogs with his right arm. The doc does, however, want him to use his arm so he doesn’t get a frozen shoulder which would then require lots of physical therapy. So by the middle of April he should be good to go.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Stress

AJ, AZ   High 59   Low  54    Rain

January became a very high stress month for us. When we returned from our trip East last fall, Jim didn’t feel very good but we blamed it on the very long, very quick trip we made getting back to Arizona.

The only problem is that Jim did not get any better even with rest. By January he could not walk from the bedroom to the living room without being out of breath. He could not even take the dogs outside when they needed to go.

We finally got an appointment with his cardiologist. She put him through a nuclear stress test, an echo, and a heart monitor. When we met with her for the results, she informed us he needs a pacemaker/defibrillator. Of course we couldn’t get in to see the electrician (that’s what they call the surgeon who puts them in) until the 8th of February. However, she also put him on digoxin and that has definitely helped him to breathe a little better.

I’ll sure be glad when he is feeling better.

Also during this time, both dogs had a case of diarrhea and Skitz hurt her front leg. Jim also caught a cold which certainly didn’t help the fact that he couldn’t breathe.  Now he has the left over cough that keeps us both up at night.

I also had a heart issue. I had an irregular EKG and my heart doc thought maybe I had had a heart attack. So I also got to do the nuclear stress test (but I had to walk the treadmill and Jim didn’t), have an echo and wear a heart monitor. I got good news with my results. Lose weight, exercise more.

Needles to say we have not gone anywhere or done anything. I’m hoping since he’s starting to feel a little better we might be able to get out for a little while. The dogs are feeling better, even though Skitz is still in pain.

And that is what is going on in our world. We are certainly praying that the new equipment in Jim’s body will put us back on track again.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

10 Years

I'm a couple days late posting this. Life keeps getting in my way.

We left Billings, MT the afternoon of January 21, 2009 to begin our full time lifestyle. We were 72 feet long and ready for adventures.


We were trying to outrun a snow storm that was headed into Montana. I had suggested waiting til the next morning to leave but Jim knew that the roads would be far worse so we decided to head out and see how far we got. Our first night we spent in Bozeman, MT in a motel room. It was so cold we just wanted some place to get warm and get some sleep.

I was still in a wheelchair from a broken ankle and ruptured Achilles tendon. I could hobble a few feet and crawl up and down steps but most of the time Jim was pushing me in a wheelchair. 

This picture was taken at Covee Fort, UT. It was windy and cold but we were ready to visit new places.



We stopped in Las Vegas for a few nights and then headed for Apache Junction where we had reservations for a month at a park not far from where we are now. My sister and her husband were in Mesa and we wanted to explore this area. The RV park was okay but the sites were so small we barely fit. We decided to check out all the parks in this area and find one that we felt comfortable in.

We must have driven through 50 RV parks. When we drove through Santa Fe RV Park, there was just a feeling about this place. The sites were large and spacious. The park was kept in fantastic shape. And they offered a Passport America rate of $13.50 a night for two weeks. We took them up on that. 



We enjoyed our stay so much we put our names on a list for a permanent spot. Since pets were only allowed on the back row we figured it could be a couple of years or so before we were offered a site. Little did we know that one would become available that October. 

Now Site #34 has become our home base. Couldn't ask for a more perfect spot to spend the winters with the best neighbors in the whole world. 



We've had fantastic adventures these last ten years and I know we have more good times ahead of us.