Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No More Florida for Now

This picture is the view from our front
porch as the sun sets in Ft. Myers
during March. We will not be seeing it any more this season. I feel so gypped this year. What started out to be five or six months turned into three and a half months of trying to find a doctor who could give us some insight into why an old carotid artery surgical scar would suddenly start opening up and bulging outward. We attempted to see a doctor in an ER, but he didn't want to touch it in the ER where there are nasty germs, because the scar was so close to the carotid artery. Other doctors didn't want to see new patients, since snowbirds overtax the medical establishment of southern Florida and spring breakers are added to the upset. Finally, a nice doctor twenty miles up the road said he would see me in April, but I should go to Urgent Care and have some tests ordered from there. A really cute doctor looked at my neck and said, "Hmmm! I really don't know what to think of that! But, there is a vascular surgeon's office in this building --- I'll ask her to have a look at you." She looked, told him what to order and when she had looked at the CAT Scan the next afternoon, she called us. We were eating dinner at a local restaurant. Talk about co-operation --- she wasn't even our doctor, but she was adamant that we drop everything and fly home to Ohio. We knew we couldn't get a flight during Spring Break, so we closed up our home, put down the Hurricane Shutters, turned off the water, cleaned out the fridge, packed up our suitcases, grabbed the golf clubs and sewing machine and headed for home within sixteen hours. Imagine two "golden oldies" driving for nineteen hours straight and still able to function. We did ---but, we're not really hitting on all cylinders. We called my vascular guy and he was less than excited, but then, he had not seen the CAT scans. On Monday, he took me to surgery to evacuate an abscess of the surgical site. How does a three year old surgery develop an abscess? Turns out this sucker had been in there all the time, had invaded the muscle and all the way down to my carotid graft. This was done while I was wide awake with Lidocaine to numb my neck. I felt silly having an entire operating room for a little neck thingy. I believe the thinking was that it was a little nothing, but they had to have I.V.'s and all--- just in case my carotid blew. (By the way --- never have your neck operated on while you are awake! It was awful!) For now, I wait and my family waits --- for the biopsies and cultures to come back. We wait for the original CAT Scans to arrive from Florida; for the infectious disease doctor to see the results of this surgery. My vascular doctor is an amazing man who does things that have people coming from all over to see him in this jerk-water town, but he doesn't know what to do now, because he has never had anything like this happen after over a thousand carotid surgeries.
I would be lying if I said that I am not afraid, but I am trusting God to be with me and my family. If you are a regular reader ---Please, pray for us. I do so want to see Florida again. I do so want more time with my husband and family. I haven't finished enough quilts for all my grandkids. But, if it is time ---"It is Well with My Soul".

Saturday, March 22, 2008

When It's Springtime in Ohio

It is Easter weekend. We left sunny south Florida last week

for a few days at home in Ohio
to see the vascular doctor. Apparently, Florida doctors don't like snowbirds, so we are forced to fly north for care when things go awry. We awoke this morning to this view across the golf course where we live. Last Saturday, I actually saw a couple of die-hard golfers playing in pretty chilly weather. They had reason to believe that winter had done its worst and was out of here. Think again! --- Winter got a mulligan! The Husband had to drive twenty miles in the blowing snow last night. He hasn't driven in snow for six years and was amazed at how incompetent he felt. For me --- it is beautiful, but I'm going back to Florida for another six weeks as soon as the doctor says all is well. Sheesh!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Finally Using my Specialty Machine

These are a couple of the seventeen blocks I used in a baby quilt. I have had my Bernina Artista machine for several years, but never really got busy and used the embroidery module. A couple of good friends told me that I was wasting the best part of my machine and got me going on this project. The critters are adorable and I alternated the embroidery blocks with the same blue and off white background and matching blue checkerboard nine patch blocks. It is very cute, but I don't have to hurry with the actual quilting, because nobody I know has had a baby boy lately. I thought that it would be great to be a couple of quilts ahead and ordered another expensive embroidery card online from eBay. I was so thrilled to win the bid on a "Precious Moments" card for about one third the original price, but was chagrined to find it did not fit my machine. $65.50 + shipping and it didn't fit! It was my first experience with eBay, so I want y'all to know that the seller refunded my money immediately without any flack. I was also happy to learn how to bid on eBay. My other half was worried about doing business online and through PayPal, but it went smooth as silk and the service was terrific. It is hard to start using all these electrical wonders at an advanced age. I am so happy to have lived long enough to see all the miracles young people take for granted. What do you suppose will happen in the next ten years?

Friday, March 7, 2008

We're Not Allowed in Howard Johnson's Either!

Many years ago, there was a joke about a couple with a fertility problem, who had tried just about everything to conceive, but nothing worked. Their doctor told them that they were being too uptight and that they needed to relax and just let nature take it's course. They were to stop all the specialized tricks and just have sex when the urge came upon them. When the doctor saw them again about eight months later, the mom was obviously expecting. He asked them how they achieved the long awaited pregnancy. The proud dad replied, " Well, we took your advice. We were eating and she dropped her fork. When she bent over to pick it up, the urge hit me and I nailed her on the spot, but I don't think they will let us back in Howard Johnson's!"

There was a time many years ago, when traveling between
Toledo, Ohio and tropical
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,
no Interstate 75 existed.
We did have a couple of four lane highways , but they were few and far in between. The thrill of any trip was 25W between Jellico and LaFollette, Tennessee. The road wove it's circuitous route over and around the mountains hanging onto the cliffs over the Tennessee River with no guard rails. But, we were young and in love and the chance for a quick trip to the Land of Sunshine was irresistible. I had never been south of Bowling Green, Ohio, but took my turn at the wheel while in the fairly flat part of Kentucky. The twenty-five miles beginning at Jellico meant nothing to me, so I didn't wake up my sweet husband to take over. I buzzed along in the dark and had a rough inkling that the road was really pretty curvy, since the cars ahead of me would disappear out of sight as they rounded yet another sharp curve. Imagine my surprise on the return trip as I viewed the flooded Tennessee River so far below us in broad daylight. It was not possible that I, a novice driver, had driven those twenty-five miles in the dark without killing us.
In those days, people along the route
showed their prosperity by putting their wringer washing machines on the front porch of their shacks. It meant that they could afford electricity. Recently, we strayed from I-75 in a sense of nostalgia and discovered that the washers were gone --- replaced by video dishes. A real sign of progress!
We had our wonderful vacation in Florida and started back home. Since we were young and poor, we always drove right straight through .... it only took 22 to 28 hours of driving and we had all sorts of energy back then. Now, it is difficult to work up the ambition to make the trip to WalleyWorld down the street. We played in the Atlantic surf, ate out, visited with good friends and went on a Safari to the backwaters of Ft. Lauderdale (which is code for "Take a quick right behind the Mangroves and we'll have these dopey tourists believing they are in a dense tropical jungle".... otherwise known as the beginning of The Everglades). Come to think of it, we went on the same cruise while doing the touristy thing in Australia many years later!
We left Florida and started our weary way home on those two lane highways and the occasional divided highway. In the fifties, Atlanta was a small city with a by-pass. I think it was State Route 441, which skirted the edges of the city. It was approaching 10:00 p.m. and we had not stopped to eat dinner, yet. We knew that if we passed by Atlanta without eating, there was nothing much until the next morning in Knoxville, so the husband told me to start looking for a place to eat. Everything was thinning out, stomachs were rumbling when I spotted a sign. Howard Johnson's ---2 miles! Honey really didn't care for their food or prices, but was willing to try anything under such circumstances. I put my shoes on and combed my hair, but as we approached this den of ptomaine last chance for food ---- the lights on the outside all went off!
"Oh, no! They're closed!" There were lots of people inside, so my darling knight in shining armour said, "I'll go in and ask how late they are open", as he cruised up to the front door. He left the car running as he opened the car door and strolled up towards the entrance. Funny,... all the people inside came running to the windows and peered out at us. Golly, they were probably closed already! "Honey" made it as far as the front fender, then started backtracking to the driver's side of the car. "Are they closed?," I asked like a dimwitted troll. Honey, replied, "I don't know, but I pulled up too far,... I'm on the grass". So he backed and backed and backed up----all the way to the street. The parking lot was on the side of the building! Here we were donutting their front lawn! Needless to say, we aren't allowed in Howard Johnson's anymore, either!
The hunger problem was solved a couple of miles down the road at a truck stop. We giggled so hard we could hardly swallow, but it was just another fun trip in the lives of a couple of ditsos, before children life became a serious thing and we had to begin living like civilized human beings. It was a good time...a great time...I wouldn't change a whit!
We have, also, never been in a Howard Johnson's since that time. Have we missed anything? All those flavors and we are on a terrorist list! Somebody give me a little snakey lick of the butter-pecan, please?

I promise to stay off the grass!