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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The "The Road to Oregon...The Last Day", edition.

Good Wednesday morning!  We've left Reno and are heading back to Las Vegas. Since we came through Carson City on the way to Oregon, our way out of Reno is not the same route. Using phone GPS, we end up on a nice 4 lane highway. And too soon we're back on the 2 lane highway. Brian and I are both cranky and Brian realizes we had some pretty bad coffee on the hotel. Before were totally out of civilization we stop and get McDonalds coffee. Yes. Just coffee. The window lady asks us where were from. We say Las Vegas. She challenges us because the car has California license plates. WTF???  Brian says it's a rental car. Pfffft. We grumble about her for a few minutes. Lol.  We go through twisty tiny back roads with sketchy communities before we eventually get to the main highway. We pass a few billboards warning about the use of meth (!!!!!!) some places are still looking like ghost towns. 

It's a long boring trip. We switch out my iPad and use Brian's iPad for his playlist. We stop whenever possible for Brian to take breaks. Driving through the desert is boring and tiring. There is nothing at all to see. We stopped in Tonopah for lunch. We stop in Beatty..."The Gateway to Death Valley". where the burros roam the street. There were 2 tour buses that had stopped at the casino....  And there is a pretty nice candy store. That was our last stop. Once we got close to Las Vegas..,where the road opened up to 4 lanes, I fell asleep!  Lol. I woke up when we were in Las Vegas. 

It felt so good to be home. We may have been in this house for a month, but it is home!  Dad had some chicken waiting for us. And. We were too tired do treatment. It would wait until the morning. But lesson learned. We have to rethink these long road trips. I've had to do treatment almost everyday straight since we've returned because of not doing enough treatment while on the trip. We need to drive no more than 6 hours in order to have the energy to do treatment. Treatment adds another 4 hours to the day. I have retained fluid and that's not good. Not good at all. The good news, and I get that this make sense only to me and Brian and my home hemo readers, it that the water quality at the new house has been approved and we can use the water to make the dialysate instead of hanging all those bags. My nurse called to let me know the water was ok while we were somewhere in the Nevada desert. 

We returned the rental car Thursday morning.  And that concluded the trip.  We're slowly getting back to our routine. Went swimming today for the first time since the move..almost a month. Our swim friends were happy to see us. Apparently we were missed. We were asked if the move was complete. We said it was and mentioned the trip to Oregon. They were surprised that we fit that in during the move. In retrospect perhaps it was, but you do what you have to do. And driving with Shawn to Oregon was a nobrainer!  But I will never, ever do that drive again!  Ever! 

Well that's it for today. Pretty day outside. Enjoy your day!  

Monday, August 21, 2017

The "The Road to Oregon - Heading Home", edition.

Good Monday morning. How's the eclipse viewing going?  Vegas, the land of eternal sunshine is having thunderstorms today. Yes. I'm bitter. I got to watch it on TV and on the iPad with the NASA feed. And my kid texted me and sent a photo yeah. She's in central Oregon. So anyway. Yeah. We stayed exactly one day in Corvallis. The factors that decided such a ridiculous stay was...Shawn would be starting her new job, number of dialysis treatments and the amount if supplies we needed to transport and finally how long we kept the rental car. Pick up car on Friday, on the road Saturday and Sunday. Corvallis on Monday. On the road Tuesday and Wednesday return car Thursday. A one week rental. 

We say our goodbyes. {{Cry}}. And Brian and I head out depending on good ole phone GPS. We stop somewhere to get breakfast sandwiches and we're off on Interstate 5. We immediately take note of the many trucks hauling logs. Lots and lots of trucks. Hauling lots and lots of logs.  Oh and passed  one or two pot farms...and dispensaries in the middle of the country....   The landscape was flat farmland with mountains in the distance. But then within a 1/2 hour we were back in the wretched mountains. It was a bit better on the interstate, but there were the run off lanes and impressive curved roads going down the mountain. Oh. And trees. Lots and lots of trees. Did I mention there were trees for as far as I could see?  Except for the random bare spots where the trees had been cut down. And I forgot to mention that when we arrived in Corvallis we smelled grass and trees. It was intoxicating. The smell was missed. 

I posted a house on top of a mountain when we were at a rest stop. But the best was yet to come. It was a nice sunny day. I noticed some odd clouds in the distance. Odd enough that I took a picture of it. As we got closer to clouds we realized that that yes, it was clouds...clouds over Mt Shasta. Mt. Shasta put to shame every mountain we climbed on this trip. This mountain had the middle of August!  And not to far from it was a dormant volcano. And more mountains!  Lol. And guess what. Not to far from Mt. Shasta was where we had to turn off to head back to Reno. On a two lane highway. The good news, I guess, was instead of almost a full day in the mountains, this drive would be just under 2 hours. But still...(whine).  

The road wasn't as twisty turny but it was up and down with us reaching upwards of 5000 feet altitude. My ears are just now recovering. The highlights of the route were remnants of forest fires and new growth, people living off the grid, and a rest stop in the middle of nowhere. Now here's the fun part.  We would be going through Susanville again, but not down that wretched, scary road that we had to climb on the way to Oregon. Well. Susanville backs right up to a mountain so we had to drive down the mountain on another road. It was a just a tad better. It was shorter but curvier. I don't ever need to be in Susanville California ever again. Ugh. 

Once we left Susanville the road flattened out and the landscape was not as green. We were on the way to Reno. We finally made it to the hotel, then headed to dinner. We were cold. Turned on the heat in the room.  Don't judge!  Lol. We considered treatment, but again, after a long and stressful drive, no one wanted to unload all of that equipment and set it up, do treatment, then break everything down and load it back into the car. We slept well to get prepared for the next day, the final leg of the trip. 

Oh and look..the Sun is trying to come out now...{{shakes fist at the sky}}. Enjoy your day! 

Mt. Shasta

This is what we saw from a distance 

And this is the dormant volcano..not to far from Mt Shasta

Makes you feel good.....and check out what's below. 

Oh!  Back in Southern Nevada

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The "The Road to Oregon - A Day in Corvallis", edition.

Good Sunday morning. Yes. Still on the trip. I enjoyed the trip because of the new experiences. Ok so we're at the hotel on Corvallis, the Hilton Garden Inn right on campus across  deep in  middle of the Oregon State University sports complex, directly across the street from the football stadium. The hotel room was paid for by Shawn's employer and we stayed with her. The kid delighted at taking care of her folks. :-D  She'll be staying there until she gets an apartment. There is a hitch though. Corvallis is one of the locations for the the total eclipse. And the hotel rooms had been reserved long before the kid even planned the move. So she's being displaced for a day. To north of Portland! (!!!) hooray for the path of totality? 

So we start the morning with Brian heading down to get us some bagels and coffee. The room has a Keurig, but we were unimpressed. And the hotel has a restaurant (!) not something you see much of anymore. Brian also starts the set up for the  dialysis machine. So even though it's portable, he has to assemble some pieces and then set it up..insert a cartridge, hang 6-7 bags of dialysate and a saline bag. Then prime the machine...which includes getting air bubbles out of the cartridge because air bubbles are bad. Don't want an air bubble running through my veins. Yikes!  Then I have to prep know, asceptic technique, cleaning the hell out of my arm and access, then inserting the needles and finally Brian hooking me up to the machine. Sounds depressing doesn't it. It is, but it keeps me alive. It takes up to an hour just to prep, then I'm dialyzing for 3-4 hours. Talk about a time sink. Ugh. Anyway. 

Shawn was there for all the fun, but my child likes to sleep and she was simultaneously decompressing from Illinois and getting ready for a new phase..recharging if you will. I finished treatment around noon. After treatment I was ok. Yay!! So we went apartment hunting with the kid. Phone GPS got us around Corvallis. It's not big...population of 50k maybe, but remember there's a state university there. Heh. At one point a street ended as it went up a mountain. Lol. We went past her work place, and several apartments. And finally stopped at what we thought was a grocery store, but it was actually more like a small Meijers. And the name of the store was Fred Meyers. We all got the irony. Lol. Oh yeah. They had eclipse glasses so we bought some. And yes, she is staying in the hotel for a few weeks, but she still needed groceries. She has a mini fridge and a microwave. This is not new. Last summer she spent almost 2 months in a hotel in Edgefield, SC. The good news is she should be in an apartment by the the first week of September. 

After we shopped we went to lunch. What we learned about Corvallis is there is an overabundance of microbreweries.  Every restaurant brewed their own beer.  Even the deli we went to for lunch. More beer and coffee than you can imagine!!!  And bikes!  

We got back to the hotel. Brian and Shawn broke down the dialysis machine and packed it up so we wouldn't have to worry about it in the morning.  Oh yeah. Knowing how terrifying the route back to Las Vegas would be, I suggested changing the route, taking I-5 back to Vegas instead of back roads through national forests and funky mountain roads.  I had enough time to cancel the hotel reservation in Reno. Maybe new reservations near Sacramento. But Brian and Shawn (who wasnt driving back) said no, it would be ok. I did adjust the return route to take the interstate as far south as possible. We still then had to head east to Reno. The map didn't look promising. 

That's it for today.  You got the dialysis angle right smack dab in the middle of the entry.  We're about done cleaning out the condo for the renters. Cleaning people tomorrow, painting and carpet cleaning this week. I think by mid September we'll be able to exhale. And I can get my dog. That's why we moved!  Lol lol.  Have a great Sunday!!! 

The tree of shoes I forgot to add yesterday. 

This is what we have to pack when I travel. I have several boxes of those hanging bags. And the cartridge is that thing sticking out the side of the machine. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The "The Road to Oregon, A Long Drive", edition.

Good Saturday evening. Late entry for my east coast friends. Ah well. We finally made it to Carson City. Yes, all 3 of us shared the hotel room. I usually get a small suite when traveling with Shawn. She sleeps in the sofa bed. However because of the event in Reno, and rooms in Carson City were scarce and high. We wake up early Sunday morning, get breakfast then head out for the final leg of the trip to Oregon. 

We go through Reno and there's a slight change in vegetation. And while we are no longer on the Pure Rally circuit, now we're sharing the road with classic cars returning from the Hot August Nights, Reno's  version of the Woodward Dream Cruise. I'm cautiously delighted that we're on a 4 lane highway. But as we went past Honey Lake...another large lake damaged by irrigation..the road goes back to 2 lanes. Bah. Not too long after we cross into California.  Oh yeah. We pass a tree of shoes. I almost broke my neck looking at it. I looked it up..when I could get cell service..and found out there are quite a few shoe trees in the US..including Michigan. Who knew?  

We get to a town, Susanville, CA. Quiet on a Sunday morning. The phone GPS guides us to turn here, turn there, then turn again. O. M. G. There is a big ass mountain in front of us. And I see cars going up the face of the mountain at maybe a 30 degree angle. Up the side of the mountain. Yikes!!! Right then and there I started apologizing profusely for taking the shorter route. A two lane highway up the side of a mountain. Up, up. Up. :-(  Glad Brian was driving. Anyway, we make it up. And now on relatively flat land. 3000-4000 feet up, but flat. All country. No doubt we are no longer in the desert now. Lots of trees. 

We are on a 2 lane highway with impossible curves and a 55 mph speed limit. But the locals were quite impatient with us for going the speed limit. One car that passed us gave us the finger. Eh. Oh yeah. Nowhere to stop. No rest stops, no services for 80-90 miles. Ugh. Eventually there is a rest stop. Shawn took a photo. Maybe I can get a copy. There was a lake, but I don't remember the name. I do know we stopped in a town just as we crossed the Oregon border. Good thing we got gas because we were in for more fun. Heh heh heh. 

We entered national forest land. And RV land. And up and down and through the mountain land. Passed more lakes. Seeing the trees climbing up the mountains was a magnificent sight to see. But I'm good. I don't have to do it again!  Lol. Eventually we popped out of national forest land just north of Eugene, Oregon, home of University of Oregon. Whew!  Flat land again!  We could see mountains in the distance, but they were in the distance. 

We finally arrive in Corvallis. Home of Oregon State Univrsity. I chuckled that University Of Oregon and Oregon State Univereity were right down the road from each UM and MSU.  Anyway. GPS phone guided us to the hotel..which was right on campus. We unpacked. Got dinner at Elmers...a west coast chain. Headed back to the hotel and crashed. 

On the dialysis front. The plan was to do dialysis when we arrived in Corvallis, but it had been a long day and a stressful drive. I suggested I do treatment in the morning. One lesson I learned was if we're going somewhere that requires more than a day's drive, the drive should be no more than 6 hours so I can get treatment in. This trip proved to be an issue as I didn't have as many treatments as I should have. And of course when we did treatment when we arrived back home, there an issue. A faulty cartridge issue that we'd never experienced and a rarity. Now I need to do almost a week worthy of days deal with the fluid buildup. This morning I work up congested and had a little problem breathing. I didn't tell Brian. Shhhhh. Our secret. 

That's it for today. There are a few more entries about the trip. And.  We still have boxes to unpack. But we're loving the house! Enjoy your evening! 

Don't look down! 

A National forest. Beautiful! 

Friday, August 18, 2017

The "The Road to Oregon - We're in the Desert", edition.

Good Friday morning!  We're on the road to Oregon!  Now that I found my iPad (remember, I was sitting in it for the first 1.5 hours) we can listen to music. We were chuckling about USB ports in the car for the iPad and using the very well hidden cigarette lighter as a charger for the phone. We carry lots of cables. I've digressed. We plugged in the iPad and now we have music. Shawn was listening to podcasts in her car. We drove through absolute desert. Miles and miles of desert. On a 2 lane highway.  Every now and the a rally car would fly past us. 

Eventually we got to the town of Beatty. You go through little towns on 2 lane highways. And boy did we go through little towns. Some looked like ghost towns..but back to Beatty.  It's called the "Gateaway to Death Valley". Several motels, RV parks, a giant candy store, and of course, a casino. And random burros walking through town. Lol lol. I laughed for 5 minutes after seeing the burro strolling down the street. I'm not in the Great Lakes anymore!  During the course of the trip we encountered burro crossing signs, cattle crossing, deer crossing, horse crossing and elk crossing(!). Open ranges.  Anyway. When we left Beatty town limits, we saw fields of burros. The highway had the contraptions called cattle guards. I think they are there to prevent the cattle from crossing the highway. 

After more desert and rally cars, we get to Tonopah. Not quite what I expected. It's an old mining town. We head out and more desert. And more sad little towns. We eventually see bunkers. For as far as we could see. We were in Hawthorne, the location of Hawthorne Army Depot, a US Army storage depot.  It is the largest ammo storage facility in the world. So I just looked it up..we saw bunkers, but nowhere near the 2400+ (!) bunkers that are there. Now you know Brian is a smart guy. He was able to explain to me what an Army Depot base was and what the bunkers are 

Just past Hawthorne and adjacent to the base was a very large lake, Walker Lake.  But the lake Big, huge lake. Hot summer desert day. No one on the lake. No wild life on or near the lake.  Not even birds.  It looked as if the area had been a resort town at one time. But not now.  We looked it up. Abusive irrigation practices had dropped the lake by over 180 feet. And a because of the lower levels, the solids in the lake are more concentrated....which is lethal to the wildlife. The last fish was caught in 2011. No fish for birds. Basically an almost poison lake. The good news is that there is a reclamation effort. And. Walker Lake was not the only lake we encountered with this problem. So much for fresh mountain lakes. Humans are killing them. I sound like a tree hugger. {Shrug}. 

At this point there is a slight change in scenery. More green, but still a lot of desert. But more homes. And yes, the rally cars are still passing us. Lol. And still a wretched 2 lane highway. 

We finally get near Carson City. We are in some town and we finally leave US 95... We make a left turn. And we see more horse crossing signs.  And sure enough as we make that left turn, a horse trots across  the road we just left....heading straight to the casino. Lol lol lol. Again, I laughed for about 5 minutes. Why did the horse cross the road?  To go to the casino, of course!!  Yes. There were casinos in the most tiniest of towns. Anyway. We getting nearer to civilization, but still the horse crossing signs. We pass 4 horses strolling down the side of the highway...with a sheriff escort. :-D  We were about 30 miles from Carson City. Lol. 

We finally make it to Carsn City about 8 hours after we left Las Vegas. We stayed at the was a cute little casino. Oh. There was also a Big Bear restaurant there. Breakfast was included. I didn't realize that when I made the reservations. A Big Bear breakfast is huge!! Anyway. Had dinner there.  Went to up had breakfast and we were off for thr last leg of the trip. Carson City was pretty nice. Worth a longer visit along with Lake Tahoe. 

On the dialysis front....I got nothing!  No dialysis until the next night when we arrive in Oregon. That's it for today. We're getting back to life here and believe it or not we're still settling into the house. Have good weekend. Still hot here...but it's all in perspective!  

Burro in Beatty

Walker Lake

Monday, August 14, 2017

The "The Road to Oregon", edition

Good Thursday morning!  Last week we began our adventure, a trip to Corvallis Oregon. Why did we drive to Oregon?  Shawn started a new job this past Monday. In Corvallis, Oregon. And she was driving. Yes, she drove from Champaign-Urbana to Las Vegas (!).  She was able to stay with friends on most stops..Nebraska and Colorado. She stopped in Beaver, Utah, but had to stay in a hotel...which lost power in the morning..which hastened her leave time to Las Vegas. So she was here with us for about 3 weeks. Yay!  Happy Grampy! Happy Daddy! Ecstatic Mommy!  We had our Shawnie with us for a while!  But this past Saturday we started our trek to Oregon. 

Remember when we got the car last year?  A small SUV to do road trips with my portable( hahahaha) kidney. Brian suggested we rent a larger SUV for this road trip. And he didn't want to put the mileage on the Escape. So we rented a mid sized SUV, a Jeep Grand Cherokee.  When I picked up the SUV and drove it home, I forgot what it felt like to sit so high up. I liked it!  Anyway. We picked the Jeep up on Friday. I did treatment Friday night, Brian and Shawn packed the cars Saturday morning and we left just before 10:00 AM. 

There are 2 ways north from Las Vegas. On was straight up through Reno and the other route skirted south around the mountains then heads north on Interstate 5 in California  but is a longer drive. Pffft. I mapped out the shorter route. I planned to have us stop in was about the 1/2 way point. However when I tried to make hotel reservations, it appeared most Reno hotels were sold out...or the remaining room prices were high. $200/night for Motel 8?  Lol. Outrageous! I ended up making reservations at a Wyndham Hotel in Carson City. So what was going on in Reno?  A car the Woodward Dream Cruise...except the cars were all parked in downtown Reno instead of cruising down Woodward. Detroiters know what I'm talking about. Anyway. Apparently this is one of the largest events in Reno. Hence the sold out hotel rooms. 

So our 2 car caravan leaves Vegas Saturday morning and head north. The furthest north Nevada we'd been was Centennial Hospital north in Las Vegas where Dad has his hip replacement in 2013. Well we found out that there is another Air Force base just north of Las Vegas and what appeared to be 2 correctional facilities. And US 95 North goes from 4 lanes to 2 lanes...and we'd be on 2 lanes almost entirely to Carson City. :-/  

Initially we had some issues. I couldn't find my iPad. I know I put it in the car..maybe the back seat. I did have my phone..which was also our GPS. And also much too soon, my seat became quite uncomfortable. It was hard. WTH?  I was disappointed with the Jeep.   I wasn't looking forward to sitting on a rock for the next 2 days. Anyway. All of a sudden a pack of fast cars passed us. They all had "Pure Rally" vinyl coverings on them. We had no idea what that was about.  Cars included Dodge Chargers, Camaros, I saw  a Nissan 300, an Audi, and a low rider truck, just to name a few. 

We eventually made it to Amargosa Valley and the Area 51 Alien Center. A delightful tourist trap..with a gas station, snacks, souvenirs, a restaurant and a cathouse. Yes, a cathouse (brothel).  As I got out of the car, Brian tells me he found the iPad. I was sitting on it. Well. That explained the hard seat. And no I have no idea how I managed to sit on the iPad. But I was happy he found it. Lol lol. So this is how our trip started out. Oh. And the Pure Rally?  It was a road rally event. Let's just say for now, that the cars stayed with us...more or less until we turned off for Carson City.  They were headed to Reno. 

The dialysis front. I did treatment Friday. We decided not to do treatment Saturday. It would have required bringing everything into the hotel and setting up it up, doing treatment, then breaking everything down for 1 night in the hotel in Carson City.  The plan was to do treatment when we arrived in Oregon Sunday evening. What I did need to do was watch my fluid intake until I had treatment. And I did. 

That's all for today. I have lots of stories and observations about this road trip and I'm going to share them all with you!  Bwhahahahahaha. Of course you don't have to read it. But you know, trips like this sort of normalize kidney failure and being on dialysis. We do things!  

Have a good Thursday. More to come!  

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The "I Got My Iron Injection...But", edition.

Good Thursday morning!  We're settling in the new house. Just been over a week. We've pretty much moved everything we're  going to move. All of us are just amazed at how much stuff we had in the condo apartment. And we're donating a lot to Goodwill or throwing stuff away. Found a bag of umbrellas.  Lol. I think it's part of a stash of stuff mom got from the casinos. 

So. For the last couple of months I was tired. So very tired. And I knew why. Because my kidneys don't work, I don't produce enough iron and since my body doesn't have enough iron, I get tired. But here's the thing. I have a blood disorder (which probably exacerbated the kidney failure)  Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP)  and an associated skin disorder, Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT) All Genetic. Yay me?  So here's the thing. The iron injections activates the PCT.  Sigh. So what happens when the PCT is activated?  Blisters.  :-(  Lots of blisters. Ugh. My nephrologist and nurses are obviously aware of this so they try to space out the iron injections.  But it was time. And this time I asked for the injection for the  record, this is not one of my favorite things. It takes about 10 minutes for the injection and I can taste the iron. Ugh. But. You gotta do what you gotta do. 

I got the iron shot about a week before the move and a few minor blister started. Ugh. But on moving day? OMG.  The blisters attacked my feet. Multiple blisters on both feet. WTH?  First on the left side of my left foot. Then on the little toe on my left foot. The on the ball of my foot on my left foot. Then on the front of my right foot. Then on the left side of my right foot. Ouch ouch and ouch. Not only was walking difficult, sleeping in my side was difficult because of the pressure on the side of the foot. To say I'm uncomfortable right now is an understatement. Well, the blister on my right foot fixed itself last night. Oh yeah, there was a blister on the middle toe on the right foot, but it came and went silently. Lol. 

So anyway, moving and going places is not on my high list right now. Walking hurts. Fortunately I have 1 pair of shoes that has adjustable straps so I can wear them. Because of the location of the blisters no other shoes fit me...well they fit, but it hurts too much to put them on. I'm thinking it should all be over in a few days...less than a week but for now it hurts. 

The highlight is Shawn is in town. She got a job in Oregon and will be moving in 2 weeks. She drove from Illinois to Las Vegas alone (!!!!).  We'll drive with her to Oregon with a stop in Reno.  She's been a huge help during the move. And we all just enjoy having her around!!  We went shopping for "professional" clothes. We apparently learned a lot from "What Not to Wear". Lol Lol

That's it for today. Not as hot, but humid. Yay? Oh yeah. I'm missing Michigan sweet corn. Ah well. Anyway. Enjoy your day!!