Saturday, February 29, 2020

After Cataract Surgery

My husband has never had surgery. He is blessed. He was also a general/vascular surgeon and oftentimes knows too much. After having the left cataract removed with laser treatment yesterday, we needed to go back over to the doctor office from the outpatient surgery center to get a check on how things went. All I can remember is drops, drops, and more drops. He also had a patch over his eye which made walking and depth perception inadequate. He doesn’t remember getting the light anesthesia cocktail either. When we got home we had a light lunch and he took a nap immediately - but he always does in the afternoon. The problem now is that he doesn’t have the right glasses, really can’t see out of the left eye well yet, and needs to wear sunglasses - something he has always refused to do. Thankfully he has had no pain and slept well last night. I made sure his eye guard was secure -  and he’ll need to wear it at night for a few more days. This morning his eye is bloody, but he has no pain. We are going to go through this in two weeks again for the other eye. Since January we have had so many eye and pre op appointments and filling in forms and paying for lenses, doctor and outpatient and anesthesia and lab bills.... how do people afford this stuff? In the meantime my dear mother passed away two weeks ago today and the trip to Florida and back feels so long ago. Twenty twenty has not started out well for us. It can only get better? Just don’t turn on the news. 

Friday, February 28, 2020

Cataract Surgery

My husband retired twenty years ago. He was a general/vascular surgeon. I was in health care for thirty years - more on the administrative end at the corporate office, but trained as an RN with a masters degree from Marquette. Regardless of all this medical background, my husband is having cataract surgery this morning, and it’s strange. Everything looks familiar and the staff are simply wonderful - so far. There are a lot of eye drops involved. This is the first “surgery” my husband has ever had. I think I am more nervous than him. I’m sitting in the waiting room now - waiting. Unfortunately we will have to return in two weeks for the other eye. When we moved to northern Virginia from DC ten months ago we changed our doctors to our neighborhood. It’s so much easier for us and was a great decision overall. So hopefully everything will go well. Everyone says it should. 

Thursday, February 27, 2020

CD Reader

My old laptop had a CD reader/drive. We used a lot of CD’s back then. When I got my latest Toshiba laptop at least five years ago, I opted not to get the CD drive. I use my iPad for just about everything, and needed a simple laptop for functions the iPad just doesn’t have. I never cared for the iMacs and software, so I just stuck with the what I had been using at work for so many years. Now we have a project that requires reading a CD. Rather than try to figure it out at the local library, we decided to just buy the CD drive and take the time to review the records in the comfort of home. So we drove over to Best Buy and picked up a dell unit. It’s obviously easy to use. I’m sad that I didn’t think about getting it earlier because when we moved almost eleven months ago to our new condo in northern Virginia from Capitol Hill, we threw out all of our CD’s - a couple movies and many albums. You could say we are creatures of having the least amount of junk on our hands. When we moved, we purged even more of the few things that we owned. If it’s really important we can always access the music or the movie digitally. Somehow that never happens. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Lake Pasadena Park

We go to the pond every time we visit Florida. We were just there in December when we were visiting my mom. She was doing better at home and was in control of things, but had caregivers living in the home 24/7. I had a feeling it was going to be our last visit - and it was. Mom took a bad fall in January and never really snapped back. The last year has been very difficult for her and she passed away last week. As we were going through things in the house we decided to go out for a late breakfast. Afterwards we took a ride to Pasadena Pond. It’s my husband’s favorite place. As youngsters we would go there with stale bread from the bakery to feed the ducks. We fished there, and at a smaller pond closer to home, with bamboo rods and dough balls. There is something peaceful about the place. All the birds cohabitate without a lot of fuss. The birds freely move around the area and end up in someone’s front yard. They hardly notice the dogs as they approach. So we drove around the pond a couple of times. The island seemed quiet, the snapping turtles were sunbathing, and the feathered friends approached the car hoping for a handout. I’m not sure when we will return to this place. Mom was really the only reason we traveled to Florida. I’m not sure I want to return. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Bromeliad Surprise

There was a message that there was a flower delivery for us in the lobby of our condo. We had no idea what it could be, or who it was from, except that my mom passed away recently. When I went to retrieve it I wasn’t surprised at all that it was from our friends Mike and Ben. I worked with Mike at the Library of  Congress for ten years. What was funny about it is that Mike was from Florida, like me, and he went to Florida State, like me. Towards the end of my work life, we had coffee every morning. He visited with us at our condo on Capitol Hill and we got to know him and his family. When we were driving to Florida last week, Mike was texting us every day asking how we were doing and generally following us on the journey with my mom. So yesterday we received a bromeliad plant from Mike and Ben. The story behind it was even better. They have a bromeliad plant that they call Ben’s mom’s plant because they got it in 2009 when she passed away. So every time it blooms it reminds them of her. So we found a special place for the plant and hope it will last for a very long time. It was such a thoughtful gesture. We are so lucky to know Mike and Ben. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

La Quinta Disaster

We had to leave in a hurry to get to Florida before my mom passed away last Saturday. So we didn’t have any hotel reservations. For whatever reason, every place we usually stay was booked solid for the entire weekend. That lead to a search for anything while we were on the road - almost frantically - when we finally booked La Quinta by phone in Pinellas Park. Unfortunately I never received the confirmation email so we didn’t know the address and there are five La Quintas in town. All I knew was that it wasn’t even close to our house. So we stopped at the first one and they didn’t have our reservation. The attendant didn’t even bother to help us - she basically said figure it out yourself. Then we drove to the next one. Still no reservation. But this time the manager on duty was so sweet. She called all the other places to find out where we needed to go. We left her a tip for pizza for her kindness during this stressful time. Apparently a concert, state fair, Presidents weekend, and February in Florida contributed to the weird situation we found ourselves in. We were relieved to finally find the hotel, but were aghast at the surroundings. It was plain filthy and disgusting. It looked like something from the 1940’s - outside doors, cigarette butts all over the place, unkempt visitors, loud music, smelly room, window air conditioner, holes in the curtains, scary place. Since we had no choice, we made ourselves stay the night. The next day I searched for other options hoping things would open up by Sunday night. Luckily they did - and we booked Sunday through Wednesday at a new Holiday Inn closet to home. But we needed to get at least a two day refund from Priceline - which we never use. So we had to travel back again to that awful place to drop the key and make sure the refund was processed. Luckily it was. So we ended up paying for a second night at that horrible place because of the timing, but neither one of us could wait to get out of there as fast as we could. The photos don’t do it justice. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Running Out of Gas - Literally

I never, ever drive with the tank less than half full. I have never been in a position to run out of gas - I am too practical to allow that to happen. People have made fun of me for being so paranoid about it. Our Subaru Forester also has a few readings in the dashboard that show the fuel status, as well as how many more miles one can drive until the tank empties. Driving back home on the day of my mom’s funeral in Florida, we were already in a weird state of mind. Our destination was Savannah, Georgia and we had at least thirty miles worth of gas to go - or so we thought - to reach the exit which was only a couple more miles off I-95. Without any warning or red light or anything, all of a sudden our car stopped in the middle lane right before dusk on an overpass/bridge. I’m not sure how we managed to reach the side of the road - in all the traffic - without getting hit. I had just asked my husband if we should stop for gas - at this exit - just to be on the safe side. When we looked to our right, and down the hill there was a gas station. So we put the flashers on, got out, locked the car, and slid down the muddy incline. Of course, no gas can was available to buy, and none of the customers coming in had one either. So the attendant called the gas station across the very busy street - during rush hour - and found out they had one gallon containers. So we ran for our lives across the street as the sun continued to set. We purchased the gas can and one gallon of gas, ran again across the highway, and back up the muddy hill to our car. Neither one of us could figure out how to use the darn thing - just sticking the nozzle in the slot didn’t do anything - it was splashing on us. Finally I figured out to turn the gas can and nozzle a different way, and pump the nozzle until the can emptied. We lost the cap to the can but kept the nozzle on. We started the car and got off the next exit to fill the tank. Looking back we were so fortunate that this event happened while it was still light outside, the weather was fine (no rain or snow), we didn’t get hit while miraculously pulling to the side, the gas station was within walking distance and not in the middle of no where, and we had AAA if we really needed it. I’ll be writing Subaru a letter about our experience. It just should not have happened - especially on the day of my mom’s funeral. 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

A Death in the Family

She was 97 years old. But to me she will always be young at heart, so generous and independent. That was my mom. One week ago this afternoon she passed away at home in Florida - in the same house we moved to in 1960. She was completely in charge until the end. The last year has been very difficult for her. I knew she was failing but believed she would pull out if it. But logically speaking I knew that wouldn’t be the case this time. I treasure the weekly phone calls we had since I moved out of the house in 1975 - and the almost daily emails over the last many years since she got her first iPad. I had a feeling our visit in December would be the last. It was the best birthday I can remember. Mom and Dad made funeral arrangements many years ago, and they would be buried at Florida National Cemetery. Dad was 21 years in the Coast Guard and Mom was in the Navy. So Mom joined Dad on Wednesday after the military honors. I’m sure Dad is happy now. It’s going to take a while for me to get used to all of this. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Garage Parking Columns and Cars Don’t Mix

It feels so good to finally have underground garage parking after thirteen years of street parking when we lived on Capitol Hill. Our assigned parking space in our new condo in northern Virginia is next to a column. So we are very careful every time we park and every time we leave. Whenever we park in most parking lots we always drive in head first to the second space so we can drive right out without having to back up. We rarely pull in backwards in confined spaces. This afternoon we went to a local Greek restaurant for lunch. We ended up parking next to a column - head first - in an unusually busy and tight parking garage. Unfortunately when we were pulling out, the front right bumper scraped along the column, not only denting the bumper, but taking the car paint off along with it. Luckily our Subaru isn’t “new,” but it’s only four years old. And also luckily, we happen to have a Subaru paint pen because the rear bumper once took a mild hit when I was backing up a couple of years ago. When we got home we cleaned off the mess and applied the paint to the obvious spots. Later today we’ll go back and seal the same areas. The next time we bring the car in for a routine check we will get an estimate on a bumper replacement - but I think the damage extends to the wheel as well. At least no one was injured and we can still drive the car. Just when you think you have your expenses under control something like this happens. At least the car will be inside rather than outside so the damage may be contained. We just need to stay away from all the columns. It’s just not worth it.