Sunday, November 30, 2014

Back to Houston

We really do like Houston and we lived here for three months 4 years ago while Terry underwent treatment for prostate cancer. That was successful. He didn't have surgery because of heart issues, but had the proton beam radiation. Thank goodness for choices today.

We will get into Houston later this morning or early afternoon. I have been up since 4 a.m. Grrrr. I hate stinkbugs. I had awakened and while laying there trying to get back to sleep, I felt something crawling on my arm. I jerked (my usual response to unknown creepy crawlies), then jumped up and got my little flashlight I keep at my bedside. Sure enough, there it was, so I ran to get a kleenex, but couldn't find it when I got back. Not to be outsmarted by a stupid bug, I kept looking till I found him and quickly grabbed him and did the quick flush with him. Ugh. I hate those things. So there's no getting back to sleep after that stimulus, so here I am blogging a bit later. Quick note:  I keep a flashlight bedside so if I have to get up during the night, I don't step on the dogs laying at the end of the bed. Butterscotch is the same color as the carpet and the flashlight has saved her getting stepped on multiple times!

We are in Houston for Terry's followup following his new ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator commonly called a pacemaker/defibrillator) placement two weeks ago. We commonly call it his "super deluxe auto a$$ kicker" because if it goes off, that pretty much sums up what it does. The previous device had used up its four years of battery life, but fortunately for Terry, it never "administered appropriate therapy." Tomorrow he will get the itchy tape off and a quick incision check then he's good to go.

Tuesday we head back south the the Rio Grande Valley with a stop back here at Gateway to the Gulf RV Park in Victoria, Texas. We are going to meet some other fulltiming friends who will be there for a doctor's appointment. Whoo hoo!

Till next time. . .


Friday, November 28, 2014

Getting ready to roll again. . .

We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with Mom and Dad yesterday. I had fixed all my side dishes in disposable pans, so clean up would be quicker. We had turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green bean casserole, dressing and rolls. Then Mom brought cranberry salad, a relish tray and deviled eggs. We didn't make big portions of anything, so we wouldn't have so many leftovers to eat, but it was still a lot of food. It was all good, except the dressing was a flop. I pretty much know why. Next time I'll try my regular recipe. After dinner, we watched TV for awhile and just visited. It was a great meal and a great time with my parents. I really cherish these times with them.

Today I decided to get the Christmas tree put up. I was worried about whether or not I had enough time to decorate since it was already 1:30. By the time I finished the tree I looked at the clock and it was 2:30. Hahahaha. So I got more decorating done inside the Texas Room, but didn't put anything outside yet.

On Saturday we are heading back to Houston because Terry has to have his incision checked for his ICD and at the followup they we check to make sure the device is continuing to deliver the proper treatment for him. We are taking Phaeton Place and stopping in Victoria on the way up for a night and then will drive on in to Houston on Sunday. We will be staying at Lakeview this time. We will head back down to Victoria on Tuesday and will stay the night there. We will be meeting up with some friends who have to be in Victoria for a doctor's appointment, so we invited them to lunch at Mumphord's BBQ. Can't wait!

Once we get back down here, things will pretty much be back to normal which means relaxing for the next couple of months. We didn't get our "bling" out yet because we knew we would be leaving to go back to Houston. So we will be doing that when we return. The weather has been pretty good since we arrived. We have some cool nights, but it is warm during the day and coats have not been required.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Settling Down for the Winter!

We did finally leave Houston. We had an appointment on Monday, the 17th, with the doctor. We found him on Medtronic's website. They have a site called "Traveling with Medtronic" for people who have Medtronic devices. Everyone we talked with had nothing but good things to say about him. He is a younger doctor, so hopefully he won't retire on us. We met with him and he went over everything in his charts and then said he would be happy to make the changeout of Terry's ICD. So the nurse came in and scheduled it for the following day! Whoo hoo! I will say that normally these changeouts happen quickly because one's life is in the balance. But it is nice to be treated so very well by the doctor and his staff.

As luck would have it, on Monday night with cold temperatures in Houston, our rear furnace went out. Grrrrr. It wasn't critical in that we didn't have to worry about the holding tanks freezing, but we weren't able to easily heat the bedroom. So I dug out our little electric space heaters for the last night we were there. Terry did some troubleshooting and determined that the thermostat was bad, so he called PPL Motorhomes a few miles away and they had one in stock. So we hopped in the car and drove to PPL to get it. Terry was able to install it and now we have the heat pump, but still no gas furnace. So at least we have heat and once we are completely settled in at our place, he will tear the furnace apart. He's determined that it's the control board in the furnace, so he will be able to do that.

Tuesday afternoon we headed over to the hostpial at 1:00 for his arrival at 1:30. He got checked into his room and then it was a constant parade of nurses and technicians doing what they do. While we were waiting my cousins Jim and Pat arrived. They visited with us before Terry went to surgery and Pat brought some knitting so I could learn how to knit! She has really been special for teaching me. I have been trying to learn crocheting and knitting and she's the only one who has offered to spend time teaching me this craft. She and I had made some scarves using "arm knitting." I had learned how to do it at an FMCA rally and I had already made one, but I had forgotten how to do it from start to finish. I had bought yarn for two more scarves, so we each made one. It was a fun project for two cousins!

Terry left about 3:45, so we three went to the cafeteria so I could get something to eat. We had a nice visit and then headed back up to the room to find out that Terry was done and would be coming back to the room soon. The doctor came in and talked with me and told me everything went well. Then the Medtronic tech came in and said all was well and they set up this device exactly like the old one was set up. I was glad for that, as I don't like them messing with stuff that works the way we want it to. LOL Many thanks to Dr. Doyle and his staff for a great experience. We have to go back next week for a followup and we decided to take Phaeton Place. We will take a few days for the trip

The following day, Wednesday, we left and headed to the valley. Terry was feeling well, took a total of two pain pills (1/2 at a time) and was able to navigate for me. We stopped for the night in Edinburg. We were only about 40 miles away from Mission, but we didn't want to drive in after dark and we wanted to be rested up. So we stopped at Valley Gateway RV park. The hosts were very friendly and the park was not very full, so we got a pull through and didn't have to unhook. We could have, but I didn't want Terry causing any discomfort in his chest.

Thursday morning we drove into our park and got settled. Since we plan to leave Saturday to go back for Terry's checkup, we aren't getting all our "bling" out on our lot. But once we get back and Terry get released, we will be able to get some things done.

One thing I am planning is having Mom and Dad over for Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow! I had invited them a couple weeks ago. It's hard for Daddy to go over to the hall for dinner and I thought this way he would be in more comfortable surroundings. We are having it in the Texas Room and I have everything ready, I think. I got the turkey and ham ready to roast tomorrow. I made my side dishes and they are in the refrigerator ready to go. I made a Pecan Bar dessert that is done. Tomorrow morning I just have to bake and do the mashed potatoes, which Terry has volunteered to do. So we're good! It's going to be a good day tomorrow!

A few weeks ago when we left Zachary, Louisiana, we crossed the new bridge over the Mississippi at St. Francisville. We had been up there when the ferry was running, but had never seen the new bridge. So I've included a picture of that new bridge!

Till next time. . .


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Time Stands Still . . .

Last week we left cousin Gary's and traveled to Paragon Casino in Marksville, Louisiana. We had been there years ago and we weren't disappointed. It's a beautiful campground and very well laid out. The sites are all 75 feet long, so you can pull in and take your time unhooking later if you like. It is full hookup with 50 amp and is a Passport America Park. We camped here for $11.23 a night. WOW!!!! We stayed two nights and went to the casino. The first night we didn't score anything, but we made up for it the next day. We aren't serious gamblers, but it is fun to play a bit.

When we left Paragon, we drove down to I-10 by way of Coushotta and the Red Shoes Indian Casino. We had lunch in the parking lot and spent about an hour playing the slots. Not as lucky here, so didn't stay long.

We drove on to Beaumont, Texas, and spent the night there. On Monday morning, we drove on in to Houston and are in the South Main Street RV Park. We went to the medical center and dropped off some documents of Terry's to the doctor we hope will change out his ICD. The battery is nearing the end of its life and it has been signaling every day now. We could go back to Indianapolis, but who wants to do that in this cold and blustery weather. We hoped to be able to find a doctor here who would change it out. Terry called and talked with his office last week and they said they could see him this week and change it out the next day. Apparently she hadn't done her homework because when we went to the office to get the paperwork done, they didn't know about any appointment. Isn't that the way it always works? So he has an appointment for tomorrow at 2 p.m. We are hoping that the doctor will change it out yet this week, but we will just have to wait and see. If he can't do it this week, we are shooting for sometime after Thanksgiving. We are ready to get down to the valley.

The weather here was nice when we got to Houston, but has been nasty since then. It got cold, but I'm sure everyone reading this knows that as it got cold over most of the country. . .EXCEPT for Florida where Brandon is. I saw on Facebook the other day where they declared it "HATE FLORIDA" day. LOL Once it got cold here, then it started to rain. So that has been nothing short of miserable if you have to be out in it.

A big plus being here in Houston right now though is that my cousin Pat is visiting her brother Jim so I get to see her. I first saw her last spring when she was visiting Jim. It had been about 40 years since we had seen each other. They lived in another state growing up, so we only got to see each other every summer, but she was always my closest cousin. We are the same age and always enjoyed each other. Still do. She has been helping me with some of my "yarn" projects as she is quite the accomplished knitter. Her Mom, my Aunt Ginny, was a great knitter as well and passed that on to her children. Pat and Jim are flying back to Oregon for the holidays, but we may get to see them again before we leave.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, November 06, 2014

Cousin Gary's in Zachary, Louisiana

We arrived here at Gary and Jo's yesterday afternoon and got set up in the back yard. We have 50 amp and water, so all the comforts of home. We are just visiting with family this trip, so just trying to get in some family time.

Cousin Shirley, Gary's sister, is here from Mississippi so it's like a little mini reunion! Jo had a big sale of clothing, jewelry, bags, etc., at their house here on election day. She did quite well and will be doing another sale at a friend's house on Saturday down in Golden Meadow. We will probably head out tomorrow so we don't get in the way of their trying to leave. Gary is headed south to get his one boat. He had to have some engine work done and then he is putting it up for sale.

Those of you familiar with Wally Gator will be glad to know he is still alive and well. Gary, Terry and I headed out in the four-wheel drive golf cart. We headed over to the pond and we didn't see him in the first one, but as soon as we drove up to the pond and called, he came swimming over from the far side. Gary had some chicken parts which Wally was less than happy over, so Gary started throwing him fish pieces. He liked those. Gary couldn't get him to come up on the bank. He just had his head out of the water. He apparently is comfortable with Gary, but doesn't like strangers. . . LOL. Okay by me. He is about seven feet long from what we can tell. I got some pretty good shots of him today. At one point he would float and arch his tail up out of the water. I've never seen that before and not sure what it means. We didn't get out of the golf cart, though. . . no need to take a chance on getting too close.

After visiting Wally, we took a ride out on Gary's acreage to see where they have deer stands and just to look at the fields and woods. It was a neat ride and we enjoyed seeing old homesteads, etc.

It's supposed to get colder again tonight. Man, I wish we could have warmer days. Not sure where we are going tomorrow. It looks like we are going to be able to get Terry's ICD changed out in Houston. We are in contact with a doctor there and has requested some records to be sent from Indy. Hopefully that will go well and they will get the information they need. If they do, we may be able to get the device changed out next week. Will just have to wait and see.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

A brief respite. . .

We decided to stay here another night. I needed to get some laundry done and it's been awhile since we have been here. We are still getting up way to early since the time change, so by 10 a.m. I had the house picked up, the dogs walked and fed and three loads of laundry done. So off we went.

We drove across I-10 to Bay St. Louis and then drove down to the coast and traveled the road along the water. The road is done and quite a nice drive. The beaches look fantastic with really white sand just begging to be walked in. It was a bit chilly on the shore, so we didn't do that, but instead I took pictures of the houses that have been rebuilt since the last set of hurricanes. There was so much devastation and you certainly can tell that there is a lot missing, but it all looks pretty clean and inviting. Businesses are coming back and there are quite a few restaurants. We had lunch at the Blue Crabhouse restaurant. I had the crab claws and Terry had a sandwich. We did take the bridge across to Pass Christian. This bridge was knocked out by Hurricane Katrina. It took a year and a half to rebuild and reopen the bridge. Also damaged was the railroad bridge that passes along a short distance away. I have pictures of that bridge after the storm.

After lunch we continued our drive and took some pictures of the carvings that were done after the storms. Trees along the road were stripped of their bark and leaves and died, so artists carved animals in them and then stained and sealed them to preserve them for a long time. They are beautiful and a testament to the building back of the devastated areas. There are probably dozens along the coast there, but I only got a couple of shots. They are worth taking the drive to see.

Tomorrow we hope to head to cousin Gary and Jo's. We aren't sure if they are there in Zachary, Louisiana, or if they are at their fish camp. We shall see.

Till next time. . .


Monday, November 03, 2014

On the road. . .

We hated to leave the kids in Melbourne, just as we hated to leave the kids in Charlottesville. We only visit them twice a year and we actually stayed longer this time than we usually do. The kids are at difficult ages to leave. They know us well now and they interact with us so much that we really enjoyed our time with them and stayed as long as we could. My parents are already in Texas and waiting for us to get there. They are 89 and 90 this year and we want to get there and keep them company for the winter.

And there is the other business of Terry needing a surgery. We are going to try and get it done in Houston, I guess, but we still have to make the necessary contacts. He has an ICD (internal cardioverter defibrillator) and the device is nearing the end of its life. Once the battery sounds the alarm, it continues to sound every day at the same time and will continue for three months. So we have 90 days to get it changed out. Since it is imbedded in his chest, it requires a surgical procedure to remove. . . they can't just put a couple of AAA's in it, they have to change out the device itself. That's kind of a scarey thing, because he has done so well with this one, but I'm sure there is something newer and better to replace it. Both his cardiologists in Indianapolis are gone. One retired and one left for greener pastures. So the cardiologist we saw last month had never seen him before. He indicated we could go anywhere to have the device changed out and we didn't need to come to Indy. Terry doesn't really want to go to Indy in the winter, so we have been researching medical centers and using Medtronic's website to learn about centers we might try. Really a difficult decision to make. I think we are going to call upon our contacts at Houston who we met during his cancer treatment and see if we can hook up with someone there. Wish us luck.

We spent one night in Lake City on the way across Florida. Then we moved on to Holt, Florida, because we wanted to investigate the mail forwarding leg of Passport America. They were open at 8 this morning and we were there to talk with them and get information about their service. The reason we are considering this is because our mail forwarder in South Dakota was sold in January and our address is going to change. We are thinking that this might be the time to change as well, but still not sure about this. So we will continue to study and peruse the materials they gave us. I don't think we will make a change yet, but we do have some options.

Today we drove through Pensacola and Mobile, continuing on to Mississippi. We saw a police chase in the eastbound lanes. They actually had cars to the left and behind the guy and it was obvious they had him boxed in. Later on when we stopped for lunch, they were stopping the traffic heading eastbound because of the police chase. We were glad we were going the other way. On the bridge across the Pascagoula River, there was a car on fire sitting in the narrow lane off the driving lanes. Smoke was rolling from under the hood and he was getting things unloaded from the trunk. A pickup truck behind us stopped to help him. There were no emergency personnel around.  Now we are north of Biloxi and after we got setup today, we went down to the casinos. We played around a bit, lost some and won some and probably broke even in the end. We were sufficiently entertained. They are making progress on rebuilding the area after the hurricanes of a few years ago, but I sure do miss those big, old majestic houses. There are a few houses rebuilt and some refurbished, but gone are most of the mansions. I want to get out my old pictures I took right after the storms to see how it all compares. Glad to give them some of my money to help in the rebuilding process.

We will continue on west tomorrow hoping to spend a day or two with Terry's cousin at some point. Then Houston to see my cousin who helped us survive cancer treatment. He is having some health challenges of his own and we want to see him. And we will try to touch base with a doctor to do Terry's surgery.

After that, we are off to Texas and will get into our spot in the valley before Thanksgiving. It's been a busier than usual trip for us, with visiting kids, cousins, new doctors, etc.

Till next time. . .