Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August. We escaped the heat in New Hampshire by going to Houston

31 Aug, Monday: The drive to the Toasted Yolk for breakfast did not present a problem, despite morning rush hour with kiddies back in school. Foodified, Cynthia's mammogram in the Woodlands was next followed by lunch at Pappadeaux. We spent the remainder of the day at the Montgomery County Library perusing land records for Person, Edgecombe and Granville, North Carolina
30 Aug: Up "early" to attend worship at Grace. The new pastor is appreciated. Her sermon was a thoughtful call to ponder our response to death. The choir anthem was magnificent; Lutherans do know how to sing. Sunday brunch at the Walden Yacht Club was excellent as usual. After arriving home, we sat for an hour in our Sunday-Go-To-Meetin' clothes, being too-much-over-full from brunch. When changing clothes, Ron realized that he forgot to pay for brunch; we called and were reassured that they'd get even next weekend. Since the outdoor temperature was a pleasantly cool 83, we changed into walking wear to walk the first of two 4.5 mile walks today, one now and one this evening. Whew! 83 degrees without shade in this humidity is still hot. Jon drove past us on the return trip, noticed his mother's anguished look, and returned to give Cynthia a ride home (especially appreciated as she had neglected to apply sunscreen and was burning up. Ron finished his walk talking on the cell phone all the way.
29 Aug: Linda B: Sorry we missed your 24 Aug comment that was made to a now deleted page. We will watch carefully for further comments and approve immediately (see your comments on 7 August, too). Thanks for liking the butterfly watercolor. Lake Conroe appears peaceful; even the boats are moving slowly or they are anchored. Fall weather approaches. The temperature is cooling down . Our fall schedule is taking shape while we stay occupied with our computers, the evening walk to the Caddy Shack for dinner and the nightly 4.5 mile walk to the fitness center.
Linda posted:
Love the butterfly picture.... We'll be thinking positive thoughts for your surgery tomorrow, Ron....I hope the prep is more fun than the prep for colonostomies...Linda on Untitled

on 8/24/15
28 Aug: Where did the 27th go? Ron was awake 6:30 AM and typoing (great new word) emails on the dock as per picture (on this blog below the 24th). Now that the sun is up and blinding, it is time to wrap up outdoors and proceed with James Lea indoors. The weather has cooled allowing us to enjoy dinner on the patio this evening followed by our 4.5 mile walk.
27 Aug: Another day of James Lea and Volume 6. There are just so many fun things to do in life once a person discovers a passion or two. Since Ron discovered his groan (oops groin) yesterday, today he voiced a new description of the one painful part of the operation. The doctor used a pneumatic roofing gun to install two stitches in the femoral artery. Interesting that Dr. Salmon Arain has been able to hide himself from Google. Cynthia is delighted that the house is cleaned and most maintenance is done. Ron will be happy when we get back to the motorcycle - hmm, the old Beemer is in the storage locker and the weather is cooler. Maybe I should put a new battery in and ride to recovery. Our 4.5 mile walk was uneventful.
26 Aug: What a shock it was to walk out of the hospital into hospitable weather, "cool" and pleasant, especially as temperatures have exceeded 100 degrees nearly every day since we left Vermont. We can only assume that Ron's heart is improved. (He cannot feel any difference.) Dr. Arian is really nice and combined the angiogram with placing two stents to improve blood flow through two constrictions in the right coronary artery and a branch. However, there were reasons to postpone opening the blockage in the left anterior descending for a month, so stay tuned for part two. After parts 1) and 2) are done, the doctors will decide how to remedy the atrial fibrillation (or it could be atrial flutter). So we may have a whole series lasting all season. Ron was discharged by nine AM, and Sam (of Sam's Limo) drove us home. Ron & Sam enjoyed a marvelously philosophical conversation. (Cynthia doesn't hear - lucky girl.) We walked into a house was filled with house cleaners while painters worked outdoors. We escaped by walking to the Caddy Shack restaurant for lunch, surprising the wait staff by our appearance. Ron is doing great although his groin is a bit sore. (Ron always wondered the groin is located; now he knows and opines that groin and groan are similar for good reason.
Thanks to everyone for the outpouring of love and support!
25 Aug: The hotel shuttle delivered us to the hospital where Ron was whisked into a fashionable backless blue gown and yellow socks. Rose, the nurse, shaved his chest hair, took vitals, and an EKG. Another nurse, Emilia, inserted an IV talking and laughing, Ron was talking and laughing, Cynthia was laughing, too, despite being unable to hear the stories. Everyone was having a fun time. A later EKG reported Ron was in the midst of a heart attack which made us all laugh; Ron (the athlete) has normal slow pulse combined now with atrial fib made a mis read on the EKG.
Finally, at 12:00 high noon, Ron was waved off to OR by his new best friends/nurses and returned at 3:30 PM bearing two new medicated stents in two formerly blocked arteries: the right coronary artery is now opened with a large stent; and a peripheral blocked artery (unknown before today) is now open with a smaller stent. Those newly opened arteries are gushing good! He will return in a month to repeat the same procedure in the left anterior descending artery. Once that remanding artery gets open the cardiologist will do either ablation or cardio version on the atrial flutter at some point.
Ron is looking great; he has been fed but he must lay flat without moving for a few hours. Thanks to Oke (Inn at Long Trail), Ron has lots of Sudokus to keep him occupied during this time of inactivity. If all goes well he will be dismissed mid morning. Thanks to everyone for the emails and text messages of support. Jon enlisted prayers from over a hundred friends FaceBook. Linda wondered if Ron will need rehabilitation therapy??? Hahaha. Ron rehabilitated?? Hahaha! Happy Ron sends thank you!
24 Aug: Ron again awoke at 4 AM, laid abed until 4:40, and commenced his day with too little sleep. IMMEDIATELY after realizing that atrial fibrillation can perhaps be exacerbated by caffeine, Ron cut that stuff out. The puzzle is that he awakens easily and early and can function well without coffee !! Isn't life strange and wonderful; thank God. Packed and prepared, that's us n's. This is practically unprecedented, that Ron is packed & has ALL his PILES of junk and papers organized. (Well, there is just a tiny bit of recycling left to rinse and dry.) James Lea awaits, and today's focus is Joseph Henderson, a neighbor and son-in-law. Jon drove us to the medical center at 1 PM; we will over-night at the Hilton for Tuesday's 7:30 AM appointment at Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute. The Houston medical center has one million employees making it one of the largest in the world, drawing patients world-wide. Compare it to a city with the population of a million people.
23 Aug: It's again my favorite day: TODAY. Once again we made it to the church on time and enjoyed the sermon and singing. Two exceptional singers were seated right behind us, "singing us." Love how Lutherans learn four part harmony at their mothers breast. We beat the Baptists out of church and into the Walden Yacht Club early to get a window seat for Sunday brunch, too. The staff is very considerate, and Ron shakes hands with everyone there, just like "sharing the Peace" at church. It's a beautiful day on Lake Conroe; no worries about getting cold outside. We spent the day in the air conditioning again (always too strange to wonder how people coped with the heat before air conditioning; then stranger to realize that some people still lack air conditioning; no wonder violence is rampant in some sections of the city - if you can't sleep, you get cranky and irritable). Ron's James Lea focus this morning was John Graves, a neighbor and son-in-law.
22 Aug: Thanks to Steven for driving to Walden to have dinner with us at the Yacht Club and entertaining us with his exuberance at being hired by, not just one but, two companies. He is excited to be moving into his new apartment and has already found a roommate. (Let's hope the roommate is a good'en.) One of us over-ate, the other was comfortably full. Not willing to sit back and enjoy big bellies, we changed into our Hoka Ones for a hike (aka steam bath) through Walden for 4.5 miles during daylight; it was "cool" and overcast today.
21Aug: We have had an exciting day sitting at our computers, walking to lunch, and driving to the UPS to get papers notarized for a power of attorney in case Ron becomes incompetent. Ron quickly noticed the gotcha, "no ending date if he should suddenly become competent." Cynthia reported all of this to Sistah Carol along with word that Ron is fine but she is having symptoms. Sistah Carol replied,
"I didn’t know anyone needed papers to be incompetent. Here I’ve been driving without a license for years! I guess my family tree is one big yolk. I could have warned you that sooner or later you would develop symptoms from living with Ron, but Mother brought me up to "mind my own business".

" How can you have stress when you are homeless, unemployed and have no car to drive in traffic? Sounds like a perfect life to me."

"Ron was always Mother’s perfect child. I have no doubt he will jump this hurdle of surgery, too. Ron had the best teeth, and best smile. He was never sick like Dale. He didn’t streak naked through my 8th birthday party like Dean did. Ron’s feet pointed straight forward when he ran, not pointed to the side like a duck (Me & Dean). Mom and Dad always watched me like a hawk and corrected everything I did and Ron got away with murder. He and cousin Jimmy ate all the pills from the nurse’s kit I got for Christmas and all the grownups thought it was funny. I fully expect Ron will skate right through this surgery and be back to hiking soon." (Ron says if the pill supply had lasted, they probably woulda fixed his arteries.)

Thanks to Carol for the laughter!

Jon posted photos of a few of Cynthia's paintings and drawings from the 70's and 80's on FaceBook today making it easy to copy to the blog:

20Aug: It was to be a big day with Steven visiting us for dinner, but his truck is in the shop and we don't know if he will be able to make it. Ron discovered this morning that he is a distant cousin to James Stewart, the movie star, through his common ancestor, William Armstrong & wife, Flora Campbell. Sistah Carol explained to me how she is identifying snippets of DNA as Graham family, other snippets as Overturff family, etc. It is absolutely amazing; Ron will have to write an explanation for the Swedish Colonial News and other cousins. Cynthia made fat free bread and fresh fruit salad for dinner. Mmmm. Ron discovered a neighbor walking with precious cargo and invited them to visit Cynthia. Baby girl is just adorable, even Ron liked this baby.
19 Aug, Wed: Another day of running errands starting with breakfast at Magnolia Diner (egg white veggie omelets, no surprise there) and then to Lake Conroe Medical Center where they ran an EKG on Cynthia to check out elevated blood pressure. (Ron thinks it is just TOO AMUSING that he has the condition and Cynthia has the symptoms.) Back in the auto, Ron asked about the appointment, Cynthia explained, "I was given an EKG... OH!OH!OH!!! I forgot to have my blood drawn!!!!" She whipped that car around and drove back to med centre and ran back inside so the Nurse could draw blood! Awarelessness (Ron's newest word to describe Cynthia sometimes). Too funny.
I saw rain drops on my window, Joy is like the rain.
Laughter runs across my pane, Slips away and comes again.
Joy is like the rain.

I saw clouds upon a mountain, Joy is like a cloud.
Sometimes silver, sometimes gray, Always sun not far away.
Joy is like a cloud.

I saw Christ in wind and thunder, Joy is tried by storm.
Christ asleep within my boat, Whipped by wind, yet still afloat,
Joy is tried by storm.

I saw rain drops on a river, Joy is like the rain,
Bit by bit the river grows, 'til all at once it overflows.
Joy is like the rain.

18 Aug, Tues: This is a good day; we woke up and Thanked God for those good things. Ron is pleased with progress on Vol. 6 and James Lea; Cynthia is happy about completing the Leas of Caswell County, NC YDNA spreadsheet, and she made bowl of fat-free potato salad. How good is that!! Lotsa pickle relish included. Our big day is but a week away at Hermann Heart and Vascular Hospital. Woo hoo! We are ready to be back to daily hiking. Hiking on the concrete left Cynthia's feet sore; time to break out the Zheng Gu Shui and Voltarin again. After this quick update, Ron will again walk and talk to the fitness center and back. (How many miles, Cynthia?) Oh, Cynthia is already treadmilling away. I'd better get moving.
17 Aug: Out and About in our new Hoka One shoes to LabCorps, to Cynthia's appointment with Bambi in Tomball, to dinner at Mia Bella's in Vintage Park, and to Kroger's Market shopping for food. At 8 PM we walked the 4.5 miles round trip to the Fitness Center and back. Even though the Hokas are awesomely cushiony & comfy, concrete underfoot hurts us. It was another good day.
16 Aug, Sun: Imagine! We weren't late for worship (9:00 instead of 8:30). Pr. Diane Roth's sang Beautiful Savior (beautifully) in her sermon; it was marvelous; the congregation sang like a choir of angels, lovely. Jon accompanied us to church and to brunch at the Walden Yacht Club; Roxanne and Barb met us at the club. Ron entertained the family with new words like "awareless," to describe Cynthia. Cynthia found a funny FB post written by a pastor: "i will no longer attend sports events" followed by the reasons people give for not attending church: seats are too hard, they always ask for money, don't like the same old anthem, people are hypocrites, stuck up, etc. I won't send my child either: when he is an adult he can choose the sport he wants to play."
15 Aug, Sat: Bright and early, our favorite Great Blue Heron flew hither, thither and yon. Yesterday, he flew to and fro. Early birds, early boaters beat the heat, thithering, hithering, yonning to and fro.
14 Aug, Fri: We worked. Significant progress is being made on Volume 6 and James Lea. The Lea YDNA XLS spreadsheet is being revisited. Ron walked after dark when the temperature cooled enough he did not melt on the golf course. We slept.
13 Aug: Cynthia had an appointment with Sasha after breakfast at the Toasted Yolk and Ron shopped for new black Hoka One shoes. Ron wore (with great pride) a new MIT shirt gifted from his beloved ( the old one had a few little holes in need of mending). Cynthia was the only person (all day) who laughed at the labels left on the shirt and shoes! Why remove perfectly good tags that shout new look? Aluminum foil stuck all over her head was funny! Ron looks perfectly Ron.
12 Aug: Since it was so much cooler after a tiny shower last night (accompanied by huge thunder and fierce winds), we opted to walk to dinner. At 98 degrees we didn't even work up a sweat in our half mile (despite a real feel of 111 degrees). More progress on Volume 6 and on James Lea, more progress on other misc. projects. Now if I can just remember to have Clarence send me this years mail.
11 Aug: We heard thunder once this afternoon, but no rain yet. Big trip out and about today, to the safety deposit box, the storage locker, and lunch. Once Mary told Ron that caffeine might exacerbate atrial fibrillation, he has cut out the coffee and cola. It may be healthier, but he still puzzles about falling asleep after meals now. After dinner the sky darkened ominously, the wind howled. It is a dark and stormy night.
10 Aug: The big re-birthday for the back half of Ron's heart is scheduled for August 25, a catheterization to access the situation and hopefully install a stint or two to give Ron (the Energizer bunny) even MORE energy. So now we have to spend two weeks indoors avoiding the 100+ degree Texas heat out there; lots of time to finish a couple of projects. It is amusing that Cynthia's originally scheduled return flight to Boston is Sept 4. We just might make that flight if God and the doctor are willing. Ron is nearly done with Volume 6, and James Lea is progressing nicely. This was the third evening Ron went for a walk after dark.
9 Aug: Because incredibly vicious flames were cascading from the kitchen oven in Heaven, an alarmed angel reported that to God and asked, "What on earth are you cooking?" God answered simply, "Texas."
Yup! KRBE posted a photo of Houston, Texas as a planet nearing encounter with the sun.
Yup!! Summertime.
Last week we discovered that summer worship service begins at 9:00 AM (instead of 8:30), so today we were able to sleep thirty minutes longer. Pastor Jim had a marvelous message: "Life is unfair!" After service we joined Bill and Merry for brunch at the Walden Yacht Club. Ron worked with Bill years ago in the Florida Keys. Now Bill and Merry live 45 minutes from here, and Bill works with our new next-door neighbor After brunch they came to the lake house to see Ron's cardio report with multi-colored PET scan pictures. The view of the lake is lovely (although Ron likes it better when Cynthia is sunbathing in bikini).
8 Aug: Lake Conroe, Texas:
7 Aug: We are still sweating it out in Texas; today's high was 109 degrees in some areas of Houston, with more of the same forecast for the weekend. Thanks to friends and family for phone calls and email, thanks to Walter, Pam, Bill and Marissa. After a light dinner at the Walden Yacht Club, Ron is working once again on Volume 6. We expected the surgeons to call with a date for surgery, but no such luck.

6 Aug: Yup, we are in Houston SWEATING, walking to/from the Cafe on the Green. Actually, we sweat dining outside because the restaurant was filled with martini night followers. The outdoor temperature is hitting 100-103 consistently. Cynthia wears a sweater inside the house because the A/C is cranked down to 68 degrees. We are waiting for a phone call from the surgeon with the date of the surgery. It will likely be soon - perhaps next week. Ron has completed his financial updates, Cynthia is immersed in DNA reports and Sudoku. The lake views are quite marvelous: the water sparkles like diamonds.

5 Aug: Yup, we are in Houston as we speak, at Cynthia's house on Lake Conroe actually. This sudden change of plans came about after Ron became short of breath while hiking vigorously uphill July 17th, the day after Cynthia's birthday. We haven't said much to many since because we don't want worriers to worry (after all, Ron isn't worried). This is particularly true for the pessimist of the Beatty family, Sistah Carol. (Don't worry dear.) We've seen the doctor, he has run a PET scan; the problem is atrial fibrillation, the heart is NOT scarred, so there has NOT been a heart attack. Treatment options are limited due to Ron's blockages and ischemia, so another surgeon will be calling us in a day or two to set up an appointment for an angiogram and likely a catheterization to poke holes in the blockages and insert stints. (Dr.Sal Arain is one of five surgeons in the country who do this, and the other four are his buddies.) Ron agreed to this IMMEDIATELY after Dr. Gould said that the surgeon is very talented and hasn't lost a patient yet. Ron tells Cynthia that at present only half of his heart works, so he can only love her with half of his heart. Maybe soon he will be able to live her with his whole heart. Imagine how active Ron might be if invigorated by a fully functional heart. WoooHa !! Ron has been on the blood thinner Eliquist 5mg for about a week, and Dr. Gould prescribed half of a Metoprolol 25mg to lower Ron's heart rate just a little. Upon leaving Ron quipped, "So what if this causes my heart to revert to normal." To which the good doctor answered, "Then we resume the program" with a smile Flight to Houston began with early rise at 4:30, drive (thanks Pat!) to Rutland Airport (hassle because Cynthia's ticket was not in their system despite the phone call to the Jet Blue Supervisor yesterday afternoon. The wait was a short ten minutes to departure after the hassle. We landed in Boston four hours ahead of flight to Houston, and we were disappointed the VIP lounge no longer accepts AX Premium members. Ohhh well. At least we were on time, it didn't rain, and son Jon picked us up promptly to enjoy the heat.