Thursday, October 21, 2010

Done: Visit the hospital (twice)

As most of you probably know, my little "Princess" (as I refer to him when he barks orders) has been occupying so much of my time lately that I haven't had much time for blogging. But...with our 2 trips to the hospital in a month, it has made for some good blogging material. I mean I seriously have considered hanging out in the emergency room for hours again just for amazing people watching! Sure those are hours I will never get back, but then again, watching Matt try to laugh when he can't move his neck or his belly, makes those hours somewhat priceless.

So let's start off with trip #1. This was after cronic neck pain made it so Matt could now not move his head up and down (saying no has always been a problem). The short version of the story: We had to find a family doctor quick, and MRI showed nothing, and drugs weren't helping. My nurse sisters got us concerned and we went to the emergency room to have him tested for meningitis. We went to the same hospital where his surgeon is, thinking that was a wise move. What we didn't think about what the 4 car fatal pile up that caused us to sit on the interstate for an hour, only miles from the ER. But Saline Memorail, we are dedicated to you.

5 1/2 hours later we didn't feel that same kind of love!

Matt & I just aren't the type to complain. Own a restaurant and you won't complain anymore either!! We just patiently waited our turn. Each time the man appeared from behind the doors, we sat up straight (confidence for sure!), gave direct eye contact, and likely gave some winks and smiles. But every time, it was someone else's name. Who you ask? Probably the lady who was wailing on the floor saying she thought she had meningitis (I swear to you I am not making that up!). And then it was the 3 year old with a bloody tooth. My favorite--the young man with a few teeth, no socks or shoes, and probably a wife-beater shirt who drives up very fast to the curb, squeels the brakes, and runs in saying "my girlfriend is not breathing." The receptionist told him he had to sign in (hello, there is an unconcious lady in the car!!) and replied "I don't know her name." Yes, he is what makes Arkansans look bad. Needless to say, she looked dead in the wheelchair, but came out of the triage room 10 minutes later laughing and smiling (hmmm...doing drugs???) Just in case you wonder, yes, she waited 10 minutes to see a doctor. All this, and about 74 other people. We should have counted! Good News is: We did beat the crazy 50 year old crazy woman in pigtails who had a gallon size ziploc bag of her meds with her!

Here's the problem--Matt went into the triage room by himself. Never again! I swear to this day that he told them he had a paper cut! But the funniest part of the story...we can laugh now...was that since we gave up seeing the doctor, we decided to just wait till the next day to call the new doctor back. In the meantime, my nurse sister asked what medicine the doctor had originally prescibed and come to find out--Matt was being treated for menigitis. We didn't NEED to go to the ER!

But since Matt has a frequent buyer club card, we got the opportunity to go back to Saline Memorial last week for his tummy tuck. And here some more stories....

* Matt is such a frequent surgery patient, the pre-op talk keeps getting shorter and shorter. The doctor told Matt he called in a presciption and Matt just assumed it was the special pink body wash he had to use in the shower before surgery (though really...does that help anything?) Imagine our faces when we pulled up in the Walgreen drive-thru and they could barely shove our bag through the window! Not the sample size body wash we were expecting. I noticed flavoring on top....and that is when Matt was introduced to "Go Lightly" (The name given at my sister Sherry's Assisted Living home...with a note of sarcasm)

* I'll spare you the details of Go-Lightly. You can thank me later! But imagine Matt's fear when we went to sign in the next day and they said he wasn't on the list for surgery. I had to chuckle at the thought that he might have endured a miserable night with Go-Lightly for nothing. Obviously, that was an error.

* But the "people greeter" who guided him to the pre-op room said she gave him lucky #13. Really lady, we know you tell everyone in rooms 7 & 13 that! But we'll take any luck we can get at this point.

* Nurse after nurse walked by and said "you look familiar". Yes, we are VIP members!

* But that pre-op room should be called torture chambers. Something about being in there just suddenly makes you hungry and sleepy. And then we sat there for hours not being able to figure out how to turn the volume up on tv--while the nurses watched us on hidden camera to laugh at our misery (though you know we didn't complain!). And me...I FROZE.....It's a bad sign when the nurses wear fleece coats and North Face jackets over their scrubs!

But surgery went well and he has a big ole' scar to prove it. The plastic surgeon applied some donated we think Matt may be 5% black now. Can't wait to see if when he gets in the sun if he looks like a dalmation! But have no fear....the nurses adored Matt for his lack of complaining and sense of humor.
Thanks to Nathan and Natalie, Matt didn't need to push the call button for the nurses. Why use that when he gave them the biggest and best duck whistle ever!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

To Do: Hiking in Arkansas

Had I continued to live in Illinois the rest of my life, I probably would not have discovered that I really like to go hiking. I wouldn't go as far as saying that I have become an outdoorswoman, but I really do like the anticipation of reaching the destination that the trail leads you to, and the ability to use my map reading skills (not every woman can brag about this!). In Illinois, the closest I ever came to hiking was at the Stahl family picnic at Starved Rock State Park, which ironically was also this weekend. I think because of those first experiences, hiking in the fall just seems like a must.

Now I would be lying if I didn't say that my calves ache every time I get out of my chair. And if you see my picking at my hair, I am determined that a tick is hidden among this mess.

The highlight of my hiking adventure, or should I said most memorable moment, was when I was the leader on the trail. It's been hot and dry this summer, so the trails in the "natural state" look a little like this.

Would you notice the brown snake? Me neither! The same snake I STEPPED ON!! Did you hear me? Not just saw, but touched with the sole of my shoe. Ahh!! Matt says he has never seen me move so fast. And to make it worse, we went back to take it's picture to show you (convinced it must have been dead), but only to discover that it had slithered was ALIVE! Just waiting for my return trip I'm sure. And just so you know, I think it was about 6" around and 4 feet long! Matt seems to think it was about 1/2" around and 4" long...whatever! I'm the one who touched it!

Anyway, so while we did enjoy just getting away this weekend on our "staycation" in Arkansas, we also kept talking about our hiking adventures in North and South Carolina. Oh how we wish we could see trees like this again...

We took a 2.5 hour roadtrip to the ozark region of Arkansas to Mt. Magazine, which is labeled in all the magazines (ha) as the highest point in Arkansas--and a sign to prove it! Unfortunately, the trees weren't very colorful, but still a pretty view.

But still not as amazing as the Blue Ridge Parkway!

One our favorite spots (as our visitors will likely attest) when you came to see us in SC was going to see the waterfalls. When we got to Mt. Magazine and picked up the map of trails, we instantly knew that Bear Hollow Trail was the one for us. Sure it was 4 miles of "moderate" decent, but the waterfalls as the highlight would make it all worth it.


we forgot we haven't had rain for 29 days!
So instead, we'll just remember the days when we hiked to waterfall,

after waterfall

and still have so many we didn't get to see. Maybe someday!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vacation all I ever wanted...

The 1st Saturday of October is the perfect weekend to put up Halloween decorations, go to an outdoor festival or craft show, bake homemade bread or pies, watch football, things like that. But for me, the 1st Saturday in October meant sitting inside a freezing hotel for our annual meeting at work. Yes, this is why I get paid the big bucks!

The hotel for our meeting just happened to be next to the Little Rock airport. So throughout the day, we heard several jets overhead. I always seem to picture them as giant Southwest colorful planes, always leaving (because seriously, who comes to LR for a vacation....except family that feels obligated...but leaves having a vacation of a lifetime!). Anyway, my point is that I daydreamed of where my Southwest jet would take me if I could just leave right now.

My first choice--my dream vacation--New England in the fall!

Beaches, shabby chic, lighthouses, antiques galor, colorful trees--I would love it all! I mean, Martha Stewart lives here! Maybe she could show me around...because there is so much I want to see up there that I may have to stay for a month!

Sure, who wouldn't love to go to Hawaii or Alaska, but if I had a passport, I would probably choose the Caribbean first. I think I could handle every minute of this. But Matt, well, he would just have to look, so I guess I will wait till he is "repaired."

Truth be told, if I could get on a plane and go somewhere next weekend, I would love to meet my friend, Amanda, and head back to the Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana. My sister, Sherry, probably looks at this picture and breaks out in hives. But I think of the smell of kettle corn, fried donuts, and pulled pork sandwiches. Ok, and after eating, then we can shop, shop, shop!! It's a serious as feat as you cannot spend all of your money the first day, you can't buy object too large that you'll have to carry around, yet you also can't go back for items because you will never find where that booth was exactly. And just too much great stuff to even decide on! It was at the Covered Bridge Festival 3 years ago that Amanda told me her secret, that she was pregnant. (She was afraid all the trips to the porta-potty would look suspicious.) But it sure made for a memorable weekend!
But, it's pretty likely that we won't be flying out anywhere any time soon. We are thinking instead of visiting the highest point in the natural state, Mt. Magazine, next weekend. It's about 2 hours away and we are hoping for views like this.

We'll let you know how this vacation turns out...stay tuned!