Friday, July 31, 2015

July 2015, Good-bye!

This is one July I hope fades quickly into the past. Oh, there were some good times including two trips, a prebirthday brunch, and a live production of "The Music Man," but during the past 31 days I have been dealing with a bladder infection that escalated into a severe kidney infection, passing into the bloodstream.

July 1 I landed at the Seattle airport and announced to my daughter I thought I was experiencing a bladder infection. I requested stopping at a grocery store where I could buy some cranberry juice. Each morning I drank a glass of the juice. July 4 should have been a fun day, including a picnic on Heidi's beautiful patio. Instead, I lay in the guestroom bed, shivering and with teeth chattering. The next day when Heidi and I had an appointment at a glass-blowing studio, I felt poorly, and after a few puffs into the glass-blowing tube for the piece I was making, I turned it over to her. On the way home she asked me if I wanted to be taken to see a doctor, and I declined. I thought I would be fine.

I flew home on the 8th, and 8 days later I left for Branson with my cousin Pat and sister. It was a long car ride, and I was fatigued when we finally arrived at our destination – my friends, Jim and Lil's. I had a bathroom next to my bedroom, which was great because my new pattern had become getting up about every hour during the night. We stayed at my friends' until early Monday morning when we started the long drive back to Minnesota.

The nightly trips to the bathroom continued, and consequently, I was quickly running out of steam. I struggled to stay awake at work. I took naps on Saturday and Sunday, which is very rare for me. I just couldn't get enough sleep. I knew I should have seen a doctor earlier in the month, but I kept putting it off because I am not a fan of my new doctor. [She is new to me due to the retirement of my former doctor in April of 2014. He was my doctor at least 16 years.] I was getting worse, and yet I fought my common sense.

Everything came to a climax last Sunday. At 3:30 am, I awoke shivering and teeth clicking together. I got up and found a thermometer. The reading was 101 degrees. I took two Tylenol, grabbed another blanket, and was able to go back to sleep until the alarm went off. I got up, got ready for church, sang in the choir, and sat through the sermon, followed by joining my friends at a nice restaurant for an early birthday celebration. When we nearly done with our brunch, I began shivering again. As soon as I got home, I changed into warm pj's and covered up with a couple of blankets, and fell asleep. When I awoke a couple of hours later, I felt terrible. I took my temperature and it was 102 degrees. I had to bite the bullet and get myself to Urgent Care to get some medical attention.

I prayed all the way to the clinic – about 5 miles away – praying I would stay alert so I wouldn't cause a car crash. I made it there and went inside. On the form I filled out, I wrote I thought the reason for my visit was a possible kidney infection. My back hurt like crazy, and I was shivering. The receptionist informed me there was one patient ahead of me. Whew! My hopes raised. Well, that didn't turn out to be true. Before calling my name, they called in a woman who had arrived well after I. Disappointed! FINALLY, it was my turn. The doctor took my temperature and again it was 102. She had me provide a urine sample. After a little time passed, she came back to the room and told me I had a severe kidney infection and would I like to go to the hospital in an ambulance? Or was there someone who could take me? I called my son, Peder, and he came to my rescue.

The ER at the hospital had been alerted I was coming so I was shown directly to an ER suite. After a doctor asked me a few questions and did some vitals, I was admitted to a room. The next day the doctor came to my room and informed my my white blood cell count was 22. Over the course of the next four days, I had lots of blood draws and received many bags of IVs of saline solution and antibiotic medication. I can't say my stay was pleasant, but that was because I was so sick. While in the hospital, the infection escalated from my kidneys to my bloodstream. This was very serious, and I was scared when I got the news. I prayed and prayed that God would lead these medical experts into finding the best medicine to turn my situation around. Yesterday (Thursday) around lunch time, I got the report my bloodstream was cleared and I would be permitted to go home.

Over the course of those 5 days, I met so many really nice people. The doctors and hospital staff were awesome! It made my stay easier. I still have the kidney infection, but am on medicine for the next 10 days. I will see my doctor this coming Wednesday to be tested for improvement levels. So you can see, I'll be glad to turn the calendar to a new month tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Trip to Branson

Last Thursday, my cousin, sister and I set out for Branson, Missouri, where we would spend the next few days with my dear, dear friends, Lillian and Jim.

I have known Lil since March 8, 1988. Here's some history:

Lil and Jim lived in Waseca and owned a furniture store, but in late 1987 and 1988, they were driving to Austin on weekends to help start an Evangelical Free Church. Early in 1988, my kids and I were church "shopping." I told them (just Peder and Heidi then) that we would visit each church twice before making any decisions. One Sunday we happened into the church where Jim was preaching because we were too late for the one we had planned on attending. It was a small group of people (only 19 counting us), but they were very friendly. We went back the second Sunday, and Lillian met me at the door and invited us to stay for the pot luck dinner. I tried to decline since we hadn't brought anything, but she insisted we stay. That day was the beginning of a WONDERFUL friendship. About 15 years ago, they sold their furniture store, their home, and their cabin in Lutsen and built a beautiful house overlooking Table Rock Lake, just south of Branson. It comfortably sleeps 12, and they love having company. I don't make it down there as often anymore, but they come up here and we always get together. Neat, neat people!

We pulled into their place around 7 on Thursday evening. It didn't take long for us to move to the deck where we visited and visited, and eventually watched the first planet appear—then a second one—and then stars, thousands of stars. This was a treat for me since I live in a highly populated area where there are many, many lights. One forgets all of those stars are out there!

View from Lil's deck – Table Rock Lake in the distance.
Friday we headed north and east to Mansfield, Missouri, to the Rocky Ridge Farm, the final home of famous author Laura Ingalls Wilder. There we toured the museum and her two homes. The museum houses many of the personal items of Laura's, including Pa's fiddle. There is also a section of memorabilia of their daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Touring the Rocky Ridge Farm house was really interesting. Laura's husband, Almanzo, built it room by room. He also made some of the furniture. Everything in the house belonged to the Wilder's. Later on in their lives, Rose had a more modern house built for her parents on an adjacent piece of property. She called it Stone House and paid for it with money she had made from the royalties she received for books she had written. Her parents lived in it for seven years, but then moved back to their original farm house. Both houses are now museums. This trip made me interested in reading the Little House Books once again.

Lil and Pat outside the home at the Rocky Ridge Farm

Stone House
After touring the Wilder homes and museum, we had lunch at a local spot and then made our way to the next community where we found an Amish general store on an Amish farm. All of us enjoyed looking around in there and bought a few items.

Saturday afternoon we went to the Sights and Sounds Theater to see Jonah. If you have never been there, or to the identical one in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, you should put it on your list of places to visit. In the past we have gone to this theater to see Joseph, and Noah. In the evening we went to the production of The Duttons. They are a husband and wife team who raised 7 natural children and adopted 7 more. They taught all of the kids to play several musical instruments. Talk about a talented family! We really enjoyed this show.

Sunday morning we went to church with Jim and Lil and went home to a delicious home-cooked meal. Lil is a fabulous cook! Oh, my. She fed us so many good things while we were visiting. Later in the afternoon we went to another show—a variety show. That was fun, too. Sunday evening was spent watching a movie and working a bit on a jigsaw puzzle. Monday morning we headed for home.

Traveling is really nice, but there's no place like home! I'm so glad to be back in my own home, with my own bed and pillow, with my cat Nels, and back to my job.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Summer trip to Seattle

Last Wednesday I flew to Seattle to spend a week with my daughter, Heidi, and her family.

We have been having a very nice time, doing a lot of things indoors since it has been so very hot—high 80s and low 90s. One day Marshall and I went to see the movie Inside Out, after which we went to eat at Panera—a favorite of Marshall's and mine.

On Saturday, a picnic on their patio was planned for dinner. Unfortunately I didn't join in because I was feeling under the weather. I had the chills most of the day. Later, a bit after Heidi, Marshall and a friend of Heidi's went down to the shore to watch the local fireworks, I got up and together with Chad, Corinne, and Brian, we sat in a bedroom where we had an excellent view of the local fireworks—in air conditioning. I'm not sure what the deal was with the way I felt, but am blaming it on the heat.

This is Corinne at the water park. She loved it!
Sunday Heidi and I went to Seattle to a glass blowing shop where each of us made a glass object. Heidi has done it many times now, so she felt comfortable helping with many of the steps. I wasn't feeling 100%, so I only blew a bit of my art work and Heidi finished it off for me. She made a blue/white votive and I made a deep purple fluted bowl. Our pieces take several days (inside a kiln) to cool down, so she'll pick her up this weekend and mine is being shipped home.

Yesterday we drove to Mount Rainier, thinking it would be cooler up there. It was not. Heidi had never seen the creeks with so little water running, and there was less snow on the mountain than she has seen. Rainy Seattle has had no measurable rain since April—very odd. It's normally dry in July and August. There were lots of wildflowers blooming on the mountain, however. It was nice to see them. We saw a deer at the visitor center that had the visitors all shooting pictures.


It has been fun being with this part of my family again. Corinne is growing up so much, and to my surprise, Marshall is reading and reading. I guess I missed hearing about that during his school year. This morning we stopped at the library so he could choose a supply of books.