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July, 2002

 

July 31

It certainly felt good to be in my own favorite bed last night, although I didn't sleep as well as I'd hoped. I have been taking a sleeping pill the night before I drive, because I used to get so keyed up that I couldn't sleep, and the result of that is that the next night I don't sleep well at all. Ambien is not supposed to be addictive, but I can certainly see how a person could easily become dependent on it. I am bound and determined not to do that, so as a result, I endure a sleepless night occasionally.

 

The other reason I didn't sleep so well is that there was one cat on my left side and the other where my legs were supposed to go, and neither of them was about to move so I could stretch out or move around. Tonight should be better.

 

It turned out that for all the trouble I had getting my Mediport flushed, it is apparently easy to get blood tests ordered by out-of-town doctors. So I will take my faxed order and hustle down to Portage Health Services tomorrow.

 

I'd just as soon not drive again so soon, but it is a good excuse to try to find some new bird feeders, which I didn't have time for in Detroit. If I end up having to get my blood drawn frequently (and I suspect I may for a while), I may get to do some exploring down in the southern part of Keweenaw, where I haven't spent much time at all. I will be sure to take the camera wherever I go, just in case I see something worth documenting.

 

There was a half a crate full of mail and four packages waiting for me at the post office, so I spent the later part of the afternoon writing checks. Only two bills are actually late, which is a relief. I didn't know exactly what was outstanding, and I was afraid I'd have to spend a whole day on the telephone. My nice neat desk and office are now a perfect rat's nest (already, after one day!), and a lot of the stuff I brought back with me is still in the back hallway. Maybe after I get the blood draw out of the way, I can begin to tidy up. I also need to do some wash, another thing I didn't have time for.

 

In my entry of yesterday, I forgot to talk about the sights along the way north. in the lower peninsula and the eastern UP, there are fields of Queen Anne's Lace and white sweet clover (I even saw one patch of yellow sweet clover). In some places, there are still some daisies, although they are nearly gone. Especially in the lower peninsula, there are places where most of the medians are full of spotted knapweed. I know that is a noxious weed, but when you see a whole area of lavender, it is pretty. The goldenrod is starting to come out, but it's early for that. There is some kind of greenish-yellow flower that grows in the damp places that I haven't had time to identify yet - I  think it's a relative of wild parsnip. More than in the earlier part of the summer, though, there are long stretches of roadside that are just all green, no flowers at all. I find that gets boring after a while. Spring and fall are the prettiest times, with all the color.

 

There is color in my driveway, I noticed today, some beautiful dark blue flowers I haven't looked closely enough at to identify - if I can. I will try to take some pictures tomorrow. There is some gaillardia, too, and more scabiosa. So some of my wildflower seeds have been growing. Most of the ones that have bloomed this year are annuals, though, and I only hope they seed themselves. I guess the wildflowers are enough of a success that I will get some more seed and try again in the places where it didn't take.

 

Today started out crystal clear and just beautiful, with a nice beeze and a temperature around 70. By the time I got to the office, it had clouded up, and it kept getting darker and darker until I was having trouble reading, and we had a good thunderstorm and a nice rain. After that passed through, it slowly cleared up again, until it was beautiful when I went to dinner. While we were eating, it began to cloud up again, and they are predicting more thunderstorms over night.  If you don't  like the weather, just wait five minutes...

 

At least it's cool, even though it's very humid. I do love living beside that great, cold lake! Even down in Houghton, it's hotter. I'm glad we're getting some rain, too.

 

I had dinner at Harbor Haus, with Shirley. I would have done it anyway, but it was sort of a celebration, because today is my birthday. I sort of stopped making a big deal out of birthdays when I turned 55, but I find there is some satisfaction in being able to tick off another year and still be here. Especially this year, it's satisfying to know I've made it through and whatever is wrong with me isn't all that serious. Maybe I can look forward to another year.

 

When I was waiting in the cath lab recovery room after they inserted my catheter, pretty tired and a little disoriented from lack of sleep and the stresses of the day, the nurse on duty called up to ICU and said, "I have a sixty year old patient..." and I said to myself, who's that? What sixty year old patient?  Aren't I the only patient in the room? I rather ignore things like my age unless it's forced upon me. 

 

DC wants back on my lap, so I will publish this and toddle off to the north end.

 

July 30

Well, I made it!

 

I had intended to get up at 5:30 and get an early start, but I didn't get to bed until midnight, and at 5am I turned off the alarm clock and slept until 7. So as a result, I didn't get on the road until after 9am. 

 

For the part of the trip from Champine through Saginaw-Bay City, that was great, because I missed the rush hour. Dr. Lehman needn't have worried about me stopping frequently, because I was getting rid of the last of the fluid they had been hydrating me with...every hour and a half or two hours, all the way to Newberry. Of course, that slowed me down.

 

After Newberry, though I was in outhouse country, and...well...

 

It wasn't hot but it was very humid when I left Grosse Pointe this morning, and my clothes were soaked before I finished loading the car, but I had the air on all the way, and I was actually pretty comfortable so long as I was driving. However, it was 85 in Newberry, and when I stopped for my second lunch at the rest stop across from Scott Falls (I love that place!), it was 89 in the shade!

 

All along the shore, from Munising to Marquette, every place there was a beach there were people in the water, looking like it was quite warm enough to swim. I bet it felt good...having a bathing suit on would have felt good, believe me! I must get down to see Laura at the Dive Shop and get some beach shoes. I wouldn't be surprised if my end of the Harbor is pretty warm, too.

 

Anyway, it was beastly hot all the way from West Branch to Hancock, and I was worried about how it would be here. Not to worry. It was 73, with the wind from the southeast, and humid enough that I was soaked again and exhausted before I got the car unloaded.

 

In order, though.

 

I am going to have to seek out the MDOT website and send them a nasty email. The outhouses at both Scott Falls and Canyon Falls were just plain gross - so bad I nearly barfed. I know it's hot, and I know at this time of year there are a lot of tourists, but conditions like that are simply inexcusable. A well-maintained outhouse is never wonderful, but a bad one is intolerable. Since all the rest stops in the UP (after the one at the bridge) that I know about have outhouses, I'm not sure what I will do when I go south again. Good thing my insides are back in order this year. It's been more consistenty hot this summer than last, and that must be the difference. I don't remember the facilities being quite so bad last year. Canyon Falls and Deer Lake, in particular, used to be pretty good, but not this year!

 

So I only stopped three times after I crossed the bridge, and one was for gas, too. I was afraid to stop anyplace else. Besides, after Canyon Falls, I was too close to home...

 

Tuesday is a great day to travel, I think. Traffic was very light, even going through Marquette during the rush hour. I wouldn't have wanted to be going out of Marquette and turning east on M28 - there was a lineup of cars three blocks long waiting to turn onto M28 to the subdivisions along the lake - but in my direction it was pretty good, and Houghton and Hancock were dead.  There were a few very slow drivers, but traffic was light enough that I could get around them.

 

I pulled into my driveway at about 8:15, just a tad over 11 hours, so if you subtract the time I spent at rest stops, I made very good time indeed. When I pulled up to the house, Buster was staring out the front door with his eyes wide open, like he didn't believe what he heard and saw.

 

DC came out of the bedroom when I came in, and he meowed for about half an hour, but he wasn't chewing me out - I know that tone - he was just saying "you're home, you're home, you're home!" 

 

So everybody at Rainbow's End is very happy tonight. I'm OK and I made it back all in one piece. When I saw how cool it was, I shut off the air and opened the windows, and the smell of the woods was so sweet and clean, I just wanted to OD on air. It was a beautiful evening, almost perfectly clear, and shortly I will turn off the monitor and look at Venus hanging in the west, just like she was in the pictures I saved from last week.

 

I need to unpack the cooler before I dive into the shower, but I won't be up long. It's so good to be here!

 

July 29

Well, since I have to move the mail files back, I'll just do a journal as well, even though it's late and I  need to go to bed.

 

I'm home on Champine. My INR was 2.3 this morning, and while it was a comedy of errors, I did get out about 10am. First, my 5am blood draw didn't get done until 6:30, because while the nurse on the floor could see it in the computer, somehow the lab couldn't. She called at 6, and the blood drawer (I know - they have a fancy name beginning with p) ambled in at 6:30, so the same nurse took the sample down to the lab herself. Then, Dr. Lehman wrote my discharge, but forgot to write an order to disconnect the IVs, and my nice but cautious day nurse wouldn't do it without at least an oral order.

 

But finally I got out. There are some gotchas. I have to find someone to draw my blood and send the results to Lehman by Thursday, he said, and he wants to see me in two or three weeks (guess when I'm going). I don't relish driving down again in mid-August, but I'll try to be good.

 

The Secretary of State's office was a zoo - I was #43 when they were serving #23 - but when they put up a sign saying the computer was down, a bunch of people left, so I only had to wait an hour.

 

When I walked out of the hospital, it was like walking into a Turkish bath - the temperature was only 82, but the humidity was so high it was like breathing water, and it got hotter and hotter all day, until I was about parboiled. After I came downstairs to try to move the files, it started to rain gently, and the temperature is now down to 73 again, but the humidity is essentially 100%. 

 

The car is partially packed, and I probably won't get too early a start tomorrow, but it will be a slow trip anyway, because I've been instructed to stop every couple of hours and walk around.  Lehman wasn't too happy about my leaving right away anyway, and he would have preferred that I stay another week, but I wasn't having any.

 

So that is almost the end of my latest adventure, I'll be going back to the field tomorrow, and I'll get this published and the files moved back and go to bed...and sleep in a real bed for the first time in two weeks!

 

July 28

The number of the day was 1.9, so if the trend continues, it should be 2.0 tomorrow and I am OUT OF HERE!!  Dr. Dickenson is being very nice about it, and ordered the blood test early, and he will put me at the top of his list of patients, so I can get out as early as possible. I keep wondering what happens if it doesn't budge, but the trend has been clearly up since I started getting 10mg of coumadin.

 

I also keep wondering, if I get out of here by noon (optimistic, I know), will I have time to do everything I have to do, pack the car and get any sleep?

 

What will probably get dropped is the journal, so I guess that if there is no journal tomorrow, you can assume I got out. There probably won't be one Tuesday, either, if I do go back, because I will be tired when I get to Copper Harbor and since I have been making multitudinous changes to the files on the laptop, I will have to copy them back to the desktop, which takes a while to set up as well as a while to do.  I'll do my best, but don't anybody panic if there is no journal until Wednesday.

 

I hate to not backup the files on the desktop at Champine, but I know there won't be time for that, so I will just have to skip it.

 

It was a good day to be in air conditioning, and in fact, in the middle of the afternoon, it got pretty warm and humid in the hospital. That happened while I was up in ICU, too, and the only solution they have is to set up big fans to blow the air around. It was warm and very humid in Detroit today, and apparently with all the improvements they have made at Bon Secours, they have not done much about the air conditioning. When I think about all the electronics I saw in my travels around here, and how cold they have to keep the rooms for them, I bet the problem is that the air conditioning units were never sized for all the heat now being generated. One of these days, either something exceptionally expensive will overheat or the AC will break down and they'll have to improve things.

 

I know hospitals are being squeezed in every direction these days - what an awful job hospital administrator must be! - but it often seems they spend the money on glitz - like the lovely skylights in the OR recovery room - or the state-of-the-art equipment in the Cath lab - and sort of ignore the nuts and bolts of running the hospital. Like air conditioning, or the blood pressure machines on this floor, all of which give ridiculous readings. I mean, my blood pressure has never been 70/40, and if it ever is, you'd better call the undertaker. I'm not the only one who has complained about the machines being wrong. When they take it manually, it's a perfectly reasonable value.

Then there was the aide who, when I protested, said, "well, it's within range" and left.  Another story, and another rant for another time.

 

It was humid in Copper Harbor, too, but the temperature was in the low 70s - my range - and it was sunny until around 6:30. It's cloudy now, but radar shows the rain is still in western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota, so it will be later this evening if it rains again. Shirley said the rain last night was just the kind we need, but we are so far behind that we need a couple of weeks like that, and it would probably be better not to have it during the height of the tourist season.

 

So I'm still waiting. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

 

July 27

Well, I'm still incarcerated. My INR was only up to 1.8 today. I got a bigger dose of coumadin again, but now all bets are off. I'm getting discouraged. We could inch up for another week, point by point. Eventually, I'll run out of things to do, all my bills will be late, and I don't have any idea which ones they are, or the telephone numbers of the companies, so I can't even call them to tell them.  Besides, the fur balls will be sure I'm never coming home. Oh, my.

 

It was a cloudy day here today, and I guess from some conversations I overheard, it spitted rain off and on some places. It was apparently warm and humid - just the kind of weather I don't like.

 

It looks, from the pictures, that it started out to be a beautiful morning in Copper Harbor, but it has now clouded up and it is warm and humid there, too.

 

So there's nothing more to report. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

 

July 26

I'm inching toward the end. Again my INR levels were up, to 1.7, but they want it between 2 and 3 before they let me go. Dr. Dickenson seems confident I'll get there tomorrow. Hope...hope...hope...

 

Something is changing inside me, because the heparin levels were too high this morning, for the first time, so they had to retest me this evening. I have very few veins left for poking, and as a result I have a very sore hand. Few things make me quite so cranky as somebody poking around in my hand with a needle. Grrrr!

 

This morning it we had some exciting weather. It never really got bright out, and about 9am it began to look like 9pm or later, and there was thunder and wind and rain for half an hour or more. I suspect there were tornado watches, because someone I don't know in a white coat got on the phone outside my door and told all her kids to go down the basement and use the wired phone instead of the wireless one. I have my own opinion of people who get that bent out of shape.

 

Anyway, by 10:30 the sun was out, but everybody said it was very humid.

 

So was it in Copper Harbor. I spent some time looking at today's pictures, and it got very foggy in the morning, then the sun came out just beautifully, although there was haze over town, which always means the humidity is high. We are in the middle of what looks like a pristine clear sunset right now, and tonight looks like it would be a great night to be there.

 

A couple of days ago, there was a Solar-Terrestrial Alert which said the sun seems to be going slightly bonkers, with some very large, very active sunspots coming into view, and the prediction is that over the next two weeks there may be more aurora displays than there have been in the last ten years. I need to be there! I want to see the show!

 

Anyway, the doctors seem confident that I will go home either tomorrow or Sunday, so if that is true, there should be no reason I won't get to Copper Harbor on Tuesday. Stay tuned...

 

July 25

Help! I'm trapped in a hospital and I can't get out...

 

My INR levels were up again this morning, but not enough, so I got another big dose of coumadin tonight, and now they think it will be Saturday or possibly even Sunday before I get out.  Sigh.

 

It's raining in Copper Harbor, which I was very glad to see. I hope it will rain all night, although that's not exactly what the weather people are saying. It's been so dry, it will take a day or two of soaking rain to really make a difference.

 

It isn't raining in Grosse Pointe yet, but it is cloudy, and apparently it is supposed to rain and thunderstorm after midnight. That's good, too, because we are behind in our rainfall here as well.

 

I'm sure that the furballs are convinced I will never come home. Sometimes it looks like it to me, too, but this is not the first time my body has proved contrary when I was trying to get out of a hospital. In fact, one of the few times things ever worked out right was when I had the stem cell transplant. Practically every other time, it seems like something came up that left me sitting in a hospital room when I was otherwise perfectly capable of going home.

 

I had a chat with the discharge coordinator this afternoon, who opined that I did not need any discharge planning. She is a nice lady, and a stitcher, the first I've met here, but I could have told her that. They can plan all they want to...just let me out of here!  She also indicated that some people in the hospital were a lot more worried about me than I was.  I guess after you've been through everything I've been through, you just stop worrying. Otherwise, you'd be a nervous wreck, and I find that the more that happens to me, the calmer I am in the face of these things.

 

My feet have been swelling for the past couple of days, so I am now sitting in bed - which I hate - with the laptop between my knees, typing on my lap. If I raised the bed table high enough to get over my legs, the keyboard would be up under my chin, not a very good place to try to type.

 

Normally I ignore my feet when they swell, but I've been contrary enough lately that I thought I would take at least one piece of advice the nurses have given. Having my feet up does help, although I sometimes wonder where the fluid goes. My theory is that it sloshes around, because frequently when my feet are swollen at night, my hands are swelled up in the morning. Eventually, I will walk all night and it will go away.

 

Lehman was in and out before 7am this morning - on his way somewhere, I guess - so Dr. Dickenson from the internal medicine group was the one who ordered the coumadin. He seems fairly confident things are moving now, as was the discharge coordinator, so I will hope.

 

Even if I get out on Saturday, I won't be able to leave until Tuesday, because I need one work day to go to the Secretary of State office. That's a disappointment, but that's the way it goes. It still gets me in Copper Harbor on Wednesday, which is the important thing.

 

So there we are, taking up a bed in a very busy hospital, but evidently even the hospital people think I still need to be here, so I will try not to climb the walls.

 

July 24

Well, I'm still incarcerated. Most of my blood factors were still below what they have to be, so I am getting a bigger dose of coumadin tonight, and Lehman thinks that will do it. Dickenson, who is filling in for my internist, thinks it will be Friday before I get out...

 

So I finished the sampler I was working on, and as soon as I get to a place where I have the camera and a place to hang it, I will take a picture. It is a pretty little thing, and it was fun to do, despite having six kinds of eyelets. I basted in my "sanity lines" on a new one, a memorial sampler for September 11, all done in off-white and taupe. Both pieces are by Just Nan, and they are some of the better ones she has done lately.  The light in this room is very good for stitching, which is a good thing, since I did it all day! Not as good as in Copper Harbor, of course.

 

I think Lehman and I have come to an understanding about my not wanting to get the mediport out, but I am going to suggest that if he ever runs into another superstitious person, he tell her my story. I don't think he was strong enough about his desire for me get rid of it. 

 

But then, I think sometimes I keep him slightly off-balance - not a bad thing for somebody young and sure of himself, I think. He can never tell when I might argue rather than do what he thinks I should. He'll learn. I did prove to him that my memory is as good as his is. I've always called it a "phonographic" memory, in that I can recall verbatim conversations where I concentrate. Memory is funny, but I've been proved right in the past. As I get older, I find I don't concentrate on everything I hear, like I used to, and sometimes I forget, but if something interests me, I still have the knack.

 

So that is all the stunning news of the day. Something must be screwed up on this floor tonight, since I've only seen my nurse for about two minutes, and nobody ever took my vitals, but that's all right, I'm not going anywhere. I did want to get to bed a little earlier tonight, just in case I escape tomorrow, but if I don't, no harm done.

 

I really hope it's tomorrow, although I've decided to go directly from here to the Secretary of State's office in any case and try to get that out of the way, and I may try leaving on Sunday. At least then most of the traffic should be coming south when I'm going north in the lower.  If I don't get out early on Friday or I get out on Saturday, it will be Tuesday before I can go, and I really don't want to wait that long. So we shall see.

 

July 23

Today started out to be a nice quiet day, and I did get a lot of embroidery done. I started the last band of the current sampler.

 

However, the blood factors that are supposed to be controlled by the coumadin didn't come near what they need to be to get me out of here, so it looks like it will be the end of the week before I get out. I hope not, but one can never tell.

 

Then, shortly after lunch, I was informed that I was getting a new roommate who was coming up from ER or OR or something. My two other roommates were such disasters that I bailed out and asked to be moved. I'm not sure how they decide which empty beds in which rooms to use, but I've been unlucky twice this trip, and while there are empty beds in other rooms, they decided to pick mine. There were no other double rooms available, so I am now in a private room, the difference being paid for by me, of course. And if somebody with TB is admitted, I will have to move again. I just don't consider that too likely.

 

I hate to be that way, but at the same time, I do need to sleep and it would be nice to keep my stress level low. I had enough of that last week.

 

A couple of people have asked, wasn't I scared or nervous when I found out what I had, and I have to answer, not much. For one thing, it was so much better than what I was thinking that I was relieved. For another, I got tossed into the treatment so fast that I didn't have time to do much agonizing. Finally, it was nice to have something medical science really knows how to fix. They've been treating more life-threatening blood clots than mine for some time now, and very successfully. It's not like the cancer, where they just do the best they can and hope. Also, it's likely this is not a life-long problem I will have, it was caused by the Mediport, and if I don't ever have to have another one of those, I won't have any more problems. Even if I do (heaven forbid!) have to have another port, I might never have a clot again. Maybe if I ever need such a thing again, they will have a better one. This isn't a normal occurrence with a Mediport anyway. 

 

It would only be nice to get out of here.

 

It was a beautiful day both here and in Copper Harbor, and now that it has cooled down again, I'm tired of breathing canned air. While I have plenty of things to amuse me, I have things to do that aren't getting done, and early summer has turned into mid-summer in Copper Harbor, and I want to see and hear and smell. I have cats to pet. Also bills to pay and licenses to renew...and a birthday to celebrate that I do not want to celebrate in Detroit!

 

So I am getting antsy and cranky, and I hope tomorrow's test results are better.

 

July 22

This was a nice, quiet day, except that I had three visitors (!) It sometimes amazes me, because I am terrible about things like that, and I know from experience how much a visit means to someone in the hospital. It was nice to see all of them.

 

I got quite a lot of embroidery done, and it certainly felt good to take needle in hand again. I find it is very rewarding to take a blank piece of fabric and watch a design take shape on it, and it passes time like nothing else I do (except play on the computer). 

 

I got my first coumadin (spelling corrected) tonight, and a little book about it, so we are on to the next stage, and I am dearly hoping that there is no trouble getting the right dosage, so that I can get free on Wednesday.

 

It was such a beautiful, cool day in Copper Harbor (under 60 at about 6 pm) that it almost hurt not to be there, breathing that beautiful air and watching the whitecaps on the harbor... It would have been far worse without the camera!

 

Here, we had an extremely violent thunderstorm around 1pm (I think), with very high winds, lots of thunder (and I guess, lightning, although from inside I couldn't see it), and torrential rain. The lights in the hospital actually blinked a couple of times. Now, shortly after 8pm it is beginning to get windy again, and we could have another one, since the radar map shows a line of thunderstorms crossing right over Detroit. It is supposed to cool off behind the storms, so if I do get out on Wednesday, I won't collapse from heat prostration. That will be a relief. This last week or so of heat has been brutal both here and in Copper Harbor.

 

If I do get to go back at the end of this week, it looks like it will be in the rain, but I will just take it easy. Just knowing I'm going will be enough to calm me down.

 

So that is the report from here, and I'm trying to be a patient patient (but not too patient, so that they think I am content here) and do what they say so that I can get out of here at the earliest possible moment. I'm tired of writing about this stuff. It's time to get back to talking about the sights and sounds and smells of the northwoods!

 

July 21

What an interesting week!

 

First, let me thank everyone who emailed me wishing me well. I know that your thoughts and prayers helped a lot, and I'm only using this forum to thank you because it would take me forever otherwise. What a wonderful community I'm part of!

 

When I posted the entry for Tuesday, of course I didn't know anything. Wednesday morning was a screwy one with, among other things, a nurse bringing me a tray of breakfast then snatching it away because I was to go to have what started out to be a mediport-ogram and ended up being a venogram. This is done in the catherization lab and is very interesting, even when you're part of it.

 

When I told my story to the doctor in the cath lab, he decided a venogram was in order, which means they injected the dye into my right hand rather than into my mediport. He also said that if they found a blockage, they would want to do a catherization, and I signed the release. I haven't gone this far to not let it all hang out.

 

The picture they took with the dye turned out to be pretty spectacular - I could see the dye going up through my arm and into the sub-clavian vein (which is the main return vein from the arm), and stopping cold right where the mediport entered the vein. So as well as one or more clots elsewhere, I had a complete blockage of the main vein leading back from my arm. No wonder it swelled up!

 

They immediately inserted the catheter, a five inch, very fine tube with holes in it, and began filling me with TPA, which is a very potent clot buster, and sent me to Intensive Care. They put TPA patients in ICU because there is a chance of severe bleeding and they need to be monitored closely.

 

ICU is an experience I have never had before (and hope never to again, frankly), but the care was wonderful, and the nurses were some of the nicest and most knowledgeable I have met.

 

I had another venogram Wednesday afternoon, which showed only a little progress. That didn't surprise the doctors, because I had evidently had the clot for several weeks and the older they are, the harder they get, and the harder they are to dissolve. When I wasn't in the Cath Lab, I was lying in a very comfortable bed, all wired up to everything imaginable, with the instructions not to raise the bed at more than a 30 angle, keep my right shoulder and arm elevated, and consume only liquids...however, nothing after midnight, because they wanted to look at it again Thursday morning.

 

Have you ever tried to do anything while lying almost flat on your back? The only thing was, I had had no sleep at all Tuesday night because of my roommate, so at least I slept some.

 

Thursday, there was a different doctor, and the venogram shown we had made a little more progress but not much, so he changed the catheter to pour the TPA right into the clot...oh, yes, and lie flat, right shoulder and arm elevated on two pillows, and don't move!

 

There was another venogram Thursday afternoon, and one Friday morning. In the meantime, I had to resort to morphine because the pain in my back was so excruciating. I have never been able to lie on my back for any length of time, and after two and a half days, I was in agony.

 

The venogram Friday morning showed that the clot was still there, although some blood was leaking through and the swelling in my arm was going down, so they decided to do balloon angioplasty. Mostly we hear about this procedure on carotid and heart arteries, but it can be used on any sizeable blood vessel, I think. By this time, my thought was to get rid of it as much as we could, the balloon wouldn't clog the vein any more than the clot had, and the TPA therapy had to stop Friday night. That part was a no-brainer from my point of view, because I was  sedated, and - oh, happy day! - at the end of it, they pulled the catheter! No more lying on my back!

 

There is still a little bit of the clot there, but in order to clear it, they would have to come up the other way, from my leg, and they wouldn't do that for six months or so anyway. At least I apparently have pretty good flow through the vein and the swelling in my arm is gone.

 

Saturday, they pulled the mediport, and while the surgeon had some trouble with bleeding at the time, the incision is healing up nicely now.

 

The bad news is that I am still on blood thinners, I will have to be on Kumiden (don't know for sure how that's spelled yet), and be here for another two or three days while they regulate the Kumiden. They wouldn't start it today because of the surgery. I'm a little wary of that stuff, because I've known too many people who have gotten into trouble with it, but the rationale is to make absolutely sure no more clots will form. Whatever.

 

I believe I've said before that I don't like to be in the hospital, and I particularly don't like to be here when I feel perfectly fine (I know - I know - technically, I'm not perfectly fine). However, now that I am only tethered to an IV pole, a position that feels like old times, I can do my embroidery as well as use the computer, knit and read, so I will be adequately busy. 

 

This is one time when I'm glad I brought more embroidery than I thought I'd ever have time to do, because now I do.  I haven't gotten it out of my suitcase yet, because when I logged on today, I had over a hundred spam messages to deal with, plus all the nice messages from my e-friends, and MSN email was acting really flaky. Besides, when I am logged onto the internet, I can't talk on the telephone, and I had several calls to make.

 

The camera is still working, amazingly enough, and evidently the bear was back - so far as Arthur can recall, Wednesday night - and the hummingbird feeders are gone. I'm disappointed but not especially surprised. As I think I mentioned before, I pretty much expected he'd be back.

 

I called the house in Copper Harbor today to pick up any phone messages and found Shirley there, and she said it's been really hot there, and it was today, but there was a lovely cool breeze coming off the  lake into my front windows and it was nice. DC greeted her and went away, but when she got on the phone, Buster appeared and groomed himself on my packages and her and seemed like himself.  He just loves people on the telephone, for some reason I don't understand. I thought it might be just me on the phone, but obviously not. He is a funny little cat.

 

So far as the weather here is concerned, I'm glad to be in air conditioning and not have to go out, but we did have some rain, Thursday (I think) and today, which was sorely needed. Yesterday looked like a gorgeous day and I guess it was a little cooler, too. Copper Harbor was better.

 

Copper Harbor is always better.

 

So that is the saga of my week. I am in room 219A, alone for now, thankfully, the food is better than it was the last time I was here and much better than U of M's, and I've met another bunch of great people for whom I have a lot of respect. My problem is solved and there were no glitches along the way. That I'm here for much longer than I wanted to be is just one of those things.

 

July 16

I will try to do a short update tonight, just so people don't think I fell off the face of the earth...almost, but not quite.

 

The trip home was OK, in that traffic, at least in the UP, was light, but it was sunny and hot and humid the whole way and all my clothes were wet before I got to Champine, and after I unloaded the car, I might as well have stepped into the shower fully dressed.  The temperature was in the low 90s with very high humidity...ugh!  Even the air didn't do that much for me. But I made it in one piece with very little trouble.

 

I stopped for gas on the way home, and as it turned out, it was just as well.

 

Dr. Lehman agreed that something weird was going on, and he gave me three choices: a blood clot, a return of the lymphoma, or a new, unrelated mass in my chest. Not the greatest choice, frankly.

 

So I trundled off for the CT scan of my neck and chest (which he added this morning), and supposedly an ultrasound of the right upper quarter of my body. However, by about 2:05 this afternoon, a radiologist was looking seriously at me and saying gently that I have a blood clot in my jugular vein.

 

He also said there was no sign of the lymphoma in my neck, and he looked at me very oddly when I said "Thank God!"

 

Oh, yes, and he also said that I was to check myself into Bon Secours hospital immediately.

 

So I am currently sitting in room 224, bed A, of Bon Secours, with all my stuff around me, and an IV needle in my left hand. The orders are to stay completely away from my right side, right arm and MediPort. Everyone has been treating me, and instructing me to treat myself, like I was made of fine china.

 

This is not where I wanted to be, and it is not one of my favorite places, but under the circumstances, I didn't even peep. I did go home and pack up and drive myself here, but I am not arguing. Blood clots in major veins are serious business.

 

I feel like I have dodged another bullet.

 

Since I have not seen any doctors, and i won't until tomorrow, I am not entirely clear about how long this should take or what the plan is. The first order of business was to get me here and start trying to dissolve the clot. The rest will become clear eventually.

 

I will be having the rest of my CT scan tomorrow - the bottom half of  my body - and I will be seeing doctors. More later.

 

The strangest things happen when one thinks one is doing something else. I know this is a serious problem, and I know I was very lucky that the clot lodged where it did, rather than in my brain, my heart or my lungs. I am just so grateful that it does not seem to be a recurrence of the cancer that this is sort of a relief. 

 

It is pretty certain that I won't be going back to Copper Harbor on Friday, but it appears that when I do go I will be OK, so I will try to be a patient patient and think about dissolving clots and look out the virtual window.

 

July 14

Yesterday was a lovely day - sunny and temps in the high 70s. I spent the morning embroidering and the afternoon on the telephone. Arthur called to ask about the bear, and we ended up talking about the St. Clair flats and a lot of other things in our mutual ancestry. While I was talking to him, my neighbor two doors north, who is a very nice lady, called, so I called her back, and we had a nice conversation about various things in our lives...and then it was after 4pm.

 

I had made arrangements (so I thought) to go to dinner with Shirley, but when I went after her, I discovered she was in the other motel office, having let Cindy go to town. We didn't get to dinner until 8pm, and we ate at our usual leisurely pace, and nearly closed down the dining room. We didn't feel bad about that, though, because when we finally left, there was still another group sitting and talking.

 

I like to get Shirley out of the motel as often as I can, because she is pretty much chained to the place, especially in the summer. 'Nuf said. There are some topics on which I will keep my opinions out of the online journal.

 

Anyway, it was late by the time I got home, and I was tired. Evidently I was also already clutched up about the trip, because twice I was awakened abruptly by some noise (the house creaking or the wind, probably) and found my heart pounding like I was panicky. So I slept in this morning, and embroidered until noon.

 

I laid out the clothes I will pack, but didn't open the suitcase, and I spent the rest of the afternoon shuffling stuff around the office. In the middle of the afternoon, I moved a box of magazines to the back door and put the box of beads on top of it. I'd really like to keep those beads here, and bring back the other box, because there are 5 kilos of Indian glass beads that I would love to sort, but I have to draw the line somewhere. I'm also taking back some of the sock yarn, because I brought enough for about 15 pairs of socks, and I've finally defined what I will be knitting on.

 

When I came down the hall with the beads, DC was sitting and just staring at the boxes, like he now knew what is going on and he doesn't like it at all. Poor D!  He'd like it less if I hauled him home with me for a week. He got fish for dinner, which he inhaled, but that won't console him much.

 

The odds and ends are pretty much packed in a barrel, my briefcase is pretty much packed, and I can actually see the top of the desk for the first time since I got here!!

 

Besides, I finally wrote a note to Pastor Boelter, whose father passed away a couple of weeks ago. I feel inadequate in situations like that, and I've never seen a printed sympathy card I really liked, so even though I'd more or less composed what I wanted to say, I put off writing until today.

 

Do you ever get the idea that I'm a first-class procrastinator? Part of the nature of the beast.

 

Then I fired up the laptop, with the idea of transferring my files. First, I couldn't for the longest time remember how to move my Outlook Express message files, then when I finally remembered how to do it, I discovered, much to my annoyance, that when I start the Laplink USB connection between the two computers, the link to the internet goes down and won't come up until I stop Laplink. Grrrrrrrr!

 

I submitted a support request about that - the peripheral connections on this computer and the desktop on Champine have never worked right since I got them - and we missed one update. No big loss.

 

Today started out pretty sunny and breezy, but the temperature was 70 at 10:00. it's about 78 right now, and the wind is starting its evening die-out, but it has gotten cloudy, and the last time I checked the Weather Underground, they said there was a slight chance of isolated showers tonight. I wish.

 

I guess next week is supposed to be hotter than ****, especially in Detroit, but I'll have to try to cope. It is summer, after all. At least the car is air conditioned, and the air works.

 

I haven't been to dinner yet, but I want to get this entry done and uploaded so I can copy the files when I get back, then pack up the car. I'm going early, because the idea is to pack up, have another swift JD and a sleeping pill, and hope I can get to be early, so I can get an early start tomorrow.

 

I am not going to promise any journals for this week, since it depends upon how tired I am when I crash after the doing the whirling dervish act all day. I will try to do one, to report what Lehman has to say, but don't anybody be alarmed if this page isn't updated until next Saturday.

 

Oh, my, how I hate to go!

 

July 12

It turns out that my day of wildlife didn't end when I went to bed last night. Anyone who checked the camera today may have noticed that something seems to be missing. That's how I noticed it - after breakfast I came into the office to make sure the camera was operating and sat down without looking out the door...and when I looked at the picture, there were no birdfeeders!

 

When I looked out, I saw this. Here is a slightly different view, and here's most of the rest of it, on the ground under the tree.

 

Quite apparently, I had a bear last night. I remember being awake and noticing DC sitting looking very alert, and hearing a couple of crashes, which I blamed on poor Buster getting into the boxes again. I've apologized to Buster.

 

Needless to say, I'm more than a little annoyed. Besides destroying the plastic feeders, it tore big holes in the thistle socks. Why it didn't crunch the hummingbird feeders, I don't know. I've been told it will be back for those. All day long the finches and other birds kept coming to the tree and almost pecking on the window wondering where their seed was.

 

So I guess another task when I'm in Detroit is to see if I can get some new feeders, maybe a little stronger. Darn it, all of us enjoy those birds! And I feel so bad when they come looking for their feeders and there's nothing there.

 

The day was a beautiful one, a little warmer than yesterday, in the 70s, but there was a nice northwest breeze which made it very comfortable with the windows open. It was nice and sunny most of the day, although (as seems almost usual lately) it's a little cloudy in the west now that the sun is setting.

 

I decided I had to do some housework today, so I cleaned the bathrooms, swept part of the floors, gathered together all of the trash, including some things from the fridge that should have gone out a while ago (one of the hazards of living alone), and did cat-pan maintenance. I picked up most of the pieces of the bird feeders and disposed of them, too. 

 

I can only work for about half an hour at a time, then I have to sit for a while, so it took most of the afternoon (in fact, enough of the afternoon that the post office window was closed when I got there). I still have some tasks to do, including packing and the final sorting of the stuff I'm taking home, but I have two days to do that. I will try to keep the actual packing for Sunday, to minimize the cats' reaction. They won't be happy.

 

Right now, there is a hummingbird that looks like it is roosting on the top of the hanger for one of the feeders. I wonder that it can get its tiny feet around that big piece of metal. Of course, it was gone (eating) when the camera went off. Rats. I had thought about bringing in the feeders at night, but it's dusk right now and there is still a bird feeding, so I'll have to hope the bear forgets about them. I enjoy the hummingbirds especially. When they hover facing me, they look like little ballet dancers, and it's fascinating to see them buzz off sideways or straight up or zip off at an amazing speed.

 

The squirrel just hit the deck - it was looking for the feeders, too.

 

Oh, well, those things happen when one lives in the woods. If I was really handy with electronics, I'd rig up an electronic eye that would turn on the floodlight and set off some noises, but that's just wistful thinking.

 

July 11

If the weather was anything else but perfect, it would be getting monotonous. It got a tad warmer today - up to about 70, but there were almost no clouds, so I looked up at blue, blue skies and blue, blue water all day. It was so nice to have the camera doing that, too. No pink skies!

 

I embroidered a lot, with a small stop when Debbie called to make a date for next Wednesday for lunch, and I got the closet sort of organized. At least it looks much neater.

 

For the rest of the day, I knitted on the other big-needle sweater and watched the sky and water go by. 

 

It turned out to be a day of wildlife, too. I was waiting for some web page to load and when I looked out the back window, there was a nice doe walking through the back yard. I think she either turned up the driveway or went over into Millers', because Buster was looking out the south window and he never saw her. That is the first deer I have seen since they got their red summer coats.

 

A while later, I heard the loon call twice, from over in the direction of Lake Lilly, and when I looked out the window, the eagle was circling over the end of the harbor, where the low spot is. I don't know whether he thought he could steal a fish, or if he had in mind to have loonlet for lunch, but mom or dad loon didn't like it. I haven't heard or seen very much of the loons this summer, so it's nice to know they're there.

 

It was also nice to see the eagle again for sure. I thought I might have seen him yesterday, I think, but he was moving fast in the direction of Lake Fanny Hooe, and I couldn't be sure.

 

The one thing about having a house and being in it most of the time is that it's harder to have these chance meetings with the birds and other wildlife. The bald fact is that I spend too much time with my back to the harbor, looking at the computer screen, and unless I am sitting in the ugly chair (which is hard to do), I don't get a really panoramic view of the harbor anyway.

 

DC did vacate the chair for a while this afternoon, but the sun was shining right on it, and i don't think I would have wanted to sit there anyway.

 

There were a lot of birds, or at least a lot of goldfinches and hummingbirds, today, and the squirrel, having eaten all the sunflowers out of the big feeder, has now attacked the smaller one, where I layered sunflower seeds with the other seed. He isn't getting all of them, though, because there has been a parade of nuthatches, and they prefer sunflowers, too.

 

It's beginning to cool down now, but there is almost no wind at all and  it is a very lovely evening indeed. I finished one sleeve of the sweater and started the other one and had several e-conversations, so it's getting time to go back to bed. I really wish I didn't have to sleep so much, because it cuts down on production, but I feel so lousy when I don't that I'm not going to fight it.

 

July 10

I will try to get this done earlier tonight, since it was dark by the time I was done last night so I got to bed late. There aren't any pictures today. Sorry about that, but I was otherwise engaged.

 

It seems I spent most of the afternoon on the telephone, and I still have some calls to make tomorrow. Yesterday I got a most unwelcome piece of mail - a jury summons. So today I had to call and postpone it until sometime when I'm living in Wayne County. Since I don't know for sure what my schedule will be, I made the assumption that I'll be here until November 15.  I hope. Now, I am willing to do my civic duty, but I was called to Wayne County jury duty some years ago, and it just seems to me that with the millions of people who live there, it should be possible never to call anyone more than once. It will be painful in any case, since it mostly involves sitting around, and this time, with all the security, probably the only thing I will be able to take to pass the time is books.

 

Then I (finally) called Debbie to tell her about my lumps, and we talked until her cell phone battery gave out. I think I've said it before, but I really need to call her more often. She has so much stress in her life, she needs somebody to talk to. One of the things on my "to do" list for next week is to make sure we get together for lunch.

 

I will be flying low next week, and I'll need to get back here just to rest up!

 

Tom Boost came this afternoon and fiddled with the pump for over an hour and can't get it working, so I guess I will have to call the plumber who installed it. In the meantime, if I want to water anything, I guess I will have to attach a hose to the house and use the well water. That might be a good idea, to clean it out some, but I don't like to run the pump too long. 

 

We need rain, but now it looks like it will be the weekend or next week before there is any chance of that. Great for the tourists, but not so good for those of us trying to have a garden.

 

Today was another perfect day, although it wasn't quite so sunny. There were high clouds for most of the day, but it was bright and the temperatures never got out of the high 60s, with a light breeze. Perfect weather, so far as I am concerned. Tonight they are predicting temps in the high 40s (here at the shore - cooler inland) which is pretty nearly perfect for sleeping, so far as I am concerned.

 

I am still just thrilled by how good the camera is. All the interesting high clouds we had today showed up wonderfully well, and no pink skies!  I also noticed last night that it has far greater exposure latitude than the old one did. By that I mean that the last picture last night made it look a lot lighter than it was, which is not all bad. The first picture in the morning (at 5:30, about half an hour before sunrise) is darkish and grainy, but that's tolerable, in my opinion. And finally, everything from the bird feeder to the mountain is in focus. I'm sorry it took the better part of a year to get the right equipment, but this camera was only introduced this spring, so it wasn't all my fault. 

 

The wind is calm right now, and the harbor looks like a millpond, and I'm getting tired, so I will wrap this up and toddle off to the north end.

 

July 9

When I woke up this morning it was partly cloudy and quite cool, but the sun soon came out and there was mostly blue sky all day, until evening (again). This is becoming repetitious. I like it to be clear at sunset, because then there are stars. I did see stars when I woke up in the night.

 

For a while after I got into bed last night, I thought a tree had actually grown enough to shield the lighthouse light, but when it got really dark, I discovered that it hasn't happened yet. Sometime in the next couple of years I won't have to mound up the covers to keep the light out of my eyes, but not yet.

 

The Boosts didn't come at all today, so I wasted an early morning for nothing, and I didn't even embroider as much as I wanted to. That just goes to show you, you should never make plans for your significant other without consulting him first.

 

I continued to work on the office, both to straighten things up a bit and to begin to gather the stuff I will be taking home. There are still piles, but I think they are smaller and neater.

 

Then, since it was sunny, I took a few pictures of some of the things I have been embroidering lately. I put them all on one page, but the pictures aren't very good when they're  that small, so I linked them to much bigger pictures. The first one, Winter Blues, I finished some time ago, but I don't think I got it into the web.

 

I also took a picture of the finished product of the Minute Sampler. I did the embroidery last summer, but I only mounted it in the clock right before I came here.  It sits on top of the monitor, but I moved the atomic clock there, too, so I have all kinds of ways to find out what time it is.  Eventually I may move the sampler clock somewhere else, but I still prefer an analog clock, since that's the way I learned to tell time. The atomic clock was beginning to be 41 minutes fast again, and I moved it to a higher location to see if it can receive the time signals better. I'm not sure that's the problem: I think it has more to do with the ionosphere and the hills around Copper Harbor.

 

The last picture is of the socks I finished last week. They are a little darker than the picture shows, but you can see they look quite cheerful.

 

There was nothing new outside, so there are no flower pictures for today.

 

The webcam has continued to impress me, and several people emailed me to say what a nice picture I'm getting. I do have a question into Creative Labs, because in not very long, the sun will be shining directly into the camera and i want to make sure that won't ruin it.  The series of pictures I kept last spring of the sun moving across the field were neat, but I don't think they did the camera any good at all.  I'd hate to have to cut off the pictures so early, but at the same time, I don't want to zap my nice new camera. We'll see what they say.

 

I'm pleased to say that my ear was fine today, and I felt pretty good, too, so apparently something is working right.  So I will toddle off and sleep on it, with the windows mostly closed tonight, I think - they're forecasting lows under 50!  I'm not complaining, understand. It didn't get over 68 here today either, and it was nice.

 

July 8

It rained a tiny bit early this morning - just enough to wash off the car a bit and soak the decks and the birds. I came into the office to check the camera, and it was a good thing I did, because it had decided never to dial a connection again (now, what the devil was I doing last night to cause that?), and while I was making sure it was fixed, several very wet hummingbirds came and sat down on the branches of the pine tree and sort of shook themselves out. They all looked kind of spiky. They weren't hungry, just wet.

 

It rained a little more, then it got really foggy and humid. The temperature never got out of the 60s, but the dewpoint was nearly the same as the temperature, and the wind was nearly calm. Even though it wasn't too warm outside, it got very warm in here.

 

I started trying to rearrange my closet, but that didn't seem like very much fun, so I decided to install the new camera. It turned out to be trivially easy, and I think it's a great success. The diagonal streaks of pink in the sky are gone, the exposure seems much better to me (although I haven't seen it under all lighting conditions yet) and the hills are clearly more in focus. It won't ever be as crisp as still shots with the Nikon, but that's because it only captures at 640 x 480 pixels. To me, it looks much more like what I see when I look out the real windows. I may fiddle a bit with its aim, but so far, it seems to be a real winner.

 

I followed that by a somewhat futile effort to straighten up my desk. There were glass rings all over the spots where I could put a glass, so I cleaned that up, and I think I made a little sense out of it, even though there are still more piles than open space.

 

When I went to get the mail, I looked toward the back of the field and realized that I do indeed have some wildflowers growing, so when I got back, I went out and took a bunch of pictures. As I was walking around in the field, I saw a number of lupine plants, which of course won't bloom until next year, and probably some other perennials. So I will have to let everything go to seed, and if I'm here at the right time, I may try to overseed with another ten pounds or so of wildflower seed (I'm serious).

 

The only thing that puzzles me is that most of these plants are growing where I know I never sowed any seed, and there are several places, like north of the house around the cedar, where I know I sowed heavily and all I have are daisies and winter cress (which I don't think was in the mixture), and a lot of bare spots. Although some of the daisies are from local seed, some of them probably are from the seeds  I sowed, too, which is all right with me. 

 

I checked the pipsissewa, and it has buds, so I will try to get a picture if I'm here when it comes out. It is a really odd little flower.

 

I decided I should try to wean myself off the Advil, so I didn't take one this morning, and I did pretty well, although I had an occasional twinge in my ear. My temperature was normal last night, for the first time in a couple of weeks, so evidently I am beating whatever was causing the inflammation. Very strange, and I will be interested to see what Dr. Lehman has to say about it.

 

I still want to sleep a lot, but with no particular pains, I am sleeping, so that is good. It sounds like we will be having some good sleeping weather for the next few days, too, and that will be nice. Tomorrow I have to be up and about early, though, because the Boosts are coming to see what is wrong with my water pump from the lake, and sure as I sleep in, they will be here at 9am! If I do get up and get dressed, it will probably be noon, but that's one of life's little rules.

 

Well, the camera just went off, so I will wait until that uploads then do this, then off to bed again. It has taken me until now to remember that I don't have to stay up until it gets dark, especially when it doesn't get dark until 11pm! 

 

July 7

When I went to bed last night, I had quite an earache, as well as shooting pains in my scalp above my ear, so it took me a while to get to sleep, but once I got to sleep, I slept very well indeed, until 9:30 this morning. And i think maybe, just maybe, I've pretty much licked the pain thing. I don't have an earache now, and very little stiffness in the back of my neck, so that is a great relief.

 

In spite of what the weather forecasters all said, it cleared up in the middle of the night, and this morning was clear and sunny. There were some high clouds most of the day, which have now gathered together, but I still don't see any signs of rain.  The temperature got up to maybe 68, with a light wind, so it was nice.

 

I do wish the sunset last night had been in a place where I could have taken pictures, because it was really beautiful, very red, and the last little bit of it was streaky, nearly blood-red clouds with the dark blue-gray streaks in front of them. Unfortunately, all that took place out the window seat windows and mostly behind Walter's pine trees, so I would  have had to drive someplace to have gotten good pictures.

 

With all the sunshine, I embroidered for quite a while, then I went out and took pictures of the tiny bachelors buttons and one pink scabiosa that are in bloom along the edge of the driveway. Some of them are actually growing in the mine rock. No doubt that is why they're so small - none of the plants is more than 6" high, and the flowers are correspondingly small. The colors are pretty, though. I haven't a notion of where those particular flowers came from, but I guess I did try to scatter some seeds in that spot, and it's the one place where something seems to have come up, but there aren't any native weeds to choke them out. The scabiosa is supposed to  be a perennial, I think, but the bachelors buttons are annuals, so I will let them set seed and hope they reseed themselves.

 

I am really disappointed in the results of my wildflower seeds, but since I didn't do anything but throw them around, I guess I can't expect much. I don't seem to have anything very interesting coming up anywhere else, but now that the winter cress has stopped blooming, there are daisies, buttercups and hawkweed all over, so it isn't bare like it was last year. In some spots, not much of anything came up, and I may, if I have time, try to seed some more this fall. If I'm here.

 

So that is the extent of the excitement in the field today.

 

July 6

It was a little warmer today, and more cloudy, but it was actually quite nice, since the dewpoint was low. The temperature got into the low 80s but it didn't seem hot. There was a nice breeze. I had the house closed up, and it was cool inside, so i didn't realize how nice it was until I went to get the mail.

 

Having holidays in the middle of the week always disorients me. Yesterday felt like Monday, and I couldn't decide what day today was.

 

Part of the problem was that I didn't sleep very well last night - my ear ached and kept me awake for quite a while, and I couldn't get the temperature right - so I was tired and I had a sinus headache all day. Usually the sinus thing is a result of the barometric pressure changing abruptly, and I guess it is going down. 

 

So I didn't do much. I had started a new pair of socks yesterday, but I realized that because of the way it is dyed, it wasn't going to give a nice looking pattern on socks, so I unraveled it and started a different pair. These are somewhat like the heavy socks in the sock project, except that they have one background color and stripes of four other colors. The background color is royal blue, and the accent colors are red, green, turquoise and orange. The yarn is wool, but it's very fine, so these are socks I can wear even if my feet are swollen.  I really find it fun to knit a simple pair of socks with one strand of yarn and have it come out in some complicated pattern. I have three other yarns, and each of them will come out different, so it is a really fun project.

 

The weather forecasts keep predicting rain, and we really need it, but so far all we've had are some clouds. I hope that changes and  gives us a goodly amount of water, because things are drying out. Strange that it's so dry up here, and so wet down in Texas. It would be much better if the water was spread around a little more. Maybe we'll get ours in the next few days.

 

So nothing much went on, and I'm tired. My ear isn't quite so sore tonight, so maybe I'll sleep. I noticed something new in bloom out by the driveway, so maybe I'll have a couple of pictures tomorrow.

 

July 5

The fireworks were just lovely, and so far as I'm concerned, I had the ideal seat. They were a mile and a half away, but from the ugly chair, I could see everything, and it was beautiful. The only problem with being so far away was that the noise and the light were completely out of sync, so the explosion would be gone before I heard the bang. It didn't bother me much.

 

DC sat on my lap for the whole thing - after all, I was in his chair - and he watched it for maybe five minutes, then he turned his back and went to sleep. Colored lights in the sky are not one of the things that interest cats.

 

And after the show was over, all I had to do was trundle off to the north end and climb right into bed.

 

That was particularly nice because by that time, the side of my head was pretty sore. It doesn't hurt to sleep on it, though, and by this morning it felt fine, and only now is it beginning to hurt again. 

 

I wished, not for the first time, that I had a view of the horizon to the east this morning, because I woke up at just about sunrise, and the whole eastern part of the sky, as well as the clouds all over, was brilliant orange. I imagine sunrise was spectacular. It was probably just as well, since I would have wanted to take a picture of it, and so instead I went back to sleep, for over 3 hours more.

 

The day turned out to be a cloudy, cool one - the temperature never got over 65 - but so far there hasn't been any rain here. We really need rain. The Millers' grass has gone dormant already. 

 

My car needs washing off, since the pine pollen is all over it and everything else in sight. It's kind of greenish-yellow dust, and last Monday there was a regular streak of it in the water all along the shore. I had the windows open, of course, and so there is pollen all over everything inside as well.

 

I actually accomplished two things today: I finished the second of the pair of socks I have been working on for over two years - the ones on number 1 needles - and I washed. I was particularly glad to finish the socks. Even though they're pretty, working on anything that long is boring.

 

If the sun comes out, I will try to take pictures of a few of the things I've finished lately. It was too dark today.

 

So now my ear is getting sore again, and I think it's time to wrap this up for the day.

 

July 4

Well, I think I have time to do this and take my bath before the fireworks start. There isn't much to report.

 

It was a beautiful, sunny day, with temperature in the low 60s, although now it has turned a little cloudy. Most of the day was all blue and green, like it should be here.

 

The peace of this end of the harbor was broken a couple of times by jet skis, which I was sorry to see - and hear.  We didn't have any last summer, and I had some hope for this year, too. Maybe they'll go away and not come back. Frankly, both the water and the air were a little cool for jet skis today.

 

I certainly was glad for my splendid isolation. There are apparently quite a few people out at this end of the harbor, since I had to run an obstacle course of cars and bicycles to get out to go to dinner, but it's nothing like what's going on in Copper Harbor. The place was a zoo when I came back about 8pm, with so many cars and people scattered around that it was hard to get down the streets. And I came back behind a car which was trying to find the fort entrance (I guess), and whose driver I suspect was drunk.

 

Shirley called - apparently she and Sherry just missed me at Harbor Haus, which was too bad - and apparently our local law as well as the state police are making a visible statement in town, which is a good thing. While most of the people who come for the fireworks are reasonably law-abiding, in past years there have been a few unfortunate incidents. There is certainly a lot of beer flowing. 

 

I got up late again this morning, and was pleased that I was able to consume a good-sized breakfast, for which I was rather hungry. It's not that I couldn't stand to lose quite a bit of weight, it's just that lack of appetite is one of the symptoms of my disease, and if I've lost anything since the last time I saw Lehman, he will have more of a fit than he already is.

 

I finished another little sampler today. This one is called "Follow the Needle", by Just Nan. It isn't one of her more successful efforts, but there were some interesting stitches in it. Finding a place to take a picture of needlework here is hard, but I'll see what I can do. I'm not sure what I will be working on next. There are about five things I've been thinking about.

 

So that's about it. Another quiet day in the field.  I'll report on the fireworks tomorrow.

 

July 3

What an incredibly beautiful day! I suppose God doesn't give us more like this because we'd get jaded after a while and think every day had to be like this.

 

It cooled off nicely last night, and I slept...and slept...and slept...and DC jumped up and asked me if I was ever going to get up, and I slept some more.

 

When I finally made it out of bed this morning, the sky and the lake were the color of blue that they only get here, there was a nice brisk breeze out of the northwest, and the temperature was around 60. I have been having trouble eating enough breakfast lately, so I waited a while and deleted all my spam, then managed to do quite respectibly.  After that I embroidered for quite a while.

 

I meant to do some laundry today, but it slipped my mind. I'm not out of underwear yet, but the laundry bags are getting full, so it's time.

 

It eventually got up into the middle 70s, still with pristine clear skies and a nice breeze, and now that the sun is getting ready to set, there are a few minor clouds in the west which I imagine will go away after it gets dark. 

 

It was just a perfect day to do almost anything, so I did almost nothing. The wind kept the bugs away, and while of course it was hot in the sun, in the shade in the wind it was heavenly.

 

Speaking of the bugs, the Mining Gazette came through again. For hard news, they're terrible, but for the little tidbits that gnaw at your mind, they're pretty good. The flies with the red eyes are called gray flies, because their backs are gray, and it seems their maggots are parasites on the tent caterpillars that have plagued the Keweenaw for the past few years. Evidently they got almost all the caterpillars last year, so all these flies hatched with nothing to eat. Apparently that always happens. Anyway, they seem to be on their way out now. They are natural, not introduced, parasites. It's nice to know that at least in a few cases if men would just leave well enough alone, God will take care of nature for us.

 

About all I did, besides reading parts of the books I got yesterday, was to take a few more pictures.

 

There has been a painted daisy trying to grow in the hollow south of the driveway for a number of years now. I think it was in some mixture my mother threw there, and it's the only thing that ever came up. Every year, it has one flower, and every year it surprises me, because I forget about it. Painted daisies come in several colors, but the fuchsia is my favorite.

 

Here is the whazzit of the day. It is growing out of the gravel in the driveway not far from the painted daisy. Its flowers look sort of like the flowerets of a garden phlox, but the plant doesn't look very phlox-like to me. It's much smaller, and the flower head is just as you see it. None of the wildflower books have anything that resembles it.

 

I went out partly because my little peony is blooming. It's pathetically small - only about 3" across - but that's pretty respectable for the first year. None of the others that grew are big enough for flowers yet. I couldn't get my nose close enough to it to tell if it smells.

 

I also wanted to get a shot of the iris before all its flowers are gone. The picture shows it as much lighter than it looks. It is a pretty color. Since all of the tags are gone, I will have to check an old catalog to see if I can find out what its name is - Jung isn't selling it any more, of course.

 

I am glad to say I was a little more hungry for dinner, and managed to do away with a small pizza. Now, after I get this published, I will close up most of the house: the temperature is supposed to get down to the low 50s tonight, which is great for sleeping, so long as all the windows aren't open. 

 

 

It will also keep some of the noise out. Hassig's place is full, since they're burying Elaine's ashes on Friday, and there seems to be a tradition in that family of setting off firecrackers and things. I remember one very dry year when he and Miller between them almost set my juniper on fire. I'm sorry, but I've never seen the allure of firecrackers and sparklers, and all the other fireworks are much too dangerous for laymen. I never have really liked loud, explosive noises anyway.

 

So the sun has just about set, and as soon as the camera gets through updating, I will publish this and trundle off to the north end.

 

July 2

I don't believe I did that. I wrote a pretty long entry, then told FrontPage to close without saving it. Arrggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

So I will try to abbreviate this, because I'm tired.

 

I did sleep pretty well last night - I was really tired - except for opening a window and door when it warmed up and closing them again when the cool wind turned into a cold gale. I think I could have slept longer.

 

I haven't been hungry for breakfast lately, so I haven't been eating so much, but that means that around 1pm I need to put something in my stomach. Unfortunately at that time today, I was on the road. By the time I got to Ming Gardens, I did not feel well, but I can attest to the therapeutic benefits of chicken soup and the combination of rice and vegetables in Chinese food, so by the time I was through eating, I felt better. Not great, but better.

 

By that time, it was in the mid-80s in Houghton, and humid, and of course the inside of the car was like an oven. I stopped at EconoFoods for cat food, and by the time I got to the Hancock side, it was much too early to go to the health department.  I had planned to stop at the bank, because they had sent me something that needed to be notarized. It turned out that not only did they do that, they will send it to the county. Nice people. 

 

I also got some change - I'm hoping that a round of coin and 23 one dollar bills will keep me in small change until I get back to Detroit. Prices of food and drink have gone up just enough that I have had a horrible time keeping enough dollars and change to leave tips, which annoys me. This should help.

 

Since it was still too early for the health department, I decided to stop at a place I've wanted to see for some time - Northwind Books. I had visited it when it was run by the Van Pelts in Eagle Harbor, but when they retired, they sold the business to Finlandia University, who moved it to Hancock in the Finnish Heritage building. It always was a fun place, with lots of books on local history, and I wanted to see what it's like now. I've gone by it a million times, but always when I needed to be someplace else.

 

Unfortunately, by that time it was 85 in Hancock, and the store is not air conditioned! It is designed for browsers, with plenty of chairs, and they had the windows open and fans all over the place, but by the time I got out, I was nearly melted. I also had some interesting books, including one on Michigan History.

It was still really too early to go to the health department, but I did anyway, because it's air conditioned. So I am now immunized, and that problem is over.

 

The nice thing about starting back for Copper Harbor at 4:30 or so is that there weren't any tourists, and it was a pretty good ride back.

 

The daisies, buttercups and hawkweed are in full bloom, but the only thing that I might have found tempting to stop for was a patch of wild iris. I learned long ago, however, that it's nearly impossible to take a good picture of the patch, and since they were on the other side of a ditch, I figured there wasn't much hope to get any close-ups, either.

 

It was getting cloudy and looked like it might rain on the way back, but so far nothing. It was a heavenly 74 in Copper Harbor, and even cooler out here. Of course, so far, all the rain has passed south of us, which is disappointing, but pretty normal.

 

I got several very nice email messages during the day, which I will try to answer tomorrow. Arthur called, too, and that was nice. But things are on hold for a couple of weeks, so I will be trying to ignore the whole thing as much as I can. Getting rid of my stiff neck would help a lot.

 

So this time I will save the entry before I close it, and try to get it published. I am tired and yucky and I need a bath. And a bed.

 

July 1

Last night turned out to be one of those nights...I even spent a couple of hours with the pillow at the foot of the bed to catch all the breeze I could, but the temperature was in the 80s and the dewpoint in the 70s until 4am. When the temperature went down, it actually felt cold and damp, so I didn't sleep very well at all.

 

Today was actually a gorgeous day. The temperature got into the middle 70s and the dewpoint was a little lower, and the only time I got hot (very hot!) was when I was out behind the house mucking around in the garden. One of the fellows from town offered to help me out, so he came out and got most of the grass mowed down and the roses planted. The pump from the lake didn't work, so I still need to do some watering, and there are a few other plants to plant, but the roses were the big thing, and they look very good.

 

The breeze dropped in the middle of the afternoon, and the sun beating on the ground wasn't pleasant, but soon enough it picked up again, and right now it's about 70 with a brisk, mostly westerly, wind blowing. Aaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!! I think I can probably partially close up the house tonight and be quite comfortable, thank you. Maybe even sleep for a change.

 

I did take a few flower pictures today, but not exactly the ones I intended to. The first two irises withered in the heat yesterday, so now I must wait for the others to come out. Sometime over the weekend when I was getting out of the car, I noticed one little blue-eyed grass blooming at the edge of the gravel, but of course it was gone today, too.

 

So I walked around a bit - got well flied and chewed up a bit with black flies, but, oh, well - and found some other stuff. The first one is a whazzit. I looked in all my wildflower books and even tracked through the botanical keys, and I have no idea what it is. I suspect it came out of one of the wildflower mixtures, because there are a number of plants in the same area, with a couple of other weird looking things that haven't bloomed yet. The plant is about 6" high, and the flower is about " wide. When I wish I had a botanist among my readers. It's a cute little thing, and I will have to remember to protect the area where it's growing.

 

In the gravel of the driveway, I found another miniature, this one called 

small cranesbill, and believe me it is small. The flower is maybe " in diameter, and the whole plant, which sprawls a lot, is only about 5" high. I've been watching it for a while, wondering what it is, and the easiest way to identify it is to snap a macro shot of it, blow it up in Photo Deluxe, then search the books. It is an interesting flower, too, and the seed pod is how I was able to tell it from several other small cranesbills.

 

The forget-me-nots are still blooming along the road, so I took this picture, which shows pretty well what an interesting flower that is. I think one of the reasons I enjoy taking macro pictures of the flowers so much is that since I became unable to kneel down (and get up again!) this has been the only way other than picking that I've been able to really look at the flowers.

 

The reason I went out onto the road, where it was warm and fly-ie even before it got that way at my house, is that I had noticed something across the road from the Miller's driveway that I thought I recognized. I did: it is a centaurea Montana, also sometimes called perennial bachelor button. I guess it's something Ginny Miller dug up and threw away, because it isn't really a wildflower. I have some growing in my garden on Champine, where it gets much taller, sprawls all over, and the flowers are huge. I can understand why she wouldn't like its growing habits - she likes tidy flowers. I've always thought the pretty color of the flowers made up for its sprawly habit. Maybe I will investigate digging it up and moving it into my garden, since the deer don't seem to like it!

 

The macro settings on the camera don't seem to focus down quite so much as I'd like, but the picture quality so far has been great. I like it when I can see the little hairs on the flower buds and all the details of the centers.

 

So now I have to change topics pretty abruptly, I guess. I've been holding off writing about this, but I don't want to do so any longer. My cancer seems to have recurred.

 

I haven't been feeling very good - or very hungry - for three or four weeks now, and a week ago Monday, I came up with an incredibly sore neck, but toward the front of my neck, which is not where one usually gets a stiff neck. I wasn't having trouble swallowing, but it was painful, and coughing or blowing my nose hurt, too. Tuesday and Wednesday, it was still very sore, and when I looked at myself in the mirror Wednesday morning, I realized that the right side of my neck was very puffy compared to the left side.

 

Thursday, I called the doctor, and everything is set up to get my CT scans on the 16th and 17th, and he prescribed a low dose of Advil to try to clear up any inflammation, since it appears that the new lump or lumps are pressing on my biopsy scar - or something like that. I'm not really sure what is going on in there, because this is the first time I've ever had any pain associated with my lumps.

 

The Advil has helped the pain somewhat, although it appears I have a stiff neck also, probably from sleeping in cool, damp breezes, although like I say, I'm not sure what's going on in there. My right arm and hand have been quite swollen, and at times the pain got into my shoulder and down into my mastectomy scar. Of course, all those things are connected together, and when I try to compensate for the pain one place, I probably screw up something else.

 

Anyway, I am disappointed but not horribly surprised. I am absolutely certain that they got all the cancer cells I had in my body during both other courses of treatment, but nothing they can do can keep my cells from turning cancerous at some later date. It would be really nice to be free of this thing at some point, but apparently it is my cross to bear, and at least it is treatable and I am in otherwise pretty good health.

 

Of course, I'm not ready to move back south yet, but I will just have to wait and see what they want to do before I anticipate that. And by the way, I am not planning to sit around Champine doing nothing and waiting until the CT results come back and the thing is reviewed by the "group". I will probably  be coming back north on Friday the 19th, and that only because I have to get my driver's license renewed and do some food (cat, mostly) shopping. If I can get out of there on Thursday, I will.

 

Usually Lehman wants to sit behind his desk and tell you what the plan is, but that's what telephones are for. He knows what I look like and that I don't usually become hysterical.

 

So that is where things stand, and there was a reason I didn't want that Mediport taken out. 

 

Now I am really tired and yucky from sweating (and I seem to have a little blood in my hair from a bug bite), so I will get this all published and go to bed...and maybe even sleep!

 

Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM