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Last Day <-----> First Day

We have moved into the home of our oldest son while we wait to close on our new house later in the month. Their boys, Dylan and Jackson, are high-energy kids. They were both looking forward to the start of school and back-packs being prepared and supplies getting stocked.

With the first day of school almost here we decided to take the boys out to the movies and watch “Turbo”. It is a good story about brothers supporting brothers and about reaching for your dreams even though others think you will never make it.

After the movie Jackson announced that he was going to be called “Turbo” from then on and proceeded to race around the house. We took them to a neighborhood play area and let them blow off some steam and then back home.

The next day was the first day of school. For Dylan…he is an old-timer going into second grade. He knows the drill and is cool and collected. Jackson was starting kindergarten and was a ball of nervous excitement. We got out of bed early and stood with the boys as the bus turned the corner for the first time this year….and they got on the bus.

For the first time in a few years there was “quiet” in the house on the first day of school.

All the Way From Ecuador

We received a text last week from our friends Bill and Laura while they were shopping in Indy near our house and wanted to stop by for a mini-visit. We said sure and they wandered around the sprawling subdivisions until they found our son’s house.

Their oldest daughter (Ellie) and husband David whom we had never met were with them. They live in Ecuador and were in the states looking for housing in Chicago where they will be moving for his continuing medical education to become an orthopedic doctor in a few years.

A year ago Mary and Laura worked together to sew Ellie’s wedding dress and get it to Ecuador before the wedding. It was an excellent visit and neat to see the newlyweds.

Hospital Night Sounds

The 3 days spent in the hospital was an interesting experience. For the patient it is like your life is interrupted and time slows down. Individual choice is taken away and your schedule is in the hands of others.

During the night you are woken to have your vitals taken then you are left there awake. You get to listen to the night sounds of the hospital and they are very different from what happens during the day.

At 3:30 am in the morning there is an entirely different rhythm than the daytime….

– The ever-present hum of the air handler
– The old fellow down the hall with a bad cough who ends each coughing session spitting something up and then mumbling under his breath
– The chirping of the various monitors and equipment in all the rooms seem to be talking to each other
– The lady in another room who moans and asks where she is when they come to check on her
– The occasional beeping of the call for a nurse
– The muted conversations by the nurses, techs and cleaning staff about their lives
– The sound of a TV being watched in the far distance
– The nearby busy doorway with the noisy latch
– The ever-present hum of the air handler

Then the sleeping pill kicks back in…………..

Aw, Snap

Aw, Snap“. This is what Google likes to display in their Chrome browser when things don’t go as planned. So Art is having an “aw snap” week.

A couple of weeks ago, after the family beach week, Art went to his kidney doctor and was told that he really needed to be on dialysis. The doctor knew it would be better to not do it if the transplant could be done quickly so he gave him an extra week.

On Tuesday of this week we met again and reviewed the latest tests…and he could wait no longer. So Art checked into Ball Hospital in Muncie, IN yesterday to have a catheter placed into his upper chest so that dialysis could be conducted until the transplant.

The procedure to insert the catheter was quite painful and then they immediate rolled him to the dialysis center to try it out for a couple of hours. On Thursday they upped the time to 3 hours and fine-tuned what the procedure would be. Art suffered through some nausea and some huge leg cramps but they eventually got everything under control.

Friday will be the last dialysis session at the hospital. Starting next week he will be going to a center 3 days a week. This will continue until the transplant team sets a date for the surgery.

Wednesday…while Art was being checked into the hospital…Ben and Becky came to the RV and helped finish packing to move our stuff to their house in Fishers. We rented a large high-top cargo van and Ben picked up some furniture that we have purchased in preparation for the move into our new home on Labor Day weekend.

Sunday, a couple who are interested in buying the 5th wheel, will be coming to check it out. It would be great if they bought it, but if not we will have the unit towed to Camping World on the south side of Indy and try to sell it via consignment.

I would say our plate has been a bit full but you probably guessed that part.

On The List

As bureaucratic as it may sound….you must be officially on the kidney transplant wait list before the operation can take place. After all the testing, poking and prodding….Art is officially on the list.

Now we wait for the testing to be completed for Tim and be officially placed on the donor list. The operation will then be scheduled.

Art’s latest blood test results show that he should start dialysis now. His doctor is a little amazed that he is not showing some of the more serious symptoms so, for now, we will wait week-to-week, watch his blood levels and go from there. The transplant specialists say that recent studies show that people who do not have dialysis prior to transplant seem to have a little more success with the transplant than those who undergo dialysis prior to the surgery. Therefore if we can – avoiding dialysis is the goal.

If there are no insurance surprises….then the operation could take place in the next few weeks. The sooner the better.

Eye in the Sky is Gone

We had some success getting rid of part of our RV stuff. We sold the portable satellite dish system. When we purchased our 5th wheel we included an automatic satellite dish on the roof. This made it very nice since all we had to do was to pull into a campsite….open the slides…hook up the electricity and push the satellite button. By the time we had water connected and the 5th wheel stabilized…we had high-def TV working.

Unless you were under a tree.

We discovered in a beautiful treed campsite on James Island near Charleston, SC that the roof-top satellite does not work when it is under trees. Since we needed to keep up with all our important shows we decided to purchase a portable satellite dish system. We bought the standard Winegard portable satellite TV antenna and placed it in an opening among the trees and strung cables back to the 5th wheel.

We now had shade and a signal.

We only used it a couple of times and have been trying to sell it for the last couple of months with seemingly no interest from anyone. Last weekend a fellow contacted us from the ad on Craigslist and knew he wanted to purchase it. A deal was made and the dollars have exchanged hands.

Now if we could just sell our 5th wheel.

Family Beach Week 2013 — REFLECTIONS

We just returned from a week on Lake Michigan in St. Joseph, MI. This was the first year in a while the entire family was together for a few days. This was also the first beach week that Art was not able to participate in many activities because of his kidney failure. In fact he slept about 12 hours a day and generally worked on just trying to feel normal.

The week was spent sitting on the beach, going out to eat, shopping and hanging out as a family. We enjoyed seeing each of our kids and their families running, playing and getting along with each other. All 7 grandchildren were there and fun was had by all. On Saturday we had a visit from Mary’s sister (along with her daughter and family) and one of her brothers and sister-in-law. They hung out and we all sat on the beach for the day. Then Art’s brother and wife and mom drove over for the day from Jackson. It was nice to see everyone connect with each other.

Art commented that his problem with his kidneys caused him to take it easy this year but also to take a lot of enjoyment from just watching the grandchildren and enjoying the beautiful lake shore. The weather was perfect and the time together was well-spent building some great memories.

The Family Who Runs Together

Our family “beach week” has begun! This year the house was a Friday-to-Friday rental so most of us were here on Saturday in the morning. St Joseph has a 5K or 10K fun run/walk that benefits the YMCA every year. It happened to be while we were here so we decided to participate.

The weather was awesome. Anne is our serious runner so she planned to run the 5K. The rest of the group decided to mix it up and run some and walk the rest. Russ pulled stroller duty and pushed the three little ones through the entire race…and actually had a respectable time.

We got there early and watched the people getting ready for the race. Some of them were serious competitors and it showed in their pre-race routine. They runners/walkers lined up based on their average speed per mile….and the race started. Art was not participating so he became the official photographer of the event. Anne was the first to cross the finish line and the rest completed the course with good times of their own. Mary posted one of her faster walking times for the 3+ mile course.

It was a nice family event that we will do again in the future.