Sunday, May 17, 2009

Airplanes, the ocean and cute kids!

Every time I step onto an airplane I am just slightly apprehensive. There's always a thought in the back of my mind that the plane might crash. I know statistically planes are safer than cars. But as soon as the airplane door closes and the plane takes off I simply have no control over what happens next. So as I'm sitting there I always think of projects I haven't finished, goals I have yet to accomplish and things I haven't said, but meant too.

Every flight has the same safety rules and guidelines. There is a laminated card in the seat pocket that everyone is supposed to follow along with as the flight attendant calmly reads the instructions over the speaker. Another flight attendant stands at the front of the plane using very animated hand motions to show where all the exits are, the oxygen masks and so on.

You might be wondering why I have a laminated safety card in my kitchen...........I may have possibly, kind of, sort of taken it off the plane with me.......I didn't know until later that it had these instructions on the back of the card in red letters:

One of my favorite things the flight attendant says is, "No congregating by the lavatories." Okay.....the isle is maybe 2 feet wide, so why would anyone want to do any kind of congregating there?

As I listen to all the instructions I can't help but laugh a little. The flight attendant cheerfully says, "If the cabin loses pressure an oxygen mask will automatically drop from above your seat." I think what they are really saying is this........"By putting the oxygen mask on you will get to be breathing and fully aware of what is happening while there is a huge problem going on. You will most likely die anyway but we want you to be able to enjoy every last second of your impending doom."

How to properly put on an oxygen mask

I also love the thought of putting on my seat cushion as a flotation device should we need to evacuate in water. I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure there isn't any huge body of water between the San Antonio and the Salt Lake airport. So I picture myself in a pond wearing a seat cushion. Now if I were to actually fly over an ocean I'm not sure I would want to be stuck in freezing water with sharks for hours and hours....maybe days. I guess the good news is I would have my seat cushion strapped on properly.

Seat cushion that turns into a flotation device

The emergency exits are another interesting concept. 138 people frantically trying to get to an exit and then go down a big slide. They make it sound almost fun if it were in another situation. Until they say to please check for fire before opening an emergency exit.........then what? I think at that point we might just burn right up with the airplane.

Whee! The evacuation slide looks kind of exciting

And finally the escape rope. Is this something that happens at 38,000 feet? If so where do you go from there? Do you hang there for days waiting to be rescued or do you end up falling to a terrifying death?

Another fun toy....the escape rope!

So as the safety presentation goes on (and on) this is what I hear......IF THIS AIRCRAFT CRASHES THERE IS A 99.9% CHANCE YOU WILL DIE. JUST REALIZE YOUR LIFE IS OVER AND DEAL WITH IT!

Luckily our flights were uneventful, with just a little turbulence. Tanner was champ and did amazingly well for a 23 month old.

Megan, Tanner and I had a great, relaxing, fun time in Texas. I couldn't have asked for a better trip. Thanks Ben and Mary!

There are so many things 3 little red headed cousins can find to do together. They got along great! Tanner loved Abby and Olivia and was sad to leave them.

Some ocean therapy.........there's nothing better than sunshine, sand, water and family.

After a long day at the beach there's nothing like an authentic seafood restaurant......luckily for me they had chicken. Tanner and Olivia were tired and did not want to be confined to highchairs or laps. Tanner, of course, was very vocal about being "stuck" in the highchair. That man in the background did not even try to hide his disapproval of all the noise going on at our table.

Can you see the family resemblance between Olivia and Tanner? One lady asked if they were twins. Also take notice of the car on the sand right by the water. How cool is that?

Friday, May 8, 2009


I'm going to be totally cured from all my illnesses on May 12, 2009. You might be a little skeptical at this point, but don't be. No need to worry........I know what I'm talking about. The reason I am so confident is because I will be on a beach that day. It's only a Texas beach but it's still a beach. I will be walking in ocean water and sand, which is what I want to do every day of my life. And if you think only having 8 toes will stop way! I am so excited that I can hardly wait. I think the ocean is a cure all for any problems anyone is having. You just have to believe. So even though I only get to spend part of one day there I will come home feeling 100% better. I still have a problem with denial and reality. But Megan, Tanner and I are flying to San Antonio tomorrow (compliments of Ben). I can't wait to see Abby and Olivia (my adorable little red heads). The beach is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Ben and Mary's house but that is just fine with me. To get to watch the two little girls and Tanner play in the ocean will be the best day ever. Being on an airplane with Tanner may be the worst day ever..........for all the passengers on the flight with us. He tends to be very LOUD when he is excited or confined to a small space (and he never quits talking EVER).

So here's the real health update (no denial): Steroids have been amazing as far as my autoimmune disease goes. The severe pain I had for months is about 80% less than it was. I still have some issues with pain if I walk too much or try to do to much without resting, but I feel like I actually have a life again. My sed rate has dropped from 93 to 53, still too high but much better. Unfortunately the side effects of the steroids have been a problem.
First: They messed with my blood sugar on day one of taking them, but with some medicine changes that is back in total control.
Second: They caused fluid retention which caused my blood pressure to get too high. I have been working with my nephrologist (kidney doctor) to get that back in control. She has made several medicine changes and the BP and swelling is better but not back to perfect yet. She added more meds when I saw her Wednesday. My GRF is 19, it was 20 a month ago so my kidney disease seems to be staying in Stage 4 , at least for now.
Third: Since steroids can mess with the immune system, I started having fevers again about the 4th day of taking them. I saw my PCP on the 10th day of fevers. She put me on a high dose of Clindamycin and the fevers stopped on the 3rd day of taking antibiotics. The antibiotics cause nausea which is no fun but I can deal with that. Of course my labs proved I had an infection because my white count and my absolute neutrophils were both high.
Fourth: My anemia got worse, as it always does with infections and so I had to get IV iron on Monday for that.
Fifth: My fevers have been back since Monday night so I either have new bacteria in my system or the antibiotics aren't strong enough, which means I called my PCP again today. So she said that since the steroids are messing with my immune system I need to quit taking them (not sure I will do that until after my trip....just the thought of dealing with the chronic pain is hard to think about). So there is a slight possibility that I may pretend I didn't hear her say to quit taking them. She wanted to see me Monday but I will be in Texas (good thing I'll be close to a doctor there). So I will just have to deal with the fevers/infection until I get back. Then when I get home...........I might just have to become a pain pill addict to deal with it all.

This is the IV iron..........a very exciting picture.

This is the IV with the iron going in........another very exciting picture.

This is me........trying to look excited during IV iron therapy.

This is Tanner watching "Hotel for Dogs" in the hospital bed.......trying to overcome his boredom while he waits.

This is Tanner touching the IV pole while Megan tells him not to and warns him he will be in "time out" if he does it again.

This is Tanner a few minutes later.......having made the decision that touching the IV pole is well worth a "time out".

I can't wait to have new beach pictures to post when I get back!