Sunday, November 30, 2014

Not Much to Report


This is what I saw when I opened the blinds this morning.


Jim had a nice visit with Dr. Moats at Mayo Family Medicine on Friday. After looking at the ER report, I think she was surprised that he was actually alive and well, not having leg pain and having no problems breathing. We read that in nearly 25% of patients with pulmonary embolism the initial clinical manifestation is sudden death. Fortunately for Jim he was in the other 75%. She said most people with his diagnosis would still be lying in bed with their leg elevated due to pain and having shortness of breath. Just goes to show the benefit of regular exercise all these years.

Unfortunately now he must take blood thinners, probably for the rest of his life, which of course have their own risks. Dr. Moats advised him to not do any really strenuous exercise for another couple weeks, as they think the risk of the DVT in his leg throwing off another clot to the lungs is greatest in the first month. So he will keep walking, which she said was fine. He asked about mountain biking, and of course she said it was up to him to weigh the risk of bleeding from a fall off the bike. Of course he could fall off the step walking out of the Lazy Daze and would not be wearing a helmet, so everything we do has some risk involved.

She ordered some basic blood work but the hematologist will do more specific testing next month. She also referred him to a cardiovascular specialist who has an interest in coagulation disorders. The first appointment he could get wasn’t until January 30, so we will be hanging close to this area over the winter.

On the way home we stopped at Office Max, Best Buy, and Target. For being Black Friday we were surprised that there was little traffic and very few people in those stores.

Sherry wondered what we ate for Thanksgiving dinner so here goes in case anyone else is interested.  I made Portabella Pomodoro, Brocolli-Walnut Stir-Fry (I left out the oil and used olive oil spray), and baked a loaf of whole wheat bread in my little bread machine.

For desert we had Crustless Pumpkin Pie. I used EnerG Egg Replacer, almond milk, and just 1/4 cup of half sugar and half stevia. I’ve made this recipe many times before and it turned out fine, but for some reason it didn’t really thicken this time so it was more like eating pumpkin pudding, but it tasted great. And there was enough of everything left over for dinner the next day.

Yesterday Jim installed a new fan in the refrigerator. He wired it into the light, and it attaches to the fins and blows back onto them. From what a couple people on the Lazy Daze forum have said it keeps ice from forming on the fins, so we’ll see what our experience is after it’s been in there awhile.



Pretty exciting stuff, I know.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Just Waiting



After a few phone calls to the Mayo Clinic, Jim managed to get an appointment with the family practitioner on Friday, and the hematologist on December 11th. So until then he is taking the Xarelto and trying to get on with life.

The ER doc told him to take it easy for a few weeks, but he is walking several miles a day and feeling more like himself. The side effects of the medication seem to be gradually subsiding as the days go by.  For those of you who know Jim, he has maintained a surprisingly positive attitude throughout all this. I’m thinking one of those clots must have gone to his brain;-)

I’ve been having a great time biking the trails here at McDowell, although I hate that Jim can’t join me right now. That’s one of the many things he plans to ask the doctor about.

In spite, and because of this, we really do have a lot to be thankful for this year. We plan to spend a quiet day at home tomorrow, eating a non-traditional vegan dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Couple of Busy Days


Jim was discharged from the hospital yesterday after spending a mostly sleepless night, although they did finally get him into a private room at 10:30 Thursday evening. The doctor saw him early yesterday morning but it took several hours before he was discharged. We were hungry and stopped for lunch on the way home, then had to pick up his prescription for Xarelto, one of those newer anticoagulants that is better than warfarin since you don’t have any dietary restrictions and don’t have to get monthly blood tests. It has one drawback, though, no reversal if you have serious bleeding. But not going to worry about that right now.

When we got back to Government Wash Debbie had just pulled in, stopping for a night on her way to Prescott. And another Airstream with new fulltimers Jim and Denise had just set up camp. Debbie and I took her dogs for a walk while Jim took a nap, and shortly after we got a phone call from Kelly, our former Pensacola neighbor who we visited last year while they were living in Vegas. He’s a Southwest pilot, had an unplanned overnight layover in Vegas, and just happened to see the blog about Jim being in the hospital. So he drove his rental car to Lake Mead and joined us for happy hour, along with Brian and Leigh (and Curtis), Debbie, and Jim and Denise. We laughed a lot, which was definitely the best medicine after a couple of very stressful days.


Almost forgot,  just before happy hour Sophie escaped out the door, ran down an embankment into a wash, and chased a coyote. I went running and screaming after her, throwing rocks to try to scare her back or scare the coyote off. She finally quit running and I coaxed her to me. Oh, how I hate that little girl sometimes.

After a good nights sleep, this morning we decided to just drive the 300 miles to McDowell Mountain Park in Fountain Hills, a week earlier than planned. The ER doctor wants Jim to see his primary care doctor or hematologist next week. He put a call in to the Mayo Clinic yesterday but didn’t hear back so hopefully someone can see him in spite of the Thanksgiving holiday. We shared the driving and stopped often for Jim to walk around and stretch his legs. Got here around four and got a great site until Thanksgiving Day, when we will have to move to overflow unless there are cancellations.


 Jim out walking Sophie in our new backyard.


Thanks so much to all our friends and blog readers who have commented or sent emails. We really appreciate everyone’s support and concern.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Not What We Planned


On our last hike in Zion up to the West Rim trail, Jim’s left leg was bothering him and he felt like he was more winded than normal. That is a very steep trail going up Walters Wiggles, and I wasn’t having the best time climbing it myself. The following day he had a hard time putting weight on his leg, but as he was up and walking around it started feeling better. We did a little biking and some easy hiking over the weekend, but it was still bothering him some. A few days ago he noticed his calf was swollen. A Google search for swollen calf and leg pain suggested a deep vein thrombosis, something Jim had been examined for in the past but which just turned out to be superficial clots of his varicose veins, which he was told not to worry about.

I finally convinced him to go to the ER since it was not getting better, so this is where we spent our day, and where Jim is spending the night. St. Rose Dominican Hospital (Sienna Campus) in Las Vegas. Not a bad place, but very busy. As I write this there is no room at the inn, so he is still in the ER hallway. Not good.


The ultrasound and CT showed he surprisingly had deep vein thromboses in both legs and multiple pulmonary emboli in his lungs. Not the diagnosis we wanted to hear, but he was started on anticoagulants and they are keeping him overnight. He joked about wanting to use his new Medicare, but this really isn’t what he meant.

The internist who came to talk with us said Jim should see a hematologist, so he will be following up at the Mayo Clinic while we are there next month. Last year he had tests run to see if he had a blood disease or genetic factor that may have caused the superficial clots, but all of those tests were negative, so they just recommended low-dose aspirin which apparently didn’t do the trick. The ER doc said that he has seen a good number of people of all ages with DVTs and PEs where nothing ever turns up on the testing.


Another exciting day in the life…I would much rather be hiking. And although we get on each other’s nerves sometimes, I sure do miss him when he isn’t here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Back at Government Wash, Lake Mead NRA


We enjoyed the past several quiet (although cold and windy) days at our very private site near Overton, joined on our last day by Winnie Views Lynne, although we could just barely see her roof. Jim did more tweaking of the new computer, and I piddled around doing household things that had been neglected. We also rode our bikes and took walks from the campsite. It was just what we needed.

Today was a short 44 mile drive to Government Wash, a popular dispersed camping area in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. We stopped to dump our tanks and get water at the Callville Bay campground and will probably hang around here until we need to dump again.

We forgot how scenic it is along Northshore Drive.



Brian and Leigh (Aluminarium) invited us to park by them, and just as we arrived a big Alfa Class A pulled up. It was their friends Norm and Lisa (Those Young Guys).

Luckily there is plenty of room for everyone. We had happy hour outside until it got too cold, then Leigh had invited us to dinner for vegan stroganoff, and I made a salad. A pleasant evening.


The water level in Lake Mead is extremely low.


The Government Wash boat launch is closed, and obviously has been for awhile judging by the size of the vegetation that’s grown up in the dry lake bed.


Being just 15-20 miles from Henderson/Las Vegas, we will definitely be paying a visit to Trader Joe’s and Total Wine over the next couple of days, and hopefully get to do some hiking.

And maybe even some of this.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Last Zion Hike and Moving On


We’re not in Utah anymore, Dorothy.


Yesterday morning we looked at the weather forecast and decided it was time to move on. What had been a small chance of rain was now up to 70-80% for Friday. Being camped on an already rutted, bad dirt road, we were concerned we might get bogged down in mud if it really did rain much. So we joined the Box Canyon gang for one last hike in Zion, up the West Rim trail, the one which also goes up Walter’s Wiggles to Angels Landing.



We got separated from the group due to Jim going back to the car for something and thought we might be able catch up, but that didn’t happen. Bypassing the turnoff for Angels Landing, we continued climbing up the West Rim trail.


We did catch up with Debbie, who had turned around, so Jim went back with her. I continued up the trail and saw Laurelee coming down so I walked back with her.



Laurelee, is that you?


I really love the scenery in that section of the park.


After we got home from the hike we packed up and drove to the Walmart in Hurricane, Utah where we spent a quiet evening. After a little shopping this morning we made our way to Nevada, to a nice dispersed camping area near Overton where we stayed last year. Of course the rain never materialized, but we were planning to leave on Sunday, anyway. And it’s warmer here.

We’ve had a wonderful time hanging out with friends the past couple months, but we plan to take a few days to relax by ourselves and recuperate from some aches and pains from all that hiking. It’s been great fun, though.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Senior Moments


A dozen seniors exploring Many Pools on ZIon’s east side. Check out Box Canyon Blog for the rest of the story.






We discovered a cool slot canyon and had to see how far we could go.


We’re climbing up there??


I can get up a lot of places, but it’s the getting back down that’s tricky. Many of us needed a little help from our friends.



Group hike on BLM land, Virgin, Utah. 12 people, 5 dogs. We could never get a photo of all the dogs together. The Boonster and Coffee Girl joined us, along with Lynne and Millie.


After a couple miles through an interesting wash we had to do some bushwacking to find the road back.


On Sunday Suzanne and Bobbie joined us for a 17 mile bike ride up the Pa’rus trail through ZIon Canyon. The shuttles are still running on weekends during November so it almost felt like we had the place to ourselves.


Unfortunately Bobbie got a flat tire on her new bike and Jim had a horrible time trying to get the tire back on.


Then it flatted again about 5 minutes down the road. Luckily the shuttles have a bike rack on the front so Bobbie and her bike hitched a ride back to the visitor center.


It was a gorgeous day for a ride along the Virgin River.



Yesterday we all went back up Kolob Terrace Road to the Wildcat trailhead, where we hiked to Mark and Bobbie’s tripod rocks. Although we did the same hike last year, we would have never been able to find them had they not been along. Heck, they’ve done it about 6 times and still had a disagreement about which way to go. We can still hike but we don’t remember much!


A tough hike with lots of up and down on slickrock, but we were all alone in the middle of Zion. Very cool!










I’m sure one of these days you can read more about these adventures on Take to the Highway and Winnie Views.

In between all the hiking, we returned the Acer computer due to a malfunction, which Jim spent way too much time trying to figure out. The tech finally had him reset everything to the way it was out of the box, which did not fix the problem. We now have a Dell Inspiron 15, which we hope will be more reliable.

We also squeezed in the movie Interstellar at the Zion IMAX Theater, with dinner at Pizza and Noodle afterward. I thought the movie was just okay, but everyone else seemed to like it. Part of my problem was sitting for 3 hours. It was way too long! The pizza was very good, though.

And finally, I haven’t posted a cat photo in awhile. They were especially cute one recent morning, wallowing on the bed. I do love them when they’re sleeping!