Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A bank of pay phones, an alternative mode of communication


Just after midnight Friday, on the wall outside a gate at PDX, I found these. I consider them relics, well-maintained, but relics nevertheless. Mostly I was so glad to have something to photograph while I waited for Howard's plane.

Mama felt a little more normal part of today. She got several birthday cards; the kids gave her a pretty balloon, and we all visited. Marsha from my work came to see her, too. She walked several blocks to do that, and it's mighty cold outside. Wasn't that sweet?

Thursday when we know something about Mama's procedure, I'm so thankful that I won't have to call everyone who cares about her on a pay phone. Whew! I think I'm sort of tired now. Can you imagine how exhausted I'd be if I had to make hundreds of phone calls? I can, and it's not a pretty picture. I am so thankful for the Internet, Gmail, and all of y'all!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Under construction, sort of like things around here

There used to be a vacant lot here, used for parking. Now it's the site of a new high rise office building a couple of blocks from the Willamette River. That the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge in the distance.

No real news on the Mama front other than she's not regressed, thank goodness. There is a chance that we will get to have a risk/benefit conversation with the cardiovascular surgeon about this work that needs to be done on her carotid arteries and the bypass surgery. We might find out tonight, but more likely in the morning--if the stars are a-lined.

We've got other problems, short-lived ones, we hope. My brother woke up with a virus which has caused him grief all day, and now he's exhausted and has been dozing on the couch with Duncan. I do not feel very well myownself. Also, Portland's experiencing extremely cold temperatures which makes us even more susceptible to feeling poorly. I got us some popsicles and crackers and Gatorade earlier, so we're ready for anything.

Thanks for your continued prayers and kind comments.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mama's Settled In and Good-bye Crud!

That sweet little lady, my Mama, is a champ. She's ready to do whatever she possibly can for however long it takes to get back to her life--that's the message I got from her today as we moved her into her room at Mt. Tabor. Physical therapy begins tomorrow. I predict it will be one of the hardest things she's ever done, but I'm doggone proud of her attitude. Lamont, Lindsay and Leland came by to visit Grandma just as her dinner arrived. We talked and laughed a bit as she ate some of it despite being so tired from her busy day that included a shower as well as the ride in a wheelchair ambulance. After Mama got settled back in bed, hoping she'd stay awake for "Wheel of Fortune," we hugged and kissed on her, saying good-bye until tomorrow. It wasn't easy on any of us, but each of us believes in what she's about to undertake and in our ability to support her and to help make good things happen for her as she rehabilitates.

In between conversations with Mama, we'd talked about food and how hungry each of us was. We decided to meet at the Savoy Tavern & Bistro at SE Clinton and 25th.

On the drink menu, I saw "Viva La Cruda," a margarita. Besides the fact that I really like a good margarita, the word crud in cruda sparked my imagination. Merriam-Webster defines crud as something disagreeable. My ricochet brain took me from crud to what's been going on with Mama is cruddy, as in "It's absolutely cruddy that she's not able to come home and sit in her recliner and enjoy Duncan, her crossword puzzles, and being together after I get home from work or on the weekends." So, I thought, I'll have a Viva La Cruda and drink that crud right outta mine and Mama's lives!

And that's just what I did, after Lindsay and I took photos, naturally.

I took this one without the flash.
I took this one with the flash.
Lindsay, my guest photographer,took this one without the flash and from an entirely different angle.

Which one is your favorite? And, no, I didn't drink three Viva La Crudas--just two. I also ate a fine tasting hamburger and French fries. Really good food and drink, being with those three young adults, the hope of our future--I'm saying "Hasta la vista crud!"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Afternoon delight and Mama news

From my work windows. Remember the hole in the clouds I posted Oct. 13? The photos are of the same area; you can see the tower at the top edge of the treeline.

I've never seen clouds like these. Have you?

Mama sat up in her wooden high-backed, padded chair with arms for one hour this afternoon. When I went to visit after work today, her supper arrived--a grilled cheese sandwich, canned peach slices, vanilla wafers, strawberry sorbet, and milk. She ate with more gusto than I've seen since she became ill, I'm happy to report. She also told me that she stayed awake better, too, and felt less dizzy now and then. Tomorrow's the big day. I'll let y'all know how it goes. Pray for strength, stamina and patience--for me! Ha! Pray for Mama above and beyone me, please. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Branches of Life


It was the massive green limbs that first caught my eye. When I downloaded the photo, I felt astounded at the shapes and directions of the naked limbs, down to the narrowest ones. It looks as if the winds have influenced these trees in downtown Portland much more that one would realize from seeing them filled out spring, summer and fall. It's inspirational to see beneath what we take for granted, the greens and golds, to realize that the beauty of it all extends year round. We take for granted so very much of what we rely on, from our own bodies to our everyday lives. Much like my dear Mama's strong little body and the vessels that supply it with life-maintaining blood. So, for me, this is the perfect photo for today's post.

Dr. Lukacs explained what went on today to me by drawing a diagram of sorts, explaining as he went along. If I had the cord that goes from my camera to my computer with me, I'd take a photo of it and put it here--I didn't think to bring it with me. I'll do my best to explain.

There is stuff as hard as concrete, as he put it, completely blocking her right subclavian artery. They tried to break it, coming at it from both ends, to no avail. On the left subclavian artery, there are deposits narrowing it, but they were able to insert a stent there which has greatly improved the blood flow. She's in Cardiac Intensive Care, probably for overnight only, to be closely monitored. She's awake, flat on her back, and trying really hard to stay still.

Dr. Luckas said that there is the possibility she will need another procedure to take care of some blockage in her left carotid artery and also they will be evaluating her for the possibility of a by-pass of the 100% blocked right subclavian artery.

I read all of your e-mails to her this morning before she left her room for the cath lab, which she thoroughly enjoyed, and was just about to show her the photo of Tony and Melissa's Preston when the escort arrived. I'm saving that for later on, so if anyone else has a photo you think that she'd like to see, please send it. I can show it to her once she gets back into a regular room.

I'll let you know how she's doing tomorrow. Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Snow, on Christmas Day!

Here you have some photos of our trip to Lake Oswego, to Lindsay's Aunt Laura's home, for Christmas Day with family, friends, food and fun. It all started with the surprise of falling snowflakes. It matters not that it didn't stick around for too many hours.

Here's Mama! Dec. 25, 2007. On Jan. 23, 2008, she'll turn 82, a fact which continually surprises her. She first posed for me, standing inside the building's entry.

Then she bundled up and posed in the snow before heading for the Buick. Personally, I was thrilled that Leland was driving because I could take photos!

Here you can see the entrance to our building. Besides being good for Mama--not too many steps, two colors on the steps which helps her perception as she makes a decision about where to step, and a sturdy handrail--it's quite nice-looking, too.

Notice the red lampposts? They're in front of Portland's Classical Chinese Garden. How about this wonderful quotation I found on their Web site: "Most cherished in this mundane world is a place without traffic; truly in the midst of a city there can be mountain and forest." Wen Zhengming (1470-1559)

The traffic signal marks the intersection of NW Everett and NW 3rd Avenue. We're about to turn right onto 3rd. Two blocks after the turn, we'll pass the bus stop at NW Couch. I sometimes walk there, all the way down Everett, 1.22 miles (according to MapQuest) from the apartment's front door.

We're on SW 3rd Avenue, just south of Burnside. The snow looks great against that dark awning and the red brick.

I didn't look at the street signs, but I think we're on SW 1st Avenue here. You really can tell how important trees are in Portland from this shot, can't you? This is southwest downtown, in the midst of all sorts of office buildings.

Here's the 17, in southwest Portland, miles from where we can catch it a block from the apartment. TriMet operates every single day of the year.

When we paused at a traffic signal in Lake Oswego (where Aunt Laura lives), I took this photo through the open window.

We almost there now.

It will be a couple of days before I get the rest of the Christmas photos posted--thanks for your patience.