Check-up and more

Visit the previous Solstice post.

Sunday, Dec 15
The good news on my horse is that our neighbor who has helped us bury two previous horses, came down with his backhoe to help put Frosty in his resting place on our property. It was accomplished on a very windy, but sunny day. Winds were gusting to 53mph. This Christmas cactus was blooming nicely for the day, and the clouds resembled the activity trails of a herd of heavenly horses running to great Frosty. One of his buddies (Scotch) preceded him there, and others of ours probably heard of his arrival. About the clouds, see here and here.

blooms on a Christmas cactus backlit from a sunny window
Mistreated but it doesn’t
seem to care a whit
Altocumulus clouds -- lines of whispy white clouds; also called mackerel sky or buttermilk
What is going on up there?

Monday, Dec 16
Took a lot of time today to finalize all the medical paperwork to take along tomorrow to my Cardiologist’s appointment in Yakima. It is just a routine 6-month visit, but has much stuff to take along with me. They want a complete list of medications (and even want the containers), but I have managed over time to just take a detailed list. They accept it.
In addition, I have been recording my blood pressure daily (as requested from the doc last time). Last night my recorder stopped working, but I have enough data to satisfy the doctor that I do not have high blood pressure. I also have tried to coordinate the lab reports and talk to the hospital and my family physician’s office to figure WHY the system will not work correctly on sharing my lab reports requested from one doctor with another in the same system as the hospital lab where I go. I am not allowed to ask them to FAX results to both doctors. What happened to the need to benefit the patient?
The other thing accomplished today was a find of a white board about 2′ x 3′ that a preschool teacher requested on the new list I’m on for “freebies” — Buy Nothing Kittitas County. (It is a closed group through Facebook). I have gotten a few nice things, and given some nice things away too. It beats dealing with E-Bay or bulletin boards, or God forbid, having a garage sale. I’m meeting her Wednesday to deliver the goods. Amazingly (to Nancy), John found it this morning in the shed. Nicest way to depart with stuff is to find someone needing and wanting something for which you no longer have a use.
John tended to the rough and rocky ground from the horse burial. Many rocks moved off to another use and the place covered with straw and manure from near the horse feeding spots.

Tuesday, Dec 17
Started out getting things ready for leaving for the trip to Yakima. John worked outside and the temperature gradually went above freezing. We had a small lunch and hit the road, a little after 1:00 p.m. On to Yakima (I drove). First, to Costco for gasoline, at $3.159/gallon. That’s a lot better than Ellensburg’s $3.269. From there to shopping. I mentioned above that Sunday night my blood pressure measuring unit quit working. We purchased it from Costco a couple of years ago, and never expected a replacement, but took it in, to see if they could get a replacement part. The sleeve no longer expanded to record the pressure, and made sounds like it was leaking. They checked to see that we had bought it there, and then refunded us the cost we paid. We both were in a state of flabbergast, and never expected anything like that. I forgot to ask when the purchase date was, but it was in their system. They refunded us $42.26. We went to the pharmacy and bought a new nicer one for less. Also, we picked up a few more things for us and the animals. I took a powered shopping cart on the way in, but after we came back from the service desk, I passed a woman with crutches, waiting for one. I was coming from the exit side, so as I went by her, she said, are you returning that? I said, no, I’m just beginning, but I think you need it more than I do, so please take it. My good deed for the day, and I got a good exercise walking all over the store.
From there we went to Big 5 Sporting Goods store where we had a $5 coupon. John found some boots just as he likes, on sale, and asked about something to glue down the front rubber piece of the sole across the toe that is coming off those at home. The sales clerk suggested a tube of glue just for leather & rubber. So, he got it a tube of black Shoegoo. From there to the Yakima Heart Center. I was to check in early for a 4:00 p.m. appointment. Surprisingly, I was called in at 4:03. The nurse assistant took my vitals, and then gave me an EKG. We thought the doctor would be in soon, but he was much longer than expected, getting there just before 5:00. He always spends a lot of time with us, and he went through all the labs and past information from the last time we saw him in June. Nothing was wrong with any of my tests, except my magnesium is a little low, so he told me to start adding a supplement of it to my meds, daily. My cholesterol (total is low) was “excellent'” in his words — but he explained my HDL/LDL (ratio) is a bit off because the “bad” C. is quite low while the good C. has not lowered concomitantly. He was very happy with that, and won’t change anything. Several months ago my regular Doc in Cle Elum noticed this and sent a memo with a link to a study about too low isn’t good either. John did some reading and we-all have decided to watch this for any changes or other (maybe related) issues. My blood work was good. In 3 months, I’m going to go through a special test which measures the volume of my newly-shaped heart better than a normal Echocardiogram. So about late March I’ll get that done – reluctantly, because I have to lay on a table with an arm up behind my head for about 10 to 15 minutes (I think). That’s not fun. By the time our consultation was over it was near 6:30 and we and Dr. Kim were the only ones left in the office. He had to find the main switch for the front doors so they would unlock and open without setting off alarms.

Wednesday, Dec 18
Similar to other midweek’s doings. Off to the Food Bank Soup Kitchen to play Christmas carols today. I wore my special Merry Christmas hat. They fed us pizza (homemade there), a large mixed green salad, and some dessert I skipped. Went by the pharmacy for one of my pills, and by Bi-Mart for some Magnesium as prescribed yesterday, by my doctor. Home to try to tackle a number of routine things.

Thursday, Dec 19
Today, most of the morning was spent copying Christmas music and adding legible chords for two new (occasional) members of our music group — guitar players. One is 92! And you would never have guessed his age. Amazing, and quite good on the guitar as well. I hope I’m half as good as he is by the time I’m 75! We had many interested and involved residents, singing along on the Christmas songs, and jingling their bells we gave them.
From there, I came home to deal with many emails that have been waiting and to work on a WTA page to get to people for comments. I hope to put the links in an end of year newsletter. It is not written yet. So many cards and letters are coming, and I will have to print out what I end up putting in the newsletter to send to our friends who do not have an Internet connection. I promise you it will not be as large as the greetings for 2012, which did not make it out until St. Patrick’s Day this year! I also put in a bunch of time sending out jobs for my jobs list I have ignored for the past few days.

Friday, Dec 20
We got up early this morning to make the two pecan pies to take to the scholarship luncheon potluck at CWU. Friends at the same parties (doesn’t happen often) may get tired of our over the top regalia. This was a change today with the hats added.

Nancy and John in Christmas decorated sweaters
An odd couple of pies.

My hat was given to me by my friend since the 6th grade, Nancy “J.” John is wearing my old sweater when I was larger. There was an interesting assortment of food, and ours was the only dessert. After lunch we went by for my INR blood draw and visited in our Christmas clothing with a nurse who hadn’t seen me in 3 years, when I was going in for regular IVs after the bacteria in my blood (after the heart valve transplant). Her name is Nancy, and she was so thrilled to see me and gave me a huge hug, and John too, saying how great I looked. Yes, quite an improvement since the last time I saw her. I have gone back, sometimes with Chocolate Chip cookies to say hello to the nurses in the Outpatient part of the hospital, but she hasn’t been there when I have been in. We need to do that again.
It has been snowing lightly, and can just stay that way, or stop anytime. About 3:00 this afternoon, the sun came out for a very short time! Nothing on tap except catching up until tomorrow. Then, the wind started blowing, gusting to 38mph before slowing. Oops — there it comes again. Chili tonight and pecan pie for dessert, because we did not eat a piece at the luncheon today, preferring to have a real fork or spoon (not plastic), and a glob of ice cream on top. Everyone else was happy to eat or take a piece with them. We still brought a little over 1/2 of one pie home, so that was nice.
Tonight, I also put some final changes on another WTA workday trip, with some final shots of the projects added into two previous days’ documentation.
Check out here, cut and paste if necessary:

Saturday, Dec 21

This morning with John, we worked on a rewrite of the web page on the Park Pointe development in Issaquah. The WTA crew leaders have not yet reviewed it, but you can find it at

I am actually still making corrections and additions.
Late this afternoon and evening, we will be dressing in our Christmas garb again and going to an open house. I think we will take a plate of cut up Honeycrisp apples to go with all the sweet stuff likely to be there. Speaking of sweet stuff, we have a funny mistake to report with our Pecan Pies yesterday. Neither of us had a piece until last night. I mentioned to John that it looked flatter and smaller than usual. It didn’t make sense because we always add an extra egg and have sometimes made a tiny 3 inch extra pie. Still, I noticed and mentioned to John that the pies seemed thinner and showed more crust. This morning, John started our conversations with a question — “Do you remember adding white sugar to the mixture?” Nope, we left it out completely, two+ cups. That would have built up the filling more. Apologies to those at the luncheon. We were both working on ingredients and talked about the different amounts of sugar suggested by the two recipes we have. Proper execution did not follow the communication. 🙂 Regardless, it was still pretty as ever and tasted like Pecan pie. We are not the only folks to have problems in the kitchen.
For today’s in-town visit, we arrived near the beginning (just after 4:00 pm), and had such a good time we stayed longer than originally planned. Lots of good food and fellowship. Main dish was a large Crock pot of Taco Soup, with many toppings. Supplementary food included some fried bread with black beans and corn, red & green grapes, deviled eggs, asparagus, peppers & olives, cookies, and candies, and several other little sweet and non-sweet things.
Neat to meet more people from town, some of whom we know and some new faces. Still, this was mostly an elderly crowd and we’re not old. Right?

Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan