Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, through Tuesday, December 1, 2015: Back to Reality:

Wednesday morning was the day set aside by me for the official post-cruise weigh-in.  I had gained 17 pounds!!!  I assumed (hoped) that most of it was just bloat that would disappear shortly. (By the following Wednesday, I had actually lost 11 of the 17 pounds.)  Moments later,  the Buffalo Fence people showed up to begin the process of replacing our two driveway fence/gate installations. 

They were very efficient and were gone by noon, leaving a temporary fence to keep our dogs in place pending installation of the gates a few days later, after the concrete holding the new posts had set.  That afternoon the Summit Spa person arrived to winterize our spa.  I had earlier started to drain the spa, so it was nearly empty when the fellow got here, saving him a lot of time.  We got a small discount on the charge for the service.

Thursday was the day for a follow-up visit to Dr. Boettcher to check on my recent surgery.  He thought everything looked fine.  I pointed out that I had noticed a small bump on my scalp, next to the most recent surgery site.  Without knowing what it was, he decided to take out the material causing the bump as a precaution.  It was a simple in-office surgery.  I’ll return in twelve days to have the stitches removed.

The next day, Jonathan, the man from Century Security, arrived to deal with some alarm issues we had.  We had not been able to set the alarm when we left for the cruise, and we needed some help.  He was able to get the system working, but there were some parts he needed to get the system fully operational.  He noted, without being pushy, that the system was 15 years old and there had been a lot of technological improvements in the industry in the meantime.  We didn’t bite.  Becky headed for Flagstaff to get a facial as a reward.
Saturday and Sunday were mostly watching football, finishing unpacking, and doing laundry from the trip.  Very relaxing.  Monday, while Becky got a haircut, I saw Dr. Benson, who pronounced my prostate gland still OK.  While we were in Flagstaff, the Buffalo Fence people returned to install our new gates.  When we got home, we were appalled.  The gates were ugly, and too tall, and not at all what we had envisioned. 

They were completely out of sync with our neighbors’ gates.  I emailed a complaint, with pictures, to Emily, my contact at Buffalo Fence.  The next morning, Tuesday, she called to say they would replace the gates by Friday.  In fact, the new gates (which are perfect) were installed on Tuesday afternoon, while we were in Flagstaff seeing Dr. David, my radiologist.  

Dr. David hit us with the news that the bump Dr. Boettcher had removed on Thursday was malignant, and another surgery---similar to the two I have already had this year---was recommended.  Becky and I were shocked, and it took a while for us to process the information.  We realized this would completely change our plans for the winter. 

We would have to stay in Williams for at least the next three months instead of heading for California.  Since it’s Thanksgiving week and nearly everything is closed for the long weekend, we cannot see Dr. Boettcher until next Tuesday to plan the next steps.

Wednesday was a typical day of small projects.  We received an early Christmas gift from Donna and Rick and their families---a large oil painting of a Dalmatian with his spots being blown off by a nearby fan.  It’s apparently a well-known painting, and is  really cute.  We hung it in our bedroom, which is a favorite spot for Ramsey and Kelsey to hang out.  It was sent early so we could hang it before we left for the winter.  Of course, that was before yesterday’s change of plans.  

Thursday was Thanksgiving, of course, and we celebrated accordingly.   The football on TV was excellent.  The Cowboys lost, which is always good, and Chicago surprised Green Bay, which is rare, and heart-warming to this Chicago native.  We had an early dinner at the local Best Western Hotel.  We had turkey, naturally.  The portions were so big we took a lot home, which became our dinner on Friday. 

Also on Friday we bought a wreath at the hardware store, thus beginning our Christmas decorating.  That night we watched more of House of Cards.  We've had the CD set for last season for some time, but we never seem to get through very much of it at any one time.

Saturday is such a big day for football, I had planned to spend much of the day in front of the TV set.  As I could have predicted, UCLA lost to USC, and my friend Bill Wheeler's team, Michigan, lost to Ohio State.  So we were both bummed out.  The football highlight of the day was, though, that Stanford beat Notre Dame in the most exciting game of the year so far.  (Notre Dame is the only team against which I root for USC.)  The field goal at the end of the game, which gave Stanford the win, was kicked by Conrad Ukropina, whose parents (pictured with him after the game, below) have been friends of ours for a zillion years.  Very exciting.

Late in the afternoon on Saturday, we went to Bearizona for a special light and music show.  It was nice.

In addition to a few projects around the house, cleaning gutters, raking pine needles, and such,

Sunday was another football day, the highlight of which was Denver beating previously undefeated New England.  When we lived in Denver, I became a big fan of the Broncos.

Monday morning we headed for Flagstaff and Dr. Knutson, my dermatologist.  We made the appointment several weeks ago on the theory that I should have her take a last look at my body before we headed for Californian for the winter.  It turned out that the appointment was devoted to looking at the spot on my head that Dr. Boettcher had incised nearly two weeks ago.  It had become infected, which was the reason I had been popping Tylenols for the past several days to ease the pain. 

Dr. Knutson drained the site, wrapped my head in some gauze, prescribed some antibiotics, and sent me on my way.  We filled the prescription, ran some errands, and returned to Williams---secure in the knowledge that we were going to spend the winter here, not far from my doctors.

Tuesday afternoon, we saw Dr. Boettcher again, this time to remove the stitches and to plan the next step.  The most viable option was another surgery, much like the most recent on in October, but extending down my neck a bit more.  This will happen on Wednesday, December 9. 

He didn't bother removing the stitches because that site will be removed with the new surgery.  He also mentioned that there is a new chemotherapy regimen that has just been approved that is quick and apparently very effective against melanomas.  Since mine seem to keep returning, we will discuss that with Dr. Mathern when we see him after the next surgery.

When we arrived home, we discovered that we had no water.  Thinking it was just a temporary glitch, I ignored it.  When 5:00 PM came and it had not been restored, I called the city.  The city office was closed and any "utility emergencies" could be referred to the police department.  I called the police and explained the situation.  The dispatcher was not aware of any water problems, so promised to contact the emergency contact at the water department. That man called in two minutes and told me they had turned off our water pursuant to an order relating to our having notified the city that we were intending to spend the winter elsewhere.  It turned out that the city had never processed Becky's notification to the effect that we were not leaving after all.  He authorized me to turn our water back on at the street, which I did.  All's well.     

We are vey upbeat about my health situation, and decided to celebrate by having the worst dinner possible for our diets---cheese fondue.  We haven't had that for several years, and it was wonderful.  So, we're on to the next phase of our odyssey.     



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