Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday, February 19, through Thursday, February 25, 2016: An Important Medical Week:

We started out this week with a trip to Tempe---next-door to Phoenix and the home of Arizona State University.  I was last there on January 2, 2004, when Bill Wheeler and I attended the Fiesta Bowl Game between Ohio State and Kansas State.  (Ohio State won 35-28; I rooted for Kansas State, of course, since I loathe Ohio State.  The tickets were a gift from Gwen Pike, a former client of mine whose son was then married to Nicole Bidwill, the daughter of the owner of the Arizona Cardinals who played at the ASU stadium.)  The four of us went to Tempe to "interview" Libby, a Dalmatian available for adoption at Lucky Dog Rescue there.

Becky obviously doesn't think two Dalmatians are enough.  Libby was a beautiful 5 or 6 year old, about Ramsey's size though a few pounds lighter, and a bit hyperactive.  Lisa, the adoption coordinator, thought Libby was a little too dominant for our dogs, with which we agreed, and we went home empty-handed.  It was a fruitless 384 mile round trip, but I'm somehow sure they will find us another candidate and we will return to Tempe soon.

Late in the afternoon, I learned that none of my credit cards was working because the information in the strip on the reverse side of all of them had been erased.  It took only a few minutes to realize that happened when I had the MRI on Tuesday.  My wallet was in my pants, which I was allowed to wear during the procedure, and the magnetic field of the machine erased everything nearby.  I called all the card issuers and ordered replacement cards.  Until they arrive, I'll be without any means to buy anything.  That was OK with Becky, but she relented and gave me one of hers.

Saturday, we arranged for our ice dam-prevention wiring to be replaced in the front and side of our house.  Even though it's been in the high 50s for the last week, we expect there to be a lot of snow in March.  Jim Winbourn, our new best friend who set up our outside big tree lighting for Christmas, seems to know a lot about these things and we're counting on him to take care of the setup.

I made dinner on Saturday from Mussels we got at Trader Joe's.  Just yummy.  After dinner, we started to watch Newsroom, from Netflix.  It's an Aaron Sorkin series, like The West Wing was.  I happen to think he's a brilliant writer, but, with the exception of A Few Good Men which I loved, his stuff is too liberal, and the dialog is hard to swallow.  It's like L. A. Law was  many years ago.  It completely misrepresented what I believed the legal profession was like.  But, I was never a member of the mainstream legal profession, so I could have missed the point.

I started Sunday morning off with an Ebbert Fizz.   It usually turns an everyday Sunday into something special.  We'll see how this one turns out.  Because the weather has been so nice, it feels like spring has arrived.  Today was no exception.  It compelled Becky to undertake a version of spring cleaning---on the outside of our house.  We (mostly Becky) picked up all of the pine cones that had fallen from our 16 pine trees, and together we (again, mostly Becky) raked up bags and bags of pine needles.  Both the front and back yards are now beautiful again.

Monday morning, Gary Gagna, the owner of Aspen Alarm Systems in Flagstaff, arrived to attack the problems we are having with our alarm system.  A half hour later, everything was fixed.  Yea, Gary!

Monday would have been Bill Shelton 's 90th birthday.  To honor him, we went to the canyon so Becky could place some of his ashes in such a wondrous place. 


She also walked the dogs three miles from the Visitor Center to the Bright Angel Lodge while I had a couple of beers and did some reading in the bar there.  The bartender, Ray, turned out to be a 17-year veteran of Xanterra who has worked at the places we did, and others, and we discovered a number of mutual friends.  We had fun walking down memory lane together.

On the way home, we stopped in Tusayan at the Casa Bonita restaurant for some delicious Mexican food.  While there, Becky received an email from our friend Alan Buckelew announcing the untimely and simply awful death of his wife, Chris, from what was apparently a heart attack.  Chris was a hoot, so full of life.  She and Alan just finished building a new home in West Los Angeles and they just started planning the July wedding of their daughter Erin.  What a tragic interruption of their life together.  Chris will be sorely missed.  Processing the news made Monday night essentially a blur for us.

Tuesday morning we met with Dr. Kuefler to deal with the next step in my cancer therapy regimen.  The news was great. 

Recent tests determined that my melanoma is a particular mutation that responds to a recently approved pill therapy that actually can result in the cancer cells dying and not returning.  There is an intervening administrative step that, it is hoped, will result in my receiving the first batch of pills by this time next week.  Hooray!  We must celebrate tonight.

Upon arriving to the Northern Arizona Oncology, I checked in and Becky sat next to me.  She suddenly recognized two people who were sitting next to us.  Joe Hap was an usher in Becky's wedding to Bill Madden in 1975(!), and Stephanie was Joe's date for the wedding.  They got married 8 months later.  Becky ran into Joe in downtown Los Angeles some years ago, but hadn't seen Stephanie since the wedding---more than 40 years ago.  The Haps now live in Williamson Valley, near Prescott, Arizona, where they have acreage and horses.  Joe is a patient of Dr. Kuefler's.  How's that for a coincidence?

After leaving Dr. Kuefler's office, I got a haircut---my first since December 8.  The barber had no problem working around the surgery.  And she was able to overcome the effects of Becky's attempt at barbering last week.

Then we saw Dr. Boettcher to assess the healing progress of the December surgery.  With a tiny exception, the progress is satisfactory, and I can stop bandaging the "wound."  The exception is a tiny spot where the wound seems to have stopped "closing."  We'll watch it for a while; if it doesn't close any more, there is a procedure available to help.

We had champagne with our dinner to celebrate the wonderful day we just had.

Wednesday, I finished Things That Matter.  It's not a book you race through to find out whodunit.  Charles Krauthammer is such a brilliant thinker and such a terrific writer, you savor each word. 

I then started Beach Road, another James Patterson crime novel.  This is one you can race through, which I mostly did on Thursday, which was otherwise a routine day.

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