Story 18March2022: Monday Calling

The morning started with me awake before my alarm at 6:30, but it was still unwelcomed. So, as usual, I get up and make coffee. I have not mentioned it of late, but I am drinking liberal coffee again. I have Equal Exchange Organic Breakfast Blend. And though I have a great coffee grinder, I get ground, but I use it as soon as possible to prevent it from being stale. Before, I tried out the Rain Forest supporting blends, but I went back to the red packaged coffee as I felt more akin to its message of fair exchange. I understand fairly paying people.

Anemia is still haunting me, and I am dizzy when standing too quickly, and I tire fast. Hopefully, the iron pills that I have returned to will help build more missing blood cells. I have experienced anemia from the bleeding around the tumor that lasted for nearly a year. That cancer was removed on 21Dec2021. I found then and now that lying down and resting helps the most. A short rest of thirty minutes can get me clear-headed again.

I had just a few bits of donut with my pills as I was to meet Leta and Barb, Susie’s mother and sister, respectively, for breakfast. Barb picked a place using the Internet, but it did not work out. I happen to see a “Now Serving Breakfast” sign on a local bar and restaurant, Coyote. After touring downtown Hillsboro and seeing nobody open for breakfast there, we headed to Coyote, just a few miles away on Baseline Road.

Aside: Back in the 1880s, a man planted a grove of Giant Redwoods by the county courthouse; Hillsboro, then and now, is the county seat. The Redwoods are the definition of majestic when you visit them, and the trees tower over Hillsboro. I recommend them and suggest you grab a pine cone to remember your visit.

Returning to the narrative, the breakfast was the standard fare without the huge PDX price tag. The place was cold as it was clear that they were just barely open for breakfast. We were the only customers, but more customers did come as we finished. Breakfast took a while to arrive, and I suspect the prep-Cook is also doing breakfast as needed. The bartender also appeared to be the opening manager. Breakfast was good, and I will remember that for anyone that wants to meet me early, “How about breakfast at Coyote’s on Baseline?”

We headed from Hillsboro to Forst Grove Rehab and Care Center at 3900 Pacific Highway, Room 44A. As it was still early, Susie was back in bed, having had breakfast at the tables near the nurses’ station. She was pleased and nearly overwhelmed to see all of us coming to see her simultaneously.

I did not stay long as I had some homework to do.

As breakfast was filling, I returned to the house and had only half of a donut for lunch. I called Bristol Hospice to discuss options for Susie. I will not cover that here as I want real clear options. Susie’s nurse, Dawn, will carefully evaluate Susie on Thursday and then report to me her findings on Friday. Susie may graduate from Hospice or be continued. Either result is both good and bad. Susie has remarkably recovered from the infections and from having a collapsed lung in October 2021.

I also was surprised to learn that I do not need a colonoscopy until December–I was trying to schedule all the medical tests at the end of chemo in April. I need a make-up colonoscopy, ugh, after the cancer surgery, but it appears that we are not in a rush. I have an MRI in April to eliminate the possibility of liver cancer. I have no symptoms, and the issue was spotted years ago and dismissed–but now, with colon cancer, we need to close the book on it.

The dizziness returns when I stand too fast. I rest and take a short 40-minute nap. I am better, and the dizziness has retreated.

I get a text from Barb that Susie needs more clothing. I was unaware that she was short of clothing (you try to keep the amount of stuff at the facility as things go missing, and their laundry process is not necessarily kind to garments). I have plenty of pants, and I picked out a few new shirts, too, going for bright and sparkly. I load them into Air Volvo and head to Forest Grove in the late afternoon.

Susie is in a wheelchair and is happy to see me again. The clothing is reviewed and accepted, with the exception of the flannel-lined blue jeans, but then Susie speaks up, and the winter-wear jeans are added to the closet. The nursing aid will mark the additions for Susie making it likely they will return to her.

Apparently, the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was viewed on Barb’s iPad while I was out. Susie before could not sit through a film, but she can now. Barb and Leta can see that Susie is tired, but dinner time is soon.

Susie objects to having dinner and then a nap. She wants the rest first but acquiesces after learning dinner is only 15 minutes away. So we say good night after calming Susie down. I suspect Susie will just have dessert for dinner. And why not? Maybe we all should start with dessert first.

Aside: Our friend Dondrea is off to Washington D.C. to do some video. I got a text from her that she road high winds and landed at what we used to call National Airport. The trip to National is a zig-zag pattern over the Potomac that flies very low over the bridges. A vomit comet. Dondrea managed to not get sick. It makes me homesick for D.C., where Susie and I worked for years. I would always take BWI instead as I quickly get motion sick, but a few biz flights booked National for trips to West Virginia, and it was always fun to watch the panic as it is a unique experience on a 737!

Back to the story, we drove to Ridgewalk Brewery just a few miles away in Forest Grove as it was recommended by friends. None of us had lunch. I had a giant fried egg, including Western Burger (recommended by the bartender), Leta had a grilled cheese, and Barb a pulled pork sandwich (skipping the bread). Barb had a cider, and I had a beer. It is my first beer in more than two weeks. We chatted about what I learned and our options for Susie’s care in the new future. We also watch some of March Madness; the women’s teams are excellent.

It gets louder, it is trivia night, and we leave as the night takes flight at Ridgewalk Brewery. I wave to my neighbors, who came apparently for trivia night. They are the nice couple that bought the rebuilt house next door. We leave and say goodnight.

I call Kate from work, and we chat, and I end up, as happens often, just sitting in the car talking. My neighbor came and checked on me as he was worried something had happened. He is well armed when he comes. While we agree on nothing political–especially on gun control, he is the man you want on your side and a good neighbor. I thank him and tell him to always check, and he is clear he will always be watching. He is the father of five daughters and is a professional painter. He and his daughters painted Volvo Cave. I would list his name but he does not like social media, but I am proud to have such good people here.

I am tired but not dizzy this time. Food helps. I still just read and fall asleep early. I have to use my inhaler as I found that my lungs are frozen from pollen and mold. Not unusual when we have a sunny day followed by a wet day like today. But, after that, I stop wheezing and can just sleep. No nightmares. I sleep in on Tuesday.

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