Devine site

A little bit about my day, my family, and my knitting.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

On The Road Again!

We DID go away, and it was loverly! Yesterday we got up and decided to drive to the Keys, stopping whenever we felt the time was right. Before we left, though, we had one important stop. Gerry's hair had been falling out for the past 4 or 5 days. When he saw how much was left on his pillow in the morning, he decided to have it all taken off. We stopped at his barber at 8 AM and I watched as the barber lathered up Gerry's head and used a straight-edged razor to take it off. Poor Gerry was like a little boy getting his first hair cut. He was so scared. But when the barber was done...Gerry looked great! I really like his baldness. He has a nice shaped lumps or bumps. Now all I need to get him is a brown overcoat and a light bulb and I can pass him off as Uncle Fester (Adam's Family). Seriously, though...he looks great. I don't have a pix of him right now, but we are going to a wedding in a few weeks and I'll make sure to take one then. After the haircut we set out on the road. We drove to Tavernier, which is just below Key Largo, and stayed in a one bedroom condo. I went to the pool for about an hour, came up and we napped....for 5 hours. We were SOOO tired! I also got to read a bit. It was wonderful. No phone calls, no dogs barking, no cars going by....blissfully quiet. In the evening we went to the Whale Harbor seafood buffet. Not fancy, but we enjoy it each time we are down there. Today we got up, did a wash, headed out, had breakfast and drove home. It was truly a relaxing overnight, one that we both needed very much.

Friday, September 28, 2007

It was the BEST of Times, it was the WORST of times!

Last week was to have been the best week of the Fall. It almost was. Actually, it was the best HALF-week of the Fall. Alison, Michael and Avi came to S. Florida for a visit. After work on Monday I picked them up at the airport. When they rounded the corner coming from the gate, I saw Michael, and then Alison with Avi "strapped" to her in his carrier. The minute he saw me he gave a huge grin....oh, what that does to a grandma's heart!. Alison opened the carrier and he came right to me. He was all smiles, playful, even gave me a kiss.

Unfortunately I had to work each day, as I have no more days to take off, having used them up going to TX with Gerry. But the kindergarten had their water safety classes each day which meant that I missed my break and got to leave 30 minutes earlier. The weather was HORRIBLE!!! Rain, rain and more rain (yea, the students spent their water safety classes INSIDE most of the time). On Tuesday I picked up my mother so she could spend time with the kids. Alison called as we were on our way to tell us that since the rain (temporarily) stopped they were walking to the Avenue to get ice cream at Doc's, a big outside food stand, well known in Delray Beach. Avi seemed to relish being outside and the center of attention. I got a soft serve ice cream and shared it with him. He LOVED it! Papa Gerry then had a lot of fun playing with Avi.

Wednesday afternoon after work the rain stopped once more. Gerry and I took Avi outside for a bit and walked around the block with him in his stroller. Gerry started singing and Avi then "sang" along with his little "la,la,la's." Gerry was in heaven!!! While I don't know this for a fact, I think it's fairly safe to say that my grandchildren will be the only grandchildren that Gerry ever has, and he absolutely adores Avi!!! It seemed that Avi was really bonding with us this trip. He still only wanted his parents when he was very tired, but he was staying with us longer and longer. Monday night was funny though...Alison put Avi to bed and when he was asleep, she, Michael and I went food shopping,leaving Gerry to babysit. We were just about finished shopping when Gerry called on my cell. Avi had awakened and was crying profusely. Alison gave permission for Gerry to get Avi out of the crib. We got home about 15 minutes later. Gerry was holding a crying child, having done his best to walk him through our little house looking for everyone, and entertain him. Gerry survived and so did Avi.

I woke Thursday morning to get ready for work, and there was Alison with Avi. This child who sleeps all night long at home had gotten up all through the night. The room they were staying in is very small, with the crib right next to the bed. So when Avi wakes up (in a bed that is not his own) he sees his parents and wants out. Alison and Michael got no sleep that night (the night before wasn't much better) so they decided to get a flight home that day instead of on Sunday morning, as planned. I totally wasn't fair to any of them if they couldn't get any sleep at night. So I made my good-byes, went to work...and cried all day. They were supposed to have come to school and have lunch with me that day (it was a half day for the students), and I was looking forward to Saturday when I would have all day with them. Alison was a doll and called on her way to the airport, at the airport, and when they landed in Atlanta. I know she felt guilty about leaving, but again, I really understood, I was just feeling sorry for me and Gerry. That night Gerry took me out to eat and to the movies and proposed that we go away on Saturday, just for the night. I thought it was a great idea. Here are a few more pix of my cutie pie:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Grandson, the Genius!!

I know all grandparents think that their grandchild is a genius.....but mine REALLY is!! And Avi is only 10 1/2 months old!
I got a call today at 3 PM (work was done) from hubby Gerry. The conversation went like this:
G- "I think I'm losing my mind!" Me - "You just realized that?" ....just kidding
G - "I just got off the phone after talking to a beautiful little boy!"
Me - "Oh, you talked to Avi?" G - "Yes, we had a wonderful conversation for a few minutes."
Me - "How nice! Alison (my daughter) called so you could talk to Avi?" G - "No."
Me - "Oh, she put him on first and then you talked to her?" G - "No. Alison never got on the phone." Me - "O....K...! So, did the phone ring?" G - "Yes, and I picked it up and it was Avi."
Me - "Uh - huh! So, what did you talk about?" G - "Well, he didn't have much to say about his mother but he went on a lot (babbled) about his toy, I guess. I told him that we are excited taht he is coming to see us in a few days, and that Grandpa is going to go out and buy him a little pool to play in. After awhile it got quiet and I thought that Alison was going to speak, but she didn't. I said, ' Alison? Alison?' and then it went dead so I hung up. I called back but only got to leave a message."
Me - "Ok - I'll call Alison as I am leaving work in 5 minutes and get to the bottom of this. But you know, if Avi DID call you on his own, they had better start saving up to send him to Harvard!" G - " If he did, I'll have to contribute to THAT!"
I called Alison and she thought I was kidding at first. Then she said that she had been working on something and that since he was playing at her feet, she had given him the house phone to entertain him....he loves phones! But there was no way he could actually dial my house number. So I reminded her that she had called me late last night, so perhaps I was the last call made from her phone and that he hit "Redial". Again, he would have had to hit the "Talk/On" button AND the "Redial" button. Alison then checked her phone and sure enough...a call had been made to my house just before 3 PM. She remarked that a few minutes ago he had been babbling up a storm...she didn't realize that he had been talking to and listening to his grandpa Gerry. How funny is THAT?!!! Well, it REALLY made Gerry's day. It's feelings aren't hurt! Even though it wasn't ME who Avi called for his first "on-his-own" phone call, I know how happy it made his grandpa feel. Alison...don't forget to mark this down in his baby book under "Baby's first call."

Sunday, September 16, 2007


What fatigue? Yesterday we did a few errands, came home for lunch, and then....Gerry got busy. He suddenly had the urge to do "stuff." He cleaned out and organized his desk, cabinets outside, even attempted some plumbing. I couldn't believe how energetic he was. Maybe the chemo had the opposite affect on him and by the time he returns for treatment, his hair will have grown shoulder length!!! The good thing is that after all that busyness, he slept really well last night!

As for me...I'm doing great! I lost 3 lbs while he was away (I go up and down the same 3 - 4 lbs constantly,but they really make a difference since I'm so small), enjoyed my evenings alone (well, I do have 4 dogs here to mind), and while I don't wish for Gerry to have to be on a chemo treatment, I am looking forward to having 2 - 3 nights to myself every three weeks. I even bought an inexpensive bottle of wine, Shirazz Cabernet, to keep in the fridge so I can have 1/2 glass with my dinner when he is away. We don't keep liquor in the house as a rule, although Gerry doesn't have a problem with me having wine now and then....I just...don't! But the other night I was in the mood and so decided to treat myself. So it will be here if and when.

Working on the Crumpets dress (see post September 1) - I knitted about 2 1/2 inches and then made a mistake. I couldn't for the life of me fix it, so I ripped it out and redid it. I am back to 2 1/2 inches. Nothing to post yet, when I get more of it done I will take a pix and post it here.

Just finished a good book - Night Fall by Nelson DeMille. It's a novel that deals with Flight TWA 800 that went down off Long Island in July 1996. I want to start the last Harry Potter book but I completely forgot what happened in The Half-Blood Prince, so I am reading the last 200 pages of it before starting the last book. And...on audio I am listening to Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult. My goal is to read all of her books (as well as all of Nicholas Sparks books). After Salem Falls I have 5 more (providing she doesn't put out another one). Eventually I will get through all of Anita Shreve's books too. I don't read as often as I would like too (too busy futzing around on the computer). Thank goodness for audio books that I can listen to in the car.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ya Just Can't Win....or Maybe You Can

Sorry - been crazy around here! Sometimes when I write I feel like I am writing a serial story. Hmmm - I guess when we are writing about our daily lives, we all are.
Chapter 90 (a nice, round number) - Gerry's BP was still a bit high at home but low in his doctor's office. He was even put onto a water pill (like he NEEDS this? We make "pit" stops all the time - for both of us. I know...TMI). He returned to Houston last Sunday night. On Monday they took his BP was high. They took it 10 times, put him into a quiet room and said, "RELAX!!!" and eventually they got it to the number they were looking for. Gerry was thrilled (and so was I). They were able to take the necessary lab tests and send it off to the pharmaceutical company. The next night he took himself to the Astros game at Minute Maid Stadium (we do like baseball, don't we?). The Astros won, the Yankees won, it was all good! Then came WEDNESDAY!!!! Gerry showed up at 9 AM at the Medical Center for his treatment. The lab tests came back fine. He filled out all the paperwork. Then....he waited!...and waited!...and waited! He called me every two hours, until around 4 PM (and I was at work so it was a little unnerving waiting here while he was waiting there). All day he was told that the pharm. company needed to send over a signature okaying the treatment. We both could not understand why the med. ctr. didn't just call and ask to have the signature faxed over. After sitting for hours, taking a walk, sitting again, Gerry drove back to his hotel to wait. We each made calls to the nurses, he called the dr, and then...we waited. NOW at issue was that Gerry had been on an adjuvant therapy, Interferon, for a year. The pharm. company didn't want him to be part of the clinical trial now. According to the clinical research nurse, prior Interferon treatment WAS allowed. She said that the doctor was working on it. I went to dinner with my mother, and at 7:30 PM my time (it was 6:30 in TX) Gerry called, frustrated, to say that the medical center was closed!! Now what? Should he stay another day (and pay for another day of hotel, car, change in airline flight, and then find out that they will not do the treatment (his flight out was for 10 AM the next day) or leave as planned? We discussed it and decided he would leave. About an hour and a half later Gerry called again...the doctor called him. Gerry said, "If you can tell me that there is a 75% chance that I'll get treatment, I'll stay." The doctor said it was more like a 95% chance, so....! Gerry changed the hotel and car to one more day. I switched the flight. Now that's a WHOLE other ball of bear with me while I go off on a tangent a bit.....
We book the flights to Houston for the medical center via a special number at Continental Airlines. As a courtesy to patients and family, if you have to change your flight, you don't pay the $100 change fee, only any difference in the cost of the ticket. This time (as it was the last time we did this) it cost $183 more (thank goodness we don't have to pay the additional $100). On-line the ticket price had not changed, but because we are booking with less than a 10 day advance, and it's a different "class" we have to pay. He would still be in ecomony,but the only seats left are "premium" which means you are ELITE STATUS....bigh whoop!!! He gets to go through the ELITE STATUS security line and gets onto the plane first (after First Class, that is). He STILL might be sitting all the way at the back of the plane, by the toilet! So, with no choice, I booked it.
Now to continue...The next day, Thursday, Gerry got the call after breakfast and went back to the medical center. He found out that the criteria for the trial had changed and NOW they were not allowing any patients onto the trial if they had had ANY adjuvant therapy. The doctor fought with them and got Gerry in under the wire...thank goodness! This man would have been devastated if he was turned away. While I know there might be other options, in his view, this was his only hope. FINALLY! Gerry had the treatment, quietly lying in a hospital bed, private room, TV, great treatment. He was there for 6 hours. Next time he can bring loungies or pjs, his computer, and they feed you too. He flew home Friday and looks just fine. I spoke with the nurse who told me that so far the other patients, all male, have only experienced fatigue the fisrt few days after treatment (one didn't have fatigue at all, and the fatigue is not as intense as when Gerry was on Interferon),and all have had hair loss. By the second treatment (3 weeks) they have all shaved their heads - guess it comes out enough to look silly if you don't shave it. None have had nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite or weight. Doesn't sound too terrible, does it? The most important thing for Gerry....he feels as if there is hope! And that's the most important side affect of all!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

See Ya Real Soon!!!

Went to Ocala (FL) this weekend to say FAREWELL to Becca and Phil. Okay, so it was really to say farewell to their house. Of course we'll see them again. They are moving on the 21st to Destin, FL (in the panhandle). Becca will be a manager of the new PF Chang restaurant opening there in October. Gerry, Mom and I drove up Friday night. Phil had a nice dinner waiting for us. Saturday we gals did a little shopping,came back for the guys,then drove down to the Villages where we met Gerry's brother and sister-in-law Eddie and Billie, who now live there. We were joined by my (ex) sister-in-law Pat. We had a nice dinner at Katie Belle's (restaurant) and then sat for a bit to listen to the music in the square. Afterward we went to Eddie and Billie's to show mom their house. We left early this morning so Gerry could come home and pack before his flight to Texas. BYE Bex and Phil...see you next month in Destin!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Frustrating, to Say the Least!

We flew to Houston, TX Monday night. We were both hopeful and anxious over the coming scans and doctor visit, as well as the start of treatment on Friday as part of the clinical trial that Gerry would be in. We didn't even get to stay at the Rotary House (hotel) as we usually was booked up several weeks ago. So we booked a room at the Spring Hill Suites at Reliant Park (Gerry really likes SHS). The room was really spacious and should be for $149/night! As soon as we got into the room I noticed that there was a big puddle under the bathroom sink and the phone on the desk didn't work. I contacted the front desk and within 5 minutes a repairman was at our door. I don't mind problems, as long as they are rectified, and the staff went out of their way to do just that.
Tuesday after breakfast we went to the medical center and Gerry had his scans. We were there for almost 5 hours...blood work, MRI of his brain, chest x-ray, CT scans of the pelvis, abdomen and chest. Lucky for me I had my knitting (I started a little dress called Crumpets (designed by Libby Baker). I am using Lion Brand Cotton Ease #107 (a lovely medium blue). I also decided to start a jigsaw puzzle that was on the table (I NEVER do these but it was relaxing). There was another couple waiting for the wife's scans to begin. We got into a oconversation. They were so nice. They are from Oklahoma (now) but he is originally from NYC and she from Dallas, TX. And boy....they were a perfect example of when I say, "Could be worse!" when people suggest that my life has it's problems....They were married this past June. He asked how her health was and she assured him that it was fine! He asked because his first two wives each died of cancer. Her husband of 41 years died of cancer. Six weeks after their wedding, she was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma! But....they were SO optimistic, full of faith, cheerful and wonderful to talk to!
After Gerry's scans he was so wiped out and, I am sure, depressed, that we returned to the hotel and he went to sleep....for 15 hours!
On Wednesday we went to the doctor. As soon as they took Gerry's vital signs we saw there was a problem. His blood pressure was VERY high...186/98. They took it several times, had us sit quietly in a room for a while and took it again...still high. He can't start treatment if his BP is high because this treatment can cause high BP so you have to have it in check before starting. The dr gave Gerry BP medicine and told us to return the next day. We went to watch the Astros game that night...they was a great game and we relaxed and had fun (the Yankees win was an added bonus).
On Thursday we returned for his blood test. Out came the very sweet but very hyper nurse who took his pressure on Wednesday. This only made Gerry nervous, and he was already very anxious about his BP. Sure enough, it was too high. We met with the doctor who assured Gerry that he will not lose his place in the clinical trial. We were told to go back home, see Gerry's internist re: the BP, get it downto acceptible numbers (under 140/90) and then go back to TX. Gerry was so disappointed but understood that it wasn't the end of the world. So we rebooked our tickets - for $185/each additional charge due to the change in the fares. He took a nap, we packed, had lunch and went to the airport - 2 days earlier than planned. We didn't get into the house until almost midnight and of course, I had to unpack EVERYTHING! Then I got up at 5:30 AM to go to work. Had I taken Friday off I would have had no more sick days, so going in saved that last one (till I start accummulating more next month).
Gerry saw his dr on Friday. Would you believe it? His BP in the dr's office was 126/78? But because of what Gerry told the dr, he doubled the dose on the BP meds. Today it was still high, but better than when we were in TX. I booked Gerry a flight for next Sunday night, which he'll take as long as the pressure comes down. If all goes well, he'll get his BP checked on Monday, have blood drawn, and take the chemo treatment on Wed the 12th. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers so we can get the ball rolling.