Devine site

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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

North - To Alaska

It took three flights to get to Vancouver but we made it. The first two flights were good. However, we landed in Salt Lake City, Utah at 10:30 AM and the next flight was taking off at 10:55 - in another terminal. We got an electric cart and made it to the gate and of course, once on, they didn’t take off for another 10 - 15 minutes. It was a small plane, no food other than snacks, (but at least we saw the Great Salt Lake on take off and the beautiful snow covered mountains before we landed). Poor Gerry was SO wiped out and sweaty. Once in Vancouver we had to walk quite a distance to the terminal. Once there we had to check in and by then we had to get him a wheelchair (which I could have used for me, too….working on less than 3 hours sleep and all that travel). Anyway…the cruise company was great and exchanged our bus vouchers for a cab ride (45 min) and we finally got to the ship. After lunch and a much needed rest Gerry felt better. The room is big and lovely, with a big veranda. It’s too cold to sit on it right now but I think that perhaps around 3 PM, with a blanket around me, it is do-able.

The ship is beautiful - quietly elegant. Of course, as on all cruise ships the crew can’t do enough for you. We really do have a butler… a real, live, black-tail tuxedo wearing butler - Jorge, from Honduras. He brings us fresh fruit every day, canapés in the late afternoon, dinner menus at night if we don’t want to eat in the main dining room (and last night, we didn’t, but ordered from the same menu). Tonight we will probably do the same as we want to attend the Broadway Revue show and then go to the casino. It’s formal night so if we were to dine in the main or specialty dining rooms we would have to dress accordingly. We could go to the buffet but Gerry wouldn’t have the stamina to add dining out to the show and casino.

Today we went to a cocktail party that we were invited to - for Honeymooners and Anniversary celebrants. It was no biggie - champagne if you wanted it, a piece of the lovely anniversary cake, and dancing. I had champagne, I ate the cake, Gerry humored me by coming with me. Then we walked around the ship’s stores and came upstairs.

Right now the sun is shining on the beautiful sea and the sky, which was very cloudy all morning, is pretty clear. You can’t feel much of the motion of the ship (even on the 8th floor of our room). It’s our cruising day and we are headed to the Inside Passage and glaciers. Tomorrow we will be in Ketchikan and have an excursion to the Saxman Native Totem Village - can’t come to Alaska and not learn about the totem poles now can I?

Inside Passage - we entered around 3 PM today. The water is like glass most of the time. We move along fairly slow, at what looks to be swimming distance to the land. The hills are full of tall evergreens. After awhile the hills become mountains covered with snow, some with waterfalls of ice or water running into the waterway. We finally were able to go onto the veranda as we are on the west side and have the sun in the late afternoon. At first Gerry was bundled up and had a blanket on his lap. Even I had on my Ugs and a neck warmer.
We were both using binoculars to search for wildlife… didn’t get to see any yet. After Gerry went in the sun was strong and I fell asleep for over an hour. It was the most relaxed I have felt in weeks. I woke with a start when Jorge knocked on the sliding glass doors to get our dinner order. I just can’t stop looking out the doors to the scenery. I am awestruck by the beauty of it all and I know this is just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended). There is something so serene, so spiritual about cruising along quietly, watching nature as it goes on and on for miles. We sat out on the veranda to have our appetizers and finally came back in for dinner (which, by the way, was wonderful).

After dinner we went to the Broadway Spectacular show. The performers did a great job singing and dancing. Gerry wanted to go topside to have a cigar. We walked outside to get to the other side of that level and it was pretty cold s he went directly inside. I stopped to take some pictures of the sunset - it was almost 10 PM! The colors of the water and sky were very pale aqua and coral and the setting sun was a vibrant orange.

We returned to our room so he could smoke his cigar. As we sat there it was amazing to me that I could read something outside at 10:30 PM. After the cigar a stop in the casino was quick and unproductive. I was so tired I could barely stand up (I didn’t want to go to the casino but Gerry wanted me with him, so…). When I got to bed it was WONDERFUL!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Today Was STENT Day

Today Gerry's hemoglobin level was 8.2 and so the urologist went ahead and did the stent replacement. All went well. The dr put in a bigger stent to alleviate some of the pressure in that area from the tumors that are there. Gerry is home, tired (as usual) and feeling pretty good. He gets tired all through the day, goes in and out of having the sweats, but he's eating (lighter than he used to) and his disposition is good. He is looking forward to seeing his brother Eddie and our sister-in-law Billie later today. They come to S. Florida from Central Fl at least once a month to see Billie's dad and us. This weekend is the biggest event - Alison, Michael, Avi, Becca and Phil are coming for a visit. It will be great to have us all together. Gerry had insisted on raiding Toy's R Us so he can spoil Avi - and oh, will that child be overwhelmed with all of his gifts. Nice to have good things to look forward to.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Show Will Go On

Gerry's hemoglobin level was 8.3 today so we set up the stent procedure for 11 on Wednesday. We are going to stop at the oncologist's office first to have his blood tested. I would rather do that and find out there that his levels are low then for him to be put into a bed, hooked to IV and THEN told, an hour or two later, that it will be cancelled due to low levels AGAIN! Wednesday is the last day the urologist can even do the surgery since the dr is going away for 2 weeks are we, the following week.

Just my luck to have my car collapse on me, but I got it back today and so far (at least, from the mechanic's to home) it's fine. A hose came undone and that is the hose responsible for cooling the system and that's why my coolant and transmission fluids dried up. Thank goodness I didn't blow the whole transmission.

I had an appointment south of my school today so I stopped there on the way, and at my former school after my appointment. I only had about 45 min to spend in each school so of course I didn't get to see my friends there for more than 5 minutes each. Everyone thought I looked great...rested and relaxed. Ah, if they only knew!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Busy Weekend

Gerry had another transfusion on Thursday, this time he got 2 units of red blood cells (last Friday and Monday he got 1 unit each day). Friday morning the hemoglobin level was 8.8 - a decent level for him. He was able to have the port put in (just below the front left shoulder) so they won't have to look for his veins anymore. He was really sore for the first two days. It still hurts but not as much. Tomorrow we'll go into the dr office just to have his blood checked (and will probably have to do so just about every day). I am trying to reschedule the stent procedure for sometime this week.

Unfortunately Gerry doesn't feel much better after the transfusion. He is still exhausted. This morning he changed the filters in two of the A/C vents - and I did the last one. He did a few more small chores outside...nothing much, really...came in to sit and watch tv for about 40 min and now he barely made it back into bed.

Yesterday my cousin Don and his wife Marcia drove down from Central FL (about 4 hrs) to have lunch with us (then they were going to see his late parents best/oldest friends who live 40 min north of me). They had wanted to see Gerry too, and Mom was here as well. When I went to pick up mom, on the way back to my house, my car had an "issue." I was hitting the gas but the car kept slowing down, almost as if the tires were spinning but not going anywhere. I was able to pull over and saw smoke coming from the rear so I turned it off. I immediately called AAA and then Gerry. He had gone early to have the propane tank filled but was at home. He called me back about 15 minutes later and then drove over (we were only about a mile or so from home). Gerry checked the transmission fluid - bone dry. Of course, it was MY fault! I told him that when I take the car in for an oil change I always ask the mechanic Jimmy to check all the fluids. AAA came, hooked up the car ASAP and we followed him to Jimmy's. Upon checking it, Jimmy said that a hose connected to the cooling system had come undone - SEE, not MY fault (and yes Gerry apologized). The car was left there and Jimmy will let me know the "damages" tomorrow. HEY GOD!!!! Isn't my life interesting ENOUGH?? We got back to the house just after my cousins arrived. Gerry was so totally wiped out that for the 3 hours that my cousins were here he either slept or had his lunch in his recliner in the other room. He wasn't being rude...he just didn't have the stamina to sit and chit chat. When they left he went back to bed. Mom stayed and we watched a few movies together, the three of us had pizza (then he went BACK to bed) and I later took Mom home.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Enjoying What We Can

Went to see Sweeney Todd Wed night. While the acting, singing and staging were excellent, it wasn't my kind of show. Gerry didn't particularly enjoy was too dark for him in general, and at this point in time, sitting there watching a show with a coffin on stage and people dying wasn't for him. He was great ,though. At intermission he chose to stay outside and have a cigar while I went back to watch the second half, which I enjoyed more than the first half. I really prefer shows like Mama Mia, Wicked, Rent...more upbeat music, dancing, etc. I did renew my subscription for next year as I was able to my usual seats (which are really good). Next year I'll see Avenue Q (saw it in NYC but don't mind seeing it again), Legally Blonde, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Wizard of Oz (wow - they actually turned the movie into a Broadway show?), and Fiddler on the Roof, with Topol (he starred in the movie. I saw the show on Broadway EONS ago but it's always nice to see it again).

Gerry had a port put in this morning, making transfusions and taking blood much easier. After yesterday's 2 unit transfusion his hemoglobin was up to 8.8 today so I am hoping to reschedule the stent replacement for early next week. AND...two weeks from today we will be winging our way to Alaska!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How Low Can He Go?

Gerry was scheduled for a procedure today. He was having the stent in his ureter replaced. Ordinarily it would be changed after 3 - 5 months, but the scans in April showed that it needed correcting. There is a slight blockage and since we are (hopefully) going on our trip at the end of the month, it seemed reasonable to do the procedure now. He had a transfusion on Friday and again on Monday - one unit of red blood cells each day. Last Monday his hemoglobin was 6.3 (normal for a man is 14 - 18) and his hematocrit was low, too - 18.9 (normal is 42 - 52)...Friday his hemoglobin was 5.5, which is why his dr. ordered the two transfusions. I left him at ambulatory surgery today at noon. He called me around 2 - he was in a bed with an IV but they had not taken him yet. I went over. They had taken blood and found that his hemoglobin was still low...6.2 and his HCT was 18.2. The anesthesiologist and dr felt that it was too dangerous to do the surgery. They were going to give him general anesthesia. For a surgery that was not an emergency, it was not worth the risk. The dr. said that if they get his HGB over 8 by next week they can do the procedure. Tomorrow we have an appointment with the oncologist and we know that Gerry will have to have another transfusion. I hope it helps. I know that he is bleeding inside, even if it is slight (his urine is slightly brown/orange which indicates bleeding). While the bleeding CAN be from the stent, his TX dr. told me in February that as things start to deteriorate within him, we might see...blood in the urine. So we came home and Gerry, totally exhausted, slept! Tonight he felt better so we took a drive (5 minutes) to the beach and sat on chairs in the sand while he had half a cigar. We came home and I sat with him in the backyard while he had the other half. I think he really appreciated my joining him - something I rarely do. It was nice and relaxing for me, too!

For Avi

Since I have a new sewing machine... I want to SEW!! I have not found a pattern for myself that I want to make so I decided to make something for...yup...AVI! I am going to make a pair of scrubs but with short pants. The smallest is a size 2 - so he can grow into them. I found this cute fabric at JoAnn's Fabric Store. Avi LOVES trucks, firetrucks...most this was very appropriate:

My son-in-law Phil is very handy. He is making a bed for Avi's dolly. I wanted to contribute so I decided to make the blanket and mattress. I haven't gotten to the mattress yet but here is the blanket. It's folded in half - it has knots on all four sides:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Back In The Saddle Again

I finally decided to use my new sewing machine to make something beside the curtain in my cottage kitchen. Alison sent me a pattern for a little girl's sundress. I bought fabric at JoAnn's, cut it out and pinned it last night. This afternoon I put it together. It took longer than it should have as I am still learning my machine. I LOVED the automatic buttonhole maker and being able to sew the buttons on by machine. My good friend Cheryl is going to be a grandma for the 6th time, in July, to a girl. That's who this sundress is for. It is reversible, although the buttons are only on one side.

It is reversible, although the buttons are only on one side.

I sewed a label "Made With Tender Loving Care By..." into the bloomers.

This is the first attempt in many, many years, but it felt good to be making a sewn garment again. Now I want to look for a pattern for a knit sundress, for me!

The "Low-Down"

Gerry is doing pretty well. He is tired most often but tries to do things when he can - he's GREAT at starting the laundry (though with me home he forgets to finish it). Last week he played in a charity golf tournament with his friends - played 18 holes - and they took second place. We went to the dr yesterday and Gerry's hemoglobin was REALLY low...5.5 - so, in he went for a transfusion...and the dr said "No more playing golf for awhile!" It's not that the golf caused the low number, but we want to build Gerry up so he can go and enjoy our trip to Alaska in three weeks, so he has been told to rest as much as he can. He will have another transfusion on Monday (they only gave him one bag of red blood cells yesterday and he needed more). There will probably be one or two more transfusions to come before the trip. Tuesday he is having the stent in his ureter (tube to his kidney) replaced. Friday he is having a port put in because his veins are lousy.

Gerry's spirits are ok - we just don't discuss cancer or what will come. We live each day as it comes and look forward to doing whatever nice things we can do.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Sometimes You Just Have to Say...OK!

Knowing that his time is limited, Gerry decided to make it Hanukkah in May...
These are the goodies that Papa Gerry (and some from Grandma Jody) bought to spoil Avi when he visits at the end of May (Papa Gerry says he's not done shopping yet).
This is Avi who Papa (and Grandma) love with all their heart, who gives them love and  joy and laughter, and lights up Papa's life (and Grandma's, too).

When you have a grandson like this... you want to show him off to the world... just as I am doing now!!! Isn't he the greatest??!!

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Ah, nothing exciting. I just sewed on my new sewing machine. I used to be a terrific sewer, had a Singer and  Bernina sewing machines, made clothing for everyone. But that was YEARS ago. Watching Alison, however, gave me the initiative to do it once again. So Gerry bought me a Brother sewing machine from Costco a few weeks back (you have to order it online). I went to JoAnn's Fabrics and bought some Gutterman thread and other accessories. I made a little rod pocket curtain to hide the hot water heater in the cottage kitchen. I would post the picture but this blogger site is giving me trouble. 

I bought fabric to make a little sundress - Alison sent me the pattern - for my friend Cheryl's coming granddaughter. I made dresses for Cheryl's first daughter Desiree, who is now a mommy to 4 children! I hope to start on that this coming week.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

He's Still Got It

Today Gerry played in a charity golf tournament with two of his very close friends (and a fourth). They had a ball AND they came in second! His game wasn't great but he got out there and had fun. But oh, he is SO wiped out!! Worth every second of it!! It was good for his friends as well. This is so hard on them - being with him and seeing him have fun eases the situation for them somewhat!

Friday, May 02, 2008

It Finally Sunk In!!

It's amazing how the mind works at times. Last week the doctor told Gerry that he had 3 months to live, explaining that there really wasn't more they could do in the way of treatment. Gerry had told Dr. K about a trial that Dr. M in Florida told him about, that was being done in Miami. Dr. K asked that I call his nurse with the phone number and said he would check it out. Today, he called us. He said that he spoke with the doctor in charge of the trial, which has not started yet, and that Gerry is not a candidate for it. He is also not a candidate for any other trials or treatments, that all they can do is make him comfortable. Once again, he suggested that we call Hospice. He was very apologetic. No need for that.... this man, in over 2 years, has been wonderful to Gerry and myself, and we feel that he did all he could to try and stop/shrink the melanoma inside Gerry.  When I got off the phone I told Gerry what was said.... and, he finally "got it!" He said, "I have been given a death sentence," to which I agreed. "What do I do now?" he asked me. I told him, "You live every day as well as you can." For the first time, we sat and had a good talk about the situation. I told Gerry that in the coming weeks we will have to discuss things... final arrangements, the time before... does he want to be at home or in the hospice setting? He said he will give both some thought, but I believe that he wants to be home till the end - and that's fine with me!
     Tonight he was in a pretty good mood. We picked up some cigars on the Avenue (I told him that he shouldn't smoke them... in 20 years, they could give him cancer! - he laughed), we sat on the beach while he smoked a small cigar, then went to have ice cream at Kilwin's. In spite of this afternoon, it was a really nice night.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Time Off!

I took another leave from work, this time for 5 weeks - taking me through to the end of the school term. I hate leaving the students, but they have Ms. B again for a sub and she's very good. I got all my ducks in a row, put in my grades, filed my papers, set up for the sub - an exhausting 3 days.  I really need to help Gerry out at home, and I want to spend time with him. He was so happy when I told him that I was doing this. My principal was totally supportive - she even told me that next year she wants me to  be in charge of training the staff on using podcasts (of course I have to learn more about it myself but I am up to the challenge). I started today!!!