It's Been a Journey and We Haven't Even Started

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The reason for the trip--Aunt Murrel and me

July 11, 2009



Well we are finally on the road. As I write this we are on Highway 287 in between Limon, Colorado and Hugo, CO. Limon was the first of several pit stops today. “We” is me, my wife, Margo, her mother, Patty, and Margo’s sister, Jackie. Getting here has been quite the story. Originally, we were supposed to have left for this vacation (Amarillo, TX and Oklahoma City, OK) a month ago.

Aunt Murrel soaking it all in
But, my Mom had her second bypass surgery on June 8th.


Two days after Memorial Day 2009, Mom was in a Cardiac Rehab facility doing her exercises and stretches. This was her next to last visit, from the prescribed regiment from her double bypass surgery just after Thanksgiving 2008. She had been feeling pretty good, but as she was in the middle of a stretching exercise, she collapsed. She was already hooked up to an EKG machine to monitor her heart. This is normal precaution for cardiac rehab. Her Physical Therapist immediately checked the EKG readout and saw that Mom was in ventricular defibrillation. She yelled for help, and as the rehab facility was in our local hospital, doctors, nurses and EMTs came out of the woodwork. Someone shocked her back into a normal rhythm and they admitted her to the hospital.


We had all figured that after nearly six months Mom was about recovered and ready to lead a normal life.

My wife's sister, Jackie.
We figured wrong. After a week of tests and medication, the doctors determined that the first bypasses had already closed. Mom has advanced coronary artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and is over weight. All of this contributed to the bypass failure. A team of doctors, after much deliberation decided that the best course of action was another bypass. The other two options were to do nothing, or to try to put a stint in one of the major arteries going to her heart. None of those options, including the bypass were very good. Stints are not often put in these large arteries. Because if something goes wrong, and the artery is comprised, the patient often bleeds out before they can get the chest opened. Doing nothing meant just waiting for her to die from a cardiac event. That could literally happen at any time. That left another bypass. The first one had used up most of the good veins or arteries to be used to reroute the blood flow. Her surgeon was not crazy about going back in. He told us that she had a realistic of dying on the table.


They did the surgery on June 8th and it was successful.

My dear wife, Margo and possibly the best picture I have ever taken of her
But, Mom has been in two different hospitals and two different Rehabilitation Facilities in these past 5 weeks. She developed blood clots in her lungs, and was set back another time when a prescription mistake had her taking allergy medication instead of one of her cardiac medications. After her surgery there was no way I could leave the state until she was feeling much better. So we postponed our vacation.


You would think that with an extra month to get ready we would have all the details worked out and me chomping at the bit. You would be wrong. When Mom had her heart attack, which prompted the first surgery, I was at the hospital every day. This and normal household chores seemed to take up all of my spare time. So I didn’t get much work done on the details of the vacation done.


The basics got handled.

My mother-in-law, Patty
But there were other problems. First, the purpose of our Amarillo destination was to visit Margo’s Aunt Murrel for her 85th birthday. We missed that, but the family in Texas rescheduled the party around us. For a present, Margo and I had intended to give her a family history book, which I had been writing about her branch of the family. There was a lot of involved research and I had gotten a lot of new information and pictures. But, what I didn’t have was time. With all of the time I spent away from home, the actual writing was not getting done. There wasn’t a ton to finish, but enough that I was sure I couldn’t get it done in time. But, with the month delay, it was looking like I could get it done, and with time to spare.


But, then God decided to toss another ball into the fray I was juggling. My laptop crashed. I found that I can not function without my computer. This came as a mild surprise. Not so much that I used it a lot, but that I relied on it for so much. Replacing the laptop was the easy part. Luckily, I had all of Family History book backed up (which is more than I can say about the rest of my data), so that part was not a problem. What was a problem was the interaction between my new laptop and my old Family History program. This program was what I was using to write the book. It was absolutely essential that I be able to use this program. Otherwise it meant starting from scratch and months of work. I had three weeks, not months.


There is a patch that is supposed to make old program work with new operating system (Vista). I wasted an entire day trying to make it work. I never did. There is a new version of the Family History program that works well with Vista. All the bugs nicely worked out. Except the new program lacks the book creation feature, so it was useless. By now I am so frustrated I am ready to quit the whole project and admit defeat. I finally came up with the idea of using the old desktop computer that we only use to run our wireless router.


This thing is about ten years old. I think it is running Windows 95. So I was more than a little concerned that it would no have enough RAM to generate my 250 plus page book. My old laptop, which was five years newer, and had been upgraded as far as it could go, would take a full 24 hours to generate my last book. But it was 200 pages larger, so I thought “What have I got to lose?” Wonder of wonders, it worked! It took a couple of days to get the normal bugs worked out, but by Tuesday, July 7th, four days before we leave, I was printing out my book.  I ended up with enough time to print out and bind two copies. They are safely tucked away in our luggage.


Now we doing the road trip part of the vacation. Truthfully, I am not one of those who believe that “Getting there is half the fun”. “Getting there is the penance you pay for your trip” So, as my wife drives, I will look for things to amuse myself until our next pit stop.

Africancrab says:
Beautiful writing indeed :) Family is great isn't it?
Posted on: Jul 20, 2009
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The reason for the trip--Aunt Murr…
The reason for the trip--Aunt Mur…
Aunt Murrel soaking it all in
Aunt Murrel soaking it all in
My wifes sister, Jackie.
My wife's sister, Jackie.
My dear wife, Margo and possibly t…
My dear wife, Margo and possibly …
My mother-in-law, Patty
My mother-in-law, Patty