Monday, August 12, 2013

Miracles Still Happen

Country singers entertain in the lobby. Annie's leg is in the foreground.
I 'm trying to think of an interesting topic to write about and not coming up with much. This morning a friend of mine that I first met online reminded me of how we met in person.  We arranged to meet at a mall and we hit it off immediately.  We shopped all day and decided our middle names were "shopping".  I guess I could write of my memories of shopping with my mom, Pug, but not now.

Carlotta Wheeler sings as her husband Bob works the music.
Another topic could be the story of Annie's roommate at the hospital.  It is kind of scary.  In the first place, Annie was supposed to be in a private room on the third floor that is devoted to orthopedics but ended up on the fifth floor which is an overflow for everything, I guess.  Anyway, it was very small and crowded with very little privacy.  The curtains that wrap around the beds didn't even work right.

They wheeled the lady into the room about early afternoon and she looked in bad shape. She had a big cut on her forehead, a big neck brace and a very swollen left arm. She was in a lot of pain for sure!  We ended up hearing her story a lot because she had a lot of company plus a lot of doctors who wanted to know what happened.

Her 26 year old son was driving her to work in his pickup. They were on I-17 just after getting on from the 101.  She unhooked her seat belt to reach in her purse on the floor.  She saw her son look back to his right and as he turned back she saw his eyes rolled up in his head!  He was having a seizure.  The car crossed two lanes of traffic and she was yelling at him.  At the last minute he jerked the wheel so it hit the cement median at a glancing blow instead of head on.  They did not roll and they were not hit by any cars.  A miracle on the interstate during rush hour on a Friday morning!  They were lucky to be alive. 

She ended up with a shattered L-1 disc in her spine with pieces floating around, a broken ball part of her shoulder, broken arm bones, broken wrist and broken fingers.  She has a long "Frankenstein" (her word) cut on her forehead that took 10 stitches.  She was bruised and whip lashed all over and her chest was very sore from the airbag.  She had spine surgery yesterday and was supposed to have shoulder and hand surgery today. Ohhhhh, when they moved her to take her down for the MRI my shoulder ached for her.  She was in great pain.

Meanwhile, her son was across the hall with a shattered eye socket, broken cheekbone, and some other bones in the face. I guess his face was hugely swollen according to the friends that stopped in to visit.  He also had some spine injuries. Many of his friends came to visit him and then dropped in to see his mother.

Remember this room was crowded to begin with and then the parade of doctors, nurses, and visitors was never ending.  We had been up since 4 AM and Annie had been through a 2 hour surgery so she needed rest.  I'm sure the poor woman did too.  She was in extreme pain and the medication was not touching it so they were trying ice packs and whatever.  She counted the minutes until her next pills!  It wasn't until 10:30 that night that the last 4 visitors left!  By then Annie was exhausted and knew the whole story word for word.

Needless to say, Annie begged her doctor to let her come back to the rehab center the next day and he finally relented so we made it back to the relatively peaceful quiet of the weekend here at the rehab center.

I hope that Tracie has a quick and uneventful recovery and they can relieve her pain.  I also hope her son,Travis, has a quick recovery and a good plastic surgeon working on his face.  They are so lucky to be alive and to be receiving great care at the hospital.

This event got me to thinking about how quickly our lives can change and makes me feel grateful for how my life is going!

Bob and Carlotta Wheeler

Monday, August 5, 2013

One Way to Idle Away An Afternoon

Here I am learning how to paint with watercolors on a cruise.

I am just a little embarrassed to do a show and tell on this story but here goes:
Yesterday the planned afternoon event here at the rehab center was "Painting With Cheryl".  Annie and I didn't pay much attention to it because we both must have had some kind of traumatic art experience in our youth and are definitely stick figure types  of drawers.  Annie claims she can't draw a straight line with a ruler and I just knew I had never had much formal training in the basics of drawing and painting.  It seems my early art experiences were mostly craft type things, although I do remember having to take some basic art class in college that had to do with the color wheel. There was also a class where I had to plan a house with all the furnishings and draw the outside elevations for it.  I pulled an all-nighter  on that, and my sister-in-law, Barbara Ann, had to come to my rescue and help me brick in the house exterior at the last minute to get the project done on time.

When I was on my cruise in the Panama Canal I got talked into taking a watercolor class with some friends I met on board.  We had a great time with a lot of laughs. I have to say the teacher was great, and I did learn a few basics, although my finished products certainly wouldn't win any prizes but were quite colorful. 

My friend Anasuya laughing it up in watercolor class on the cruise.

Back to Annie and I ignoring the call for the painting class.  About 10 minutes after the announcement a lady came to our door in an apron and invited us to come down and paint.  We both let her know we were not painters but she was not going to take no for an answer.  She told us she could teach anyone to paint and she didn't have anyone show up so we were it!  I remembered my friend Tory the art teacher in Owyhee and Wendover telling me the same thing.  I also thought about all the fun we had in the watercolor class so I ended up talking Annie into giving it a shot.
Penny's Work of Art.
By the time we got down to the rehab room where Cheryl had set up the painting table there were 3 others we had met on the way and talked into going too.  Cheryl had a painting she had done of the desert in fog at sunset that we were using as a guide.  It turned out that one lady was quite an artist and the rest of us were not.  We had a fine time and some good laughs.  It was very enjoyable and we got to take our pictures home with us.  Our families will certainly be fighting over who will get our lovely sunset pictures!  Cheryl did teach us some techniques and provided all the paint, brushes, canvases, and good advice while we painted.  I do think with the proper teacher I could learn to like to paint.  Maybe I need to stock up on supplies and go on You Tube........
Annie's Work of Art
On another note, here is something both Annie and I are much better at.  This is a recipe that Annie has made for many occasions through the years and people clamor for the recipe.  It is quite simple but delicious! 


This is more my speed.  I made some sushi on that cruise.

      Snicker  Cake

1 German Chocolate cake mix

1 pkg. Caramels (14 oz.) 52 caramels

1 stick margarine

1/3 C. milk

¾ C. Chocolate bits or just shake from bag if you like lots of     chocolate

1 C Nuts chopped

Mix cake mix according to directions.  Pour half of batter into 9”X 13” greased pan.  Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Melt caramels with margarine and milk in the microwave for about ten minutes checking often to see when melted.  Pour over the baked cake, sprinkle with chocolate bits and chopped nuts.  Dot with remaining cake mix on top.  Bake additional 20 minutes at 250 degrees and 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

From Ann Tenant

Sorry, I don't have any pictures for you of this cake.  But you can use your imagination all you Snickers lovers!

An impressionistic study in art class on a rocking ship.  HEHEHE!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Here I am in Phoenix AGAIN--In summer!

The cookie jar in the lobby.  I guess everyone hit it pretty hard. The chocolate chip cookies were delicious!
Here I am back in Phoenix.  Annie has had her surgery and because it was more extensive than they thought, they had to put her in a rehab center for awhile.  I am staying at her house about a 20 minute drive away.  The rehab center is really nice.  The food is well prepared and there is a nice selection. They have a pleasant dining room and they vary the seating so you get to visit with a variety of people. I eat my dinner here every day. Each day they also have an afternoon activity.  So far we have seen a movie with popcorn and soda, had sundaes at the ice cream social, and today we are headed out to play bingo. The beauty salon was open this morning and a lot of ladies got their hair done. I feel really lucky when I hear some of these people's stories. I sure am grateful for good health and staying in shape! 

This is "our table".  We park ourselves here and then they bring others to sit with us.

This brings me to my walking adventures. Marianne got me to put the Runkeeper app on my iPhone, so then I had to set some goals. They really do keep me walking. Just before I found out I was coming to Phoenix I set a goal of 30 miles by the end of August. When I got down here I couldn't see walking in 100 degree heat and wondered if I would meet my goal. Annie suggested mall walking so yesterday I tried it and it was fun. There were quite a few people walking at 7:30 in the morning.  There was music and several food places were open including Starbucks.  A security guard was driving around keeping us safe.  A group of women were doing Pilates and another group of people were having morning coffee together in the food court. I did 4 circuits of the mall and then had an iced frappuccino out on the patio of Starbucks.

This is the sitting area in the lobby with the registration desk in the back.  The chairs are really comfy.  I've tried them out!

The next day (today) I met Amy (Skyler and Colton's aunt) and we did the same walk.  We had a nice visit and then we had our Starbucks.  My Runkeeper went nuts on me and said we had walked 4.5 miles and the map it drew was really crazy!  It said we walked at a pace of 12.43 minutes per mile!  That's better than JJ and Carla did with their running.    Anyway that put me over my 30 miles so I had to set a new goal.  I am going for 40 miles by the end of September.

The dining room.  There is a private dining room for families to eat in.  They also use it for movies and bingo.

Well, they just told us they cancelled bingo!!!  How dare they!  Guess I will see if they have some cards. One thing about these places is that it gets pretty long and lonely between meals on the weekends for those who don't have family or friends who come to visit.  Not much therapy goes on during the weekend.

Another view of the lobby.  In the background is a large aquarium and the library.

That's about it for now. I'll try to come up with a recipe for my next blog.

Here are some pics of the fish in the aquarium.  They are so friendly and they love to pose.

This fish loves to get real close to the glass when he sees a camera!

Mr. Stripes

I love anemones! These pale pink ones are so delicate.

These orange, black and white fish love the anemones too!