I apologize. I’ve been remiss keeping up with my blog these last few months, but at least with good reason. After being nominated to the board of Home Dialyzors United, I once again indulged in my lifelong passion of advocacy work. I had also been volunteering at my grandkid’s school, and now found myself really devoting time to helping them through some difficult transitions. And just to see if I could physically handle it, at 63, I went back to work, albeit part time! That was a tough one! Even just 10-15 hours a week seemed like a monster challenge at first, although now, after a few months, I am happy to say I’ve adjusted.
As most of you know, I started dialysis just a year ago. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, instead of becoming comatose as I was led to believe, I actually got my old life back, only better, and I even started to look forward to a future.
But my biggest challenge still lay ahead. I had been an avid traveler for years, and now, with the addition of short daily dialysis in my life, I was planning another adventure. A cross country drive to Glenwood Springs, Colorado where I would trade my house for a cute cottage in the foothills for three weeks. Hot springs, here I come. So with much pre-planning, I loaded up the car with my clinic supplies, and a small suitcase of clothes. The dialysate bags would be delivered to my temporary abode in Glenwood. I took off on a sunny Thursday morning, heading west!
I must say, this trip is a bit bittersweet for me. I made the same trip, different house, three years earlier with my twelve year old grandson, who is no longer with us. I swear I could see his long legs stretched out on the dash, which is how he spent most of the 3 day drive, plugged into the earphones of his iPhone!! For some crazy reason I found myself listening to rock stations on the radio, and singing along as I sped down the highway!
It’s difficult to snap pics on I70 driving at 70 miles an hour, but there were some memorable highlights along the way. Leaving the rugged hillsides of WV, the last thing I spotted was a lone pine, sitting atop a flat ridge. The top of the tree had been trimmed and from it hung a tattered American flag. Somewhat sobering, I thought. Somewhere in Ohio is a sign for the world’s largest golf tee and wind chimes! Can’t miss that one – NOT!
Along the way I glanced over, just in time to see the Westboro Baptist Church –No, not the infamous one of Topeka, Kansas. This one was in Ohio, but still scary that there are two of them out there! Then, a short while later, there was a child’s playhouse, on stilts, towering about 30 feet over a construction yard. Not sure I’d let my kids play up there!
In Missouri there was a sign for the Testicle Festival – a quick internet search revealed that every year thousands flock to the town of Olean, MO for live music, special events, and an ever illustrious serving of deep fried testicles. Festival goers line up throughout the day just waiting to get a taste of the battered and fried delicacies. Hmmmm…..think I’ll pass on that one. In St. Louis, I found the great Italian restaurant (near the airport) Lombardo’s, where Gabe and I ate our first fried ravioli! Yum.
People say Kansas is flat, but I beg to differ, the long drive across Kansas offers a wide range of topography and some interesting stops. I love the lighthouse on the side of the road, maybe to guide the truckers through the fog! On my last trip we had stopped in Abilene for dinner at the historic Kirby House, where much to my surprise, I found alligator on the menu (decided to pass on that one, too). Went in search of another great meal, only to find that the restaurant had burned to the ground two years ago, shortly after our visit! What a loss.
But my favorite spot of the entire drive is Eisenhower Park in Wakeeny, KS. Imagine my surprise while driving through western Kansas, when a fighter jet magically appears in an oasis on the side of the road!! We had to stop. Gabe was fascinated beyond words, climbing in and around the entire plane. So on this trip, I had to make another stop, a private place to say goodbye to my treasured grandson, who is flying high somewhere!
And then, finally, when the dreary plains of eastern Colorado seem to never end, the snow clad mountains appear out of nowhere, and you know you are in Colorado! By the time I got to Loveland, and the continental divide, and despite the fact that it was almost June, I was surrounded by snow! Pretty amazing.
I arrived at my home away from home in Glenwood CO early in the afternoon of the 3rd day. It had been an easy drive, with lots of memorable sights. I spent the afternoon settling in, and only after unloading all my clinic supplies was I brought back to the reality of life. Time for a dialysis treatment.
For three magical days, I did not think about dialysis once, and it was nice. We all deserve a little escape from reality once in a while, and this did it for me! I feel lucky because I’ve taken to home hemo like a duck to water, and have incorporated the treatments into my daily life the way most people would take their daily shower. But this was the first time I ventured from the safety and security of my home routine, (except for that brief trip to New Orleans for thenADConference) and I was curious what it would be like. I am happy to report that, except for the fact that I still hate hanging bags (which will be the subject of another blog), life goes on, swimmingly! Which is where I am headed now, to the wonderful, soothing, mineral hot springs of Glenwood! Anyone care to join me?