Friday, October 29, 2010

Dear Kids,
      Dad and I had a great time in Virginia. Our room at the Arlington Hilton had a really comfortable king-sized bed, and since I was still feeling pretty under-the-weather from my surgery, I spent a lot of time there. Dad’s reunion events were at the hotel anyway, so I was able to show up with him, eat the good food, and then slip back to our room. He could party as along as he wanted to. But I’m not impressed with 5-star hotels! Not only did they charge $17.95 for breakfast, which is free at any Motel 6 or Super 8, but they wanted $25.00 for three days of internet, $17.95 for any movie we wanted to watch, and $17.00 a day for parking. (Imagine if they made you pay for parking at the Motel 6 in Laramie!) Our hospitality cart had a bottle of water on it, with a $5.00 price tag. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see price tags on the toilet paper! Naturally we didn’t pay for any of the extras, so we had fewer amenities than we would have had at Motel 6. I would never willingly stay at one of those places again!
      The good thing was the fabulous weather–sort of cool, clear skies, just perfect. We visited Dad’s old neighborhood, where he discovered that his first childhood house (not 1809) had been torn down and they were building a new one on the lot! I walked through it while Dad waited outside. The other house, the one John recently sold, has been fixed up and looks really good. We visited Arlington Cemetery and saw the graves of Grandma and Grandpa Ackerson. We drove to a park called Great Falls, on the Potomac River, where they built a canal in the early 1800's. They had a boat pulled by mules, which went up and down through a lock, so we rode on that. Originally we were going to spend the day hiking there, but after such a recent surgery, I could only hobble around. But it was such a beautiful day, I didn’t care.
      Back here at home, I have to get on with laundry and piano lessons and letting the cats in and out. It’s nice to be home, and I expect to feel better soon. I thought I wouldn’t miss my gall bladder, but it stores bile, which helps you digest fats. I’m having to change my eating habits! No more huge helpings of anything, and very little ice cream. (Yes, I’m dying over that one. I keep thinking I can eat it anyway, and paying the price.) Chocolate chips must have a lot of fat, too, because they bother me a lot. I’m sure I’ll find other things to live on besides ice cream and chocolate chips, but it’s a hard adjustment.
      Hope you’re all doing great. Thanks for your prayers. I know they’ve helped me.
      Love, Mom

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dear Kids,
      Last week, my only problem was breathing. That was before I ever thought about the fact that I had a gall bladder, or that it might be full of stones. So Saturday morning I was out in the back yard of the cabin, happily digging in the dirt, when a pain hit my stomach. I thought it was maybe the ice cream I had eaten for breakfast, or the chocolate sauce, or the brownie. So I took some antacid and the pain went away. But in a couple of hours it was back, worse than before. I wondered if maybe I had appendicitis, and Dad drove me to the ER at the IHC hospital in Heber. (Many of you know that place thoroughly!) By then the pain had pretty much gone away again, but they tested a few things, and said I probably had gastritis. Then Dad and I drove down to American Fork, so I could stop in at the baby shower that Bev Lloyd was giving for Donna and Buttercup. (Great food! Too bad I ate it!) Later that afternoon, the pain was back again, and it came in waves all night long. So I swallowed my pride and had Dad drive me to the ER at the Death Star, on State Street. By then I couldn’t even stand up. I crouched on the floor while they asked me silly questions. They said it sounded like gall stones, so they did an ultrasound, and sure enough . . . there they were! I didn’t ask how many. We had to wait most of the day for an operating room to be free, but I didn’t care, because they gave me morphine whenever I asked for it. I think it was two or three in the afternoon when they finally took me in. When I woke up later on, I could tell that my friends the gallstones were gone, and I didn’t miss them at all. (Dad said they were so big, the doctor could feel them through my skin.) ‘Nuff gruesome details. I’m getting better now, and I don’t know how my breathing is going. When you’re in pain, you breathe pretty shallow anyway. Maybe I’ll find out that the gallstones were keeping me from breathing, although nobody’s ever heard of that before.
      All along, we didn’t know if we could still go to Dad’s reunion in Virginia, but since we already paid for everything, and since I couldn’t feel any worse at the Hilton in Arlington than I feel here, we’re going! In fact, we’re getting picked up in an hour. We have a nonstop on Southwest to Baltimore. Dad’s reunion committee made arrangements for all of us to get good prices on rooms at the Hilton, where the reunion is being held. (Good prices don’t mean the rates for Motel 6 in Laramie.) You’d think that a five star hotel would give you a free continental breakfast, wouldn’t you? And free internet? Ha ha. The breakfast is $17.95 per person. So we made a trip to the Walmart grocery, and we’re prepared for the best possible breakfasts.
      Enough of my rambling. You’d never guess I’m high on percocet. Please keep praying for me. I love you all.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dear Kids,
      I’m happy to report that Luke Thomas Sutton was born this afternoon at 1:00 pm in Pocatello. He weighs 8 lbs. 13 oz, and is 21 inches long. I asked Vanessa what he looks like, and she said he just looks like himself. Her midwife told her yesterday that it would probably be another week, but Vanessa woke up this morning knowing it would be today. And they went to the hospital and had him! We’re really happy that everything went well! What a blessing to have wonderful, healthy grandchildren!
      Meanwhile, I’m still trying to breathe. For several days I had pretty good luck riding my bike around, breathing deeply, but when I went out riding today, it only made my chest hurt more. Seth sent me some information about COPD, and after reading it, I hope that’s not what I really have. I have an appointment with a pulmonary doctor on the 26th, and I hope she’ll decide it’s something else.
      Last Friday Dad and I drove to Orem to visit Grandma and Grandpa, and then we drove up to Heber, on our way to the cabin. We intercepted John at the airport, and since he was just ready to go up in a glider (the Grob,) I was happy to go along. The view was spectacular, but I what I really loved was breathing the oxygen from his tank. Even after we landed, I was still puffing on it. The clean air there really helped me, too. Later in the afternoon, Dad and I went on up to the cabin, and I spent Saturday digging in the yard, breathing pretty well. Right now I’m hatching a plan to move there at least part time, before those winter inversions hit the valley. Dad would have to do some commuting, and I would probably come to the valley with him on Wednesdays, to do my classes, and we’d come to church here on Sunday. Right now it’s only an idea, but I like it.
      A week from today Dad and I are leaving for Virginia, to go to Dad’s 45-year high school reunion. He got a big bonus from UTA for his 3-million safe-driver miles, so that’s how we’re spending it. It should be lots of fun.
      Meanwhile, I hope everybody’s doin’ great and lovin’ it. Please keep praying for me! Love, Mom

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dear Kids,
      I just saw, from a link on facebook, that Jimmy Gibbens died on Monday. There’s an obituary in the Trib, and you can express condolences online. I don’t know how he died, and it doesn’t say.
      It was fun seeing so many of you at the cabin Sunday afternoon! Sorry I was so out-of-it. I could hardly breathe, so I hung out upstairs in the glacier bedroom and listened on the radio. Dad and I had to go to my mission reunion after that, because I was partly in charge of it, but afterward we went to instacare. It had just closed, 30 seconds earlier, which was probably better, because I just waited and saw Dr. Newbold on Monday. I was sure I had pneumonia, but he said it’s COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder. Your lungs are full of trapped air and they can’t push it out, so you can’t breathe in. My chest x-ray showed that my lungs are “hyperinflated.” Right now I’m on 2 inhalers, an antibiotic, and prednisone. I thought that the prednisone would get me going really fast, that in a couple of days I’d be like superman, racing around on my bike and taking nice big deep breaths of air, but it doesn’t seem to be helping very much, yet. I read about COPD on Wikipedia, and it doesn’t sound pleasant. It’s “poorly reversible,” and is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. (So how come I never heard of it before?) Needless to say, I would really appreciate all your prayers on my behalf. This morning Dad and I are going to visit Grandma and Grandpa Allen, so I’m going to have Grandpa and Dad give me a blessing. That’s my best hope right now.
      Dad has been on vacation all week, but we weren’t able to go anywhere exciting, because of my lungs. Instead, Dad cleaned out the rain gutters, fixed the sliding screen door, got the truck safety inspected, cleaned out some of his papers in the hall closet, tried to get Windows 7 printer drivers for our HP laserjet 1012 (anybody want it?) and had a dental appointment.
      I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it.
      Sincerely, your poor out-of-breath Mom