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Old 08-19-2018, 12:38 PM   #26
Didace
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Re: Go West Old Man: Didace Makes a Move

Iím in Minnesota.

As I said above, on our drive from the Knoxville airport we received a call from my nephew and then from my sister. My sister was in the hospital.

(At this point I think I need to list a cast of characters or it will get too confusing to write.
M Ė My oldest sister, mother of my three nephews. She lives half the time in Virginia near where we used to live, and half the time in Minnesota, with a generous amount of visiting her oldest son in Colorado.
S Ė My sister two years older than me. Single and lives in Minnesota.
K Ė My younger sister. Lives in Minnesota with her husband and five adopted children.
E Ė My oldest nephew. Lives in Colorado with his wife and children. Heís the one that helped us move into our new house.
A Ė My middle nephew. Lives in Virginia with his wife and son. Has been spending summers in Minnesota while his wife goes to classes for a degree she has been working on.
A2 Ė My youngest nephew. Lives in Minnesota with his wife and kids.)

The first call was from A. My sister S was in the hospital. She hadnít been feeling well and when she didnít respond to texts or calls on Thursday, M and A2 went to check on her. She was on her couch passed out, breathing but non-responsive. They called 911.

M called not long after that. S was first taken to a local hospital, but they saw a few things they didnít think they could handle and almost right away transferred her to the U of M hospital. She had some infection they couldnít identify, and her blood sugar was over 700. She remained mostly non-responsive with a few moments when she would squeeze her hand when prompted. They transferred her to the ICU not long after arriving at the U emergency room.

M and A2 were with her at the first hospital and K made it there before she was transferred. M and K went to the U and stayed there with S. When M called us, the doctors didnít know what the infection was, why it caused a spike in her blood sugar, or when all this started. Basically, all they knew was the blood sugar had to come down.

I asked M if I should turn around and fly there, but she said while things were obviously serious there wasnít any immediate danger of S dying. We decided to continue our vacation, but obviously, this was always on our minds.

Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday, all the updates were basically the same Ė still non-responsive, blood sugar slowly coming down, still not sure what the infection is but treating it with heavy duty antibiotics, not sure what caused everything. It was frustrating that I didnít know anything more and not being there, but I knew M and K were handling things and it wouldnít make a difference if I went there.

M and K stayed with S in the ICU Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Not surprisingly, sleeping accommodations were not ideal. They got no more than a few cat-naps the whole time. By Saturday afternoon, Sís blood sugar had come down enough (still high at +300) and she was somewhat responsive, but couldnít recognize anyone, that they felt comfortable going home to sleep. Plus, K had her family and needed to be with them.

Sunday morning brought dramatic improvement. S was alert and could hold conversations. She remembered M and Kís names, but was very confused about why and how she was in the hospital. She was cognitively very slow and couldnít remember a lot of things. But by Sunday evening she had regained almost all of her cognitive ability. This was very good news.

We talked to M while driving home from the Phoenix airport. She gave us an update and filled in a lot of details. The doctors still didnít know what caused the infection or if it caused the conditions that allowed the blood sugar to spike, or if the blood sugar rise allowed the infection to get worse. Either way, the two things worked together to make each of them worse. I asked M if I should come to help out and she said yes. M was scheduled to go to Colorado to visit E on Thursday and would feel better about going there if I was in Minnesota to help K handle things. So when we got home I booked a ticket to go to Minnesota on Wednesday.

We donít know when things started, or when they escalated, but S was in trouble for a while. M and K had just seen her on Sunday when the three of them took Kís and A2ís daughters to a play. S mentioned not feeling great, but otherwise seemed fine. But when they thought about it, it had been a couple of months since anyone had been to Sís house. If they had gone there at any time in the previous few weeks, they would have known something was wrong.

Sís house was a mess. Not your ordinary mess, S was never very neat, but a donít do anything for several weeks mess. Unwashed dishes were piled in the sink and the counter. Her bedroom was filed with dirty clothes on the floor and no sheets on the bed. S has Type 2 diabetes. She had unused blood testing strips dating back to 2015. She admitted to us that she rarely tested for the past few years and not at all for months. So how long has this been going on that she was functional enough to go to work and interact with the family, but not able to take care of herself at home? Is there another issue that caused her to care about anything at home, or was there a long slow increase in her blood sugar that caused a mental disconnect? We donít know. But that house needed a major cleaning. M and K started on Monday. They spent several hours there both Monday and Tuesday. I joined them on Thursday. Itís in pretty good shape now but still needs some work before S gets back home.

Part of the reason M wanted me here (besides I wanted to see and help S) was that there was a lot going on for everyone else that was here in Minnesota. K has her own family and job to attend to. A sold a house he owned in St. Paul (he and his wife lived there for 10 weeks for two summers while she went to school, A2 maintained it and did some improvements, and they sold it for a fair profit, everything that kid does works out) and the closing was this week. And then they were packing up their RV to get back to VA because his wifeís teaching job starts up again next week. A2 is busy with his family and work. So that leaves me to be on call and stay on top of things for S.

S is still in the hospital but moved out of the ICU on Sunday night. Her blood sugar is under control for now, but sheís not strong enough to take care of herself yet Ė it was a big accomplishment when she was able to walk up three stairs yesterday with the aid of a cane, but it totally wiped her out. They are waiting for a bed to open up in a rehab center and then they will cut her loose.

S she has to have a new normal in her life, we just need to figure out what that means. It obviously includes faithful monitoring of her blood sugar, but there needs to be other life changes as well. The doctors still donít know what caused what or where the infection came from, but I worry she might have other mental issues that started her down this path. Weíll all just need to be more mindful of paying attention to make sure she doesnít slip back into a situation where this could happen again.

I leave here on Tuesday. Hopefully S gets transferred to rehab before I leave. M returns to Minnesota Tuesday night.

On Wednesday we have our 30-day walkthrough on our house with our builder. Thursday my wife leaves for a 10-day trip to Tbilisi. Maybe weíll get into a routine when she returns and finish setting up our new house.
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Old 08-27-2018, 12:57 PM   #27
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Re: Go West Old Man: Didace Makes a Move

We have neighbors!

Thatís not usually something to get excited about, but for a while it was a pretty lonely street. Iím not sure if the sample size is large enough to call it a trend, but we previously purchased two houses together and each time it was new construction and we were one of the first ones to move in. This time was no different.

Our little area of the development has about 50 lots that are more or less cut in half by the street entering the area off of the main road of the development. All of the 25 houses to the south of the street were completed and occupied several months before we moved in. We were the second people to close on their house for this half, but the other people didnít move in right away. So, there were 11 houses on our side of the street, nine on the other side, and five backing to those houses before you get to the completed ones. We are right in the middle of our side, essentially as far away from occupied houses as you can get, with no one else living there and construction going on all around us. But that has changed.

As of today, the people across the street have moved in, three houses to our right have been moved into, four more had their brick driveways put in at the end of last week (this is the last major thing that gets done) and should close this week, and three others have the driveway prepped so it shouldnít be too long for them. The rest of the houses are in various stages of being finished. The construction supervisor told me that they all should be finished by sometime in October. No more construction happening on the street will be a good thing.

Now, we all need to get our landscaping done. All of the houses come with a dirt yard. This is new for me, but I guess itís standard in many places. We have 90 days from our closing to get the front yard approved and done. Requirements are minimal, but it does need to be approved so you just canít slap anything in. Weíve contracted with a landscaper and hope to get started in a couple of weeks. The people across the street had theirs started on Friday. Everyone else is still dirt.


Update on my sister: While in the hospital waiting for a rehab bed to open up, she made enough progress that they sent her home instead. Looking back, this is not surprising. She did not have to relearn how to do anything, she just had to regain strength. When she was able to go up and down a flight of stairs, even though one time wipes her out, they cut her loose. The PT, OT, and home health nurse come to her place several times a week. M is keeping her on track with lifestyle changes. All in all, things are very, very positive considering where she was at a little more than two weeks ago.
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Old 09-27-2018, 04:29 PM   #28
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Re: Go West Old Man: Didace Makes a Move

Weíve made quite a bit of progress settling into our new house. The last month had periods where nothing seemed to happen and then a bunch of stuff happened all at once.

Part of the reason for the slow times was my wifeís travel schedule. After she returned from Tbilisi she was home for two days and then off to Seattle for a week. Her being gone isnít usually an issue; I just move forward doing things that need to get done. But with the new house itís kind of different.

We generally make decisions and do things together, not independently. Itís not that we donít trust each other to do the right thing, we just like doing stuff together. A lot of stuff we can make the decision together and then if sheís gone I can carry it out. But with things like hanging pictures, Iíd prefer if she was there. So, it wasnít until the second week in September that there were finally pictures on the walls. We also picked out ceiling fans for the bedrooms, office, and the great room. Itís amazing how much different/better the house feels with the pictures up and the fans installed. Next on the agenda is a new light over the dining table and pendant lights over the kitchen peninsula. We also need three or four stools in front of the peninsula. When she gets home from her current trip to Los Angeles next Friday weíll start working on that.

The landscaping is now done. It ended up looking really nice. One more thing that makes a big difference in how it feels to live in the house. A dirt yard with weeds is not a pleasant thing to look at. It is a little strange not having grass, but we knew the standard yard here was crushed rock and saw no reason to try to grow grass. We ended up having four trees, two large bushes, 3 rose bushes, and 32 other assorted bushes and plants split between the front of the house and the back. Thereís a short retaining wall in the front defining the yard into two tiers instead of a slope. The wall is anchored by two very large boulders on each end, and there are 13 other smaller boulders placed around the yard (again, split between the front and back). The back patio was tripled in size with pavers and a walkway was put in from the driveway through the gate to the door on the side of the garage. Plus, tons of rock were spread over the entire yard. And an irrigation system was put in to water all the trees and plants because we live in a desert. It ended up costing a lot of money, but we had budgeted for it and now that itís done it is well worth the price.

The neighborhood is coming along. There are now nine houses occupied and it looks like two more will close this week. Landscaping is done on three houses (including ours) and three are being worked on now. It looks like about seven more weeks before all the houses are lived in. It will be good when all the contractor vehicles are gone.

Another thing that takes time away from doing things around the house is helping out with my in-laws. Besides doing things at their house, thereís an endless list of doctorsí appointments to go to. Many of them my mother-in-law can drive to, but sometimes there are conflicts and I need to take my father-in-law. And now that weíre here, sheís starting to get some of the stuff done she needs. The big recent thing for her was cataract surgery. Things have changed since I first remember my grandmother having her cataracts out 40 years ago. It was a big ordeal then. Now, itís an outpatient procedure and two days after itís done you can drive again. But, I was the driver for those days. Only one eye was done at a time with a couple of weeks in between. I donít mind doing any of this, but it does tend to take up large chunks of your day.

The next thing to help with is, on Sunday Iím driving the in-laws and four of their friends to Phoenix so they can catch an early Monday flight to Cabo. Six old people in the car with me for two hours is not my idea of a nice Sunday drive. But, like Iíve said, Iím happy to help out.



Last weekend was the wedding of my wifeís oldest daughter. The venue was the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park. It was an outdoor ceremony by Jackson Lake with the lake, Mount Moran and Grand Teton in the background. It was probably the most beautiful setting for a wedding that Iíve ever been to.

Of course we traveled there with the in-laws. My mother-in-law had convinced herself that flying there was too complicated so that meant a road trip. Three days up, three days there, and three days back (seven days total as there was overlap). Lots of stops on the way and she insisted that we needed to change drivers every couple of hours. Not my preferred way to travel, but what are you going to do?

My relationship with my wifeís daughter has always been interesting. She was fourteen when my wife and I met; and while I think she always liked me, she also saw me as a symbol of why her parents would never get back together. Add in that she didnít live with us in Virginia but with her father in California meant that we didnít have a chance to develop a close relationship. Things improved some when she came to Virginia to go to college, but mixed in with the time when we got along fine were times that were definitely tense. Over the years since she graduated things have evolved to where we are in a very good spot. Iím the one she comes to for help with her taxes and other financial questions. Weíve vacationed with her and her now husband several times. And if she calls to talk to her mother (this is daily if my wife is in the country) and I answer, we chat a bit before I give the phone to her mom. I didnít have an official role at the wedding (she still has a father for that) other than to look good standing next to the mother of the bride, but there were several things she and her husband did that let me know they did not forget about me. It was a very happy day for everyone.
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Old 10-04-2018, 03:40 PM   #29
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Re: Go West Old Man: Didace Makes a Move

Five years after the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848 added 900,00 square miles of land to the United States, the 1853 Gadsden Purchase was the last major territorial expansion of the continental US. The Purchase solidified the southern border of the US and provided the land needed for a southern continental railroad. It also brought calls for the expanded New Mexico Territory to be split in half as many felt the territorial government based in Santa Fe could not adequately administer the new areas in the south and west.

Several proposals were sent to the federal government to form a new Arizona Territory, but none were acted on by Congress as the population was considered too small. In March of 1861, conventions were held in Tucson and Mesilla by people in favor of joining the newly formed Confederate States of America. A resolution was passed declaring the area south of the 34th parallel the Provisional Confederate Territory of Arizona with its capital at Mesilla, and petitioned the Confederate Congress for admission. The Confederacy, seeing an opportunity for expansion westward to the Pacific, passed legislation authorizing the organization of the Arizona Territory in January 1862, and in February the territory was officially formed by proclamation of President Jefferson Davis.

The response by the US government was swift. The battle of Glorieta Pass, March 26-28, 1862, effectively ended Confederate military presence in the Territory and resulted in the Confederate Territorial Government relocating to Texas by July. Also, in March 1862, the US House passed legislation to create the United States Arizona Territory using the north-south border of the 107th meridian. By using a north-south border, the government sought to deny the existence of the Confederate territory. A final bill was passed by the Senate in February 1863 and on February 24 President Abraham Lincoln signed it into law.

Choosing a capital for the new US territory was left up to the first governor, John Goodwin (Goodwin replaced John Gurley, Lincoln’s initial appointee as governor, when Gurley died before leaving Ohio for Arizona). A temporary capital was set up at Fort Whipple, and in 1864 was moved 20 miles south (along with Fort Whipple) to an area along Granite Creek and a new town was formed.

Located 100 miles north of Phoenix, and 4,000+ feet higher in elevation, Prescott (PRES-kit) was the capital of Arizona Territory until 1867, and then again from 1877 to 1889. Today Prescott has a population of about 45,000, with surrounding towns bringing the total area population to about 125,000. Prescott is located at the north end of the Bradshaw Mountains and is surrounded by the 1.25 million-acre Prescott National Forest.

Temperatures in Prescott are generally about 20 degrees cooler than in Phoenix. Summer highs are in the 90s with winter highs in the mid-50s to mid-60s. While not technically a desert, the climate is arid, averaging less than 20 inches of precipitation per year.

This is our new home.
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:34 PM   #30
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Re: Go West Old Man: Didace Makes a Move

Congratulations! Sounds like a lovely climate to me.☀️

Does the new home come with a pool?
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Old 10-05-2018, 06:27 AM   #31
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Re: Go West Old Man: Didace Makes a Move

*thumbs* I like US history essays.
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