Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Western Trip

Tuesday was a waiting day since I couldn’t get going but I really wanted to.  I did my knee exercises, did a little more packing, and went for a 35 minute walk over at Tech.  I then decided that I would head out toward Pembroke mainly for the ride through the mountains but I decided that it would be nice to fish a little at Eggleston.  The water was flowing gently but it seemed to be too much for the fish, so I moved down to another, slower spot and I got a small red eye bass.  I drove back and headed for VT where I rode the bike for a solid 40 minutes.  I am a little worried about the trip, but I think once I get on the train things will be calmer.
Wednesday morning saw me driving over to Tech to do a 40 minute bike ride and then coming back for a nap.  Then I was able to have a nice phone chat with Kelly and she seems to be doing well enough.  She has some minor health problems but overall not too much to complain about.  It has been a long time since I really chatted with her and I told her I would like to visit if my health holds put.  Then it was time to finish packing and showering and that worked fine with everything ready to go at just about noon, which was my plan.  The traffic on 81 wasn’t too bad and once I exited at 150, traffic was even easier.  I was way ahead so I took a 25 minute nap under a shady tree and then drove the rest of the way to Clifton Forge.  I dropped my stuff off at Jack Mason’s Tavern, then drove back to the police station, parked, then walked in the heat back to the Tavern, where I had an excellent fish and French fries, along with a side salad and roasted vegetables.  The fish and roasted vegetables were very good.  I was a little worried about getting my stuff over to the station, but I had no problem, and I sat there chatting with a fellow whose son was outrageous, and he kept slamming the door at least 70 times before his father finally stopped him.  The train was an hour and a half late but I got on and found myself without much energy so I simply watched the scenery until it was time to go to dinner, during which I watched the New River through the Prince canyon and then through the New River Gorge.  Dinner was not very good, a very small portion of Beef Bourguignon with some mashed potatoes and a teaspoon of vegetables.  The waiter paid no attention to me but I gave him a small tip anyway.  I went to bed around 11:30, very tired but satisfied I had gotten this far.
Thursday began with having to go pee every two hours but that was okay.  I finally got up around seven and walked some at the Indianapolis station.  After breakfast, I checked my blood pressure which was 129 / 60, so I didn’t take any more BP medication.   At breakfast I reflected on how much I still was enjoying travel (it certainly is harder, but leaving from Clifton Forge is so much easier than driving to Cary, NC.  I was relaxed and enjoyed passing the little towns, the soybean and corn fields, the vehicles at the crossings.  I am not sure if I will take a very long trip again, but I think Denver will still remain a possibility.  The train was a little late getting into Chicago but once I got there I stowed one of my bags, emptied a lot of the stuff in the backpack, then headed off to find a Divvy bike location.  I had to walk pretty far to find a working one on Adams but eventually I did and I rode over to the lake and then rode along it for at least 35 minutes with one stop along the way because it was too hot.  I’m glad I did it for my breathing but the heat took most of the joy out of the ride.  After that I walked back to Union Station (with two rest stops) and got there just as it started to rain.  I must have walked three miles and when I finally got to the Metropolitan Lounge, I was totally exhausted.  After eating some pepper jack cheese cubes and carrot strips and tiny tomatoes, I felt a little better.  Then as it got time to head for the train, I waited outside to get red cap service but none came so I walked to the train and that was pretty tiring.  Once aboard, I got to stretch out and that felt good and I also found that I could rent a car in Trinidad (about 4 hours less driving when I visit Patty and her kids) so I changed my Amtrak reservation and set up a room in Trinidad for the 16th.  Because of equipment failure, dinner was a side salad, a small slice of pizza, some pasta and a small piece of garlic bread, with a little cup of cheesecake for dessert.  I went to bed around 11:30 after trying to get the car attendant for a least a half hour.  Then I had problems sleeping and I ended up taking two halves of a valium so I could sleep some.  I got up around 7 and had breakfast, which was a breakfast sandwich with some fruit.  I got a nap in and when I asked for some more water the surly attendant wouldn’t give me any more even though I explained my medical situation.  I asked to see the conductor and he was friendly.  I showed him my cane and all the meds I have to take and he gave me a couple of small bottles of water.  Later outside he told me to call Amtrack to try to get a refund for the food.  I did get a short walk at Raton and the next stop is Las Vegas.  I finally did get a Colorado license over the phone after failing 3 times before.  We are an hour behind so that shouldn’t prevent me from getting to Alamosa by 6 or 7.   The train attendant did not show up to help me with my bags so about 10 minutes from Las Vegas, I carried my bags to the doorway and waited for him.  However he didn’t show up even as the train was slowing down and I got really upset.  Then the train stopped and he still wasn’t there and I freaked.  I waited two minutes and then I started opening the door and he finally appeared.  I cursed him and after I got off and he didn’t offer to help me with my bags, I cursed him even more.  Thank god I got off the train and didn’t have to go to the next stop.  I found my rental car and in a few minutes I had picked up my package from the Post Office and was on my way to Alamosa.  It had some mountains in the distance but it wasn’t particularly scenic until I drove through the Sante Fe National Forest and that was pretty impressive.  As I neared the intersection of 64 I saw that Taos was only a couple of miles out of my way and the pueblo was only about 6 miles.  I decided to go for it but it was a mistake.  There was construction so it took 25 minutes to get through the highly commercialized town and then the pueblo was closing for the afternoon and there was admission so I just parked for a few minutes and took one picture of an adobe building.  It was a waste of time but I fortunately didn’t have to go through town again and as I was heading out I stopped to take a few pictures at the bridge going across the Rio Grande.  That was pretty impressive.  I kept on my way and got to Alamosa around 7, and  after gassing up and accidently driving off the curb to exit (which seemed to do no damage) I drove to the Comfort Inn and brought my stuff in.  I then headed for Nino’s Mexican and I had a terrific dinner of chicken flautas and red and green chile.  Back at the Comfort Inn I used the exercise bike for 30 minutes, did some weights and back in my room I wrote a long complaint to Amtrak about the room attendant. 
Saturday morning found that thought the tire warning gauge was on, the tires were all full and someone told me that a bump like going off the curb could have affected the gauge.  That was comforting and as I traveled the gauge would go on and off at points.  I drove toward Gunnison passing through a lovely canyon in Carson National Forest and got to Gunnison just in time to watch the second soccer game between Russia and Croatia (I had watched the first game between Sweden and England in my room).  The game was a good one but I had to leave to meet Dane for the float trip so I headed off and met him at around 2:30 at the Garlic Mike’s put in.  He was friendly and very helpful and I sensed that this was going to be a good trip.  I wore my tevas and just my long sleeved shirt and that initially seemed a dumb idea because the weather looked very threatening but fortunately the weather held and we both had a good time.  He could see that I was a very good fly fisherman, and he complimented my casting quite a bit.  The river was tough, having been fished all day, but we saw a number of rising fish, and I caught 5 and Dane caught 3 (though he only fished about a third of what I did).  We floated about 5 miles and that took about 4 hours and I was pretty exhausted when I got done.  I gave him a good tip and thanked him for his services.  The river was very pretty and I cast into hundreds of enticing spots.  I checked into my room at the Water Wheel motel (which was kind of dumpy, but only cost 100 dollars instead of the 174 at the Comfort Inn.  I was told to go for dinner at Anejo’s for good chile but they didn’t have chile but the fish tacos was pretty good.  I drove back to the motel, and I was too exhausted to do anything so I just stayed in bed and watched TV till 11 and went to sleep then.
  In the morning, I took a good shower with the Ringworm shampoo, then applied the cream which made me feel pretty good.  I had a quick breakfast then started driving toward the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.   It was a very scenic drive and after about an hour I reached the South Rim entrance and in a few miles I was at the first viewpoint, Tomichi Point, then stopping at Pulpit Rock, Chasm View, and Sunset View.  What a remarkable place.  Now it was time to head to Montrose to do my laundry and that went pretty well and soon enough I was on my way to Durango.  I passed through the very lovely town of Ouray then several mountain summits, with rain and hail at points.  It finally cleared as I approached Durango and I headed to the Quality Inn for a nap and then dinner at Ken and Sue’s, a very nice restaurant where I had cilantro crusted halibut, sticky rice and sautéed spinach, with a small salad and excellent bread.  After that I walked along the historic downtown for 20 minutes then headed back to my room to finish up my blog.   

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Trip is On

Monday turned out to be a very good day.  I did my knee exercises, then drove to Rob’s office to get my blood drawn to see if I would be able to go on my trip.  I then drove out to play nine holes of golf with Craig Waggaman.  We were put on the back nine so that took away any advantage I had with being familiar with the course since I almost never am able to play the back (which I wouldn’t mind doing more).  Anyway, Craig gives me 9 shots, one a hole and on the first hole Craig hits two very solid shots from the senior tees and then hits a wedge into the hole from about 45 yards for an eagle.  Wow! He wins the hole and has a one shot lead.  Craig plays very well, eventually shooting a 38, but I shoot a 44, even with moving my tee back on 14 on.  We had some lunch and then we headed off.  It was a lot of fun.  Next I take a quick nap and meet Claire for a second lunch at Nagoya.  She was doing very well and then we headed over to Kate’s to water the flowers so Claire can see the procedure Kate wants followed.  Then I came home and got the good news from Rob and Ghosheh that my blood level was stable and my kidney number was a little better.  The trip is on.  Then I needed a very long nap and I got up at almost 7.  I did some errands and then went and did my bike ride but I was still pretty tired so I only rode about 25 minutes.  I headed home and realized that I am not leaving till Wednesday so I actually have an extra day (I would have preferred to get going on Tuesday but it will have to wait.  My rash was bothering me some so I put some cream on and that helped.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Roller Coaster

Saturday was a reasonable day with knee exercises, weights for my left arm, some stretching, and picking up the remaining supplies for the trip.  I eventually drove out to Walker Creek at the White Gate bridge and caught 3 small fish.  I then headed over to tech and rode my bike for a solid 40 minutes up 10 ramps.  I went to bed around 12.
Sunday found me waking up at 3:30 very worried about the trip.  I read some stuff online about withdrawing from Cellcept and it sounds pretty scary.  I got up and wrote to UVA but I don’t really expect a response untiI Monday.  I have been off the Cellcept for three days and fortunately I was only on it for a little less than two weeks so the withdrawal should be pretty easy, I hope.  I took a full valium and got up in time to call Rob at 8 (he was going to call Ghosheh and get back to me, but it’s after 5 and I haven’t heard from him).  I also called Dave last night at 11 his time but he didn’t return my call.  I then showered and treated myself with the cream and that felt much better.  I watched Spain and Russia play but I had to leave at 11:15 to head to Mass.  I felt good when I got there but just as Mass started a guy with a cough sat right in front of me and I had to sit in the Narthex part of the time.  It totally ruined the experience.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Some Tough Moments

Thursday was an okay day with knee exercises, some piano and singing, and then doing a bunch of errands.  I checked my mail at Radford, got the meds at Walmart, and picked up some other supplies.  I went for my 40 minute bike ride at Tech and that felt good.  I stayed up till 12 but I awoke at 3:30 very anxious and almost decided to cancel the trip but after 2 halves of valium, I calmed down, got to sleep.
Friday found me waking up at 8:30 and I felt much better so I am going to try to tough it out.  Rob texted to tell me not to worry about the last couple days, and later he called and said that my blood level was down a pint, and he thought it might be the Cellcept so he might take me off it.  He said he was going to talk to Dr. Kalantari next week.  Kalantari’s colleague emailed me that the only alternative to the Cellcept is Cyclosporin (not exactly) and that has more side effects.  I did my knee exercises and then later I took a walk over at Tech for 25 minutes.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Is There Any Hope Left

Wednesday was a very strange and it may be the day that I decided to end my journey.   I awoke feeling even more anxious and at one point I started to cry.  I was also very tired feeling and I knew it was the cellcept.  I have no reason right now to be very anxious or unreasonably tired.  It was getting more and more like last summer when I was so very tired and so very anxious.  Despite remaining tired I decided to go play golf and amazingly, I played incredibly well and shot a 40.  I then decided to nap and I think I did drift off, then I drove out to David’s place and caught 3 nice bass, then coming back I was partially run off the road by a small gray car.  I called the police but I doubt anything will come of it.  Then I called Rob and I was hysterical about what the cellcept was doing to me, that it was just like last summer and I do think the cellcept and perhaps the high dose of prednisone back then, contributed to my selling the hollow at such a low price.  It was during this time that Rob put me on Zoloft but that was a total failure.  I told Rob that I won’t go through that hell again and that I would rather die.  I think I am sincere about that.  I called Dr. Ghosheh about the situation and also wrote to Dr. Kalantari.  If they can’t do something for me I don’t see much hope of continuing on.  I’ve suffered for 18 months and that is enough.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Package Mailed to Colorado

Monday was a decent day, but I awoke being a little anxious and somewhat tired.  I did my knee exercises, played some piano, then went off to mail my box of fishing gear and clothes.  That cost almost 50 dollars but I think it makes sense so I don’t have to carry much stuff out to Colorado and back.  I called Ghosheh and he said it was okay for me to stay on 2 cellcepts until I got back from my tripnapped a little then later I went out to play golf and shot a 45.  After that I had a Southwest salad at McDonald’s and then off to VT for a 40 minute bike ride. 
Tuesday started off the same, feeling a little anxious and tired, but I did my knee exercises, played some piano and sang, then showered and put on the cream.  My itching is definitely getting better.  I also did some straightening around the apartment, and I had to lie down a couple of times but I wasn’t able to nap.   

Sunday, June 24, 2018

One Very Good Day

Saturday turned out to be a very good day.  I was a little hyper in the morning, not able to nap at all, but I did my piano work, my knee exercises, my weights, my blog, and I did some wash.  Then I went out to play nine holes of golf and shot a 43.  Then it was time to go fishing at my new spot, and I tried my waders out and they worked fine though I caught only one small on my fly rod.  I was using my pack rod (meant for a 7 weight line) with a 4 weight line and it didn’t cast very well.  The biggest thing was that David was coughing and I may have caught something from him.  That will really stress me out.  After the fishing I drove to VT and did my bike ride of almost 40
Sunday I woke up very dry in the mouth (am I getting sick?) and not very productive.  I did my knee exercises then I showered with the new shampoo and put on the cream.  Then it was off to Mass and that went pretty well and I know some of the songs and responses.  Then I went off to first register for the second year of my warranty on my new phone, then a nap under the trees near Home Depot, then searching for regular boot waders (my stocking foot and boot waders were pretty tough to get on and off) and I did find a decent pair for 60 dollars but because they were used a bit I got 20 percent off so that was a good break.  I am going to send them out to New Mexico with my other fishing gear and my tevas and some clothing so I won’t have so much to carry on the train.   I’ve gotten most of the gear together and I will finish packing it later.  I hope to get my bike ride in later but I may have to push to do that.