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    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2008
    I put exciting in quotes because the excitement around here isn't actually of a fun nature.

    I busted my car up a bit the weekend before last. My husband and I drove an hour out of town to rent some kayaks and go kayaking down a class 1-2 river (i.e., moving but calm current).
    I backed into two kayaks sticking off the back end of a trailer. I saw the trailer while backing up, but I only check my left side, and the portion of the trailer I saw was empty. I didn't realize there were kayaks on the other side...which I would have if I had checked all my mirrors like I should have.

    So the kayaks went through the upper right corner of my rear windshield (I have a hatchback). No damage to the kayaks (they can handle worse than my < 1mph collision). Of course I'm getting a new windshield, and the kayaks actually punched through a bit of the metal frame, so that's driving up the cost of repairs. At least $1,100.

    I have a $500 deductible. Funny thing -- this accident happened just 15 days before the 1 year anniversary of when I was rear-ended. The woman that rear-ended me contested saying I cut her off (No!), so the insurance companies had to go to arbitration to figure out who was at fault. They finally did that this April, and I got a check in the mail a few days after my newest accident, refunding the $500 deductible I paid last year. So at least we won't be out any new money.

    Anyway, that's the least of my worries.

    My dad had a heart attack last Sunday. My sister and I were eating with him at a restaurant. He said he thought he needed an aspirin because he was having pain in the upper left part of his chest, near the shoulder joint.

    Now, my dad has high cholesterol and blood pressure, and partially blocked carotid (neck) arteries, which have been operated on twice to "clean" them out. He used to have nitroglycerin pills.

    So of course my sister and I were like, Hmmm, is this a heart attack? I asked him if he was short of breath, because I knew that's a common and often overlooked sign of heart attack, but he said no.

    Less than a minute after complaining of chest pain, he said he felt weak and dizzy. So that was all we needed to know and rushed him to the hospital, which thankfully was only 5 minutes away from the restaurant.

    My sister took our dad in her car, and I followed in another vehicle. She said that on the way, Daddy had trouble breathing and almost passed out - with his eyes rolled into the back of his head and his face very pale (which is really weird to see on my dad because he's so tan). She pounded on his chest, while she was still driving, and he regained consciousness. We don't know if pounding on his chest actually did anything.

    I took longer getting to the hospital because there is a shit load of construction going on in that town, and I could not recognize which direction I was going for a couple of minutes. When I arrived, my sister told me that, according to what she heard from the ER staff, our dad's heart beat was down to 30 bpm.

    They had to transfer him to the bigger, better hospital. They attached some pads to his chest that sent electricity to his heart to keep his heart beat up and regular. He went right to the catheterization laboratory.

    His right coronary artery was 100% blocked. They immediately inserted a stent, which allowed blood to flow freely again. This happened within 90 minutes of the initial chest pain, so there was very little damage to the heart muscle, and no lack of blood flow to the brain since my dad's heart never completely stopped beating.

    My dad was in the ICU for 2 1/2 days and was actually released today. He's going to take a 2 week leave of absence from work and not stress himself physically.

    The angiogram showed 50% blockage of another coronary artery, but they don't insert stents until there is > 70% blockage. This worries me obviously, but the doctors are increasing the doses of meds my dad was already taking and giving him new ones. They want to see if the drugs can improve that artery before attempting surgery.

    The restaurant we were eating at was actually our third choice of the day. The two other restaurants we wanted to eat at were closed (characteristic of small businesses in a small town on a Sunday), but those other two would have been at least 20 minutes from the hospital.

    My dad's heart attack happened exactly 6 months from the day and time that my mother died. I think we were even more stressed about this given that we already lost our mom.

    In more pleasant news, our vacation is next week. We're still going, despite recent events. My dad's condition is very good, and the last thing he wants me to do is cancel my vacation. He's going to be surrounded by other family and friends while I'm gone.

    I bought a sewing machine and am excited about getting back into sewing. I'm very rusty. I'm going to need to practice on cheap material before I try making anything with nice (expensive) fabric.

    I spent some time with a baby skunk and baby fox this week during my volunteering. Skunks are incredibly soft, and that fox was so spunky until I picked him up, then he started to fall asleep. I wanted to bring them both home.
    I still mostly take care of the birds. They can't go as long without food like the mammals. Fawn season is fast approaching. Unfortunately I have a feeling that many fawns will be brought in by ignorant people.
    Mama deer leave their babies alone for most of the day, so lots of people who come upon a fawn sitting in the shade of a tree by itself think it's been abandoned. They bring it to us or some other rehabber, and then the mother is left in distress not knowing where her baby is, and the baby has a decreased chance of survival in human hands, even those of experts.
    A baby animal is, 99% of the time, best left with the parent(s).

    Then there are the idiots who keep constant tabs on bird nests. One woman even set up some mirrors around one nest so she could look into it without climbing up to it. She then called us complaining that the parent bird was not with the chicks. 1) Not all birds spend lots of time with their young, and 2) maybe the parent is freaked out by this woman all up in its business.

    Yeah, some baby animals will be abandoned by their parents. Very few. But we humans do more harm to wildlife than the animal parents ever would. If our lack of involvement means the death of a few dozen young, then so many more will survive.

    I guess I got up on a soapbox there. I didn't mean to. That's a shorter soapbox than the one I have related to my other volunteer work related to domestic abuse.

    I'm looking forward to the weather in Maine. It should be sunny but in the high 60s. Beats the 90s down here. Anyone have plans for the weekend?
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2008
    When you scare-quoted "exciting" I immediately thought of the Chinese curse, but that has to do with "interesting" times.

    Sorry to hear about your car and your father (though I'm glad he seems to be doing ok). Seems like a bad year for you, but I'm glad you still have some things to be happy about.

    I'm going to Pittsburg this weekend. Will probably take in a baseball game and generally have fun hanging out with friends. Good stuff.

    Are you going to Maine? Just out of curiosity, what made you think of Maine as a vacation spot?

    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2008
    We are indeed going to Maine, for 10 days.

    Originally, I wanted to go to Chicago. I had heard from several people that Chicago is great. But my husband didn't want to go on vacation to a big city. Not because he doesn't like big cities (he definitely prefers them to small towns or rural areas), but because he prefers the activities one can do in more nature-y areas. We loved our vacation to Glacier National Park, and he really enjoyed his past vacations to Nova Scotia, Yellowstone, the Painted Desert, etc.

    So I asked him where he wanted to go. We eventually concluded that we should visit an area of the US we had not been to yet, which meant something east since we had been to California, Utah, and Montana. We didn't want to go anywhere in the so-called Bible belt because we hate the culture and summer temperatures.
    Somehow I narrowed it down to Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine, and I guess we settled on Maine because we could do a whale-watching tour and sea kayaking, in addition to rafting.

    I think, really, we like going to the less-thought-of places and trying to figure out our own path and discovering things for ourselves, as opposed to going to the big things like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite where you sort of know what to expect. Although, we want to go to those places too. They're well-known for good reason usually.

    I wonder how Maine is thought of by you yankees (that's what we Texans call any person living in Maryland and further north). Obviously it's not as populous, so I imagine it's considered less refined, more rural or "backwoods." Like the boondocks of the northeast?
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2008
    I'm sorry to hear about your car, Spence, and especially sorry to hear about your Dad, but I'm glad he's doing well.

    Vacation in Maine should be fun. I spent about 4 days in Maine a few years ago. I saw Acadia, and spent a night in Portland...it was a really fun time. Maine is also big, as New England states go. The Maine border is about 4 hours from my house...and Acadia is another 4 or so past there.

    Amusing story, when I went to Portland, New Hampshire last summer to see George Clinton, I made a wrong turn, and ended up in Maine. It's not nearly as bad as it sounds, since the chunk of NH I was going to was only about 20 miles across, but I went through Massachusetts on the way there, New Hampshire to get to the show, Maine by accident, and Rhode Island on the way home. I live in Connecticut, so the only New England state I missed that day was Vermont...I considering making a side trip for the benefit of telling the story, but it would have a few hours out of the way.

    As far as us yankees are concerned, Maine is indeed the boondocks of the Northeast. By the shore, in the more touristy areas, it's not quite as bad, but inland Maine folk are...well, if you've read any Stephen King, you know. I'm pretty fascinated with the area, actually...the inland is very rural. A lot of areas are only accessible by gated private roads. Maine is also home of the world's most rabid Red Sox fans...I've been a proud New York Yankees fan all of my life, but I was smart enough to leave my hat at home when I was up there.

    Oh, and baby animals are insanely cute. I think baby raccoons might be the cutest thing on Earth.
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2008
    Glad your dad's doing OK. Hopefully you can still enjoy your vacation. I've actually always been curious about Maine. I've seen a lot of pictures of it that make it look very beautiful.

    I recently came across some photos of a ghost town in the desert out here called Amboy and want to go check it out soon. Apparently there is a shoe tree. I may end up going this weekend. Not sure yet. Some friends of mine are hosting a BBQ on Sunday. Should be fun. I went with some (mostly Korean) co-workers to a Korean BBQ last night. It was awesome, even for a freakish vegetarian such as myself. I ate everything ever.