Monday, July 19, 2010

Air Travel

Air travel has been a royal pain in the buttocks since even before September 11th, 2001. But now it is seriously jacked up.

I have an artificial hip, a steel plate and a bunch of screws in my pelvis. So I set off the metal detectors even before 9/11. Now, because of all my "hardware", I feel like I have to get to the airport insanely early because I am afraid I will be pulled off into a room and strip searched.

When we arrived at John Wayne Airport and went through security, I managed to be screened by a female guard who took her job WAAAAY to seriously. She asked me several times whether I wanted to have a private screening. Every time she was about to frisk me she asked me if I wanted a private screening. I almost replied, "No, do you?" Our flight out was otherwise uneventful.

Our trip back was a little bit more interesting. We had a stop in Salt Lake City. We looked before we left for the Minneapolis airport to see if our flight was going to be on time and it was delayed. No big deal, we had a 2:15 layover. We watched the movie "Bolt" before we left for the airport.

At the Minneapolis airport, I took a picture of the Snoopy statue and the doorway into the Senator Larry Craig Restroom Tap Dancing Studio - Home of the Wide Stance. Our plane was delayed for a very long time. Long enough that when we took off, we knew that our over 2 hour layover was pretty much gone. We landed 5 minutes before our connecting flight was going to take off. Woohoo.

Because it sounded like we may still be able to make the connection, we got off the plane as fast as we could and ran our behinds off (ala OJ Simpson) from the end of one terminal to about midway into one of the other terminals. They had not shut the door yet, but they informed us that we had been booked onto a flight into LAX.


Then they tried to rig it so we could get on our original flight, but the seats had just been booked that were left. They got us on the next flight to John Wayne in first class (YES!!!!!) and gave us each a $6 voucher for food in the airport for our trouble. I am still very very very very sore from running with all of our possessions through two terminals. It was a blessed miracle to have the first class seats with legroom after that ordeal.

Our friend met us at the airport and drove us home. We got our stuff in the house, and I literally fell into bed and slept for 11 hours. The house was hot because we had been gone and the AC was not on, but it was good to be able to rest after the stress of dealing with Delta Airlines' issues.

LAX, REALLY!!!!? Hell to the NO! Especially after the extra airfare paid for booking to and from SNA.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


We came home to Minnesota this past week. While much had changed, the visit cemented in me how much I really miss it here.

We got our big thunderstorm tonight, complete with lightning and thunder (and tornado warnings in neighboring counties). Have I mentioned that I like thunderstorms? It was cool seeing the lightning in the sky as we were driving this evening.

We got into town on Monday (the 12th) evening. Went directly to Culvers! Yummmmmmm. They really need to open a Culvers in Orange County. I mean really, we ARE getting a BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings). Monday we pretty much just chilled at my parents' house.

Tuesday, we went to see "Despicable Me" in 3D. Fun movie. I want minions! Then we went to Target, so K could do some shopping (Grandma and Grandpa gave her a gift card!). K wanted to have Juicy Lucys for her early birthday celebration so we went to the 5-8 Club. Again... YUMMMMMMMMM.

Wednesday, for most of the day, we just hung out at my mom's house, because S broke his leg and needs surgery, and is not getting around very well, and my dad was gone for most of the day. Later we took K shopping for shoes, because there is no sales tax on shoes or clothes in Minnesota. She got two pairs of shoes for $27.98. Not bad at all. Then we left K with my parents and went out to dinner with four of my friends at The Chatterbox in Powderhorn Park. We later went to Bob's Java Hut and watched the people on Lyndale Ave. Good times!

Thursday we took it easy until we left for Target Field. My photos of Target Field will be uploaded when we get home. Target Field is a beautiful ballpark. They really did a great job with the details. The Twins were hosting the White Sox (which is always a fun series because of the rivalry). Although the Twins lost 8-7, it was a fun game to watch.

Friday evening, we went to a barbecue at my husband's best friend's house in Monticello. It was so wonderful to hang out and see everyone after several years. Tonight we went to a party celebrating two people's long-term recovery and I saw people I had not seen in probably 15 years. We also went to a reunion of the Minnesota Maulers football team and it was fun to see the guys who played football with my husband again. It was kind of weird that I was the only spouse there, but oh well.

We go back tomorrow morning (Sunday). I am really sad to leave. But glad that I got to see so many people that I have not seen in so long. It was really a good trip.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Another Anniversary

Tomorrow, July 7, is the 23rd anniversary of my final radiation treatment. While the first series of treatments covered more area of my body, I have to say the second series was far worse as far as the side effects went.

The area exposed in the second series was about a 4" x 10" rectangle along my abdominal midline below my diaphragm. This is when I stopped eating completely. While I was not eating much when I had the mantle (neck, and entire thorax) radiation, because food was too dry to go down, when I had the abdominal radiation, food came back up too readily. To this day, I cannot even fathom wanting to ingest a liquid protein shake. I get nauseous just thinking about it.

My treatments would have ended a week earlier, but my maternal grandpa died and with my doctor's okay, I went to spend a week in Milwaukee with my family. I did not know at the time that it was going to be the last time I saw my cousin, Gary.

At that time, Gary, unbeknownst to anyone but his parents, had just been diagnosed with HIV. Apparently, Hodgkins Lymphoma has some very similar symptoms to full-blown AIDS. And Gary, bless his heart, was asking me some rather pointed questions about what I was going through. I was confused as hell as to why Gary was asking me these gruesome questions, especially since Gary had a delicate sensibility. Yes, Gary was gay. But I have known straight men that had just as delicate a personality so let's just leave the stereotypes alone. Anyhow, at one point during our conversation (and I still kick myself mercilessly over this) Gary told me that he dreamed of meeting a nice woman, settling down, getting married, and having children. I wish I had told him to cut the bullshit, that I knew he was gay, that I loved him for who and what he was, and that if he wanted to marry a man and settle down, I would have nothing but blessing for him. I just did not have the guts at that time to say what needed to be said.

Gary died in the summer of 1990, when I was pregnant with my son. He did not allow his parents to tell anyone until a few days before he died. I did get to talk on the phone with him before he passed, and I told him I loved him, and that I wish I had known sooner, because I would have wanted to do something, anything, for him.

His death changed some things in his immediate family. Both of his parents got involved in AIDS related charities in Milwaukee. One of the things my aunt (Gary's mom) did, while I was sick, was send me these anonymous notes and little gifts (all containing Hershey Kisses), throughout all of my treatments. We were all trying to figure out who was sending the stuff the whole time. The last little gift came the day of my final treatment, when she revealed that it was she that was sending these things. I know people think I am so strong, but really I am not. She may never know how much the anonymous little notes and gifts helped me get through that time. One of the things she does with the AIDS hospice now, is send the little anonymous notes and gifts to various patients there. My aunt and uncle have served as the Grand Marshals of the Milwaukee Gay Pride parade. My aunt also made a quilt panel to memorialize Gary's life. Here is a photo of his little section:

I still cry when I think of him.