Saturday, August 8, 2015

Rock 'N August Car Show

Yesterday I decided to tag along with Ty and our neighbour Kevin and his son Kalen to the Rock 'N August Car Show. Kevin has two '89 Mustangs, and Ty often helps him out by driving one of them to local car shows. 
I haven't been to Rock 'N August for years, and I think I went to a Thursday night concert in front of St Albert Place. 
Apparently, it has grown a lot since then. The bulk of the car show took place at Lion's Park, which is a lot bigger than I thought. You can see the concert stage above. 
There were over 800 cars registered, and lots of them parked by the river trail. 
This was the view by our spot. Quite close to the train bridge. 
We brought our lawn chairs and sat a little, but we mostly walked around and took everything in. 
The Farmer's Market was very close, so we walked over there and I got some veggies and a big bag of kettle corn, my favourite thing to get from the market. 
It was relaxing to just wander around and take it all in. You can tell which people are serious car enthusiasts. They can often be seen having deep discussions with others who share their passion. 
Neither Tyler nor I are big car buffs, so we were mostly impressed with the most creative or interesting cars. 
I tend to notice the upholstery, of course. Especially if it's colourful or creative. 
I knew hearses were a "thing" at these shows, but I didn't know there were actual clubs for them!
They are extremely colourful people, despite their interest in all things black and morbid. 
I didn't get any pics of the backs, but they all had coffins hanging out of them, and plenty of spooky characters lying around. 
I will let the rest of these cars speak for themselves. 
Before we left, Kalen and I went over to the far side of the train bridge to capture some pics of the happy ducks. 
The Sturgeon River is not a very nice river at the best of times, and this year it is very low, and full of yummy green algae. But I notice that ducks and geese seem to be pretty happy as long as they have a puddle of water. I do love this bridge, though. Pretty impressive. 
Here are Kevin's Mustangs. Ty drove the white convertible, and Kalen and I were passengers. What a gorgeous day for a joyride. I had a blast. 
And of course, we couldn't close out the day without an official picture of father and son in front of their cars. Notice their matching Mustang hats and t-shirts. :)
What a great day. I'm so glad I went along. It was quite fun. 

My Adventure in Minor Surgery

I had minor surgery yesterday, and it went so well and it was such an adventure that I felt like writing about it. 
I discovered a small lump (2cmx2cm) in my left breast a few months ago. After getting a few tests done, it was confirmed that it was benign.  My surgeon said that we could either check it every six months to make sure it didn't change or grow, or we could do surgery and get rid of it. I figured what the hey, why not. Doesn't sound like such a big deal. She recommended that I have general anesthetic and have it done in the  operating room at the hospital. Local anesthetic causes swelling and makes it more difficult to take it out cleanly. I opted for the safer option. 

The scariest part for me was talking to the nurse over the phone a week before my surgery. What I thought was no big deal was starting to sound a lot more complicated. Simply because she had to explain every relevant detail, and hearing them all at once was a bit overwhelming, because I had expectations that it would be a much simpler procedure. Once I digested all the information, it was much easier. 

The day before, they phoned me and told me that I was to arrive at the hospital at 5:45am and my surgery would be at 7:45am. I was the first surgery of the day. 

One of my favourite things was getting to wear jammy pants in a public place and having that be totally acceptable. :)
Tyler dropped me off and I went in through the emergency entrance. I checked in and then proceeded to almost get lost, because I couldn't find an elevator to the second floor. But I found my way eventually. Thankfully they have lots of signs and directions on the wall, but we all know that hospitals are mazes. I found the Day Surgery ward and was promptly looked after. The beds were all separated by curtains, and I got one next to the window. I got to see the morning light come through the blinds. The nurses checked in with me a few times. I got a shot in my arm for blood thinner. It hurt. The needle poke wasn't nearly the worst part of that. Ugh. It settled down after a few minutes.  I settled in and read my book quite comfortably. I liked how the bed tipped up. 'Twas quite pleasant. 

At 7:15 I was wheeled away in my bed down the corridor to the pre-op room. At this point I left my glasses behind so everything was blurry. I didn't actually mind that. I wished I could've seen the faces that were tending to me, but I could kinda see everything else well enough. 

The part that I was worried about the most was getting an IV in my hand. I can't give blood without getting sick, and even getting blood work done takes a lot of effort for me to 'keep it together'. So I assumed that IV would be equally unpleasant. It was surprisingly not. The fellow that put it in was very nice. Actually, all the nurses and doctors were amazing. There was only one matronly nurse that was a bit stern. The rest were friendly and very lovely. I must have been tended to by about a dozen different people, and I loved them all. 

Anyways, the IV was easy. And after that I had an older male nurse who asked me, "Are you warm enough?"  I said, "Um..."  And then he he said, "I'll take that as a no."  He brought me a warm blanket. Wow!  What a luxury!  Do they keep them in an oven?  That was fantastic. Oh, and then he noticed my jammy pants. I said, "Thanks, I made them!"  But apparently I wasn't supposed to still have them on. The stern matronly nurse was still there, and she said, "I told you to take them off!" To which I said, "No you didn't."  I remember being told to take off my socks, but no one told me to take my jammy pants off. So I wiggled out of them underneath my blanket and she took them back and put them in my cubby. 

Shortly after that, my surgeon, Dr Wasey, arrived. She is so nice!  I love her. She's young and bright and super friendly. When I mentioned that I wasn't wearing my glasses, she zoomed in and said, "Can you see me now?"  She's awesome. 

Then the anesthesiologist came and told me what his part would be. He was a doctor. I explained my concern about nausea, and he said he would give me something for it. 

I finally got wheeled into the OR. How cool was that?!  It was awesome!  There were two super huge silver lights hanging overhead. The room was really neat. They wheeled me over to the narrow operating bed, and I scooched myself onto it. They hooked me up to the blood pressure machine again (I must've had that done half a dozen times at least). And the coolest part was that my pulse was beeping!  Mine is ever so slightly erratic. They all bustled over me for a few minutes. I was fascinated with everything they were doing. Then the anesthesiologist doctor started working his magic. They hooked up a couple different things to my IV and then they gave me an oxegen mask and told me to breathe deeply. This was calming in itself. He said something about the anesthetic coming through the IV, and that I would start to feel a little fuzzy. Then he said something like "You'll be out soon so good luck and have a good rest."  I remember trying to notice when I fell asleep. But I didn't. I was breathing deeply into the oxegen mask, and I was thinking, "When am I gonna pass out?"  But there was no moment of unconsciousness. 

I woke up at 9:30. I don't remember if the nurses were talking to me to wake me up, or if they were just talking amongst themselves and I just came to. I must have been in the post-op room. I was propped up slightly. I remember feeling really good. Like really good. I felt excellent. I felt a very slight discomfort at the site of the incision, but not much at all. I couldn't get over how good I felt!  They let me rest there for a while, and then they wheeled me back to my spot in Day Surgery. They said I would stay there for an hour, and then Tyler would be coming to take me home. I dozed a little. I was fairly awake. It was fascinating to listen to what was going on around me. There were two women there having mastectomies. One was having one removed (her second), and another was having both done. The latter was visited by the physical therapist who went over the daily exercises she would have to do, and at which stage of her recovery. There was also a teenage girl there who had her appendix removed. Poor girl was really sick and in a lot of pain. I'm thankful for experiences like this. It reminds me how healthy I am. I may have chronic pain and various other minor things, but overall, I am very healthy. 

Tyler arrived around 10. He got to see me in my hospital gown and my IV. Another nurse checked up on me again, and went over my instructions for the following days and weeks. She gave me some blue booties and a housecoat and got me to go for a little walk with my IV on the wheely thing. I was still feeling fairly good at this point. I got dressed and ready to go. We had to wait for a few minutes for security to bring my rings back (I totally forgot about the "no jewelry" thing), and as I was sitting, the nausea slowly started creeping up on me. Another nurse gave me something for nausea, and just before we left she checked my vitals yet again. Then we finally went home. We were home by 11. I spent about 5 1/2 hours at the hospital. 

Ty hung out at home with me for a little while before he went back to work. I was puttering around the kitchen for a bit and my nausea flared up slightly. Thankfully I puked before I ate anything. I felt better immediately.  I made some porridge and that made me feel better. I threw in some laundry and putzed around for a bit. I felt surprisingly good. Ty left for work and I had a nap for a couple hours. That was all I needed. When I got up I fiddled on my laptop for a couple hours, then I made myself popcorn and snacks and spent the rest of the evening watching The Grand Hotel on Netflix. Who knew a Spanish show with English subtitles could be so addicting?!  I finished the whole first season. 
The conclusion of my surgery day was that I had barely any pain, and had my appetite fully back to normal. I feel great!

I'm glad I had this opportunity to experience surgery for something as minor as this. If I ever have to get anything more major done, I will be fairly well prepared. And I think all the doctors and nurses were happy to have an easy case like mine to start their day. Plus I'm really calm and easy-going and everybody loves me. :)

And I am very thankful that I am healthy. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Belize - Part 4 - Vacation Spring 2015

The next morning, we arrived in Belize.  Since Belize has very shallow waters, it has measures in place to protect the environment.  We had to weigh anchor about 20 minutes from shore and everyone who wanted to get off the boat, would be picked up by another boat.

We had booked an excursion that included snorkeling and a couple hours of leisure at a private island.  We waited in the main theatre for our number to be called, and we went down to Deck 0 and the boat from our tour provider picked us up.
I didn't take any pictures until we were finished snorkelling and arrived at Starfish Island.  I know, I know, next time I will take a few more pictures.  Blogging about all this is making me aware of the things that I wish I had pictures for.

Anyways, snorkelling was pretty good.  I think Tyler enjoyed it more than I did, because he finally had a mask that didn't leak, and knew what he was doing by now.  I tried to enjoy it, since we were on part of the Barrier Reef (the second largest barrier reef aside from Australia).  It was a bit crowded, and the guides kept us all together, so we were swimming on top of everyone else.  I think I've had enough of these "jump off the boat and snorkel" excursions, and I'm ready to try something more calm and solitary, or maybe it's time to learn scuba diving!  It's time for an upgrade!  In any case, we did see quite a few interesting reefs and lots of different varieties of fish.  Since coming home, I saw Journey to the South Pacific on IMAX, and some of the underwater reef video they took was very similar to what we saw, so I guess it was pretty cool.  
In most of my pictures, it looks cloudy and windy, but I can assure you that it was a gorgeous, hot day in Belize.  It was absolutely beautiful.  If it weren't for the stiff breeze and occasional cloud cover, it might have been too hot!  

Starfish Island was by far my favourite part of the day.  This is one of those little islands that you see in the travel magazines.  It was just so cool.  I absolutely loved it!  
There was an outdoor bar with a big thatched roof on top, a buffet set up outside one of the other main buildings, and a small gift shop.  
We started with drinks at the bar, and then wandered around the island before finally settling in on some beach chairs.
I know those clouds look menacing, but I didn't even really notice them until I saw the pictures later!  It was so warm and lovely.  See the hammocks under the thatched roofs?
The trees and mangroves were gorgeous, and unlike anything I had ever seen before.

This is some kind of a funky palm tree.  Isn't it amazing???
We walked out on to the dock to get some better pictures.  See?  Sometimes I get good pictures!

Here we are settled into our loungers.  
I love laying under palm trees.
I rolled up my shorts and ventured out into the water.  It was probably the clearest water I've seen.

All that I have shown you is about all there is to this island.  Pretty cool, hey?
We headed back out to the same boat that took us snorkelling.  Coral Blue.

As I was taking that selfie, a nice man came over and offered to take a real one for us.  Nice!
On the way back to the ship, we had a party.  The rum punch was flowing, the music was pumping, and quite a few people were up on the front of the boat dancing.  What a hoot!  When we got back to the ship, they encouraged us to make everyone else jealous of the fun we were having.  It was a blast.

And lo and behold, as we were waiting for our turn to get closer to the ship, a perfect Kodak moment presented itself, and I got this stunning shot of the ship in all her glory.
Back on board, we had a couple hours before we would set sail, and it was still fairly quiet up on the top decks.  
The entertainment team were having a dance party by the main pool, and these college kids knew all the moves to this particular song.  Thumpin' sound system up here.  They had a DJ and everything.
Wandering around up top is really fun when you're in a new location almost every day.  We were watching the tender boats bring people from Belize City back to our ship, and the Norwegian Dawn.  There were 4 ships all anchored out here, and they were all spaced about this far apart.
The water here is absolutely stunning.

I love this enormous tail fin.  It is so huge, I'm sure this picture doesn't do it justice.  I was in awe of it every time we walked under it.
As we set sail, we had some really nice sunsets, and we passed by some pretty little islands. 
We just stood out by the rails and soaked it all in.  

That night, after supper, we saw the band from the theatre playing in the Ocean Plaza.  They were sooooooo good.  They played Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, Bruno Mars, and some other older favourites.  The horns made them sound totally "big band".  Top notch entertainment.