So I’ve been putting off writing up my trip report because a few different factors.
The biggest is: we didn’t have a great time.
We weren’t sure what we were getting into, going to Vegas in the middle of a pandemic, but we knew that we wanted to renew our vows in Vegas in the year that would have been our 20th year anniversary, so we just went for it.
We booked a executive suite at Harrah’s. We had never stayed there before and we knew that we would want a large room, since we would be hanging out in it a lot of the time. We are both still scared of COVID and so our goal for Vegas was to renew our vows, meet up with a couple ppl and then mostly hang out in the room. The room we booked was a two room suite that promised enough room between us while being stuck together for an entire week. That is important. 😀
We packed up and hit the road Saturday morning (10/3/20). We made good time but the traffic was heavier that we expected. We arrived in Vegas around five PM if I remember right.
This is where the first monkey wrench found its way into our plans. So we parked in the parking garage and made our way down to the check in desk. For whatever reason, Harrah’s has a floor that is one floor above the check in desk and that is where the parking garage elevator spits out.
At this point we are both toting two suitcases each and a backpack. We spy an escalator but not much else. There are elevator places but they seem to be reserved for the hotel rooms.
So here’s the thing…I’m afraid of heights. Like SUPER afraid of heights. Looking up at a tall building while on the ground scares me.
Stairs without a railing are just NOT an option and escalators…well, they are the bane of my existence. I have to hold on to both railings and if we are going down I have to have Rob in front of me in case I fall. It had never happened but my worst nightmare was not getting my foot flat on the step and getting that one rising step push me off balance.
I think you know where this is going.
I was tired and I thought for whatever reason in my stupid little head that I would be able to handle this escalator with a suitcase in each hand and not being able to hold the railings. I made Rob go in front and attempted to get on the stupid stairs. Basically my worst nightmare came true. I wobbled as the stair expanded below my foot and down I went.
I can’t even describe it to you right now because it was pure panic. I felt myself hit the stairs on my left hip and all I could do was hold a death grip on the luggage and blink stupidly as I laid there.
Rob was telling me to let go of the first suitcase so he could help me up and I couldn’t comprehend. A wonderful older man saw me fall and ran down behind me on the escalator grabbing the other suitcase and telling me to let go. It felt like it spanned about a half an hour but eventually I let go of both suitcases and pulled myself up just as we were nearing the end of it.
I don’t really want to go into more detail as this was a horrific experience, but basically we thanked the man behind me and I sat down for a minute to get my bearings.
Eventually we found the check in and my Total Rewards CC was declined. We tried Robs and that was denied. Finally we put the charge on a debit card and the front desk lady told me that she wouldn’t charge me a deposit fee since we were Diamond. I said no worries because we weren’t going to charge anything to the room.
Up to the room we disinfected the hell out of it and got unpacked. We were still shaken by my most stupid of falls and just sort of putted around.
Eventually I took a shower to kind of wash off the day and started icing my hip. My legs are pretty torn up by the escalator stairs but they don’t hurt and there was not blood. My hip was swollen and sore, but I hoped that wasthe worst of it.
Rob went downstairs to see about getting more stuff out of the car and when he came back up he said that the mask wearing tonight is at a minimum and we should stay up here in the room tonight.
Fine by me.
We were both wondering if the trip was already ruined before it got started.
Sunday was super chill. We woke up and snacked on the food we brought with us, played with our lego kit and watched TV. Doesn’t sound like much but it was a little bit of heaven.
I was super sore this day but I knew that I would be. The worst was getting out of bed in the morning. It got really stiff over night and every step hurt on the way to the bathroom. Now it is sore when I get up from sitting but the first couple of steps it feels better. I was just hoping it would get better fast, or I might not be able to wear the cute chunky heels I wanted to for the renewal the next day. Oh well.
Game plan for the rest of the day was to go get our renewal duds out of the car and get something to eat.
Either way, I wanted to be in bed really early as we had to be at the Las Vegas sign by 6:30 the next morning. Ug…thankfully this is the only part of this trip where we have to get up early.
We laid around in bed and then ventured out to the living room area to watch TV and build our LEGO kit.
Later in the afternoon I took a bath in the wonderful tub and then we headed down for food. Just some pizza slices from the food court but we didn’t need a lot.
Where do I begin?
It’s been a rough couple of weeks.
It started with a heatwave. The biggest one we have had this summer and possibly prior. It got up into the 100’s here in the valley and that is pretty much unheard of. We get a couple of weeks of good heat each summer. Never enough to actually get air conditioning installed, but enough to make it fairly uncomfortable unless you are laying perfectly still in front of a fan going full blast.
We also live out in a wooded area and it is California. If you know much about California, you probably know that we are tinderbox of a state every summer. One false move and the whole place could go up in smoke. It’s even more dangerous when there is excessive heat. I think you can see where this is going…
The Saturday night before last, we had thunderstorms. Not the kind we used to get back home with downpours and wind and all that jazz. In fact, we got no rain at all where I live, but lots of lightning…that is what is referred to as Dry Lightning and it is dangerous AF when you are in the middle of a bone-dry summer.
This lightning storm sparked all kinds of fires around the state and one of them was fairly close to where we live. Not anything we had to really worry about, but it made everything extremely smokey and ash rained down all over a ten mile radius of the fire.
The following Tuesday, I was on my way home from work early. My stomach hadn’t felt good all day and all I wanted to do was come home and lie down. I got about two miles from my house and was passed by a fire engine heading in the direction I was already going. I knew that wasn’t a good sign, but there is an assisted living home that is a quarter mile from our house and sometimes the fire trucks come out there on medical calls.
A couple of minutes later I was passed by a Cal Fire pickup truck. Now I KNEW it wasn’t good.
As I crested the last hill towards my house I saw the smoke in the sky and the panic I had been trying to suppress hit full swing. I pulled into our driveway and Rob met me out by the car. I asked how far away it was and he said the nearest he could tell it was bout three miles or so up the hill.
The rest of the afternoon was spent monitoring Facebook community groups and the Cal Fire page trying to find any information on the spread of the fire.
Rob was quite confident that we would be fine for the night as it would take at least a day or so for the fire to travel the terrain it would need to go to get near us. I was not so sure and told him I would feel much safer if we voluntarily evacuated to his dad’s house. He begrudgingly agreed and we packed up the pooches, a few important items and left.
The next day I headed to work and Rob headed back to our house. The smoke was thick and the fire was raging but he was very insistent that we weren’t in any danger, after all they were evacuating people to a place less than a mile down from our house so we must be fine.
When I got home from work, I reluctantly agreed to spend the night if he was SURE that we would be fine and then we settled in for the evening.
Around seven that night we were watching the Cal Fire press conference on the fire when they announced that they were evacuating up to a quarter mile above our house. We were alarmed and talked about evacuating. A few minutes later, Rob was outside and happened to see our neighbor who is a firefighter. He told Rob that he had been pulled off the line fighting the other fire near us and told by his bosses to go home and prepare his home for evacuation.
The fact that this fireman was pulled from active duty to go evacuate his house by people who SHOULD KNOW gave us a good scare and we spent the next two to three hours packing up everything we deemed important and loading up our cars. We showered and then headed over to his dad’s house to stay for a few days or more.
That was on Wednesday.
On Thursday I called my ailing Mom and she expressed concern over what was going on. I didn’t really let her know the severity of the situation, just that we were hanging out at my father in laws to be extra safe.
Mom hadn’t been doing so well over the last year.
A few months back she finally admitted to her legs swelling…she has apparently been hiding it for quite some time. From myself, my brother and the CNA’s at her assisted living home. When they got too big for her to function very well, she finally fessed up. With some convincing from the staff at her apartment and my brother and I, she finally went to the hospital.
She was in there for quite some time. In addition to the largely swollen legs, they found fluid in her lungs and around her heart. They said it was a form of CHF brought on by the fact that she never used the CPAP machine she was prescribed 10 to 15 years ago because it was uncomfortable. Welp, uncomfortable as it was, she needed it for a reason and now her heart was struggling so hard each night that it couldn’t keep up the battle with her lungs…or something like that.
The end result was CHF and some blood clots in her legs because she had let them get so big and was so sedentary. At least that is how I remember hearing about it…it’s been a while now.
She was put on blood thinners and stayed in the hospital for a couple weeks before being transferred to a rehab where they were trying to build her strength back up.
She walked a slippery slope with diuretics. They pumped her full of them to help get the fluid out and then her kidneys would show some damage from it. They would back off of the diuretics and she would fill right back up with fluid.
Long story short, she was in and out of the hospital a couple of times and eventually wound up back in rehab this month. It a facility that has a rehab, a nursing home and a hospice all in the same large building. Her first visit there was in the rehab. On this visit she was in the nursing home facility because she needed extra care but she was still receiving PT and OT.
They just couldn’t keep the fluid from invading her body and in the end, she was given the choice of going back to the hospital or being transferred to the hospice unit in the facility. She chose hospice.
Less than two days later, she was gone.
The day she was transferred to hospice, I had gone off to work. We were still evacuated from our house due to the fires and Rob had gone home to see if he could pick up some more stuff we forgot to get before the evacuation became mandatory. My brother called him that morning and let him know what was going on.
I got a text from Rob saying to call him, it was about my mom and it was important.
The short of it is that she was being moved to hospice and I should call her ASAP because it didn’t sound good.
I went into the conference room at work and called. While they didn’t have a phone in her room, a nurse brought her cell phone down to mom. Mom of course couldn’t hear me because she was over half deaf and the nurse went to fetch a portable phone. Mom could hear me on that but then my cell dropped the call.
I called back and didn’t get an answer. It was like the worst possible comedy of errors I’ve ever experienced. I was frantic at that point. I ran outside to get a better signal and finally got a nurse on the phone. I was crying and explained what was going on.
She said: “Baby, you can’t talk to your mom sounding like this, she’s going to get upset…” and tried to calm me down. She told me that I was lucky that my mom was still coherent and talking and I would be able to come visit her before she passed. I told her no, I wouldn’t. I lived in California.
She got real quiet and then asked if I had any video chatting on my phone. I told her I had facetime. She told me to take down her cell number and facetime her, she would bring me into my mothers room.
An that is just what I did. She was an angel. By that time my brother was there so essentially, my mother got to have her two kids “in the room with her” one last time. We didn’t talk for long because she was tired from whatever drug they had given her. That was the last time I talked to her.
I tried to call her again the next day (Saturday) but she wouldn’t wake up for the nurse to get the call. The nurse even put the phone by her ear and asked me to talk hoping it would wake her but that didn’t happen. All I heard was this horrible rattling from her lungs.
She passed that evening.
Since then, I’ve been shifting from numb to sad to angry to everything in between. All of which while wondering if we were going to have a house to come home to.
It wasn’t supposed to happen this fast. She was only 75 years old. Her mind was all there right up until the end, but her body was tired. She complained one day to me that she was the youngest of her sisters and she didn’t understand how she was the one that was so sick. I told her that she was the one that worked 60 hours a week for the better part of 20 years. Her body was worn out…but her mind was strong.
The mandatory evacuation for our house was lifted today and we were able to come home.
The fires are not over by any stretch of the imagination, but at least they are starting to get contained and the air quality is so much better right now. *knocks wood*
I don’t have a clever way to end this and I apologize that it was pretty all over the place. I had to get up and walk away from it several times to collect myself.
Miss you Mom.
Woke up far to early for my tastes on Thursday morning and headed over to Flights at the Miracle Mile for the VMB meetup. I made the initial reservation for 14 based on the people stating they would be there on the meet up thread, but it turned out to only be six of us. No worries on my end…it’s Vegas. Plans change, people lose track of time and shit happens.
It turned out to be a lovely meet with some great peeps and I really enjoyed myself a lot. Flights is a pretty cool place if you get the chance to go. It’s an airplane theme but “Flights” also refers to how they serve their drinks and food. I had a flight of mojitos and split a flight of breakfast hash with Rob and Aussieonthemove and then Rob, Martin and I split some sort of ice cream lava cake deliciousness. I didn’t think to take any pics of the food because I was starving, but we did get a pic of the group.
Once we all dispersed, I hit up LUSH at the mall to get a refill of my cuticle cream and we headed back up to the room. We laid around for a couple of hours before getting ready to head downtown for the night.
The hubs had recently reconnected with a friend of his from either elementary school or jr high on Facebook and she had just moved to Vegas a few years ago. We met up with her for ice cream last year and had a great time so we put out an invitation to her and her husband to meet up at any point this trip. They said they wanted to join us for when we hit Downtown to do the Mob Museum.
We caught The Deuce downtown and it took forever. It’s not the first time we’ve used the bus, but we had forgotten how long it takes when it’s busy. We noted to ourselves to Uber next time while grinning and bearing it.
We got there before our friends so we slotted around for a bit with no real wins but no great losses either and then met them at the Mob Museum around six.
We had never been, but it had been on our list for a couple of years. We really enjoyed it and while we stayed for two hours, we all felt that we really could have had another go ’round and see a lot of things we may have missed. It’s a LOT of information.
At the end we went down to the Speakeasy in the basement, but due to the lack of food (it was all appetizers), our friends didn’t want to stay as they were starving. I was kind of bummed because I wanted to have a drink or two and absorb the ambiance of it, but I understood that they had come straight from work and it was a weeknight for them…plus they were down to walk the block or two to Nacho Daddy and that was another place that we had never been but was on our list to try.
Once again I took a buncha pics at the Mob Museum so I will post a few here and leave a link to a photo album with the rest.
Link to the rest of the photos: Mob Museum Pics
At Nacho Daddy, Rob and I split the southern fried chicken nachos and they were really good.
Once our bellies were full we parted ways and we headed back to the hotel on the bus.
Bonus photo below is one of those photo kiosks at the Mob Museum. We were legit looking like this when we tried to figure out how to take the photo and then thought it was funny enough to stage it like that for the actual photo.
After the party and resumed the drive home without much fanfare. We got home to a FREEZING house (Okay, not REALLY freezing for you east coasters but we had to shut off our space heaters before we left and they take forever to heat up again…so I was sitting in my bedroom typing this with fluffy slippers, sweats, a robe and a winter hat on my head. Fight me bro!
Monday we ventured out to the Cosmo to sign up for their cards and get some points under our belts. While we have visited the Cosmo several times (Eggslut & Chandelier Bar) we’ve never actually given them any play so we decided to correct that. Not that we are huge players, but I figured we might as well. We ended up about 80 bucks for our trouble so I’m certainly not going to complain about that.
Once we were done there we walked over to Park MGM to check out the Hello Kitty pop up. I’m not sure why they show it located at the Park MGM as it is actually right out in front of NYNY, but whatever.
I wanted to take some pics for her and it was kind of cool for the novelty of it. Rob got a coffee and I got a macaroon cookie thingie. Nice, but not worth the seven dollars.
We sat around and chatted for a while. We had originally planned to hit the Hunger Games Exhibit at the MGM, but decided earlier in the day that I could not justify the cost of doing it for as little as it seems to show. I can’t see spending almost a hundred bucks for the two of us to go look at costumes and read about stuff I already know about just to play with some bow and arrows after. I’d rather spend that money elsewhere, so we bailed on it.
We did walk through the MGM to get the monorail back to Bally’s. By then my feet were pretty much toast. We had thought about walking over to Ellis Island for some BBQ but I decided against it. We ended up getting Wahlburgers instead and ate it in the room.
Slept in on Tuesday morning and then headed out around 12:30 to The Gordon Ramsey Pub and Grill at Caesar’s Palace. I’ve never had Beef Wellington and I only just learned that it was steak wrapped in a flaky pastry so I decided it was a MUST DO this trip. I have heard mixed reviews about it at GR properties, but I decided to do it because it was pretty much the only type of restaurant that we could use our celebration dinner at.
We decided that we needed to try the Beef Wellington and the Toffee Pudding for sure and we would see what else we might want from the menu. When we got there they had the “lunch special” that had both those items at $52.00 so we each got one.
I have to say that I really enjoyed it a LOT. I have nothing to compare it to of course, but I found both to be amazing and was so glad that we went. The wait staff was really great and I have no complaints at all.
From there we walked (very slowly as we were in a coma after the pudding) over the Flamingo monorail and caught one over to the Sahara where we walked a little bit further to The Strat and caught a cab to the Neon Museum for the Tim Burton Exhibit.
It was enjoyable overall. Having never seen the regular one I can say there were a few Tim Burton easter eggs around but I guess I just expected more. There is a pretty cool dome thing that you go in and there are these teeny tiny displays…I’m not sure how to describe it, but it was pretty cool and I’m glad we did it, but I wouldn’t go again.
I took a crap ton of pictures. I’m only going to post a few here, but I will follow them with a link to all the pictures I took in case you are interested.
After the Museum we ubered back to Bally’s and chilled in the room for an hour before I ventured downstairs to gamble solo. I didn’t win anything and lost 40 bucks kinda fast so I came back up to the room after grabbing some chicken tenders and biscuits from Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken. The chicken was juicy but barely breaded and it kinda tasted like the oil wasn’t quite hot enough, but the biscuits were AMAZING!
Wednesday woke us to a drizzly day in Vegas. It had mostly cleared by that afternoon but you could hear more sirens than usual on the streets from our room and we actually witnessed a truck spinning it’s tires trying to get up the ramp to the parking garage. I forgot how slick the roads can get during the first rain after a long period of none.
Thankfully we didn’t have any plans to drive anywhere that day. Our plans to visit downtown that evening had been pushed back to the next night as our local friend that we were meeting was feeling under the weather and wanted to rest.
We did the Potted Potter matinee around two and it was really fun. Small crowd but the two guys really give it their all and get you into the spirit of things.
I will say that I can see how someone might be disappointed coming out of seeing this play if they went in with high expectations of seeing a Broadway type show. It’s just two guys with a bare bones set and minimal, cheap props but it is really funny and they have tremendous energy. There was room for a fair amount of improv and they were pretty good at it. I love that.
We chilled in the room for the rest of the afternoon before heading back downstairs to play some Twilight Zone Mini- Golf. The hubs got a groupon for it a while back when we knew we were going to be staying here. We almost forgot about it but as it was raining again, it was the perfect thing for us to do that night. It was a lot of fun and the staff was super chill and had great senses of humor.
Took less than an hour to complete and that was stopping and taking lots of pics. Speaking of that, I once again made a separate album for all the pics I took and will post the link after the few pics I will post here.
After the golf, we stopped for the cheap Asian food from the food court and then I stopped off at the chair massage place so I could get a shoulder massage.
I am a fan of spas and massages but since there is no longer a spa at Bally’s and I was not trying to spend a bunch of money and walk longer than needed just to get my shoulders to calm down since we had a large spa tub in the room, I thought I would give this a shot. It was perfect. I paid 50 bucks for about 35 minutes with tip and I walked away feeling like a million bucks. Like my husband said, it was utilitarian but effective. I didn’t have the ambience of the spa but I got the desired result.
Headed out for the long drive to Vegas after work on Friday 11/15. The drive was fairly uneventful with a small clusterfuck of a traffic delay in Paso Robles when we tried to stop for gas that we never got and got stuck for 15 minutes trying to get the less than a mile back to the freeway.
Arrived at Bally’s around one the following morning. Total nightmare to find out how to get to the parking structure. They do not make it easy, had to research on the phone as we were circling around Bally’s. Blah!
Our registration lady was an absolute doll, she laughed at all my husbands bad jokes and apparently upgraded us from a resort studio suite to the executive kind with the tub. It’s a smoking room, but I’m not going to complain as it’s pretty cool.
No gambling was done that night as it was almost two in the morning and food and bed were priority. The only place open at that hour was S’barro’s in the food court so I grabbed two sad looking stromboli’s and a cheesecake and we were unpacked and in bed by four AM.
Saturday morning we were up at ten and off and running to the convention center to get Rob’s packet for the 10K race the next day.
He cashed in a MyVegas bogo for a 4 day pass on the monorail and off we went.
I have done the half marathon four times before and have always sort of enjoyed the Expo, not the crowds, but the activities and things. For some reason this year I found it lacking. Still just as many people but I didn’t see as much fun stuff. Meh, just my opinion.
We mono-railed back to the hotel and rested for a couple of hours. I’m no longer in the shape I used to be and at 45 with as little sleep as I got last night, I was FEELING it that day after all the walking around we did.
Having said that, we didn’t do much the rest of the day other than head down to the Grand Bazaar Shops and get some dinner from Ramen-Ya. While we were waiting for our take out we perused a shop called It’Sugar and they had a lot of hilarious items.
I didn’t buy any of those, though I wanted to. If I bought all the things I wanted to there, I wouldn’t be able to fit myself or Rob in the car for the drive home.
This is what I bought…I feel like I will go through them quickly:
The Ramen was super yummy and decadent. The only Ramen I have ever had comes in a little block in a shrink wrap package with a flavor packet so this was amazing!
It was soooooo goood and I fell into a food coma.
On Sunday we slept in and kicked around the room for awhile. Rob’s 10 K didn’t start until almost four so we had some time to kill.
When we finally got on the Monorail, it was just packed full of people-like body pressed against body…have I mentioned that I am claustrophobic?
The great thing about the 10K people is that they are just fun. They know they are only doing six miles and they are all wearing the wristband that gets them a free beer at the end. They have hardly trained because they are just going to walk it and take pictures. This is the PARTY Monorail.
When I did the half marathons all those years ago, the entire monorail was full of people being completely silent, stretching and trying to get in the zone. Which I get, but it was such a different dynamic to see that it was almost laughable.
Anyhoo, we finally got to the stop at Sahara and walked over to the start line. There was a whole lotta humanity there but I braved it out and then left him to head over to where I could see the start of the race and get pictures of him running.
Once that was done, I mono-railed over to Flamingo where I played some gamble and then headed over to Flamingo to play gamble and then to O’Sheas to get a frozen Bailey’s. Once I got that I walked over to the finish line but I couldn’t get to his side because everything was still all blocked off since the marathon was in full swing. I texted him and then met him over at the Bally’s area as he was getting off the escalator.
Once we were done with the race, we stopped at Giordano’s and got some Italian food. We got an Apple and Blue Cheese Flatbread, Alfredo Lasagna and a Chopped Salad. It was all delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We were supposed to be at mom’s at eleven this morning to take her out for a full day of appointments and shopping.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
When I woke up for the final time at 10:30, I rolled over and told my husband the time and that we were going to be late and also that I didn’t care because were were on vacation.
I then got up and puttered around the BNB.
Called mom and told her we were going to be late and that I would call her when we were on our way out the door.
Putted around some more and we finally got showered and got to Mom’s around one in the afternoon. Hey man, I’m on vacation okay???
We got to Mom’s and got her squared away in the car. We took a trip to our credit union to pull out money for both of us and then headed to the one musician shop we know of in Augusta to get Rob a set of strings for the guitar he left at moms that broke string while we were gone.
Next was getting mom’s blood drawn. This is so Maine to me, but it was a Quest Diagnostics that was attached to a local pizza joint. “Hey Marge, I just got my cholesterol reading done, let’s go split a pepperoni!”
Then we got ourselves some Dunkin Coffee and headed out for her foot doctor. We were there for about a half an hour and the doctor and I chopped it up over flying and hereditary webbed toes. He was a pretty funny guy.
Next stop, Walmart. Mom needed to do her monthly shopping and we were ready willing and able. Who knew a 75 year old woman could wear us out so fast??
After that we headed back to her apartment. This was a lot of excitement for her in one day and quite frankly for us as well. We hung out for a few minutes and then headed back to the BNB with our stuff we bought.
I have spent the last couple of hours painting my nails and snacking while my husband has been playing guitar. Soon we will eat and hit the hay.
Dang we take interesting vacations, don’t we??
We are in Maine for our annual trip. I wish I could say the journey was easy, but I can’t because it wasn’t.
We were scheduled to fly out of San Jose on Friday night after work. The flight was at 10:45 and would fly us into Boston where we would catch a connecting flight to Augusta where my mother currently lives. We had a friend scheduled to give us a ride and so after work we ventured out to Rob’s parents house where the ride was going to pick us up at seven.
We were early but that was okay because Rob’s brother was in town with his twin sons and it was nice to see them again for even just a minute.
As we were saying goodbye to them so they could go back to their hotel, I whipped out my phone to take a picture and noticed a notification from JetBlue saying our reservation was cancelled.
Long story short, Rob spent about a half an hour or so on hold and then speaking with the Jetblue staff. The flight was cancelled due to weather on the east coast and there was nothing to be done about it. We were rebooked on the same flight for the next night. We were now going to be missing a full day of our vacation.
There is a reason we book the red eye out on a Friday night. I only get a certain number of vacation days a year and I want to obviously maximize them if I can. When flying to Maine we lose almost two days traveling time so to lose another day was NOT cool.
Having said that, we went home and regrouped. There were only a couple of things that needed to be rescheduled and it didn’t seem like that bad of a crisis in the grand scheme of thing…just extremely frustrating.
The next day we managed to make the flight out of San Jose on time and all seemed right with the world. We got to our connecting flights gate in Boston and got some Dunkin Donut sandwiches because were were starving at that point and then waited almost two hours for them to tell us our flight was delayed by about an hour. The next announcement a half an hour later was that the flight was cancelled altogether.
Rob and I were already sleep deprived at this point and pretty much fed up with the airlines shit. We went up to the desk to see what we could do. They told us that we could get refunded or we could rebook for the five thirty flight that night–no guarantee that flight wouldn’t be cancelled either.
After speaking with a slightly more informative employee we were told there was a bus that was leaving in fifteen minutes that could take us to Augusta and get us there by one. It was nine fifteen in the morning at that point. We were told they would have to pull our bags from the current flight (what flight?? It was cancelled!!) and then we would have to race down and catch the bus. The instructions were all very vague but I was over flying at that point and told Rob we should just get the bus.
We ran downstairs and I went to retrieve the bags while Rob jetted out to catch the bus that no one seemed to know where it was. We made friends with another guy in the same boat and between the three of us we finally found the bus stop…where about 50 other people were waiting for the same bus.
About fifteen minutes later the bus finally pulled up and due to a weird quirk of fate, we were finally in the right place at the right time and were one of about 15 that got to board that already almost full bus.
That bus took us from Boston to Portland and then dumped us out at a station to catch another bus Augusta. We were last in line for that one and were very worried we wouldn’t get on, but thankfully we did.
FINALLY, after trying to start this trip on Friday night, we actually arrived at our destination at around 1:30 today.
The only shining beacon of hope in this story so far is that our contact at the HERTZ rental desk in Augusta is an absolute angel and goes above and beyond to make sure we get our rental car.
You see dear readers, this is not the first time that Jetblue has bent us over like this. Last year almost the exact same thing happened. We figured it was a fluke, but the bottom line is that the HERTZ desk in Augusta isn’t open on Sundays. Both trips we risked not getting our rental car and further ruining our plans, but Michelle has saved our butts both times. She got all the nessesary info from us including photos of our drivers licences and signature all via email and then had someone at the airport hold the keys and the paperwork for the car until we could get there to pick it up even though they were officially closed. If I ever meet Michelle, I’m buying her a steak dinner…or a diamond…or you know, just giving her a really big hug.
So she came through for us yet again and we were able to uber (yes, Maine finally has those now) over to the airport and get our rental car.
Since we hadn’t planned on coming into Maine on Easter Sunday we had an initial plan of stopping at a grocery store to get stocked up for our Airbnb and then getting our favorite take out food from a local restaurant. Well, as it turns out there isn’t Jack Crap open in August on Easter Sunday. No grocery stores, not even WALMART for crying out loud! EVERYTHING was closed. We managed for find a Subway that was opened and got some sandwiches to bring back to my mom and for us to eat later.
Finally we got to see my mom for a few hours but exhaustion was overtaking us. We bid mom farewell for the night and headed over to the Airbnb we booked where we are currently relaxing in our PJ’s and will probably not last much longer before heading into sleepy-nigh-nigh-land.
So we basically lost two whole days of our short one week trip and I’m not pleased about it, but I know there isn’t a whole helluva lot we can do about it.
I’m never flying into Maine in April ever again!!!
I’ve been on antidepressants my entire adult life. In case you need to do the math, I’m currently 44 years old.
I’ve been on Zoloft, Prozac, Welbutrin and Celexa in various lengths of time since I was in my late teens/early 20’s. Celexa was the last one that I tried and I have been on it for about 20 years now. I started at 20mgs for depression and around 15 years ago or so I had a doctor up it to 40 mg when my anxiety started in.
A few years ago I weened myself down to 20 mg again, but soon after my mom had a stroke and I was back up to the full dose.
Over the many years I have taken this drug there have been countless times when I have forgotten to take it for a day. The day after I forgot, I would be so riddled with anger and/or sadness. Crying for no reason, snapping at my husband over stupid things and just feeling a rage that I couldn’t explain.
On those occasions it made me realize that I obviously still needed to be on the medication full force since I had such a poor reaction when I didn’t take it. I was going to have to take this little pill for the rest of my life.
Since my husband had his heart attack, I have been trying to take a more active role in my health. I’ve been to the doctor, gotten my blood work done for the first time in … well, possibly ever. I found out my cholesterol was high, but after a CT scan showed zero calcification in my arteries, my doctor didn’t feel the need to put me on a statin. We are trying to lower it naturally.
She said my liver and kidney numbers were good, but it got me thinking about the fact that I’ve been taking a pharmaceutical daily for the last 20 years.
I’m not really big on medication. I take Advil when I absolutely have to for my period cramps, but as a whole I try to avoid taking anything that isn’t all natural. I haven’t always been this way but more so than not over the last ten years when I started working for a holistic doctor.
Anyhoo, I didn’t like the idea that I would have to be a slave to this little oval pill for the rest of my life.
I discovered CBD oil and that had really helped control my anxiety. I slowly began to wonder if I could see about at least lowering my dosage of Celexa.
I did some research and found that quitting any kind of SSRI is not recommended. There is a something that can happened called Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome that is VERY unpleasant. Symptoms include but are not limited to:
I don’t know about you, but none of those sound very fun to me, but neither does having to take meds every single day.
But in my research, I also found out that what I thought I knew about my body and mind needing this medication as evidenced by my missing pills wasn’t necessarily true. I thought that because I felt so icky and mean and sad after skipping a pill meant that it showed how I would be in everyday life without it. What was really happening was that my body was experiencing a slight amount of Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome.
Was in possible that I could feel good without these pills..eventually?
So for shits and giggles on July 12 2018, I cut my daily dose of Celexa down from 40mg to 30mg.
I’m not sure what I expected. I figured the worst that could happen is that I would feel horrible and just go back up to my full dose.
What I felt was a little more emotional. Sort of like I was PMSing, but it wasn’t my time of the month yet. I was more likely to cry over sad songs, happy endings in movies and even seeing an animal run over on the side of the road.
If I’m remembering correctly, that lasted about two weeks or so before it sort of regulated itself.
To be safe I stayed at that dose for 7 weeks before tapering down to 20mg.
I really wish that I had kept a daily journal of how I felt every day, but I honestly never thought this would last. What I remember is more of the same. Being more susceptible to emotions, good or bad. Tearing up a lot.
I believe that my anxiety was up a bit at that point and I had been having heart palpitations. To be fair I have been having them off and on all along. I was and am on a Keto diet and was when I was low on electrolytes I would get heart palpitations.
About four weeks into the 20 mg dosage, I started magnesium supplementation and that really helped with both the anxiety and the palpitations. Turns out most people are deficient in Magnesium, but that is a whole other blog.
I stayed on this taper for 8 weeks before cutting it down to 10 mg. That was on November 1st. I’ve been at that dose 8 days as of this writing.
Once again I began to feel more emotional during this taper. About the same level as both tapers before. If memory serves, the amplified emotions only last about two weeks or so. We’ll see if it goes longer this time. I’ve never been as low as 10 mg on Celexa before. Ever. I started at 20 and have always been at that or more often than not 40.
My plan is to stay at this level for another 7 or 8 weeks as long as I feel okay and then taper down to 5 mg.
Also in case anyone is wondering, I have cleared this with my doctor. I’m not officially doing it under her “supervision” but she knows that I am tapering and has told me that as long as I feel okay after 6 weeks I should be able to start another taper.
I will check in with her when I am ready to get started on the 5 mg taper because I will need to get a new prescription at that point for some 10 mg pills that I can half. I am still working with the 40 mg pills right now. I half them twice, but since they are oval it will not be possible for me to get an accurate 5 mg dosage out of the pills at that point.
The last couple of nights I did have a hard time getting to sleep, but once I did fall asleep I slept fine. Last night I finally got a good nights sleep and I feel really good today.
Not sure if the sleep thing is related to the most recent taper or not.
Overall, I’m really pleased with the progress. I do wish I had done some research much earlier, but there is nothing I can do about that now.
There is something so freeing about seeing a light at the end of the tunnel of medication that I assumed I was going to have to take for the rest of my life.
It makes me so happy at the thought of not having to take a drug every day to stabilize my mood.
I’ll try and keep better notes during the rest of this experiment and keep you updated.
So much has been going on in my head lately that very few people have been privy to. Once I lay it all out, you are going to wish you weren’t privy to it now. 🙂
It’s no real secret that since Rob had his heart attack in November, that I have been sure I have been having one as well, at various intervals in time. I have a panic disorder. I am also a hypochondriac. Put those two together and get ready for some amazing overreacting.
What I didn’t really realize is that I had probably been fearing the heart attack long before Rob had one. This is because panic attacks can cause chest pain and heart palpitations. I have been having these in varying degrees for years because of the anxiety.
The reality that my husband did indeed have a heart attack, just made all those fears come to the forefront and NEVER leave.
Once we got Rob squared away, I realized that I needed to get myself checked out. I hadn’t had blood work done or a physical performed since I don’t even know when. So I got a new doctor and started the process. She gave me a blood lab order which I promptly ignored until it was time to refill my antidepressant and they said they needed to see me and have the results of the labs. Damn.
So I sucked it up and went in.
Please keep in mind that I have been in the throws of some major upper level anxiety for months. I have been CONVINCED that I am about to/having a heart attack at least three times a day. I am aware enough to know that it COULD be a panic attack and that is what has kept me from going to the ER. I can’t financially afford an ER visit for a panic attack.
I did find after a friend had mentioned it and I read it in Wil Wheaton’s blog, that there could be relief in CBD oil. Not THC, or anything that gets you high, but a tincture of CBD that you hold under your tongue for a few seconds and then swallow. It has been known to show many improvements for people suffering from anxiety and depression.
I got me some and the first day I took it, it was amazing! I felt NORMAL. I didn’t even know what it felt like to feel normal anymore! I not only went to the grocery store that day, but I went to TWO of them. I went to the one that was further in to Carmel and not on my “safe driving route” for my anxiety — and I WAS FINE! Good even!
I used the oil that Monday when I got my blood work done and tried to find the right dosage and reaction through that week. I had days when I felt it worked better than others, but I also had days when nothing could touch my panic.
Like the day of my docs visit to go over my blood work results. I woke up to find that the lab’s app had delivered the results to me. I looked them up and discovered my cholesterol was REALLY high. My LDL was 150. INSTANT PANIC ATTACK that lasted all day. High cholesterol means heart attack, this was proving my theory! Nothing helped me that day. Or more than likely, they HAD helped me from suffering a full and total mental meltdown.
When I finally got to the doctors, she said that she wanted me to get a CT scan to check for calcification. She said that some people can have high LDL, but no calcification. If it came back with some, she would want to put me on a statin. If not, she would just have me exercise and eat better.
Calcification? Oh, you mean the arteries that I’m 98% sure are completely plugged up and causing my inevitable heart attack? You want me to confirm that? Crap.
I called the next day to set up my CT Scan and was told they couldn’t get me in until July 11th. Great, I can now look forward to three weeks of panic attacks(at the time).
Long story short, they ended up calling me last week to say they needed to up my appointment due to construction and them shutting the office down that week. Could I come in on Wednesday morning.
So I did.
Got the results late afternoon on Thursday. CT scan was normal. No calcification.
I haven’t felt that level of relief in a VERY long time. Well, maybe when I found out that Rob was okay after his angioplasty.
And just like that, the panic attacks stopped. The chest pain, the palpitations, the freakouts…all gone.
I’m not saying I will never experience them again because I do have a panic disorder, but for now, this is heaven.
Of note, in my blood work, my doctor told me vitamin D was next to nothing. I was at 12. Vitamin D deficiency can cause anxiety and depression. I started taking my vitamin D last Tuesday I believe. I do believe it helped me in feeling better, but mostly it was knowing I’m not going to drop any second of a heart attack. *knocks wood*
It’s funny to tell the story now, but this was for real kids. This was the kind of crazy shit that was going on in my brain on a daily basis for MONTHS. It was crippling to me.
Since Thursday evening, I have felt fine. I even worked out this morning for the first time in forever. I have been legit afraid to do any form of exercise, even walking, for fear that it would trigger the heart attack that I have been harboring for months now.
I cannot express how freeing and amazing this makes me feel.
I will still keep the CBD oil around as well as some passionflower extract that my friend Jenn recommended for anxiety because they both work and I am known to have acute anxiety when it comes to travel by flight or by car. Since we are driving to Vegas in December and flying to Maine again next year, I’m hoping they will come in handy for those situations.
Seriously dude, I can’t even tell you how it feels to be out from that debilitating anxiety. I hope it lasts.
To sum up, I have high cholesterol.
I have been diligent this week in cutting back on saturated fats. When Rob and I started low carb at his cardiologists suggestion, we went a bit off the chart. BACON! CHEESE! CHEESE COVERED BACON!! So we are working on eliminating processed meats and cheese. More chicken and fish and less pork rinds. 🙂 Plus, now that I am no longer waiting for my heart attack, *knocks wood* I will start working out again which is what my doctor wants me to do to lower the cholesterol.
I go to see her in another three months, where I will have blood work done again right before the visit in hopes that it has been lowered.
Thursday we woke and got ready to head to Waterville. The plan was to meet up with my cousin Dot and her sister Helen for brunch at Governors restaurant. This has been a bit of tradition for a while now. Dot basically raised me and my brother when my parents were going through a divorce from my age of 10 to 13. They shuttled us over to Dot’s to spend the night so they could fight without us there. Like we didn’t know what was going on. Heh.
At any rate, some of my happiest memories of that time are of getting to go over to Dot’s house. As long as it wasn’t a school night, we got to stay up late and we ate actually ate our dinner around a table and talked. Plus she had a fireplace and that was just super cool to me. She basically let us be kids without getting too out of control. She was much more than just a cousin to me. She was a staple in all of the Wheelock grandchildren. Spending time with Dottie was an amazing luxury and I miss it. She shaped a lot of my happiness in my childhood.
She is now 93 years old and is as sharp as a tack. She and Helen together are like watching a stand up act. They are just so funny and on it. I can’t even explain unless you knew them, but they are so smart and funny and I just adore them.
We met them at the restaurant and had a wonderful brunch. Dot and Helen had just gotten new hearing aids like my mom, so they all compared notes. We ate until we were silly full and then headed over to Kmart to do a little shopping.
Once we were done, we bid them ado and headed to Clinton to meet up with my bestie from high school Kimmy and her daughter Emily.
Kimmy is my true best friend. I have known her since I was 14 years old and we got up to a lot of mischief when we were young. We have remained friends for all these years and while I moved away and we don’t keep in contact like we should, when we meet up it’s like no time has passed. She couldn’t get rid of me if she tried. 🙂
As I stated in the last entry, she has had a lot of health problems in the last two years. It infuriates me because they were all brought on my the medical establishment for what should have been a routine surgery…but I digress. That is not my tale to tell. It just kills me that she has had to go through all the shit that she has lately. She was the hardest working person next to my mother that I’ve ever known. When mom and I were poor with no food, she would use her meager “leftover” earnings to bring us the smallest amount of food, and it meant THE WORLD to us.
At any rate, last year she was still in the hospital when I saw her, so it was nice to see her in her home with her daughter.
We spent about three hours and we all got to play with her two white kitties. Mom was in HEAVEN, having just had to put her own cat down a couple months ago. She’s always been a cat person and she had to live 26 years without one once I was born as I am allergic.
Kim’s daughter Emily is one of the most well adjusted teenagers I have ever met. She takes great care of her mother and has a genuine love for life and doesn’t seem to fall into the pitfalls of teenage drama, like I have seen happen. This speaks volumes about how Kimmy raised her.
After our visit, we stopped at Cappza’s pizza on the way home for a proper hamburg pizza. The best place to have it when I grew up there was Sonny’s in Fairfield. It was a staple in our house and we had it often. From everything I have heard in the last few years, Sonny’s changed hands and changed their recipe. Cappza’s was recommended as a suitable replacement and it sure was. Tastes just like Sonny’s to me.
Friday morning we had to check out of the hotel. I was going to miss it, but not the price tag. Check out was painless and we were off to pick up my mom. There was a Thai food restaurant at the Augusta airport that Rob and I have always wanted to try but never seemed to be able to fit into our schedule. Well, Friday was Rob’s birthday and he demanded Thai food dammit! 🙂 Mom is skeptical of anything that isn’t meat, potatoes or pasta, but since it was Rob’s birthday, she agreed to go with us.
She ended up enjoying everything and we brought home lots of leftovers for her.
My memory at this point is fuzzy of that night, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t do much else. We spent the night at mom’s and the next day we drove the car back to the airport to turn it in and catch our flight.
Our puddle jumper to Boston was bumpy. It was very cloudy and it was raining in Boston. I was not pleased, but we did make it there safely. Once there we endured a four or five hour layover. Lots of sitting around reading and playing on our phones.
The flight home was pretty okay once we got above the rain clouds. I watched Ladybird which was pretty cool and listened to some podcasts. About an hour before we were to reach San Jose, a woman came up to the front where we were seated to wait for the restroom. I wasn’t paying that much attention until all of a sudden the people opposite us were pressing the call button repeatedly and waiving for the flight attendants.
I couldn’t see what was going on because there was a panel there where the woman was, but the next thing I know the flight attendants are on the intercom asking if there are any doctors or nurses on the plane. Talk about a panic attack.
Long story short, the woman felt faint and they sat her down. A couple of doctors or nurses came up to the front and from what I could see, they basically just sat around and shot the shit with each other while keeping the woman seated in the galley.
When we were cleared for landing, they sat the lady in an empty seat in the front and we landed safely. She waited there until we all left the plane. I hope she was okay.
The plane ride itself took about an hour longer than scheduled because apparently there were winds in the midwest. To avoid them, they took us up through Canada and back down, tacking on an extra hour to the flight. While I was grateful for the fact that we had less turbulence, it meant we were going to miss our shuttle home. We would land just in time to catch it, but the fact that we had to wait for luggage meant we would miss it.
That also meant we would have to wait two hours for the next shuttle. Like the day hadn’t been long enough already!
So we made our way to baggage claim and waited on our luggage resigned to the fact that we would not be getting home until about three in the morning.
We pulled out bags alongside us as we made our way to the shuttle bus pick up area. We saw a gentleman sprinting there in front of us and we figured he was probably on our flight and was in the same predicament, but he was on his phone and looking around fervently. As we settled in at the pickup spot, the guy kept darting out into the road, obviously looking for something. A few seconds later a Monterey Airbus pulled up. The bus we thought we missed. The bus that THANKFULLY was running 45 minutes late!
We were thrilled!! And it turned out that guy had been on the phone with the dispatch and they were telling him it was coming as he was speaking to them.
The rest of the trip home was uneventful. My father in law picked us up and brought us to his house where our car and our dogs were. We loaded up both and were on our way home.
Overall it was a very good trip. Got some good Mom time in and some alone/vacation time as well.
The more I go back to Maine, the more I realize that the friends that I see aren’t as plentiful as I used to, but these are the friends that put the effort into contacting me and making sure that we see each other when I come out. The friends that I have had forever and the ones that I can always pick right back up with no matter how much time has passed since we have spoken. So while I didn’t get to see “everyone” I got to see the ones that counted.
Next trip: VEGAS BABY! I can’t wait for December!