Monday, October 19, 2015

Colonoscopy chronicles--day of procedure

Last night about 4 hours after taking the laxative cleanse, I was able to go a half hour or more without any elimination. I drank 32 oz. of apple juice for a late supper. By the time I went to bed  2 hours after that, I had gone an hour between bouts on the toilet. I didn't wake up in the night with the urgency to go--just normal once or twice overnight.

This morning I got up at 5:00 and took my high blood pressure medicine. Half an hour later I mixed the second dose of SUPREP. Knowing how it tasted made it a little harder to get it down. I think I shuddered more this time from the taste. I also drank 32 more oz. of H2O as prescribed.

Exactly 15 minutes later I began passing the water through my intestines. There isn't any abdominal discomfort because, hey, it's only water.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Colonoscopy chronicles--two hours later

I can spend about 20 minutes in the recliner before I have to go to the bathroom. I became curious after it seemed like all 48 oz. of water came out through the intestines. I did a little research and learned that only about 120 ml or 4 oz. are stored in the bladder!

It's comforting to know that one of my friends is going through this at the same time. She checks into the hospital at 10:15 tomorrow, right after me. Where are we going to celebrate when this is all over?

Colonoscopy chronicles--one hour after starting the cleanse

I'd been back to the recliner for about five minutes AGAIN and felt the urge to return to the toilet. Watery stools twice. Tried to get up, and there it goes again. Not many solids now. Wonder if I'll sleep on the toilet tonight.

Feel free to stop reading if it's too much information for you.

Back to the recliner for 5 minutes. Back into the bathroom. I figured I'd pass urine a lot since I drank so much water, but nooooo....

Guess I'll just stay here a while.

Colonoscopy chronicles, 15 minutes later

And so it begins...I feel a little like passing gas and figure it would be wise to sit on the toilet. Soft BM but it's pale green like I've never seen. (I warned you--TMI.)

I'm playing games on the iPad and go sit in my recliner. Five minutes later I'm back in the bathroom, and now I have watery stools.

I go back to my recliner but that doesn't last but a few minutes. I don't have cramps, and my esophagus still feels full of all that water I drank. More watery stools. Figure I'd better give up going back to the recliner. At least we have a padded toilet seat, if I'm going to be here a while.

Colonoscopy chronicles

So in half an hour I start "the cleanse" for a routine colonoscopy. About 2 years ago the doctor wanted me to have a "baseline" colonoscopy. I got the goop to drink to the tune of $190 dollars (I could hardly believe that!) and the procedure was scheduled. However, the doctor suggested I call my insurance company, just to make sure.

At the time I was retired but still under the school district's insurance. They denied coverage, and, fortunately, the pharmacy took back the kit since it hadn't been opened! The doctor said it would be okay to wait a couple of years until I was on Medicare.

Well, now that I am 65, I decided to make this one of the numerous free tests you can get during your first year on Medicare. The doctor's office set it up here in the ol' hometown with the new surgeon. I was supposed to go for a consultation on the day I was to pick up my mom at the Minnespolis airport, so they rescheduled for a week earlier.

But then the new doctor's nurse called to say he was going to be out of town that day, so they would send me a packet of information and the prescription. Guess I'll be meeting Dr. Fuller in the O.R.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when I went to fill the prescription for this "free" test and discovered that, even with Medicare and a $20 coupon that was in the packet, the prescription cost me over $70! It still costs $190 total and I haven't reached my prescription supplement's deductible in the past 3 1/2  months! But at least I only had to pay less than half out-of-pocket.

The surgeon's office called me 2 days ago to set the time of the procedure for 9:30 tomorrow morning. I could only have a liquid diet today (no milk, no alcohol, nothing red or purple in color). So far today I have had a sip of H2O with my HBP meds this A.M., a bowl of chicken broth, and a bottle of diet 7up for lunch. Guess I'll be dropping a few pounds during this ordeal. (That's a positive even if it'll mostly be poop.)

So I'm off to the kitchen to mix 6 oz. of SUPREP with 10 oz. of water, followed by 2 more 16 oz. glasses of H2O.

Okay, that wasn't so bad. It tasted sort of citrus-y but a little salty. The hard part was getting down 32 more ounces of water as a chaser! Surprisingly, the SUPREP was clear like water, not like the old thick and chalky barium people used to have to drink.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Day 3--Hershey World tour, Part 2

Here's the entrance the Hershey's Chocolate World. This is where the tours are to learn about chocolate. But the Hershey's complex is a lot more. There's a trolley tour around town, an amusement park (that doesn't open full time until Memorial Day weekend), a sports stadium, the Milton Hershey School which started out as an orphanage but now is a residential school for pre-K through high school. Students used to learn a trade, can now be from single-parent families, and earn college scholarships if they don't go right into a career for which they receive training and apprenticeships.

On the tour our guide Steffan was very entertaining. He obviously was in theater ; in fact, he is a drama director in his other job. He told corny jokes and we had a good time.

This is the original Milton Hershey School, now used for middle school students.

This is the original Hershey home where Milton grew up. It now houses the director of the school.

The campus now has a Founders Hall, which has a beautiful rotunda to honor Milton and Katherine (Kitty) Hershey. She could not have children, so the orphanage and school were a way for them to help other children. Kitty considered them "her" children.

Inside the marble rotunda are flags representing the states from which the students come. Currently there are over 2,000 students of which over half are in high school.

Milton and Kitty would probably be embarrassed by the opulence of the Founders Hall, 
but the crystal chandeliers are really beautiful, and it shows how much their philanthropy is appreciated.

The Hersheys were wealthy, but Milton went bankrupt several times making candy and investing in other ventures. He started making Lancaster Caramels and later began coating them with chocolate. An investor from England sought him out, and when he went to Europe, he found that children sucked the chocolate off his caramels and spit them out. So he came home and switched to making chocolate--after selling the caramel company for lots of money.

This is the home Milton built for Kitty.

Later he gave it to the Hershey Country Club, moved to Cuba after Kitty's death to buy his own sugar plantation, and returned to live in upstairs 2 rooms. Below is the golf course.

Milton always "gave back" from the wealth he acquired. He did it because it was the right thing to do.

The town that chocolate built has Hershey's Kisses for the light posts down the main street.

An overview of the town from the old high school shows the amusement park and the stadium.

The Hershey Company has a number of plants in town. One is devoted to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Reese's Pieces. Milton Hershey didn't like the product developed by an employee who then started his own company, eventually bought out by Hershey. Only 3% of all Hershey's products are made outside the U.S.

After the trolley tour we went to Hershey University, actually the Tasting Experience. 

We got to try 5 different kinds of chocolate and learn about the different flavor "notes" in the taste.

The 4 things to do when tasting (not eating without savoring and letting it melt on the tongue) are 
1. Look (how dark is the chocolate? that shows how much cacao it contains)
2. Listen (does it make a "crisp" sound when you break off a piece? if so, it has more cacao)
3. Smell (what flavor "notes" do you smell at the place where it was broken in two)
4. Taste (let it melt on your tongue, don't just chew it up and swallow)

These are different sizes of cacao pods. Inside is a sweet flesh that covers the seeds. Inside the seeds (which the natives noticed that the monkeys who ate the fruit spit out) are the nibs which become chocolate after breaking and roasting.

Cacao from different parts of the world have different flavors and are blended when making chocolate.

The seeds are fermented in the sun before the outside flesh is dried and removed to get to the nibs.

 The Hershey World Experience is a "ride" that shows a simulation of the factory process.

 This is how many Hershey products are produced EACH day.

Hershey bars are poured into molds on a conveyer belt.

Hershey's Kisses are dropped onto a steel drum. The signature twist at the top is the result of pulling the depositor away from the drop of chocolate.

The Hershey Company now makes many different products.

We enjoyed our day in Hershey, PA.

Here's the photo on the tour that we did NOT purchase.

Of course, there is a HUGE store where I saw something new—Coconut Macadamia Nut Kisses.

Day 3 -- western Pennsylvania, Part 1

Here's something FUN, a little factoid to entertain you.

So, in Hershey, PA, we saw OUR street sign!

Finally, a hand dryer with a tray to catch the drips!

Found a GREAT local Italian restaurant with this message: 
Live Well, Love Much, Laugh Often.

So, we spent half a day at Hershey World. The next blog entry, Part 2, will show you everything we learned on the tour. Information on the Internet about Hershey, Pennsylvania, was sketchy. Signage getting to the main attraction was poor--we drove around a bit because of a detour. And once inside we found that they'd changed a bunch of stuff this spring that was different from their webpage. But it was an enjoyable day. By the way, the town does NOT smell like chocolate. 

On the way to NYC--Day 2

I knew we were getting into the mountains when, after the rolling foothills of eastern Ohio, our ears started popping as we climbed in altitude.

 As John Denver sang, "Almost Heaven, West Virginia". 

  It's only about 15 miles across this little strip of West Virginia.

Then we got into western Pennsylvania. The hills got higher and turned into real mountains with winding mountain roads. At one of the Turnpike rest stops, we saw these reminders that there is WINTER in them that hills.

Met this guy at a rest stop.
"I am a Pennsylvania black bear. Although I am brown, I am what they call a Cinnamon Bear. Our population in PA is over 15,000 in the state. I can run up to 35 mph and live up to 25 years in the wild. Three species of bears inhabit North America; only the black bear is found in Pennsylvania. I am intelligent and curious. I can see coors, recognize human forms, and notice even the slightest movement. I have an acute sense of smell and, to a lesser degree, use hearing to locate food and to recognize danger. I make distinctive tracks. I have five toes and my rear foot resembles a human's. I am omnivorous, eating almost anything. I am usually dormant in the winter, hibernating in my den or cave. The family group usually disbands after about a year and a half. Bear attacks are extremely rare, considering how often people encounter us. Don't run, don't be afraid, be respectful. Once a bear identifies you, it will usually leave. Adults usually weight about 200 pounds with males being heavier, often more than twice as much. My pertinent data: I weigh 200 pounds. I am 2 years old. I am a female. I come from Somerset County, PA. I have been here at the rest stop for 18 years. The State Game Department brought me here.

When we stopped for the night in Somerset, PA, we saw these trucks parked at the hotel.

Monday, May 11, 2015

NYC 2015 -- On to Indy

We made 500 miles today. Our target departure time was 6 a.m., and we were on the road by 6:10, stopped for a breakfast sandwich, and hit the Avenue of the Saints by 6:20. Traveled through three states today—Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.

On I-74 in Indiana the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light came on. Oops, we forgot to have the car serviced before we left, not realizing how many miles we had driven since early April--like about 4,000! So I looked up Jiffy Lube in Indianapolis on my Smartphone, made a call to check it out, and lucked out picking the one of the three that was on the route to our hotel.

Their advertising is spot-on. They really do get you in within 10 minutes and out about as fast!

We drove through downtown to our hotel, past Lucas Oil Stadium. Our hotel is near the IUPUI, the Indiana University of Purdue Indianapolis. This area has been revitalized with plantings and sculptures. There are warehouses but also new apartments for students.

The university shuttle.

Interesting sculpture with glass and metal.

I thought it looked like string. I touched it, and it WAS.


…and coming back.

Being adventurous eaters, we always like to try restaurants that the locals recommend. The desk clerk said we should try Yats, which features Creole cuisine. It wasn't too far away, so we decided to walk about 3/4 of a mile. It was just like we were back in Louisiana like last summer. Etouffee--yum. It was only $5 for rice, etouffee, and bread, but it was served on Styrofoam plates with plastic utensils. However, they were the REAL Cajun flavors we love. Carl had crawfish and mine was chicken & chorizo, both served over rice. If you’re in Indy this coming July for the National Elks Convention, Yats has 3 locations in the city. Oh, just like in the South.

The walk back helped us work off the calories. Fortunately, there were benches along the way for a brief rest now and then. We crossed a bridge over picturesque Fall Creek.

You know I'm a shutterbug, and I just couldn't resist snapping some interesting things we passed.
It's a robot on top of a warehouse building.

And it's a big Mr. Bendo on top of Ralph's Mufflers building!

Allium are my FAVORITE flowers.

Fine Arts Center

Just weird.

Splurged on the hotel for a room with a Jacuzzi tub. 
After ten hours in the car today, it was worth it!

This is a newly renovated hotel 

on the right side of the tracks?