Sunday, February 7, 2016

Capital City Ballet

Yesterday, along with some other Boise Camera Club photographers, I got to photograph a dress rehearsal of the Capital City Ballet company. I've never photographed ballet before, and I've only shot dance one other time. This was basically a new experience for me. As a photographer, it's good to shoot new things, to capture new things.

Having no idea what I was doing, I spent the whole time experimenting with settings. I was hoping that some combination would result in a few good images. Take 1000, hope for 10 good ones (digital photography is a good thing).

I actually captured quite a few keepers. Starting with about 700, I deleted 250 the first time through. The second pass eliminated another 200. A third pass will identify some more trash. But I also identified about 50 images that I think turned out well.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Thanksgiving Adventure Part 3

Today should mark the last installment of the Thanksgiving adventure. Back when the adventure first began, I had IVC filter inserted (intravenous vena cava filter, I think). It was intended to block any blood clots in my legs from breaking free and moving to my lungs. Since they had to take me off the blood thinners (the ones that created the problem in the first place) the filter was meant to protect me.

Today, I had the filter removed. It was a minor surgical procedure, under conscious sedation. Of course there are risks with any surgery, but this was minimal and it was quick and easy.

So now the last of the adventure will be the cost, but because of the generosity of my friends, that cost won't be a burden.

Here's to an adventure free 2016!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Thanksgiving Adventure, Part Two

In my younger days I believed that anything worth doing was worth doing myself. And if I couldn't do it myself, then it wasn't worth doing. I believed that asking for help was a sign of weakness, and who wants to admit weakness? Certainly not the young me.

When I got rheumatoid arthritis (RA), my perspective changed - not because I was experiencing personal growth, but because I was forced to change. I reached a point at which I wasn't able to help myself, in so many ways. I had to start asking for help, and people started noticing when I needed help, even without me asking. At first it was embarrassing, then it was uplifting, then it became humbling. I realized that I was surrounded by people who wanted to contribute to my life. They wanted to respect my new physical limitations and demonstrate how much they cared for me. Often, after helping me, my friends would thank me for the blessing I gave them by allowing them to help. Who does that?

Of course I also realized how much I agreed with them. When I was able to help other people, it made me so happy. I enjoyed the sense of satisfaction I received from giving to my friends and family.

Once again I find myself in need of assistance. You might think I would be more mature now and able to handle making myself vulnerable. It's still difficult to ask for help. If you read Thanksgiving Adventure you'll remember that I spent the holiday in the hospital. It's not where I would want to be; I'd much rather be eating too much food with the family. Thanksgiving dinner at the hospital - not so delicious.

The final bill for everything came to about $40,000. Is there anybody who actually pays that amount? Fortunately my insurance is covering most of that. My portion will be around $2000. A $38,000 savings is great, but the leftover is still a lot of money. So I'm asking for the help of my family and friends. I've created a way for my friends to help - if you are so inclined. Click on the link below (no pressure :) )

I know that whatever happens, it will all work out.

Thanksgiving Adventure Fund

Monday, December 21, 2015

Battle Ground

This last fall I went to "The River Through Time" in Emmett, for the first time. A group of historical reenactors gather to showcase different times in Idaho history.

I took the photos from that trip and made a slide show for the annual Boise Camera Club Christmas party.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Adventure

First, let me say, "Thank you," to more people than I can name. Thank you for all the kind and encouraging words, your thoughts and prayers, and your concern for my health. I have such a large circle of friends - I feel so blessed.

Tuesday last week, thinking I was having another kidney stone, I went to my urologist. They examined me, gave me a prescription, and I went home. The pain killers that are normally effective with kidney stones, weren't working at all. When my dad came to check on me, I said, "I think I need to go to the ER."

I told them the same things, thinking that I was having an unusually difficult kidney stone. In fact, with all the kidney stones I've had (14 I think), this pain was beyond anything I've ever felt. The ER staff was great throughout the whole process. After some CT scans, they discovered there was no kidney stone. Instead, there was a bleed in my stomach muscle - the rectus abdominus to be specific. My blood had gotten too thin and one of the blood vessels had sprung a leak (I'm pretty sure that's a medical term). There was an 8x18 cm pool of blood, and that was causing the pain.

They immediately counteracted my blood thinners, started fluids and platelets, and moved me to ICU. It was a really difficult few days - really difficult. After some more scans, they discovered I still have a blood clot in my leg, and now I have one in my lung. Since I was off the blood thinners, clots became a big concern, specifically the one in my leg. To keep that one from moving into my lung, another doctor inserted a VCF (vena cava filter). I now have platinum in my body, and as everybody knows, platinum is better than silver, gold, even titanium. Platinum makes me a much more impressive and valuable person now.

On top of everything else, while I was in the ICU I experienced a really high heart rate. Several times it raced to 180 bpm. The staff was very concerned, and I'm not sure they ever figured out exactly why it was happening.

After one more night in a regular room, I was able to come home on Friday. It felt so good to get out of that hospital. Don't get me wrong: the staff was great. The doctors, nurses, and aides were caring and kind. I appreciate all they did. Hospital beds, on the other hand, are horrible. There was no position in which I could be comfortable. I basically got no sleep and no rest for three days, and almost no food during that time. I had no appetite.

But now I'm home. Today for lunch I had some saltine crackers and applesauce! I can't say it was delicious, but it was nice to eat again. And I can't even describe how nice it is to sleep in my own bed again, with my own king size pillows, and body pillow, and a room without any hospital sounds.  It's going to take some time to catch up on my sleep deficit, but I'm working on it.

Next week I'll be making appointments with several doctors, to follow up on the adventure. My prescriptions will have to be adjusted, but I will get back to normal. Next week I'll also start figuring out how I'm going to pay for this adventure. I can't even imagine how expensive this will be. ER + ICU= $$$$

The new prescription for blood thinners is nearly $400 for a 30 day supply, instead of the $10/month I have been paying. There are some options that will need exploring and I know everything will work out.

I could not have made it through this without the support of my family. They give so much to me: time, energy, transportation, funds, caring, love and so much more. They almost all came to visit me in the hospital. Janae, my niece, didn't come to visit, but that was so selfless of her. She has a cold and I have a compromised immune system, so her staying away was the best thing.

Throughout this ordeal I was reminded of something. I'm definitely an emotional person. I've known that for a long time, but I don't always remember it. When I get fatigued, my emotional regulation weakens. When mom, dad, Susan, Steve and Pastor Grant walked in to pray for me, I almost lost it. It was just too overwhelming. Since coming home, it seems to have gotten ... more so. Watching anything online - tv show, commercial, video - anything that is the least bit cute or sweet or sad or happy, I'm overcome with emotion, ready to cry. I don't know exactly why but I've learned it's better to just go with it and not try to control it.

Again, thank you all for your caring and love. I am truly blessed.