Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A New Chapter

  Well it looks like we are done traveling for now. We thought we would be on the road for a few more years, but life happens.
   We haven't posted much about Rays health, but I will give the details now because it is a big part of all our decisions.
   In 2009 Ray had a biopsy of his lungs. He was diagnosed with silicosis a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, which was used in the foundry in the late 70's where he worked. It was removed from the plant in the 1980.
   Silicosis damages the lining of the lungs causing scarring and stiffens the lungs making it difficult to breath. This has been slowly happening to Rays lungs. He has been on oxygen since March 2017 after he was hospitalized. In April of 2017 he went to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville FL to be evaluated for a lung transplant ( there is no cure for this disease). He went through some testing before Mayo denied him as a candidate for the transplant.
    He was doing pretty good (not counting his necrotizing fasciitis) staying healthy. Last Dec. he had a flare up and ended up in the hospital again. At this point he decided it was time for a new pulmonologist and another evaluation for a lung transplant at another hospital. So on April 15 he had his initial clinic visit with the lung transplant team at UF Health Shands in Gainesville FL. They said he looks to be a good candidate but it will be a little more difficult surgery than others.
     May 6th began a long week of testing. We stayed at Williston Crossing RV Resort about 20 miles from the hospital instead of staying at a hotel. He has been doing pulmonary rehab since April and has had all kinds of tests every week. On Sat. he was very short of breath and ended up in the hospital for a week. he has one more test and the team will take his case to get reviewed by the board to see if he can be listed for transplant.
   So, our lives have been on a roller coaster and in limbo at the same time. Not knowing how to plan for anything.
   We did make a big decision.... we bought a park model at Williston Crossing RV Resort. Yes we are back in a sticks and bricks. It's 2 bedroom, 2 bathrooms and the furniture was included. Ray already bought a golf cart. We moved in on Monday and it feels like we are staying in someones condo.


The resort is a gated 55+ community with 430 sites including the park models. In the winter months it will be full. There will be lots of people to meet and activities to do.
   We enjoyed staying on our daughter Mandy and son in law Pat's little farm. But we had made over 30 trips to Gainesville ( a hour and 20 min drive) and with the possibility of the transplant, we need to be closer. We still have our rv at their house so we can stay and visit them on some weekends and the holidays.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

   Continuing on with 2018...

 *Aug.- Ray is down to one therapy appointment a week. But he is now seeing a heart doctor because of the pulmonary hypertension caused by the silicosis.
  We finally escaped from the heat and made a trip to WI. My brother Randy and his fiancé Lyn got married in June and were having a reception on the 25th.
  We stayed in WI for about 12 days. Very busy days catching up with family ad friends.
  *Sept- We had spent Labor Day weekend with my parents in WI. They are both in their upper eighties and live in their own home. About a week after we left and made it back to FL, my mom fell and broke her hip. So that brings us to...
  *Oct- We decided to go back to WI and help out. We stayed till the end of the month. The weather there was colder than normal and it even snowed.
  *Nov- Ray was finally done with therapy and the hand doctor said his hand was healed and he didn't need to see him anymore. Now to keep him out of trouble!
  *Dec- Friends from WI ( Rita & John) stopped for a quick visit on their way south.
 On the 13th our daughter Colleen, son in law Goyo and 2 grandsons (Lukas & Isaiah) met us and our daughter Amanda and husband Pat in Orlando. We had 4 days of fun planned. Two days at Sea World.
 Ray had a little bit of a cold before we left and he went to the doctor but there was nothing they could give him because he didn't have a temperature. He wanted to see the grandkids and not stay home. On the 3rd night there, he ended up getting a temp. The best thing was to go to the ER because of his breathing problems.
  This was the same ER he went to in Feb. One of the nurses and a doctor recognized him. They were glad he made it through all the surgeries.
  They ended up admitting him because of low oxygen and high heart rate. He ended up staying 3 nights. We told him he is longer allowed to go to Orlando!
 Christmas was a week later and the rest of the year was relaxing and quite.
       Who knows what 2019 will bring. We'll just roll with the flow and enjoy each day as much as we can.
 Well it's been awhile since we up dated. We ended the last blog with hoping to have a happier, healthier and more adventurous new year. The first month and a half went alright.
 * Feb.- We did some planning for another short camping trip by the gulf the end of the month. We were totally surprised by a visit towards the end of the month by friends from WI. Our daughter and son in law helped our friends, Jake and Dawn plan a trip to see us.
 We were surprised when they walked into the yard. They planned on staying a week with a short trip to Orlando for all of us.
 The first part of the week we relaxed, played cards and drove over to the beach. Wednesday we all went down to Orlando. We went to one of those escape rooms. None of us had done this before. You get a hour to try and figure out the clues to escape. Well, we almost escaped. We probably needed another half hour. It was a good time.
 For Thursday they planned a fishing trip for the guys and the girls Universal Studios. So the guys got up early and drove over to the Indian River area to meet up with their guide. Amanda, Dawn and I grabbed a uber and headed to Universal. I'm not one for roller coasters but I did go on the other rides.
  Later in the day we texted the guys to see how things were going. We got back a picture of a bandaged hand and a text saying explain later. It was clearly Rays hand and we thought he got hooked.
 We got back around 7 and got the details of the guys trip. Ray ended up getting finned by a saltwater catfish. It went through his little finger. He said he was fine up until midnight and his hand was swelling up and hurting. By 4 we ended up waking up Amanda and off we went to the ER. They checked him over, gave him some pain med and IV of antibiotics. We were sent back with a prescription for antibiotics and more pain med. They said he should get it rechecked in 24 hour if it wasn't better. As we were driving away from the hospital Rays portable oxygen machine quit working. He had his bigger unit at the hotel.
 At 9 I was on the phone trying to find out how to get some type of portable oxygen to make the 3 hour drive back home. Getting lots of run around, we're suppose to check out of the hotel and as the time went by Rays hand was looking worse.
 We ended up packing up and taking him back to the ER. The doctors came in, went out, came in and said they needed to air transport  him to the trauma center at ORMC he needs surgery right away.
 He ended up getting necrotizing fasciitis caused by vibrio vulnificus. Which is a known as a flesh eating bacteria and its fast moving. The doctors said they haven't seen a case in 5 years. The infectious disease doctors are writing up a medical paper on his case.
 He had surgery the first three days in the hospital. The first week he was fighting for his life. The next week he was doing better but he had a long way to go. They did more surgeries to clean out the wounds and make sure it hasn't spread. He had incursions from the back of his hand to his chest and also on the inside of his arm.
 He was in the hospital for 33 days and had a total of 8 surgeries. The last one was a skin graft to the back of his hand.
 All the time he was in the hospital I stayed at the Hubbard House next to the hospital. Our son and other daughter flew in from WI the day after he was admitted. Each of our three kids took a weeks turn staying with me. If it wasn't for the Hubbard House I don't know what we would of done.
   *April- Ray was back home a week and a half before Easter. My sister Pasty flew in from WI and spent Easter with us.
   We ended up going back to Orlando for the out patient skin graft surgery on April 6. By the end of the month I was driving him to therapy twice a week.
   *May continued with therapy twice a week. We were driving 45 minutes up to Valdosta GA to see a hand therapist. Appointments were scheduled so we could stop for lunch before or after. We also made a trip (3 hr) to Orlando to see the doctor. The appointment was early in the morning so we stayed the night before at the Hubbard House.
  Rays family wanted to come down and see him when he was in the hospital but we told them to wait until he was out. So his brother Russ, and sisters Darlene and Charlene came down for 4 days and were able to celebrate Rays birthday.
  At the end f the month we enjoyed a visit from our grandson Alex and his fiancé Emily.
  *June was the same as May, therapy twice a week and another trip to Orlando.
  *July- The weather has been warmer than usual in FL this summer. I think its been in the 90's since the beginning of May.
   Ray has been doing well with therapy. he wears a splint at night and a different one during the day. They help to pull and bend the fingers down to make a fist. Still doing therapy twice and switched to a new hand doctor in Gainesville. Shorter drive (1 hr 45 min).
  We had a great weekend mini vacation in Tarpon Springs. Did some site seeing, a boat ride and tried some Greek food.
   Well this was our exciting first half of the year. Sorry no pictures.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Start of a New Year

     Yup, this is a monthly blog.
 Well, we had a great Christmas. Our daughter Colleen, son-in-law Goyo, 3 grandsons (Noah, Lukas & Isaiah) and our son Nate drove down from WI. Our grandson Alex flew down. They all were here by 9:00 the Friday before Christmas. One grandson from WI wasn't able to make it and another grandson was coming on Christmas day.
 We hired a photography to take some family pictures. It ended up to be 80 outside and our outfits we chose were jeans and long sleeves.Thankfully there was a nice breeze and we were in the shade most of the time.
Grandsons- Isaiah, Noah, Lukas, Alex

Our kids- Colleen, Nate Mandy

 Christmas eve we went to see Christmas lights. On Christmas morning we were all dressed in matching pjs. After a big breakfast it was time to open gifts. It was a nice relaxing afternoon.

               We didn't have a lot of things planned for the week. Two of the grandsons were flying back to WI on Tuesday so before their flight we went to one of the beaches by Jacksonville. On Thur. we drove down to Homosassa Wildlife Park. We saw a lot of manatees. Early Saturday morning the rest of the family headed back to WI.

 We enjoyed our time with the family and I know they didn't want to go back to the cold weather. Our grandson Isaiah will miss the baby goats.

 The weather has been cold at times. We had freezing rain one day and a hard freeze for 4 nights in a row. One morning the water to the house froze until noon. Then the temps would get up to 70 for a couple of days then back down to 50s low 60s. Hopefully we are done with the freezing temps.
 We have been busy here at Armadillo Acres. We lost 2 goats that came down with a listeria.  Another goat ended up with an emergency c section and we lost her baby, but she is doing great. On Saturday we had 3 goats in labor at the same time. Ended up with 2 sets of twins and a single birth. There are 13 babies bouncing around. They are so much fun to cuddle.
  Right now we are taking a break from the farm. We're spending a few days at Florida Caverns State park. Two couples we worked with at Custer, Vern & Pat and Craig & Marilynn, are volunteering here.
 We have 2 other getaways planned in Feb. Not much more for plans. Thinking of heading north after Easter. No idea yet of our plans for the summer. At some point we will be in WI to visit family and friends.

          After a rough 2017, we are hoping for a happier, healthier and more adventurous year.                                                                    We wish the same to all of you.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Happy Holiday

                  Looks like this is becoming a monthly blog.
  I'm writing this one for Ray. The last blog was let the fun begin. Well it hasn't been all fun this month. The day before Thanksgiving we got the news that Rays younger sister Diane passed away. She was diabetic and on dialysis for about 10 years. Her son and two granddaughters will miss her along with everyone else. With trying to get through this news, we received more very unexpected news. Rays younger brother Corey, who lives in MD, died on the Sunday after Thanksgiving from a bike accident. He leaves a wife and two kids. This has been very hard on the four remaining siblings.
Corey and Diane
  The families planned a funeral for both of them in WI on Dec. 9th. Seeing that Ray is not suppose to fly, we drove to WI. Our daughter came with us and our son-in-law would fly up later. Well Pat didn't make it, his flight was cancelled because of the snow in Atlanta. We only had a dusting of snow in WI.
  We made it through the weekend with lots of support and hugs from our family and friends.
  We were home for a day when one of the goats, Daisy was in labor. Pat & Mandy stayed up most of the night helping to deliver 2 little ones. Both were doing fine but Daisy was in rough shape.
Lucy & Ricky
  Pat & Mandy had plans to go out of town so we were in charge. I had to do the bottle feeding which was every 4 hours. the 1st night wasn't to bad. Ray woke me in the morning and said there were 2 more babies. I thought he was joking.
Tom & Jerry
  Daisy didn't make it through the second night. Oh boy, bottle feeding every night. That afternoon another goat, Stripe ended up having twins. They were premature and stillborn. We rubbed some of the scent from those babies onto Lucy & Ricky. Stripe has now adopted them as her own! We are so glad that Stripe has a little family.
   We are waiting for our daughter Colleen, her husband Goyo and 3 of their sons, our son Nate and Mandys son Alex to arrive today. Some are staying till Tuesday and the others will be here till Friday. We can't wait!
Ray, Wendy (me), Mandy & Pat
                  We hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Daisy  (RIP)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The fun begins

  Well we moved about another 90 miles to East Bank Campground. This was another corp park on Lake Seminole outside of Chattahoochee FL. There are 65 sites with a few right on the lake.

  We found another festival to check out. So off we went on Sat. to Quincyfest and Porchfest. Quincy is a small town and this ended up to be a very small festival. We listened to some music and walked around.
  After 3 nights stay we headed out for the final 140 miles to our winter home. We made it to our daughter and son-in-laws, Amanda & Pat on Halloween.
  They both were at work when we arrived, so we started our set up for our long stay. As we were doing this there was a ruckus coming from the goat area. Somehow a gate was open and the male goats & donkeys were in with the female goats! They were running after each other. It took us awhile but we did get them all separated. We'll see how many little goats there will be in 5 months.
  Amanda had been looking for different things to do on the weekends. Our 1st weekend we headed to Jacksonville to check out the air show. Traffic was terrible and we ended up going downtown to a BBQ Fest. This was a small festival for the size of the area. We enjoyed some bbq and listened to some very good country music.
  Last weekend we headed to Gainesville for the 36th Annual Downtown Festival & Art Show. The festival featured 240 local artists. Some very interesting one-of-a-kind pieces.
 It hasn't been all play since we got here. It's pecan season! Nuts are produced every other year and this year there are plenty. So far we have taken 100 lbs in to be cracked and blown. Then we go through the pieces and take out the remaining shell pieces. Still a lot more on the trees.

How they look after they're cracked and blown

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Slow Moving

Hi all,
So, not sure of where we were headed, a roll of the dice and Alabama was decided. Wendy had found a state park with some nearby waterfalls that sounded neat.
 Little River Canyon National Preserve located in northeast Alabama just a short drive from Fort Payne, Alabama. This was barely a hours drive which we sure won't complain about. It actually lies on Lookout Mountain which is really more of a range than a actual mountain.
 While here we stayed at Desoto State Park, a nice shaded forest campground with 94 sites.
 There were two pretty good falls in the area, Desoto Falls about 5 miles from the park, and Little River Falls only 10 miles or so away. These falls are known as "wet falls" being they are mostly the result of rainfall. Luck was on our side this time as there had been good amounts of rain so the falls were flowing pretty good.

Upper DeSoto Falls

lower part of DeSoto Falls
There was a nice visitor center where we were given thorough info on the Little River Canyon. We then headed for the falls and 11 mile scenic drive. It was a great drive with well marked pull offs for some awesome views.
 The drive  gets a bit dicey not to be done with trailers or big RVs, but perfect for the Silver Bullet haha. It continues along the river to the Canyon Mouth picnic area.
Little River Falls

mushroom rock

Graces High Falls

Another view of Little River Falls
 While in the area we checked out Mentone a small artsy village that during the week was pretty quiet. We enjoyed lunch at The Wildflower Café, offering  gourmet American fare in a hippie chic atmosphere. We were entertained throughout lunch by a local musician all quite fun.
 Next we drove another short piece 150 mile to Whitetail Ridge Campground on West Point Lake, La Grange, GA. This was right on the Georgia, Alabama border.
 This was a Corp park with only 55 sites, although there are other corp and county parks located on the large flowage. We sure like the Army Corp of Engineering Parks as they usually are kept up well and the cost about $24.00, of 1/2 of that if you have Golden Passport. They are mostly at large lake or reservoir locations.
 On the weekend here we took a little drive to Hogansville which was holding the Hummingbird Festival. A fun little town fest with almost 200 craft vendors and food, music, and games for the kids.
 Onward south we go another 100 miles. I am really getting to like this style of traveling. Another corp park White Oak Creek Campground just south of Eufaula, AL. This park holds 130 sites with many on the creek, which is more of a river and on Walter F. George Lake. We really lucked out and got a great site on the water.  
 Wendy struck gold again and found a great drive to make. She really should have been a travel agent. Off we went to Providence Canyon Outdoor Recreation Area. This is also known as Georgia's Little Grand Canyon. It was actually created by poor farming practices in the 1800's where land was stripped of trees and foliage for cotton fields. Soon the rains washed the sandy soil away gradually creating the Canyonlands. They are now about 150 feet deep and 300 feet across and slowly growing in wet weather.