Activity levels continue…Improving yet?…

From left to right beginning at Jacoby, Tom’s grand-nephew; Vincent, our grandson; Kathy, Tom’s niece, daughter of brother Jerome to her left; then Patty, Tom’s sister at the right end of the table, then Tammy, Tom’s daughter: Tracy, Tammy’s partner; Colleen, Tom’s sister and her husband, Gene. Tom and I were seated and the end of the table and not seen in the photo.

I don’t think we’ve been so busy each day since we began our travels seven years ago. The days are flying by, but we’re experiencing plenty of quality time with our families.

Yesterday afternoon, after posting, we headed to Billy’s Bar in Anoka, Minnesota, where we met up with three of Tom’s sisters, Mary, Patty, and Colleen, and her husband Gene and grandson Jacoby. There was a total of seven of us. 

Happy hour begins at 3:30 PM each Friday at Billy’s, but the family’s weekly visits routine is to arrive early at 3:00 pm to ensure a good place to sit at a large enough table. We complied and arrived at 3:00 pm along with the others.

Frugal as a group, we all waited until the happy hour and sipped on tap water until we finally ordered our drinks. I was the only wine drinker at the table, while the remainder of the group had various types of beer while Jacoby drank soda.

As always, the conversation among any gatherings of Tom’s family members is filled with teasing, laughter, and mostly light entertaining conversation…no politics, religion, or sex but with an occasional smattering of teasing on those particular topics as well. Delightful, to say the least.

We all ordered our dinners inWe all ordered our dinners in a short period, which proved to be quite a good bar menu with tasty freshly prepared meals. As usual, I ordered an equivalent of a grilled chicken chop salad with avocados and vegetables and was content. 

Tom was thrilled to order an authentic Rueben sandwich he hadn’t had in a long while. Those ordered outside the US are not quite the same. We all enjoyed our meals and light banter. By 6:30 pm, we were out the door to follow Mary to see hers and her husband Eugene’s new townhouse (he was gone hunting, typical this time of year in MN). 

They’d recently sold the family home of many years and downsized to the townhouse, which was quite lovely in a handy location of Andover, with easy access to other family members, shopping, and restaurants, all important to retired seniors.

We stayed at Mary’s for an hour or more and later brought Patty back to her home in Blaine, a nearby town, saying goodnight and heading back to Karen’s and Rich’s home.

As has been the case over several evenings since we arrived in Minnesota, we changed into comfy clothes and joined Karen and Rich upstairs for lively chatter. Karen and I have been extremely close for many years, and the conversation among the four of us often becomes introspective and vulnerable. 

The variances in the types of conversations with our family and friends generate an opportunity to explore many avenues of topics all in their way, stimulating and fascinating. Keeping in mind, Tom and I have spent the past seven years together almost exclusively, and conversing with those we love is extra special on many levels.

This morning at 10:00 am, we arrived at Perkins for breakfast with Tammy, Tracy, Vincent, and another 10 of Tom’s family members for a group of 13. Once again, we had a great time, chatting and carrying on. 

I finally had a chance to talk to grandson Vincent, who will be 14 next month, who is now a head taller than quite an intelligent young man and me. Our conversation centered around his schooling and technology, one of my favorite conversations with the grandkids these days who have quite a handle on modern devices and apps. It’s fun to see, although they often have their heads buried in their devices.

After we left from breakfast around noon, we headed back to Eden Prairie to stop at the Medexpress Clinic, only a few minutes from Karen’s house. Since they offered an additional ten days of service at no charge for the same condition, I felt I could use another nebulizer treatment. 

After 24 hours on the cortisone, via an injection and dose of tablets, there hasn’t been any improvement in my pulse oxygenation (pulse ox). The tests still showed I wasn’t able to breathe deeply. I’ve still been coughing and having breathing problems. I met with a different doctor today, and he suggested when I hadn’t improved overnight, to begin a five-day course of Z-Pack (antibiotics). 

I hesitated about taking antibiotics but he made a good case…with my recent open-heart surgery, it as too risky to ignore any possible bacteria which for quite sometime after heart surgery can be very dangerous, i.e. getting dental work or having other procedures and illnesses such as viruses, colds, and flu. 

I may not have pneumonia now but with the severity of my respiratory condition, including asthma symptoms, proceeding with caution was the best course of action.

We drove across the street to Walgreens to fill the prescription for the Z-Pack, a bottle of cough medicine with codeine, and another bottle of Benedryl, a single pill to be taken at bedtime with the cough medicine. This way, I won’t cough and sneeze all night and perhaps get some sleep—no more Nyquil for me.

Right now, as I write this, it’s almost 5:30 pm on Saturday. We’re meeting up with Tammy, Tracy, and Vincent at Park Tavern Restaurant and Bowling alley at 9:00 pm for Cosmic bowling. Tom and I will go early and have dinner, stopping at Greg and Camille’s home for a few minutes on the way to say hi and see how she’s doing after yesterday’s chemo.

It will be another late night, most likely not returning to Karen’s until well after midnight. Tomorrow is yet another busy, action-packed day. Nothing we’re doing is strenuous for me, and the doctor said I could continue to enjoy the festivities but focus on getting better sleep at night. (Tonight, I won’t be bowling instead, watching the others bowl).

We’ll be back with more tomorrow. Please continue to stay with us for only 12 days until we head to warmer sunny Las Vegas, where we’ll spend 11 days visiting with more family, renewing our driver’s licenses, and applying for new four-year passports, as mentioned earlier post. It will be another busy period in our USA visit, just as expected.

Be well. Be happy, and please stop back to say hello.

Photo from one year ago today, November 16, 2019:

Our resident monitor lizard came out of his hovel for a drink from the cement pond. For more photos, please click here.

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