Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Top Doc

Skipping from Fox Hollow Farm to a lobectomy....

This is a web page that I found about the doctor who did Mike's surgery last week, Dr Eric Vallieres.  There is also a nice video in which he talks about customizing each patient's treatment to his or her particular situation.  Before I met him, this was just another person and another video, but after getting to know him and watching the video again, it is so true - the explanation, the detail, the caring attitude.  He never came into the room that he didn't had a discussion about the New York Times crossword puzzles with Mike - not that that makes him a better surgeon - but it makes postoperative talk a little more lighthearted!

I can see why he was recognized in Seattle Magazine's survey as a "Top Doctor" for the last 5 years.  We are so thankful we were able to meet and benefit from his skills.

Also on the Seattle Magazine list is Dr. Kaplan, the oncologist.  He and Dr Vallieres worked closely together to formulate a plan for Mike's particular cancer, and he also is a wonderful doctor as far as taking all the time you want to talk, asking questions, finding out our situation and background, playing trivia with Mike, and criticizing Emily's holey blue jeans.

Very lucky that we got connected with these 2 gentlemen.

I downloaded some pictures from my camera that I took during the week - very few - and thought I would post a few here now.

We had a long wait during the surgery, and Emily finally gave up and had a lie-down.

The surgery itself took several hours, and then the time in the recovery room was around 3 hours, so we learned that room and the surrounding hospital area well.  There was a board with Mike's name on it and his status, kind of like an arrivals and departures board at the airport, and it seemed it never changed.  There was also this guy at the information desk who had a creepy voice who would announce when a patient was finished with surgery - very soft and whispery, very eerie - "Would the Windham family please report to the surgical information desk?"  It kind of made you NOT want to report to the desk.

I stayed in another hospital on another hill, Cherry Hill Hospital, where there was a floor of rooms for families.  I took these pictures of a crepe myrtle - which I found unusual up there - maybe not - but I think I wanted to take the picture so I could stop and rest.  The distance there was 0.8 of a mile.  Half of it was downhill and half uphill, so you couldn't enjoy the downhill part for knowing you were going to have a 45-degree slope coming up.

It was beautiful weather there most days, just one cool windy day, and I normally enjoyed walking around - just not straight up and not up parking garage stairs.

Speaking of parking garages, Batman parked next to us one day.

This was the view from Mike's first room on the 10th floor.  The first night we could see Mt. Rainier so clearly, but the other days it was obscured by clouds.  It was still a beautiful view, especially at night.  I loved sitting there looking at all the buildings and lights and the planes that passed overhead one right after the other.  It was like counting sleep to make me fall asleep, although neither one of us slept the first night.

The hospital where we were was called Swedish First Hill, and the other hospital (where my room was) was called Cherry Hill.  You can see it in the middle of the picture above.  It looks like a college building.  In this picture, it looks like more than 0.8 of a mile.  Between the two hospitals is Seattle University, and one night I could see a soccer game pretty clearly - the patch of green in the middle of the picture.

This was the first day - feeling pretty good and not expecting atrial fibrillation to appear and cause problems.

The surgical ICU where he was monitored for the afib, a big serious room - but nice people.  I sat in my corner and stitched a little or went to the family waiting room because he was not feeling like talking.

The GO AWAY look!

I did leave Thursday night and go home with Emily for a welcome break and dinner with this sweet girl.

There were a lot more details about the week, but those were the only pictures I took.  It was a good experience but one I hope we don't have to repeat any time soon - or ever!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fox Hollow Farm

Mike, Emily, Graysen, and I spent a couple of hours at this place, and it's so neat.

It's planned to look like a real farm with barns and animal pens and a pumpkin patch, but there are other things to interest children (and adults), like the maze, a couple of bouncy houses, and pony rides.  There is also on the second floor of the barn a huge bin of shelled corn for children to jump in and play around.  It was too crowded for Graysen to get in there, but one day she can enjoy it.

There are horses, cows, goats. sheep, and pigs in the outside pens along with chickens, roosters, and peacocks running around everywhere.  There are bunny rabbits and cats and kittens in cages in the barn

When we got there, Graysen was too busy looking at and pointing to other children to notice pumpins or stay still for a picture.  She did better on the way out.

I don't have too much time, so I'll just post a bunch of pictures I took that day that are pretty self-explanatory.

Looking for chickens - bok-boks.

 Watching the cats and kittens was so much fun.

Until two of them started to fight.  Guess that kind of living situation kind of takes it's toll on cat moods.

We wanted to spend the afternoon here.

 Graysen had been in a bouncy house before and loved it but not so much this time.  Just a little crawling around with another little boy.  I think she liked it better when it was full of children.

Mom had a pretty good time though.

 Goats were not so charming this time around.  They were a little big - and chewed your hands and shirts.

 We were trying to figure out how we could copy this room.

Yay, a slide without a big of big kids on it.

This is the interactive pen where you could actually get in the pen with the animals - old and lazy ones.

Emily and I laughed at this chicken with the dirty legs.  She never stopped running and pecking.

The best part of the day for Graysen - and the only one to cause tears - when we made her leave the wagon pulling and go home.

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day and enjoyed every part of it.