Las Vegas, NV and Bismarck, ND: October 1-17, 2009

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period

Barb writes from Vegas:

It's been a crazy month.  I have been in Las Vegas helping my parents.  My mother Louise was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has started chemotherapy.  She had an allergic reaction to the first chemo and is scheduled to start a different kind soon.  Her attitude is incredibly upbeat.  We are amazed and impressed.  On top of that my father Cliff had surgery on October 12th to remove plaque from one of his carotid arteries.  He came through surgery quite well and only had to spend two miserable nights in the hospital before being released.  He was even back to playing on-line chess the afternoon of his return.  I have become pretty familiar with the problems of the healthcare system in the US and hope some changes are implemented to it soon.  I have also been impressed with some of the services available, if one has good insurance. 

We were both scheduled to fly to Vegas, but then Chuck decided to go ahead with his knee surgery, so after the surgery I went on without him.  Chuck stayed in Bismarck initially and then when his recuperation seemed to be going well went to Jamestown with his mother Evelyn to help her move out of her house of 45 years.  I flew back to North Dakota to see Chuck and to help Evelyn prepare for a garage sale the week-end of October 2nd.  At the garage sale Evelyn sold/got rid of/gave away a lot of stuff, but still ended up with a lot left over.  On Sunday, the 4th, Chuck drove me back to Bismarck to catch my plane back to Las Vegas.  While standing up that evening Chuck exclaimed that his knee felt strange.  Within a few minutes the knee was swollen to twice its size and Chuck was in a lot of pain.  In a quick call to a very sleepy surgeon we were told to come in to the clinic the next morning.  At that visit Chuck was chastised for doing too much too soon on his knee.  He had apparently traumatized it by all the lifting and carrying of stuff at his mother's and the knee was full of blood.  A physician’s assistant removed a bunch of blood and sent Chuck home on crutches with orders to keep the knee iced and to stay off of it.  Since Chuck couldn't go back to Jamestown to help his mother, I delayed my trip back to Las Vegas and returned to Jamestown to help Evelyn and her friend Vivian with the post-sale and pre-move cleanup.  We packed up and hauled three truck loads of stuff to Goodwill, contracted with a realtor, set a price for the house, got it on the market, and had it shown before I left.  During all of the packing, etc., I was surprised to discover that Evelyn had more stamina at age 90 than I did.  She was still packing at 10:00 pm when I was ready to collapse. 

The day I returned to Bismarck and then flew back to Las Vegas, Chuck had a relapse.  He didn't use his crutches when answering a doorbell.  His knee was partially swollen and a bit painful again, but this time he decided to get serious about letting it heal and staying off of it.  He was scheduled to return to Trinidad on October 18th, but I rescheduled his flight to October 28th to give his knee more time to heal and so he could return at the same time as me.

On October 13th the movers transported all of Evelyn's stuff to Bismarck -- so she is officially out of her house.  Hooray!  It's amazing that the decision for her to move and the actual moving took place in less than a month.

While in Bismarck Chuck bought a MacBook Pro and says he is thrilled with it.  It has been a great diversion for him while he has been mending his knee.  He predicts that I will trade in my PC one of these days for a Mac, but I am not yet convinced.

Some of what was left after the garage sale

Another room

Chuck's mother Evelyn and her wonderful friend Vivian who was a great help

Mom packing up one of her rooms

House up for sale

Barb's mother Louise, father Clifford and son Jeff as Cliff was being released from the hospital after his surgery