U know Ur in Trouble When the Dr Calls!

So early this morning before I even got out of bed, I got a phone call from my family doctor. Oh.., that can’t be good I thought when I heard her voice. It’s not the secretary.

“Ahhh, I got your blood work back and it looks like you need a blood transfusion,” she said. “However, the problem is that every place where you can get this done is closed today and I don’t even think they can do it for you if you went to emergency.”

“It’s my lucky day,” I thought. I’m not going to emerg today. Happy New Years!

“So how low does your hemoglobin have to be when you need a transfusion?”, I asked.

“The low 80’s,” she answered.

“What am I at?, I questioned her.

“78…. I’m surprised you are still walking.” she responded.

“Well I wasn’t walking last week and I turned yellow, but I’m better now.”

“What do you want to do?”, she asked me.

What can I do? I’m going to party? Everything is closed until Monday and that’s when I’m suppose to have a CT Scan. So I’m going to do nothing right now. I don’t really care anyway. I’ll send Germany an email and tell the dr to send me something. This happened to me before.
“Just don’t get cut until then,” she said, “And get into hospital if you start bleeding for any reason”.

“Even a hemorrhoid?”, I asked.

“Even a hemorrhoid”, she answered.
WTF? Now I’m going to be shitting blood too? I don’t think so!  Holy crap!

By the way, did you happen to get the results of my latest MRI?, I asked her.

“No,” she said.

Well, apparently I have extensive metastatic disease throughout my bone marrow again.

She didn’t say much after that. I think my doctors are more worried than I am.

I had a nice burger yesterday hoping to get my hemoglobin up. I’m eating more now, but I now weigh the same amount I did when I was in university. Bobo says I’m getting pretty skinny. My scale says so too.

The conversation in the car went really well on our way to the market.
Who wants to give me some blood?, I asked.

Aughhhhh! No way, cried my brood in the back.
“I will”, said Bobo, my universal O type donor husband.
“Good”, I said. We just need two needles and a tube and we can attach ourselves to one another! True love!

Happy New Year Folks. I need to drink some blood tonight. I’m turning into Dracula’s wife tonight!
Cheers to 2016!

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Held Hostage at Sunnybrook Parking Lot

Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015

I had one hell of a really awful experience today at Sunnybrook Hospital.  I lost it.  Here is my story.

I went to see my radiation doctor today.  I could see he was really concerned about me and told me I was looking a little bit darker and yellower.  I told him that was nothing.  Last week I was really yellow, but I was feeling better now.  He ordered some urgent blood tests and told me he was going to get in touch with my oncologist because there was evidence of metastatic disease in my bone marrow.  I told him that happened the last time I went to Germany and it wasn’t.  He didn’t look convinced and asked me if I wanted to have a chest x-ray done right now because of my coughing and I told him no because it was getting better.  And besides why bother when I was going to have a CT scan next week anyway.   

stressedSo I went and got my urgent blood work done and was anxious to get out of there because I parked my car at the Rip Off Money Sucking Sunnybrook Parking lot because I’ve been having problems walking lately and couldn’t make the trek from a side street.  Bobo was with me and we started putting in the $14.25 fee into the machine.  It ate $5 and wouldn’t acknowledged that I paid.  I pushed the help call button.  No one answered for a while and I started getting ansy.  I pushed the help button about 10 more times until someone answered.  I told the lady the machine ate my $5.  She said she would send someone to help me.  So what happens.  Nobody comes. 

I push the button again.  I told her no one was coming, I had 2 kids at home alone and I wanted to leave.  She said someone was coming.  Well, no one came for over 15 minutes.  I asked a nearby security guard if he could help me.  He said he could not.  I pushed the button again and again and again.  I think by that time the woman was ignoring me so I gave up.  Cancelled my transaction.  The machine gave me $9.25 back.  Still missing my $5.  Took the card and decided to take it up with the parking lot attendant.  Spoke to the valet parking lot attendents.  They told me they couldn’t help me, but to get into my car and drive to the other attendant who should address the situation.  Well, you know what happens when I get to him?  He wouldn’t let me out of the parking lot.

special kind of stupid

By then my nerves were shot.  I told him that the machine ate my money, here was the rest of the money ($9.25) and I wanted to go home.  He said I couldn’t leave until he spoke to his supervisor.  Well he was on the phone for a VERY long time and there were a lot of angry people in cars behind me who also wanted to leave.

Saint....I-Have-My-Limits

Then I lost it.  I told him to give me the phone, I wanted to talk to his supervisor.  At this point I told her that the stupid machine ate my money at the Odette Center and I paid for my parking and if she didn’t get this guy to open the damn gate I was going to ram my car through it.

The parking attendent took back the phone and the driver behind me gets out of his car to find out what the problem was….at which I yelled back that the people here are stupid idiots and the bloody machine ate my money and these people wouldn’t let me out.

So my husband told me to park the car in the lane so no one could get out and we would walk back to the Odette Centre and wait for that special someone to arrive to open up the machine to get my $5 back to prove we paid the $14.25.

So I turned off the car.  But I couldn’t get out of the car because it was too close to the booth.  I thought I was going to loose my mind.

calm punch ppl in face

Then I told the attendant to phone the police.  Call 911, I was being held hostage in Sunnybrook Parking Lot.  I really wished I had my phone at that time because I would have done it.  Then my husband threw another $5 at the attendant to pay for the rest of the $14.25 and then told him that he just stole another $5 from us and he wanted to charge him with theft when the police arrived.

I think that scared him because he opened the gate. 

But I wasn’t going to let that rest.  This had gotten past the point of sanity.  I was LIVID.  I told him I wanted his name and his supervisors name and phone number because I was going to lodge a complaint.   

I phoned her a little while ago.  She agreed that what happened to me was not acceptable and she would phone me tomorrow morning and find out what went wrong.   

I don’t know who owns these stupid parking lots at the hospital, but I, for one, am tired of being gouged $4.75 every half an hour.  It’s not like terminally ill cancer patients have a choice in the matter of where they can park.  We are stuck for hours waiting for doctors appointments and scans while the meter keeps on ticking.  Someone is getting rich on the behalf of ill people.  It is not right.

And why is it okay to keep people hostage in parking lots after they have paid?   If the machines don’t work, hire human beings WITH BRAINS who can THINK when a problem arises or here is an idea…..make PARKING FREE at hospitals.    

Hey, I know.  Get the drug companies to pay for hospital parking.  They are making over $270,000 per patient in 5 years.  Two patients should cover it.

Pompeii

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One of the things on my bucket list was to go to Italy and go to Pompeii which I find fascinating. Fat chance I’m getting there any time soon as having cancer has a point of killing you financially.  I really hope to go there though.  One day.

imageSo Buba bought me and the kids tickets today to go to the Royal Ontario Museum to see their Pompeii Exhibit. It was really neat but difficult to handle because Frack was in charge of pushing my wheelchair around and he is nuts. I barely had time to read the information cards before he would whip me around to see something else. Boys! I tell you. A different breed. He wanted to know what all the plaster casts were about but was too impatient to read about it himself. Lazy bum. So I would speed read the excerpts and tell him a story about it in hopes that he would remember something about what he saw. It was hard work!

Here are the models of how the archeologists painstakingly found the bodies buried under the ash.

  1.  Very hot ash and pumice bury the victim early in the eruption of 79.
  2. The body lies buried underground.
  3. The body slowly decays creating a hollow, still including skeletal remains.
  4. Archeologists fill the hollow with plaster.
  5. The plaster hardens.  The cast of the body is carefully excavated.  The ash is chipped off.

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There was a dog tied to his leash and a family who hid in their wine cellar and ran for it when they thought the coast was clear (briefly of no ash). Unfortunately for all 13 of them from that cellar, they were caught running through their garden and died of a flash of intense heat from the volcano.

Apparently there were approximately 12,000 inhabitants in Pompeii at the time of the eruption, but they only found about 1,550 bodies. There is still 1/3 of Pompeii that needs to be excavated near the shoreline. Wonder if and how many escaped by sea? I imagine running in a metre of ash after a couple of hours after the first mushroom volcanic explosion would have been close to impossible. By the next day Pompeii was buried under 4 metres of ash. As big as my house.  From what I understand wouldn’t most of the people die right away from the initial gas explosion? No oxygen. Wouldn’t they have been cooked from the immense heat? How about being pelted by huge rocks dropping from the sky as they were trying to run to get on a ship by the sea?

Gotta go see the real Pompeii for myself and blog it!
There were lots of beautiful Roman frescos and marble statues/busts to see, but this exhibit is only open in Toronto until Jan 3, so your days are numbered if you want to go.  But buy your tickets online before they are sold out and skip the lines.

I lost my cell phone and it’s dead.  I know  it’s in the house somewhere but I can’t find it. So if you are trying to message me, it ain’t happening. I hope this isn’t like the time I lost my engagement/wedding rings. It took me over 8 years to eventually find them.

My iPhone 6 will be ancient history if I don’t find it in 8 years. Sigh.

When I got to the ROM and requested a wheelchair, all 10 were out. The guy at the coat check told me to leave my number and they would call me when one was available. Ha!  No phone.

Had to go back every once in a while to see if someone returned a wheelchair. Eventually I got one.

I really miss my phone. Where r u?  I miss u so much.  Pls come back.

Another Year Without Christmas Shoes

Well, I survived another Christmas. My husband asks me every year if he needs to run out to buy me Christmas slippers yet. Ha ha. He’s got Christmas Slippers part one and two if you want to watch it. Just don’t ever return them.

Unfortunately I have been sick for about 3-4 weeks. The wet, damp mouldy weather we’ve been having is making me cough up a lung as I’m allergic to mould. Today is the first day it’s actually snowed which I’m hoping is going to help. Either that or I’m going to have to go somewhere hot where there is salt water. I’ve got to find a way to dry up my lungs.

I had a blood test over a week ago and got some really bizarre results. (low wbc and rbc, low hemoglobin, low hemocrit, high LD, high B12 and high ferritin. I’ve been getting cramps in my legs and I cant walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath and having fast heart beats. The nurse at my Drs office told me to go back and redo the blood tests because my blood coagulated and it probably wasn’t accurate. I asked her to put the requisition into the lab and I would go the next day. I went, the requisition wasn’t there. They called up to the office. The secretary said she didn’t know anything about it and the nurse wasn’t coming in until the afternoon. I left. Got a phone call from the nurse later telling me she forgot to put in the requisition but she would do so now. Too late been there twice. Didn’t feel well enough to go back again. So I don’t know what’s going on with my blood work.

On Christmas Eve I had my family coming over at 4:00. I also had to get my two shots in the stomach by CCAC at 2:40. I figured I had plenty of time to pick up the sushi dinner I ordered at Niji’s and the halibut and chips from Fish Joy. But I was wrong. I spent 2 1/2 hours running from one clinic to another one and back to the first one because they lost my file and none of the nurses could give me the shots. I was so desperate I told them I would shoot them into myself… just tell me how to do it. “I can’t do that,” I was told. I was pissed. Spoke to the supervisor on the phone who told me to return to clinic #1 one because that was the only place that had an experienced nurse who could give me the Zoladex (40 degree angle, 16 gauge large metal needle with a hollowed out inside with a pellet). And you know who the experienced nurse was? The same goof I had in clinic #2 I was trying to avoid because he needed two try’s to get it in me in September. Are you kidding me??? I told him, “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I think that before Princess Margaret Hospital outsources its patients to get these needles, they should train you to do it first. This is ridiculous. I don’t want to be tortured.

My oncologist is going to get an earful when I see him. I never want to deal with this Nursing (?) company ever again. I’m certain that this clinic was the same bunch of idiots who sent a nurse to my house 5 years ago to change my picc line with bloody gloves!

And I now I find out from a friend of mine that they can give you one three month shot of Zoladex. If my oncologist only wants to see me every 3 months, then why can’t his nurse (who knows what she is doing), give it to me? I told him the problems I had been having trying to get this shot. Why didn’t he suggest the 3 month needle instead or something else that the CCAC is equipped to deal with? WTF?

And now to my next problem. Decided I’d better try and get the results of my MRI from Carepath in case I ended up in the hospital. I was feeling pretty rotten. So rotten that I didn’t make it to rehearsal or Christmas Eve service at my church which I have been singing for over 25 years.

The good news is that the tumours I got zapped at T8, T9 are stable (you could have fooled me because I still wake up in pain like someone shot me in the back every morning). There is also evidence of 2 cysts in my neck at C7, C8. But the bigs news of the day is that the technician wrote that there is metastatic cancer throughout my bone marrow OR I have developed something called myleofibrosis….which when I checked on the internet is some sort of blood cancer/leukaemia brought on from too much radiation. In other words, my spinal cord may have been fried and I have some sort of scar tissue which is causing me not to produce enough red and white blood cells.

Now I have been down this road before when I came back from treatment in Germany and I was told I had cancer throughout my bone marrow and I didn’t. I’m not about to have another bone marrow biopsy to prove them wrong again. I will just wait it out.

I’m betting the technician has never seen little piggy stems cells at work and doesn’t know what to call what he is seeing in my bone marrow. My appointment with the radiation guy is at 3:00 on Wednesday. Maybe I’ll get some real answers then.

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It’s Off To Emergency We Go

Friday, December 4, 2015

Sunrise PicHaven’t been blogging because I have been insanely busy lately.  All is good.  Coached boys volleyball team.  Went to a workshop at Art For Cancer Foundation and painted this sunrise picture.

WellspringGot a ticket on Tuesday near Sunnybrook (they changed the no parking sign to no stopping which I didn’t notice).  I’m contesting it.  Hoping the judge will be nice and reduce the fine at least.  I went to a free cooking course at Wellspring and didn’t want to pay the $24 parking fee for 2 1/2 hours.  Unfortunately that wasn’t my only problem that day.  The cooking course was pretty much all raw vegetarian and a bit of cheese.  I’m lactose intolerant (makes me cough up phlegm) and my German dr told me my stomach intestines were inflamed and I should only eat cooked veggies.  Boy was he right.   My tummy hurt for a couple of days.  Lost a couple of pounds too.  Because I wasn’t eating much I figured I needed some nutrients so I asked my daughter to make me a veggie juice on Thursday night and then I felt really horrible after that.  Didn’t make it to my cancer support group meeting because I felt so ill.

At 3:45 in the morning, my dear friend who is staying with me thought she was having a heart attack.  She came to the right place.  Pulled out my heart monitor.  Everything was high (systolic, blood pressure, pulse…mentally recorded time and rates).  Gave her as aspirin (remember the time).  Phoned tele-health….was not happy that they have a ten minute recording about getting your stupid health card before you even get a chance to talk to anyone.  Got dressed.  Out the door and into the car with cell phone and ill friend in tow.  Destination…Sunnybrook, Trauma and Heart Attack Central.  I decided to take her there because I was afraid that if I called an ambulance that they would take her to Scarborough General (30 seconds away from my house), a fate worse than death, and I valued her life. 

Why not Scarborough General?   I dunno.  Maybe it’s because of the time I stayed there overnight and they didn’t bother giving me a nurse after surgery.  Maybe it’s because of the time I had heart problems and I arrived at the ER and there was nobody there and I waited 15  minutes for a triage nurse to appear at her post…that’s when I got back into the car and went to Mt Sinai.  Maybe it’s because I had a mammogram there 13 years ago and no one bothered phoning me to tell me there was something suspicious there.  Or maybe it was because the last time I went there ER Doctor told me that the next time I had an emergency, not to come here because they didn’t know what to do with me.   Anyhow, I think you see my point. 

imageDid you know that at 3:55 a.m. in the morning you can go 100 mph on Lawrence and get all but one green light? Meanwhile, my friend was talking to good ole tele-health and answering questions.  I knew, as I was driving, that she hit 5/6 red flags for a heart attack (chest pain, pain in back, shortness of breath, nausea, and sweating).   That nurse was SLOW!  Holy cow.  By the way she essentially told me to shut up and to let the patient answer the questions.

imageBy the time the tele-heath nurse finished evaluating her…..”You need an ambulance”…. she tells us after she has painstakingly punched into the computer all of my friends responses,  I was less than 4 minutes away from Sunnybrook.  So I told her just to send the information to them as we were nearby.   She told me to drive cautiously en route.  Too late for that, chickie!

Now, you would think (after watching ER and Greys anatomy shows on TV) that someone would be greeting us at the ER door, but you would be wrong.  It seems to me that they don’t care as much if you’re having heart attack symptoms than if you are having a stroke (in which case you have a 4 hour timeline to get some injection in you to break up the clot or you could possibly face permanent damage and they could face a law suit).  Two people ahead of us.  Triaged fairly quickly, then registered by 4:10.  Told my friend we were in it for the long haul because they would need to get her blood work done and wait 4-6 hrs later to check the troponin levels to see if in fact she had a heart attack.  She called a replacement for work.  Guess what time she got the blood work done?   7:10.  Just in time for a shift change at 7:30. 

imageWe met an interesting man in the second ER waiting room.  He shared his medical problems with us.   I was amused as he kept asking us for our opinions on his condition (he was having problems with his heart, he drinks and smokes, and his friend wouldn’t let him buy the heart drugs his doctor prescribed him). 

imageI could tell my friend was getting exasperated by him and wanted to thump him in the head, particularly when he started discussing his hemorrhoid problems.  Oh how I wish my husband was with us!  I could just imagine how that conversation would have ended up.  Sometimes you get some interesting entertainment whilst in the waiting room.  My friend emailed me and told me he was missing a few screws upstairs.

Shortly thereafter, he was called for a review with a doctor.  It lasted less than 4 minutes and he was discharged. I don’t think he even got a prescription for his hemorrhoids!  He was told to go see his family doctor.  It was just after 8:30.

My friend got her first set of blood work back.  Normal, thank heavens.  But we still had to wait for the other one (troponin) and they wanted to do a chest X-ray.  By 11:00, my friend was really tired of being there.  I told her, “Don’t worry, they have to get you out of here in 8 hours from the time you arrived or they have to admit you.  Anything more than 8 hours also requires an extra billing to OHIP who requires an explanation as to why you are still there waiting for a diagnosis.   Sure enough, a resident quickly told her at 12:00 that she did not in fact have a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism and she was free to go.  Right on time.  “That’s what my friend told me,” she answered. 

734376_591741964188594_1624691723_nDrove my friend to her worried sister.  She was going to take the bus, a very long 3 hour bus ride and her back was still hurting her so off we went in my car.  I spent the night with them.  We had delicious Thai food for dinner.   It was very nice spending some quality time with the two of them.  Their apartment is so cool.  They have giraffes in their living room with Santa hats on all their heads!  She should be an interior decorator.  I’d hire her! 

Drove home the next morning.  Will try to catch up on sleep tonight.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

sidewalk fall leavesHi.  Not feeling so great.  My wacky cough is back.  I usually get this in the fall because I’m allergic to mold….too many dead leaves on the ground.  I don’t do well when it rains either.  Get headaches and feel like total crap. 

Also was a bad girl because I ate cheese last week.  Not a good idea when you are lactose intolerent.  I don’t fart.  I just cough up a lung. 

Waiting for the snow to come so I can feel better.  Either that or I’m going to have to drive somewhere hot with salt water to dry out my lungs (that’s what my allergist told me years ago). 


Wonder if a sauna would help.  Sigh…..

Wednesday, Dec. 9

Currently hooked up to vitamin C I.V.  Hopefully will start feeling better soon.  Blood pressure was pretty low when I started.  Had my chest/cough checked.  It’s clear, so it’s not bronchitis.  Damn cheese!  Damn mouldy leaves.   My cousin says she loves it when I swear in my blogs!

Things Are Looking Up

Yesterday I was a wreak because I had to go get an abdominal ultrasound. I think I was having an anxiety attack. I was aggravated because I didn’t want to go and my appt was in the afternoon and I wasn’t suppose to eat & drink before this test. I don’t want to lose more weight. When I got there, I was given a new technician to do the test (with her supervisor in the back ground).

I stewed about it all the way home, in tears, having doubts about everything and wishing I could call Michelle or Maria to talk to them. Oh how I wished they were still alive. And then the strangest thing happened. The new Adele song came on the radio. I always associate Adele with Maria O’Kane because one time when I was over at her house her daughter Sam did a song/dance routine to one of her songs. I had to smile because I know Maria I would have said, “The Drs here know shit.”  Then the song “Don’t you worry Child, Cause Heavens Got A Plan For You” which I took as a message from Michelle who was the most religious person I knew. So I stopped letting my mind go to the dark side and just concentrated on driving, singing, and praying. My friends in heaven were communicating from the dead. Call me crazy. I don’t care. I felt them with me.

Today I had to go to my onc. for my shots and to discuss further treatment plans for me (i.e.  chemo). I did not want to go. I had some really bizarre dream last night….something about if my oncologist dumped me as a patient, it would be a good thing because my oncologists wife was doing something wrong and was evil ( I don’t even know his wife). I dunno it was really weird. Took Bobo with me for morale support.

My onc. dr was unusually quiet. Didn’t say one word about going back on chemo. He knew I went to Germany. He handed me a paper with my abdomen results which indicated there was nothing abnormal….no sign of metastatic cancer in any of my organs (liver, gallbladder, kidneys etc). “What a minute”, I said. “What about the thing that was growing at the head of my pancreas? I questioned.  What happened to it! “It’s gone” he said. “What do you mean it’s gone? I asked. “Oh there must have been something wrong with the last CT scan when they did it”, he replied.

However, it wasn’t just one CT scan that showed this thing on my pancreas, it was two. I have records on two scans that there was something there. And now, since I came back from Germany, I have one record that shows it’s gone since.

Bobo said he is puzzled. He doesn’t know what to think.

I told him I needed to get off the tamoxifen for a while because I think that was giving me the pain I was getting on my side, breathing problems, and blurry vision. He told me that was fine and if I wanted to go on it again, even 1/2 dose, I knew where to find him.

I also told him my Dr in Germany told me not to get my lung examined for 6-8 weeks because it would take time for the medicine to work. My onc said, “Sure, when do you want him to book it?”  I said after December 25th because I didn’t want to wreak my Christmas! So I have a chest CT scheduled for some time in early January.

Glad that appointment was over. Getting my shots at PMH next month, then I have to get CCAC to give them to me Christmas Eve because the hospital is closed.

So happy today! That appt wasn’t bad at all. Things are looking up!

So yah think in January if this thing on my lung is gone that he is going to believe in alternative medicine!?

Nah!

 

So, How’s My Treatment Going?

October 21

Saw Dr Sommer and Dr Mariam yesterday. Everything seems to be in working order (liver, lung, kidney, brain, metabolism, blood work). The only thing that’s still out of whack is my intestines and a bit of my lymph node system. So I’m going to drink some sour sop tea when I get home.  He told me that would be a good idea.

I made a bad choice with my lunch order yesterday…Creme of mushroom soup. I didn’t want pumpkin soup again and that was my other choice. I don’t usually drink any milk products, but I thought I’d be okay here. I was gravely mistaken. Didn’t make it to my apartment…all I can say is thank the lord for the Radisson hotel lobby washroom!

Still feeling yucky today. Tummy’s sore. But my back is definitely getting stronger. I’m can now support my weight without being all hunched over. I can walk for longer periods of time without pain too. Things are good in that department.

Yesterday I met an Italian father who was here with his young daughter in her 20’s. He said the Drs in Italy poisoned her with chemo drugs which came from America 4-5 years ago. (I think they had here on some sort of clinical trial). He said she became blind and paralyzed. Because she couldn’t walk, he had to carry her in his arms to the clinic…she was almost dead. The Drs in Italy told her to go home to die. Dr Sommer saved her.  I think she lung cancer.

He also told me of a child that had been coming there for a few years because a vaccine crippled her. Although Dr Sommer was able to fix her physically, she still had brain damage from the vaccine.

Another woman is here with lupus and stomach cancer. She’s been coming here for 4-5 years and says the treatment here has helped her.

I’m on my way to another clinic to discuss other treatment options which are not available at my clinic like dendritic cell vaccine, immunotherapy, and GcMAF. It’s a private clinic with a large price tag attached. We’ll see what comes out of my $300 consultation fee.

 

Rent-A-Nightmare: What Happens When Your GPS Isn’t Working

Monday October 19

I’m having a shitty day.
I rented a car so I could go to the Hallwang Clinic to learn more about their immunotherapy, GcMAF, and dendritic cell vaccines. I was suppose to go on Sunday when I arrived, but my plane was delayed several hours in Toronto, and I didn’t make it to my appointment.
This clinic is in the middle of no where and even if I go by train, I will still have to take a taxi. So I figured I have the car from the week- end, I will extend it one day and go Monday.

I left at 10:30. My appt was at 2:00. Entered the destination on the GPS.  Go.  Not.
Well it guided me to a mountain with barely any room for one car on the road, never mind two. I climbed for several kms until I reached a fork in the road. And the bloody GPS wasn’t saying which way to go. That’s when I decided to go back. Took me a while to get to a gas station where a kind woman tried to help me reconfigure the GPS, which took me back to the same spot. By some miracle, an old man happened to be biking by this desolate area at the fork on the road.  I asked him for help. He told me I could not go to Freudenstadt because the road was closed. Good thing I didn’t go.

Ask me how much fun it is to make a 3 point turn off the side of a cliff (twice). Nerves are shot. Going to be late. Tried to find another way of getting there and then plum gave up in sheer exhaustion. Some things are not meant to be.

Took the car back to the hotel where I begged for assistance. Asked if I could return the car 1 day early because it was no good to me without a GPS that was not getting me to where I need to go. The receptionist tried to give me a map, but seriously, how am I going to read a map and drive at the same time in a strange country? And what do I do when I get to the roundabouts?  Argh!

Asked the hotel receptionist when the next train to Dornstetten was. Three minutes ago. Isn’t that a coincidence. My last train to the same place left 3 minutes ago when I was at Frankfurt Airport too.

Turned in the car (after I smacked the door into a pole at the hotel). Oh well, I’m insured.

Rescheduled my appt for Wednesday.  Going by train.  Didn’t get there via plane or automobile.  Let’s see what happens tomorrow!

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Esslingen Au Neckar (a.m.)

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I had heard this was a great Christmas town because people get all dressed up in Medieval costumes.  Decided to go have a look.  It was quaint, but nothing really spectacular., especially after seeing that castle on a cliff.  I had a hard time finding the place because the GPS decided it would be fun to make me go in circles.  I finally found a handicapped parking spot and I didn’t have to pay.  Bonus.

Here are some photos of the town.

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I climbed a really steep staircase.  A week ago I don’t think I would have been able to do it.  That ozone therapy really helped.  The side of the mountain were completely covered in wine grapes.  I want to buy the wine and try it!  Scoured the town in the morning, then headed to Ludwigsberg Palace.

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Lichtenstein Castle

imageSo they gave me a brand new Audi. Crazy fools. I maxed out on the insurance so I don’t have to pay anything when I return it if there is a dent or I smash up their car (my fault or someone else’s).

I barely got out of the driveway and it stalled on me…at least that was what I thought. But actually, it goes all quiet when you stop the car and starts up again when you take your foot off the brake. Very strange.

imageDriving along the highway was beautiful as all the colours of the leaves are changing. Reminds me of the Don Valley Parkway, but it’s miles and miles of fall colours as far as you can see. Mountains full of yellow, orange, and red leaves. And the best thing is that you can drive as fast as you want in some lanes (or 120km in others). I was averaging 140 in the middle lane. At one point I was going 160, and cars were still passing me on the left side. Yet I felt completely safe.

Feeling a bit like Thelma minus Louise. Brand new car that smells new, driving, driving driving FAST. I got some amazing pics of Lichtenstein. I wish I could post them but the wifi is not working at all in this room. And I had to let the water run for 15 minutes to get hot water for a shower. Bummed out about the wi-fi. Can’t watch The Truth About Cancer Series #4 and I wanted to see it. Not sleepy yet either. Only thing I can do is write my notes to you.  Oh look a TV. Maybe it works (mine at home gets one Italian station). Wouldn’t have survived the Middle Ages or anything pre-pioneer.

Backs feeling much better. No horrible pain when I wake up. It’s been 5 months of pain every morning. Thank you little piggy stem cells. Keep up the good work.

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There were three enormous pictures of the Duke who had an uncanny resemblance to my cousin Pina’s husband Frank.  In fact, I would say he was a dead wringer for the Duke.  He should go up there one day and tell them he’s an ancestor and I’m sure they’d let him in for free.  Jeepers, dress him up like the Duke and he could even lead the tours!

 

imageWhile I was there, a lovely damsel and a gentleman were being photographed.  So I asked them if I could get a pic with them.  I thought that was pretty neat that you could get all dressed up in medieval attire for photographs.  At first I thought it was a professional photography session, then I thought it was engagement photos, and then I realized they were actually a bride and groom about to get married in a little chapel off to the side.  They changed their outfits…she was in a red dress, he was in black/white…kind of looked like an Octoberfest outfit.

Wonder if Bobo would go for it on out 25th Wedding Anniversary?   Remember that clause about I was never allowed to take a photo of him again after the wedding?  Think after 25 years he’d forget?  Not bloody likely.

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imageAnyhow, I saw the bride being escorted by her father to a little building/chapel where all the guests were sitting, as I peeked through the windows.  I took a picture!  And entertained a lovely young couple (who I got to take pics of me, and I took pics of them).  We had a good time coming up with where would be the best shots!  Nice couple.

 

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imageHad lunch at a cafe across the street.  Had some bizarre meal…looked like fried long thin gnocchi with sauerkraut  on top.  All the other dishes had meat and I’m trying to abstain from eating pork (free radicals).

 

 

I found my car and told the GPS to go to the hotel and it took me to the middle of no where (trees/mountain…and said you have reached your destination…NOT). Fortunately my little GPS in my brain managed to drive in the right direction until I found a nearby town I recognized from a Google map I saw the night before. Stopped the car and painstakenly put in the hotel address once again (I had the guy at the rent a car place to do it for me initially and I thought I was all set). Wrong. Got a bit concerned because there were trees everywhere, and many, many deer signs, and it was starting to get dark.

imageimageWhy does this always seem to happen to me?

 

Then I remembered if I got into a collision with a deer, it was paid for by insurance and it wasn’t even my brand new car…so I went merrily on my way (smirk)!

 

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There was another wedding awaiting me at the hotel Jagerhaus in Esslingen Au Neckar.  Each guest was given a white balloon to release in the air while the bride and groom got red heart shaped balloons.  It was neat to see them all float away.

I ate dinner with two young guys drinking beers and their dog.  The dining room was completely packed for the wedding and seating was limited so I got to share my table in the adjacent restaurant.  Another dog came in and the one under my feet yelped and everyone in the restaurant jumped.  The waitress gave the dog his own water bowl.  Too funny!

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imageimageMy room was on the top floor and had beams running across the ceiling.  I liked it but was upset I didn’t have wi-fi and it took 15 minutes to get the water running hot!

Oh well, at least I got some much needed sleep!