Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Daddy's Surgery

April 16, 2013 ~ Today is dad's surgery. Last month his was diagnosed with Stage 1 Prostrate Cancer and today they would be removing the whole prostrate thus removing his cancer. We were ready to get this over with but we were all nervous. Mom and dad had just retired in February and haven't really had a chance to really enjoy their retirement.

We all met at Boone Hospital at 11:00 AM to get dad checked in. They were pretty quick to get him back to surgery after they got his IV's in and they took him to surgery around 12:00 PM. It was an emotional time for us. We knew he was in good hands and once this surgery was over he would be cancer free but there is something about your family having surgery like this that pulls at your heart strings.
Jaxon was watching the window washers on the side of the building. He thought they were pretty cool! We finally got called back to speak with Dr. Dressner at 3:10 PM. Dad was just trying to wake up from the surgery and in about 45 minutes he would hopefully be moving up to his room. (Honestly he may be a great doctor but he was a total smart ass. As long as my dad receives great care then I could care less but he could take a lesson in bedside manners) He said that dad did great and should be able to go home tomorrow.

 It was now 5:15 PM and we still haven't heard anything. I finally went over to call back to recovery and see what was going on. They are getting ready to move him to his room and he didn't want to wake up from the surgery. (Makes you so nervous when they tell you it might be 45 minutes and 2 hours later you finally hear something) Ashley had to take Jaxon home as he missed his nap and was getting cranky. Mom and I went up to his room to wait for him. Once they got him there he was really hurting. He said it felt like someone had kicked him in the stomach several times. He wasn't going to take any pain meds (my dad is pretty tough) but we told him he would need them for the next couple of days at least because he had a major surgery.  They gave him some water and 2 pills and because he had nothing on his stomach he just about got sick. They had to give him some meds through his IV to keep him from throwing up. (When dad was 2 years old he got an infection in his belly button and had to have it removed. They said they had a heck of a time getting through the mesh/scar tissue to get the machine in for surgery and this is where he was hurting the most)

Mom stayed the night with him and based on how he was doing they thought they would stay another night but he started making good progress and got to head home the next day as planned.

The 7 days after surgery took a toll on dad (mom too). He didn't feel good and couldn't wait to get the catheter out as well as the 19 staples. He went to his post op appointment and they filled his bladder and there were no leaks! Woo Hoo! They took everything out and told him that they got all the cancer and he was officially cancer-free! The best news ever! Since then he has felt much better and hopefully mom and dad can get to enjoy retirement the way it's supposed to be! Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers, text messages, phone calls and hugs.... means a lot to have such great friends/family! A special thanks to the team at Boone Hospital for their rock star care!

New Orleans, LA ~ Day 4

April 13, 2013 ~ This was our last full day in New Orleans and we've had a lot of fun! We decided to hop on a open top bus and see some of the different areas they we may not have seen during our stay. It was a beautiful day and the sun felt good along with sitting down for a little while as our legs have covered a lot of ground since arriving!

 We stayed on the bus until we got to the Garden District. We decided to grab some lunch at a little place called Tracy's! It was a great little Irish pub! 
Not sure if there is something symbolic about the umbrellas but it was really cool to see all the neat things around this place. Loved the atmosphere for sure!

Not sure if you can see these or not but I loved seeing the all the beads in the trees! I guess it's safe to say New Orleans loves to party! 
Loved seeing some of the old trollies! 
We decided to check out Mardi Gras World! 
These are just a few of the really awesome realistic floats they have for the Mardi Gras parade! If you get a chance to go to New Orleans you need to stop by and see this place!

 This was a great memorial remembering those from Hurricane Katrina.

It was finally time.... time to go to the main event of this entire vacation... George Strait!

We attended a special VIP Pre-Party where they served us roast beef sandwich, veggies and dips, red beans and rice and dessert! We got to see some of the stuff George takes on tour with him which was pretty cool to see. (Script signed by George for his movie, Hall of Fame stuff and Entertainer of the Year Awards)

Martina McBride was awesome! Love hearing her in concert!

Next up was King George! We scored front row seats and during the whole concert you stood up against the railing so you could be within an arms length away from him!

He was awesome! We had seen him 3 other times in concerts but this was even better! He was great with the crowd telling him little stories and sang 2 songs at one microphone and move to the next one. He was really good... but after all it is George!

What was really cool was to see these people get a new home from George Strait! He just came out of the military and has PTSD and couldn't find work. George and this other gentleman (can't remember his name...sorry) gave them a home, has an option for 2 different jobs making between $50,000-$100,000.00, Walmart gave them groceries for a year and they received a flat screen TV. Pretty awesome to see this happen to someone who is very deserving! Congratulations!

George was awesome... and let you take his picture!

My Aunt Judy, cousin Stephanie and her boyfriend Justin were sitting in the front row of the next section behind us! Awesome seats for sure!

He really had a good time and you could tell!

Martina McBride came out to sing a couple songs with George....


If you click on this link you will see a YouTube video that someone else uploaded of George and Martina singing "Jackson". If you look over George's left shoulder you will see Brandon and I! You will also see me taking a picture of them and the picture up above of George and Martina is the one I was taking! How cool is that! They sang one of my favorite songs "Golden Rings" too! Wish they could have sang that in front of us! Oh well... Brandon and I belted it out with them!

What a great concert and one we will remember for years to come! We had never been to New Orleans or even to Louisiana and thought this would be a perfect trip to see someone we both love and experience a great state! Thank you NOLA for all of your hospitality and laughter!

With our tickets we each got a George Strait signed guitar. Of course we couldn't take them on the plane with us but our hotel was happy to help us ship them home! Love these!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Orleans, LA ~ Day 3

April 12, 2013 ~ We  decided to take a couple of tours today of somethings that seemed interesting. First up we decided to take the St. Louis Cemetery Tour which lead us through some interesting history of what they do with the bodies when those living in Louisiana pass on. Our tour guide took us on a 3 block walk to the cemetery and gave us a lot of really interesting stories/history of those here.

Each of the different mausoleums seen in this cemetery have been purchased. Each of the family members buried in this cemetery are of catholic religion and can hold up to 100 family members. How you might ask.... well it gets so hot here that a casket is placed in the mausoleum and left for 1 year and 1 day. Then it's removed and the remains of the body are placed inside and the casket is burned (so they don't spread disease). Basically our bodies are mostly water/mush. Think of it like a turkey in a 300 degree oven.... when cooked long enough there is nothing left. This is true for the human remains and each mausoleum as a "basement" which the remains are swept into the basement and the next family member is placed in the mausoleum. Crazy yes but true.

This one is owned by Nicholas Cage. Until about 2 weeks ago this was white and now gray.

It was really interesting to see these. One of the tour guides had passed away recently and was buried in this one. He was family friends with the people that owned this mausoleum. So much history here.

 Many believe this is where Marie Laveau is buried. Marie Laveau was a Louisiana Creole practitioner of Voodoo. You will notice all the triple XXX's and gifts others have left for her. This is not where she is buried.

 There were several graves like this one. Some people wanted to have their caskets in the ground and because they aren't much higher than the water level they could put the casket in 1' of dirt and brick the rest in. The tour guide said when they get a lot of rain you can hear a knocking noise which is the casket tapping against the bricks. (Wouldn't that freak you out at night!)

 Another place they think Marie Laveau is buried. You will see more gifts left for her. They have to clean up all of this stuff weekly because there is so much. Our tour guide said they must have just cleaned it up as there wasn't much here. She is not buried here.

I would have liked to stay a little longer to look at all of these and I am glad we had a tour guide to tell us some of the stories and answer some of the questions.
This was the last place people think Marie Laveau is buried. This is the only mausoleum that says "Famille" or Family of Marie Laveau. She is not buried here either. They believe she is buried in St. Louis Cemetery #2.

At the end of our St. Louis Cemetery Tour we walked down the other end of Bourbon Street we saw some people up on a balcony and Stephanie asked if they had any beads. The lady said "You want beads... hang on!" she grabbed a whole bunch of beads and through them to us! It was pretty cool to get all those beads and didn't have to show the "girls"! 

Another Red Bull kind of day for my Aunt.....

We decided to grab a bite to eat closer to the Airboat Tours and found a little place called Boutte's.

Then it was time to head out on an adventure! We took an Airboat Ride to search for gators! Our driver was 100% Cajun and awesome!

This little guy was missing his right front leg but he loved that swamp crack (aka: marshmallows) our guide said they love the sweetness of the marshmallows and once they get the taste for it then they are on the payroll.... (which means that they will come right up to the boat for more)

This little guy was on the ride with us. He was only a year old and I bet those little teeth would hurt!

I thought Bailey and Mattie might have a hay day with this little guy but thought he was bet to stay in Louisiana where he belongs!

After our ride we wanted to take a group picture... then our photographer decided we needed to remember him from our trip! (He wasn't right!)

We decided we better hit the casino for a little fun and just after midnight the machines started hitting good! (I've always said they hit good between midnight at 2:30 am). It was a lot of fun but we needed to get some sleep since we had a date with George Strait tomorrow night!