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Monday, June 15, 2015

R and R Time is Food for the Soul in a Busy World

(Outside Paulsbo, WA)
We made it to SeaTac Airport in beautiful Seattle, Washington on Thursday, June 11. The mid 70 temps brought a smile to our faces and a car waiting for us at the airport brought us the second. Our driver was originally an immigrant from (sounded like Malovia -- near Russia) and spoke excellent English. We shared stories and experiences as he drove us to my daughter’s house. Along the way, we enjoyed the many flowers and trees that were in bloom, many I couldn’t identify.

We got off to a great start except for some concern that one of the grandchildren was having some day-long dental work and her pulse rate had plunged to 20. The next day they had to call 911 and apply CPR. She was in the ICU for three days. The diagnosis was pericardia. She had fluid in the cardium sac around the heart. Apparently some damage was done while doing CPR. Pretty scary ordeal!

The first day I was here adjusting to our new “digs,” I took a bad fall. The living room at my daughter’s house is sunken. The wood of the hallway blended in with the wood on the living room floor, and I failed to remember the step; fell hard flat on my face. I was lucky that I only got a fat lip and a bruised elbow out of it.
(Me and my Fat Lip)
The next day we drove to a small Norwegian village called Paulsbo. Nestled within the tall cedar and fir trees were small shops, art galleries, and bakeries. We browsed, made a few purchases, and then headed to lunch for some tasty fish and chips and poached salmon sandwiches. Yum!

People naturally stared at my odd looking mouth. When they did, I said “Yeah, he beats me.” They’d look shocked and then laugh which gave me an opportunity to tell what really happened.


Met some wonderful artist volunteers from two co-op galleries and shared business cards. I purchased some cool earrings from one of them. We also browsed in a Scandinavian gift shop and I bought a plaque to give to my husband on Father’s Day. The message says: “You can always tell a Norwegian, but you can’t tell them much!” Perfect!

We visited my great granddaughter, Kayla in the ICU that evening. Here is what we learned. Pericardial Effusion is an abnormal amount of fluid between the heart and the pericardium, which is the sac surrounding the heart. Pericardial effusions are associated with many different medical conditions. Most pericardial effusions are not harmful, but large pericardial effusions can cause problems by impairing heart function.

The pericardium is a tough, layered sac that wraps around the heart. When the heart beats, it slides easily within the sac. Normally, only 2 to 3 tablespoons of clear-yellow pericardial fluid are present between two layers, which lubricate the heart's movements within the sac.

In pericardial effusions, significantly larger amounts of pericardial fluid accumulate. Small pericardial effusions may contain 100 milliliters of fluid. Very large pericardial effusions may involve more than two liters of fluid.

Viral infections are one of the main causes of pericarditis and pericardial effusions. She may also have picked up a viral infection during the long hours of dental procedures she had to undergo.




After three days in ICU wearing a cap with sensors underneath, they decided it was a “heart” event and not an epileptic seizure. Between my fall and Kayla’s scrape with death, we all breathed a sigh of relief with the outcomes.

Yesterday we went to Northwest Trek, a nature preserve where one of my grandsons, Christopher, works. His major was in Zoology and he is working here during the summer. He plans to go to Indonesia to join his step-brother, Bryce, to study and work with a Thailand zoo on the Snow Leopard, an endangered cat species.
(Here is where Chris weighs the small animals and keeps them out of their cages while he cleans them)

Chris coaxes a badger from his hole to hand feed him.
Bryce traveled to Bogota, Columbia to research the coffee beans in that area and make connections. He will also work in Thailand with some coffee growers and network before going back to Washington to run his own coffee shop. He is hoping to create his own distinctive blend.

We will be traveling back to MN on Wednesday of this week, and then homeward bound to Fort Myers where I have some gastric procedures of my own to go through. It has been a wonderful vacation. We have enjoyed the cooler temperatures and the love of family. The great Northwest is one of my favorite places to visit. Audios amigos and I’ll write again when I get back home.
Chris talking to the audience, and feeding the beavers.