Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tucson and life thereafter

Tucson is a winter paradise to people like me from the Wasatch megalopolis of Utah. I did not think I would like it and that it would be ugly like the dessicated moonscape I witnessed at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix years before. My first trip to Tucson happened in January, 2008. My eyes were opened and thrilled. My return trip this year was just as great if not moreso. First of all, Tucson is not a moonscape, but has green everywhere! Of course there are several types of cacti, but the huge ears of some variant of prickly pears are dominant and exotically beautiful to the northern eye for some reason. There is cholla, which is a kind of furry-looking skinny cactus that one does not want to mess with, or look at too closely lest it jump onto your skin or clothing and reduce you to tears of misery. There is manzanita and palo verde which also have their own exotic beauty. There are citrus trees, full of ripe fruit this time of the year. There are even the palms one sees in Southern California along the streets. There are these huge, long-needled pine trees which grow all over the city and are beautiful, but different from the pines up here. The grasses and washes are all dry, but some of the barrel cacti have some blossoms. There is even a plant called ocotillo which is dormant this time of year, its stems protected by thorns a cactus would be proud to wear, but they are not cacti. they bloom with leaves and flowers when the rains come to awaken them, but in winter they are long, grey stalks of thorns that look dead. This year the temperatures were ten to fifteen degrees higher than they were last year, so instead of January feeling like March last year, January felt like May. My lingering cold is GONE, so gloriously GONE, after just a few days with some sun and warmth.

Then I had to come home and resume life. Mojo was so happy that Joe and I were back that every movement of arm or leg was a signal to jump up on our laps for a lick and some vigorous petting. My cats acted interested when I first pushed through the door, but then Loki seemed to focus on something interesting on the wall. Ulysses looked at something interesting on the floor until I moved toward the bathroom and he wanted a fresh drink of water in the sink. Loki strolled into the bathroom, but still found something interesting to watch in the doorway. Loki came around after I feed them both a can of soft food and then even he wanted his five-day share of scratching, rubbing and squeezing. So much for feline indifference as punishment for inattendance! They still had plenty of food, but were about a day away from a water crisis. I am glad I had both the small pot of water on the floor and the water-cooler style water dish. I did have reserves to call in just in case there was a blizzard or something, but that did not need to take place.

I had an MRI for my arm on the 21st for my surgery on February 6th. That was really painful! I had my arm positioned high above my head and strapped down. Then I was forced into the tube. I am such a chunk, but it was nice to rest against the side of the tube on one side. At first there was only minor discomfort, but as the MRI went on, the pain in my arm and shoulder started to ramp up. After about 20 minutes, it was getting to be moderately painful. By the time it was done, it was amazingly painful. They finished the last scan and wanted to leave me in the tube while the final scan was evaluated. Then they said, "How are you doing?" I said, "I am in a LOT of pain here." They yanked me out and said the scans were great. It took a couple of hours to regain the full use of my arm, but no permanant damage was done.

Returning to work was more of a challenge. Winn was freaking out about a big project for Care Transformation so that patient care areas will have access to electronic medical records in case of down time problems. After working on such projects for the last few years, I have just come to realize that these projects will accumulate the needed staff and skill and will turn out to be just fine. Winn was more freaked out until we had a meeting about the project. He is still freaked out about the regular equipment installs that need to be done before my surgery, but I am heartened about the amount of work that needs to be done on the project and extra time to take care of a few critical installs along the way. I was also relieve that my bud at work, Jeff, helped me get some critical work done on Friday. The next week will be fast and furious, but any extra installs I get done will be icing on the project cake and pave the way to get the rest done before surgery. I think things are going to be okay! Winn really is a good boss, but he still does not have the historical perspective of projects that I have. He really does work to make sure that I am not abused and I appreciate that very much, even when we differ on job mechanics.

I look forward to some coven work this week, some housework pre-surgery, and then the final preparations here at home.

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