Monday, August 24, 2015

Another grain of sand..

Conestoga Campground
White Sulphur Springs, MT

We arrived back at the campground
just in time to help with the ice cream social on Saturday night.
I think we've both gained a few pounds having free ice cream 2 nights a week :-)

About 11 o'clock that night I woke up with excruciating pain on my right side.
I laid there wondering..
gall bladder, appendicitis, or drat, another kidney stone?!
Two years ago I had one on my left side,
but I couldn't remember exactly how it felt.
Besides, that one started in my lower back
and moved to the front.

When I started getting nauseous from the pain,
George drove me to the local ER here in White Sulphur.
It's such a small hospital, we had to ring a buzzer to be let in..
..not an easy task to wait when I'm doubled over!

Since I was the only patient,
they quickly took my blood pressure (sky high from the pain!),
and got an IV going to administer pain meds.

As you can see the pain meds weren't kicking in yet :-(

The nurse on duty had to call in the doctor
who was staying at the hotel next door.
Apparently they have 'fill in' doctors on the weekends.
He came over and ordered a CT scan
to determine if another kidney stone was the problem.

They called the local CT tech in,
and he did two scans..
one with dye and one without.
Oh baby, that dye being flushed through the kidney
is much worse than having a baby!

They all confirmed that I had two stones..
one at the bottom of my right kidney,
and one in the Ureter.
That was the one that was causing such pain!
The doctor finally gave me stronger meds and I felt terrific.

Because of the one in my kidney they decided
I should go to Great Falls for further discussion with a Urologist.
Great Falls is 2 hours away, and since my pressure was so high,
of course an ambulance ride was recommended :-(

So...they called the ambulance to come get me.
By now I think I've woken up everyone in town :-)
It's about 4 am at this point, and I've had no sleep.
I'm in the back of the ambulance with a blood pressure cuff on my arm
and an oxygen sensor on my finger.
There were two EMT's, one driving, and one in the back with me,
who insisted on talking to me the whole 2 hours :-(

Anyway...we get to Great Falls hospital,
I'm put in a room, vitals taken,
and the ER doc on duty tells me that there was no reason
I needed to come up there!! Grrr...
He told me he would have sent me home with pain meds, etc. and let me pass the stone.
I can't even imagine what all this is going to cost us!
He told me the stone in my Ureter was likely in my bladder by then,
and the one in the kidney will be there for who knows how long.

George arrived about a half hour after I got there,
they gave me prescriptions and sent me on my way.
This was about 8:30 am by now.
Sunday the Walmart pharmacy doesn't open until 10 am,
so we sat around and waited :-)

Last night I passed the stone without incident or pain.
Now I have 3 prescriptions sitting in the drawer for the next time.

I did ask the doctor if there's anything to prevent these in the future, 
but he didn't give me any hope.
Not much can be done unfortunately.
Drink lots of water, which I do constantly through the day.
Nothing I'm eating or not eating causes them.
We don't eat much red meat, our sodium and calcium levels are normal.

I'm just lucky I guess!

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Glacier Trip

Currently at:
The Cheap Sleep Motel
Whitefish, MT

While we are in Montana workamping 
we couldn't leave the area without exploring 
Glacier National Park.
Our desire was not to take the RV up there,
so we figured a hotel stay in our budget.

We couldn't go up without making sure the
Going to the Sun Road was open,
and that didn't happen until late June.
With all that was going on at the campground in White Sulphur,
we postponed our trip until August 20-22.
the forest fires in Glacier park, Montana, Idaho, Washington
and Oregon have caused so much smoke!

George and I checked into the Cheap Sleep Motel
in Whitefish, Montana after our 5 hour drive.

It's perfectly located 25 miles outside of the West Glacier entrance.
Last night we found a great restaurant to relax at happy hour,
then had a great meal.


Mac and Cheese
We walked around the town of Whitefish afterwards..

You can tell how much smoke is in the air.

This morning we got up, had our so-so continental breakfast,
then stopped at Subway to pick up sandwiches for our picnic later.

We drove into the park, and showed our Senior pass to get in :-)

Our decision was to take the park's free shuttle 
from Apgar Visitor Center to Logan Pass.
This way George could see the sites,
and not have to worry about driving the truck on the Going to the Sun Road.

We parked and went inside so we could get our park passport stamped..

and then sat and waited for the shuttle.

It was nice to ride the shuttle,
so that we could enjoy the view,
this is mostly what we saw all day :-(

If we didn't smell the smoke we would have sworn it was a heavy fog.

When we arrived at Logan Pass, it was hazy, but still decent out.

We went inside and checked out the visitors' center there.
It has a big picture window to look out of at the mountains.

We were both in the mood for a hike,
so we took the trail to Hidden Lake.
It was 1.5 miles one way with a 1325 foot elevation gain.
The trail starts out paved, then there are sections of boardwalk
so that hikers are raised above the snow, slush, mud, and rivulets.
We did see flows of water, but no snow down on the ground.

We turned around occasionally to see how far we'd come.

As we climbed higher up, it got a bit chilly!

There were patches of snow on the sides of the mountains..

I was thrilled with the alpine flowers..

and the water falling from the snow melt..

We saw a lot of cute squirrels munching on flowers..

At the overlook we got to look down at Hidden Lake.

We can't even imagine what this would have looked like without the smoke.
George and I sat on a ledge overlooking the meadow to eat our lunch.
The ranger on duty assured it was quite alright to do so :-)

Soon it was time to head back down.
We were pleasantly surprised to see some mountain goats
on the side of the trail.

A few of them have radio collars on,
as some scientists are studying their habits.

We made it safely to the visitors' center after hiking over 3 miles!
There is some benches to rest on while waiting for the shuttle.
We decided to return to Apgar instead of continuing to St Mary's,
as the smoke was getting worse.

By the time we got back to Whitefish it was starting to rain.
We stopped and had an ice cream at a cute little place called Sweet Peaks.

Now we're relaxing in our little motel room.

Tomorrow we head back to White Sulphur..
two more weeks to go!

Monday, August 17, 2015

A little catching up to do

Conestoga Campground
White Sulphur Springs, MT

Wow, haven't blogged in over a week.
Not much going on here, but we're counting down the days
until we hitch up and go.

There's been a lot of fires in the surrounding area,
and surrounding states.
The other day we could barely breathe from the smoke!
The mountains were invisible even..

Every once in awhile we take a ride over to the reservoir.
I forgot to take my camera the other day,
so I had to catch this Bald Eagle with my phone..

I was surprised to see him sitting on the telephone pole.

We've been planning our route to the eastern part of the country.
George and I are paying a quick visit to Mike & Terri Young
while they're still in Illinois before we hit Ohio.

We also made reservations to stay at 
in Charleston, SC.
My Mom will end an American Cruise Line vacation
there on December 26th, so we thought it would be cool
to spend some time there after Amazon.

I may have some news about our workamping gig
after Amazon as well.
We've been looking at finding another paying job
in Texas somewhere from January - May or so.
There's a very cool resort that we talked to about an opportunity.
As soon as we know more, I'll let ya know!

Thursday we head to Glacier for a few days..
lots of pictures to come later this week!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Bear of a day

Conestoga Campground
White Sulphur Springs, MT

We've done and seen pretty much everything
in the immediate area that we can do.
However, sitting around on our days off gets boring :-)

So yesterday we hopped in the truck,
intending to drive down to Bozeman just to get away.

Near Bozeman is a little place called

This place was set up by Casey and Ami Anderson
to protect bears that were rescued from the wild
or other sanctuaries.

Currently there are 5 Grizzly bears housed there,
Bella, Jake, Maggi, Sheena, and Brutus.
We paid our $6 entrance fee, walked through the gift shop,
and out into the compound.

Each bear has their own den where they stay
until they are allowed out into the main yard.
Not all the bears can be out at the same time,
as they don't all play together well :-)

We got there in time to see Bella out in the yard playing.
She is so cute!

The yard is big enough to run around in,
filled with rocks, trees, logs, and a big natural pool with waterfall
for them to roam around and explore.
Bella would run around like a kid,
stopping once in awhile to play with a log..

...then decided to cool off in the pond..

She found an Elk bone in the water to chew on.

There were some logs floating in the pond,
so she started playing and chewing on them too.

She got out to dry off and run around some more,
and hopped on a log to explore.
Her 'dad' Casey Anderson came out
and was talking to some of us about the bears.
Bella heard his voice and whipped her head around to hear him.

 These bears can smell things up to 3 miles away,
and their hearing is very keen,
but their eyesight not so much.

We laughed at her antics as she meandered from one thing to another..

After a bit, Bella went back into her den,
and Jake and Maggi came out.

Before they let another bear out,
Casey puts fruit, candy, honey, and other treats
so that they keep up their foraging skills.

It was fun to watch the two find the treats!

We really enjoyed seeing these creatures up close.
The rescued bears would never make it in the wild,
so seeing them cage free made us smile.
I'm glad we decided to stop in!

We went into Bozeman afterwards to eat lunch
at Olive Garden.
George loves his pasta!

On our way back to White Sulphur we stopped in Livingston,
our favorite little town,
and had a cold beer.

Today we're going to start our walking again.
Got to get ready for Amazon in a few months!