Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another nice ride and losing things

Since the weather was so nice we decided to take another scooter ride today. It has probably been 40 years since I was over the route between Globe and Superior via Hayden/Winkleman, so we did that today. We left Mesa and rode up US 60 through Superior and on to Globe where we had lunch at Taco Bell. As we were eating lunch Dianna realized that one of her emerald ear rings was gone. She immediately teared up as they mean a lot to her. As she went to the restroom before leaving, I walked out to the scooter and looked around. There on the right side footrest was the missing ear ring. When she came out I asked "How much do you love me?" before handing her the ear ring. I got a big kiss!

Then it was over the mountain and down along the Gila River to Winkleman. The scenery was great and the weather was perfect. The road was much better than I though it was going to be. We had no problems maintaining 50-55 all the way. We stopped at a BLM recreation area about 5 miles north of Winkleman and watched the kids riding their tubes down the river. We then saddled back up and rode through Winkleman, Hayden and Kearny on the way back toward Superior. A few miles past Kearny we came to the Ray open pit copper mine. We turned off the highway and rode out to the visitor viewing area.

Wow. What a hole in the ground! Surprisingly, they were working today, a Sunday before Memorial Day. We watched the huge trucks with their loads of ore creeping up the roads ringing the pit walls. It was interesting to watch. Then the fun began.

As we prepared to get our gear back on, Dianna noticed she did not have her cell phone, a Droid Bionic. We searched the area and it was not there. I tried calling it an no answer. We were pretty sure we had it when we were in Globe for lunch, but couldn't remember seeing it since then. Globe was at least 60 miles behind us.

About that time I remembered that I had installed Google Latitude on her phone. It is an app that sends its location to Google periodically . If the GPS is not on, it will update the location based on cell towers. That's not real accurate but it might give us an idea. I checked and it showed that her phone had checked in less than an hour ago at a cell tower in Winkleman. This meant that we almost certainly lost it when we stopped at the river.

We headed back, about 30 miles, and searched the recreation area high and low. We asked if anyone had seen it, but no one had. I then checked my phone again and discovered that we had no service in the river canyon. That means the phone could not have checked in from there. We headed back into Winkleman, driving slowly and searching the shoulder of the road, and did not get service until we were almost in town. That means we lost the phone along the highway someplace, an unlikely event, or someone who had been at the recreation area found it and took it with them into town. I suspect that is what happened.

I called a couple more times but there was no answer. The phone did not update its location again which indicates that either it was damaged as it fell, or whoever found it turned it off. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt, answering a Droid does take some training. You have to know to swipe your finger in the right place in the right direction. It's not like pressing a button on an old style phone.

We searched along the highway shoulder for a while as we headed back toward Superior, but finally gave up and came on home. Our 150 mile trip had turned into a 210 mile trip. When we got home I transferred her number to an old Samsung phone we keep for such emergencies. It's not a smart phone, but at least she will have phone service.

Of course, closing the barn door after the horse is out is our standard way of operating. This evening I reinstalled the "Where's My Droid" app on my phone. Unfortunately, I had never installed it on hers. If I had I could have located the phone to within about 10 feet, but without it I was just relying on Latitude to tell me where the phone had been.

I'm going to wait a couple days to see if anyone attempts to contact us. If they figure out how to get into the phone they should be able to find someone to call in the contact list, or perhaps, just perhaps, someone will turn it into the Winkleman police. I will call them on Tuesday to let them know.

So our report for the day is, nice ride, two things lost, one recovered.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Day Trip to Payson and the Mogollon Rim

I know. Two blog posts in one day after two months without one. Hmmmm.

Today we took a day off from Mom care and took a 200 mile ride on the scooter. We left Mesa at about 10am when the temperature was just about 90, and headed up Arizona 87. Payson is at about 5,000 feet and only 70 miles away. We pulled into town about 11:15. The temperature was only 78. Dianna actually had to put the liner in her riding jacket to keep warm.

After getting gas (which was illogically 25 cents a gallon cheaper than in the Phoenix area) we went to the Rim Country Museum. We paid our $4 each senior admission fee and expected to wander the museum, but instead a docent was assigned to us to give us a guided tour. It was great. We had one docent for the first floor, a different one for the second floor, and a third for the Zane Grey cabin tour. All of them were very knowledgeable and great guides. We were there for a little over 2 hours, and we were the only people on our tour. There were some other tours going on with other docents, but it appeared everyone had their own personal guide.

Of course, Zane Grey wrote many of his stories about the Mogollon Rim country, and he had a cabin there for a while. The actual cabin was about 20 miles east of Payson, but they built an exact replica of it next to the museum when the original burned in a huge forest fire in 1990. It was an interesting and educational visit. We were both very pleased that we stopped. I think it is worth a trip from Phoenix just to experience the museum and cabin.

After lunch we decided it was still to hot to head back to the low country, so we drove east on 260 17 miles, then north on a side road 4 miles to the area where Zane Grey's cabin was located. There was nothing to see, but it gave us a sense of where he wrote many of the books about the area.

We then continued east on 260 and climbed to the top of the rim. It was 75 degrees and the elevation was 7,500 feet. I almost put in my jacket liner! We rode down the rim road a ways to a vista point. It sure was beautiful up in the pines, even though the smoke from a forest fire southwest of Payson obscured some of the view.

We then headed back toward town, stopping in Payson for a hot fudge sunday at McDonalds, and removing the jacket liner. By the time we got home it was nearly 7pm, but it was still 94 degrees. We had a good time, learned something, and spent a mostly cool day in the mountains of Arizona.

Not Exactly What We Planned

It's a good thing our plans are always cast in Jello. Things have not gone as expected this spring.

After spending our two weeks along the Salt River in Mesa, on March 27th we moved to an RV park just north of Wickenburg, AZ for an opportunity to explore an area of the state we had not spent much time in before. We visited Prescott and toured the museums in Wickenburg before Deidra returned to Texas on March 31st. We stayed at the campground for another couple weeks, making an occasional trip back into Mesa or Tempe to visit Mom and pick up mail or packages that had been sent to Daryl's. We were on schedule to leave for Southern California when plans were changed.

On Saturday morning, the 14th of April, we got a call from Mom. She said she couldn't move her right hand. We contacted Donna who went over to get her and take her to the hospital. Although it was initially misdiagnosed as a palsy and she was sent home, Daryl stayed with her on Sunday and took her to see her own Dr. on Monday. He sent her for an MRI and it was confirmed that she had had a stroke. She was admitted to the stroke ward at Banner Baywood hospital that day.

Dianna drove down to be with her that Monday, and I packed up the trailer and moved our home back to Mesa on Tuesday. Since then our lives have been pretty much taken up with caring for Mom. She was in the stroke ward for about a week, and then was moved to rehab for over two weeks. We were there at least once and usually twice a day. Between caring for her and helping with logistics and other things, we have had little time to ourselves.

Mom was released from rehab on May 8 and moved back to her apartment. For the first few days we never left her alone. Dianna spent the first two nights, then Daryl spent Thursday night, and I spent Friday night. She had almost nonstop visits from a home care nurse, a physical therapist and an occupational therapist, as well as visits from friends and family. By Saturday she was doing quite well and we left her alone for the first time that night. We have continued to spend time with her every day as she continues her recovery, and we are leaving her alone more and more.

Her strength on the right side has improved. She is probably at 70-80 percent of where she was. The fine motor skills are also much improved, but still have a ways to go. She does not have the strength in her legs that she used to have so mobility is something of an issue, but she is getting better. There are still questions about how much help she is going to need in the future, and where that help will come from.

A major complication with her recovery occurred from an unexpected place. She began experiencing severe back and shoulder pain while doing the therapy. At first it was thought it was just muscles that hadn't been used in a long time, but the pain kept getting worse instead of better. X-rays showed nothing but finally an MRI revealed that she has numerous tendon tears in her rotator cuff and other tendons. No wonder it was so painful. It still is. The pain is severe enough that much of the strengthening exercises and other therapies have been scaled back or put on hold. We are trying to get a handle on the pain, other than taking huge amounts of Vicoden every day, but have been frustrated by the availability of doctors who accept her insurance. It is still an ongoing issue, but the pain is getting somewhat less and she is not taking as many pain pills as she was.

As I mentioned, until today (which will be the subject of my next blog post) we have been with Mom every day since the stroke. Of course, Daryl and Donna have also been very involved, but we are staying only three miles from her apartment and we don't work, so it is much easier for us to deal with most of the day to day stuff. Heaven knows that Daryl and Donna have done far more than their share over the years. We are glad our lifestyle lets us support Mom in this way when she needed it, and lets us take some of the burden from Daryl and Donna for a while.

We currently plan to stay here in Mesa until the end of the month. At that time we expect to resume our plans for visiting Southern and Central California, then on to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest for the summer. Of course, anything can happen at any time to change those plans.