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Los Gatos Visit And Home (Sick) Again

February 12-18, 2018
Written February 24+
Dear Diary and Friends and Family,

It has been almost a month since my last diary, so I will go back a week or two to catch up.  As is often the case, this is because we want a record, not particularly because we assume others are very interested.  Maybe, a little, but nothing remarkable is promised.  

On the weekend of the 10th and 11th, we managed some normal family contacts.  I Skyped with Geoff and his kids and chatted by old-fashioned (cell) phone with Brian.  Reports were all positive.  Geoff was finishing the preparations for selling their Gaithersburg house and monitoring the construction of the new place in Frederick.  Ryan and Sean were healthy and progressing in school, doing well in the standardized testing that is so much a part of school systems nowadays. 

Meanwhile, Brian and family are making it through the Colorado winter with little remarkable news.  Brian's new job is proceeding and Rich continues to enjoy his band and choir activities, while maintaining good class performance.   It is hard to remember he is 15-years-old already.
In Fresno, our family activity is mostly activities associated with Marianne's mom.  Dinners every second or third day provide her a break from the quiet hours working on her own routines.  At 98-years-old, and with very limited eyesight, she takes pride in still writing and mailing the checks for all her bills. I initiated a project for converting slides from her and Elemer's summer vacations in the 70s and 80s and we have had a few hours reviewing the pictures on the laptop screen.  She can't see the images all that well, but she perfectly remembers the occasions from thirty or forty years ago.

Here are a few (less than 1%)  of those slides of Magadalena's summers:


On Monday (12th) it was off to Los Gatos for a Marianne appointment with her favorite dentist.  Mamal examined her problem, but decided she would need a root canal specialist.  Ouch.  That meant our short visit would extend through the Wednesday morning, and that was ok because it gave us a bit more grandkid time.
When we arrive at their house, Ava and Sam are eager to show us what is new in their lives.  For Sam, the first project to share was an illustrated story he had "written" (I think there were words among the colorful drawings.)   Now, if he can get his reading to match his imaginative story-telling, some of mom's worries could be reduced. 
d180213_04_samsmile.jpgThe next morning, Ava helped Gigi with breakfast crepes (Hungarian palascinta, actually). Sam, wanted to "help", but didn't get beyond putting on a funny chef hat and trying to draw mom's attention.  He does that a lot.  Most of the time it works, but not always.

The kids went off to school and, two weeks later, I can not even remember what Gigi and I did.  (That's why I need to have a better picture record or at least a shorter delay between activities and diaries.)

Adrianne and Tony came over for a glass or two of wine in the evening.  It was nice catch up.  After they left, we also had time to talk with Mamal and Gabby, mostly about Mamal's dad.  Unfortunately, he has been recently hospitalized for various conditions, mostly complications of old age, I'm afraid. It's good that the Rahimi family is close, but the strain of these times is palpable.  We wish the best for all.

On Wednesday morning, I dropped Marianne off at the root-canal dentist and headed over to a Starbucks "office" to finish working on her MarianneArt web page.  It is looking pretty good and now we are thinking about expanding the web presence to Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, and whatever else makes sense.  The hard part is deciding what makes sense.  No answers yet.
Gabby and kids met us for lunch, and with Marianne's tooth pain medication still working, we enjoyed a light meal.  Sam and Ava were, as usual, nice lunch companions.  Gabby too!  With this nice memory, we headed off to Fresno, a pretty standard three-hour drive.

On Thursday, we managed a full day of "normal" activities: gym time to work off the extra travel calories, yard and trash work to fill our weekly garbage bins, banking, grocery shopping, and a dinner with Mamo.  Of course she peppered us with questions about her great-grand-kids, but we also talked about the difficulties Mamal's dad and the family were experiencing.  As a frail 98-year-old, Magdalena shared her personal concerns and insights. 

On Friday morning, at about 7:30 in the morning, this year's flu hit Marianne and hit her hard.  It would be four days before she ate again or even got out of bed.  Our plans to return to our normal activities were completely destroyed as she struggled and I worried, or was it the other way around?  This was the worst case of flu she had suffered in years and, as 70-somethings, we worry more than in past years.

d180218_10_rose.jpgd180218_12_berries.jpgThere was little I could do to help, except hang around waiting for improvement.  In fact, the virus infection proceeded pretty much as the doctor had expected: three or four days of getting worse and then a gradual turn around.  It was a long three or four days.

For my own distraction, I wandered around the yard taking pictures of the Spring growth.   I think this was an endorsement of the positive effect of both photography and gardening.  It helped me, anyway.

Once I felt comfortable leaving the patient alone, I went back to the regular activities: groceries, gym, cleaners, Mamo slide show, etc.  I also squeezed in a Spring blossom photo excursion and a nearby Fresno State University orchard. More therapy for me, I think
Eventually, Marianne gained ground and on about day 5 started eating again.  At exactly the right time, a half-dozen chocolate-covered strawberries arrived, frozen, from Monterey.  Thanks, Klare, it was perfect.

And now this long diary can be finished.

But stay tuned for more Spring blossoms and even some Sierra snow.

John and Marianne


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