Monday, December 28, 2015
Monday, December 21, 2015
|Munich airport Christmas market, November 22|
Things can change rather quickly.
Let's first of all say it out loud: I am doing well, the fevers are gone, and I hope to recover perfectly this time around (even thought that's what we thought after the first heart ablation this summer as well). While writing this I am sitting in the backyard of my friends Martha and Alan in Temple, with Osler the Doberman and Clifford, Chewbacca's look-alike, lending me company. I am recovering well on a 74-degree day in central Texas, looking forward to driving back up to Lubbock tomorrow and reclaiming my house after an absence of the better part of one-and-a-half months.
After our time on the Iberian peninsula, I spent another week with Sabine in Freising. For her, the daily grind had started up again but I had elected to stick around for a few extra days. Coming back to Germany from the south was a shocking experience, literally: When we arrived, the Munich airport's Christmas market was going full throttle and it snowed! So much for eternal summer. It didn't get much better until I finally got back to Lubbock, late on Sunday, November 29. It was cold, but at least there was sunshine.
The schedule called for a week in Lubbock, enough time to take care of the bills, some eBay stuff, the occasional bike ride, and of course the WTCA Christmas Party. Also thrown into the mix was a visit with my cardiologist, to check the old ticker. Well, the news wasn't so hot: There was a flutter back in the heart, something we thought we had nixed with the first laser procedure back in late July. Shit.
The first two days in Mexico were not about relaxing and just listening to the waves but rather shooting e-mails back and forth. Finally, I had it all in the bag: I was going to leave the all-inclusive a day early, get back to Lubbock in time to drive down to Austin, and stay with friends before and after the procedure. The hotel was easy to work with and refunded the cancelled day, American Airlines (and my old friend Jose in the DFW Admiral's Club who had proactively booked for me a second flight back to the US) didn't charge me any fees since I had paid for my travel with miles, and my old friend Micki in Austin immediately stepped up to take me to the hospital and then pick me up again. Things started to fall in place, and I actually was able to enjoy some of my time in Mexico. I had taken the Ritchey along, but I rode less than 50 miles—that's how shitty I felt. Sometimes things happen fast.
|Bubbly fun at the all-inclusive|
Sounds pretty gruesome, doesn't it? It sure is a good thing that they know how to put us out of our misery and then bring us back without too much of a hangover. As I said, 24 hours later I left the hospital and spent the next two days with Micki and Kent before driving on Saturday morning up to Martha and Alan in Temple. I've been taking it easy and have been napping and sleeping a lot, but I also have gone for walks and have tried (upon doctor's orders) to not be totally inactive. This morning I woke up after the best sleep so far, without body aches and the feeling that I may have been running a slight, low-grade fever. No need to get cocky or in a rush—there's still a lot of recovery to come, but I think the worst is over.
The official prognosis is that this time all rogue transmitters have been obliterated, but we thought so the first time around, too. Judging from some of the Facebook comments, few people have just one ablation to get it all fixed—some have three or even five. I hope I won't be one of them. Dr. Horton is considered to be the best in the business, and if one has had four ablations this is where one goes to get it fixed once and for all. So, let's keep our fingers crossed.
My plans for the remainder of the month have changed a bit in that I cancelled a flight to surprise Sabine over Christmas. I'll be in Lubbock, taking things easy and not getting in a rush to do anything. In a few days I'll start an easy exercise program again, but it will all be soave e piano. Tom and Trish have invited me to have Christmas dinner with them, and I am sure that I will enjoy more reading and movie watching time by myself. And then it will be 2016, and my heart will be like that of a 21-year-old!
|Christmas in Micki and Kent's neighborhood|
Thursday, November 26, 2015
|Worshipers lighting candles at El Rocio|
|The packed church at El Rocio|
|El Rocio has no paved streets—it's all sand, and everyone wears boots|
|Worshippers or true pilgrims? We couldn't figure it out, but they kept coming.|
|El Rocio is not just about religion—it's about horses and everything equine, too|
|Advertising on the side of a building|
|Excursion on horseback in the Donana, a huge national park|
|An empty motorway leads into Portugal—maybe because it was a toll road?|
|Alvor has both a wide sandy beach as well as sandstone cliffs|
|View from our terrace|
|Sunday night Happy Hour|
|How's this for a coastline?|
|Or this for a private beach?|
|Contemplating life—or just taking a picture|
|Sabine helping the locals|
|Alvor harbor, going from sleepy to asleep|
|Fishermen just off Cabo de Sao Vicente|
|The lighthouse at the most southwestern point of mainland Europe|
|In front of the huge refractor, inside of the lighthouse|
|The light can be seen from as far away as 59 kilometers|
|Sunset at the End of the World|
|What happened to summer???|