Thursday, April 12, 2018 – My Sick Day

Well, we got proof today that Hubby's sickness the other day had nothing to do with a lack of dialysis! It was most definitely a bug of some kind because it hit me last night like a brick wall. I had all the same symptoms, seriously bad diarrhea, but I managed to avoid the vomiting, though I felt nauseous. I took Pepto right away, hoping to minimize the impact, but I was still feeling really bad. I slept for over 12 hours, managed to get up for a short while, but was so weak and my muscles were so sore, I crawled back into bed by 2:00 and slept through the afternoon. I kept up with the Pepto, which helped, but I was just completely wiped out. Then, just about 4:30 in the afternoon, I felt a flush go from my head to my toes and back again, and like magic, I started to feel better. Maybe I had a fever that broke or something (I hadn't had the wherewithal to check that), but I started feeling better. Hubby was feeling well enough to get himself a couple of soft-boiled eggs for himself, but I just couldn't eat anything, except one piece of toast in the hopes of absorbing some acids. I slowly improved through the evening, though we went to bed before dark and had lights out not too long after that. Not sure how much sleep I'll get after sleeping for more than 18 hours straight already!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 – Another Quiet Sick Day

Though Hubby was feeling a bit better today and was able to make it through dialysis without any episodes of diarrhea or vomiting, he was still feeling far from his best. It was another quiet day, which we could both use, as we have been going nonstop in preparation for the trip, and nonstop since we started. I hadn't realized how much stress we had both been under, but now the tension is starting to easily, thank goodness. This is a nice park, the folks are so friendly here. I received a delivery from NxStage, and three of the rangers and camp guys helped load it into the trailer. Whoever made this order really screwed up, though. They sent me 70 cases of stuff!! A whole plastic wrapped palette! I only asked for 21 cases of dialysate bags, and they sent me 66, with 4 boxes of cartridges I didn't need! That's the one flaw in this whole system, I can't seem to make my own orders, it has to go through intermediaries, and inevitably, that screws things up. I did take an extra case of cartridges, just in case, and 22 boxes of dialysate because so far, two bags have been defective when I opened the box, so I had to replace those. The driver of the delivery ended up having the take the rest of it back, but didn't seem to mind. Anyway, it all worked out, I got my delivery, so I'm fully stocked with dialysate supplies until we get home again. It was a bit nicer today, nice enough to sit in our gravity chairs under the awning for awhile, with Hubby covered in a couple of blankets. Once again, an early evening of Longmires before lights out!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 – Far From Routine

After a decent night sleep, I rose early to get Hubby's dialysis machine set up. Using bags is quite a bit different than using our in-home Pureflow system, so I had to take my time to get it right. Hubby woke up feeling really terrible. He had diarrhea and he was vomiting. We presumed it was his body trying to get rid of the excess toxins that were in his body from not being dialyzed for the last few days, so we got him hooked up to the machine as quickly as possible. He still spent much of the session with a plastic bad handy nearby, and he didn't seem to improve as we went on. We ended up cutting it a few minutes short because of another bout of diarrhea he just couldn't control. He feels terrible! Not sure about the cause, but we spent the rest of the day quietly, trying to recover. Watched a few more Longmires on Netflix before calling it a day.

Monday, April 9, 2018 – Travel Day to Wolf Creek Park

Got up during the pre-dawn hours once again, did little more than get dressed before heading over to the building to get Apollo. Naturally, the building was still locked up tight as a drum. We ran into another woman who was also trying to get her horses out, and we drove around until we finally saw some people inside and banged on the door until we could get in. By then, of course, the buildings were all open. Fortunately, I had packed all of Apollo's stuff, except his hay bag and his water tub, the night before, so I threw that into the back of the truck and went back for him. We ponied him back to the camping area (more exercise than he's seen in days, poor thing!), tied him up while we hooked up the truck, which took longer than we hoped because the batteries were too flat. There's a button inside the trailer that disconnects the batteries from the electricals which we haven't quick figured out yet, but we got close enough to plug in the truck, so that charged the batteries enough in short order. We finished packing up everything, pulled out enough to load up Apollo, then hit the road forthwith. We skipped breakfast, so we found a Bob Evans along the way and stopped there. Did I mention it was snowing? Yeah, for about the third or fourth time this weekend. Not what I expected in Indiana in April!! Anyway, we had a nice breakfast, then hit the road again, until I just felt so tired I just had to stop for a quick power nap. Hubby had napped a bit already, so he understood, and we pulled into the back side of a truck stop where I slept for about an hour. Perfect! Took a few slugs on a 5-hour energy and off we went! We stopped at a Wal-mart to fill up with diesel and pick up a few things, then headed out to Wolf Creek, where we happened to meet a ranger who stopped and asked us if we were the ones coming into the horse camp early, which, of course, was 'yes!' He let us know there was a barricade with lots of room to go around, and sent us on our way. We arrived moments later at a lovely little horse camp, with about twenty sites, five of which had electric. We had selected Site #14, the handicapped site, so as to be nearest the central water spigot, and near a manure pit. It didn't take long to get settled in and unhooked. The only down side is they have hitching posts here, but I put up a short highline so Apollo could at least move back and forth on it, and hopefully be comfortable. I may put up the highline between a couple of hitching posts later to give him more room, but he'll be fine for now. We had hoped to arrive early enough to dialyze today, but between breakfast and my power nap, it was just too late to get started, though Hubby said he felt fine, he'd be okay until tomorrow. We have just enough of a cell phone signal to watch a little TV before we crash into bed, so we finished off the first season of Taken before turning out the lights, exhausted. Whew! Love being back on the road again, really looking forward to getting back into a routine, though!

Sunday, April 8, 2018 – Final Day of Hoosier Horse Fair

Thankfully had a good, uninterrupted night sleep last night, so feel more refreshed than I have in a while, yay! Got in to the building early in order to do a brief interview with Wayne Williams, a virtual icon in the horse world, producer and personality for his website He does a lot of announcing around the horse expo circuit, and he happened to have his booth right next door to ours. Anyway, we got that done in no time, and after feeding Apollo and letting him out into one of the small arenas for a while to stretch his legs, we went about the business of the day. Got another small but enthusiastic group in my 1:00 lecture, and managed to sell a few books. We're really in a bad location here, the building is about 20 colder than anywhere else, and people tend to walk right through it without stopping. I've actually sold less books here than I did at the Southern Equine Exchange, which had a tenth of the attendance. Oh, well, hopefully we'll do better at the Midwest Horse Fair in a few weeks. I've been having this nagging feeling lately that I should wear a helmet with Apollo for awhile, as I have no idea how he'll react after not being ridden since June, and never being in the woods without his mama before, so I decided to look around for one. Fortunately, a very nice lady named Beth, who had come to my presentation, was a nurse and a former head of a pony club group, so she offered to come help me get a good fit. I ended up with a Troxler, in brown (not my favorite color), but I can probably make it into a Hellhat and have it look okay. Not too worried, but I'll be riding on my own for awhile, and I'm a little skittish about that. I'm going to try to work him a bit more this week to settle him down, so hopefully there won't be any issues. Nevertheless, I'm glad I bought a helmet at this point. Meanwhile, once the fair was over, we started packing up, and the rest of the room was just about empty by the time we finished. While there were all kinds of concerns about a long line of people trying to load out, it was all done in an orderly fashion, and we managed to get out by 5:00, after feeding Apollo once again. We headed back to the camper, got everything loaded back into the trailer area, and relaxed as much as we could, until we got a call about 10:00 saying that they would be breaking down stalls starting at midnight and we had to come and get our horse, otherwise they'd be calling the Humane Society to come get him! Grrrr! Well, when we explained the situation, that we were okayed to spend the night (along with a lot of other people!), she made a few calls and then let me know that they weren't actually breaking down tonight, that they would start at 6:30 in the morning, so we would have to get Apollo by then. Fine. Another early morning in store for us! Got into bed quick after that, with the alarm set early!

Saturday, April 7, 2018 – Second Day of Hoosier Horse Fair

Got to sleep a few minutes later this morning, but still managed to just barely get in by 8:00. Again, not much traffic early, as expected, but it started picking up later in the day. Gave another presentation at 2:00, sold some more books, and generally enjoyed the day, talking with our booth neighbors, though with the layout they have here, we're not close enough to any of the arenas to see what's going on. One of the nice things about the Southern Equine Expo in Murfreesboro, where I presented in February, was that the booths were all around the outside of the main arena, so we got to see a lot of what was going on, but here, it's all vendors, all the time. The room is still freezing, we're still trying out best to stay warm in here (it's actually warmer in the horse barn!), but that's really the only major problem. Our booth is kind of stuck out of the way so we're only getting about 10 percent of the traffic, but at least we're getting some. Closed up about 8:00 after sharing an Italian sausage sandwich, and had a more relaxing evening at "home."

Friday, April 6, 2018 – First Day of Hoosier Horse Fair

Lola woke me up at 4:00 in the morning scratching at the door, which she never does unless she's desperate, so I had to get up, dressed and take her for a walk out in the freezing cold. Naturally, I couldn't get to sleep again after that, so I tossed and turned until the alarm went off. Got Hubby up and moved to the dialysis center again, got him hooked up to his dialysis machine, and still managed to make it back to the fairgrounds before it opened at 8:00 a.m. It was fairly slow for the first few hours, as expected, and I had to slip out just before 10 to pick up Hubby (and take him off the machine with supervision), back before 10:45, just as the crowds started coming in. I did a presentation at 2:00, sold a few books throughout the day, talked to a lot of folks, and generally had a good day, though tiring. The building we're in is the coldest of them all, people keep opening and closing the overhead doors, which empties every bit of heat out in just a few seconds. Wrapped up in parkas and wool hats we did our best to stay warm, but I still had a sore throat by the end of the day. Once we closed up when the crowds were gone, and headed back to the trailer, only to find that Lola had had several bouts of diarrhea during the day, so I had an hour of cleanup to do before we could sit down and eat the salads we bought at the fair. A short evening, as we were both exhausted, hoping for a great night sleep, at last!

Thursday, April 5, 2018 – Busy Day Setting Up for Hoosier Horse Fair

Up bright and early (or should I say I dark and early, pre-dawn!) to get Hubby over to our prearranged appointment at the local Dialysis Center, where the nurses were absolutely fabulous. When they learned Hubby just had to have an emergency catheter put in because his arm graft had clotted, and that I have never really worked with that type of fixture before, they walked me through to confirm the information I learned in the crash course our own nurse gave me on Monday, and offered to let me do it myself , tomorrow, with supervision just to make sure I've got the process down right. After we finished there, we headed back to the fairgrounds, had some breakfast in the trailer, then headed over to the South building, got unloaded, and got our booth set up in short order, did a little running around for some last minute items, and had a fairly relaxing evening, though the temps were dropping fast, with snow predicted for tomorrow night! I certainly hadn't expected that in Indianapolis in April! But there you go. Good thing we brought our parkas with us!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 – Travel to Indiana State Fairgrounds

Px to come!

After an extremely stormy night, where once again I wasn't able to sleep for hours, we did let ourselves sleep a little later once the weather and the dogs settled down. Lola kept trying to climb up the stairs to the bed, and we kept having to push her off and sometimes swat her with a fly swatter until she finally gave up and settled onto her huge warm doggy bed. We let ourselves stay in bed a little extra just to make up for the tough night, plus we didn't need to arrive too early as the event doesn't even start until Friday and load-in isn't until tomorrow. We just wanted to get there a day ahead of schedule because we had an appointment for Hubby's dialysis early tomorrow morning. Stopped for breakfast along the way at a Denny's, conveniently located next to a Speedway where we filled up with fuel as well. Arrived at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, where the Hoosier Horse Fair is being held this weekend, right at 2:00, was quickly met by organizers Connie and Donnie Cressman, who graciously walked us through the procedure of getting us signed in, getting Apollo in an oval pen to stretch his legs, loaded in our booth set to a stall for temporary storage, led us to the camping area of the parking lot, filled up with water, got signed in with security, trimmed Apollo's two front hooves (which haven't been touched in months, and looked it!), got him settled into his stall and fed, took the dogs for a walk, got them fed, and finally settled us down for a drink and dinner of nachos, all while we watched intermittent flakes of snow swirl around in a frigid wind. Now that the cold front has gone through, we went from nearly 80 to below freezing, wouldn't you know! Finally climbed into bed nice and early, watched a few programs on Netflix, which was working great here in the big city, and hoped to get to sleep quickly tonight!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018-Back on the Road Again!!!

After almost a year at home, remodeling the house, dealing with Hubby's health issues, saying good-bye to little Billy, our poor blind little dog that traveled with us to every state, having to put down Hubby's mare Clio (my Apollo's mama) in February, acquiring a new puppy rescued from a nearby ledge where she was trapped (a Blue tick coon dog we named Dottie, partly because she has dotted ticking all over her belly, and also because the country music legend Dottie West was from a nearby town, and we thought a Tennessee state dog should have a country music name!) Hubby has had to start kidney dialysis in December, and then they trained me up to be able to do it at home, so now we have a machine that we can carry with us on the road. Since Hubby no longer feels confident driving and towing the little horse trailer while I tow the big Open Range, we've had to change our travel configuration to a living quarters horse trailer, the first one we've ever had! We had to find one with a cupboard big enough for the dialysis machine, which was harder than you'd think, and it had to be affordable so we didn't have to sell our Open Range beforehand, and we managed to find a used American Spirit that fit the bill! It's a three horse (though when we bought it we had two horses, and hopefully, when Hubby is feeling well enough again, we'll get back to two horses), with enough space to have a full bath and dining table which drops down into the perfect dialysis bed, right next to the big cupboard where the machine will live. It's about the same 36' length as the Open Range, but of course it's a gooseneck instead of a bumper pull, and half of it is dedicated to the horses' space, so it's definitely going to take some getting used to this much smaller space! After a hectic couple of weeks of getting everything all loaded (and compounded by the fact that Hubby's dialysis graft clotted on Sunday, for the second time in the past three weeks, requiring a day long trip to Vanderbilt so they could put in a temporary catheter in his neck until we come back from our trip and they can reschedule surgery to completely remove and reconfigure the graft so that it won't clog up again... Whew!), I was exhausted by the end of the night last night, too tired to sleep, actually, even though it was midnight. I tossed and turned, getting only about 4 hours or so of sleep before running around for another two hours packing all the rest of the stuff. Frankly, it's easier to just stay on the road than to keep packing and unpacking! Finally managed to get it all done and was out the gate by about 9:20, halfway between my desired departure time (9:00) and my drop dead departure time (9:30). It was unseasonably warm traveling today, and we were supposed to get some rain along the way, but didn't as we were driving. Just after we arrived at our overnight stop at Deam Lake State Recreation Area in Indiana, when I was just getting ready to get Apollo out of the trailer and walk him up to the barn, it started to sprinkle. I got him to the barn, then walked back down for hay and feed, and about the time I reached the barn again, there was a tremendous downpour. It was actually a silver lining though, because they hadn't turned the water on here yet, and the spigots by the barn didn't work, which meant I would have had to carry water all the way from the trailer, up a hill to the barn. Instead, I just put the bucket under the eaves of the roof, and the bucket was full in just a few minutes! Gotta make the best of things, no matter what! It started to slack off at last, and I headed back down to the trailer, only to get drenched again in a second downpour. Sigh. Half an hour later the sun was coming out, and I took the dogs for a walk down to the lake, which is right by the campground, and Lola went swimming after the ball while Dottie did her best to explore while on a very long leash. I've been so busy with Hubby I haven't had time to train her in the niceties of dog responsibilities, like coming when she's called, and because she's a hound, she's prone not to listen too well anyway, but I'm hoping to have more time once things settle down a bit, to get her a little more familiar with the custom. Anyway, we had a quick dinner and settled down early, determined to get a good night sleep to make up for the many hours I've missed lately. Lousy cell phone signal here, so Netflix wasn't an option, at least not after 8:00, when I'm convinced Verizon reduces their bandwidth or something, slowing it down from 4G to 1x, not enough for digital video. Trying to live without dragging the satellite dish around this trip, see how it goes. This whole trip is an experiment to see if we can still travel while dialyzing, though I'm the only one that will be going riding for a while, at least until Hubby can prove to me he's strong enough to get on a horse. But that's a discussion for another day. Well, I've gone on long enough for one post, but there was so much to catch up on!