Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring and some excitement

Even though it is still pretty cold, spring is here!  Now for a bunch of pictures that prove it!

I took these two weeks ago during a rain storm as I walked back to the car from visiting museums on the mall.  I don't know if they are cherry trees or not - all I know is that I love the pink!

Magnolia trees outside the Smithsonian Castle last week.

There are tons of daffodils in our city.  Really.  They are all along the roads, highways, exits, basically everywhere.  All the yellow makes me smile. Don't worry, mom.  I was the passenger, not the driver, while taking these photos.

I don't know what kind of tree this one is either, but the blossoms look like daises.  I really need to work on being able to identify the local flora!

And of course the famous cherry trees.

They look so fluffy! 

The streets in our city are actually pretty scenic in the spring.  I imagine they will also look pretty spectacular in fall.

Oh, also we had some spring-time excitement.  Well, excitement is not quite the right word.  And it actually had nothing to do with spring.  Our "excitement" was this:
Don't worry, it was nothing life threatening at all.  Let me explain.

Two Mondays ago T woke up with a ton of pain in his back.  It hurt so much that he threw up and we went to urgent care.  By the time we got to urgent care the worst of the pain was over.  T was diagnosed with a kidney stone, given Vicodin, and told to drink a lot of water and hopefully the stone would pass.  T had pain through out the week, but nothing as bad as Monday. 

I usually drive T to work, but this past Monday T drove himself because he had an appointment in the afternoon.  I was getting ready to go to the gym in the morning when I got a call from T.  He said he was in a ton of pain and to meet him at the emergency room!  I got dressed and called a cab and met T at the hospital near his work.  I can't believe T drove himself to the ER.  The valet parking at the hospital was full and he had to find a parking space!  T was in so much pain that he threw up twice in the parking lot.  By the time I got to the emergency room T was already in the back.  He was in so much pain.  He looked really pale to the point of actually looking green.  T said he was a nine on the pain scale. (picture from here)

The nurse hooked T up to an IV and gave him some morphine and that didn't help.  They gave him more morphine, and it still didn't help at all.  T was shaking from the pain.  They took T to get a CT scan to find out where the kidney stone was and if there was more than one stone.  While we were waiting for the results T was given a different kind of painkiller called Dilaudid and that really worked - probably because it is five times more powerful than morphine.  The Dilaudid took T's pain down to about a 4 and he was able to get some rest.  The pain came back and they gave T some more of the good stuff.

The CT scan showed that T had one 2mm kidney stone.  We learned that kidney stones usually hurt the most at three points: leaving the kidney (the first Monday T felt pain), going over the little curve in the ureter (which sent T to the ER), and entering the bladder (while in the ER).   It usually doesn't hurt when the kidney stone leaves the body.  The problem was that T's high level of pain kept coming back.  So they admitted him to the hospital.  It might sound like this all happened pretty quickly, but T got to the ER around 9:30 a.m. and wasn't admitted until around 4:00 p.m.  Time seemed to go very slowly for me because around 2:00 p.m. I finished the book I had brought and was out of things to do.  I do understand why it took so long for the hospital staff to check on us every time - kidney stones are incredibly painful, but they are in no way at all life-threatening.  There were a lot of patients in more critical situations than T. 

T was moved up to the urology unit and given continuous drugs and fluids.  We ended up spending the night at the hospital.  T slept pretty well (hospital beds are surprisingly comfy!) and I slept pretty crappy (the reclining chairs are not-so-surprisingly horrible to sleep on).  When T woke up in the morning he was feeling really good.  Partly because the stone was now in his bladder (we think) and partly because the drugs were doing their thing.  But we will take feeling good any way we can get it.  T was at a one on the pain scale.  This picture is from Tuesday morning when T was a bit loopy and feeling like a one.  He's fake frowning and he made his IV line into fake oxygen tubes, so you know he was feeling okay.

Since T's stone is pretty small, the doctors wanted the stone to pass on its own.  They usually don't use lithotripsy (shock waves used to blast kidney stones into tiny grains of sand) unless the stone is at least 5 mm.  The bad news is that T didn't pass the stone in the hospital.  The other bad news is that once you have had a kidney stone you have a 50% chance of having more stones in the future.

T added his own medical treatment to his info board.  Also, check out the strange bruising!  This is not his IV arm - this is the blood draw arm.  The tiny red dot is where the needle was and the horizontal burn looking marks is where the band-aid was.  Obviously, by now T was feeling like himself. 

Since T was feeling so great, he was discharged around 11:00 a.m.  He has two pain medications and a medication to relax his smooth muscle to hopefully help pass the stone.  So that's where we are in this medical saga:  taking lots of drugs, drinking lots of water, and waiting for the stone to pass.

T is such a champ.  After we came home, showered, and got his prescriptions he felt good enough to go to work for half a day.  When I picked him up from work he still felt good enough to go on the Cherry Blossom Cruise that we had booked over the weekend for sunset that evening.  So here are some photos from the 60 minute boat ride.

It looks like a gorgeous day, but it was cold!  Like only 40 degrees! Add in the wind from being on the boat and we were both wishing we had worn hats and gloves.

It was windy.  I should have brought bobby pins and a ponytail holder.

The back side of the Jefferson Monument.

 Interesting fact:  There aren't any skyscrapers in D.C. because it is against the law for any building to be higher than the statue on the top of the Capitol.  The reasoning is that no one should be able to look down on the U.S. Capitol.

Check out how long my hair is getting!  It's no where near how long I want it to be, but it's no longer considered short! Also, hello again, wind.

LOVE this picture that T took of me.

My picture of him didn't turn out nearly as nice.

We didn't see as many blossoms as I thought we would.  We never really got close to the shore at all.  We didn't even go in the tidal basin (though I don't think real boats are allowed in there - just pedal boats). The Cherry Blossom Cruise was fun but I don't think we would go on another one.  T and I are going to brave the tourists to go back and walk around to get a better view than what we had on the boat.  Oh, and it really is absolutely nuts the amount of tourists that come for Cherry Blossom Festival.  Absolutely nuts.  A drive that should have taken 15 minutes took 45 in downtown D.C.  Hopefully the cold doesn't kill all the blossoms before we have a chance to go back!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

National Museum of the American Indian

Last Saturday T and I visited the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall.  We found a two hour meter nearby and it took us about an hour forty to do the whole museum.

The building's architecture is really cool and different from anything else on the Mall.  Probably because it is the newest museum - it was built in 2004.

The atrium of the building is also very cool.  There is a copper wall and prisms in the windows so there were lots of rainbows on the floor.  Look - we're kaleidoscope'd!

It is recommended to start on the fourth floor so we did.  The atrium is open all the way up so looking at the ground floor from the fourth floor is pretty cool.  Across from the little theater there is also a pretty great view of the mall.  The theater for the intro movie had a really cool set up but the actual movie was just okay and it didn't have captions.

The way the displays are arranged by the theater is really cool.  (Photo from here)

 Most of the displays are arranged by tribe instead of chronologically. Also, I assumed that the American Indian Museum exhibits would just be tribes within the United States, but it is tribes from all of North and South America.  To be perfectly honest, a lot of the things from different tribes blended together to me.

This was part of an Alaskan tribe display.  It looks like a snow tank!  Fun!

The second floor has modern Indian paintings that did not impress me, but most modern paintings don't impress me.  I would skip this floor if we went again.  On different floors there were some cool sculptures; one was George Washington with a pine tree and Native Americans (4th floor), the other one is an Indian shooting an arrow into the sky (3rd floor, I think).  They were both really cool. (Photos from here and here)

In this museum they have a cafe that serves Native American food.  We had heard good things so we decided to try it out.  Except everything looked gross.  To be fair, though, I am not very adventurous in food.  There were a lot of fish dishes (we both hate fish) and the things that weren't fish just looked... well, slimy and gross.  The tacos didn't look as bad as the other things but the tacos were $8 each.  Which is a bit much for a gross looking taco when you can get one you know you will like at Taco Bell for $1.  So we got fry bread with cinnamon and honey.  T really liked it and I thought it tasted like a heavy, thick scone but not as good. 

After the museum T and I went to check out the CIA.  And by check out, I mean drive past.  Of course we didn't get in.  But it was a lovely drive.  Really.  It is so close to the city, but it feels like you are in suburbia or the woods - there are so many trees!  There is the sign and the guard hut at said left.

To sum up:  My favorite part of the American Indian museum was the architecture (inside and out).  Skip the cafe.  Skip the second floor art.  If we went again I think we could see the whole thing in an hour.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

22 months

We've been married for 22 wonderful months.  These are the last of the photos from my Aunt J:

Cousin M and her Dad bust a move.

Checking out pictures from the photo booth

Cousins M and P got in on the balloon bunch action.

Aunt P talking to my Mom.  It's serious.

And now it's not. :)

Posing with my wonderful cousins N and J who blew up all these balloons.

Love these pictures with Bestie Cousin M.

Divying up the centerpiece flowers at the end of little shindig.

Cousins M and P did such a great job putting the flowers together.

I love looking at pictures from our wedding.  It makes me so happy.  Our wedding was the best!

Check out the other months if you missed anything: four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, the whole wedding, a year!, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19 and 21.