Thursday, November 29, 2012

#1a - Washington, DC - Part 1

My birthday.

No, that isn't a typo. My first visit outside of Maryland came just a few hours after I was born. That's what happens when your parents are told throughout the entire pregnancy that their baby is healthy and has a strong heart beat and when she's born, she's blue. I try not to think about what it must have been like for my parents during that time. My mom was obviously stuck at the hospital where I was born and my dad was caught between his wife and his new baby girl that had a complex heart defect and was being transported by ambulance to a different hospital.

Obviously everything turned out fine since I'm here today writing this blog. I spent the next month living in DC at Children's National Medical Center and then had to go back for appointments every few months after that until I was four or five. I thought the hospital was the only thing DC had to offer. I had no grasp on everything it had and still has to offer me.

I'm grateful that this post is happening at this time. It gives me an opportunity to bring together two very important parts of my life and allows me to open the door to write about things besides my travels. While I realize that I set this up to be a travel blog, there won't always be a post for me to write about my travels and writing about my life with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) will fill those empty travel times. As I reflect on the name of my blog, 50some, it rings true with my CHD as well. The cardiologists predicted when I was a baby that I would live well into my fifties without needing any sort of additional medical intervention. I'm at a crossroads right now that is almost certainly going to end in a change of direction and a need for intervention.

Since this summer I've been making pretty frequent trips to the beautiful district. It moves me every single time I drive down there as I take Capitol Street and get to see the Capitol Building for a few brief moments. While driving into DC isn't my favorite thing to do, it's a necessity these days.

I don't want to overload the health information as it's a lot of medical terms and each new test my cardiologist has me do is revealing a new problem with my heart. The basics are that I was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries and had an arterial switch done at one week old. Up until this summer I was seeing a pediatric cardiologist and a scare with heart palpitations ushered in my transition to the Adult Congenital Heart Clinic at Children's National Medical Center and Washington Hospital Center. I now see a cardiologist who specializes in adults with CHD and he's been finding some not so up to snuff things going on with my heart. It isn't working like it should and right now he's trying to find out everything that isn't working correctly so that he can design a plan to make things work better than they are now. I will be having a procedure done sometime in the coming month that will gather some more information and possibly correct one of the issues that's been found.

So there's the story of my first visit to DC and a lot more about why I now go to DC on a fairly regular basis. I'm going to do another post about my first tourist visit. That was a lot more fun and not nearly as intense as my first visit.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

100 Things I'm Thankful For

In light of some recent medical stuff going on for me, I'm very thankful that tomorrow is a day dedicated to being thankful. I'm being proactive this time around and not letting myself go through the roller coaster of emotions I've been on lately so that means creating a nice long list of just a fraction of the things for which I am grateful.

You may have noticed that I changed my biography for this blog as I'll be expanding it to include my health stuff since day by day that's becoming more an active part of my daily life. I'll still be including my travels. My next post will actually combine both as I talk about my first visit to this great nation's capital city. For now though, here's a list, in no particular order, of what I am grateful for this Thanksgiving.

1. My faith in a God that I believe is all powerful, all knowing, and ever present
2. My mom, my dad, and my dad's wife
3. My brothers, sister-in-law, and almost sister-in-law
4. My two best friends and their husbands
5. Ice cream
6. My job and coworkers
7. My nephew (he's the cutest almost 10 month old on the planet)
8. My mom's dogs
9. My iPhone
10. My college diploma
11. My friends from college
12. The young adult small group at my church
13. My Sunday school kids
14. The color pink
15. Popcorn
16. Netflix
17. Pandora radio
18. Humidifiers
19. Cassie the Corolla
20. Rewards points on credit cards
21. Cream of wheat not tasting like oatmeal
22. Reese's peanut butter cups in any size or shape
23. Decaf coffee
24. The Wizard of Oz
25. On Demand on cable
26. All things pumpkin flavored
27. USA Today's daily crossword puzzle
28. My one boss' black lab that comes to work with him on a pretty regular basis
29. Facebook
30. Writing this blog
31. Reading Rants from Mommyland, The Bloggess, and Momastery
32. Emery boards
33. Chapstick
34. Tervis tumblers
35. Drinking straws
36. Old coworkers that turned into friends
37. The ability to walk/jog 3.2 miles on a consistent basis
38. Flannel sheets
39. Books, books, and more books
40. The used book store near me
41. My church
42. Short work weeks
43. My cardiologist and the ACHD clinic at Children's
44. Belts
45. American Eagle jeans
46. Sperry Top-siders
47. Google
48. My watch
49. Sunday afternoon naps
50. Washington Redskins, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Capitals, the US Men's National Soccer Team
51. The Flow game on my phone
52. My Disney pillow I've had since I was a baby
53. Envelope moistener with adhesive
54. The ability to hit golf balls at a driving range
55. Twitter
56. Paychecks
57. Letter openers
58. Sweat pants
59. My aunts, uncles, and cousins
60. TV shows on DVD
61. YouTube
62. Hoodies
63. Laughing
64. Living within walking distance of my dad's house
65. The Bible
66. Jillian Michaels' workouts
67. The time I had with my grandparents
68. The advances in medicine in my lifetime
69. The beach
70. Southwest airlines
71. Spontaneous dance parties
72. Breakfast sandwiches with hot sauce
73. Dunkin Donuts
74. Live music
75. Live theater
76. Musicals
77. My college experience
78. Waking up this morning
79. A roof over my head each night
80. Living in Maryland
81. Phones breaking within the warranty period
82. Health insurance
83. Family get togethers
84. Coupons
85. My allergies not attacking me this fall
86. Text messaging
87. EZ Pass
88. Having braces straighten out my teeth
89. Car insurance
90. Pictures
91. Christmas music and movies after Thanksgiving
92. Tissues
93. Purpose face moisturizer
94. Other people who are knowledgeable in things which I am not
95. Amazon wish lists
96. GPS
97. Caffeine free soda
98. Friendly and helpful customer service people
99. Board games
100. You for reading this blog :)

So there's my list. There's plenty that I left off of it. Actually there's probably more that I left off of it than actually wrote. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 5, 2012

#16 - Rhode Island

November 3, 2012

This trip had an early and unusual start. I knew my flights were going to be funny when I got the 'A' group for both of them. Shout out to Southwest for always creating an enjoyable flight. Anyways, there were only seven people who purchased tickets for my flight to Providence and only four of us showed up. It was the first and probably only time I'll be the first passenger to board the plane. After a delay due to some software glitches, we were off and I was sound asleep like a baby. We landed a little late, but that was fine with me.

The airport in Providence is the largest in which I've ever been. I walked the long walk over to get my rental. Enterprise hooked me up with a new (~2,000 miles) Chevy Sonic. Besides a few weird things like having trouble with my blind spots, it was a sweet ride. It was also dark gray. My rental in Connecticut was dark gray. I own a dark gray car. Coincidence much? I headed off to get breakfast and then went to the Roger Williams Zoo.

How cute is he? She? This was in the Australasian house. I saw some animals at the zoo that I had never seen before and some old favorites of mine. The zoo also was hosting a jack-o-lantern type exhibit and they had a bunch of pumpkins all over and even some hanging in the trees. I actually spent a good bit of time at the zoo because there were so many animals to see. As I was heading through one of the last groups of animals, a bird pooped on my backpack strap. Lucky me. The zoo also had two bald eagles. They were rescued and are unable to fly well so they don't have any sort of netting over them. I only got a picture of one of them as the second one seemed to be laying down. I've been telling myself that it was just sleeping. After the zoo, I headed back into the downtown area to park at the mall and walk around before a special event at Macy's in the largest mall I've ever been, Providence Place.

Oh hey, Clinton Kelly! He was there for his Makeover America tour. I watched him critique a few women then the fashion show started and I left to walk around more. I then came back just as he was walking out to do his book signing. He's really tall and very funny. His quote of the day was definitely, "The higher the boobs, the closer to God." Ladies, go get your professional bra fitting if you haven't in the past year. I saw some beautiful buildings while I was walking around and a random group of what I assume to be military reenactors marching down the street. Providence has a weird clash of the artsy students of Rhode Island School of Design and the ivy league students of Brown. It was very apparent in the city that both schools consider Providence their home. It also is a modernized city that still has historical routes. I loved seeing the different eras come together in the city.

Providence was a great way to end my little tour of parts of the northeast. I currently don't have any plans to travel to new states so I need to get back to the drawing board and figure out where to go next. I've had a few friends express interest in coming with me on trips so hopefully some of those can work out. In the meantime, I'll continue retracting my steps through the states I've visited. Don't forget to check out all of my pictures from this trip via the link on the sidebar.