Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Patient Approves A Road Trip!

First the medical update...  A week after the start of Chemo last weekend, we feel that Melinda's breathing and cough are improved, but we're struggling to stay ahead of her nausea.  The problem is that she has been sleeping up to 10 to 12 hours a day, and especially during the night she doesn't take the pair of drugs she has at her disposal every 4 hours.  She was also suffering through a sore throat (making swallowing difficult) and Friday the Cancer Center had her come in for fluids to make sure she was staying hydrated.  They also scheduled her for a liter of fluids Saturday and Labor Day.  Today, the "day off" between hydration stops, she felt well enough to get out of the house for a drive!  I described the "Arivaca Loop", SW to Three Points, South to within a dozen miles of Mexico, East to Arivaca and Amado, then back North to Tucson.  Our friend Erica joined us - she hadn't been on those roads, so saw some new territory too.

We had a cloudless day to start, though it was
warmish in the mid-90s.  We didn't plan to spend much time outside, so had a late start (about 10:30am), and headed out towards Kitt Peak.  South of Three Points, with the Observatory out our window, I tried to take some 3-D shots out the window (Erica driving!), but with the cloud buildups starting, even though the shot pairs were taken less than  minute apart, the cloud movement was quite distracting.  Even so, the shot at left, taken about a mile or so separation shows the mountain profile quite well.  The religious mountain Baboquivari (to the Tohono O'odham) fared a little better.  Rather than have Erica pull off the road for the shots, I just had her drive slowly while I shot some frames.  Even then we had some cloud movement, but the results are still interesting.  These are cross-eyed views - cross your eyes slightly to view the left picture with your right eye and vice-versa.  Your brain will then assemble a 3rd picture between them showing depth.  It is easier to fuse the thumbnails, then click on them for the full-size image for more resolution.  Again, ignore the cloud motion between frames that is seen in illumination changes.

Turning East towards Arivaca, we pulled off at a nature walk at Buenos Ares Wildlife preserve to see what we could see.  There wasn't much visible during the little walk we took, though I stalked some butterflies.  The one I saw here is an Arizona Checkerspot (Texola perse) feeding off some lil' flowers. 

There wasn't much happening in Arivaca, so after a slow drive through town we continued the 15 miles or so on to Amado.  The only wide spot in the road here very near where it intersects with Interstate 19 is where the "Cow Palace" is located.  The picture at left (an HDR shot with wide-angle lens) shows another restaurant, now closed, with a giant cow skull as entrance!  The Palace serves as a food destination for many folks - a dozen Harleys were parked outside as we arrived, and lunch that day (admittedly at 2pm) had only the HD crowd, us, and a couple other tables.  The food was quite good, and no doubt we'll be back again in the future as we get to the area again.

Still not in a hurry for a rapid return to Tucson,
we ambled northwards on the I-19 frontage road, and paused at the Titan Missile Museum, where the Cold War missile silo serves as a sobering reminder of our atomic age.  While neither Melinda nor Erica had toured the place, we saved our money this trip and just toured the small visitor center and gift shop at no charge.  From there we headed west up the east slopes of the Sierrita Mountains past the mine tailings of the huge copper mines there.  We then descended into the SW side of the Tucson area.  Upon hearing that Erica had never been to San Xavier Mission, we altered our path to get her to witness this "Must-See" location!  With the sun getting lower and an interesting thunderhead formation over the Santa Catalina Mountains, I shot a trio of exposures for a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image with a polarizing filter to show the dramatic structure against the clouds.  While pausing in the quiet confines, Melinda lit a candle and we all said a prayer for her recovery.  We can't have too many people praying for us!

From there it was a short jaunt to return home.  In all we covered 150 miles in about 6 hours, and we all had a great time.  While I expected Min to be pooped out, she did pretty well and is just now going to bed close to our normal time.  More hydrating fluids on tomorrow's holiday - the conclusion of a pretty good weekend!


Anonymous said...

good for you melinda! keep away from the heavy greasy foods that your "jewish mother" is so fond of. keep it light and keep it going; little bits at a time. not even a bad idea to set a timer to wake up briefly for meds and fluids. slow and sure wins the race. : )

Anonymous said...

... And what a great day it was, too! How lucky I am to not only get to see new places, but getting to see them for the first time while they're so green from all the recent rains was a real treat! I was surprised there were so many vibrant flowers along the way. I love meandering about, and getting to do that with two great people like you guys makes it that much better. Much love! ~Ewica