The Long Ride, Part Two

So, I left you all at the end of the day on which I took the long ride down the Kaibab Plateau in the back of an ambulance. The nice Dr. Nelson suggested that I get checked out by a cardiologist “just to be sure” there was nothing wrong. So, I spent Monday on the phone setting up an appointment for me with Dr. Wani in Flagstaff. He is affiliated with the Flagstaff Medical Center Heart Center.

On the way to Prescott

Going to Flagstaff involves getting a motel room–it is a little over 200 miles away from where I live and work. Flagstaff is a tourist town in summer, so it is difficult to get a room. The Marriott, however, does have a medical rate, which is quite a bit lower than getting a room for touristy stuff. I like that in a motel. I almost seems like they keep a room or two held back for medical customers, or at least I got that feeling from them. They also happen to have very nice rooms and free wi-fi that actually works, so that made our stay in Flagstaff a little better.

The sky at sunset outside the Motel 6 in Prescott

We also had to go down to Prescott, Arizona, to the VA Medical Center there for FabGrandpa to get his regular bloodwork done and to follow up  on his cataract surgery he had in March. So, we left the Kaibab Plateau early on Tuesday morning, as the sun was coming up. The drive to Prescott is 302 miles, so we had a room reserved there for Tuesday night. We went to the VA, got all the stuff done, then went to the room and checked in. The wi-fi there at the Motel 6 did not work, and it was not free. The bed was too small, and was pushed up against the wall on one side, so that FabGrandpa said he felt like he was sleeping in a crib.  During the night, the people upstairs from us started fighting–the police finally came and hauled them off to jail around 2:30 in the morning. We won’t be staying a Motel 6 again any time soon.

Breakfast at the Casino dining room

We got up around 4:30 a.m. and left that crap hole of a motel–no reason to stick around any longer than necessary. We made it to Flagstaff around 9:30 in the morning, after stopping for breakfast at the Cliffs Casino in Verde Valley.  The people at the Mariott let us check in right away. My appointment wasn’t until Thursday, so we spent Wednesday shopping for things we needed–all the non-perishable groceries at Wal-Mart, some insoles for our boots, (seems SOMEONE threw away the ones we bought in Alabama when we bought the boots. Don’t know WHO could have done that, but they were no where to be found), some new bras for me. And you know how I hate to shop for bras!

It was rainy and chilly in Flagstaff while we were there

Thursday, I went to see Dr. Wani. He seemed like a very good doctor. He asked me lots of questions about why I was there, what happened the other day, my medical history, etc., etc., etc.  After looking at my records that had been faxed to him from Kane County Hospital from last Saturday, he decided I needed to have a Cardiac CT Angiogram. I thought I was going to have a stress test, but this is something different. Dr. Wani said it would show him a complete picture of my heart and arteries and would show him whether or not I have a blockage or anything else wrong.  Lucklily for me, he was able to schedule this for the next day at 4:oo pm.

This guy must play "Left For Dead"

On Friday, I went over the the hospital at 7:30 a.m. to get blood drawn so they could check for cholesterol levels and some other stuff. This blood test had to be done while fasting, so I had to get over there early so I could go eat.  For my entire life, people have always had trouble finding my veins. It’s like they are non-existent, or too small, or whatever. This day was no different. The first lady stuck me and started digging around to try to get the vein, so I very politely asked her to get someone else to try it. The next one tied the tourniquet so tight it felt like my arm would fall off, but she did get the vein on the first try. I always hate getting blood drawn because of that.

This beautiful rainbow was seen across the street from Barnes & Noble in Flagstaff

Later, at 2:00, I went back over to the hospital to check in for the CT Angiogram. They took me in and gave me one of those hospital gowns to put on, then sat me in a chair. They hooked me up to an ECG machine and took my vital signs. My heart rate was 53, blood pressure 123/61, and the ECG was a normal blip line on the screen. About that time I was wondering why I was there. Anyway, the RN who was doing this part of preparation said that I would not need to have the medication they normally use to slow down the heart rate because my heart rate was just fine.

A pretty impressive sunset in Flagstaff

While my preparation for the test was going on, they brought in an emergency trauma case who needed a test using the CT Scanner. So, I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. While I was waiting, the RN said we needed to start an IV line so they could put the contrast dye into my veins while I was in the machine. I told her that I do not have good veins and how people always have trouble finding my veins, so she called and asked for someone with a portable ultrasound machine to come and find my veins that way!!! I was so happy (even though this added goodness will proably add hundreds to my bill, I was thrilled!). The squirted the gel goo on my arm and glided the little wand around until they knew exactly where to stick me. One stick, they’re in!!!

More of the sunset in Flagstaff

Finally, around 4:30, it was time to go to the CT room. They had me lay down on a table, put pillows  under my head and legs, and told me to expect the contrast dye to feel warm, and to feel like I had peed on myself. And it really did feel that way. The table moved in and out of the donut shaped machine, stopping every now and then. A machine voice told me to breathe in, then out, then to hold my breath, while hundreds of pictures of my heart were taken. The whole thing was over in 10 minutes, and the only thing that hurt was when they stuck me to insert the IV.

Some flowers outside the Marriott Hotel

So now we wait for the results of the test, and the bill. Whooo whee, that is gonna be a whopper! (Oh, and sorry I don’t have any photos of the procedure. I couldn’t take them myself, and FabGrandpa was in the waiting room. I hope you like the scenery, though.)

Just Some Nice Pictures

Storm Clouds

Tuesday morning we had to go to Prescott, so we got up early and left about 5:30 a.m. The sky outside was filled with storm clouds. Across the canyon, it was raining and lightening.

Rain at the Grand Canyon

Out in the meadows 12 miles away, we saw a herd of buffalo standing in the road.They took their time crossing to the other side.

Buffalo crossing

The sky still looked stormy, and the ground was wet, but we never got into the rain.

Heavy clouds in the Kaibab National Forest

There was a huge rainbow, so big I had to take two pictures to get all of it. I have never seen a rainbow quite like that one before.

One side of the rainbow
and the other side

Further down the road,out in the desert, we passed by the Vermillion Cliffs

Vermillion Cliffs

We passed by the area burned in the Shultz fire in June in the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff. That fire was caused by a careless camper leaving a campfire burning.

The San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff--burned in June in the Shultz fire.

Our trip took us down I-17 south of Flagstaff and through the Verde Valley.

The view out the window on I-17 between Flagstaff and Camp Verde, AZ.

We had slow going due to road construction along the way.

resurfacing I-17

We finally made it to Prescott. We spent the night there, then went back up to Flagstaff for a couple of nights. This sunset in Prescott was fabulous!

This was taken from the parking lot of Best Buy in Prescott, AZ.