Thursday, January 21, 2016

Edmonton Trip - Dec 2015

Finally! Here I am to take you through our Edmonton trip! First off, just in case you don't know where Edmonton is, let's have a little geography lesson!Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.56.54 AM

Not sure how that is going to show up, but as you might be able to see, Edmonton is north of Saint John's, a little south of the tip of Alaska, and above Montana and Idaho. Because of the northern latitude, while we were there, it got light at 8:45 A.M. and dark at 4:15 P.M. Yes, they see the northern lights there sometimes, but in the middle of the city, our chances of experiencing it were pretty small :(  Population is over 800,000.

We drove to LA Wednesday evening and stayed in a hotel near the airport. This was the next morning at 5:something as we waited for the shuttle to the airport.hotelOnce we got to the airport, through security, and found our gate, I was too hungry to think straight. Matthew got a sandwich and coffee at Starbucks, but it wasn't for another 30 minutes that a place where I could get something to eat opened. Matthew got me scrambled egg whites that had peas and kale in it and a side of potatoes. It was delicious and I felt much better after that!breakfastmountainsWe slept for quite awhile. Then we watched "Jurassic Park" for a bit, but I happened to open the window shade and saw this! After that, we were glued to the window! Pictures don't do things justice, but pictures out a plane window even less. It was spectacular.mountainsBefore we left on our trip, I changed both of our lock screens on our phones. When Aunt Pam showed me this picture, it really moved me. There are so many analogies people come up with. For me it reminds me that I'm in God's hand. He's got me! And when I'm trusting Him, I don't fear because 'perfect love casts out fear'. In that love I can soar high!screenI changed Matthew's to one of his favorite verses.m's sceenWhen we came across this Mountie Moose in Calgary airport, Matthew wanted his picture with it! Look closely. There is something in this picture that you are not ever going to see again! Matthew's glasses! (Unless he uses the same frames for his new prescription.)mountie mooseWe arrived in Edmonton a little after noon. We had to wait about 30 minutes for the bus which took us to the light rail station. From there it was really confusing what we needed to do. We asked several people, including a Newfoundlander from CBS! We finally realized that we just needed to stay on the train. Once Matthew figured out how it worked, it is a super simple system, but when we had directions telling us to do this, that, and other, it made no sense! We got off at Bay Enterprise and walked two blocks to our building. We waited in the foyer for our host to arrive. We were 30 minutes early so had a bit of a wait. He took us to our apartment, did a bunch of paperwork and talked for a long time telling us a bunch of stuff to do and see and eat. Once he left, we walked to the nearest grocery store, about 20 minutes. It was dark by then and rush hour at Save-On, so it seemed! I thought I was going to get trampled! Everything was crazy expensive. The walk home was pretty long with two big bags of groceries! For dinner we walked to the City Centre mall to eat at McDonald's. We wandered around a bit more and went home.

Friday morning we were up early and headed out the door by 8:30 to walk back to the City Centre where LasikMD is located. When Matthew was called into a room to have different tests and exams done, I went with him, but one lady made it quite clear that it was too crowded and I was not welcome. After that I stayed in the waiting room. It is a long room with nice couches, tables with magazines, and TVs. At the opposite end from the reception desk, there is a counter with coffee/tea, water, and cookies. On each side of the room there are 4 or 5 black doors leading into rooms with different equipment or offices. In one room they had to test the thickness of his cornea. His eyes were numbed, but they have repeatedly poke it. His vision would go weird each time. After awhile she had to stop because he was feeling faint. She said most people have already fainted by then! (Matthew says that was probably the worst thing of the whole procedure.) She got him an ice pack, water, and a cookie, then told me what was going on. I freaked out just a bit. Here I was and couldn't do a thing. I prayed, tried to read, texted people, wrote in my journal. Finally he came out and was fine, maybe a little shook up. Then he was called to sit with about 5 other people in a row next to the last black door on the left. The laser room. They had to put on blue hair cover things (I almost snuck a picture but didn't:). Each person took between 15 to 30 minutes. Finally Matthew went in and took at least 30 minutes. When he was finished, they led him directly across the room, through another black door. There he had the riboflavin drops put in and then the UV light. Neither of those procedures were painful he said. After putting bandage contacts in his eyes (large contacts), he sat in the dark room. He didn't really have to stay there, but I had to take some prescriptions across the hallway in the mall to Shoppers to get them filled. By the time I got back, he was starting to feel the pain. His eyes were watering constantly and he kept his eyes closed as much as possible. We walked to the mall exit, and I tried to figure out how to use Uber. Yes, I know it is easy, but I was pretty stressed out! Finally figured out how to submit the request, and we waited. When the little car got close, we went outside, but it was frigid and a bit windy. Matthew couldn't stand it and we weren't seeing the car. He went back inside. I was trying to keep my hands and phone from freezing, but my phone died, so I had to use Matthew's. The driver went to a different entrance to the mall. He called to ask where we were, and I tried to explain where we were. Me being unfamiliar with the area and having a hard time understanding his English didn't help matters. Finally I saw him across the street going the opposite direction. I asked if he could just make a right hand turn and park, we'd cross the street. But no, he went several blocks away, due to one way streets, to turn around and come right to the curb. Which was really nice of him! We finally got in the car and he took us back without further incident. It was his first winter in Edmonton, moving there from Ethiopia! Wow.

It was after 3:00 when we got back, I think. Matthew laid back in the reclining love seat. I put two blankets over him, turned the heat up to 78 and he was still shivering for about 4 hours. We did pain meds and numbing drops by the least amount of time possible. They give you a sheet to put in the times and you can check each one off as you give it. I didn't know what to do. When I held his hands, he squeezed so hard I thought my fingers would break around my ring. I couldn't say anything because I was too close to tears. I went into the bedroom to text mom and Cherisa and Addie, and had a little cry, then came back out. Somehow we made it through the evening, sitting in the dark room with the curtains closed. At bedtime we were allowed to use the stronger numbing drops. I think I put them in three times that night, as well as the weaker ones every hour, and pain meds every 4 hours with Tylenol between. He also had antibiotic drops 4 times a day.

Saturday we were up even earlier. I think his check up was at 8:20. We Ubered it both ways and once again I got it mixed up. Still not sure how because I followed the instructions, but we gave the driver an extra tip for giving him the route backwards! Check up went well and an appointment was made for Wednesday. I dashed around the mall before we left, trying to find a store that was open that carried toilet paper. There had only been a partial roll when we arrived! Nothing was open yet, so we went home. That afternoon I walked two blocks to a Shoppers to get that and a few other things. We had our breakfast and most lunches at the apartment as well as several dinners. I got take-out quite a few times, and towards the end we went out together for dinner. We went to Swiss Chalet, Wok Box, and The Blue Plate Diner, McDonald's, and Subway.

I do NOT like the term 'killing time' but I have to say that is pretty much what we did a lot of the time. We listened to podcasts together, audiobooks, I watched lots of Andy Griffith, and when Matthew's eyes were better, a few movies and messages. I was, at first, too afraid to go to the work out room in the basement by myself. Instead, I went up and down the stairs. No one uses them and I had all 20 flights to myself! I think the most I ever did at once was 4 times. That's good exercise. Finally I needed to laundry and to do that, you have to make sure there is money on the laundry card. The reloading machine is in the hallway in the basement, so I decided to just check out the gym while I was there. I got in okay, but for some reason the door wouldn't latch behind me. Thankfully I was in the middle of reading "Mindset" so all these things I couldn't do and was 'failing' at, were good experience to implement the growth mindset. I've never had to order pizza on the phone so if I don't do it without stumbling, who cares, maybe it will be smoother next time. And etc. Anyway, thankfully a young couple were walking through nearby, and I asked for their help. Later on we found out it has something weird to do with the key fobs. We always had to bring two because the first one wouldn't always work.

The laundry closet was right next door to us as well as the trash shoot. It was more difficult than expected to find the washer empty! There was also someone on our floor smoking that weekend. Every once in awhile it would get really strong. Also, the whole place smelled like very old cigarette smoke and mustiness. Sometimes I felt like I was going to scream if I couldn't get a breath of fresh air. Open the window and you get VERY fresh air!

This was a few days after his surgery. We went for a short walk. That building behind us is where we stayed. the 4th floor.usThis is pictursque 104th street. It was especially pretty at night with the lamps glowing and white lights in the trees farther down.104th streetI'm not sure if this is dawn or sunset! It does look like the day I walked to the grocery store. It was sunny and comparatively warm! (About 12 I think.)viewMe in our little kitchen. Actually, the place was bigger than our apartment at home! So nice to have a dishwasher :) kitchenAnother screenshot from Matthew's phone. He was trying to get a picture when it was below zero!coldAnother picture out the dinner area window! That was pretty much the only view, of course, when you are in the middle of an apartment building! I think was around 8:00 in the morning.morningIt snowed!
dayI think it was Wednesday that it snowed. We were walking back from Matthew's 5 day check up, drinking smoothies, while it snowed! All we had for fruit and veggies were bananas, carrots, and cucumbers, so a nice healthy, fresh smoothie sounded wonderful, even when the drink was warmer than the air! Matthew's check up went well, things were healing fine. His contacts were still very uncomfortable but the pain was pretty much gone by now. We'd kinda been lead to hope that once the contacts came out, it would be a huge relief and some of the blurring and ghosting would disappear. He waited 10 days to find out, yes, it felt much better, but everything looked about the same.

Yes, a bag of chips! Here's the story: There are a few foodies at Matthew's work. One gave him a bag of Ruffles All Dressed chips awhile back. It had maple leaves and Canada all over it, but I didn't really clue into the big deal for awhile. They don't normally sell "All Dressed" in the US! So it was a novelty! When we saw these in the grocery store, along with Sour Cream and Bacon, Poutine and other 'flavours', we had to send a picture to Jess! The real thing in its home environment, French and all.
crazy chips

chipsWe frequented a tiny Starbucks one block away. starbucksHere's sunset! The setting sun would reflect off the windows on other buildings. Otherwise, we wouldn't have gotten any part of the sunset!sunsetHere's what Matthew was looking for! See that? "Feels like -14" That was chilly.tempThis is the legislature building.  All the lights were so pretty and music plays softly from speakers throughout the park. Snow crunches under foot, voices of many languages are muted in still, cold air.legislature buildingAnother Starbucks stop:)starbucksHeaded out to get some dinner one night.corner parkmeI really like this picture of Matthew! This is the new hat he got while we were there.matthewWhen you are 'killing' hours every day for time to pass, you make even the simplest things a little more fun!teeth brushing
somethingThis picture doesn't do the scene justice by far! It is at the top of the hill before going down to the river. The city lights sparkling all over with the tall buildings etching lights into the horizon.

And this picture, I think, was pretty much the coldest it got while we were there.recordNotice the battery bar. If we didn't keep our phones in our inner pockets, the battery would drain in no time. Mine was dead by the time we got home most of the time. When I went out by myself, I made sure it was fully charged and kept it as warm as possible. I'd pull it out quickly to check my directions, and then stuff it back! And FYI, it is still in the single digits there!
airportThis wall art at the airport was stunning! It isn't an exact replica of the city, I don't think, but the major landmarks and attractions. You can spot the legislature building in gold on this side of the buildings. This thing was huge! airport

We flew directly to LAX, shuttled back to the hotel, picked up our blueberry (the car), and headed home. Matthew drove until it got dark, then I drove the rest of the way home, not even an hour. We unpacked, grabbed some groceries and dinner at Taco de, then went to Mom and Dad's. Such an adventure, but glad to be home!

Matthew had a check up today with Dr. Hile. He said everything looks like it is healing well. Though his left eye was lagging behind in healing, it is now doing a lot better. They still have to send the reports to LasikMD. It will be interesting to see what they have to say, but Dr. Hile feels like it is going well!