I'm really lucky that Rima and I get along so well. To be quite frank, I could have totally been screwed. I tell this to Rima often; that I'm lucky she is the way she is. That she's goofy, funny, silly and sometimes super weird; because I'm also goofy, funny, silly and more often than not super weird. I could have totally inherited a less than desirable situation in regard to her personality. If Rima was not Rima in the sense of her disposition and personality, this journey would totally suck balls. I mean it too. If she was a girly girl, high maintenance, reality tv watching, complain about everything type of girl I would have either been miserable or sending out S.O.S signals every five seconds. Or if she was always looking at the glass half empty and always sad or depressed, which honestly again she has all the right to be that, considering the shit she has had and is dealing with. I would deal with it but it would make this experience so much less enjoyable and tolerable.
I'm incredible lucky in the fact that each day she amazes me. Each day at some point or another usually multiple times she says or does something that just shows how strong she is. How she refuses to let current circumstances bog her down. Even the day after her first dry run and the day after her second dry run she was not a bitch or taking her frustrations out on me. That was truly surprising. I was ready to be her punching bag I even mentally put on padding, but I showed up over dressed. I feel like I take my frustrations out on her more often than not. With either short and snippy comments or replies but I catch myself shorty after and correct this juvenile behavior and apologize. Rima always a saint accepts my apologies and my irrational explanation to why I might have given her a little attitude.
Again let me reiterate, I could have totally inherited a situation where she was not the type of person to let small things like this roll off her back. We could be fighting and arguing every day. I could have a sister who makes everything a battle, who makes everything difficult who tests my patients on a daily and hourly basis. I could have a nuclear bomb on my hands just waiting to go off at a moments notice. Knowing this makes me even more grateful for the human I'm with every day. For the amazingly forgiving, understanding zen soul I take care of and who takes care of me.
Now we may not agree on everything but I think we're really good at compromising. For example, I'm pretty picky with my music. You could call me a music snob, but I prefer to view it as I know good music and refuse to listen to poop. So clearly I may not be the easiest person to please when it comes to picking out our musical accompaniment for car rides. I could have totally had a sister who is also stuck in her musical ways and only listens to country, pop, and EDM. I would have probably worn headphones in the car or earplugs if that was the case or gouged out my eardrums more likely. But instead I want to say 70% of the time we like the same music and the other 30% I'm changing songs or telling her "please no more remixes, leave the original alone!"
I'm also super fortunate in that even when she's not feeling great she does not let that stop her from enjoying the day. For example, a new strange thing her body has been doing to her after eating is basically shutting down. She eats a meal and within 15 minutes she's a two-year-old trying not to pass out at the table. Instead of letting this new side effect affect her appetite or when she eats or what we do after we eat, she sucks it up and pushes through it. Now we're supposed to be taking it more easy with her FEV1 being at 16% and wanting to keep her there or above to keep her out of the bloody hospital. But, a woman's got to live, right?! So regardless of this new food coma issue she still has the mentality to go on with whatever we have planned after. May that be seeing a waterfall or playing backgammon with me. Or letting me go on a rant about mile run times or how our government is in a perpetual state of diarrhea and pretending to listen and give a hoot. She's so zen.
Last Thursday I decided to strategically put the decision ball in Rima's court. I usually decide what we do, I give Rima options and we either agree on the same thing or compromise. Or sometimes I decide and she just enjoys the ride and that I'm a planner and she just has to show up and smile. But I've been trying to get Rima at becoming more involved in decision-making. I'm trying to train her into shortening her decision time which is currently sort of painfully drawn out. It's not her fault she has several factors working against her. Firstly, she's a Libra so that means she was born a bad decision maker and is incredible indecisive. The grass is greener on the other side. The minute she thinks she made up her mind let it be about waffles then she sees pancakes and now is unsure of which she would like. Second, for the last year I've been helping her make decisions or guiding her. Third, when you have a chronic illness the majority of the time you don't have a choice in regard to meals, hospital stays, medications, or how your body feels. You are ruled by outside forces, factors, doctors and your environment.
After her transplant and her recovery she'll be able to have more of a say in her own life. I'm trying to help her reach decisions faster so that when this freedom comes she jumps into the deep end of her newfound power. Last Wednesday I informed Rima she was to plan out what we were going to do on Thursday. We had decided on Stillwater and to have a picnic but the rest was up to her. I was really hoping she would come through and deliver, boy did she deliver! We drove out to Stillwater early afternoon and she directed us to a cute little park on a hill overlooking the town and the Saint Croix River.
Our picnic spot was killer, 1-0 Rima. After our yummy snacks we drove to a close by "hidden" waterfall she found, Fairy Falls. It was about a quarter-mile walk to the falls down some steep trails in the woods. We got to the top of it but were unable to go down to the base due to the incline being so steep. We hung out by the falls for a bit and then I put on Rima's backpack with her O2 and pushed her up the hill. Just because sometimes you need a helping push to reach your goal. 2-0 Rima. After, Fairy Falls we checkout out a plant nursery on the way home. It was awesome; they also had a whole separate part that had vintage furniture and antiques. 3-0 Rima.
Rima and I both love dogs and we follow numerous dog accounts on Instagram. One of them is of two Corgi puppies who live in the Twin Cities. Rima saw that the owner posted on the Instagram that he would be at Summit Brewery in Saint Paul for a dog event. We had to go, duhhh! We showed up got a couple beers sat down outside and within fifteen minutes the two famous corgis showed up. Rima was so intent on meeting them and holding them. She got her wish, she pounced on them and the owner at the perfect time and we got their undivided attention for about twenty minutes. We will be seeing them again very soon! 4-0 Rima. Bing bada boom, Rima hit it out of the ball park, or dog park in this occasion with our Thursday adventures!
Friday Rima had her now weekly clinic appointment. Her PFTs were stable at 16%, pheww we thought they did not go down! After we wrapped up with her visit we checked out one of the many places on our go to restaurant list, Hi-Low Diner in Minneapolis. We sat outside on their patio under some neat straw tiki looking umbrellas. Rima was pretty tired after the visit, she said the PFTs took a lot out of her. So after a quick lunch we headed home to relax. That evening we went on a roll n' stroll. What's a roll n' stroll you may ask, well it's when I push Rima in her wheelchair and we go around the neighborhood walking paths. We live very close by to some nicely kept walking paths around some woods and ponds about a 3-mile walk in total. A few times a week now that the weather is getting nicer we go for an evening roll n' stroll, yes we're 70 years old.
Saturday we were confined to the house since we were unable to have Rima's portable oxygen refilled as it usually does on Fridays. They were going to come on Monday late afternoon and we only had a very limited supply of liquid portable left so we had to be very conscious about how we spent it. Sunday we wanted to go to the May Day festival in Minneapolis so Saturday we hung out at home. We did have a backyard picnic and started to play backgammon. We're learning slowly and I'm really hoping Rima get's into it!
Sunday we drove down to Minneapolis to the Powder Horn Park area to watch the May Day Parade. Apparently this is a HUGE deal in Minneapolis and everyone is super proud of it. We didn't know exactly what to expect except for some giant puppets. We had to park pretty far from the parade but luckily I'm so use to living in cities and walking far that it didn't bother me. The roll n' strolls also helped prepare me with pushing Rima down block after block, after block. We met up with our friend Tessie who had found a killer spot on some grass by the side of the road. The next two hours consisted of some of the strangest sites and people I had ever seen. It was so strange and so weird but so amazing. We highly recommend. We then had to go back to the car to refill her portable oxygen before meeting up with Tessie in the park to watch the May Day closing ceremony. This included some skits, songs and rituals. The park was very crowded and a bit difficult to navigate with the wheelchair.
We stayed for a little but then headed off to get some food. We were both pretty hungry. Rima admitted to me at lunch that she had anxiety the whole time I was pushing her around in the crowds. Apparently I get really close to most peoples ankles and could "gouged their ankles open". Not my fault people don't know how to walk on sidewalks. Keep to the right if you're slow so fast people can pass you on the left. Rules of the road folks. Don't worry I did not take anyone out by their ankles, quite yet.
Tuesday Rima and I drove down to the Minnesota landscape arboretum. We had been there once in the fall and then once in the winter so it was about time to go check it out in the spring. Rima called the day before to see when the best time would be to go and it was "peak bloomage" so naturally we went the next day. I planned to push Rima along the 3-mile scenic drive that goes through the arboretum, midway we would stop for a picnic. We arrived around early afternoon and once we got ourselves together we headed off for quite an intense roll n' stroll. I would like to call it "Bodies by Rima". Thankfully I was wearing workout clothes. Holy moly, half-way through the arboretum I was panting like a dog. I'm not out of shape at all but you try pushing a 141-pound saint up 35 - 40 degree angled hills for 3 miles and then we can have a chat. I was going faster than some cars!
I did the whole 3-mile route and even some off path walkways within an hour and twenty minutes! Take that Barry's Bootcamp, Bodies by Rima is where it's at. We then took the car to a spot we had passed by at the start of the walk. We picked a very idyllic spot under some pink and white trees and had a very nice picnic. Cheese, crackers, watermelon and cucumbers a great way to reward the workout I had just put myself through. On the way to the exit after, I told Rima I would be more than willing to do the walk again if she wanted me to. For a split-second I thought she was going to say yes, thankfully she declined my generous offer. Phew, I need to learn how to think before I speak or else I could have been a very tired dehydrated bean before I even reached mile one the second time around. Phewwwww!