NOLA Boy Needs Your Good Thoughts

NOLA Boy needs your best wishes.  He took a sudden turn for the worse on Saturday, and has been in the hospital since then.

We like to think like his blood type – B positive!

The house is so empty without him here!  Sniff . . .

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NOLA BOY – Magician

It takes powerful concentration and skill to encourage a rubber band through its routine of tricks.

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Modern Day Chuckwagon

Just a quick whistlestop en route.

Believe it or not, this bakery on the outskirts of town was a going concern at the time. Whilst set up to take these photos, several people emerged from the building. I did not investigate the contents of the bakery, though. Others in the party were anxious to move on.

A quick stroll through Google enlightened me that there is a business with this same name within the town of Tombstone, but no information on whether it was the same owners as pictured above.

Personal investigation may be in order.

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Chubby Cheekers

He’s starting to fill out nicely!

It’s been a long, hard, uphill slog, but NOLA Boy is now eating everything in sight – just like old times. He has gained back at least 15 pounds from the nadir a few weeks ago. Now that his mouth has healed, no food is safe around here!

The six weeks of radiation was a force to be reckoned with, but time eventually passed, and the calendar finally released him to home recuperation and the healing began. It took a couple of weeks for his mouth to heal sufficiently to begin stuffing in the calories.

But now? Katie, bar the door!

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Mildred Pierce – Chicken and Waffles

There are two movies called “Mildred Pierce”. The original one in 1945 starred Joan Crawford, and the later one in 2011 starred Kate Winslet. We saw the Winslet 2011 version as a mini-series, and so tracked down and watched the Crawford version. Both were good. The 1945 movie version won at least five Academy Awards. Fun Fact: This was the first Academy Awards ceremony after WW II.

But – Back to the Future

I made my version of this iconic dish with a mini-waffle and some chicken salad, topped with a dollop of potato salad.

I first purchased a package of frozen mini waffles when they were on sale one day for a dollar. They were pretty good when fresh out of the toaster, but turned rubbery as they cooled.

Enter the mini-waffle iron and its friends.

The recipe is just a cup each of milk and flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, an egg, and oil, and the output is about ten of these mini waffles that freeze very well (or keep in the refrigerator). They perk up quite nicely in the toaster, and are once again nicely crunchy. Then they can be utilized as a main course, or as an adjunct to a breakfast or lunch, or just smeared with a bit of peanut butter/jam/honey/maple syrup/cinnamon for a snack.

Comforting to know that a healthy snack is easily obtainable when the mood strikes.

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NOLA Boy Wins Another Round

After six weeks of daily weekday sessions on the table with all of those screws holding him in place, NOLA Boy has come through another round smelling like a rose. Well, if he could smell, that is.

His sense of taste and smell are pretty much gone, but expected to return – slowly – over the next few months. He has lost THIRTY pounds, but is now doing better in the eating department, so should show some signs of progress soon.

Meanwhile, high caloric meals and treats are in order! Life is tough! ;->

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Four Tenths and Eight Tenths

After an incredible “pound a day” weight loss for three weeks, NOLA Boy, upon weigh-in yesterday, had actually GAINED four tenths of a pound! Doesn’t sound like much, but the down slide was becoming a very serious thing.

This morning he actually requested solid food! Even though it is just a tiny portion of a cinnamon roll with the icing scraped off, it is a real breakthrough. The routine breakfast of soft-scrambled eggs, with heavy cream and Cheddar cheese is waiting in the wings.

The “eight tenths” in the title is the percentage of the radiation treatments that have been accomplished by this courageous man. The doctor said yesterday that he had expected NOLA Boy to be far worse by this period in the treatment regimen. But his stalwart constitution has had him pushing through the five-hour daily commute and lack of sustenance and sleep on those days to appear (at least to me!) to be holding his own, as opposed to the downhill slide that is expected at this juncture.

I have been reading the comments and “likes” to him at every post, and he has been overwhelmed by the care, concern and well wishes that have jetted his way. He is not a very social person, so the outpouring has been especially poignant for him. His total humble thanks are sent out to each and every person who has offered comfort and encouragement in this extremely challenging life experience.

Now – we need to pack about thirty pounds back on those bones!

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NOLA Boy Goes Liquid

He is supposed to get a feeding tube, but is giving Mama Judie’s Real Life Food another chance.

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Here we go again

Into the abyss . . .

Two down and 28 to go.

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Lookin’ Gooooood !!!

It’s been a bit over a month since the surgery, and NOLA Boy has had his ups and downs. The tumor was not benign, so there will be 33 sessions of radiation coming up.

Meanwhile there are a lot of books to read, and the deck is way behind in being sat on!

On another subject . . . whose idea was it to change WordPress all around? It will likely take me a while to figure this all out for coherent postings – hopefully soon.

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Celebration Breakfast

It’s been a whole week since the surgery, and NOLA Boy is doing well.  That week has been spent eating and sleeping, but that’s what a body needs to heal.

His appetite has improved daily.  The above repast, and a glass of orange juice, disappeared in a flash.

Ingredients:  Cheesy Polenta, asparagus, grape tomatoes, bacon, cornbread, and a steam-fried Hickman’s Jumbo Egg!

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A Stitch in Time

General anesthesia is always worrisome, but he sailed through it – once again – with only minor problems.  The nurses told me that he wanted to get up to sweep the floor as soon as he came the slightest bit out of the anesthetic!  They convinced him that this would not be necessary, so he went back to sleep for about another hour in the recovery room.

We are back home now, and thanks to our gracious hostess (waving to Kathy) in Tucson, Gary was able to sleep for a couple of days straight, which was primo for his remarkable recovery.  So much better than the “in-hospital experience” where they poke and prod you every time you fall asleep.

Despite warnings about incredible pain and prescriptions for massive pain killers every three hours, he has experienced no need for any such thing.  His red cell counts are pretty low, so moving around is done slowly, but not because of any pain from the surgery.

On top of all of this, he got his second COVID jab on Thursday and suffered only a slightly sore arm.  There was a small amount of stiffness in his neck just above the surgical area, so not sure which malady was causing this pain.  It completely vanished overnight.

Isn’t he amazing?

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A Quick Bread Post

 

Taking a bit of a break this week to talk briefly about bread.  Small note at the end about NOLA Boy.

I’m still having no luck in getting my sourdough bread mojo back, but I did manage this more conventionally-shaped loaf of French bread.

I had tried it about a week or so ago using the Zojirushi bread machine on the French Bread setting, and let it bake directly in there.  ACK!  The paddles stuck in the bread and refused to budge for well over two hours.

This time, using the ingredients intended for a smaller loaf, I mixed, kneaded, rested, and let it rise part way in the bread machine and let it finish rising in a regulation pan that I then whisked into the oven for a miraculous oven spring!

NOLA Boy report:

He has been having a tough time of it lately.  His blood counts are way down and the anemia is making him very fatigued.  We did take a walk today, like those shown in earlier posts, but it was an effort.

His surgery is on Monday, so we are hoping that after his recovery from that, he will begin to perk up again.  Please think good thoughts for him early Monday morning.

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NOLA Boy Goes for a “Hike”

The beautiful Arizona blue sky made going for a walk practically mandatory, so off we toddled.

First half was downhill, but then . . . getting home required going uphill.  This bench was in just the right place to rest before starting up the final grade!

Next time it will be more easily accomplished!

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Down by the River

It was in the mid-70’s here today, and the sunshine was glorious – AND – the moon was coming up.  Time to grab the cameras and trundle down to the river to do some shutter snapping in that gorgeous late-afternoon light.

A fun outing – to be repeated – hopefully at a venue a bit further away next time.

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NOLA Boy is Eating Us Out of House and Home

Just a quick update to celebrate NOLA Boy’s gain of two pounds in only ten days.

Here we have a typical lunch these days.  He actually consumed this bowl of home made soup sprinkled with pizza topping cheese, a salad with gorgonzola cheese, two small open-faced Swiss and Salami on cheese bread sandwiches, peperoncini, a plate of sliced tomatoes, and (out of the picture) a bowl of avocado puree that was dipped into liberally.

I wish the doctors in the hospital who were ready to give up on him could see him now!  They wanted to put him in hospice so he could “pass peacefully”.

Didn’t happen, did it, guys?

He says that he still has a lot more things to learn about physics and astronomy, and intends to stick around for quite a long while yet!

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NOLA Boy Meets Ciabatta Bread

French Toast is always welcomed by NOLA Boy.  It’s in his DNA, I think.

 

To that end, when we went up to Tucson last week for a medical appointment, we got a take-out lunch from Beyond Bread, our favorite restaurant in the world.

NOLA Boy had a bowl of green chile soup, but then was too full to eat his lunch sandwich, Frida’s Flight (roast beef, turkey, chiles, cheese), so it came home with us intact.

I had my usual Gobble Me Up Turkey Salad, which is an enormous amount of greenery, a huge pile of white meat turkey, Gorgonzola cheese, cranberries, hot cinnamon sugared walnuts, a plethora of red onion rings, and Ranch Dressing.  Even with some assistance, I barely made a dent in it.  So that came home, too.

As it turned out, we had three more two-portion meals from the remainder of the take-out order!

And as for that ciabatta . . . the small loaf shown is Ancho Chipotle Cheddar, and is a more normal size for an artisan loaf.  The ciabatta, however, is a giant among breads.  There were 28 slices!

Although there is no sourdough flavor in this loaf of ciabatta, there is a delightful chewy texture and those lovely big holes; it is thoroughly delightful.

In only moments, that cheesy bread, aided by a cheeseburger (Swiss), tomatoes, and lettuce, is about to become an integral part of a Saturday lunch repast.

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NOLA Boy Gets a Day Job

His job?  To stay alive and to thrive!!!

And he’s doing an admirable job of both!

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NOLA Boy and the Owl

Just before Christmas the helicopter was flying NOLA Boy to the hospital in Tucson.  In two weeks, I got him back.  Another two and a half weeks, and the miracle boy is fresh out of the shower that he managed all on his own.

From being bedridden and basically incoherent – to walking on his own and using his computer a little – the progress has been more than amazing.

And, yes, we are going to address the need for a haircut!  I’m sharpening my scissors as we speak.

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NOLA Boy Eats Everything in Sight

Can you believe this guy?  Where does he get the inner strength?

This is some Green Chile Stew that I had frozen a while ago.  I made a supplemental sauce with sour cream, half and half and some  Red Thai Coconut Curry from a jar.  And then I made it again because he ate all of the first (admittedly small) batch!  See that little pitcher at the bottom left?  That times two, in addition to the original gravy in the stew itself!

His hand is covering a big pile of carrot coins and a cut-up scallion.  Almost everything on that plate disappeared, except for one of the pieces of meat.  With the leftovers still on the stove, I was able to package up a nice lunch for him tomorrow or the next day.

At his place at the kitchen island there is one of those old Tupperware two-ounce containers full of mixed nuts.  He routinely empties that every day – sometimes twice.  He’s back with his taste for coffee, with his morning waffle, bacon, orange juice starter, with a Pirouette cookie often finding its way to join the afternoon coffee break.

And, yes, he eats a bowl of cooked cereal, yogurt, fruit for breakfast and a substantial lunch.  Last night, about four hours after dinner, he woke up with the desire for a poached egg and English muffin.  And down that went, lickety split!

He is walking short distances unaided, and his mentation is much, much improved.

His brother, Bruce, and a good friend (waving to Chris!) have been helping out with running errands for us, and for those helping hands we are eternally grateful!

I read all the comments to him, so if you have some words of encouragement, please don’t be shy about sharing them.  He truly basks in those happy thoughts and words.  ;->

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