Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Successful Trial Run

This past weekend was our trial run and doing "dialysis on the road." We decided to go about 60 miles from home to a little Wisconsin town on the Mississippi River called Cassville.

Shockingly, the cabin we had booked was the site of a fatal small plane crash earlier this month. Two students from the University of Dubuque crashed into the cabin next to ours while trying to land at a nearby airport and one of the students later died! Needless to say, it was a big and tragic event in Cassville.

We had absolutely beautiful weather with temperatures near 80 degrees. We stayed Friday night at a B&B in Dubuque (the outstanding Mandolin Inn) and went for a bike ride early Saturday morning in the hills of Dubuque and then back to the B&B for a wonderful gourmet breakfast.

Saturday was our day-off from dialysis so we then drove the Iowa side north to the ferry landing which operates between Iowa and Cassville, WI.

When we got set up in our Cassville cabin (Eagle's Roost Resort) we rented a small boat and motor and sailed north to Guttenburg, IA, a distance of about eight miles. We toured this old steamboat town and had lunch there before heading back to Cassville.

In the picture to your left, Sabine is enjoying the wonderful Mississippi River hills on the Iowa side. It was a gorgeous route!]

[Here we are heading up river to Guttenburg with a mighty 15 hp river boat!]

From our cabin front deck we could sit, have a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers, and watch the wildlife on and above the river and see the boaters passing by and an occassional tow-boat pushing up to 14 huge barges ahead of it bound for the Twin Cities.

Our first day of dialysis was early Sunday morning (we had attended church Saturday evening at a church in Cassville). We had packed the car with the supplies we would need and packed up the 70 pound dialysis machine in the back seat. All went well for the first dialysis treatment.

Later that day, we went to Stonefield, the farm of Governor Nelsen Dewey, the first governor of Wisconsin. I had a chance to do some hill climbing along the river road which heads north from Cassville. I thought I was in the Rocky Mountains!

For lunch on Sunday we attended the fall festival of St. Charles Catholic Church in Cassville -- grilled chicken, fruit salad, corn, whipped potatoes, and homemade pie! There is something special about the festivals we have almost every summer weekend in small towns all over the Midwest!

We had a pizza delivered Sunday evening and watched a movie on the telly.

Monday morning we woke up early and did our second dialysis (without a hitch!). Then we packed everything up and returned to Mazomanie via some rolling county roads. It was another absolutely beautiful day.

On the way home, we explored some campsites and rock climbing areas in Governor Dodge State Park in nearby Dodgeville. I am joining my son, Peter, and his son, Ben, and Ben's other grandfather, Neil, for a "Rite of Passage" weekend beginning October 2 to celebrate Ben's coming of age (age 13!). The weekend is centered around some great cliffs which we all will be climbing and rappelling! (I had to bone up on some of my old Marine Corps skills! and, of course, procure the latest equipment.)

So here we are back at the cottage in Mazomanie doing our morning dialysis. The weekend was a great succcess and now gives us some courage to venture out farther away from home. We truly feel blessed by the great advances in our medical technology and the fact that Sabine's cancer has been "repressed."

We are also thankful that Sabine's fistula remains clear and functional. We meet with Dr Becker this Friday to begin the road to establishing a "mature" acccess point for dialysis (and one that will enable Sabine to fully shower again and swim!).


Thanks to all of you who follow our journey, pray for us, and send us your love and support -- we couldn't do it without you!
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