I seriously got worked during my Occupational Therapy (OT) & Physical Therapy (PT) appointment today. I just didn't realize the aches and pains it would cause. These folks don't mess around! I had to go on some high-blood pressure meds last week because it was getting so high I wasn't allowed to finish the PT or had to skip it all together. At one point today I was supposed to hold a 4 lb. ball and do abdominal crunches, coming up & placing the ball between my knees. Are you kidding? My belly has not done anything like this since the Physical Fitness Test in high school. I could not hold the ball with my left hand anyway, so it waits for me another time. I'm all belly, there are no ab muscles in there. Especially since I gained more weight & was in a bad position for 9 hours in the car yesterday, I can barely take a deep breath. Bad posture big time. I actually weigh the same as before, it's just lost muscle in legs has turned itself into my belly. Ugh.
I just went on a "mini-vacation" courtesy of Ethan's parents (Mar. 25-29). It was planned last fall when I was normal. After everything that happened these past few months, the trip was still on -- though I kind of wondered how in the world I would make it. I was so worried I wouldn't make it back. I mean, like my head would swell or I'd have the seizure to end all seizures & be far away from a hospital. We were on Fripp Island in S. Carolina, which is both residential living and a resort. It 's nearly 20 minutes from Beaufort, which has a vibrant downtown (for tourists) and huge lovely houses. It also has the Marine Base (chronicled by Pat Conroy in The Great Santini) but I didn't get to see many jets flying around. They obviously skip flying over the resort areas.
South Carolina is a strange place. Driving through the mainland reminds me of Iowa, another place I never need to see again (though Iowa City is beautiful, I'll admit) but really all you need to know about Iowa is that this is where the band Slipknot comes from (Des Moines suburbs).
Okay, so it's not a bad song after all these years actually. Maybe I shouldn't have looked it up. It's just the mask gimmick. This is 9 guys in creepy masks. I could do it for Kiss. But not for guys from Iowa.
Obviously I totally lost my way last paragraph. Back to SC -- Anyway, talk about poverty, black & white. Do these people have anyone looking out for them? The roads are absolutely horrible, NC & VA are so smooth & clean. There is trash everywhere until it becomes nicer & then there are signs for various volunteer "adopt a highway programs". Cheraw is a great little town, so quaint Sherman decided not to torch it. It's also where Dizzy Gillespie was the only black resident allowed in the local club to "entertain". Beaufort, Fripp, Hilton Head, these are beautiful areas mostly for the whites, who never have to acknowledge how the rest of the state lives. (Sorry & not to offend, because these places are gorgeous & there is a lot of ecosystem preservation going on). I think about Gov. Mark Sanford, who flew down to S. America in a govt plane to visit his mistress. I especially think about the nicely tanned, just played a round of golf yahoo Joe Wilson, who yelled at Obama "You Lie!". Okay Mark & Joe, tell me about that 12.8 % unemployment rate & the roads filled with potholes. Tell me about the several instances that I saw in which state cops had pulled people over on the highway, they were black. Tell me why people visit plantations? Glory days? Architecture & landscaping may be okay reasons, but like I told Ethan's mom -- these were not nice people. I guess I can appreciate the tunnels of live oaks with spanish moss, but the houses? The myth of the southern aristocracy? So there's my liberal rant for the day. Could it be without the tumor I'm even more opinionated and stereotype people more? Then stick that thing back in there! Geez.
So, I'm sorry -- I seem unable to keep my thoughts to myself. There is something different about my personality -- I am a little less shy, I really enjoy talking to strangers (wha?), I laugh more (honestly), I don't get car sick anymore (for now).
Our view from the porch.
It was a good trip overall, besides my various ranting. Our rental house on Fripp Island was the perfect size and the screened-in porch had a perfect view of a boardwalk over the marsh, filled with egrets, Great Blues, seagulls, tri-colored herons, & various other marsh birds. At one point Ethan's dad was throwing a net over the boardwalk and a Great Blue Heron landed on the railing and watched, waiting for a handout. He didn't get a fish but Dennis had a special little chat with the Blue & Josie & Bea quietly walked out on the walkway to see it all happen. We also had a young buck with little velvet bumps on his head come to the back where the girls gave it some crust. (I know you shouldn't feed the wildlife, but these critters already seemed tame.) It was a very calm and relaxing visit for everyone.
The Great Blue is about 3 inches to the right.
Our new friend eating crust cut from PBJs.
The highlight for me was eating at the Gullah Grub Restaurant on St. Helena Island. There was a t.v. inside running a loop of shows & documentary-type stuff and we saw the owner (Bill Green) cooking oysters on the Martha Stewart show, and then Ethan said "do you recognize that voice?" and I said "just tell me" and it was Anthony Bourdain! (His South Carolina episode from season 3.) He was watching Bill making "Frogmore stew" and a she-crab boil or something. I looked at the t.v. and there was Anthony, sitting in the dining room. I said to Ethan "It's like we're living out an Anthony Bourdain episode!" The Gullah waitress, beautiful & funny, & I talked about our love for Anthony. The sweet potato pie was magical. Ethan's dad recreated the Frogmore stew later on & it was yummy. I was determined though not to let anyone peel the shrimp for me -- I needed to prove I could do it one handed.
Gullah Grub Restaurant. First time I ever drank Swamp Water, Arnold Palmer's favorite mix: sweet tea + lemonade, served in a mason jar. I imagine his may be a little spiked.