Friday, April 18, 2008

Lucy in the sky with diamonds

Yesterday, I drove from Bozeman to Portland. It was a gorgeous drive. I traveled from Bozeman, north and west, following the curvature of the western border of Montana. (This to get around the the spine of the rockies between the border of Montana and Idaho that nearly killed the Lewis and Clark expedition at Lolo Pass, near Missoula.)

From there, I crossed the panhandle of Idaho at Coeur D'Alene. My God... if it weren't for all the white supremacist, neo-nazis and militia types, I could totally live there.

It is a fantastic lake, set in a gorgeous alpine setting. Seriously, it is beautiful. Plus, hey, no darkies or brown people.


Then, it was through Spokane, Washington, and south into eastern Oregon. Eastern Oregon is mostly desert, although I did pass a monster vineyard that stretched for a mile.

After a couple hours of high desert, I eventually entered the Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia is a mighty, mighty river.

It's too bad that they dammed the holy hell out of that river. I passed (I think) four dams spanning the river. I bet less that 1% of the original salmon population actually makes it up river.

When I say mighty, I am talking damn (not dam) near a mile across, with the wind ripping so hard up the canyon that there were whitecaps cresting in the opposite direction that the river was flowing.

There were windsurfers out there, just ripping. The walls of the gorge got wider and taller, and wider and taller.

As I traveled west, hugging the river, I passed through multiple state parks, waterfalls and incredible vistas.

There was some type of tree (crabapple?) that was in full bloom, with small, white flowers blazing.

As I approached the town of Hood River, the sky was clear and Mount Hood stood as a solitary sentinel over the gorge.

I have been in the gorge a dozen times, but this is the first time I have written about it.

It is really a special place.

What caused me to take notice was the lushness of it all. Montana is a fairly arid place, and the landscape is mountainous, but the lower elevations are yellow and the foliage is largely coniferous.

In Oregon, on the slopes of Mount Hood, there are rainforests, and deciduous trees. The trunks of these trees are covered with leafy vines and there is moss everywhere.

Tulips here are in full bloom, while at 4500 feet elevation back in Bozeman, only the green tips of the tulips are tasting the the sunshine.

Eventually, I rolled into the city of Portland and made my way to my sister's house. As you can see by the pictures, nobody was in a particularly somber mood. Check out little Joey. He's taking after his uncle and namesake.

A bit ballsy, that. My dad's name is Joseph also. Not to say that my dad (Joey's grandpa) doesn't rock... because he surely does. I mean, shit, he begat The Duder here.

But this... this is my stage move.

At this point, you'd probably like to know about the star of the show, Lucy. She had her 11th (I think) heart surgery today. They went in through veins in her legs and went up into the left and right side of her heart with these snake-like cameras and instruments.

A big concern was the main trunk of her pulmonary artery, which is partially constructed from Gore-Tex. They were able to snake in there and put in a stent, which is like a chicken-wire fingercuff thing that they then inflated a balloon inside of to stretch out her pulmonary artery, deflate that ballon and then leave the chicken-wire thing in place, allowing the flow of oxygenated blood into her lung, keeping it, and her, alive.

On the way, they also checked out one of her heart valves, which is also an issue, as well as her peripheral pulmonary arteries. They need to keep an eye on the valve, which leaks, and eventually replace it, and the peripheral arteries looked good.

She won't need another surgery for about ten years, until she is full grown.

So, damn.

God clearly is looking out for this kid.


Blogger k-top said...

That was a great post and great news about Lucy.
That she is not going to really need surgery again for years is awesome.
I'm glad for her and all of you as well.
Today is the first Farmer's Market on the Square. Heistand is ready to play. I can see some sun.

Things are great all over.
What will you be doing on Sunday ?
Watching all 420 laps of Telladega ? I think I will be.

Really liked reading this one Duder. The descriptions were as visceral and clear as the situation you describe next.

The pictures...especially that one you snuck in of your Mom doing devil horns, were really cool.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous brokejaw said...

I'm grateful the little one made it through with flying colors!

8:58 AM  
Blogger Eve Grey said...

Wow, good news. Thanks for the update, because we, like, care, you know. (:

(i also liked the tasting the sunshine bit, you gots some words!)

1:00 PM  
Blogger P. said...

So glad Lucy's doing well. Love the pictures of the clan. Those are some seriously cute kids. The Joey stage move...awesome. Also your trip in word pictures was great to read.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Builder Mama said...

Great post, and even greater news that Lucy came through like a champ. Hope she has a speedy recovery and you enjoy your visit there too.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Mike Angie Patrick Aaron said...


We are very happy to hear that all went well. We have read about Lucy before and all of our prayers have been with her. It is great news and you are right . . . she is truly an amazing kid.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Glad to hear it all went well.

9:20 PM  
Blogger nana said...

good job, Joey.........loved the pics & your description of your trip !
God listened to the myriad of our prayers for Lucy, Molly ,Pat ,,Katie & your namesake ! We must remeber to say Thanks too.

Hugs & Love,AMC aka NANA

7:08 PM  
Blogger EME said...

Good job with the trip ... the pics ... the blog and being a good uncle .. it is great seeing all this when I am halfway across the country in the north where we still have snowpiles ... catch my love, hugs and prayers ... your Godmother!

8:19 PM  
Anonymous husker said...

Glad to know all is well with Lucy. God is there in ways we don't always see or understand. I remember when Lucy was born; that particular volleyball season took a back seat in the overall importance of things, and deservedly so.

I enjoyed the description of your drive to Portland. Just the reverse of my trip to see you in ‘06. Too bad it was getting dark when we hit the Montana border. Excellent day at Lava Lake!

We will continue to keep Lucy in our prayers.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Army Wife said...

Prayers extened to this little one, and those who are caring for her....

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

God bless her and you.

10:22 AM  

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