Never the same…

24 Jan

Tuesday December 24, 2013

My sister and I got back to the ICU early on Tuesday morning. Kissed our Mom and called her “sweet pea” and “beautiful”. Told her Greg would be there in just a couple of hours, and that Aunt Sharon was coming and so was Inga.

Mom was looking forward to seeing everyone. Not as excited as she normally would be about seeing everyone, but under the circumstances, and given how tired she was, her tentative “Really? Oh, that’s great…” was enough for me. The vascular surgeon came by and told us how well Mom was recovering from the embelectomy and her attending doctor came by and said we needed to start her overall recovery. Which means, get her up and about. Change her dressing gown, get her sitting upright.

One of the nurses came in and helped her into a chair, near the natural light from the window. She’d need to start sleeping at night, and be more alert during the day. I could tell it really taxed her, being moved to the chair, but she didn’t complain. She just moaned and went back to sleep. I didn’t think twice about that – she needed her rest.

When my brother Greg arrived later that morning, I intercepted him to better prepare him for seeing her. She didn’t look good – not just because she’d been through surgery and initial recovery, but she was once again intubated and her words were jumbled. I prepared him that “it’s the delirium effect from anesthesia and sedation – don’t be alarmed – just be patient.”

I explained why she had to be intubated again… the previous day, because of her nausea, and the inability for medication to control it, we could no longer give her any liquids by mouth. This meant she couldn’t be given her other medications – thus, they had to intubate Mom through the nose. Less invasive but still… Technically, Mom was on life support and the physical reality was harsh.

Greg understood. He walked in and hugged her, kissed her, held her hand. Inside, he fell apart. Greg is first born and he and Mom always shared a special mother-son bond. Seeing her hooked up to multiple lines and intubated was hard for him. My heart hurts that he had to go through this. Inside, I was glad I told him to wait to come – seeing her on the vent would have killed him.

I kept talking to the nurses about her continued word misplacement (I didn’t know what to call it) and they’d do a quick neuro test and assure me it was likely related to being exhausted from the constant attention from ICU nurses and doctors. That made some sense, but I didn’t quite buy it.

Mom became a bit unresponsive by lunch time. She’d slumped in her chair and the nurses would rouse her, rearrange her, and then Mom would moan, go back to sleep and slump again in her chair. Although her blood pressure was high, and her blood glucose were high, but the nurses assured us this was normal at this point.

Aunt Sharon arrived early in the afternoon with Uncle Joe and my cousin Laura. My cousin David arrived later that day, leaving his family dinner to come see his Aunt. Today was Christmas Eve for them. Not for us however. It was Tuesday. The holidays were something other people would enjoy.

Sharon is a just-now-retired-nurse. She’s done and seen it all. She too knew something was not right with Mom. Mom was mostly non-responsive at this point, although we were able to rouse her and she was able to recognize her sister. They talked briefly too. This is why I said my sister gave a gift to my Mom the day before when she had Mom and Sharon talk over the phone.

I no longer day dreamed about moving in and taking charge of her pantry. I couldn’t think anymore beyond the current moment in time. No thoughts about “later on”. No thoughts actually about food. The ICU nurses had to repeatedly remind us that we all needed to take breaks, rest, and eat.

Mom was once again slumped over in that damn chair and this time, I noticed the right corner of her mouth drooping. At first, I thought her mouth was lax from sleeping. Then I knew. I just knew.

We alerted a nurse who got the doctor. We sort of let my Aunt do most of the talking knowing she’d explain what was going on if we needed it. But the bottom line was that they were ordering a CT scan to confirm that she’d had a stroke. By 2pm Tuesday, I sent a text message to Rock “She’s not going to make it. I know it.”

The very thing that my mother most feared, she’d likely had.

Mom’s best friend Inga arrived that afternoon. Mom not only recognized her, she was attentive! They had a full on conversation about the fun they were going to have once Mom was outta this joint! Sandy and I hugged each other and cried. It felt hopeful. Amazing. It would be short lived. As soon as Inga left, Mom returned to her unresponsive state, not rousing easily or responding to the doctor’s and nurses prompts.

A thousand questions entered my mind, none of which I could wrap my head around, or my heart, or my voice. Not yet.

My family and I sat in the ICU waiting room while they took Mom for her CT scan. We held hands and I asked my sister to lead us in prayer. It was a somber moment, filled with fear, regret, anxiousness, faith and love. Soon thereafter, we had confirmation. She’d suffered at least three strokes. She’d never be the same. But would she survive this?

In the brief moments where Mom seemed able to focus, I stroked her brow and looked her in the eyes. Nodding, I told her she had several strokes. She looked like she was in a lot of pain. Weeping, I told her it was going to be fine, that if she wanted to fight, she should. That if she didn’t want to, I’d take care of everything.

Later that night, Rock picked me up from the hospital. We went back to my condo – I needed to get my mother’s advanced healthcare directive. The one that named me her agent. The one that would give me the strength to ask all the hard questions that were swirling around my head. The one that would allow me to execute her wishes, if it came to that, to not prolong life.

Having Sushi, Sept 2013

Having Sushi, Sept 2013

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Final quiet night…

24 Jan

Monday December 23, 2013

After the doctors removed my mother’s ventilator, I filled her in on what happened. She didn’t seem confused – just a bit, shall we say ‘ornery’. The nurses told me to expect some lingering delirium while she was fully coming out of the sedation so I wasn’t concerned.

I told her that Sandy was on her way – that she’d be there just after lunch – and that Greg was flying in first thing in the morning. These initial hours, post sedation, were pretty hard for both her and me. Not only did she believe she was going to die, she seemed to have given up a little bit. “Why bother?” was her reply to most of what I said.

“Maybe just one more day in the ICU to stabilize you, then we can get you back into a regular, quiet hospital room…” was met with “why bother? I’m dying.”

“Do you want me to wash your face?” was met with “why bother?”

I know she was scared. She said so. She was scared and angry. Two emotions I rarely saw from her. But she was also very ill. About 30 minutes after removing the intubation, she asked for water. At first, the doctors allowed small sips of water to see if she could keep it down. She couldn’t. Within minutes, she quickly vomited. She couldn’t keep ice chips down either. What was coming up was not water or food either, as she hadn’t eaten food since Saturday. The nurses assured me that her lungs were just clearing but to keep my eye on the amount of fluid, viscosity and color. I didn’t mind – she’d taken care of me my entire life, holding my hair back as I got sick. It was the LEAST I could do. Hold her and comfort her, blow her nose, wash her face…

I took a much needed break when my sister got there. I knew all of this was very serious and I needed to alert others in the family. My Mom has one sister and they’d been estranged for the better part of a year. I dialed my Aunt’s number (so strange I can still remember by heart their home phone number!) but got their answering machine. Left a generic message because who wants bad news delivered on a recording device?

Next, I called my cousin, Laura. She called me right back and I told her the news. Sort of played it down – no need to worry anyone. She asked if they should come see her and I felt it would be too much for my Mom that day. Told her maybe Tuesday…

Next call was to Mom’s best friend Inga. I’d been keeping Inga apprised of the changes daily and discouraging visits as well. There was NO way I was going to let Inga see Mom on a ventilator. I told Inga the same thing as my cousin. Maybe Tuesday…

Later that afternoon, without knowing it, my sister reunited Mom with Aunt Sharon. It was a gift she was not aware she was giving. A very appropriate and healing gift, considering we wouldn’t have Christmas this year. We didn’t know we weren’t supposed to use our cell phones in the room, but Sandy used hers – and let Mom and Sharon mend the bridge that separated them. Mom was so relieved. Aunt Sharon said she’d come see her the next day. Mom was all smiles.

Shortly after this call, my sister and I commented on Mom’s delirium. It seemed more marked, not lessened. Surely, the sedation medications had worn off by now? We detected subtle shifts in her speech, things her nurses wouldn’t notice, but we did. She started misplacing words in sentences, and using wrong words as well. Mom even noticed. She said “I know I’m not making much sense…”

Still, we suspected she just needed a good night’s rest.  It had been a very hard two days for her and she was in such discomfort. The nurses were trying everything to get her nausea under control. On top of that, her blood glucose was too high as was her blood pressure.

Even so, it would be a quiet night for Mom. The last quiet night she’d ever have. What we didn’t know then was that Mom had already suffered three strokes.

LindaBetlan

Stop and listen…

23 Jan

Sunday December 22, 2013

I’m a very habitual person, much to my dismay at times. After I got back to Mom’s place on Saturday night, bathed her dogs, drank a glass of wine, I called Mom one last time before hitting the hay to check in on her and assure her that her beloved puppies were well cared for and all was good.

As per habit, I turned off the volume on my iPhone. I’m a firm believer that there should be no technology interruptions that would impede my sleep.

So I missed my mother’s frantic call just before 7am. There were only two words on that message and I can hear them still.

“Emergency… Emergency…”

Then the line goes dead. My sister had been texting me since about 6am – she had tried to call Mom and couldn’t get through. She finally got to the nurse’s desk and found out Mom was being rushed to surgery. Her call to me meant she was scared and needed me.

I started to panic. It took just a couple minutes to reach her doctor who told me she woke around 4am with pain in her left hand and then no feeling. They determined she had developed a blood clot and it traveled to her left arm where it lodged in one of the smaller veins. They’d have to perform emergency surgery to remove the clot. They had her prepped and ready for the operating room.

I didn’t bother showering – just brushed my teeth and took off for the hospital. Inside, my inner self was pacing and confused. Outside, I appeared calm. Once again, I wasn’t there when she needed me. Had my phone been on, I would have been able to tell her it was going to be okay, that I was on my way, that we were in this together and I would take care of her. But instead, her call was met with my voicemail. She was alone.

This is now Sunday, December 22. My sister, who lives in Southern California, and I kept in constant contact during surgery. When the vascular surgeon was done, he came out and talked to me. He filled in the details behind what happened over night, and what they needed to do to remove the clot. Bottom line, the surgery went very well, Mom was doing well. They would be moving her shortly out of recovery and into the Intensive Care Unit.

I’m not a religious person but I believe in a higher being and purpose to life. I posted a message on my Facebook page asking all my friends to pray for my mother, many of whom knew her personally. The outpouring of love and support for us was a huge comfort.

Just before they settled Mom into her ICU room, the surgeon came back to talk to me. He felt it best to keep Mom intubated and sedated, given the congestive heart failure. She was on a ventilator. He explained the aggressive therapies that were needed. Careful balance of Lasix to remove the fluids, and Heparin to keep the blood flowing. The catch 22 is that the more the blood flows, the more fluids can be retained. And in places like her lungs. So the ventilator was a good idea – until I saw her.

Mom was sedated but not asleep. She kept trying to remove the vent, which is a huge foreign tube inserted into her mouth and down her throat. It’s held on her face with clamps. Her wrists are restrained. She writhes in bed and cannot make any sounds whatsoever. I’m beyond myself at this point. I call her nurse to up the sedation – I refuse to see her uncomfortable. The doctor comes in and advises me that in elderly patients, after general anesthesia, to be sedated more fully will make it harder for her to recover from the dementia.

Wait… What?

He was trying to explain that she could have serious complications with her brain. Coming out of a traumatic event, and being in the ICU, where there is sensory and light/dark deprivation, constant interruptions to sleeping patterns, and stress, puts a strain on the brain and causes delirium. It might take her longer to recover.

“I think the risk/benefit here is worth it. I want her as comfortable as possible.” I also may have mentioned that I was her healthcare agent and that since she couldn’t state her wishes, I would. She would NOT want to be lightly sedated with a tube down her throat.

The vent would have to remain in for 24 hours, enough time for her body to begin the surgery recovery. I called Sandy and Greg (my siblings) and delivered the news. Up to this point, we all had expected a couple days inpatient to stabilize her – now with the surgery, and intubation, this was even more serious and the sibs should come. My sister would drive up first thing Monday morning and my brother would fly in Tuesday morning.

I hated seeing my mother like that. The image of her discomfort and lying helplessly in the ICU on a ventilator will forever be etched into my brain. I left that night at the urging of the ICU nurses who reminded me that I had to take care of myself as well. The doctors would remove the vent around 8a Monday. I wanted to be there as she was coming out of the sedation to keep her calm. Everything the nurses explained about the process had me worried she’d be out of her mind with fear.

I didn’t sleep much again that night, but being in her house, with her dogs, her things, made me feel like she was there with me. I woke early, showered, and was back in the ICU by 7:30am. Mom was coming out of the sedation state and aware for the first time of her surroundings. She struggled against her restraints. I calmly and gently explained what was going on, to keep her relaxed, and that we needed her calm and once she was fully awake, we’d be able to remove that pesky ventilator. Mom’s agitation grew.

The nurses gently asked me to leave the room, that I might be making it more scary for her. I agreed – I just wanted Mom to be okay. I went back in to tell Mom they needed me to sign some papers, and she tried to tell me something. Her eyes were frantic and she mouthed words around the tube. I couldn’t understand them. The nurses couldn’t either. I told her that in just a few minutes, she’d be able to tell me anything and everything – that I’d be right back.

After a short time, they let me back in the room. I greeted Mom with a kiss, hug and an “I love you so much”. I asked her what she was trying to tell me.

She said “I told you I didn’t want you to leave me.” I teared up, but knew I had to in order for the staff to do their jobs. I simply apologized and told her I will always be here for her. That’s when she told me what she knew. She said “I’m dying. You have to listen to me. I’m dying.”

I scoffed at that. “Of course you aren’t my love. The surgery was a huge success! You are going to be just fine!!”

But she knew better. If only I had listened. Paid attention more.

96 hours later, she’d be dead.

Halloween 2009 - being silly

Halloween 2009 – being silly

It’s almost normal…

22 Jan

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I left Napa early that morning and went straight to the emergency room. In a matter of minutes, I was in my mother’s room holding her. She was surprised, but not scared. Yet. The doctor came in shortly after I arrived and explained what Congestive Heart Failure was and how we would treat it. I quickly dialed my sister Sandy so she could be virtually at this conversation (and help me remember what was said!)

My brain absorbed the facts but my mind wandered to realities. I would move in with her and take care of her, helping her plan meals and prepare them. Make sure she was safe and out of the woods.

Her spirits, as always, were high. We did a lot of laughing. And speculating on the various ailments of others in adjoining rooms. She had a crush on her doctor. He was charming and because he knew already that she loved to travel, he brought her his own copy of National Geographic.

The doctor explained the complications of her conditions. Her longtime high blood pressure had put a huge burden on her heart because it was working hard to pump her blood. Like any other muscle, the harder something works, the thicker it becomes. For a heart, this isn’t good news, but it is a condition that many have and live years and years with. To ensure the blood keeps moving correctly, the patient is put on blood thinners. With her one-week-old diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, they put her on Coumadin; however, it’s the age old “too little, too late” in this case. The Coumadin wasn’t yet therapeutic, hence the heart failure. So in the ER, they gave her an IV drip of Heparin. This is an industrial strength blood thinner. It would alleviate risks of stroke (it keeps the blood flowing), but the complication they told us, was the fact her heart was in failure from congestion, requiring a diuretic to sort of flush out the excess fluids.

Sounded simple enough to me. Eliminate the fluid retention and keep the blood flowing. A couple days of this therapy and viola, Mom is all healed! I started making mental grocery lists of lean meats and leafy vegetables. I mentally went through her cabinets looking for salty snacks and her George Foreman grill…

Mom seemed to understand a lot more about what was going on than I did. Her concern over having a stroke was huge. She asked the doctor to check her carotid just to be sure… “My ex-husband died from a blocked carotid – I don’t want to die from a stroke…”

The doctor checked her artery just to be sure, but she was fine in that regard. Shortly thereafter, the nurse asked if she would like lunch. She joked “yes, I’d like a grilled cheese sandwich with a cup of tomato soup!” The nurse laughed and brought her something else. Something appropriate from the 1200-calorie per day meal plan she was now restricted to.

Mom’s best friend Inga was there that afternoon and the three of us giggled about a variety of topics, including Inga’s new 80+ year old boyfriend and their sex life (I fear the visuals I got will never leave me…) As Mom lounged across the bed, it felt almost like a normal afternoon hanging out.

Around 6:30pm that night, Mom was finally admitted to the hospital. I went with her and got her all settled in and we ordered some dinner. She again asked for a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of tomato soup. This nurse wasn’t as humorous as the ER nurse, but Mom and I both chuckled anyway. I’m sure the nurse thought we were annoying.

While Mom dined a la hospital bed, she couldn’t help but peek into the bed next to hers. The curtains were not closed. Mom rolled her eyes as if saying “really? I’m trying to eat here!” Apparently the roommate was not wearing panties and was ass up in the air. Understood given the fact that, well, you’re in the hospital, but unappealing during meal time nonetheless.

Shortly after dinner, Mom told me to go home – home, being her place, where I’d earlier sent Rock to take care of her dogs, and where we’d be staying until we knew more. Mom smiled and said she had her iPad and Kindle – was going to read before getting some sleep.

As I left around 8:30pm that night, I hugged and kissed her, told her I loved her very much. I paused at the edge of her curtain and smiled, not knowing this was the last time I would see her normal again.

She would develop a clot overnight and be rushed to surgery for an emergency embolectomy. She’d never be the same. Ever.

Mom class reunion 2009

Her heart failed…

21 Jan

Four weeks ago, to the day, Rock and I left for a spur-of-the-moment trip to Napa to celebrate our birthdays. I found us a cute little cottage on a farm in Carneros and organized the trip so that we’d visit all my favorite places where we’d taste phenomenal wines and learn about soil, climate, terroir. The restaurants were also picked with care, reservations made, and the anticipation for good food, good wine, and good times seeped through us.

I almost canceled the trip.

The Friday before we were to leave, my Mom calls me from the Emergency Room. She had finally made a doctor appointment to find out why she was so nauseous. Over the past couple of months, Mom started letting on that she wasn’t doing so well. Her hips continued to hurt her, making exercise difficult. She was frequently out of breath when walking and would need to stop. At Thanksgiving, she couldn’t eat her meal and refused wine (not a normal thing, if you knew my badass, larger than life Mom!) Over those months, she reasoned that it was her arthritis (her hips), her asthma (can’t breathe), and stomach flu (her nausea). When she saw her doctor, he knew something was seriously wrong, and had her triaged to the ER to figure out what was going on.

Turns out, she had a heart problem. Her symptoms started presenting themselves in the summer. Shortness of breath and nausea were signs that she ignored or didn’t think were serious. Turns out, she had Atrial Fibrillation, which is normally a treatable condition. The heart rhythm isn’t working all that well but can be managed with medication, diet, exercise etc.

Since she had been living for more than 20 years with high blood pressure, having A-Fib meant that she would need a different blood pressure med and start taking blood thinners to reduce her risk for stroke.

I was scared as hell, considering I lost my father 13 years ago to a massive stroke. Taking him off life support and watching his body struggle as he died will forever be imprinted on my memory. I didn’t want to imagine this happening to my mother.

One of my staff had just lost her mother and I recall telling her how sorry I was and that I couldn’t imagine how hard it must be for her – losing a mother. I told her I wouldn’t know what to do if I lost my own mother. I’d told my Mom this very thing several times over the last couple of years. She’d be wearing a beautiful piece of jewelry and tell me “I want you to have this when I’m gone…” would be met with “That’s awesome, but that’s a long ways away – and I can’t imagine losing you…” I always ended calls and visits with “I love you so very much”.

Sunday, after Mom’s ER visit, we met for my birthday lunch. I took her to one of our favorite restaurants and we ordered a ton of food. Mom’s appetite had come back a little bit, her spirits were high, she was not nauseous for a change. We even joked about her baby being close to 50. All this was quite a different story than on Thanksgiving, where I was more than alarmed and in hindsight, should have taken her to the hospital that night and not listened to her blow off her symptoms. We just didn’t know.

As I dropped my Mom off at her house that day and kissed her super soft lips, I told her “I love you so very much!”  I felt terrific. My badass Mom was going to be fine!

Rock and I decided to keep the last minute Napa trip on schedule. We left Tuesday 12/17 and each day was filled with good food and great wine – lots of laughs and new adventures. Until Friday morning, where, at the start of a wine blending event, I get a call from Mom. She’s back in the ER.

My heart sank. I started to cry. The night before, she had dinner with my brother, who was in town on business. She said she hadn’t been up to it, but she wanted to see Greg, it was that important to her. When she got back from dinner, she called the nurse’s advice line and they made her an appointment with her doctor for first thing the next day, Friday.

She arrived for her appointment that morning and her doctor took one look at her and rushed her again to the ER. A quick test confirmed something was wrong, although it would take all day to diagnose her. I told her I would leave Napa right away and come home (about an hour and a half away). She said “Absolutely not – stay there, enjoy yourself – let’s find out what’s wrong first…”

So I stayed. Of course, I was glued to my phone, calling my sister Sandy and my Mom every hour to find out what, if anything, was yet known. Through tear-filled eyes, I sipped wine, barely noticing how awesome it was. I’d blow my nose and try to eat amazing food. My heart wasn’t into it and I was simply going through the motions.

Mom’s attitude was “I have my iPad and Kindle… I’m set!” It might have been a front for her, that she was fine with dealing with this alone, but being connected via phone to me and my sister was enough. I’ll never know for sure.

Rock and I were at Morimoto’s that evening, with me checking my phone every 30 seconds to see if my phone was ringing (I wasn’t trusting that I’d hear the ringtone.) When my sister called me at 10pm to deliver the diagnosis, I rushed out of the restaurant onto their outside patio and began to cry. Sandy told me that Mom didn’t want to call me and ruin my trip. That made me cry even more.

Rock saw me slumped over and crying and signaled to the waiter, who also saw this. The check was delivered and paid for in about 2 minutes flat. On the 15-minute drive back to the cottage, I was coming out of my skin. I wanted to be with my Mom right then. “Let’s go back NOW!” I made a pot of coffee and started to pack.

Rock was right, we couldn’t drive after drinking. It wasn’t safe for anyone. We’d have to stay put until the morning. I called my Mom sobbing and apologized. I shouldn’t have listened to her about me staying in Napa while she was in the ER. She sounded scared.

I don’t know if I slept that night, but I woke up with a horrible, empty feeling in my stomach. My mother was in heart failure. And I was still an hour and a half away.

Mostly wordless Wednesday…

13 Nov

with broken wingsMy broken wings know

I will fly again one day

For I do have faith

#haiku #hope

The Hollywood kiss…

2 Nov

Four years ago, my best friend lost her mother – as in, she died. Long struggle with brain cancer. She wanted me and the hubby there as support so of course we went.

It was there I met HIM the first time. HE was her brother’s best friend. Like me, HE was married too. We sat next to each other and over idle chit chat, we found a love of fine wine and good food. And maybe more, but we were both married at the time.

Fast forward two years.

I met HIM again at his best friend’s (my best friend’s brother’s) fall music festival in Sonoma. HE was now divorced, and I was recently separated. We caught up on each other’s failed marriages and found some laughter. But since I was dating Rock at the time, that’s all there was.

Fast forward two years.

About a month ago, I returned to the fall music festival in Sonoma with a group of girls and HE was there. Single. And so was I. Single.

We connected. Kissed. Laughed. Talked. Shared good wine, and good food. Over some Pad Thai, and later some Paella, we talked about us. The trouble with this one is this – he lives in Hollywood. I live in the burbs of San Francisco.

That afternoon, we agreed to see where this would lead. For starters, he would bring me to his neck of the woods and we would go from there. About a week later, we agreed on the weekend and he sent me a ticket.

I wasn’t nervous. At least, not until that morning, when all of a sudden, it dawned on me that I was going to visit a man I barely knew for two nights and he was, well, living amongst the rich and famous. Since he was my best friend’s brother by choice (she grew up knowing him), I wasn’t worried in any other regard.

Kiss me like you mean it...

Kiss me like you mean it…

When I arrived, he gave me what I lovingly refer to as a Hollywood kiss – you know the kind… Bags drop, full embrace, lips lock. It was very nice. Smiling still, thinking about it.

His plan for the first night was to bring me to his place, meet his cute little puppy, have a martini, then go to a swanky little French restaurant on Sunset. So up we go, through various canyons and into the hills. He happens to live in the Hollywood Hills you see, and since I’m not really sure what that meant before going there, let me tell you… Stars live there. As we pass Kanye West’s abode, with security crew outside, I start to realize what I might have got myself into. You see, HE lives a few doors down.

After a stiff martini, he opens a lovely bottle of french wine. It speaks to me as I’m a huge wine whore. And it relaxes me. But alas, we must leave his surreal digs and venure out to dinner. As we passed the Chateau Marmont, the Viper Room, and yes, the Pink Taco, all within minutes of his home, I started to feel this was still as surreal as I thought.

Over oysters and more wine, we meet two lovely older ladies and laughed and took pictures. Now, this is what I’m used to. Having silly fun and being me. It was a wonderful night and it felt very special.

The next morning, I awakened without the dreaded red wine hang over. Yay me! He was making breakfast for us, and I promised, while I’m not a huge morning eater, I would definitely try what he made. He made sweet potato pancakes with creme fraische and caviar and heirloom tomatoes with burrata cheese. WHAT’S NOT LOVE THERE??? Except I could only eat half, because, well, I don’t eat that much in the morning.

For lunch, he drove us up the coast to Malibu. He’s still regretting his choice of fried food, but we spent the entire time both on the drive and in the place laughing and talking. Afterward, we went to a swanky bar for a martini on the ocean and met some wonderful couple celebrating her birthday.

When we got back to his place, we took his little puppy out for a walk and chatted with some neighbors. I sorta forgot where I was. You know, Hollywood Hills. I felt a kinship with this woman about my age who is about to go to Tibet for 12 weeks on some mission (Hell, people in Berkeley do that all the time right??) and asked her to come over for a glass of wine. She said maybe next time – in a very sweet way – and it wasn’t until I got back to HIS place that I realized, this was an actress who probably thought I was insane.

HE was charming the entire weekend and we clearly like each other. A lot. As he dropped me back off at the airport on Sunday, we once again share a Hollywood style kiss.  We shall see where this bi-coastal friendship will go. Like I said in my earlier post, I’m in no rush.

———————————————————-

Post-note… I wasn’t feeling so hot after so much wine and martini’s that weekend. I was sorta hungover on Sunday. HE sent me a gift afterward… A beautiful luxurious chenille robe to comfort me. I got it last Wednesday, just in time to enjoy while I was suffering a head cold.

Next time, he visits my hood and sees how simply I live. 🙂