I don't know if I have mentioned this, but my friend Leah is having one of the bariatric surgeries. She began this path 2 years ago. She was all set to get a date and then her doctor discovered Leah had diabetes. It was put on indefinite hold at that point. So, here we are today. The diabetes is under control. She has driven to South San Francisco Kaiser for all her appointments. She passed the psychological test. We have an appointment date for surgery. October 13, 2011!
Over this time, Leah has been driving to South San Francisco Kaiser because they don't do the bariatric surgeries here in Sacramento. I hear it will be only five years until they are done here also, but for now, your choices are San Diego, Richmond and South San Francisco. Leah choose South San Francisco because she has family in the area and will be able to rely on them. She won't have to go to a hospital and stay over until her doctor says she can go home; Leah will be staying with her aunt and uncle who live about five minutes away in Daly City. The plan is to go down Wednesday evening so there will be no stress. Leah's mother and her husband will go with her. They will stay until Saturday and then come home.
For each appointment, Leah has had someone come with her for moral support and because the drive is just too long by yourself. I have been a couple of times as has Sole, another friend, and her mom. Yesterday was the last appointment until the day of surgery. This time it wasn't just a doctor's appointment in the morning and then the drive home. She had her appointment, had to do her blood work and go to a pre/post surgery class which ran from 2pm-4pm. I was perfect for this one because I will easily be able to sit around for the extra two hours. We made a plan to stay for dinner down at Fisherman's wharf and waste time until around 6:30pm to miss what is sure to be horrible traffic.
First we were leaving at 9am for an 11:30 appointment. A couple days later, we were to leave at 8:30am. Then I said we should drop the sweet girl off at her school so we were now leaving at 8:00am. Then Leah's mom wanted to go with us to be dropped off at her brother's house to visit. Okay, now we are leaving at 7:30am and Leah is worried about getting there on time! We left at 7:35am, went to Starbucks for coffee and breakfast (reduced-fat cinnamon coffee cake for me), dropped the sweet girl off, and were on our way to pick up Leah's mom. Leah's mom lives behind an elementary school. We stopped at the stop sign at the very front of the school, Some parent in a white car was waiting to turn left into the school. It was Leah's turn to go, but the parent started to go at the same time, so Leah stopped, waved the parent to go ahead and then drove through the stop sign. Little did we know, a Citrus Heights policeman was watching this. He turned after us and then stopped Leah. First he accused her of not stopping and then stopping only because she saw the police car. Either way, she did not deserve the ticket he wrote.
The drive in was uneventful. I always pray going over the Bay Bridge. We dropped Leah's mom off at the uncle's house and we went on to Kaiser. There we had problems. Imagine a five story parking structure with valet parking and there is no space. We drove around until we lucked out and a woman came out to her car. The people there park so badly that she had to climb into her car on the passenger side because the car next to her was parked sooo close to her that she couldn't get into the driver's side no matter what. Only Flat Stanley could get in that small space.
Leah disappear into the inner offices. When she comes out her doctor is walking behind her. I had read his profile and discovered he was from Lebanon. I once had a doctor assigned to me from Pakistan and I was concerned. Lebanon seems like a more civilized place. After the first appointment Leah discovered the lab was open and we headed there. She discovers that her juice opened up in her purse so there is juice over everything. So, supportive Julie sat there drying her purse and stuff while she got her blood taken and typed. We heard there was a farmer's market outside the hospital and decided to take advantage of this. There was a tamale guy who was taking the sign down as we approached him. He had three spicy pork tamales left. Leah bought one and I bought the other two. They were delicious!
We went back to the hospital for this class. I figured I would sit in some waiting room away from the group, but there were no chairs--only a hallway. There were more than enough chairs, so I stayed. The nurse encouraged questions, but I was the only one who asked about anything. I was the only one there who was just there for support.....The nutritionist was impressed that I was asking questions and taking notes while not there for surgery.
At 4:30pm we drove over to Fisherman's Wharf. Leah said we could have gone to have dinner with her family (uncle, aunt, mom, cousins), but she told them I really had to go to Fisherman's Wharf. We walked over to Boudin's and had clam chowder in a bread bowl (what Leah had planned, not me). It was yummy. Can you believe that a cup of coffee was $3.50???? It was more than an iced tea. We went over to Ghiradelli and had an ice cream sundae (shared) and still Leah's plan. We walked around and wasted time until 6:30pm. Leah called her mom and found out they were just sitting down to dinner. We figured we would drive over and then sit for a bit in the car to give them time. It took 30 minutes to get over to Mateo Street from Fisherman's Wharf. We got on Van Ness Avenue. That street goes up--big steep hills-- and then back down in long steep drops. I prayed the whole time and crossed myself every time we made it to a stop sign and didn't go sliding down the hills backward. If it wasn't so far, I would have gotten out and walked. I did consider it. Eventually we got to 136 Mateo St and we got out and went in to say hello. They were just chatting over dessert. Leah's cousin Paul went in and made coffee. Hurrah!
Paul and Tara live in a typical San Francisco row house. They are so cute and so small. The rooms are tiny. My dining room is huge in comparison. You could fit their dining and living rooms in just my living room and I have always thought my living room was so small..... We stayed for about an hour talking. There was a friend there from Nicaragua who was leaving to go home the next day. That was why Leah's mom wanted to came with us.
We had plenty of traffic on the way home. We arrived home safely by 10pm--just in time to find out that Kristen was voted off Dancing With the Stars. We must have our priorities! It was fun to spend the day with Leah. I am equally happy that I took today (Wednesday) off because I was really tired and needed to sleep in. I know how to use my vacation days!
Hope all is well with you and yours. If you go to San Francisco, stay away from Van Ness Avenue. It is too scary!