CHF Recovery: Day 25

I was busy on October 8 so here’s the stuff from that day. It was time to leave New York so I was focused on wrap-up activities.

  • Got up, had protein shake, took meds
  • Had shower and got dressed
  • Met Kathryn at the same cafe as the day before to have breakfast

Breakfast was good (I tried blintzes for the first time) but also sad, since it was the absolute end of our time together. The restaurant was busy and various emotions were happening and it was hard. But it was good, too.

  • Walked Kathryn back to her apartment
  • Took my bowls over to UPS to have them shipped home
  • Strolled as slowly as I have ever strolled in my life back to the Airbnb, stopping to get myself a chai tea latte at Starbucks
  • Drank my chai and messed around online and wrote some stuff
  • Packed my things
  • Got a cab to LaGuardia
  • Checked my bag and got through security in like two seconds (it was so dead!)
  • Got a sandwich and a yogurt and piddled around at my gate until time to board

LaGuardia felt really small compared to Atlanta, but I was at a specific terminal, and it seems like every terminal has its own baggage check/claim and security area and food court, making them pretty self-contained. I guess there were several more terminals that were the same way, each with their own gates, so the impression was deceptive.

There were high tops all over the place with tablet computers at each seat that allowed you to order food, play games, check the status of your flight, charge your device, and more. Really cool. If I had known I could just order food right there I might have done that instead of searching through the food court. What I ended up doing was going back out to the entrance (like I said, the terminal is really small) and finding the sandwich and yogurt (and some peanut butter M&Ms), then taking forever to realize that I had to walk down toward the gates to check out. I had looked at the restaurants, but one of them was very fancy and expensive (the seafood dish was $75!), one of them didn’t have anything I could eat, and I couldn’t tell how much the stuff was at the third. The food court had stuff like deli sandwiches, pizza, and burgers, none of which would have really worked for me.

I was in Zone 3 so I sat around when boarding started, and right at the last minute I went to the bathroom, and then suddenly they were making an announcement like “All passengers going to Atlanta come to Gate 10 now!” I went back out there and there was still a line to board, but it was short. Perfect timing, I suppose.

I was seated way in the back, and all the overhead bins were looking full, so I slipped into my window seat carrying both my laptop bag and my camera bag and hoped for the best. Miraculously, both of them fit under the seat in front of me, and that meant I was able to use my little laptop to do some writing during the flight! I also had my traditional hot tea and Biscoff cookies, and ate my peanut butter M&Ms, and took pictures out the window, and set the TV on the back of the chair in front of me to Japanese mode for fun. All in all, it was a good flight. Takeoff was kind of rough; there was a bunch of turbulence before we got to cruising altitude. And then landing was also rough! But the flight itself was smooth.

My plane arrived in Atlanta at around 9pm and it took about half an hour to take the Plane Train to baggage claim. Right on time. I met up with Sean and hugged him a lot. Then we went home.

  • Unpacked all my stuff
  • Left the computer to set up the next day, but set up my little laptop on the bed and messed around online a bit before finally going to sleep

CHF Recovery: Days 23 and 24

Whoops, I forgot to log anything yesterday. I was busy!

October 6

  • Got up, had protein shake and meds
  • Met Kathryn for breakfast at Gracie Mews Diner on the recommendation of my Airbnb host; it was lovely
  • Took a solo jaunt up to the Cloisters, first by taking the bus to Broadway and 86th and then hopping on the A train up to 190th Street

This trip involved taking the bus! I finally successfully rode a bus.

  • Wandered around the garden and park for hours
  • Actually got to the Cloisters itself; it was closed but I took photos of the outside
  • Walked back to the front of the park

This doesn’t look like much but it was so much walking! The garden—which is called Heather Garden, by the way—was utterly gorgeous, and I took about a bazillion photos. The rest of the park is huge, with trails everywhere, and there are some really steep inclines and a lot of stairs. The park is the site of a former fort, Fort Tryon, and you can wander around overlooks made of stone, and it’s beautiful. The Cloisters building itself is also lovely.

  • Ate dinner at New Leaf, a restaurant on the park grounds

Dinner was great; I asked them to make it without salt and they did! It was half a chicken, roasted, with carrot and asparagus couscous. For dessert I had three scoops of ice cream: chocolate, lemon, and basil. So good. At the end I thankfully remembered to take my meds. The sun had long since set by the time I finished eating, and it had gotten fairly chilly; I was happy to get back down to the climate-controlled subway.

By the way, the subway stop in front of Fort Tryon Park is so cool! The building looks so neat, with a big wood door and metal gates and such, and you have to ride a huge elevator way down to get to the trains.

  • Rode the subway back into town, this time to 59th Street
  • Took a different bus across Central Park to stop by and say goodnight to Kathryn
  • Walked back to the Airbnb, stopping along the way for some mint Milano cookies
  • Ate cookies and drank hot tea
  • Took supplements and went to bed

October 7

  • Got up around 8am, had protein shake, took meds
  • Showered and got dressed
  • Met Kathryn at Cafe Luka; she had a burger and I had a chicken sandwich

They gave me enough chicken for three people. I cut off what I wanted to eat and put that inside the seven-grain bread with one slice of tomato and some of the massive lettuce leaf, and left the rest on my plate. We shared my fries, which were good.

  • Took the train with Kathryn down to Grand Central
  • Took photos of the main terminal area that everyone takes pictures of
  • Went to the Transit Museum Annex and saw the etiquette sign exhibit

This was so fun. In addition to New York signage, there were signs from around the world. There was also a loop of TV ads running, including a bizarre and hilarious and morbid one from Australia, Dumb Ways to Die. The gift shop had a ton of subway-themed stuff, but I didn’t find anything I really, really wanted, so we left with no purchases. (I was drawn to a collection of old subway tokens, but I’m not sure where I would put them.) Next door there was a store selling unique gifts, so we went in there and looked around too. Kathryn got herself some cute Alice in Wonderland stickers :)

While we were in the area we walked over to the UPS distribution center to pick up a package I had sent to Kathryn, only to discover that it was on the truck being delivered. Argh. Lots of walking for nothing. However, we did see a few New York City Comic Con cosplayers, at least.

We were both quite tired at this point so we went back to our respective apartments.

  • Poked around online
  • Met up with Kathryn again at our usual sushi place
  • Remembered to take my meds!
  • Walked over to a little bakery with Kathryn and had cute little cakes
  • Back to the Airbnb whee
  • Went to bed at 12:30am

CHF Recovery: Day 22

Really not feelin’ it today. (Where “it” is “anything.”)

  • Got up at 7
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Sat around grumpily for hours
  • Ate the protein bistro box I bought yesterday
  • Finally got off my ass and went out; walked a few blocks to the subway stop on 77th and rode downtown

I had intended to go to Chinatown and walk around taking pictures, but when the train got to the Astor Place stop I spontaneously got out, deciding to go to Cha An again. While walking toward Cha An I realized that entire street is lined with Japanese restaurants and other businesses, including a store. I picked a sushi restaurant and went there first for some protein.

  • Had a late lunch (3:15) of delicious sushi at Sharaku
  • Went to Sunrise Mart

This place was great! You take a laboriously slow elevator to get to it, which reminded me of older department stores and such in Japan. The store is filled with groceries and beauty products and video rentals, and in the very back corner…dishes!!!! I was so excited! (My mood had already picked up quite a bit thanks to the sushi but this pushed me over the edge.) I ended up buying four rice bowls, each with a different beautiful pattern. Then it was time for Cha An!

  • Went to Cha An

I ordered the matcha and the dessert sampler, and they were both awesome. The matcha is served in a large, beautiful cup (not a traditional pottery-style cup, but a porcelain one, but it was gorgeous) with red bean and mochi confections on the side. It was the perfect balance. The menu had said the matcha was sweet, which concerned me, but it had not been sweetened; it was just the right kind of bitter.

The dessert sampler included five items: mochi with what I believe was chestnut filling, black sesame creme brulee, lemon cake with jam and whipped cream, red bean ice cream with a black sesame cracker for contrast, and two cookies, one green tea flavored and one that I think had the flavor of roasted rice. They were all amazing; I think I liked the creme brulee best, followed by the red bean ice cream and the mochi.

I forgot to take my mealtime medicine while I was at Cha An, so I stopped in at a bakery and bought a bottle of water…and a gift box of macarons, because macarons.

After taking my meds, I headed back uptown. I’d thought about continuing down to Chinatown, but I had a bag full of bowls and macarons at this point and I didn’t feel like lugging it around.

  • Rode the train to 86th
  • Walked a few blocks back to Airbnb
  • Settled in and did some reading
  • Got peckish so went up the street and bought a slice of pizza

Yes. Pizza. >_< White bread and salty and greasy and unhealthy. My sodium count must be through the roof. I don’t even know. I don’t know how much sodium was in all those desserts, either.

Today was a cheat day ;P I’ll be good again tomorrow.

(It was real New York pizza. I had never had it before. You gotta have real New York pizza in New York, man.)

  • Changed into pajamas
  • Did a bit more reading

Now all that’s left is:

  • Take evening supplements
  • Go to bed

CHF Recovery: Day 21

It is so difficult to maintain a low-sodium diet. I hate it.

Today the plan was to go to Cha An for lunch, then check out Chinatown. We did both of these things, but at first there was some confusion about whether or not I could actually eat anything at Cha An.

Cha An is a cool Japanese restaurant that focuses on tea and dessert but also has appetizers, side dishes, and a couple of meal options. I was looking at the menu before heading out to meet Kathryn and it seemed like it wouldn’t work out. This was really upsetting, because I had really been looking forward to this place. I grumped around for some time, then decided I could probably have the “salmon toast”, so we met up and went there as planned.

I ended up ordering the appetizer sampler, which came with six different items in very small portions. The fish items didn’t seem to have heavy sauces, and nothing tasted particularly salty, so I was hopeful I’d be safe. We shared a seasonal parfait at the end of the meal, which consisted of assam tea jelly, chestnut ice cream, and sweet potato custard, with toppings of mochi, chestnuts, and a matcha (green tea) Rice Krispies treat bar. It was amazing.

Later, when I attempted to tally the nutrition information for these items, I learned that one of my appetizers, the seaweed salad, has a ton of sodium. I was not expecting that at all.

Dinner happened at a diner we passed while walking back to Kathryn’s apartment, and it wasn’t very good. I did find something I could eat: grilled chicken with steamed vegetables and a baked potato. The portion size was ludicrous. I received two full chicken breasts and enough vegetables for four people. I got tired of eating it after awhile, so I stopped eating even though I was still hungry.

The highlight of the day was Chinatown. Kathryn took me to a three-level grocery and home goods store. The top level had beauty products, home office supplies, and some cute decorative items. The middle level was the grocery store, with a wide variety of food, including tons of snacks. The bottom level, Kathryn had kept as a surprise: it was filled with dishes!

I spent ages there, going through the aisles again and again, looking at bowls and plates and cups and teapots. It was so wonderful. I haven’t had a place to shop for Japanese dishes since Hibari Market in Lexington shut down, years ago. There were so many different designs! So much blue and white! I ended up getting two medium-sized bowls in a traditional Japanese pottery style and two small bowls with a pink sakura pattern. (Here’s hoping I can pack them properly for the trip home…)

So, while my heart failure tried to ruin the day, it ultimately failed.

  • Got up, had protein shake and morning meds
  • Goofed off online and wrote a very tiny bit
  • Took a shower
  • Met up with Kathryn and went to Cha An
  • Went to Chinatown and it was awesome
  • Went back to Kathryn’s apartment, stopping at a diner on the way; took mealtime meds
  • Hung out at Kathryn’s apartment for awhile
  • Came back to the Airbnb; at this point I was grumpy
  • My host made me some eggs and toast for a snack
  • Ate the snack and then got back on my computer for awhile
  • Grumpily ate a piece of baklava
  • Took evening supplements

My mood was not great at the end of the day—I actually started crying a couple times on the walk home—but I think it was due to the day being long and tiring. I’m going to bed now, and hopefully I’ll get some good rest tonight.

CHF Recovery: Days 18, 19, and 20

So, I’m on vacation, and that means my normal routine is disrupted. I had planned and booked a trip to New York City before my heart decided to fail, and everything was nonrefundable, and I am at least able to walk around, so I came. And I’m having a great time! Here are my status updates for the first three days.

October 1

  • Got up around 9:15am
  • Had my protein shake and morning meds
  • Piddled around online
  • Had second breakfast with my Airbnb host (eggs and toast, yum!)
  • Continued piddling around online until something like 3:30pm
  • Walked from my Airbnb to Central Park
  • Wandered around Central Park a bit
  • Walked from Central Park all the way down to Times Square; it was nighttime so I got to see it all lit up
  • Went from there to Starbucks to get a chai while I waited for Kathryn
  • Met up with Kathryn and went to a diner for dinner; I had a salad and she had some sort of delicious-looking Eggs Benedict thing
  • Went back to the Airbnb and realized I had forgotten to take my evening meds with dinner
  • Ate yogurt and took meds
  • Wrote a short story
  • Went to bed at 1am

October 2

  • Got up around 9:30
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Goofed off online
  • Showered and got dressed
  • Met up with Kathryn for lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant
  • Had steamed cod (recommended by the American Heart Association!) and it was delicious
  • Went around the block to a coffee shop and sat with Kathryn while she had her favorite flavored coffee
  • Went back to the Airbnb and had a couple cookies and some tea while playing around online (I tried to think of something to write but was unsuccessful)
  • Got dressed for dinner in a skirt that didn’t fit me when I first got it! I looked really cute
  • Met Kathryn at our favorite (e.g., the only one we’ve ever really tried) sushi restaurant
  • Had a deluxe sushi plate, half of which I had to take back to the Airbnb
  • Also had a scoop of vanilla ice cream that was AMAZING
  • Walked back to the Airbnb

Let me just interject here that I love walking around Manhattan? It’s just so full of energy and interesting things to look at! I’ve noticed this time that everyone is doing sushi now. There is almost a sushi restaurant on every block. But what really took the cake for me? A bagel shop with the sign, “Now serving sushi!” What is happening? :D

  • Ate my leftovers while reading online and chatting
  • Went to bed at midnight

October 3

  • Slept until 10am! This seemed dramatic until I just looked at the other times I got up this week
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Made myself two eggs and a piece of toast
  • Hung out with my Airbnb host for awhile
  • Went back to my room and goofed off online some more
  • Asked my Airbnb host if he had any chocolate and he DID and he GAVE IT ALL TO ME
  • I ate it all
  • Wrote 2310 words on a story and I’m not sure where it’s going or how much longer it will be!
  • Finally showered at like 5pm and put on my octopus skirt
  • Met up with Kathryn for dinner at a Greek restaurant

Let me just mention here that the walk was GREAT and it made me feel so good, because the weather was perfect! It was nighttime and dark, but not cold at all. And it wasn’t hot. It was my favorite temperature, really. Somewhere around 68-70. Ahhh it was just so comfortable. I had a spring in my step!

  • Kathryn had souvlaki with lamb and I had a gyros with rotisserie chicken and they both were made with French fries inside them and it was fascinating and delicious
  • Took my mealtime meds
  • Then we went to a froyo place
  • I had strawberry with strawberries and banana and white chocolate chips and Nilla Wafers
  • Kathryn had birthday cupcake batter with a bunch of different candies and it looked awesome
  • Neither of us could quite finish
  • Walked back to my Airbnb; it had gotten slightly chilly but not bad at all
  • Goofed off online, as is my wont
  • Couldn’t really focus on what to write next, so didn’t write anymore
  • Took evening supplements and went to bed at 11:30pm