Clinic visit and so much more in San Francisco 

My three month follow up appointment at UCSF was scheduled for Friday December 16 at 1 pm. As the date approached we noticed the weather forecast was calling for significant snow in the Sierra Thursday overnight. Andy finished his finals on Thursday and was already scheduled to stay with my dad (Papa) and step mom Anita  (Nana) so we could leave early on Friday. So we decided to beat the storm and drove over in the deluge of rain on Thursday afternoon. It gave us a chance to visit in the Sacramento area with our good friends Erika, David, and Maddie and their three dogs (Paul was out of town on business).

It was a bonus to have time to catch up with dear friends. So nice of them to have us on short notice, even with their busy schedules. On Friday morning they were all up and out the door before we were.

David leaving for his last two Freshman finals.
Maddie heading to the neighbors for a ride to the last day of school before break.
Erika heading to a corporate Christmas party at AT&T Park in SF (formal clothes in her pack)

Then we had a leisurely drive in the sunshine to my appointment with time for lunch on the way.

As usual, I saw my nutritionist, speech therapist, respiratory therapist, social worker, a representative from the Muscular Dystrophy Association  (MDA) which also supports ALS patients, and of course the doctor. No medical intern this time.

Lung function test – no major changes from last time – good news

The doctor gave me a prescription for a different saliva reducing medication, and told me about Botox injections in the saliva glands which will be an option if the new drug doesn’t help.  It is getting more difficult to move saliva to the back of my throat to swallow.

All in all, a good clinic appointment, and we were actually done by 4:30 pm (the earliest we ever finished a 1 pm appointment). We were treated to this view on the way to the car.

We had time to drive to our hotel before our dinner reservation. There was a huge and beautiful gingerbread house in the lobby.

As we were checking in, the lobby began to fill with guests who had been evacuated from the upper floors due to a fire alarm. We were told by hotel personnel that it was a non emergency and we could proceed to our room. One problem, the elevators were still on fire lock down. We heard from guests around us that it was the second alarm of the afternoon. Well, let’s hope it doesn’t happen in the middle of the night. We finally got to our room and I had time to take my meds before we had to head out to dinner. We decided to Uber rather than drive another half hour in rush hour traffic.

We ate at Piqueo’s, a Peruvian restaurant we had discovered when my friend Debra and I ran the San Francisco Rock and Roll Half Marathon. We stayed at the top of Bernal Heights in a vacation rental apartment with Stan and Andy and Gary, Debra’s husband. We walked down a staircase, then down a steep street and then found this great restaurant on Cortland. 

We dined with my ALS friend Sarah Coglianese ( and her husband Rob Goulding and Jen McErlain  (ALS TDI) and her husband Jimmy. It was so much fun! I am mad at myself for not having someone take a picture of us at the table. I should say “our” table – it’s the same one we ate at with Debra and Gary. And Stan said it was surprisingly fun considering the circumstances that brought us all together. I have met some very wonderful people by having this awful disease.

We Ubered back to the hotel and had a peaceful night (no fire alarms) and a relaxing morning before meeting my sister Beth and her husband Jamie for lunch at noon. So nice to see them, especially because they missed Thanksgiving with us. We met them at a restaurant called Zero Zero and the pizza smelled so good.

The curly haired Saunders sisters
Our husbands, Jamie and Stan
Stan and I showing off our Christmas gifts from Beth and Jamie – a beautiful bottle of wine for Stan and some very soft and warm Ugg gloves for me, thanks guys!
Beth and Jamie by their lovely Tesla

We had a really nice visit. I wish we could do it more. Then we hopped on the Bay Bridge and headed back to Reno. Of course, a week before Christmas, there were traffic jams on I-80 near every shopping area. We made it home in time for our dinner reservation for a little Christmas celebration with Nana and Papa at Bistro 7 because we will have Christmas with Stan’s family. Lovely dinner and again no pictures. 😕 Come on, Meg. Remember you need photos for your blog!

Then bright and early Sunday morning, Stan and Andy had to go sell Christmas trees in the early morning cold. They called me around 9 am and asked me to bring propane because the trailer ran out and it was freezing. So I was finally able to help with something for the Boy Scout tree lot. Plus I got to have a nice visit with Amanda, who came and sat with me because my car was so warm. We are neighbors but hardly ever see each other, especially now that I am not working at school.

Then Andy’s annual holiday recital Sunday night. I promise some photos. Here they are.

Andy playing Telemann Concerto in G Major, movement II with his teacher and another student
Andy with his viola teacher, Dustin Budish, who he has studied with for over 3 years.

Bravo Andy! Great recital. A very nice ending to our great long weekend.

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