August 23, 2015

Luke's Follow Up Appointment in Chicago


Luke's Follow Up Appointment in Chicago
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for 8/23/15


We took a family trip to Chicago to see the wonderful doctors at Lurie's Children's Hospital.  Last year, we had a scare with Luke where he needed to be evaluated for a heart and liver transplant.  You can read about it here.  As a result of that visit, Luke was recommended to get a pacemaker which he did this past February.  We wanted to go back and visit with the heart and liver team at Luries for a follow-up to make sure he's still doing well.  I'm happy to say that they were quite pleased with Luke's progress and we seem to be on the right track for now.  We appreciate everyone's prayers for Luke as we went through this process!


We went down on Wednesday which also happened to be Miss Sheri's birthday.  She wanted to get Chicago Style pizza from Gino's East, so that was our first stop after checking into the hotel.  It was good pizza, but awfully darn thick!


Avery didn't come with us the last trip because it was during school, but we were happy to have him come along this time.  He's good at giving Luke moral support during his procedures.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Luke insists that Avery leave the room whenever anything medical is happening.  It did give me the opportunity to take some pictures of him overlooking the Chicago skyline, though.


After our appointments on Thursday, we went to Shedd Aquarium.  We like the fishes.


They also had sting rays which they said we could pet which some of them liked.  Some of them didn't.  One of them even freaked out on Miss Sheri and sprayed water all over her.  It caused her to scream loudly.  After she screamed, the nice employee got on the microphone and reminded the whole audience the proper way to interact with the sting rays.  My wife is such a rule breaker.  Knowing her, she was probably pinching that ray's fin.


They had blue lobsters.  I'd like to order one of those the next time I go to Red Lobster, but I'm sure they won't have it else they'd have to change their name.


This guy started whispering to me and asked me to switch my auto insurance, but I just walked away.  It's like, Dude, I'm on vacation.


The Shedd Aquarium is famous for their Beluga whales, but I notice they've downplayed them in their advertising during this visit.  I'm sure it's a fallout from all the Sea World controversy with keeping killer whales in captivity.  As a matter of fact, during the whale program, they played a bunch of videos highlighting how their whole program revolves around all the animals they've rescued including a blind seal and some dog they brought in from a local shelter.  They didn't mention anything about their whales being rescue animals, though.  They just had this guy keep talking to one of them and asking him in front of the audience "You really like being here, right?"  Then the whale would nod his head up and down.  I'm not sure if the whale really understood the question or if it was some kind of a trick.


We had planned to stay in Chicago throughout the weekend, but on Friday we came up with the bright idea that we could knock off half of our trip home by going to the Wisconsin Dells and staying at Kalahari Water Park.  They had an end of summer deal, so we were able to stay at their hotel, go to the water park, go to the Tommy Bartlett Ski Show, and the Timbavati Wildlife park for less money than it would have cost to spend another night at the hotel in downtown Chicago.  And they didn't even have a pool!


We had never been to the Timbavati Wildlife Park before and had very low expectations going in, but were incredibly impressed.  They had a huge selection of animals that were way more accessible than at any other zoo I've ever attended.  Plus you could feed most of them.  They sold a big cup full of carrots for $4.00 and we walked around and giving them out to our furry friends.  Feeding them to the giraffes was the best!


The zebras also liked the carrots, but they used their teeth a lot more than the giraffes.  Darn zebras.


The giraffes use their tongues a lot more which caused us a lot less pain as we gave them their carrots.  Eventually I became envious of the giraffes and tried to join them, but didn't have much success.  No tourists wanted to feed me for some reason.


The sign outside the baby tiger cage said Please Do Not Feed  Carrots.  I'm guessing he was more interested in meat, but unfortunately I didn't have any on me.  Any that I was willing to share with him that is.


We spent about a half hour with these guys just yelling "Hump Day" at them.  Then high fiving one another.


The huge bird cage was really cool and again I was amazed that we had such close access to the animals.  We were surprised to discover how much they like carrots.  


Giraffe Selfies!


The boys were very confused about what the turtles were doing until I told them that the one on the bottom was really sick and the one on top was pushing him to the hospital.  That joke just never gets old.