Tuesday, August 9, 2022

March-June, The Hospital

Since last summer, I had not been sleeping well at night. I figured it was because of perimenopause. Bad sleep means I nodded off a lot during the day before finally giving in to an afternoon nap. Then I couldn't sleep much at night. It was a terrible cycle. I spoke with my doctor in late December and she told me to see a pulmonologist and cardiologist. I couldn't get appointments until late May/early June.

Meanwhile I kept nodding off a lot during the day. I wasn't eating much. I lost a lot of weight. I was arguing with my parents about going to the hospital. Then on a March Sunday morning my mom found me unresponsive in my wheelchair next to the bed. She called 911. They talked her through doing CPR. When the paramedics arrived, they worked on me for a long time before taking me to the ER.

Upon arrival I had 40% oxygen. I was taking 4 breaths a minute. I was put on a ventilator. I knew I was on a ventilator when I woke up. I knew I was in the hospital. But I didn't see my parents or SP. I figured if I was on a ventilator, I'd been in a terrible accident, I thought with SP & my parents since I didn't see them. Had my parents & SP died? The next thing I remember is being moved somewhere, parked somewhere, all alone, it was dark and creepy. I thought I'd been left to die.

The next thing I remember is a new room. I was still all alone. The TV was on. News was on. The war in Ukraine. But the ticker tape looked like Russian to my eyes. Had Russia taken over? I started to panic. Was I all alone like Rick in the hospital in the first episode of season 1 of The Walking Dead? I couldn't move. I was still on the ventilator. And no one came.

I don't remember when I became more aware of things. There were nurses coming to see me. Doctors. My parents. But no SP. I could write, mostly illegibly, but I asked where SP was and my parents looked at me funny. Didn't I remember? They had to tell me he died in January. I started to sort of remember.   

I was on the ventilator 2.5 weeks. Eventually I moved to a "step up hospital."  Finally I moved to rehab. And on June 1 was discharged.

I have since learned a lot. That I technically died for a bit before being revived. That I wasn't expected to live. That if lived, I wouldn't recover back to where I was. I had only 2 reflexes when I arrived. They couldn't get my feeding in so they called the "experts" who found traces of acid issues. That I had an echo & had a probe threaded in to look at my heart because they feared heart damage. The pulmonologist and cardiologist I was scheduled to see in May/June had been called in. The nurses said it was a miracle I lived. I was surprised I didn't have some sort of brain issue. 

Not that I didn't fear it - maybe not a super obvious one, but... I didn't feel right. My eyes had trouble at first. I couldn't read. The first time I tried to use my cell phone I swear it had changed to a foreign language. And I couldn't remember how to use it. Also, updates had changed features and I broke down in tears because I couldn't figure things out. My writing was terrible. My hands shook. I was weak, so weak. For a long time I couldn't even lift my arms or move my legs. My thoughts were jumbled. 

The ventilator caused damage to my epiglottis and vocal cords. I couldn't swallow/get food down without aspirating into my lings, so I was only tube fed. I wasn't even allowed water. At first my voice was a low whisper because my left vocal cord was paralyzed. I had to have an injection for that. Ugh - through the nose and down to the cord. It got the cord partially moving, enough to have a normal, strong voice but not enough for eating.

I had lots of physical, occupational, and speech therapy. I got stronger. From 21 minuets to sit up, get to edge of the bed, and slide into my wheelchair to 3. By late May I was allowed liquids (only through straws), purees, and minced foods (plus tube feeds) - with precautions like a left head turn and coughing. To celebrate, my speech therapist brought me a large tea from Starbucks. It tasted so good.

My lungs are forever weak. The muscular dystrophy caused that. It made my lungs relax too much when I slept. I wasn't getting enough oxygen to my lungs. So not enough oxygen to my brain. That caused all this. Now I wear a mask at night when I sleep and it forcibly blows air into my lungs. I'm still having 2 tube feeds a day. I need to make sure I get enough calories and nutrients to heal and gain back the 30 pounds I lost. My last barium swallow test showed some lingering issues but I was cleared to eat any solid (so, anything) as long as it's small bites and I follow precautions (left head turn, coughing to clear lungs). I developed 2 terrible bedsores and just now, after 4.5 months, they've been declared closed but I still have to be careful because the areas are still soft and fragile and I still have to stay off them a lot. 

It's a lot. A lot of change in 2022. First, SP. Then this, And now, a new home & roommates. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 8, 2022

January-March, Grief

 An eight month blog absence. 2022 has been awful so far. Since my last post last December, we didn't cook anything new nor did we go anywhere exciting. SP was having stomach trouble. Plus, COVID. 

The first week of January, SP worked from home (his work was still WFH) and I could see he'd lost a lot of weight but I figured it was his stomach problems. I was not sleeping well at night, which I figured was because of perimenopause. Therefore I nodded off a lot during the day before finally giving in to nap. Then I couldn't sleep much at night. It was a terrible cycle.

One night SP threw up all over his dinner plate. I'd never seen him vomit before. With everything else I'd seen, his comments about his stomach, just a general feeling of dread and worry, I told him I was calling his parents to take him to the ER (I can't drive). I called him at the hospital that night at 11 pm. He'd fallen at the hospital. He didn't sound good at all and told me he didn't feel good, that he didn't feel like talking. I was sad and disappointed. He's my best friend. I love talking to him. But I said OK and we told each other we loved each other and hung up.

The next morning I awoke to my phone ringing. It was the hospital calling to tell me SP had died.

I went numb. Disbelief. I tried to tell them they were wrong. They gave me all sorts of info and asked a lot of questions. What funeral home? Did I want an autopsy? Could I come in?

I was overwhelmed. I called my parents. 

"Daddy I need you, Greg died." "

"OK we're on our way." 

All this at 8 am. 

Then I had to call SP's parent with the news.

Long story short (maybe): At the hospital, in his room, SP's glucose level had suddenly dropped way too low. He couldn't respond with his insulin pump because it was so low. The nurse found him unresponsive and gave him a shot but the sudden low insulin caused cardiac arrest. They stabilized him and were taking him to cardiac ICU when he again went into cardiac arrest. Despite bypass surgery 10 months earlier, despite exercise and so much salad that I grew sick of salad, his arteries were again severely blocked. Additionally he was bleeding internally in his digestive system - they couldn't find the source of the bleed and and he was bleeding into his belly and he bled out. Type 1 diabetes & other autoimmune diseases caused all this. He's gone and I am alone.

I don't know how I made it through planning a funeral, the funeral, after the funeral. I just remember trying to make it through each day. There was so much to take care of - his work/beneficiary suff,  removing his name from accounts, cleaning out his stuff. Basically erasing him. That's what it felt like.

I still cry a lot. I miss him so much it hurts. Everything reminds me of him. I am lonely. Sad. Full of grief. Sometimes I want to scream. Being a widow stinks.

I try to focus on all the good memories, but they make me cry. I have panic/anxiety attacks. I have lost so much.

So that's part of the reason for the blog absence. Stay tuned for the other reasons.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Thursday Thoughts


  • I wrote most of this post about a week ago and then forgot to publish it. There have been a lot of silly oopsies like that lately.
  • Thanksgiving came and went. It didn't feel very Thanksgiving-ish. Not like how it normally feels. We had dinner with SP's parents and brother. Everyone is vaccinated, and I think boosted by now,  though my booster was only 1 week prior to Thanksgiving.
  • We put the Christmas tree and other holiday decor up on Black Friday. It's nice to have it out but it just doesn't feel like Christmas to me.
  • SP took the week of Thanksgiving off. I have no idea what he/we did with 9 days of "freedom" because it feels like we didn't accomplish much! 

What We're Eating:

  • Thanksgiving week was Thanksgiving nearly every day. Way too much turkey, stuffing, green beans, rolls, potatoes, yams, Brussels, squash, cranberries. Pumpkin Pie, Peach Melba Pie, Cranberry Loaf, cookies and more cookies. 
  • Baked Potatoes with broccoli, cheese, ham, mushrooms.
  • Pork Roulade stuffed with pear-pancetta-thyme-cheddar served with crescent rolls and roast cauliflower.
  • Slow Cooker Lemon-Oregano Chicken with rice and broccoli.
  • Angel Hair/Spaghetti with Marina, Meatballs, Sausage
  • Scrambled Eggs with ham, gruyere, asparagus and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
  • Desserts: pumpkin roll, pimpkin pie, bakery cookies, yum yums, candy, ricotta chocolate chip cookies.

What We're Watching:

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (movie, Disney+). This was much better than we expected. we thought it had some great martial arts fighting choreography. And the dragons were cool.
  • Jungle Cruise (Disney+) with Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. This was a fun movie. Adventure, action, a mystery, a legend, a map to a special tree of healing. 
  • Hawkeye (Disney+). This 6 episode series airs a new episode every Wednesday and kicked off with the first 2 episodes the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It's fun. I like both Jeremy Renner & Hailee Steinfeld. The dancing avengers show was hilarious. The tracksuit mafia is funny. Wondering what's up with her mom and step-dad-to-be isn't funny but I like a murder mystery. There have been 2 more episodes since then and with each one, I like the show even more. The end of episode 4 last night was great! 
  • Squid Game (Netflix). We decided to see what the big deal is. Brutal. Sad. And anger at the ending.
  • Succession (HBOMax). Usually I am annoyed with this show because I really can't follow their dialog at times. It sounds like corporate BS. Fancy sounding jargon and phrases to make it sound super important and the people super mart. And the characters are all pretty awful human beings. But Kendall. Oh he's a self centered, mostly clueless jerk and yet I feel for him, I root for him to beat daddy, I want to give him a hug and tell him it'll all be OK. Sunday's episode, his conversation with his dad at dinner in Italy, his dad having Kendall's kid taste his meal in case it's poisoned, his dad just kicking Kendall and shoving him away then pulling him back in, controlling and destroying his soul. And then the final scenes in the pool. I can't wait for the season finale this Sunday.
  • Money Heist (Netflix) the final 5 episodes. It was fun to watch everything wrap up - how they got the gold out, how the Professor "won" and Tamayo "won," Sierra's slow move towards helping the Professor, the point of introducing Berlin's son. I loved it. 
  • Capitani (Netflix). We finished this. It was good, not great, and I hope there is a season 2 because it ended on a cliffhanger.
  • Great British Baking Show ended. I liked all 3 finalists so I was happy with the winner. That technical looked tough. A Belgian bun? WTF is that?! And the instructions. "Make buns. Decorate buns." So helpful!
What I'm Reading:
  • Game On: Tempting Twenty-Eight by Janet Evanovich. This was OK. Better than some recent offerings in the series if only because it seems like maybe we might get some development in Plum's character/relationship with Morelli? Maybe? Please?
  • I read the past 3 issues of Pittsburgh Magazine. I guess I was falling behind! 
  • Better Off Dead, the latest Jack Reacher novel. It was better than the last one but not as good as the earlier ones. I did stay interested and read it quickly.
  • The Dark Hours, the new Ballard & Bosch from Michael Connelly. I'm not that far into it but so far it's good.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Tuesday Thoughts


  • A couple of Mondays ago, it was my birthday. Whoo! When you're my age, birthdays aren't very exciting. And sometimes, you just don't want to acknowledge them because they make you think too much about your mortality.
  • That being said, if it must be acknowledged, no better way than with lots of treats and delicious food. 
  • Birthday weekend kicked off with an Apricot Cup, Pepperoni Roll, Lady Lock, and Yum Yum from Bethel Bakery.
  • Then there was a Capicola-Spinach-Mushroom Pizza on Saturday. 
  • Sunday, SP made me Sourdough Crumpets for breakfast and Braised Lamb Shanks for dinner.
  • On my actual birthday, we got take-out from Arlecchino. I had my usual Veal Scallopini with Crab and Lemon, served with salad and pasta, and for dessert Raspberry Tiramisu.  
  • The rest of birthday week was leftovers. Very yummy leftovers.
  • The weekend before my birthday was a return to Broadway Shows and that was a bit stressful. Everyone had to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination so I'm not sure how it could be safer but it was still kind of nerve-wracking to be in the Benedum with all those people, some of them insisting that they could let their nose hang out of the mask. Sigh.
  • We went out after the show with some friends. We went to Bridges & Bourbon and sat outside. The rain held off long enough for us to enjoy an adult beverage and some snacks. SP & I shared a Grilled Cheese with brie, arugula, caramelized onions, and fig spread. Fancy grilled cheese. It was lovely to sit and chat with friends we hadn't seen in nearly 2 years.
  • In other news, I've been really congested so I decided to again try a neti pot. Night #1 went OK. Night #2 did not go so well as I ended up with a terrible nose bleed. I blew my nose after the water drained out to be sure I got all the snot and bam! Worst nose bleed I've had in ages. It took nearly 20 minutes to stop. I am cautiously and optimistically sticking with it in hopes that it'll clear out my constantly allergied up & congested nose. For now I'm only doing it every 3 days or so. 

What We're Cooking & Eating:

  • Braised Lamb Shanks
  • Meatloaf with mashed potatoes & roasted cauliflower
  • Chicken & Herb Risotto with Asparagus
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Frozen Ravioli with Jarred Sauce. Meh.
  • Desserts: Smiley Cookies, Bethel Bakery, Raspberry Tiramisu, Halloween candy, homemade Chex Mix

What We're Watching:

  • Army of Thieves (movie, Netflix). The safecracker, Ludvig, from Army of the Dead is the star of this safe cracking spree. Enjoyable. 
  • Red Notice (movie, Netflix). The Rock. Ryan Reynolds. Gal Gadot. Light. Funny. Definitely fun and what we needed with so much serious TV and so much serious news in the real world.
  • Dopesick (Hulu). The finale is tomorrow. I'm hoping it ends on maybe a bit of an uplifting note? Cause, gosh, sadness and anger are what I usually feel when watching. Great show, just, ugh the Sackler Family, and the FDA and government and just all of it is so infuriating.
  • Succession (HBO). The most recent episodes have been better although dad is still a jerk and the kids are still idiots.
  • Holiday Baking Championship (Food Network). From the Halloween show right to the Thanksgiving & Christmas one. Sometimes the one judge seems mean, but I'm not the one eating the food, so... maybe it's deserved?! The yule logs looked yummy. I love yule logs. 
  • When it was Caramel Week on the British Baking Show, I felt for them because I despise trying to make caramel. Those chocolate covered cookie/caramel things looked awfully yummy. Then it was Free From week and I wish Freya could've been there. Those poor "sausage rolls." Gross!
  • Squid Game (Netflix). We watched episode 1. We'll watch it, we're just not wanting to marathon it. We both knew the premise of the show but somehow, episode 1 got to us with its... brutality? 
  • Capitani (Netflix). A detective show, from Luxembourg. So far we're enjoying it. It's not quite as good as the British shows like it, or the Nordic ones, but still an interesting cast of characters. Plus, I need to know what's up with the glasses.
  • Still watching The Rookie, John Oliver, SNL, food shows on PBS (Cook's Country, America's Test Kitchen, Milk Street), Ina on Food Network has new episodes, and while we don't plop down and watch entire games, we are watching Pitt & Steelers football. YouTube TV has a great feature. If you add the game to your library, when you go to watch it, even if it's still in progress, you have an option to watch a compilation of key plays.  

What I'm Reading:

  • Full Black, Black List, and Foreign Influence by Brad Thor. I'm reading these a bit out of order because some of the wait times are pretty darn long. I haven't enjoyed these as much as the previous books and I'm not sure why but I'll keep reading the series.
  • The Sisters by Claire Douglas. It was good. A little icky. A little creepy. But it held my interest.
  • Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas. This one was good, too, and I couldn't put it down. I was so sure about the dad being the culprit and never suspected who it really was.
  • Murder on Brittany Shores by Jean-Luc Bannalec. I'm enjoying these even though I'm not sure I find the main character that likeable. Also, he seems to figure out the murderer with information not really given to the reader-? When the murderer is revealed, I always feel like, oh? Uhhh, OK-? 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

October Thoughts


  • I haven't written since early October, so instead of Thursday Thoughts, it's more like October Thoughts.
  • By choice (maybe fear? worrying too much?) we are not back to living life like normal despite being vaccinated. This weekend will be a big test. Will we really make it to the Benedum Center for our first Broadway show since Feb. 2020 and the start of the 2021-22 Broadway Season? Or will coronavirus germs scare us into hiding at home in our protective bubble? Stay tuned.
  • We are 95% sure there will not be a post-show dinner. Good heavens - dining inside? Not sure we're ready for that.
  • SP survived 2 major surgeries in the spring, did all the physical therapy over the summer, and then barreled into more health crises in Sep/Oct. Sigh. Even if we felt OK eating indoors, I'm not sure we would. His doctors are adjusting his immunosuppressant meds and he's had several procedures to try to diagnose the latest issues. More tests coming, pending insurance approval.
  • For me, October was when I finally saw the doctors I'd been ignoring/video visiting since early 2020. I also went in for my first vision exam in 3 years. 
  • This week we had a chance to briefly visit with our oldest niece. She graduated college in May and is off to Ecuador in a few weeks. She'll be there for 3-4 months. We're excited for her. 
  • It's Halloween weekend! We don't have kids. Our street is too busy so we don't get trick-or-treaters. But we always get a bag on candy anyway. Just in case. 

What We've Been Eating:

  • Chicken Marsala
  • Shrimp & Spinach Risotto
  • Slow Cooker Lemon Oregano Chicken
  • Salad
  • Smoked Pork, Mac & Cheese, Grilled Green Beans
  • Dessert: We made French Silk Chocolate Pie
  • Dessert: We baked Vanilla Apricot Cookies
  • Dessert: Store bought Chocolate Wafers, Halloween Candy
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Saturday Takeout/Delivery: Vocelli pizza, Downey's House

What We're Watching:

  • Dopesick (Hulu). Great cast. Interesting show. Anger inducing show. Makes me want to force the Sacklers to snort Oxy and see what happens.
  • Only Murders in the Building (Hulu). Ended with them solving Tim's murder, of course. What a great first season with a cliffhanger ending for season 2!
  • We watched Dune (movie) on HBOMax. We really liked Part One and now we have to wait until Oct 2023 for Part Two. I haven't read the book or seen the previous Dune movie.
  • We also watched Black Widow (movie) on Disney+. It was fun.
  • Minari (movie). This was excellent. A little slow, and sad, but so good. I knew Glenn from TWD was in Minari but I didn't recognize him at first!
  • Halloween Baking Championship ended. We were a little surprised at the winner, but they all made amazing cakes in the finale. And baking with black garlic? I'd just give up before starting!
  • Maid (Netflix). At times a tough show to watch but overall quite good and also did a good job of showing someone really trying but getting stuck/blocked by the difficult system.
  • Succession (HBO) is back! Daddy Logan is still a big jerk. Kendall is still a big druggie. Shiv and Roman are still too chickensh** to stand up to daddy even though they desperately want to be the one in charge. I hope things change a bit, soon, cause right now it's more of the same, which is OK because it's been 2 years, but...
What I'm Reading:
  • Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. At least I had the book and meant to read it but somehow didn't find the time in 3 weeks. So I returned it and re-requested it.
  • Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas. Terrific read. I couldn't put it down. It did a good job at making me second guess who had fired the shotgun. This was my first Claire Douglas book. I requested another one. I decided to read them all so I requested the first one she wrote. I think Then She Vanishes is the most recent. They're not a series, at least I don't think so, but it's an easy way to keep track of which I've read/not read.
  • Enemy At the Gates by Kyle Mills. The newest Mitch Rapp book by not Vince Flynn but the guy who took over after Flynn's death. It was better than the last one.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Thursday Thoughts


  • Last Friday we had food delivered form Zoup for dinner. I had the Baked Potato Soup and it was good. What I really enjoyed was ripping apart my chunk of bread and swiping it through the soup. SP had Seafood Chowder.
    Clam Chowder in Soudough Bread Bowl at Buena Vista, San Francisco, July 2016
  • That is one of my favorite memories/favorite things to do in San Francisco and Monterey - order the Clam Chowder in a bread bowl and rip apart the bowl. When I was a grad student, it was a great & not too expensive way to have a super filling dinner. Now I just like ripping apart the sourdough bread bowl and making sure each chunk is thoroughly dunked in chowder. Dippy bread. So good. Also, I usually can't finish it.
  • Saturday we got take-out from Jade Grill. I got Shumai, which I enjoyed a lot, and Combo Lo Mein, which was very good. I like that the meats and shrimp are not overcooked. Much as I enjoyed the food, it did, as all Chinese food does, leave me feeling bloated and somewhat sick and gross in my belly. But at least the food was tasty. SP had a soup and an eggplant dish.

What We're Cooking:

  • Homemade Sloppy Joes
  • Dirty Risotto (sausage, mushroom, red pepper)
  • Dessert: No baking, just Halloween candy, old ice cream 

What We're Watching:

  • The Chestnut Man (Netflix). We finished this and it was really good.
  • Maid (Netflix). We've watched only the first episode but I think we'll stick with it. 
  • Thursday shows are back! Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy. I'm not sure what I think yet but I hope Meredith doesn't go to MN. I like the return of Scott Speedman as Meredith's love interest.
  • Speaking of Scott Speedman, his previous show, Animal Kingdom on TNT, just finished its 5th season. The 6th season will be the final season. Smurf killed his character Baz on the show back in season 3, but the season 5 cliffhanger was Baz's wife's body being found where Pope buried it. That could make season 6 interesting if there's anything that links back to Pope.
  • The new usual weekly shows: The Rookie, Great British Baking show, Only Murders in the Building.
  • Food shows: Halloween Baking Championship, Test Kitchen, Cook's Country, Milk Street.

What I'm Reading:

  • Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. I've been going back & forth on whether or not I want to watch the show on Hulu. I've enjoyed other books by Moriarty so I decided to read this one and then decide. I think I will give the Hulu show a try. Masha is nuts! I can't believe what she did to the guests, all in the name of helping them! 
  • I started Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen. It's very good. It's set in 1619 Germany and is about what happens when a woman is accused of being a witch and then everyone slowly turns against her and starts telling [untrue] stories of her witch behavior. I'm about halfway through the book.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Thursday Thoughts


  • Super early morning doctor appointments stink especially when it has finally cooled off and the house gets cold overnight so you have to get up in a dark and cold house. 
  • On the bright side, we were out so early we saw the sunrise and we got donuts at Better Maid Donuts.
  • We got the Halloween decorations out last weekend. The house is now full of pumpkins, ghosts, skulls, etc. I love fall!
  • Tomorrow is October. How did it get to be October already? 

What We're Eating:

  • Grill Rotisserie Chicken with baked potatoes and green beans or broccoli
  • Dessert: Halloween candy

What We're Watching:

  • Only Murders in the Building (Hulu) had a great episode this week - completely silent except for one line of dialogue. It made me remember the Hush episode of Buffy. 
  • The Chestnut Man (Netflix). We enjoy the Nordic crime thrillers on Netflix. This one is set outside Copenhagen and even though we need to pay attention and read subtitles, we're hooked. We've watched 2 of 6 episodes. The murders are gruesome - I have to look away. The Chestnut Men are creepy-cute. I think it's based on a book so I might have to read the book now.
  • Great British Baking Show (Netflix) is back with Season 9. Last Friday was cake week. The gravity defying cakes are always fun. It's like you have to be an engineer plus baker plus artist!
  • We watched Cruella (Disney+). We both enjoyed it much more than we expected. Emma Thompson and Emma Stone are fantastic.
  • We tried What We Do in the Shadows (FX). SP really likes it. Me, not so much. I just couldn't get into it. So it's on hold but if he wants to watch without me, he can.
  • We also tried When They See Us (Netflix), about the Central Park jogger case. We don't plan to watch past the first episode because it outraged & upset us so much. I cannot believe how those cops badgered and bullied those boys into confessions without their parents around when they were underage. I wanted to scream and cry and punch the TV. 

What I'm Reading:

  • The Other Passenger from Louise Candlish. Kept me hooked - I couldn't put it down, wondering who was the true mastermind and who was being played.
  • The Night Singer from Johanna Mo. I let this sit until the day before it was due and then started, thinking I'd never finish and it could not be renewed so why bother starting BUT I quickly got hooked and I spent nearly the entire day at the kitchen table reading as fast as I could read to find out what really happened to the 15 year old boy and to find out more about Detective Hanna's past on the island. 
  • The Apostle and The Last Patriot from Brad Thor. Both good.