Feb 28, 2008

X-Rays and Enemas

So I have an appointment for a CT (commonly referred to as a Cat Scan, although I am pretty positive that there will be no felines involved). I am set up for 0800 tomorrow. I have had an MRI before, but never a CT, so I figured this was something I should know about ahead of time.

A CAT scan, or Computerized Axial Tomography, is used to analyze various structures in the body. The imaging machine is shaped like a large doughnut and my leg will simply be in the hole while the machine takes pictures around me.

All this is well and good, really not too different from an MRI (in procedure, anyway). But then there is the contrast material, or maybe it would be better known as X-ray Dye. Some of this can be ingested through the mouth. I would assume this is some sort of beverage mixture that tastes horrible. It can be injected intravenously, which I think would be my preference. Or it be administered with an enema. I guessing that won't be done to me tomorrow, and quite honestly if it were I would have to assume that my physician has a really bad sense of humor.

I'm glad this is being done in short order, and I'm sure I'll have more to say tomorrow.

Feb 27, 2008

Ankle Updates

Its a funny thing about this ankle problem of mine. For the past 20 years I have known that an ankle fusion is going to be in my future. Having always known this, not once have I ever actually looked into what the process entails.

Here is what I have learned:

  1. I had hoped that in the past 20 years there would be significant advances in this particular field that would eliminate the need for a fused ankle. Sadly, this is not the case. Thanks to the availability of copious amounts of medical information (courtesy of the World Wide Web) I have learned that ankle fusion is really the most common fix for a guy like me and the most successful.

  2. I never really knew the process of an ankle fusion, but now I do. There is a particularly useful site that was found by Dean Flint. Allow me to post a link: This lady had the surgery done, her ailment might be slightly different, but the idea is the same.

  3. Recovery from ankle fusion is not a quick process. It seems that 5-8 months is a normal recovery time. Thinking about it now, that seems like a really long time. Especially when you consider the first 6-8 weeks there can be no pressure put on the joint at all.

Here is a picture of what an ankle fusion would entail:

So, it seems like I should have known all this information sooner than now, but as they say, "There is no time like the present."

Right now I am in a state of pretty constant pain, I'm living on ibuprofen and Tylenol at work, and the occasional vicodin at home. I'm waiting for the doctor's office to call with the information about a cat scan before I can be referred to an orthopedist.

I'll keep you posted.

Feb 23, 2008

The Plague Has Hit!

While that is not the newest headline of our local news paper, it should be posted outside our house.

Delia has been working long hours, really hasn't had a day off in the last 2 weeks, and it has finally caught up with her. She was working today and finally gave up, coming home at about 1:30. I made her some lunch and she promptly went to bed. As I am posting this, she hasn't been up except a time or two to go to the bathroom. So its been nearly 8 hours since she has really shown any signs of life.

I myself and catching the bug as well. A wracking cough is my current symptom, and I am hoping that it doesn't go mu ch farther than that. But having seen a lot of my co-workers with this same bug, and multiple people calling in sick, I don't have the highest of hopes for myself.

So for the now, the hobby hunt has been put on hold. Hopefully I can resume my search in the near future, but for now I have to gear up for working the next 6 days in a row.

Feb 22, 2008

Updates on life.

First, an update on the Doctor's appointment.

Per the Doctor's official diagnosis: and I quote, "No man your age should have an ankle that looks like that." Beyond that, I have a Cat Scan in my future, a referral to an orthopedist and most likely arthroscopic surgery. This is no surprise to me, really. In fact, its been expected for nearly 10 years. Almost 20 years ago, Dr. Mink (the original surgeon) told me the "fix it" job he did would only last about 10 years. I think he would be proud of his handy-work had he known it lasted 10 years past the expected life expectancy. So for now, I think I should start saving my pennies, there are some large bills in my future.

As for the pain? I am simply in a state of either sore or in horrible pain. Fortunately the horrible pain is not as common as the soreness. Unfortunately, I fear my supervisor may grow impatient with me until I have more information. Poor me.

Second, the quest for a hobby.

I went to Borders, by far the most comprehensive book store we have here in Eureka. The results? I came out empty handed. I actually expected to go there and find a section labeled "Hobbies." I guess I was wrong. There are many sections there, but everything I looked at didn't register in my mind as the type of hobby I was looking for. I then came home and searched the Internet. Sadly, a yahoo search for hobbies only resulted in 18 million web references to scrap booking, quilting and stamping. So I came up empty handed again.

I did, however, come up with something of an idea, although I don't know how far I will go with it (if anywhere). All through high school I was in drafting courses, and I actually considered myself fairly proficient in the subject. Now, I don't really have any aspirations of becoming an architect at this point in my life, but I still love the idea of floor plans, and drawing made with many straight lines and details. As that thought came to me, I thought about the idea of cartography. I don't know much about the idea of map making, but I have always liked the look of the old hand drawn maps. Again, not really sure if this is going anywhere or not, but its a start.

Thanks for stopping by.

Feb 21, 2008

A quest for myself

It has become horribly obvious to me that I need a hobby. This realization has come as I am home at nights and find myelf wanting to do something, anything really, but have no idea what to do or what direction to go in.

I know, instinctively, that I want something that I can sit and work on while other things are going. It needs to be something that involves the hands, and of course I am looking for something that has a visible amount of "finished product." Nothing is worse than working on something for hours or days and finding when youare done that you can really not see any sort of visible progress. That is frustrating.

So over the next week or so I think I will be cataloging my efforts at finding my niche. What will the end result be? I do not know. But I think the idea of finding this elusive prize is rewarding, in and of it self. I think of it as a sort of sef-realization. Something about myself I know deep down yet have not had the where-with-all to bring it to the surface and put it to practical application.

One of my biggest hurdles here is I am notorious for starting something and not finishing it. I realize this fault, yet I have no means of countering it, thus far. Perhaps this is the time I am looking for. In the mean time, I think I might be off to my nearest Borders to look for ideas anddo a little brain-storming.

I'll keep you posted.

Feb 19, 2008

A little bit of Katsup... err, Catch Up

I can't believe it has been nearly 2 weeks since I have had the time and the overall patience to sit and catch up on life's recent events.

Work has been hectic, and it seems I am always at the office. Some of that is my own fault really, there is no end to the amount of available overtime, and I get my fair share. And honestly, I like the paychecks that come with it. The downside is that I never seem to really be home. I work a 12 hour shift, I get home at about 1800. Then I have dinner for the two of us, pets to feed and water, and any clean up tha seems needed. Honestly, after dinner and smal amount of over time, I really have a hard time not sitting down and falling asleep on the couch. And then things just start piling up. Its crazy, but we make it by eventually.

The wife has had her fair shre of business too. She has been working on a project that has had her working late nights and seems she is rarely home either. Case in point, tonight. She plans to stay a few hours over in order to catch up on her project and get things in order. Such is life with the profession we choose.

The cat problems continue to plague us lately. We ended up taking Ubu back in, he keeps throwing up and he is not eating or drinking. We are having to give him fluids by injection right now and hoping his appatite returns. In the past 3 weeks, since his last visit to the vet, he has lost 2 pounds. That seems like a lot for a 14 pound cat. It definately shows.

Myself, I continue to have ankle problems. At the end of December I ended up in urgent care because of my ankle. For those who don't know, I have horendous ankles, and no cartilage in the ankle joints. This is something I have dealt with for most of my life, with intermitent pain that I simply have learned to live with and work around. Now though, the pain is nearly unbarable. So I have an appointment with a Doctor and I hope to get a referal to see an othipedist soon. I have the sneaky suspisicion that surgery might be in my future. I hope though, that with the advances in medicine since my orriginal surgeries (nearly 20 years ago) that fusion is not the only answer to my delima. I guess I might have a few more answers on Thursday after seeing the Doc.

So there it is, a little bit of catch up and information into the lives we lead here.

Feb 11, 2008

The Road Trip Home

The trip home from Vacaville was uneventful, and actually felt like one of the longest trips I have ever had to make, and that is saying something. I recall many trips to Utah to visit family and thinking, at the time, that the salt flats of the Utah desert would never end. But I think this trip rivaled those trips, and maybe even surpassed them. Not for any real reason I can think of, but simply wanting to be home makes a trip that is only 5 hours seem like an eternity.

I had my camera again, and took a slew of pictures. Its funny how there re many things I have never seen before, but saw for the first time simply because I was looking for them. Here are a few: one that caught my eye, one that fascinated me, and one that made me laugh.

I'm not sure what time it was, but there was a fair amount of cloud cover and a little bit of sun attempting to claw its way through the cloud cover. The result was really something to look at. I took this picture while moving at about 65 mph. The crazy thing is I actually stopped the truck a little bit later and took a similar picture that I really didn't like as much. Odd how sometimes things happen the way they do, and there is no way to repeat the performance. So I guess I am glad that this worked out like it did.

This is the Eel River. It slithers its way along the North Coast until it eventually spills out into thePacific Ocean. The water, in the summer time, is slow and warm and favorite for many to spend a day swimming and relaxing on its usually pebbly beaches. The spot I took this picture, however, is prone to horrible land slides in the winter time. In fact, exactly wherer I am standing was, a couple of times, covered in mud and rock and cut the North Coast off from the rest of the world. The fix? To build a new section of US 101 on the oppisite side of the river. This required the construction of two new bridges. Bridge building amazes me, how they can build a concrete monolith out over nothing is nothing short of amazing.

And last, a little bit of a laugh. Anyone who has driven the North Coast knows there are signs everywhere pointing to the various things there are to see and do. But at one place in particular, there is an informational sign pointing the informational sign ahead. How lost are we that we need an informational sign to point us to another? The Avenue of the Giants, mentioned in my post of the Road Trip, is beautiful, and well worth the effort to make the drive. The informational sign, which I am sure has all sorts of useful information, according this sign is a half mile ahead. Please feel free, if you are in the area, to stop and see this sign and let me know if it really was useful. Otherwise, until then, I will continue to laugh everty time I see it.

Feb 7, 2008

Road Trip!!

Today I set off on a sort of road trip, I was off to see my son. The only drawback to this trip was I had to travel by myself. My solution to my impending boredom while making a five hour drive? A camera.

Yes, I took almost all of the pictures that are about to follow while driving. Yes, I know that seems a little dangerous. Yes, I was as careful as I could be.

This is the start of the drive. Anyone familiar with the Northern Coast of Califonia will recognize US 101. There isn't much more to say about that.

My first stop took me to the Dyreville Overlook. This area, once the town of Dyreville, is now nothing more that a popular place to hit the river in the summer. As it turns out, Dyreville was named after a guy named Charles Dyer (go figure) in 1890. The town prospered for a while but was wiped out by a flooded Eel River in 1955. Then, whatever was left of the town was burried with the construction of Hiway 101.

The next portion of my journey found me staring into the maw of the redwood forrest. This particular portion of roadway is known as the Avenue of the Giants. This is a very windy portion of road, and quite scenic. I would have loved to have stayed on it, but I ran in to a snag at the Dyreville lookout. When I got out of the car I realized that I would be needing a men's room sometime in the near future, or I would be in trouble. So the Avenue of the Giants was not to be today. A quest for a reasonably clean crapper took precedence.

This picture, taken mid quest, conveys a couple of feelings. One, there is a certain amount of nervousness that arises when you drive a very windy road and decid that you need to be in at least one picture for the day.

Second, there is a certain amount of urgency that a man feels when he is on a long stretch of Hiway, not sure when the next rest stop is, and wonders if he is going to make it. Yes, that's me in the driver's seat, and yeah, its urgent.

I can honestly say I have never fealt the urge to take a photo of a rest stop bathroom, but this was a special circumstance. As I pulled in to the rest stop, unsure of what lay ahead of me, I entered the toilet stall. Much to my surprise, I found the stall clean and fresh smelling. It was a pleasure to be there. I also found a full roll of quilted toilet paper, not the sandpaper-like version one comes to expect. I left a happy man, felt a picture was in order.

I just want to make it known that if you are on a two lane hiway, and passing is not an option (even though the broken yellow line makes it legal), this is not the view you want to have through your windsheild. The hind end of a semi is an eye sore at best, and watching as the driver passes turn out after turn out is grating on the nerves.

This gentleman here, holding the slow sign and dressed in a very fashionable yellow jumpsuit, is quite arguably one of the most powerful men on the planet. This guy can shut down the interstate and put anyone's and everyone's travel plans on hold with the flip of a sign. And who does he have to answer to? We, the motoring community, have to answer to the CHP officer who seems to also answer to the Slow Sign Guy. Where are priorities in this world?

You can tell you are near the end of the trip by change in the scenery.
Gone are the towering redwoods and winding rivers. All that is left are endless fields of green stuff. Yeah, I am almost there, and things look pretty good. I'll post more tomorrow.

Feb 5, 2008

An apology.

** I originally made an entry here that has now been altered. After what was not really meant ot be a sappy comment on friendship (this statement is not meant to downplay anything here), I have decided it sounded too serious, and deserved a little more detail. So while some portions of this comment will be unalterd, there are some additions as well. **

In a recent post I talked about Tia, and how she arrived to the nickname "Stinky." In that post I refered to a co-worker who rented me a room. She deserves a little more credit, actually a lot more credit, than being billed as a co-worker, so here is the story.

After a bad relationship issue, I ended up on a friends couch. One night I went to Dean's place for poker night (one of our favorite things to do) and I was talking about my bleak situation. Dean, always being a guy who wants to help fins a solution, syas this: "Brenda has been thinking about a roommate, but has never been sure if she really wants one. Let me talk to her and see how she feels about the idea."

At that point I couldn't say no to any offer that might end up in me not sleeping on a couch, so I said Ok.

Here is what I knew of Brenda at the time: She was supervisor at the office, she was heald in pretty high regard, she had come out of a marriage on bad terms, and one night she showed me her belly button ring (which is really alot more innocent than it sounds, I promise!). Beyond that, I didn't know her much other than seeing her at work here and there. But for whatever reason, after thinking about it for a while, she simply said something like, "Yeah, I'll let Adam live here." And that was that.

What followed was really a pretty good two years. We had some good times, we had some bad times, and we tried to plant a lawn in her back yard (which didn't really go as planned). Fortunately we share an affinity for Monty Python, and there were plenty of jokes to go around there. And one morning I came out of my room in my skivies, thinking she had gone to work already. At some point I heard the TV on, but it didn't register. This was slightly embaressing, but really in the end made things a lot more comfortable in end, a good ice breaker.

So to my good friend Brenda, let me say you are infinately more than a Co-Worker, you are my friend, and "I fart in your general direction!"

Feb 2, 2008

A trip with unexpected results.

I have had this idea in my head for a while that I would cruise around town and take a few pictures. After all, the North Coast has a lot to see, you justhave to gt off your carcass and get out of the house to see it. So today, with Delia working, I thought it was the right time to take on this venture.

Its a little cold, and rainy, so as I was driving down the street I saw the first subject of my photo essay. Admittedly, this is not what I had in mind when I was thinking of all the photo opportunities the day might present me with. So, having that task done, it was time to move on.

I got in the Toyota and turned on the engine, lets the things continue to warm up a little, and sipped on my favorite, over priced beverage. Now, I figured with the warming affect of Starbacks coffee there would be no stopping me. I was on the way to a photographic masterpiece.

Here is where I found myself: Th Pro Sports Center. Now, this has even less to do with the scenery of the North Coast than Starbucks. But it is also the closest thing I have to a Dive Shop in town. So, as I do every now and then, I stopped in and decided to do a little browsing.

I can thank Iver for myfacination with the underwater world, and for introducing me to the idea of Diving in the first place. The Pro Sports Center (from now on referred to as TPSC in order to save myself valuable time while typing) has a decent selection of gear. But because they are an "all around" kind of store, its nothing compared to stores that are devoted specificaly to the sport. When I got to the top of the stairs to check teh dive section I found they are selling their rentals for a very reasonable price. So I put one on hold, and plan to go back tomorrow and do a little more investigating.

There is a certain amount of excitement I feel when I think about the upcoming summer and the prospect of SCUBA diving. Its hard to explain, but everything is differen underwater, and the world takes on a new meaning. I don't mean this in some sort of prolific or thought provoking way, I simply mean there are things under the water, even at just 20 feet of depth, that would ake the average person simply stare in amazement. Allow me to show a few examples from my trip to Jamaica.
Allow me to introduce Catherine. Ths Catherine is a 50 foot Canadian Mine Sweeper that was sunk on the nortern coast of Jamaica in order to create an artificial reef. This, sadly, is the only dive of about 8 that I did where there is supporting photo documentation. These striped little reef fish were very photogenic, and were quite teh camera hogs. They did their best to get into just about every picture I took around Catherine.

Catherine sits in about 50 feet of water. At depth, things always look bigger than they are, this is actually caused by wearing a diving mask (there aresome sort of physics involved here, but I couln't begin to explain them to you). Here I am, happily breathing compressed air in about 30 feet of water, sitting on the bow of the ship. You might aso notice I am representing the Bass Pro Shops,
wearing their shirt as about the only piece of exposure protection
(something we CAN NOT do on the north coast due to water temperatures.
After leaving Catherine behind, which I was reluctant to do, we swam through a series of valleys, back to the waiting dive boat. These were quite beautiful, and I had to say I was impressed with the dive master's knowledge of these canyons as he led us through them with no hesitency and straight back to the boat. This particular canyon caught my eye. But, admittedly, what turned out to be a fairly nice shot was a total accident (the camera I was using was pretty cheap).

Near the end of the dive I found the next shot. This one was no accident, I'm just grateful it trnedout as good as it did.
Often referred to as "God Rays," light from the sun coming through shallow water is beautiful in every aspect. Here it was shing on a rock covered in every sort of sponge and coral the area had to offer. I surfaced here, and boarded the boat for the 20 minute trip back to shore. On the way back, all I could think was I couldn't wait until the next day to do it again.
Is it any wonder I get so excited thinking about diving again? I don't think so.

Feb 1, 2008

It seems as though we are destined to spend obscene amounts of money at the Vet. My latest story of animal antics? Sadly, this one I think is my fault.

When I moved to Eureka I was alone and Ben was looking to move to Florida for 4 years while his step father was assigned the an air base near Pensacola. My landlord, a fairly nice person all together, said I could get a cat. So off to the animal shelter I went, simply looking. One in particular caught my attention, but I couldn't make the decision then because I was in and out of town over the next couple fo weeks. When things settled down, back to the shelter I went, there was Tia, still there in her kennel and still looking at me like I needed to get her out.

So I payed the bond and we became good friends. Then something bad happened: I met a girl.
Now, it wasn't so bad to begin with, in fact things seemed pretty good. Then things got bad, and I eventually had to get out of the relationship (its a long and sordid story that I will not get into here). So a friend, knowing of my troubles, said I could stay at his house. So on his couch I slept for about 2 months, maybe a little longer. Then I found a place I could go to permanently, rooming with a co-worker. This turned out to be a good arrangement, although I could not take Tia with me. Again, my friend came to my aid and said she could stay with him until I found a place of my own. So off I went, and finding a place of myown took about 2 years.

Then Delia and I decided to move in together. She came with two cats. I came with a dog. So I figured it was time I unburdened my friend. Tia came back to us. The problem? She smelled funny. We couldn't figure it out. She just smelled bad. It turned out it was her breath. And as she would groom herself, she would just make her whole bosy stink. This halatosis of hers, would get worse and nearly go away all together for quite some time. The other day, she jumped on my lap for a littl bit of nuzzling. As I was petting her I thought to myself that her bad breath had reached an all time high on the Good-Grief-You-Stink-O-Meter. Then I noticed that she has a loose tooth. She is in desperate need of dental work, which would have been no where near as bad as it is probably going to be, if I had taken care of it eariler.

She goes in this afternoon. I'll have to update when I get the bad news. The only thing I can say is I screwed up. Now poor Tia's mouth and my bank account are paying the price. I'm willing. I think Tia might need sedation.
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