Aug 29, 2008

A failed post, a silent laugh and I go under the knife.

I was sitting at my computer yesterday with Blogger opened and a blank page in front of me, waiting for inspiration to strike and my fingers to start playing the keyboard like an organ. Instead, I ended up going out to clean the dishes and start the crock-pot with some chicken soup.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have started a post and ended up with it like this, never to see publication (or even some semblance of realization).

Here is an example: I started thinking about the idea of Theme Music. Friends, family, the average Joe I see walking down the street. What would it sound like if people had their own theme music? So with that in mind I started scouring the Internet for what I would consider to be appropriate theme music for the people I know in life. After a time I had downloaded various television theme songs that I felt were appropriate for my grand idea.

Sadly, this came to a screeching halt, since there is no viable way to upload sound clips to Blogger. It seems there are ways available t you, but they involve subscribing to various Internet file-hosting sites, which is far beyond what I had in mind.

Instead, I then started downloading various theme songs from various television shows. One in particular struck me as amusing: Wonder Woman.

And I quote:

"Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman. All the world is waiting for you. And the powers you possess. In your satin tights, fighting for you rights, and the old red, white and blue."

Now, Wonder Woman aired from 1976-1979, a measly three years. And this time period was not exactly at the hieght of the women's lib era. But come on, does she have to be wearing satin tights in order to fight for truth and justice? And just because she is wearing satin tights, does it have to be part of the song? Were they just calling attention to Linda’s legs (which deserve attention, I admit; but enough that they are a part of the theme song?)? I don’t know; there is just something about it that makes me laugh.

Thus is the result of my Theme Music idea, a silent laugh about Linda Carter and her satin tights.

Oh yeah, I go under the knife September 18th. That will be a good thing. I’m sure I’ll have more on this later, but I’m still waiting for the hospital to call with more information.

So beyond that I don’t have much else to say, not that I have said much as of yet. But as always, thanks for tuning in.

Aug 25, 2008

Getting down to business

I just got home from Santa Rosa about an hour ago. It was a fairly quick trip. It takes about 3-1/2 hours to get there, and oddly enough, 3-1/2 hours to get back. There in Santa Rosa I met Dr. Schakel (actually pronounced: skauckel). I sat in the lobby for almost 30 minutes before I was even moved to the exam room. I then sat in his exam room for another 10 minutes before he actually go to me. There were a million people in this building, the lobby was packed. I sat there observing people there in the room, and had the funny thought: What if people had their own theme music? I wonder what that room would have sounded like. I think I might explore this idea a little more, in a later post though.

Inside the exam room, I sat there reading his different awards and credentials. There were quite a few of them. With as many as there were, I expected him to be much older than he appeared to be. Best guess? Maybe late 30's, early 40's. It was hard to tell. He was wearing a shirt and tie with a sort of lab coat over the top. The coat seemed to be too big though, and it gave me the impression that he was sort of turtle like. At any rate, once he entered the exam room where I as waiting it was all business.

He had reviewed my x-rays prior to entering the exam room, then performed a quick examination of the ankle in question. Then he made a few simple statements of fact (which I am going to summarize):
  1. I am looking at ankle fusion at some point down the road, there is no real way around that.
  2. I am pretty young for an ankle fusion.
  3. Ankle replacements are not a viable option for me because I am so young.
  4. Arthroscopic surgery, to clean out the broken bone fragments and remove bone spurs that have formed will buy me some time before fusion becomes the only option left.

So, there it is in a nut shell. I believe, given his general attitude towards the thing, had I pressed for an ankle fusion he would have been OK with it. However, I am actually getting what I want out of this. So its a good thing for me.

I did make the request that I would not have to make a million trips to Santa Rosa before the surgery. He seemed fine with that, so he had his nurse come take my pre-op information right then. I did learn from this that my blood pressure, 117 over 72, is excellent. I also get the impression that this is going to happen sooner than later. So, while this is good for me, it is not good for my employer, as the doctor said prescribed recovery is about a month long (however, as far as I a concerned, I think a month away from work would be fantastic).

So I should be hearing from his office in the next day or two, I would imagine, in order to schedule the surgery.

I'm sure there will be more on this later. And as always, thanks for tuning in.

Aug 23, 2008

Dr. Jeckle, Mr. Hyde and the Torturous Pit of Despair

It’s been a while since I have had anything to say about my orthopedist. On my last visit, I found Dr. Killgore to be a completely changed man. It was really a sort of Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde kind of thing.

My first visit, back in April, he was quiet, then suddenly abrupt when he did decide to speak, and finally he simply dismissed me. When the appointment was over it was clearly over; get the heck out of his office. I left there feeling like I had just been put through a meat grinder (Que the transitional musical chimes and wavy visual effects signifying a cut scene):

The doctor walked into his office and looked at me with evil, penetrating eyes. They were glowing yellow, and barely open enough to be called slits. As he spoke, smoke spewed from the bowels of his fiery heart and the rank smell of sulfur filled the small office. “What do you wish from me, puny human?!? Why do you bother me with your insignificance?” As I cowered from this monstrosity from the depths of hell I mustered an answer. “Sir, I am in pain and require medical attention.” “I’ll decide what you need, worthless soul! Sit there in silence and marvel at my magnificence!!” The sweat beaded on my brow and I gripped the arms of my chair in order to steady myself. Suddenly the doctor spoke again. “Take this pain pill leave me be!”

It should suffice to say I left there thinking I needed to look for another doctor. Attempts at going to UC Davis medical center and UCSF medical center were futile. Both institutions rejected me as a patient due to patient overcrowding. So I had an appointment, which I kept with Dr. Killgore, and arrived on time. I had my son with me, and was preparing to shield him from the onslaught to come from the demon. What was about to happen I would never have predicted (again, Que the transitional musical chimes and wavy visual effects signifying a cut scene):

The doctor entered the office, which was cheerfully lit. The window was open and the bright sun warmed the room and the soul. He smiled at my son and introduced himself. “Good morning there, young man. I’m Dr. Killgore. Who might you be?” Ben was a bit shy and failed to answer, so I answered in his stead. “This is my son, Ben.” “Well,” said the doctor, “its nice to meet you just the same.” The doctor then turned towards me, and smiled again, a small twinkle in his eye. “And how are you? Has the prescribed treatment been helpful?” Completely taken aback by his demeanor, I was speechless. He continued to inquire about my progress and overall well being, then informed me I would be recommended to a specialist in Santa Rosa. “I hope you guys have a swell day. Go out and enjoy the sunshine. And thanks for stopping by.”

The differences in these two visits were amazing. From a fiery demon waiting to suck my soul through my eye sockets to a cheery man, with a fine disposition, who genuinely cared for my health and safety. A complete departure from the previous visit.

Now, I have an appointment scheduled with a new doctor in Santa Rosa. Dr. Schakel. I hope, just by going with his name alone, that this is not some torture chamber I am being sent to. Was Dr. Killgore simply putting up a facade on my last visit? Was he really planning a diabolical scheme that could only end in my demise? I hope not.

I’ll be leaving tomorrow after work. I’ll get some sleep and the appointment is Monday morning at 0900 hours. I’ll fill you on the details when I get back.

Aug 20, 2008

Hijinks on the High Seas

(This is a rather legnthy entry. For photo documentaion of our antics, check the link to the online photo albums.)

Sunday morning started off like any other day. The alarm sounded off at about 0600 hours and after a few expletives I managed to get up and make my way to the shower for what would be my last shower for the next 3 days.

Cody arrived a little before 0700. I said my goodbyes to Delia and we hopped in the car to pick Dean. Once Dean was accounted for we headed for Starbucks. After all, what road trip would be complete without a stop at the coffee shop for a little pick-me-up.

Once at Iver’s, the crowd started to gather. Here is the passenger manifest: 1 – Me. 2 – Cody. 3 – Dean (a friend from work, not to be confused with the Dean normally mentioned). 4 – Dean (the Dean normally mentioned in this blog). 5 – Iver. 6 – Eric. 7 – Butch (the same Butch who performed our wedding). 8 – Todd. 9 – Mike. 10 – Bill. 11 – Ken. 12 – Bobby. Once we were all packed into 3 vehicles we headed north for Newport, Oregon.

Now I will say this, when you get a bunch of grown men together for a trip like this, it seems the average age of every one seems to be about 14. All of us have jobs, all of have families and other responsibilities, but for some reason when all of those things get left behind for a few days the maturity level seems to go way down. For example, I heard a rumor that one vehicle passenger managed to moon the passengers of another vehicle. I can neither confirm nor deny this rumor. It is simply that, a rumor. I will also report this: when in a foreign city, the 2-dollar crack whore at the Burger King is easy to spot. And apparently she, being a trained observer of the public, recognized a 12-man group from out of town and intent on having a good time. Unfortunately for her, so I hear, our version of a good time was a little different from hers. But I hear she made a good attempt at getting in good the guys. Again, this can neither be confirmed nor denied. Its simply one of the rumors you hear so much about.

We arrived in Newport at about 1800 hours. With 3 hours to kill before we could even get on the boat we all split up for a while. Some went off to the bar to drink for 3 hours. A few others and myself went to the movies and saw Tropic Thunder. In retrospect, a hangover from the three hours of drinking would have been preferable to the torture that was just another Ben Stiller movie. Oh well, you live and learn.

We got on the boat about 2130 hours, and received our safety briefing from the captain and crew. While doing this we were smack dab in the middle of a thunderstorm. Lightning and thunder were everywhere, so loud in fact that we could not even hear the captain at times. Safety briefing over, we got under way. The seas were a little rough, and playing cards proved difficult at the table because the stack kept sliding everywhere.

Around midnight we went off to bed. The bed space was crowded and, and I had about 1 and a half feet between my mattress and the ceiling above me. I managed ok for the night, and fell asleep fairly quickly. Cody did not fair so well. When I awoke to use the head I found a nasty smelling trash can near his bed. Apparently, however, Cody was not the only victim to the turbulent swells, as Bobby also managed to loose whatever contents were in his stomach as well.

But we all lived through the experience and by 0600 the next morning we were trolling for Tuna. With recent reports of the Tuna catch being fairly slim, we were going early and hoping for a solid day. I was out of bed at 0630 and there were already fish in the box. As the day wore on, the ocean was fairly flat and weather was decent, and slowly we turned the official count to 69 fish (for those of you with dirty minds, this was not a plan. We actually thought we had 72 on board, but miscounted). There was a lot of trash talking, there were a few naps taken here and there, but the general idea of fishing took precedent over anything else. And what manners there were on deck. Many times the reel would spin fast as the fish struck and the closet guy would grab on and start looking for someone who hadn’t reeled in a fish recently. I will say, however, that is about as far as the manners went.

Sometime in the late afternoon, I was napping; a piece of driftwood was found with 3 sharks swimming around it. They landed one, but in the end let it go. But at least we can say we caught shark.

In the end, we ate a lot of food. A lot of drinks, those friendly to all ages and those of the adult variety, were consumed. The deck was covered in blood on numerous occasions, and the fish boxes were full.

We came back to port sometime around 0300 hours and the captain was waking us up at 0600. We set of for the pier, paid an astronomical fee for people to clean our fish for us, and packed our bags. We were sent to Shirley’s for breakfast, one of the most fantastic meals I have ever had, and made our way home.

Funny thing about a bunch of men who have had their fun and are now facing a long trip home, the average age seems to now be around 72. Such is life as we prepare to make our way home. That’s not to say the hijinks were over. We still managed to make Butch shake his head in awe of our actions at least one more time. What happened is purely a rumor, and I wouldn’t think to spread such libel over the internet.

Thanks everyone for making it a great trip.
And thanks for tuning in.

Aug 16, 2008

Misadventures with the guys.

It seems like this summer has been full of anticipation. A fishing trip, a camping trip, a Disneyland trip, and now another fishing trip.

We really have had a good summer here in Eureka. Our latest misadventure? A 3 day, long range Tuna fishing trip. Albacore Tuna frequents the pacific waters often in the summer. When the waters warm up a little, they can be found skimming the surface and eating anything they can get in their mouths.

So a while ago Dean found a charter out of Newport, OR. We leave the harbor on Sunday night, Fish all day Monday and make our way back in to harbor by Tuesday morning. We will be traveling on a 56-foot fishing boat. There are 12 of us together and will have the boa tall to ourselves.

So tonight I'll be doing a few chores, making dinner for the wife (which will probably consist of chicken and fresh vegetables), and pack a small bag in preparation for the start of yet another guys trip.

I'm sure there will be plenty to tell when I return, and plenty of photo documentation.

Be sure to tune back in on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Aug 13, 2008

Adventures in Healthy Eating

About 2 weeks ago, the wife and I decided to make a major change in our lifestyles. So with a little bit of planning, we have made a serious Dietary Overhaul (here is where you would hear theme music exemplifying the point).

Our diets were, to say the least, fairly poor. For example, lets take the Lost Coast Brewery, one of my favorite dining establishments. A good meal there consists of 2 pounds of buffalo hot wings and basket of fries and a tall frosty beverage. This, as it may sound, is not the best meal for you (which should seem obvious). But the fact is these hot wings are quite literally the best wings on earth. The sauce is hot, but not too hot. The wings are usually tender and juicy. The fries. Oh the fries. They are seasoned with some sort of seasoning that is a perfect compliment to the wings. It's a good meal.

Then, we introduced the Dietary Overhaul (que Theme Music).

No more eating out. No more wings. No more fried foods.

An example: the other night we had salad, artichoke, and broiled sirloin steak. Last night we had chicken breast and asparagus. We have learned to make "Faux-tatos." This is steamed cauliflower that is put into a food processor and blended smooth. Add a little fat free half and half, a little light butter, salt and pepper to taste. Not bad. But it still tastes like cauliflower. And the rumors that asparagus makes you urine stink are very true.

So there we have it. The Dietary Overhaul (que Theme Music) is in full swing. Every meal has some sort of vegetable, and sodas and other carbonated beverages have been cut down to almost nothing.

The bright side, weight loss is a direct result of the Dietary Overhaul (que Theme Music).
So we will continue on. And it seems I'll have to be content to simply live with the memories of wings and fries.

Aug 11, 2008

A new connection to an old friend.

It seems as though my little corner of the Internet has garnered some attention from as far away as Canada, eh.

Allow me to introduce Kathy Arnold. Kathy and I have been friends for almost 15 years now. We started out as pen pals back 1994. And although we have never actually met in person, we have remained friends for all that time. For a time we exchanged letters to each other, then as time went on, emails and an occasional phone call, a quick how do you do.

After a time she got married to David and they moved to Canada, eh (I believe he is actually Canadian, eh), where they now have 4 kids. Kathy is from Utah. Our friendship turned into the rare email sent from one or the other with the family news and what not.

Then, after I received the latest Family Update letter I sent a reply back that she should keep in better touch. So I shared the blog with her and her family. Now she has finally gotten up the gusto to leave a comment and say hello.

So, welcome Kathy. It’s been a long time and hopefully we can remain in better contact. Good friends are hard to come by. Lets not waste time catching up. I’ll have to introduce you to Delia. She can tell all about the trials I put her through on a daily basis.

The Mattole Valley

The fishing trip could have been better, but here is Cody's one "dumby." Good for him.
The entrance to the Mattole Valley from the coast is amazing. I don't think this picture does it justice. Oh well. Its well worth the drive.
This little church had the look of not being used in a while. But it sure looked neat.
This bridge, although it has a steel frame, has a roadway to it made of wood. Rather odd really.
Deer are everywhere.
The drive ends up going through a stand of old growth redwood trees. Very nice.

It was a nice little trip and I plan to make it again.

Aug 10, 2008

A little bit of catching up.

With the recent departure of a certain almost-nine-year-old I thought I would have all sorts of free time. I'm not sure where this plan went awry, but here is the general rundown on recent activities and thoughts that accompany them:
  • The trip to Fish Lake never materialized. Apparently, that area is still very smokey, and there is a bridge that is closed. And this bridge is apparently essential to travel to and from. So instead we went to Petrolia to fish for Perch (see below).
  • The Perch fishing was somewhat of an exercise in futility. It fealt as if the coastal winds were blowing at about 50 mph (which makes fishing with light tackle very difficult). After about an hour of simply losing bait to the treacherous, watery depths we decided to call it a day and do something else. At this point Cody managed to catch the only dumby in the ocean. He was a good size fish, but we ended up letting him go. Cody was more excited about the fact that he caught fish, and I did not.
  • Once packed up we headed up the Mattole Valley. We went to the actual town of Petrolia, which is very small, and the even smaller town of Honeydew. It was a lengthy drive but really is quite beautiful the whole way and worth the drive it takes. In fact, it would make a wonderful day trip and there are many places to stop and have lunch. This is something I will have to store in my cranium for a later date. If the wife and I ever have the same days off I could take full advantage of that idea.
  • I did take quite a few pictures of the area, nothing really spectacular, but worth a look. I will post those later tonight.
  • I have spent the last 5 days working, and when I get home it seems there is very little time to myself to make a post of any sort.

So there it is. I don't know if its a good thing or a bad thing that I can post a good portion of my life's activities in just a few short paragraphs. What can I say?

Aug 4, 2008

Irrational fear and the fishing trip.

Irrational Fear. It seems like it has its own name. Its an intangible feeling yet it manages to get a hold and squeeze the very life out of you. My fear of flying is a perfect example. My fear of wild rodents is another.

But now I find myself facing a new fear. The fear of the unknown. Cody and I want to go trout fishing tomorrow. He wants to go to Fish Lake. Its little tiny lake in the middle of absolutely nowhere. There is a strong possibility of seeing wildlife on this trip, and a very strong possibility of seeing bear. This, in and of itself, doesn't frighten me too much. After all, Cody is a hunter, and usually goes armed to these types of areas. I am no stranger to a gun either, so between the two of us we shouldn't have a whole lot of trouble to worry about.

So why the uneasiness? Why the hesitation? Why the anxiety? Am I really a person who doesn't like to try new things, and simply settle in for the same old, same old? On any given day I can tell you my routine. On a work day I have a set routine. On my day off I have a set routine. I do not deviate from that very often. I even tell other people that my life is somewhat dull. I don't like to go out all that much (I much prefer an evening at home). I don't enjoy parties where there are people I don't know. I don't need to experience new things, just for the sake of experiencing a new thing.

So, I am simply getting ready for tomorrow. I'll have my fishing licence, my fishing rod, and my camera of course. The area should be beautiful. There should be plenty to see. And hopefully, I'll get over my silly anxiety about going out to the middle of freaking nowhere and we'll have a good day.

I'm sure I'll have a report tomorrow.

Thanks for tuning in.
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