Thursday, November 18, 2021

Once More Into The Breach!

 We've had our first snowfall of the year (last Saturday into Sunday--only about 1-1/2 inches that melted swiftly) and also our first fire in the fireplace. We needed the latter because the temperature in the house fell to 57 degrees overnight when the power went out just long enough on Saturday to send the furnace off the deep end. A quick "Reset" was all that was needed to get the old heater working properly again. Seriously, I turned the thing off then on again and pushed the reset button and voila! Hot water was soon being produced and pumped through the pex piping to warm the floors and the air above. Still, I needed some quick boost in the form of fires in the livingroom and basement to take the edge off.


I had a follow-up appointment with the vascular team over at Robert-Packer Hospital today. I've not been experiencing any severe pains or anything else since I went to the ER several weeks ago so I expected a fairly routine check-up and an in-and-out visit.

The tech doing the pressure testing on my legs seemed moderately optimistic but ended her stint with a "We shall see." that produced some little concern.

Then it was Dr. B's turn. He and his physician's assistant declared my right leg A-Okay, but my left.... The left is a problem child. 

The left leg is the leg that started the whole mess. First the foot was pronounced DEAD at the Troy ER back in June of 2019.  Then, as the last staple and stitch was removed from the emergency bypass, an infection developed that had me back in the OR. That was followed by several weeks on an open wound vac. Then came a series of angioplasties (3? 4? I forget) because the vein used to bypass the blockage of June 1 was too thin. Then I had terrible pains in the quad muscle just above the knee the source of which could not be determined. Finally I had so much pain one morning I just couldn't put any weight on the left leg at all so it was back to the ER for a CAT Scan and other tests which showed deep bruising, a lump of tissue--perhaps dead or dying because of the lack of circulation--or some such.Then for two months--nothing! Things seemed to be back to a new normal.

Well, Dr. B didn't like what he saw from the tests today and declared I should have another angioplasty. This time, instead of just stretching things out with balloons and calling it a day, he will try to insert a stent in the upper portion of the bypass to keep it from narrowing down--again. 

Surgery is scheduled for bright and early Monday December 13. I'll have to go get tested for Covid the Thursday before that. The surgery itself will be a couple of hours long but they will keep me overnight.

Dr. B wanted to do the surgery earlier but that would mean no heavy lifting for a couple of weeks or so and deer season runs until December 11th and I wasn't going to give that up. As it is, if I can fill out a tag or two (three?) early the week before, I can relax after the Covid testing is done.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Firewood Finished

I finished splitting and stacking the the firewood yesterday. I managed to get eight stacks 18x18x48 inches. They are loosely stacked to allow some air circulation since the wood was pretty well moisturized by Mother Nature while in felled tree and cut to length form this summer and fall. Even so,my supply has nearly doubled and, if I use it judiciously, there should be enough to get us through the winter. 

Stacked Firewood


The wood under the light green tarp is the new stuff. The ten stacks in the left end, under the camo tarp is from last year and will be the first I burn. Everything is ash. 

I've got a couple of trees picked out for next year's supply and hope to get them down and cut into length after the hunting season. They are also ash trees that show signs of borer infestation. Two are close to the house but not so close as to require a pro to come in to drop them. Two smaller ones are on the edge of the same field in back that I took this year's three trees from.

Of course, that depends upon two things: 

1- Weather. Last year we got snow in mid-December and every so often until March. The worst part about that was that it never melted. It just kept getting deeper and deeper. 

2- Health. Even if the snow hadn't kept me out of the woods, my health would have. Too many trips to the vascular team and eventually surgery on my right leg (Yeah! I've now got matching scars!) plus other disorders that turned out to be the "rewards" for a full and active life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Step 4 Making Firewood: Splitting and Stacking

Tuesday was a very, very rainy day. We recorded 1.81 inches of water from late Monday night through Wednesday morning. I took the opportunity to cut some 10' long pressure treated decking boards into 2-3/4" x 3' slats to be used in making new pallets upon which I can stack my split firewood. Several of the pallets I am currently using date from 2006 and are, well, rotting. I built two new pallets last year and the two I put together this afternoon will give me more than enough room to store a couple of cords of split firewood.

I did take advantage of a nice clear, cool afternoon to build the two pallets and then see if the log splitter would start after sitting since September 2020. The gas tank was dry so I filled it. Choked the engine and gave the cord a pull to prime the engine. On the second pull the engine roared to life and I pushed the throttle to "Run" mode. That Briggs and Stratton engine just purred! 

Over the next two hours, I managed to convert a little more than half the cut logs into split firewood. I'll be finishing the rest tomorrow and then stack the split wood and put a tarp over it so it will get a chance to dry a little more. Luckily I still have about a cord of wood left from last year's stack so there will be no rush to burn this batch.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Step 3 in Making Firewood Completed

 Step 1 was selecting and felling the trees. That was done last spring when it became apparent that several ash trees had been attacked by the emerald ash tree borer. Each had only a handful of leaves on their very highest branches. Felling them--and letting them lay on the ground for the summer--would allow the leaves to draw moisture out of the wood of the trees. Or so I hoped. The copious amounts of rain we had all summer long slowed the drying process--especially since there are a couple of springs on the hill side that fed water into the field in which the felled trees lay. Win some, lose some.

Step 2 was actually cutting the downed trees into 18" lengths. I managed to do that over a two week period in late September and early October in between visits to the ER and rain storms.

Step 3 was finished yesterday and today as I got the ProHauler 2 to haul the cut wood out of the field and to an area behind the house--again between rain storms. It took me a total of three trips, one for each felled tree, to get the wood relocated. 

Step 4 will be the splitting of the log lengths into pieces that will be set under protection to dry. (Luckily I still have a cord and a half of ash from last year that is well dried. This will be the wood I will burn when the temperatures drop to no higher than 35 degrees.)

Friday, October 22, 2021

Visit to Toyota Dealership

Terry and I drove the RAV4 and the Tundra (both 2017 models) over to Williams Toyota in Sayre yesterday morning. The RAV needed new tires and the Tundra needed an oil change, tire rotation and general dealer inspection. (It's too early for a state inspection. That's due in April and while they might be able to do it a month or two earlier...well. six months is just way too early.)

It took a little over 90 minutes for Terry to get her new tires mounted and balanced. My service took a little longer as it was discovered that the rear brakes needed pads and rotors. 

While the Tundra was in the shop. I asked that the sales manager do an appraisal with the ultimate goal of my trading it in. He came back with an approximate value of $30K!, which floored me. I know used trucks are going at a premium right now, but this was about $5K higher than I expected. 

When Terry's RAV was finished, she and I went to visit the sales manager (SM) to talk about the possibility of ordering a 2022 Tundra. All the reviews and internet information says they will be available "by the end of the year." The SM had just come back from a Toyota show and told us that the new models (completely revamped!) were really sweet looking. HOWEVER (he said) the SMs in attendance were given no delivery dates or even pricing information. Even now, he said, while they are still getting '21 models in, there is no pick-your-model-and-options. I reality, the dealers have to take what they are given. Yet, they are flying off the lot. He had just received five earlier this week and three were already sold. Folks are putting their names on waiting lists and being notified when anything close to what they were asking for becomes available.

As for the '22 models, he has no idea when they will make there way to the dealers but suspects it will be later rather than sooner. Being able to order the vehicle I want (rather than settling for whatever they get in) may be possible in the spring. A lot depends on the computer chips sitting on cargo ships and the truck drivers available to deliver them to the plants.

*Sigh* looks like I'll be waiting until April at the earliest. One more PA Inspection.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

October, 2021

 Well, October has been an improvement over August and September. I finished my PT yesterday (the 19th) and say the left leg go from a bend of a mere 60 degrees to somewhere between 105 and 110 degrees AND there have been no visits to the ER!

Last Thursday I took the Yamaha ProHauler (1) out to do some work on the logs with the chainsaw last week It started up fine and ran well as I went out to the site and I managed to cut the two smaller trees up and stack the wood for later transport. The ProHauler that had behaved so nicely on the way out, didn't do as well on the ride back to the house. It ran okay on the choke, but would stall whenever I applied any throttle or put the machine into gear. I tried to get it to work on Friday but it didn't cooperate. I made a call to Glider City Power Sports up in Elmira. I managed to hoop the utility trailer up to the truck on Sunday and on Monday, Terry and I wrestled the ProHauler onto the trailer and towed it up to Elmira. They told me on the phone that they have a backlog of a couple of weeks, but it sure didn't look like it to me. Oh well, whenever they get to it will be fine.Just hope it's before we get any snow.

I could use the ProHauler 2, but it needs new tires and there's some leakage around the carburetor that concerns me. For now I'll be using the tractor. And I did just that today. Managed to get most of the third tree cut to length during a three hour stint. I will say that the vascular surgery on both legs has really taken it out of me. Far more than the knee replacements or the back surgery. I don't seem to have the strength in my lower legs I once had. Nor do I have the ability to walk on uneven ground without rolling my left ankle. Add the tangling ability of three foot high goldenrod, raspberry and multiflora rose and I have a tough time just getting from one end of the 40' log to the other. The latter two plants along with the spines on the crabapples/hawthorne shrubs do not mix well with my blood thinners, either.

Tomorrow both Terry and I  have appointments at the Toyota dealer in Sayre. She is to get a new set of tires and I will get an oil change and tire rotation. I will also discuss the possibility of getting a 2022 Tundra. 

Rain is forecast for Thursday afternoon so I won't be heading back into the woods when we get back. I may be hitting the woods on Friday and/or Saturday, however those are the last two days of a special deer hunting period for us senior citizens. It's antlerless only and I've two doe tags to fill.

September at the Aerie, 2021

 It's been awhile since I posted. September went by in a blur. I started Physical Therapy on September 9th and promptly spent the next day in the ER at Robert Packer Hospital because I woke up unable to put any weight at all on my left leg. Luckily I had a leg brace and Terry was home to act as chauffeur. I donned the brace and we drove over to the ER.

 Aside from finding the same Doctor on duty in Sayre that I had seen the week before in Troy, I picked the absolutely worst day to be in the ER. That morning a water truck took a tumble and an 18 year-old got his legs pinned. ER staff traveled to the sight along with the vascular team as there was some discussion about needing to amputate the kid's legs. The CAT scan team was put on alert and no one else was allowed access until things got cleared up. (A soft shoulder on the road caused the truck to roll over into a water filled ditch. The driver got out okay, but his companion didn't get clear. Turns out they needed a crane to get the kid free. Water soaked soil may have saved his legs.) 

Terry and I sat in the ER from around 8 am until 3:30 pm. Frustratingly enough the CAT scab only showed  some dense tissue and a possibly thickening of a tendon. I scheduled a follow-up with my primary care and one with Orthopedics.

By Saturday, the 11th of September, I was managing to walk around the house fairly well using the leg brace and a cane. By Monday I was doing well without either aid. And by Wednesday, I was back at physical therapy. 

The rest of the month went along quietly--on my part. The primary care and Orthopedics visits produced no miracle cure for my ailment. They just recommended I continue with the PT regimen and otherwise don't push things too fast. So I did--mostly. I did go out on the tractor and do some work on the logs I felled last spring. There were three ash trees that were nearly dead from ash borers. I cut them and let what few leaves they had suck out as much moisture as possible. I used the loppers to trim the smaller branches so I'd be able to get at the larger ones with the chainsaw.

Terry had two outings in Chicago area that she attended. One was for EGA and the other for SAGA. It's sort of unusual for both to be in the area of the same city but, well, it happens. She drove out for the first one and started to regret it as soon as she got there. The ride caused her spine/hip/leg to start hurting. Luckily she had her cane with her. The ride home was no picnic. As soon as she got home, she did two things: 1-called the pain management team to see if she could get another shot to combat the pain and 2-she booked a flight to O'Hare for the next convention. Driving was out of the question. (She got her shot and has been doing fine since.)

After my birthday on the 17th things got considerably quieter for me. Aside from the visit to the orthopedist, I had only PT twice a week to attend to. And that went well.


Friday, August 27, 2021

Good News--Bad News

After making the rounds of emergency room docs; primary care PA; emergency room docs, part 2; sports med doc (orthopedics); and, finally, the vascular team the consensus is that I tore a muscle in my thigh. How is still open to debate.

Yesterday I went to the vascular team to have some pressure testing done to assure there was no blood clot in or blockage along the by-pass done on the left leg. The tests showed the by-passes on both legs were doing just fine. Doctor B. was pleased that, at least for now, his team was in the clear. He examined the area and twice(!), while asking, "Is this where it hurts?" poked on the correct spot with the accuracy of a dart champion hitting the bulls-eye. "YEAH! THAT"S THE SPOT! Now STOP doing that!" 

Doctor B did agree with the folks in the ER and over at the sports med (orthopedics) that it was likely a strain/tear in one of the major muscles of the thigh. More likely a tear based upon the severity of the pain. He suggested I keep it wrapped (he has a thing for ace bandages), keep it elevated, and take either Advil or Motrin--maximum dose--for 5-7 days. Okay, I'll try that.

My primary care PA had "muscle cramp" in this round, so she's out.

Sleeping Thursday night was, well, spotty. Can't sleep on my side as two knees coming in contact with one another is painful. Even a pillow between them isn't cushion enough. Sleeping on my back is better but I can't get the right head elevation. Toss and turn. Wake myself up in pain. Repeat. 

This morning I had an MRI scheduled with results awaited by both the primary care PA and the sports med folks.I went to Soldiers & Sailors over in Wellsboro because, though they were out of system, they could fit me in with out a month long wait. Fast check-in and all my data was there since I had been there before. Got all set up and eased into their tube. There was an al too brief clanging and clunking of the imager when everything came to a stop. Seems there's a wee bit too much metal in my artificial knees for the machine to get a good, clear picture of the area.*sigh* 

Guess we'll have to settle for the muscle tear and Advil cure. Crutches and ace bandages.


Oh, did I mention that Terry's leaving Tuesday AM for a EGA Convention in Chicago. She will be gone for a week.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Interesting Times Continue

This week started out about as normal as could be. I mowed the lawn on Saturday (10K steps) then Terry and I went over to Hills Creek State Park for an Audubon Society picnic on Sunday.

Monday, Terry went out to one of her stitching group luncheons and I sorted and searched through the garage for the tree stands and portable climbing ladders. (I finally decided to sell them off since I don't see my self using them to climb into trees any more.)

Tuesday morning, Terry and I loaded some cans and bottles into my truck and went over the mountain to visit the dump. Everything was normal until later that afternoon.I began feeling some tenderness and pain in my left leg. In a zone running approximately from 2-3 inches below the knee to the same distance above. The tenderness got worse and worse during the night to the point I got (barely!) 15 minutes of sleep all night.

Wednesday morning I examined my leg and, while the tenderness and down right pain continued, the only discoloration was this eerie mottled appearance.

As the early morning progressed, the pain in my leg got worse. Eventually I threw in the towel and at 7:15 I had Terry haul my sorry ass to Troy Hospital's ER. I managed, to get into the ER where the doctor listened to my tale, looked me over, poked and prodded, got an X-ray and had an ultrasound, and eventually said he thought it might be a torn tendon or ligament. He gave me a shot of fentanyl and a leg brace that would keep the knee immobilized, and  suggested I see about an MRI.

Thursday I went to see my primary care PA in Mansfield. She poked and prodded and listened to my story. She gently massaged the area and concluded it might be a severe muscle cramp (really?). She prescribed some cyclobezaprine (aka: flexeril). And set up an MRI for September 15th. If we go outside the Guthrie system, I could get an MRI at Soldiers & Sailors over in Wellsboro on August 27th. (Still waiting for the insurance to give the nod to this one.)

Friday, things got worse. I could barely lift the heel of my left foot up off the bed. Any bending of the knee and I saw stars. Crutches did help me get from point A to point B as long as they were not too far apart. Discharge papers from Wednesday directed me to return should things not improve. They didn't, so I did.

ER Doctor did some more poking and prodding. Ordered a full set of blood tests, gave me a shot of morphine, had a CAT scan done. yada, yada, yada.

The CAT scan seems to have ruled out a torn ligament or tendon. The blood work seems to have eliminated an infection.

What? All roads currently lead to a severe contusion in the large muscle on the front of the thigh. How remains unanswered. When would seem to be Tuesday sometime. As to Who? I'll be dusting all baseball bats for prints.Where? I've not been out of the house except for doctors calls and the Audubon picnic. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

At Least the Blood Looks Healthy

I got the last of my staples and sutures taken out yesterday. That was immediately after having a pressure test on both legs and a sonogram of my right leg--the one with the staples and sutures still in place. All this was done two years and two days after the last staples and sutures were removed from my left leg.

I have to hand it to the Amandas in the vascular department at Robert Packer Hospital. They did a fine job. And, yes, there were three Amandas doing the yeoman's work. Two of them did the testing while the third, Dr. B's physician assistant, removed the staples and sutures. (She said Dr. B is better with patients who are unconscious.) 

My only problem was the blood thinners. Being on three(!) meant that the small holes from those staples and sutures would weep blood. Nearly all of them stopped with a mild amount of pressure but one up near the groin wouldn't quit for some time. Finally the PA Amanda and I were able to stem the flow and get some steri-strips in place so the leg could be wrapped in gauze and ace bandages. 

I got home and sat down to work on a puzzle for a couple of hours, went to the bathroom and then prepared for bed. That's when I discovered quite a large amount of blood in my jeans. Terry and I struggled to get the little hole that was causing the problem to stop. It took nearly thirty minutes with a styptic pencil and lots of pressure to get that little bleeder to stop long enough to apply a bandage followed by a pressure wrap. This morning there was evidence that it had continued to bleed into the bandage but not much. Hopefully that will be the last of that!

Now my only concern is a pocket of fluid causing some pain behind by right knee. Dr. B says it's not unusual but all I can think about is the similar fluid accumulation that occurred at one end of the incision he made two years ago on my left leg. That turned out to be an infection that put me in the hospital for a week before sending me home with a wound vac for a month. Keeping my fingers crossed that my right leg is better behaved.

Have I mentioned how much this feels like deja vu?

Monday, July 12, 2021

Going Out of My Head!

Very early on June 23rd one of Terry's friends drove us to Robert Packer Hospital where I went under the knife to have a couple of aneurysms in my right leg by-passed. Things went smoothly and I spent the next six days in the hospital. I was able to get up and go to the bathroom on my own with the help of a walker almost as soon as I woke up from anesthesia. Perhaps that is why the women from physical therapy and later occupational therapy felt I was advanced enough--especially after moving to a cane on day three--to not warrant their attention or the attention of a rehab facility. 

They and the nurses must have reported to the insurance company that I was an overachiever. The Carleton over in Wellsboro had a bed for me on Friday but when the insurance company balked at making a decision, I stayed in the hospital over the weekend. Word finally came on Monday that insurance wouldn't cover a stay in a rehab facility and that I would go home on Tuesday instead.

Tuesday was the day Terry was scheduled to get an epidural for her very sore hip. She would need a driver as would I. Her cousin Joe--my fishing buddy--stepped in. 

Going home meant I would have some visiting healthcare providers. Someone would come to check on the incisions and make sure they were healing properly. Someone would come to do physical therapy with me. And someone would come to do occupational therapy, i.e. make sure I could dress myself, clean myself, and in general care for myself. The health care provider has been coming round twice a week although he's cutting back to once a week for the next two weeks. The PT person came once, watched me walk around a bit and said she couldn't think of anything she could help me with. (A few more exercises would have helped. But I've been down this road before and can figure out what I need to do.) The occupational therapist called and, when she told me what she would do, I politely said I can already do all those things and she never came out to the house.

I went back to see the vascular team two weeks after the surgery to have them examine the incisions and to have half the staples removed. Taking out every other staple meant removing about 25 of them. Approximately that many remain along with an equal number of sutures. I go back on the 22nd of July to have them taken out.

Until then, I've promised not to drive until I can comfortably press down on the brake pedal. I've promised not to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. And I've hired someone to cut the grass. (If it ever stops raining long enough!) And I've promised not to pick up a chainsaw until at least labor day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tomorrow Is Another Day

 Tomorrow (Wednesday) is my scheduled right leg vascular surgery day. That's as opposed to my emergency surgery on my left leg back in June of 2019. Maybe. Should be okay. Probably.

The uncertainty arises from medical issues Terry is having. Last Wednesday, she was moving some boxes in the attic. Heavy boxes. Then on Thursday she was collecting the garbage (cat litter mostly) that was quite heavy, twisted the wrong way and felt something go in her lower back with pain radiating down her right leg. She couldn't walk. I finally got her to go to the primary care clinic in Mansfield on Thursday afternoon. They sent her to  get x-rays at Troy. She called the pain management doctor on Friday but he said it was only 2-1/2 months since she last got a spinal and the insurance probably wouldn't cover it--but he'd try to talk them into it.

Then all was silent on Saturday while Terry suffered. Then Sunday morning I took her over to the ER in Troy. They gave her a shot and some valium. Neither really worked for long. Monday the pain doc got her a steroid prescription and the promise of a shot on Tuesday the 29th (a day or so after the steroid pack is finished). 

So Terry's not sure she could drive me to the hospital, hang around during surgery, see me afterwords, or do anything at all come tomorrow. And she's going to need someone to drive her too and from the pain doc's office on the 29th. Arrangements have been made to get me to the hospital, but what happens in the days after that vis-a-vis Terry's coming to visit, or pick me up, or see me moved to a rehab facility (as they did after the previous left leg by-pass), or getting her to the pain doc's is up in the air.

One day at a time. Step by step.

Interesting times.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

...Try, Try Again.

 Today was the make-up day for my meeting with the vascular team over at Robert Packer Hospital.  As I mentioned in my last post, Dr. B cancelled at the very last minute last week so things got pushed to this morning. I arrived 15 minutes before my appointed time and then had to wait about 25 minutes to get seen by the nurse. This is unusual as the folks at Guthrie in general are usually spot on time--or have a damn good excuse for being late. I think today it was just volume as my appointment was for 11 am which i at the end of the morning crowd.

My vitals and other information were taken and then we got to see Dr. B and his Nurse Practitioner. The first thing Dr. B did was ask Terry all about her cruise to Puget Sound. (During the discussion he seemed to have forgot that he had scared me into staying home and sending Terry's sis as her plus-one. That was a decision that panned out when I had to visit the emergency room the day Terry left for the airport because of severe pain above my left knee.) 

W eventually got around to talking about first my previously operated upon left leg--and Dr. B checked the pulse all up and down that by-pass thoroughly. Then we started to talk about the right leg. It was his opinion--and I concur--that a by-pass around the two large aneurysms would be better than waiting for an emergency to occur that could cost me the right leg...especially, he hinted, since the left leg was still in doubt. should BOTH go, I would have no leg to stand on. (I know, I know. My bad.)

I was sent down the hall to have the right leg's veins and arteries examined and mapped via ultrasound. Dr. B and I then discussed the when: June 23rd at 6:00 am.

The it was off to pre-admissions for an ECG, blood test, a meeting with the anesthesiologist, and a thorough pre-op procedure discussion: What meds I need to stop and when, what foods and liquids I will be permitted prior The Day, and what soap to use when showering the night before and then the morning before surgery. All the good stuff I missed out on the last time when I walked into the Troy ER with a dark, dark blue foot and one doctor pronounced, "It's dead!" and then at the Robert-Packer ER with a "Rush!" order pinned to my pant leg.

We didn't get back to the parking lot until after 1:30 pm. We did get to have a fine meal over at The Grille. We also stopped at Bryan's Meats on the way home to pick up some nice steaks, American and Canadian bacon, breakfast sausages, and some award winning hot dogs. (The nurse said to eat plenty of protein because it helps in rapid healing!) So the day wasn't a total loss.

Monday, June 07, 2021

If At First....

 Last Thursday I was supposed to meet with my vascular surgeon over at Robert Packer Hospital. We were to discuss the three (3) aneurysms I have behind my right knee. These compliment the two he had to by-pass in my left leg two years ago. The 2019 surgery was done on an emergency basis when I suddenly found no blood flowing to my left foot on Sunday morning. He and I agreed that not waiting until that happened again would be a "Good Thing."

Unfortunately, that meeting never happened. For some reason he was not going to be in the office on Thursday. Terry and I had just gotten into the truck to drive over, stopping at the end of the driveway to drop off our garbage, when I got a phone call from his scheduler informing me that Dr. B would not be in the office. She knew what our discussion was to be about and asked if I still wanted to come in to talk to the Physician's Assistant or if I would rather wait until next Thursday? Considering the gravity of the subject--and what I have been through since the last surgery, namely a serious infection and four (4) angioplasties-- I chose to wait a week to meet with Dr. B. It's not like I have a full schedule or anything.

Talk about timing, though! Another two minutes and I would have been on the road heading to the hospital. Sure, I would have still been able to answer the phone (Thank God for Bluetooth!) and would have turned around, but still....

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Flower Time

 Summer time (right around the corner!) is flower time around the Aerie. While there are several flowering plants out in the woods (honeysuckle, cherry, wild crab apples, etc.) there are also some around the Aerie. Besides the lilacs and rhododendron that is.

Did I not post the lilacs and rhodys?

(The deer took the buds on the top of this bush.)

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Cutting Grass

 Being at 2100 feet on the northwest side of the mountain which continues to climb to approximately 2500 feet to our southeast, the sun doesn't get to the Aerie until an hour or more after official sunrise. Therefore, we don't get the strong, heating effects of the sun until about 2 pm. With 50% chance of rain forecast for Sunday, I decided to cut the dandelions--I mean grass this morning. 

Love the self propelled walk behind mower! Hardest part of cutting the grass is setting the speed to a level I can keep up with. Still have to manhandle it around shrubs and on certain slopes, but, like I said, it's mostly just trying to keep up with the darn thing. Oh, and emptying when it gets full. When the weeds are as tall as the were this morning there;s no option but to bag the clippings. Mulching just won't do. If I can get to cut it ever seven days, then the stuff isn't too tall and I can just mulch it. Today was more like two weeks plus since I last mowed. 

I took my time. I stopped frequently to empty the bag of clippings and took a water/Gator Ade break every hour. It took me close to four hours to get the job done. When I don't have to empty the bag--or take so many breaks, it takes me between two and a half and three hours.

Fitbit says I did approximately 14 thousand steps but my iPhone Health ap says it was just over 5 thousand. Either way I walked a lot!

I enjoy cutting the lawn. It's pretty much a mindless task.Just start the mower and walk along behind it. Not much to think about as the terrain of the yard sorta dictates the path pattern you can take. When I used to cut the grass up at the cabin I had a huge, square area that allowed me to cut zigzag following one side of the square or diagonally from one corner to the opposite corner. Alternating the direction you take from cutting to the next is supposed to be better for the grass. Here at the Aerie, where things are more or less terraced and contoured to the hillside, diagonal cuts are out of the question. It's mostly just back and forth along the contour. 

Now I'm tired and ready for a shower, but I got'er done! That's what counts.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Another Hot One

 Another scorcher of a day today. The high was about 88 degrees and the few clouds that tried to shade us from the sun failed. Hot or not, I had to get the tomatoes and peppers in the ground.

It took me about an hour and half to plant the  all and then water them using the watering can. I wanted the water to go just where I wanted it to go, something you can't depend on happening with the hose. I finished just in time for lunch.

Then I had to take Copy Cat to the vet for a followup visit. He hasn't been limping since the day after she gave him an antibiotic shot for swollen lymph nodes two weeks ago. He wasn't happy to go for a ride as he was sound asleep on his back when I went to get him and put him in the carrier. The vet said she thought his glands were not as swollen as last time (How can you tell?) but perhaps he should have another shot of antibiotic just in case. She had to re-calibrate the dosage since this sick pussy cat had gained a pound since his last visit. One pound may not sound like much to you or me, but when you only weigh 12.2 and go to 13.6.... If he doesn't start limping again, there's no need for a further visit. Copy was a little quieter on the way home. Whether that was because the truck's AC finally started cooling the inside of the truck, or because of the shot he just got is anyone's guess.

Back home I just vegged out until  about 6:30 when I went out to water the plants/seeds. I can almost stop saying "seeds" since everything except the beans and lettuce--which just went in yesterday--has started popping out of the ground. The morning glories lead the way of the seeds planted. They were second to show up after the radishes, but they now stand nearly two inches high and have 1-1/4 inch seed leaves.

Time for another cold one as I  tune in the Mets' game.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Well, Summer Is Here

My left thigh is feeling real good. Whether it was the pain killer, muscle relaxant or just the rest I forced myself to take, something worked. I contacted my primary care nurse practitioner and told her about my progress. I then said I would still not be running a marathon this weekend. She reminded me that the best way to rain for a marathon was slowly increasing your endurance. Emphasis on "slowly."

If this keeps up, I'll feel fit enough to cut the grass Saturday. Why Saturday? Well another day of mostly rest can't hurt and today it got up to 87 degrees in bright, bright sunshine. Friday is supposed to be a carbon copy. Way too hot to cut grass! Though Saturday won't be much better with temps again cracking the 80 degree mark, but it will be cloudy so there's that. Definitely Summer weather.

I did do a few things today. 

I went to the garden center and picked up some tomato and pepper plants along with two bags of topsoil mix that contains fertilizer. When I put the plants in (tomorrow morning?) I will dig an oversized hole and put in some of that topsoil mix. 

When I came home, I did a little work on the plots where the tomatoes and peppers will go. Mostly it was just raking the areas to break the surface crust that had formed. (Have I mentioned how much clay there is in our soil.) I planted some leaf lettuce in the garden with the beans. just three short rows but , if they produce, Terry will be happy. 

I also fixed a nagging little problem with some concrete edging blocks that had heaved upward and were hitting the bottom edge of the gate to that plot. I just had to remove five of them and dig the stones/earth under the center blocks and reset them. Easy, peasy.


Terry called. Sounds like she and her sister are having a good time. The cruise ship is hopping from island to island and they're getting tours of the little towns on each one. Some tours are by small short buses and others are walking. They are halfway in the cruise around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

So Far So Good.


Whether it was the muscle relaxant or the antibiotic they prescribed to me over the weekend, the leg is feeling much, much better. Still a modicum of pain when I try to bend it but all in all I'm pleased with the progress.

I did see my primary care nurse-practitioner on Tuesday afternoon. That was a followup just to keep her informed of what's going on. At the time, I asked her how do I get one of those handicapped stickers for my car. Her reply was more along the lines of, "It's about time!" than anything else. So I filled that form out, got it notarized and put in the mail today. By the time I get it, my left leg will probably be A-OK, but I will be seeing the vascular team on June 3rd to discuss surgery on my right leg so there's that.
Right now I'm taking things easy and getting lots of rest and sleep. Even the cats are allowing me to sleep in. Normally they start scratching on the door around 4 am waking Terry up. The last three days I get up on my own at 8 or 8:30. And I only do that so I can pretty much keep a regular pattern for my meds. The cats haven't made a sound. 
 I've got a small patch of one of the garden beds set aside for lettuce. I'll see if I can get that planted--tomorrow. Radishes are already up and It's not even seven days. Nothing else seems to have popped up yet. 
Sunny and warm (mid-80s) here with no chance for rain until Sunday. Or so they say. I see a lot of farmers making their first cutting of hay and leaving it to dry on the field. That's a better indicator that it's not going to rain soon. 
While the "sunny and warm" has brought out the wood boring bees--which is bad--it hopefully will spell the end of the black flies. Those little buggers hurt! 
Don't tell anyone, but I'll have to cut the grass soon. The dandelion flowers that escaped the first cut a week ago have gone to seed. Add the poplar seeds drifting through the air and it looks like it's snowing little wispy puffs of cotton.

Monday, May 17, 2021

An Interesting Weekend

Fun times that included seeing Terry off and two(!) trips to the emergency room at Troy Hospital.

First off, you know all that work I did last week? Well, some of it apparently came back to bite me in the left thigh. After my last post, I had terrible, rated 9 or 10, pain in the area directly above the knee and going 4 to 5 inches up. I was going to stick it out hoping things would improve since I didn't want Terry to do anything foolish and demand she stay home. But things didn't seem to improve during a near sleepless Friday night or at any time during Saturday. 

Terry left around 1 o'clock and by 5 I could stand the pain any more.I decided to see if a birding friend (Ken) who lives nearby could give me a ride over to the ER in Troy. I emailed him a request since I didn't have his phone number and he called me less than 10 minutes later. I explained my situation and asked for his assistance. He said he'd be glad to help out. 

Well, I got to the ER shortly after 6 pm and the doctor on call said that he thought it might be anything from a blood clot to a strain/partial tear of the quad. He was leaning toward the latter because there was not discoloration of the left foot. Unfortunately, there was no one who could do an ultrasound to determine which it was. He gave me some meds to fight any infection that might be present in the deep tissues and told me to come back in the morning.

Ken agreed to take me back on Sunday morning so I was good to go.

I got home around 10:30 and managed to get some sleep before Ken showed up at 7:30 Sunday morning for a return trip to the ER. This time, Ken came prepared and did some birding around the hospital grounds while I went to get my ultrasound done. He didn't do too badly as he spotted 13 or 14 species. I didn't do too badly either. The tech did elicit some stifled screams and visions of stars on my part when she had to press down on the tissues to get a good picture, but her work eliminated blood clots as a possibility.

The night shift doc was still there and he started talking about either a severe contusion or partial tear of the quad. (He eliminated a full tear because "your lower leg isn't flapping in the breeze.") I got the prescription for infection and a new one for pain from the day doc.

Ken took me to the CVS in Mansfield to get those meds and then delivered me home.

The pain meds warn about drowsiness and they aren't kidding. I took a nap from 5 til 7 and then went to bed around 10. (I needed to space the meds apart so forced myself to stay up.) I can't say I fell asleep immediately, but it was close. I didn't wake until 9 am. If the cats tried to get me up, I was unaware of that.

It's coming up on noon and 24 hours on these meds and I can say something is working. Whether it was the long sleep or the drugs, the pain has subsided considerably. I just booked a followup with my primary care for Tuesday afternoon. Hopefully I'll be able to tell her things are getting better and better.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Yard Work and More

This past week I spent several days working in the gardens. I used the shovel to turn them over (after having used the roto-tiller on them) and marveled at the number of earthworms each shovelful of dirt exposed. Maybe I should have gone fishing?

I made a mix of potting soil and sand and used it to fill planters for things like marigolds, beets, carrots, and radishes. I also did two planters for morning glories because, well, why not. The rest I used to top dress several of the raised beds and then planted string bean seeds in one and cucumber and zucchini seeds in another. I still have lettuce seeds to put in and then will have to go shopping for tomato and pepper plants. I think we're past the last frost.

The Bean Bed

There's a row of beans on either side of the 8' cedar poles in the far end of this bed. Beans, surprisingly didn't do well here last year for some reason. In years past we were able to eat string beans twice a week (or more) and still put some in the freezer. Hopefully we'll get yields like that again this year. The near right corner will be our lettuce bed. 


Zukes and Cukes

This bed held cukes and zukes last year and did pretty well. I switched ends on them this year and hope for a repeat. The planter in the foreground has carrot seeds.

Radishes, Marigolds and Beets

The planters are extensions of the garden that I'm trying this year. The Marigolds are there for their color as well as their reputed repellent qualities.

Morning Glory

 Morning Glories like to climb so I put the two planters like this one at the base of the two (unused) telephone poles. Should they start to grow well--and the deer don't eat them, I'll run some cord up the poles to help them climb. 

I also decided to turnover a small bed I haven't used in a couple of years. The weeds had taken over and it just looked very unsightly. Initially I was going to plant some perennial seeds in there but, after finally reading the directions on the packets ("start seeds indoors 10 weeks before last frost") I changed my mind. I've some acorn and butternut squash and some pumpkin seeds I put in there and they can go vine all over.

Acorn and Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Patch



Terry has been getting ready for her big adventure: cruising Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. She's (finally) going to get on the water but with her sister instead of me. The vascular surgeon put enough fear in me so that I didn't feel comfortable going on a cruise. He didn't actually say I shouldn't go, but when I told him of my concern, he didn't say I should go.

Her bags are nearly packed with only a few things currently in the wash to go. She's planning on flying out of Newark (NJ) on Sunday early in the morning. To make it easier, she'll drive into the Linden are on Saturday afternoon and stay overnight. Same on the way home. Her flight comes in late at night so she'll stay either at one of the airport hotels or somewhere in the Linden area again.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Rainy Cinco de Mayo

 It started raining last evening and hasn't really let up since then. Oh, we've had the occasional period where it's down to a mere drizzle, but that's about it. Not many real downpours either. One thing that it has done is bring out the green in the trees. Leaves seem to be busting out all over. Except for the locusts. They are always the last to leaf out.


Anyway, back to my bread making. The dough sat in the oven all night under a cotton dish towel. 

The bread dough after rising about 10 hours in the cold oven.

As you can see, it has more than doubled in volume. (I should have put a basin of water in the oven too. The surface formed a bit of a crust from drying out.)

I turned the dough out n a lightly floured surface and stretched and folded the "corners" in as I turned it 90 degrees. Four or five rotations did the trick. Then it went into a greased loaf pan and got popped into the still cold oven where it sat for a little over three hours. During that time, the dough rose again to the top of the loaf pan.

The bread was ready to bake. Terry's enchiladas went in on the bottom shelf and I turned the oven on to bake at 375 and set the timer for 60 minutes. 

Forty-five minutes later the enchiladas came out for dinner. Checked the bread at 60 minutes and found the loaf to look perfect. The interior temp was around 190-200 so I took it out of the oven and turned it out onto a cooling rack.

Finished loaf looks delicious!

I let it rest for an hour or so and then just had to slice into it.

Sliced loaf. Can you smell it?

The loft was excellent. I forgot to slice the top to allow moisture and gases to escape. If I had done so, that gap/bubble just beneath the crust might not be there. All I can say is that it has been a couple of months since I baked bread. Mea culpa.

Terry and I enjoyed a slice each with nice soft butter and all I can say is it was yummy!

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Busy Day

I took the rototiller and rake to the four garden plots this afternoon. (I'm trying to get the pictures of that but for whatever reason my email won't cooperate.) The idea was to get everything done before tonight's rains arrived. I managed to do that but as I finished I heard some rumbling from thunderstorms that moved to our south and east. Needless to say the humidity was quite high and I sweat line a beast!  

The area that's grayed out is part of the lawn where the utility trailer was parked. I raked and seeded that using stuff I had from a couple of years ago. If it grows, fine. If it doesn't, that's okay too. The rains won't hurt! The area fenced in on the right is Terry's herb garden and where we had some very prolific cherry tomatoes and peppers last year.
This large plot (8' x 16') was nothing but string beans last year and it was a flop for some reason.
The lower unfenced plot is only about 3' x 16' and was home to our zucchini and cucumbers the last couple of years. The plot on the left held cherry, Big Boy, and Early Girl tomatoes. Both produced copious amounts of fruit. 


(Well, the first pic is a bit wonky but the others are okay.)


After dinner I decided to use some of my sourdough starter to make a loaf of bread. The recipe is easy as it only requires one cup of starter, one cup of water, a teaspoon of salt, and 3-1/2 cups of flour. You knead that in a mixer for about 25 minutes until the dough is elastic and a little glossy then throw it into a greased bowl over night to rise. (The air temps need to be around 70-72 degrees.) The dough should double over 8 to 12 hours.

The next day you plop it on the counter and watch it for a half hour. Should it flatten much you knead/fold in some more flour. If it pretty much keeps its shape you don't need to add anything. Just put it on a floured surface and stretch and fold the edges in three or four times.Turn the folds down and shape as you see fit. I will be putting mine into a greased loaf pan. Then it will get covered and let to rise for 3-4 hours until it's nearly doubled again.

Then you put it in a cool oven and turn the heat up to 375 degrees. Bake for about 70 minutes until the top of the loaf is slightly brown and check the interior temp of the loaf. I think 180 degrees on the inside is about right. We'll find out tomorrow afternoon!

Monday, May 03, 2021

We Now Resume Our Regularly Scheduled Broadcasting

Having completed all the jigsaw puzzles in the house (save THAT one); having binge-watched enough TV for a good while; and having learned how to keep the sourdough mother calm, quiet, and healthy in the fridge so I don't have to bake so often, I've taken to exploring two things on You Tube. 1- all the RV channels but specfically those who offer advice on how to customize your rig--be it a travel trailer like ours, or a fifth-wheel, or a motorhome. 2- Sites offering reviews of trucks to pair with your travel trailer or fifth-wheel. (Specifically those dealing with the Chevy Silverado 2500HD.)

The latter has come about because I've finally learned, after 13, almost 14 years of using a Toyota Tundra that that truck my be a little undersized for the size of the trailer we currently own. Granted, our first Tundra hauled us and the trailer we owned at the time (a slightly smaller trailer than we currenly own) all around the continent. And our second Tundra has taken the slightly longer trailer to the west coast, the Canadian Maritimes and points in between more. Still, I feel the call of the Silverado.

It was a Silverado I first owned in the 90s. That truck really racked up the miles to the Bolt Hole north of Utica from northern New Jersey and then from Northern New Jersey to our current home in the Northern Tier of PA. It also hauled all of our belongings out here. It was with that truck that I first towed a travel trailer.

Yeah. If I can convince Terry....


Watching all the RVing folks travel around the country has sparked a bit of an itch within me. I haven't had a good road trip since 2018 for God's sake! While I may be a bit of an introvert, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy a change of scenery from time to time.

Unfortunately my traveling days will have to wait until the surgery on my right leg is done and can be evaluated.

I also have to figure out what to do with the cats. (Five inside and four--maybe five--outside.)

2021 *sigh*

2019 sucked. 2020 was worse. 2021 is currently TBD.

I should be looking forward to the rest of 2021, but there's that surgery I'm told I need on my right leg. I see the vascular surgeon on June 3rd to discuss the time frame for that surgery.

que sera, sera

A little more than four months in and I've been in the hospital once for a false alarm. I'll have to get out to do some work soon before I'm in for more surgery. The grardens have been turned over and are awaiting some work with the rake and then seeds. I'll wait a week or two more before purchasing plants to go in the ground. Learned that lesson already. Late frosts can be costly.

2020, Oh-boy!

After the initial leg surgery on June 2, 2019, and after I eventually got home after rehab, and after the wound vac had done its job fighting the infection that developed—after all that, I really wasn’t in the best of shape to do anything outside for the rest of 2019. Oh, I did a few small things, but we even hired someone to come in and cut the lawn. I was eventually recovered enough—despite two follow-up angioplasties—to rake leaves in October/November and then do some snow shoveling come December. A third angioplasty took place around Christmas and a fourth would happen in March 2020.

Anyway, that inactivity led to me perfecting my jigsaw puzzle skills. I got pretty good, completing a 1000 piece puzzle in about three days. I shunned the smaller puzzles. I found only one 3000 piece puzzle that I could not complete and eventually gave up on. It was a Harry Potter puzzle showing Hogwarts. Every piece was nearly identical in shape and size. And there were huge swaths of similarly colored pieces. It drove me nuts!

Of course, March 2020 was when the shit hit the fan and everyone was suddenly locked down. My puzzle skills really came in handy!

I also started some sourdough starter and it took off. I learned how to do a lot of baking: bread, bagels, muffins, pretzels, I tried them all. Sometimes I tried different types of breads and most all came out very good—which was/is bad. Way too many bread products! I finally learned how to keep the mother sourdough in the fridge so I don’t have to bake Every. Other. Day. Now I’ve got to use the mother every two weeks or so.

Terry and I had booked a cruise on Puget Sound for April of 2020. That got canceled by the cruise company and we rebooked for October. That got canceled, too.

My vascular surgeon scared the heck out of me with the angioplasties and the blood thinners he prescribed for me. (It doesn’t help that he has said I’ve got the same problem on my right leg that will need surgery—soon.) As a result, I decided I didn’t really want to go on any cruise. Unfortunately, the cruise company would let us back out despite their having canceled on us twice. As a result, Terry and her sister will be cruising in a couple of weeks. Terry will also make a short trip down to Portland to visit my son and his family.

I also told Joe I wasn’t going fishing in the back of beyond anymore. I didn’t want to take a chance that the plane, even if it was going to check up on us every day, would be able to extract me in time should anything happen. We had already booked a 2020 trip. Joe bought me out with the idea of taking one of his grandsons. Of course that 2020 trip never happened and now the 2021 trip looks to be postponed, too.

I lost the second half of 2019 to degenerative vascular disease and we all lost 2020 to Covid-19. It’s been a couple of horrible, no good years. I want a do over!

2019, One Hell of a Year

Ah, 2019. The first three months were fairly uneventful. Even April started out OK. Terry and I made the trip into New Jersey again to help celebrate one of my sister's granddaughter's birthdays. But after that, things started to go down hill for me. 

 In mid-April we had a friendly dog show up on our porch. In the rain, of course. Still, it was a real friendly pup. We took it in and, when the rain stopped, we went around the area seeing if it belonged to anyone. The answer was no. It got along well with the cats who mostly ignored it. I posted her picture on Facebook asking if anyone knew to whom she belonged and got only one sketchy reply. We took it to the vets and they said it wasn't chipped so it was ours if we chose. Terry said under no circumstances were we keeping this pooch. I should have insisted but.... So off she went to Animal Rescue over in East Smithfield. She never appeared on their web cite as an option for adoption so she probably never got past the entrance before a staff member took her home. 

Around the time the pooch showed up, I developed a severe pain in my left big toe that forced me to stop doing anything that required me to be on my feet. My primary care Nurse Practitioner and I thoujgh I had stubberd my toe somehow and the pain was in one of the joints. A steroid regimine was prescribed and seemed to do the trick.  

  But in early May another problem arose. I developed large, watery blisters on two of the smaller toes of my left foot. Another visit to the NP. Severe athlete's foot? Whatever. I treated it with plenty of antifungal creams and powders. Wore sandals for a week to let my feet breath. And it worked. The blisters disappeared and my feet felt better than they had in a long time.  

  They felt so good that I felt capable of doing yard work and so I did. Memorial Day weekend I dropped a couple of ash trees that were stricken by the borer and on their last legs. I left them to finish budding out on the ground. (It draws moisture out of the trunk.) THe rest of the week I did some cleaning up of small trees and wild roses in and around the yard. All in all, I did more than I should and less than what was needed. Still, it's a good thing I had decided to let Joe take his son and granddaughter fishing this year as I stayed home. 

  The night of Saturday, June 1, I had trouble falling asleep because of what I thought was cramping in my left calf muscle. I had been getting cramps off and on for years but this one was persistent. I sat up in bed for much of the night massaging my calf trying to get the cramping to go away. Finally I had enough and went to the bathroom on the main floor where we had a tub I could soak in without using too much water. I soaked in that hot water for nearly an hour but the cramping didn't go away. When I got out of the tub, I was alarmed to see my left foot was blue! After being in the hot water it should have been red or at least pink like the right foot. Terry, who was now up and dressed for church took one look and said, "Let's go to the hospital. Now!" 

  The ER at Troy Hospital was anything but busy on a Sunday morning ao I got a physician to look at my foot STAT! as they say. In fact, I had two or three looking at my foot when one of them said, very Doctor McCoy like, "That foot's dead!" His buddies agreed and it was suggested I get myself to the ER at Robert-Packer Hospital in Sayre. "Do you want to wait for an ambulance, or do you have someone who can drive you over there right now?" "Let's go, Terry."  

  I'm going to say she didn't speed, but we sure did get there in a hurry. 

  The ER at Robert-Packer was expecting me and I was wheeled (by now I was in a wheelchair because the pain was excruciating) in to an examination room and soon had vascular surgeons looking me over and two hours later I was on the table and under the knife.  

  A blood clot had formed in the only remaining artery feeding blood/oxygen to my left foot. (The pain and the blisters in/on my toes were smaller vessels being blocked off by clots.) I was on the table for almost eight hours as they searched for a vein to use as a bypass.  

  I spent several days in the hospital as they wanted to make sure the blood was flowing through the bypass. Then I went to a long term care and rehab facility where I got to exercise my legs and take my meds regularly. The exercising was a challenge because of the number of staples (over 50) and stitches they used to close the cuts on the inside of my leg (from groin to ankle) and on the outside of my shin (knee to ankle). Two weeks later I went and got half the staples out and went home.  

  I continued physical therapy locally. and as the next appointment for removal of staples approached, my therapist said she noticed a hard lump near the top of the incision on the inside of my thigh. Plus, she said it felt warm. It was her recommendation that I call my vascular doctor so I did. They recommended that I get myself to the ER at Robert-Packer ASAP. (Not quite as big a rush but still important.) So we went off to the hospital's ER--on a Friday night. I know. Bad timing.  

  We sat for a couple of hours before I got taken in to an examining room. Then I was prepped for the OR where they cut into that lump to suck out all the infectious puss that had accumulated. They left the wound open to allow it to drain and put me in a bed for two days hooked up to several IV's dripping antibiotics into me while they tested the crap to see what kind of bug was causing the infection. Dressings were changed every day. While the 1-1/2 inch deep by 2-1/2 inch long started healing, they removed the rest of the staples. When they finally sent me home, it was with a portable wound vac to continue removing the bad stuff as I healed. A visiting nurse came every other day to inspect the wound and teach Terry how to pack the hole with cotton gauze.  

  It took a few weeks but I eventually could get that vac detached and pronounce the wound closed. Unfortunately, it was about that time that it was found that the bypass was pinching closed and blood flow to the left foot was decreasing. An angioplasty was required. Think Roto-rooter for your blood vessels. I would have another of these procedures every three months until September of 2020. I rang up a total of four plus one stay for observation. 

  Those angioplasts would have me staying in the hospital overnight. The last was brought about when I reported some pain just above my knee. A pressure test showed a reduced blood flow necessitating an angioplasty. Several months later February of 2021?) I reported it felt like someone had hit me in the lower thigh with a cricket bat. Pressure tests were showing good blood flow. Still, as a precaution they kept me over night for observation. 

Needless to say, I didn't go anywhere from June 2nd on. Except to the hospital and rehab that is. Terry didn't go anywhere either as I sort of anchored her here. We did have some visitors around Thanksgiving but we didn't go to NJ at all for birthday parties or Christmas. 

 I was happy to turn the calendar page to 2020. Little did I know!

Prelude To The Storm

The remainder of 2018 went by without a hitch. Terry and I went to a minor league baseball game with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies when they still had Tim Tebow. He doubled. They lost. I ended up in the emergency room with a severly sore neeck due to pinched nerve. I got a lovely morphine shot which meant Terry had to drive The Truck home some 13 miles (an new record!) at something like 1 o'clock in the morning--in the drizzling rain--chasing some poor fawn down the road for half a mile. (The neck and nerve issue would return in 2020 and send me back for x-rays and a diagnosis of spinal stenosis but not bad enough for surgery--yet.) I went fishing in northern Quebec with Joe as per usual. It was something like our 20th trip. Then, Joe helped me rebuild my deck which I then stained a couple months later. We had company from Milwaukee come in for Thanksgiving. I went hunting in the back yard but got skunked. We went into New Jersey on Christmas Eve to celebrate with my sister, her two daughters, and their two daughters (lots of women!) and a few spouses here and there. All in all a pretty good year. Little did I know what lay on the horizon.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Good Times! (Three years ago.)

I'm not sure why I stopped posting on here except there were more folks checking Facebook than there were reading/looking at what I put up here. In any event, Facebook reminded me of some happy things Terry and I were doing three years ago. Namely we were cruising the lower Mississippi on a small ship (150 passengers) from American Cruise lines. We traveled from New Orleans up to Vicksburg and back. Got to tour the city, the Atchafalaya, several plantations, and the battlefield. We enjoyed it so much we booked another trip to cruise Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands for April of 2020. More about that later.
We drove down and then back. On the way down, we stopped at Nashville to tour the Grand Old Opry and on the way back, we stopped at Terry's sister's place on the Lake of the Ozarks. Good times!

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Happy May Day!

May has arrived in all its splendor! Okay, maybe not all all. We had winds gusting to over 40 mph during the night and there was a dusting of snow on the nooks and crannies of the deck, house, cars and woods this morning. And it was only 32 degrees at 7 am. But the winds died down, the sun came up over the hill, the sky was definitely more blue than cloudy and the temperature rose to just above 60 degrees this afternoon. All in all a pretty nice day! We better enjoy it while we can. The forecast is for showers and rain Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. ****** We had a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak show up at the feeder yesterday. It was the first of the year for us. Usually they are going to feed on a larger feeder than the tube feeders I have hanging out next to my suet feeder, but he did alright. Came back all throughout the day despite the strong winds and occasional rain showers we had. It, or another like it, showed up again today. Our regular visitors--Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, House Finches, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, and Blue Jays--continue to come to the feeders. ****** Early last night while I was in bed, I heard something climb the corner of the house. It was probably a raccoon looking to rob a Robin's nest. We've had several built on the extending ends of the logs. We also have two phobe nests built over the windows. Unfortunately, the phobe's aren't using them this spring and that's a shame because there are pleny of small flies on the truck and car when I go out in the morning. The sound of the critter climbing the corner reminded me that I had forgotten to bring the bird feeders in from the deck. Well, they would have to take their chances as I certainly wasn't going to get out of bed to retrieve them at 11 pm. Turns out only the suet feeder was hit. Two half cakes of suet were gone. At least the feeder wasn't destroyed. ****** Terry had another day of zoom class in Japanese bead embroidery today. About a dozen women are in "attendance" with one teacher. I got a look at the work and it is pretty detailed. THey have one more full day tomorrow and then a follow-up group gabfest tomorrow evening.

Friday, April 30, 2021

It's been THAT long?!

I was tooling around the interwebs this evening and got invited to join a new RVing site called RVillage. In the midst of filling out some background questions it asked for my blog's URL. Well. Long story short, I didn't immediately recall what it was! Still, I figured I could get it by clicking on the convenient link I had over in my favorites. Nope! That took me to a page for composing blog entries and not the finished blog itself. I sat and thought for a moment and finally came up with the correct wording that got me to this page. That's when I noticed the last entry was April 21 of 2018! Just over three years ago! Between my addiction to Facebook and my vascular issues (starting June 2019) and COVID-19 madness (starting March 2020), I just haven't been posting much here. Not that there's been a whole lot of things to post besides the quarterly visits to the OR to open up the bypass in my left leg so I can keep my foot. (Soon to be matched by the operation on my RIGHT leg to improve the blood flow to that foot. I suppose I could post pictures of birds from the back yard--or cats. We've got lots of cats! Only ginger and calico are missing from our entourage. Aside from the hospital, I've not gone anywhere. And Terry's not gone anywhere either as she has perfected her ZOOM meeting techniqes for both EGA and SAGA. This weekend she's even taking a seminar via ZOOM. (It has to do with various stitching techniques and uses beads so the cats are locked out of her sewing room for the duration.) Well, I quess that's about all for now. I'll be back tomorrow--maybe-- with more drivel.