Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dec. 26, 2012

OK, right to the point...... The CT scan says..... ALL CLEAR. I still have unidentified left hip pain that will need to be dealt with.... sorry, with which I will need to deal. At this point, I am now 3 years NED (no evidence of disease).... This, is the very best news possible.

My shoulder is making good progress. I have been very careful, well ok, as careful as I could manage, and so far have had no further injury. I am told to be very careful for the next 3 months, and careful for the following 6 months. It has already been over a year from the date of the injury, and I should be done with this by next September. I do not recommend that anyone follow my example regarding this kind of situation.

I had a good Christmas, lots of good friends, food, and fellowship. Karen and I are planning to spend the new year with some friends at Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Boulders campground. The name is either redundant or these are some very huge rocks. This will mean at least 2 days getting the old girl ready to travel..... Meaning the motorhome, not Karen. These short trips are necessary to keep the motorhoome functional and reliable. Allow them to set too long, and nothing works, kind of a use it or lose it scenario. You boat owners know what I am talking about.   

The years are flying by, best wishes to all of my friends and family.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dec. 3, 2012

Once again I have allowed my blog to fall behind the events in my life. I haven’t had any, and I mean any, energy for the last 6 months. Every day seemed endless, and I was unmotivated and tired from morning until night. Of course, I berate myself for not getting more done, and fall into a depression. Now it seems to make sense..... my normal “anesthesia hangover”. This happens to me every time, and every time, I can’t figure it out until I feel better. Oh well. At least I am consistent.  LOL

During my absence from this blog, an important anniversary has passed..... Oct. 12 my neo bladder had its 3rd birthday. I am happy to report that there is nothing to report. My youngest organ is doing its job without complaint.

The next big cancer thing is..... (and there always seems to be a “next big thing”).... My yearly cancer scan. Dec. 20 I present myself to the health care system for a serious cancer search. I am hoping that they find nothing.   Scan anxiety (scanxiety??) Is setting in.

Shoulder update......  next Wednesday I would have completed my 10 weeks with my arm in a sling. Actually, I gave myself a few days off for good behavior, and stopped wearing the sling last Thursday. Physical therapy just started last week...... only passive arm movement for now. The doc says I will need to be careful for 6 months, and can expect full use in one year. I will see him again on Tuesday, and hope for good news. It is hard to believe that a simple fall could take this large of a bite out of my life. I will once again endeavor to go with the half full philosophy.

In any event, I have spent the last 6 weeks doing about 10 days worth of work on an apartment that came vacant at exactly the wrong time..... I am sure that you have heard of the “one handed paper hanger”, well, I discovered that a one handed painter is not much more efficient.

The good news is...... last Thursday, I woke up with some energy. I was a bit shocked and scared. At first I was unable to identify the feeling, and felt that something was terribly wrong. I tried laying down for a bit, but kept having the urge to get up and do something. It took a while, but eventually I realized that this feeling was somewhat familiar. My brain started churning, and I found myself actually doing things that didn’t have to be done.

Winter is approaching, and I think that I have reduced the possibility of snow to near zero. I found my snow boots, and put snow chains in both the car and truck. Tomorrow I will locate my snow shovel, thus securing a mild winter.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Oct. 5

Hi all, Still kind of one handed, but not many other things that I can do.

I met with the doctor last Tues, and came away with some information, and many questions. I love that my doctor is usually on time with appointments, but seems to short change the Q&A segment. In addition, I realize that they don’t get paid much from Medicare, so must see lots of patients to have the math work out. Actually, I am somewhat surprised that these “top of their field” doctors are willing to see me at all. 

Anyway, it is not that he leaves before I can ask another question, but seems to be gone before I can process his answers. Here is a thought, maybe he is not particularly fast, but that I am getting slow...... seems like the more likely explanation.

Back to the main point.... medical information. The doc says that some of the original tear had healed, and some of it had torn again, and that I had an additional tear of the bicep tendon. OK, seems simple enough, but somehow brings up more questions. Did I really tear a tendon opening a jar of pickles? If so, I am now stronger than my connective tissues. Yikes..... while strong is generally considered good, that..... is not a good thing. Must I now put some kind of governor on my activities.... already limited in what I can lift, but now only 80% effort????? AT ANYTHING?????

Anyway, he certainly did more stuff than the first time. OK, I don’t know that for sure, but the evidence points that way. 5 small holes, same as before, but 2 are in completely different places than before. Also, there is an incision, about 3-4 inches long, from my arm pit up towards my shoulder. And.... this time, much more pain. Did I say much more? I meant \\\\\ MUCH MORE PAIN/////. Last time, my “happy juice” device kept me content set at 4-6... This time even settings of 12-14 were not nearly enough, and it ran out of juice much quicker. I gobbled up the maximum number (ok, maybe a few more..... prescriptions are always a bit on the safe side) of narcotic pain pills, and still nearly ended up back at the hospital. This went on for days.... I nearly had to threaten the pharmacists to give me the refill after only a couple of days.

The last bit of evidence is.... this time, longer in the sling, (don’t know how long) and 6 weeks before any physical therapy. I recognize that this may be the doc is just being extra careful because of the initial failed repair.

I will be seeing the doc again on Tues, and will try to gain some useful information.

By the length of this post, I am thinking that my brain is beginning to function again. I am at least able to focus on a project long enough to finish it. Thanks to any of you who managed to read the whole thing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hi all, Once again, I have survived the surgeons knife. The fix was more complicated and took longer than expected. The aftermath, so far, is more painful and debilitating than last time. Karen has again stepped up to take care of me.

I will report more when I can type with 2 hands.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hi all,

Well..... 3 month later, very limited use of right arm, and much physical therapy....... The repair of the tendon has failed! I go back under the knife next Wed. The 26th. Go to jail, go directly to jail..... 3 to 6 months for stupidity.

I think that it happened at the 6-8 week mark. At that point, I was out of the sling, and allowed to use my hand and fore arm. So.... I wanted a pickle with my lunch, and had trouble opening the jar. Of course, I could have done without the pickle, but, being true to my gender..... the obvious answer, MORE POWER. Keeping my right elbow carefully pinned to my side, as instructed, hold with the right hand, and twist with the left...... POP, PAIN, FOUL LANGUAGE, 40 seconds later, no pain, probably didn’t hurt anything, close one, have to be more careful.

So, back to the sling, and out of commission. I have to say that this is really not how I envisioned my “golden years” LOL. I am beginning to understand the “old people only talk about their operations” thing.... How are you.... What is new..... What happened to your arm..... Want to go kayaking?? Well since you ask.....

OK, this is a “medical issues” blog, but all is not doom and gloom medical stuff. Karen and I went on a nice motor home trip up the coast. We had a great time, and my dog, Maggie, discovered that “Dog Beaches” are the best thing ever.

Yes a new dog. A friend postulated that I finally got a dog when I decided that I was going to live a while longer. Nothing could be further from the truth, I was drugged and trapped.... I was on a kayak trip to a lake near Santa Barbara, tripped over a tent guy wire, tore rotator cuff. Next day, heavily sedated, I went with Karen and friend Judy to an animal shelter. Judy was looking for a new replacement dog. Karen, Judy, and the girl at the shelter instantly bonded, formed a pack, and surrounded me. The little terrier cross, with the “please save me” look, and 3 attractive women.... Well, I must say, in my drug induced haze, I was defenseless. I will now be trying to attach the leash to an excited little dog with my left hand.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20, 2012

Well..... It is time for a report, and I will do my best even though there is an extreme lack of motivation.

Happy first day of summer..... longest day of the year.....

It has been two weeks since the doctors at USC took a stab at fixing my shoulder.... OK, it was 5 stabs as evidenced by the 5 small wounds that surround my shoulder. Arthroscopic surgery... some very cool stuff..... if you are interested, you can check it out on u tube. The lack of a large incision certainly makes the recovery process easier, which, of course, is always welcome.

Apparently, my shoulder was worse in fact than the MRI indicated. The torn tendon was more severe than expected, and the joint itself had suffered from the 55+ years of construction work, and more than a few incidents with motorcycles, high school sports, horses, etc......

In any event, the torn tendon was reattached by placing 2 anchors into the bone, and the mating surfaces of the bones were shaved down to provide pain free interaction. Physical therapy begins today, and time will tell if their efforts were successful.

I must say that I have a new appreciation for the amount of pain that bones can produce. For the first 3 days following surgery, I was lucky to have a device, about the size of a large grapefruit, that delivered happy juice to the nerve that transmits pain from the shoulder. Other than a hand that felt half asleep for a few days, the device worked perfectly. No pain for the first 3 days. Then..... the thing stopped working.... of course, I took it apart, and determined that the machine was working properly, but the end in my shoulder must have become plugged. OK, no problem, I had pain pills. Eating pain pills like they were popcorn didn’t make the pain go away, but did take the edge off, and put me into a mental state where I didn’t care that it hurt. I now only use the pills occasionally at night.

4 more weeks with the arm in a sling, ok to use the hand and lower arm, but not the shoulder. Very awkward and unhandy. Some things that I have done with my right hand for about 60 years, are difficult to do with my left hand...... no details here, but you can imagine.

Friday, June 8, 2012

June 8, 2012

Hi all, typing with one hand, I will keep it short. Surgery went well and I have an appointment with the Doc next Thursday. Living life as an awkward left hander on drugs.... expect that it will bring out my degenerate artistic side. More another day.....

Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012

Hello all,

Under the category "Motorhome" ..... The answer is "rebuilt transmission, new water heater, electronic switch panel for leveling jacks, new starter, and as yet to be determined electrical repair". The question is....... "What does a motor home demand after 3 years of neglect". Karen and I had a couple of nice, short trips this past month. We spent a weekend with the Elks Lodge camping club, and a week exploring Yosemite. The mechanical problems were annoying, but it was still a good time, and it was good to see a different view for a while.

I have rescheduled my shoulder surgery for June 6, at 11:00 am. This is routine stuff for the pros at USC, and I don't expect anything exciting to take place. My arm will be in a sling for about 6 weeks, and I will have limited use for several months thereafter. I sincerely hope that reports of the aftermath by family and friends are greatly exaggerated. In any event, I have a long list of chores that can be done with one arm..... mostly 3 years of catching up on paper work. I really mean it this time...LOL

I may, once again, enter the legal arena. A property next to one of my rentals has a failed retaining wall and fence that are falling into/onto my property. Probably a $10,000 to $15,000 problem. The property is now owned by Bank of America. The previous owner kept promising to get it fixed, but..... I guess that she knew she would be out of there soon, so why bother. I don't think that B of A  will fix it with out a fight. Anyway, it has the makings of an interesting contest, after all, banks have always made demands on me, and it will feel good sending them a demand letter.

I will be staying with Karen for a while after the surgery, but will have my phone and computer available.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hi all, and happy May Day,

It has been a while, and to tell the truth, there has not been much to report. This blog was created to keep family and friends up to date on my life threatening medical issues, so I guess that having nothing to report is a good thing. Anyway, here are some of the highlights of the last 4 months.

The new rental house has been fixed, painted, and rented out..... This completes the project that started with the sale of my Lockwood Valley property last Sept.

My financial situation now appears to be in order..... OK, more in order than it was..... I am trying to live on a budget, but it doesn’t seem to be my strong point. I have always worked hard, lived cheap, and not worried too much about money. There have been a few bumps in the road, but mostly I had enough to get by.

While camping last November, I fell and hurt my shoulder. It turned out to be a torn rotator cuff..... several trips to the doctor, an x-ray and an MRI, 2 months of physical therapy, a shot of cortisone, and anti inflammatory drugs...... The cuff is still torn, apparently these things do not ever heal by themselves.

My choices are to live with the problem, and accept a limited use of my right arm, or get it fixed, and be out of commission for a few months. My brother Jim had this surgery last year, and said that the recovery was long and painful. I expect that I am a bit tougher than him, and probably won’t have any problem...... LOL

They can do a arthroscopic surgery to fix the tear, and I should be “good as new” in 4-6 months. I have tentatively scheduled the surgery for June 4. I always have plans to get all of my life in order before a surgery, and I really do try..... but.... it never seems to work out.

Outside of these events, life has been normal and unexciting..... that is really not so bad after the last 3 years of high drama. I really don’t have a plan from here, and am finding that somewhat disturbing. These last few years I have been struggling to stay alive and solvent, and not spent any time considering life after illness. I suppose that most folks run into this issue as their “Golden Years” approach.