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Friday, August 4, 2017

Slow Going On The Back



Rome wasn't built in a day.   It seems my quest to get my back...back is going to take just as long as the Rome build.

After trying to get help through the VA Hospital and not getting any satisfaction on the glacial pace that they work, I went on the outside to our family doctor.  That, at least, sped things up a little bit.

I'm now waiting for my appointment with a neurosurgeon my doctor recommended, and the earliest I could get is for September 13th.  My doctor put me on this track right away recognizing that my back issue is quite serious.  As for the VA, they wanted me to go to a pain clinic and a physical therapy route, never mentioning a neurosurgeon's review of my MRI.

The funny thing (NOT!) with the VA is the earliest appointments I could get if I took that route was for the last week in October.  That's a long time to be hurting.

So I'm taking it easy, I have some meds to help me along.  I still get around okay and am able to drive short distances and even continue to volunteer at the nearby USO a couple of hours a week to have something to look forward to and get out of the house.

It's very rewarding to help some of these young kids who have stepped up to begin their military career at basic training at the local Army base as well as a chance to exchange "War Stories" with some of the more senior military folks that stop in for a rest, a snack or two and a hot cup of coffee.  My fellow volunteers are a great bunch to work with and the three full time ladies that run this USO are nothing short of amazing, they put their heart and souls into it.

Sadly, the Journey still resides in the storage lot with the bugs and road grime from our California trip.  I'm hoping that once the old back is straightened out I can show it some love, it surly needs it!

I'd be remiss if I didn't remember that today is the birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard.  It sure provided me with a wonderful career and a "boatload"  of memories.

                                        Semper Paratus!  

 Image result for Coast Guard shield

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A New Wrinkle

Nope, not in the Journey, or our Element tow car.  It's me.  Again.

Many years ago during my Coast Guard days, I got injured in a rescue.  To make a long story short, I got smacked across my lower back by a pipe (actually a Jack Staff for you Navy/Coast Guard folks).  It's a campfire story.  (The rescue turned out okay).

I was a little sore for a few days and the bruising soon disappeared.  Didn't think much of it after that.

A few years later during an MRI on a fraud investigation (another campfire story) it was discovered that the pipe smack had damaged a disc in my back ( L-5).  It didn't bother me but I was told it could cause problems later on in life.

Occasionally over the following years, I'd get a minor backache and treat it with some Motrin.  It worked okay for me.

Fast forward to now, now that I'm of Old Fart status, the back started acting up about three months ago.  The Motrin was working but as the days passed, it worked less and less and I'd be taking more and more.

On our California trip, the back really started to talk to me.  I didn't let it slow me down (too much) but on the trip home my back started talking to me, yelling actually.  Now I was up to 800 mg Motrin 3-4 times a day and it wasn't working.

By the time we were visiting our friends at the NWR, my back was now screaming at me.  Time to get home and to the doctor.  The pain was getting to the excruciating level and my left leg at times tingled and went numb.

I got an appointment at the Columbia VA today and after an X-ray, there shows problems with that pesky disc that got smacked all those years ago.  Thankfully I got some more powerful meds that have helped turn down the pain.  I'm going to get an MRI in the next week or so as they have an opening.  The downside is there really isn't much that can be done to fix me short of surgery.

That new wrinkle is throwing a wrench in our remaining summer plans.  I'm not complaining, just facing up to the fact that reaching the age for a Golden Age pass can come with a few unwanted side effects.  ;c)

Anyway, we had a great trip to California, the granddaughters were so much fun to be with, the many sights we saw and things we were able to do on the way out and back were worth it all.  We did 5366 miles on the trip and the Journey did us proud, we sure are pleased with how well it ran and how comfortable it was.

The downside is I couldn't wash the Journey, I had to put it in the storage lot with all those bug casualties all over the nose.  I may have to take it to a nearby truck wash when I get a chance, I like to keep it clean and shiny.  It's the least I can do in return for all the Journey's great service it's given us.

So I'll be chilling here at our SC home base for the time being.  A good place to be.  :c)

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Rolling Out In The Home Stretch

We had a good visit with our friends at Crab Orchard NWR.  Because we're on a roll towards home, we didn't tour any of the refuge.  So some of the wildlife came to our site.  In the tradition of my great wildlife photographer friends, Sherry and Nancy, I gave it my best try.

Unfortunately, my best try was somewhat lacking.  All my subjects either fled from me or gave me their best "end" view.


Finally I got close enough to one guy and he "dissed" my pathetic attempt to snap his picture.


I did get one good picture of another sight.  Thankfully this subject stayed still long enough to get a good picture.


A tribute to the many young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) who built many wonderful things for us to enjoy.  This is the Lodge and Restaurant where we went to have a fantastic family style dinner of fried chicken.  No pictures, unlike some people who post amazing pictures of lobster rolls, I chose to eat rather than snap a camera shutter.   :cD


This is located at the Grant City State Park.


We're overnighting at a Flying J just 280 miles from our SC home base.  As usual, with my luck, we hit a big backup several miles from our exit.



 It was really slow going, thank goodness we carry a bathroom with us in the Journey.  I swear many of the other drivers were looking longingly at us, probably regretting that last cup of coffee.  ;c)

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