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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Getting My Back Back

It has been a long and very painful road, but thankfully the end is in sight.  Monday I had a long awaited operation on my back to correct the condition that had kept me down and out.  I'm home now with a six week recovery ahead to get back to full strength.  I have some serious restrictions on what I can do (not very much) and what I can't do (lots!).  But it is worth it all to be rid of the unbelievable debilitating pain I experienced.  I'm very grateful for modern medicine and an outstanding neurosurgeon that fixed me up.

So the Journey will have to wait a little bit longer to get its long overdue wash job, but when I can get to it, it'll be the best one it ever got.

Thanks to all my friends and readers for the encouraging comments and emails.  It sure helped me in a very dark time to know you were out there and concerned for me.  :c)

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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