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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Just When You Though It Was Okay To Get Back In The Saddle

Yep.  I've not blogged recently because I've had another health emergency.  Figures, doesn't it?

This time it was a problem with my left eye.  I thought I was seeing a big floater developing, so we called the VA hospital and they said to come in right away.  It's a good thing we did.

I was diagnosed with four retinal tears and a partially detached retina.  A long round of laser treatments on the tears and then a two hour long surgery to reattach the retina was the result.  Thankfully, we caught it in time and there will be no long term consequences.

The recovery period has not been fun.  To put the retina back in place, first all the "jelly" that is in the eyeball was removed and then a gas bubble was inserted into my eye, pushing the retina back into place so it could be stitched tight.  The gas bubble then puts pressure on the retina to re-enforce it in place until it heals.

The "fun" part is that I had to keep my head facing down to allow the bubble to stay in place.  I was not able to read, watch TV, or do anything that allowed me to have my head upright for any amount of time.  Sleep was on my stomach with my head face down.  Thankfully, I have a little DVD player that I could put at my feet and watch movies (while sitting) so I had something to do to prevent myself from going crazy (more so than I already am).

It has been tough on my neck and back muscles, but with some pain killers, along with a half dozen types of eye drops every couple of hours I reached a turning point.

A visit to the VA ophthalmologist today showed everything is knitting properly and I no longer have to keep my head down all the time (Thank Goodness!!!), but I still should sleep face down and avoid any undue stresses or bouncing around.  I can read again and legally could drive, but looking through my eye it is like I'm under water, so I'll leave the driving to Marti.  The gas bubble will slowly be absorbed until my sight will be clear and normal again.  It just takes time, possibly as long a six weeks.  I hope not.

It could be worse, I could have lost the sight in my eye, so I'm grateful to the VA doc that fixed me up.  Asking him the cause of all this, he listed three risk factors: Age, cataract surgery and an eye injury.  I had two of the three so I guess it was almost inevitable.

The doc wants to see me back in three weeks, so that is good news.  Our plans to attend our son's commissioning ceremony in St. Louis next week is still on, but we'll be driving our car and hoteling it instead of taking the Journey.  Our planned visit to the Winnebago factory service center will have to be rescheduled for another time.

It just goes to show that life on the road has the same ups and downs that living in a house can have.  We're so thankful that we caught this early and it's just a speed bump. Now with my other issue, all is looking good for an August surgery to reattach my plumbing and get rid of Krakatoa.    We'll both be glad to be rid of that challenge.   :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Back To Work

Carefully, I promise.  The doctor said I could go back to resuming some light duty tasks and it felt good to be out and about.  No heavy lifting, no digging ditches, no running (like I would anyway) and other orders to follow.

I'm feeling much better, every day has more healing progress than the day before.  I still am struggling to get handling Krakatoa down to a science.  Thank goodness Marti is patient and so very helpful.  I look forward to the latter part of summer when I return to the hospital for the reversal operation with mixed feelings, happy to get this over with and dreading being in the hospital hooked up to all kinds of bags, hoses, wires and other medical monitoring devices.  Frankenstein didn't have half of those things and look how good he turned out.   ;c)

So today Marti and I traveled around to many of the COE's day use areas to inspect and restock the life jacket loaner boards.

At the end of a busy weekend the life jackets are not always put back on the boards correctly.  Sometimes we have to pick them up from where they were dropped.

We clean them off and inspect them before rehanging them.  Straps are examined,

as well as the plastic buckles to ensure they are functional.

Then if all is good, we rehang the lifejackets for the next person to use.  People are more likely to use a clean and neat life jacket, so we make sure that is the way the are put up.

We carry extra life jackets with us because we will come across one or two that are no longer serviceable, we label the new jacket with a marker for the user to please return and destroy and trash the unserviceable jacket.

The life jackets are donated by local businesses and organizations promoting water safety.  We don't mind picking jackets up off the beach and cleaning them up, it shows they are being used and that is the whole idea behind the program.  There are about 14 loaner boards all around Thurmond Lake so it takes a couple of days to drive around and get the jackets back in service.

I was glad to be out, enjoying the beautiful day and feeling useful again, all the while following the doctor's orders.

Across the water from our campsite lives an albino deer,  We've seen it several times in the evenings while we site outside the Journey relaxing.  I wish I had a better camera to zoom in on it.  It is a wonder of nature to see.

Since it lives in one of the campgrounds, it will be safe from hunters.  We're happy about that.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Update #4 A Romantic Evening

There we were last night, Marti and I sitting side by side on the couch in our Journey.  It was almost a romantic moment, except we were watching YouTube videos on how to replace a colostomy bag by yourself. 

It has been a learning experience dealing with Krakatoa, my bag.  I've mastered emptying the bag by myself, but there is a whole technique required to replace the attachment point (called a Wafer) that sticks to the skin around the opening in my stomach.  I've got to get the hang of that so I can go on my motorcycle trip in July with my brothers.  It is something you have to do right or you can end up with a...well use your imagination.

One other thing, Marti alluded to in her post.  Yes, we are building a house outside of Columbia, SC a couple of miles from our daughter.  We had plans to do it on the back burner for a couple of years and the time has come to put the plans into action.

First off, we are not going to stop traveling in our RV.  We have no plans to sell the Journey, in fact we think we'll be using it even more than we have over the last couple of years because some of our granddaughters are moving to California this summer when our Coast Guard son gets transferred to a new assignment.

A couple of reasons have moved our plan into action, one is my dad, who is 95 and living well on his own may at some point need to have more hands on care.  One of my brothers in New Jersey has a place for dad to stay part time and we can take him part time, too.  Sort of a winter/summer rotation if it does come down to that.  We felt it would be better to be ready in advance if the time should ever come rather than scramble to put something in place at the last minute.

We are building the house right near Marti's older sister, Gail.  She has always been single but being some 15 years older than Marti may at some time in the future need some extra care with things, too.

Then as we recently found out, good health can change unexpectedly at a moment's notice, so we'll have a place to land if health issues should ever force us to hang up the keys.
It's going to be a small home with a tiny piece of property and we'll be treating it like a second or vacation home.  It will give us a place to keep some of the things we carry now in the Journey to store as we won't need to carry everything with us.  Projected completion of the house is slated for late August or early September.

We'll continue to enjoy our Journey and traveling for many years to come with just a new chapter in our life.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.