Monday, September 28, 2015

More Random Photos

We've had two good days of weather.  There has been much walking.  This the Darigold milk plant.  It's in downtown Issaquah; we're always surprised that it is still here in such a densely populated area.  They just got through painting tanks red and white.  They look good.  There's a milk truck parked out front.

You know how I'm always whining about the traffic here?  I took this on one of the busiest streets in Issaquah yesterday.  The Seahawks were playing at home.  No one was on the streets.  It's a good time to go grocery shopping.

Fall is definitely here, the leaves are changing.

The corn is being harvested in Carnation Valley.

The rabbits are eating the grass.

This is a cool old truck.  It's an ancient GMC.  Apparently it still runs.

We have not too much to report here.  I went to the eye doctor today, and he dilated my eyes.  Seven hours later, I still can't see very well.  It'll be good when my pupils return to their normal size.  Other than this, we're in wait state until we return to the surgeon's office.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Recent Maintenance Trip

We're back in Issaquah, after a few days in Harrisburg with our laundry list of things to be taken care of at Elite.  The main issue when we headed out was the water leaking into one of the storage bays.  Upon arrival, another issue popped up - the driver's side bedroom slide was not extending fully and it was also going out on an angle.  It also was not coming in all the way.
This is fog in the Nisqually Flats. It's a pretty area.  Most of the drive is just tedious, too many humans on the roads!

When we bought the RV, we did not ask the question; "where is the gravity fill for fresh water?"  After having two RV's we just assumed all RV's have a place where you can fill the fresh tank with a hose.  This is not the case, and it makes sanitizing the fresh water system a real pain in the butt.  One must have fittings for the city water inlet, and an extra water pump to force bleach into the system out of a bucket.  We elected to outsource that task.
We have the Manabloc system. You turn the knob to either admit water into the system, or turn it off.  It's the only portal to the fresh tank.  It was sold to us as a really neat idea, since you can turn off the water to a particular sink and run water elsewhere.  We have benefited from it when we removed the washer dryer.  Next time, we'll ask about the gravity fill; I want both.

Here is Marty climbing in the storage bays.  He puts the water on the bus, closes the doors and then looks to see where it's leaking.  As it turned out, there is separation between two layers of the bay doors, this allows water in; the water runs down the inside of the door.  It's not running where it can weep out, so it was hitting the bottom door gasket and running into the bay.  Hopefully it'll be a good fix and we'll stay dry in there.

The door latch was also leaking.  It's caulked now.

During the bleaching of the fresh water system, the ice maker filter was removed.  Here is Jim replacing it with a new one.

See the little blue knob next to the ice maker shutoff sign?  It started leaking after the new filter went in.  Friday afternoon we made a run into Eugene to buy a metal replacement for that valve.  Yesterday it stopped leaking - sometimes it's enough just to show it a new part.

Marty fixed the slide, the bolts on the slide ram were loose, allowing it to get out of alignment.  He also raised it, so it's not dragging on the carpet so hard, and it now fully extends without us pushing on it.  We are happy campers.
We're back,  and it's not raining at the moment.  Time for a walk.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Unveiling of the Ear

Monday we saw the surgeon.  He removed the remaining gel from the outer side of the eardrum.  Even though I still have the gel next to the inner side of the ear drum, I hear better now than I did before surgery.  The perimeter of the graft seems to have successfully adhered to what ear drum I had left.  That part is all good.
However, you knew there was going to be a however, right?  However, there is a 0.5 millimeter hole in the center of the graft.  The graft has no native blood supply.  Vessels have to grow in from existing tissue to keep it alive.  Dr. Duong’s theory is that the blood supply did not make it in time to keep that piece of tissue alive.  For those of you who use the English system of measurement, here is a visual aid for the size of a millimeter.  Millimeters are on the bottom, the top is an inch.


As it stands, half a millimeter is not that big of a deal.  It does continue to prevent kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, or anything that has the potential to put a rush of water into my ear.  We asked the question, will the hole stay that small?  We got a very equivocal answer; that there are no guarantees in life. 
I go back in two weeks to see if a miracle has occurred and it spontaneously closed.  If not, there is a procedure called a paper patch.  A small patch is applied that provides a scaffold for tissue to grow.  Apparently they have to torture the edges of the hole a little to get it to grow. Not really looking forward to that.  I don’t know how long it will take for the paper patch to heal. I do know that until it does, I will continue to shower with the cotton ball, the band aid, and the dixie cup over my ear.  That’s a bummer.  After care is also problematic.  If we don’t get out of Issaquah pretty soon, we’re both going to come down with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  It’s gloomy!
There it is, good news and bad news.  It’s always something.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

RV Storage Bays and Random Photos

As you know, we're in Issaquah, which backs up to the Cascade Foothills.  It rains a fair amount here.  After a dry couple of months we got a toad strangling rain at the end of August, along with a lot of wind.  The storage bay on the forward driver's side slide had an INCH of water in it.  An INCH!  I didn't get any pictures of that event, unfortunately.  Using our wet/dry shop vac, we were able to get the water out, and then dried it out over a couple of days.
A few days later we had more rain, which wasn't as heavy.  However, we did take on more water.  Here is the front corner of the bay with water in it.

There was water coming up underneath the heavier items.

The whole bay was damp, and had to be unloaded and dried out again.

Here comes the weird stuff.  See those boxes?  The top of every single box is dry. 

Our trusty shop vac, full of water.

This is the top of the bays.  Dry - dust everywhere.  No evidence of water infiltration anywhere.

It is so weird.  Water appears on the bottom of the bays.  It's not dripping down from the top or the sides, they're totally dry.  I need someone to explain to me how this happens.

In other news, here are a few interesting things we've seen.  I took this in the parking garage of the surgeon's office.  This is a very informative sign.

We've been walking a lot (when it's not raining).  This is a morning glory.  It's the second most invasive plant in Washington, right after blackberry bushes.

This is one of the local bunnies.  They like to hang out by our back tires.  I saw on the news that Langley, a small town in Washington, is being over run by rabbits.  Apparently a few escaped from a county fair 10 or so years ago, and they have been fruitful and have multiplied.  Their tunnels are wreaking havoc with foundations and football fields. I was unaware of the fact that rabbits tunnel.

Jim had his second squamous cell carcinoma excised this morning.  We had to be there at 8:00 am, so we were up very early.  It's making the day very long, since we've been awake for so much of it.  We're having sort of a down day while he recovers from the stress of the scalpel.
Monday I see the surgeon again.  I believe it will be the unveiling of the ear drum.  I'm really hoping it will be the end of showering with a plastic cup over my ear.  Tuesday we're heading to Oregon to see Erik about the storage bay leak and some other stuff.  Of course, the RV knows it's going to Elite, so even though it's raining today, it's not leaking (yet).

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Issaquah Farmer's Market

Greetings Earthlings! Today I have photos that are not gruesome or medically influenced.  We went to the Issaquah farmer's market this morning.  It was very pleasant.  The flower sellers were out in force.  They grow out in Carnation Valley, which is the area where we ride a lot.

This is our friend Naomi.  She's married to a man who can cook.  They've produced some of his sauces and are new selling them at markets.  They're really good. Eventually they hope to get the product in to stores so they can generate volume sales. 

French breakfast radishes.  Very continental...

Purple carrots.  I don't think these look all that appealing.

It's easy to forget that radishes come in colors other than red, since that's all we ever see in the grocery stores.

This is a 1957 Chevrolet two door post Bel Air.  That color is Salmon.  Jim used to have a 1955 Chevy that was Salmon and Charcoal.  Do you know what he did?  He had that car painted orange. Orange! High schoolers should not be allowed to own classic cars.

I swiped this off twitter.  It was taken by a storm chaser in Kansas, it's a super cell.  Pretty impressive.  You can see more of his photography and storm chasing here.

That's it maties, that's all I have to report.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

One Week Post-Op from the Tympanoplasty

We saw the surgeon yesterday. He took out the stitches from the cartilage harvesting site and removed some of the gel that's holding my graft in place.  He was upbeat and pleased at how I'm healing.  However, I view this as nice, but not significant.  The eardrum will not be visible until the grand unveiling in two more weeks, and then and only then, will we know if it has stuck.
Taking out some of the gel has changed what I hear.  This is completely mysterious to me, remember there is gel packing on both sides of the ear drum.  Why does taking out some of the exterior side gel change what I'm hearing?  It's partly the eustachian tube opening and closing, but it just weirds me out so much.
So now we start two weeks of ear drops.  Five years of a perforated ear drum have taught me that ear drops hurt, a lot.  These don't hurt because they're not getting through the middle ear, but I keep expecting them to hurt.  This also weirds me out.  The drops will push antibiotics towards the gel, as well as dissolve dried crud from drainage out of the ear canal.  The dissolving part is working, I woke up this morning with ear dribble on my ear lobe.  OK, enough detail on that!
Just in case you are wondering, this is how I'm showering without getting water in the ear.
  1. Put a small cotton ball in the ear, don't press hard, it will hurt.
  2. Take vasoline and coat the outside of the cotton ball and the ear.  This is making a seal.
  3. Put a band-aid over the cotton ball.
  4. When water is running towards the ear in the shower, deploy a plastic cup over the entire ear.  Have the husband standing by to hand over the dixie cup.
  5. Remove the band-aid carefully, don't yank on the ear!  That hurts, too.
I think I'm off the pain pills.  Last night I took one before bed, today I have had none.  It would be good to not be taking opiates anymore.  I'm still tired, a trip to the Verizon store and Target just about did me in this afternoon.
Nothing much should be happening with the ear for the next two weeks.  Fortunately, the universe has provided me with blog fodder in the form of what's happening with the RV when it rains.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Smart Phone Batteries

I bought a Droid Bionic several years ago.  Enough years ago that as of today, I own it; so maybe four years.  Anyway, as of late, the battery has not been holding a charge well.  It's never had good battery life, but lately it was ridiculous.  The first replacement battery came from Amazon.  It was a dud, it could not supply enough power to get the phone through the power up sequence after being plugged in all night.
The second battery seems to work.  Here is the significant thing.  The battery on the left is the old one.  It's curved on both sides.  See how the corners don't make contact with the dinette surface?  The new battery is on the right, and is much flatter.

So, if you own an older phone, with a removable battery, take it out and look at it once in awhile.  I didn't know phone batteries would swell up and eventually leak.  Now we know, so don't let this happen to you!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Day Four Post-Op

It's Friday - Day four post op.  Wednesday was bad.  I took the full allotment of pain medication, and basically slept all day and most of the night.  Yesterday was better, but it was still pretty painful.  Today was better, I took drugs at 7:30, and then not again until 3:15.  As I'm typing this, I'm thinking maybe I waited a little bit too long, but relief should be kicking in fairly soon.
The last time I had this surgery, I had the metallic taste in my mouth that most people get.  This time, I don't have that.  I do have an intact sense of taste, so that part is pretty good.  My teeth feel furry, which may be due to mass quantities of opiates, or may be from nerve aggravation. It takes awhile for the mouth to settle down after this surgery.  There has been no nausea or dizziness, for which I am profoundly grateful.
This picture is amusing.  Looking at the right side, the inner ear really looks like a smiling fish with a straw in its mouth.  See the temporal bone on the top and bottom of the auditory canal?  I am pretty sure he took bone out from the bottom of the canal so he could see all of the ear drum.  Since this surgery has hurt waaaaay more than the first time, I'm guessing that the bone removal is related to the increased pain level.

Here is the ear in all of its glory.  The stitches behind the ear are from the incision the surgeon makes in order to fold the ear forward and tape it to the cheek.  This allows the surgeon to see the ear drum.  Those are dissolving sutures - yay!!!!!!!  The stitches on the left are one of the harvest sites for cartilage.  He used a combination of fascia and cartilage to make the new ear drum.  Those sutures do not dissolve - they have to be removed.  I hate that.

It's an interesting procedure.  There's not enough tissue to stitch or glue.  They fill the middle ear with antibiotic infused gel.  The edges of the remaining ear drum are trimmed, so there are exposed blood vessels.  Then the graft is draped over the ear drum, and more gel is put into the ear canal.  The whole works is held in place by the pressure of the two piles of gel.  It makes a person kind of afraid to move the head, for fear of dislodging it.  There will definitely be no sneezing!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Day One Post-Op

Just call me Rambo! This is day one post-op and this thing has to stay on my head until tomorrow.  It is very uncomfortable. 

Yesterday exceeded expectations of how bad this would be.  We arrived at the surgical center at 1:30.  They took me back at 3:00.  That was a long time without food or water.  I will say they were nice and accepted my word that I only have the one good vein left, and did not stab me repeatedly trying to get an IV going in the left arm.  Those veins are toast.
Once in the operating room, we all chanted "left" in unison so that there would be no question as to which ear was being worked on.  Dr. Duong did have to remove bone from my ear canal in order to see the ear drum.  Thus, upon awakening the pain was just formidable.  They were again, very kind, and shot me up with Diluadid. That is a miracle drug for pain.  That was about 7 pm.
Then it was time to head for the restroom.  I made it in ok, but on the way out I began losing consciousness while walking back to recovery.  My pulse dropped to 30 and my BP was dropping, as well.  Jim said the anesthesiologist wasted no time injecting epinephrine into my shoulder.  That was a trip.  It felt like I was giving off sparks.  My heart rate took off and stayed elevated until 4 this morning.  Trying to sleep was impossible, I could hear my pulse in my occluded ear; it was like being in machine room with that thing pounding away all night.
Today, I've been taking pain meds every four hours and nodding out on the couch.  Hopefully tomorrow I can begin tapering off.  The ear cover comes off tomorrow, then we can wash my head.  Looking forward to that.  There will be about 6 weeks of showering with a dixie cup over my ear to keep the water out.  That part is not so much fun.
So far, I'm eating pudding, boiled eggs and cereal.  Tonight there may be noodles.  Yay!!!!!