Thursday, August 29, 2019

Monsoon Visits the Neighborhood

This was on Nextdoor this morning.  Apparently there was a huge storm which took out power to a large swath of Tucson, which is not so good when it's in the 100s.  Power poles were knocked down which gives you an idea of the wind gusts.

This is near us.

This is in the community next to us.

Monsoon has not been good this year, maybe it will start raining again.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Old Cars and Shoes

Greetings Earthlings, we are broadcasting from the recovery RV.  Jim continues along the path.  Yesterday was not so good, today has been better.  Jim had his first outing today, he went to the grocery store.  Yay!  This has been a much less terrible surgery than 2017.  It is not without its issues, but it's not as bad.  A walker or cane has not been required.

We're bored spitless.  Television during the day is just appalling.  It will be good when Jim can wander farther afield.

This car was a couple of sites down from us.  Apparently the XXX drive in was having an ancient car convention.  When I was out walking, I saw an old truck and another ancient car of some sort. 

And there has been shoe buying.  Zappos!  Free shipping, free returns.  I read a shoe review on the Adventure Journal talking about Hoka hikers.  Hokas are now the only shoe that my cursed feet will accept after their defection from the La Sportivas I wore for many years.  As a running shoe, they're a more flexible shoe than the La Sportivas, which are trail runners.  So in my eternal quest to find something that hurts less I ordered up a pair of stiffer Hokas.  The one on the left is a hiking shoe, the one on the right is a running shoe.  They didn't hurt immediately.  The hiking shoe is waterproof, which is not such a good thing in Arizona.  The one of the right is a running shoe, but it's not as flexible as my current pair.  I have a year to return them, so we'll see.

Other than old cars and shoes, I have nothing much to report.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Jim Returns to the RV

Jim is back, and we are happy about this.  The dreaded headache did not materialize.  If it had, there would have been another night in the hospital.  The nurse says the dura "really wants to heal" and so it quickly lays down scar tissue and then the inner layers continue to seal up.  To answer previous questions, if the headache did materialize, he would have had another day in the hospital, and then a painful drive home to the RV.  Fortunately, it was a non-event.  Generally loss of spinal fluid resolves on its own.  Very rarely do they have to reopen the wound and go fix it again.

Here is Jim on his first walk today, after sitting in a chair for two hours.  Note that there is no walker in use this time.  Last time he had to use it for three days.

Here he is on the couch.  Today he's spending the rest of the day watching golf.  Tomorrow we start the walking regime.  He's pretty tired, sleeping in a hospital is very difficult.  Notice the laurel just outside the window, that tree is now sixteen feet tall.  It's an amazing specimen.

It was good that the released him today.  The Spinal Center is not open on weekends, and he would have been moved to an older part of the hospital, those rooms aren't nearly as nice. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Status of the Back Surgery

Jim's surgery lasted about an hour.  It took much less time than the fusion which was done two years ago.  Oddly enough, it was two years to the day.  Anyway, they lopped off part of the vertebra and then used a dremel tool (kidding, just kidding) to remove the bone spurs and widen the foramen so the nerve is not being pinched. 

Here is Jim, pre-procedure, demonstrating that he has a sense of humor.

The surgery was not without incident.  While the surgeons were working on the foramen, they nicked the dura.  The dura is the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord.  They were able to put a stitch in the nick and close it, but some spinal fluid leaked out. 
The most common cause of intracranial hypotension, or low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure in the brain, is CSF Leak. ... When the volume of CSF becomes low, the brain will sag inside the skull, causing headaches that worsen when the patient is in an upright position (sitting or standing up).
Jim had to stay on his back, with no more than a 30% incline to keep the headache down.  So far he's had no pain, but he's also been laying flat.  It's really difficult to eat when you're on your back and really flat.  This could last up to 10 days to resolve.  So that was kind of a bummer. 

He's spending the night in the hospital.  Coming home tomorrow is very much desired, but not guaranteed.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Feet and Planes

Yesterday was a very full day.  First we were up and out for a walk down the trail.  The homeless kids have been writing on the walls of the bike tunnel.  Some of the stuff was more bleak than this.  I always wonder what happens to homeless adolescents.

Watch out for Scott!

The trail with trees.

After the walk we were off to the podiatrist's office.  He's trying to determine why my dang foot hurts so much.  His diagnostic methodology is to inject a numbing agent into various parts of the foot and see what stops hurting.  The first round was into the top of the foot.  I'm not sure what we learned from it, because it numbed both the top and bottom of the foot.  Nothing hurt for a couple of hours, but now it does. 

We saw this on the way to the doctor's office, and it was still there when we left.  It's dead, it's blocking a lane and a half of traffic.  I suspect it was there for awhile.

After the injection, I was supposed to walk on it.  So we went in to Renton and walked around a parking lot.  While we were there, this flew in for a landing at Renton Field.  It's an A-26.  Jim looked up the tail number, it's owned by Alien Enterprises LLC. 

This is a replica of the Air Services USA World Flight.
The first aerial circumnavigation of the world was completed in 1924 by four aviators from an eight-man team of the United States Army Air Service, the precursor of the United States Air Force. The 175-day journey covered over 26,345 miles (42,398 km).
They did it by dead reckoning - it's a wonder any of them survived.

In news of Jim's back, he's going in Thursday.  The spine surgeon decided that the approval of the cardiologist was sufficient and that we should move forward; and so we are.  Jim's going in Thursday for the laminectomy.  Any improvement he got from the epidural has worn off, so it's good that we're not delayed until September.

Saturday, August 17, 2019


Yesterday's original planned activity was to do the Carnation Valley loop on the bikes.  However, we had such a heavy marine push that the darkness and dreariness just sucked our life forces out of our bodies.   Very sad.  We keep reminding ourselves that it's 105 in Tucson (but it's a dry heat) and to just stop whining about it.  KOMO (a local station) announced today that we're on the glide slope to return to winter, average temperatures are dropping.  Soon we will have the eternal night.

So we went into Seattle to see what we would see.  We did know that Hempfest (a celebration of all things pot related) was going on, so that was our target.  I also wanted to revisit the two cameras I have under consideration.  There was also the International Tattoo convention, but we were unaware of it, and so did not partake.

On the way to Hempfest we walked through the South Lake Union district.  This is the area that Paul Allen offered to sell to the city in exchange for land swaps.  Unfortunately the voters turned the proposal down and we did not get the broad pedestrian walkways and pleasant vistas; the citizens' deep distrust of business compelled them to vote against the project.  Quelle dommage.

We walked by the Live Nudes business.  I always wonder why it's necessary to specify that they're not dead.

South Lake Union now has the most construction cranes up in any city in the US.  The noise is staggering from the building.  I can't find a number for how many units have been built, it's a lot.

One wonders how much longer the Pink Elephant Car Wash will hang on.

Here we are at Hempfest.  We were very surprised at the police presence.  Marijuana is legal in the state.  I don't think you're supposed to smoke it outside, but neither the law or the police presence was stopping people from lighting up.

These two were not getting any takers.

Typical craft fair food was on offer.

The man with the tripod is a television reporter.  His camera man had the videocam on his shoulder filming someone smoking an enormous joint.

Seattle Fire and Rescue was also on scene.  They carry portable defibrillators on the bicycles, so if one's heart give out, they're on it.  We did not stay long, neither one of us enjoys the smell of pot smoke anymore. 

Transient moorage.  I like the flamingos, they add a touch of whimsy.  Notice how dreary it is in the background.

The arrow pretty much in the middle of the photo points at the end of the viaduct.  They're still taking it down.  Notice how unattractive the buildings are to the right of the arrow.  

Notice that road between the former viaduct and the waterfront.  Destruction of the viaduct was sold based on a campaign that said removing it would open the city up to the waterfront.  Now there is talk of expanding that road to double capacity.  There is a huge ferry dock that is part of the highway system that must be able to move many cars on and off quickly.  There are deep draft ships bringing in containers that also must be able to off load and move out quickly.  Apparently it was implied that the road (Alaskan Way) would somehow vanish and people would have free rein over the water front.  That would be the water front that is almost completely built out with buildings that block the view, that would be the view that was available from the now destroyed viaduct. 

I'm not sure when we get this version, it's lovely, but I'm not sure how this is going to be accomplished.

Jim had a pretty good walking day.  My left foot is not good.  I'm beginning to suspect that one of the nerves removed from my foot is growing back.  It happens 20% of the time.  My right foot did it, and now it appears that my left foot is doing it, as well.  Yesterday's walk was about 4.5 miles, and it hurt.  My middle toe is exhibiting weird nerve pain.  It's not bad enough to entertain the idea of opening up my foot again, but it's pretty bad.  It's depressing the hell out of me.  On the good side, my left hip was much improved over how it used to be.  It really is always something.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Medical Updates From the RV

Greetings Earthlings!  Things are progressing in fits and starts on the medical front.  Here is today's update.

I do not have to have surgery on the torn labrum.  If a torn labrum is causing pain it will hurt in the crease formed by the top of the leg and the bottom of the torso, towards the mid-line.  Although the labrum is torn, it's minor and not worth fixing.  What's causing my hip to hurt is trochanteric bursitis.  The cause was because my left leg was shorter than the right leg; something had slipped under something (I can't remember anything).  He pulled my something out from under the something by strenuously and abruptly pulling on my left leg.  That was stage one.  It's being treated with physical therapy (clam shells and monster walking) and today there was a shot of cortisone over the tendon.  The cortisone did not hurt, he used a tiny needle and numbing stuff in the syringe.  It may or may not hurt over the next two days, I may or may not have the cortisone flush over the next few days.  The doctor thinks I should get 5 or so months relief.  The main thing is to keep the hip strengthened so my something does not again slip under the something again.

And then there's Jim and his pinched nerve at L2/L3.  He had the epidural cortisone injection on July 31.  As expected, it was of little value.  Today we saw the surgeon.  He's willing to fix it, Jim is still a good surgical candidate.  First we must get clearance from the cardiologist and clearance from the primary physician up here.  We can't get in to see the PCP until next Thursday (8/22).   Until we see the PCP we can't get on the surgery schedule.  We're probably looking at first week in September.  That will put us here through October.  October can be nice, but we'd rather be gone.  Or October can be like it was in 2017, where we had atmospheric rivers of water pointed at us for multiple days.  If you missed the first post about the troubles, you can find it here.

Finally, here is a really cool tweet, from Twitter.  It's a giant fish gun that transports spawning salmon across a dam.  It transports the fish quickly and expends virtually none of their energy.  The video is a minute long, so it's probably not all that much bandwidth.  Check it out, it's pretty cool.  Tweet is here.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Even More Osprey

This morning it was back to Marymoor Park on the bikes for us.  The climate was was pleasant, when we started out it was actually a little chilly.  Here is your Osprey update for today.

This is one of the babies, he has flown to another light stand.  He didn't leave it the entire time we were watching them.  Maybe he's tired.

This is the other baby.  He was on the pole with the nest.  Suddenly, he flew.  It was just an amazing thing to see.

He did a few laps in the area.  Then he started working on getting back up to the nest.

Back on the nest safely.

This is what houses on the shore of Lake Sammamish used to look like.  They were summer beach houses.

Now we have this.  Big houses on small lots, sited cheek to jowl along the water.

The farther north you go, the larger and more mansion-like the houses get.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

More Osprey

Yesterday we rode up to Marymoor again.  It was a very noisy ride, there were a lot of side dumping trailers and dump trucks with pups.  There is a lot of construction everywhere.  Oddly enough, there was also a double UPS tractor trailer.  One does not usually see them on local roads.

In my last post I had pictures of the Osprey chicks.  This is them again - they're more grown up.  The parents were flying overhead, the babies were yelling for food.  The parents may be trying to encourage them to start flying and hunting.

This is a cute little float plane, tied up in front of someone's house on Lake Sammamish.

Look at the sky.  We're getting smoke from Siberia, Alaska and Eastern Washington.  So far there is no ash on the truck, and we don't smell it, so summer is still a success.

Today we had a significant marine push bringing us clouds in the trees and cool temperatures.  We are not complaining, on the east side of the Cascades they are cooking.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019


Could the news be any worse?  Could things go off the rails any farther than they are?  I am, of course referring to three mass shootings in a week; Gilroy, Dayton and El Paso.  As I so frequently say, it's a good time to be old.  I'm tired of seeing the police action post so here are a couple of bird pictures.  They were taken out at Marymoor.  It's an Osprey nest, Ospreys are hawks and they build huge nests.

If you look next to the pole you can see the head of one of the chicks.

Here is a close up, now you can see both babies.

While we were looking at them, an adult flew in.  It did not spend much time feeding, and the chicks were extremely unhappy about the lack of chow.

There are two nests in the immediate vicinity of the park.  It's always nice to seem them in an urban environment.

Update to post:  I just found this picture on the internet.  This is an amazing example of nest hugeness.  That's the nest, with its maker on the right.