For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between March 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

Feb 28, 2013

Quick Therapy Update

Therapy was a little more rigorous, today, but I had no trouble keeping up. I even surprise myself. I've been immobile for so long I thought I'd be dying, but the hour flies by and I feel good in the water. Francine is very conscious about following the doctor's prescription. If it is close to what he tells me, she's got some guidelines regarding bending and twisting. A lot of it is balance, weights, and strengthening "the core" (Are you reading, Mike?) :) Medicare requires an evaluation once per month regarding payment of physical therapy. My doctor's appointment is April 3 so I don't know if I have to change it or not. I'll find out next time.

Nothing hurt until the walk back to the truck and driving home. I'm finished until the 6th and 7th, but there are some things I think I can continue out of the water. I keep hoping that I can continue to's what keeps me going.

What's a blog without a few pictures. I look at them all the time, and I CAN'T WAIT to get back to some of the places! So, I'll tack on a few at the end. I read a blog this morning and some of the pictures reminded me of some I had taken.

Jack and Bogey went nuts when I got home. I'm trying to pay attention to Bogey without putting Jack's nose out of joint. Bogey was through my legs, butt tucked around the house, back through my legs...happy, happy boy! Jack just wanted me to pet him and talk to him. He really is very good natured. Bogey doesn't realize when he's traveling so fast that he can't stop on a dime and many times winds up sliding right into Jack. When he was here in December of last year, he ever so slowly slinked onto part of Jack's bed. I remember Jack opening one eye, pretending he didn't know he was there. I guess he figured he'd let the little guy get a little closer.

That's me on the left side of the picture. Next is Peyton--the little one in the pictures of yesterday's blog. Can you believe how much she has grown up in three short years? Next to her are Susan, my daughter, and Keely, Peyton's sister.
The Old Road - Lewiston ID

My Roomie--so good to see him when I woke each morning

Payette Lake, McCall ID

My goal is to see this little house, again. Mendocino, CA. If I were younger, I'd give my right arm to live in it.

Feb 27, 2013

Aquatic Therapy

This morning I had my first aquatic therapy after an evaluation, yesterday. The pool is at a Community Jewish Center. It is quite a complex with schools, basketball courts, baseball fields, gyms, and so much more.

I had a little difficulty parking so I had quite a distance to walk. Mornings are my most painful time of the day so by the time I got to the building, and then walked the entire length of the building to get to the pool, I was in a world of hurt. I was concerned about how much additional pain I'd have in the pool. I was pleasantly surprised. 

I arrived early so I sat down and waited near their "office" and watched a senior aerobics class.
The "Office"
People "Dancin'" to the music

I can see how water exercise can keep you limber. And, it seemed to be a nice social activity, as well, with a lot of laughter going on. Reminded me of grade school. There were more women than men, but the men stayed all together and the women stayed together--a clear division. When I was a kid they had after school dances and usually the girls were on one side of the gym and the boys on the other--little dancing went on from what I remember. They did have one semester of gym dedicated to dancing with boys--yuk--mortifying. That changed (like 180 degrees) a few years later in junior high school, of course. :)

Francine, my therapist, arrived and introduced herself. She's a very nice person. I think we hit it off, nicely. We got in the pool and it actually felt good. The room, itself, is very warm and humid so it was actually nice to get in the water. She said we would start off easy, and it was. She said according to the reports from the doctor I am ahead of schedule (for my age). Yesterday, they had some timed walking tests--first race I've been in for many years! LOL

I had to laugh when she said she could tell that I had been an active person--me, the one who's been on the couch most of the time for a couple of years? She also said that I'm very limber for my age (I hear that phrase so often these days) so we wouldn't have to do much along those lines. The objective is to strengthen my core which helps the back. Mike, my unexpected commenter the other day, said exactly the same thing! She asked what my goal is and of course it's to get back on the road without pain! She said she wants to take her daughter out west and asked me about my travels with Jack. She didn't have anything negative to say about my goal so I'm thinking it's still in the realm of possibility. Let's see what magic she can work. 

I have another session, tomorrow, and I'm actually looking forward to it, especially since it's not as early. 

Bogey (middle son's dog) is staying with me for two weeks. He's a character.  He makes himself at home, here, as you can see. He knows his way around, and wants to do whatever Jack does. That's my pillow that he's sleeping on. Jack doesn't seem to mind his presence. In fact, I think he might like having him around and is amused by his antics. The first few times he was quite put out and stand offish, but I caught him taking a little sniff when he thought I wasn't looking.

Michael dropped Bogey off on Sunday. He and my granddaughter, Peyton, had spent a few days up at their cabin in Blue Ridge. They had a blast. Peyton wanted to go horseback riding. 

She's such a good natured kid--fun to be with.

Feb 21, 2013

View From the Couch

My kids encouraged me to get a new computer. Susan took my old one in for repair, they sent it back working as slow as it worked going in. In order to get the RAM (which is what I think it needs), I have to order it online and bring it to the Apple Store. I will do that  when I'm up and able to do it, myself. Susan works hard and has a busy social calendar so I don't feel right about asking her to go back, again, though she offered. She knows how to turn a computer on, shut if off, and check hotmail and use google. I can't even describe to her what is going on with it.

I had to order new cables and adapters, today, so that I can move files over from one computer to another. Each time I have purchased a computer, the steps are different. That is the only complaint I have about Apple. They seem to make using existing peripherals very difficult if not impossible. I tried the Migration Assistant. It ran all night and didn't transfer a thing. The people at Apple didn't seem to be surprised. I really didn't want that method, anyway, because I want to "cherry pick" what I want to migrate. This new laptop is smaller which makes it easier for me to use while lying down. It has an incredible screen. I'm learning about the Cloud, but hope to take a class at the Apple Store when I'm able. I'm sure I'm only using a tiny fraction of its capabilities. I was surprised that because of the Cloud my music was automatically moved to the new computer (well the music I purchased from iTunes). The Calendar and Mail was set up automatically, as well.

I can't tell you how bored I am, but I'm behaving. I start aqua therapy on the 28th. I'm hoping that will help the pain. I don't know how long I'll be on pain medication, but I can't imagine being without it at this point, though I am not taking the prescribed dosage. If I'm on my feet for any length of time it really rings my bell.

My son, Michael and his girl friend, Laura, were in Naples Florida on business, recently. They are a lovely couple. Below is one picture they emailed me. They went deep sea fishing, bike riding, and all kinds of things. Susan and her boyfriend are headed down to island hop in the Caribbean in two weeks. John and Lisa spent the weekend up in their cabin in Blue Ridge. Seems like everyone is doing something except for me (whine). The boys have offered to take me for a weekend to their cabins to hang out, but I can't ride in a car for that length of time--about 1-1/2 - 2 hours.

Jack, the Peter Pan dog, cuddles up with me on the couch, then moves to his bed. He makes the rounds all day and at night.

This is my view. You'd think I could have straightened the picture before posting?

Here's Mr. Cuddles. Pictures aren't very good. My kids seem to be able to get great pictures with their phones. I don't have any luck.

Every now and again, Jack gets up and walks into the dining room to look out the window. He's checking to see if his girlfriend, Susie, is coming to take him for a walk. He goes out of his mind when she does come over, and off to the nature center he goes with her.

I sure hope that I will be able to take him west, again. As I said in a previous post, I am getting everything fixed and improved (in some cases) on the trailer hoping that it will be me pulling it. Before a long west trip, I'd like to go down to where Sherry and David were, in the Everglades in cool weather.

I'm going to visit some of the RV groups to see what chance I would have to sell the truck and trailer as a combination. The truck is a 2004 3500 Dodge Diesel Ram. It's in great shape and has been very well taken care of with only 82K miles. If any of you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it. I sold the motorhome in one day on the Escapees site. I hope it doesn't come to that.

Well, I've kept myself busy for a little while. Think I'll get my Kindle out and read a bit. Funny, everything I need to exist (except the bathroom and kitchen) is in reach of me--almost like the trailer. We needed the house while raising the kids, but if I could wish it cleaned out and sold, I think I would do it!

Feb 15, 2013

I Never Thought I Would Tire of Relaxing...

Went back for 2nd post op, yesterday, hoping to gain some freedom. Nope. Down for the count. All restrictions remain at least until April 3. No cheating! I will be doing aquatic physical therapy twice per week for 4-6 weeks. My belief that I'm healing was reinforced--I'm doing well I was told.

I just sent the trailer off to have everything fixed/updated on it. Since I couldn't bring it to them, they came and got it. Wild Willy's has done work for me before, and they're honest people running a small business. I'd rather give my money to them than to Camping World. One advantage is that if I can't pick it up I can store it there for $35.00 per month until I can get it. At this point I'm hoping I'm doing it for myself, but it may turn out that I'm doing it to sell. Everything depends on a prognosis that is somewhere out there in my future.

I'm getting everything fixed and improving some things. They will install an electric/gas hot water heater that I can turn on from the inside. It was a pain to try to light it from the outside. Otto has a brand new one that he's going to give me a break on. Have to replace the propane assembly that I dropped in TN. They're putting a new handle lock on the door (Hoorah for Terri and Wilson and the memories of that day). I decided to get a new water pump. It has new tires. I really, really hope I can take it west, again, and look forward to camping with the group of ladies who became such good friends. It will be on the east coast but the laughter around the campfires and all the fun that takes place when we camp together is something I've missed so much.

I'll try to sell the truck and trailer as a combo. I lived very comfortably in it for six months and I loved not having to worry about mountain passes, etc. I hope, if I do have to sell it, someone will enjoy it as much as I did (though that will be almost impossible). It will be better than new with a good Reese hitch anti sway fancy something or other and an electric hitch lift which I LOVE. As one man put it, pulling this combo is like having a flea on the bumper. Wise man.

Feb 8, 2013

Road to Recovery

Always at My Side
I didn't realize just how restricted I would be after surgery, but I've been a couch potato long enough for a hundred people. I go back for my second post op check on February 14th. I've come a long way since December 3 (a very memorable day--sort of). I'm very grateful to my doctor. I had excellent care at St. Joseph's and couldn't ask for more.  I don't think they'll know if the fusion was a success until between three and six months. Even at that, I hope for some improvement in pain while standing and walking since there was more than enough to fix. I saw the x-rays at my first post op check--it looks like I have a bird cage inside of me! I'll spare everyone details of the surgery and recovery. The first few weeks were experienced through a drug haze of sorts.

Now, I can take pain pills every 4 to 6 hours, but have whittled it down to one in the morning and one at night and a half if I wake between 3 to 5 a.m. Haven't had to take that one for almost a week, now.

I get my exercise by walking around the house and trying to keep it above Board of Health standards. I hate clutter, but I have to keep everything at table height as reaching, bending, stretching, lifting, sitting, etc., are off limits.  I could make another dog from dog hair, but I get some of it up by improvising with my own method. I'm breaking the last (sitting) for just a few minutes. Still not proven is whether the pain is eliminated walking past 5 minutes. I am craving a "test walk", outdoors, without pain.

Jack has been ever faithful, but he sure looks forward to Susan coming to walk him. She has been wonderful--she's my link to sustenance and Jack's link to the outside world. We don't know what we would have done without her.

Well my 15 minutes is up. Down I go. Miss all my friends and blogging friends. Still a ways to go, but hopefully will get back to normal, in the near future.

(Note: I wrote but didn't publish some posts before surgery because I didn't want to alarm family in New York. My sister has enough on her plate to worry about. I guess I should have proofed them before I hit "publish"--I have no recollection what I said. It's old news, but there for the record.