Friday, September 26, 2008

For What it's Worth - Sink or Bail

I've been falling a bit behind. I've got a few posts in various points of completion. I've had another follow up with my cardiologist that I need to report on and a few "meaning of life" type thoughts that are not quite ready for public viewing. I've been like many others over the past few days. I've been watching and have become intrigued by this whole frantic call for an economic bail out of the US economy. Yes I've watched way too much TV. I'd much rather be diving or doing any number of other things but this little Open-heart surgery thing is my excuse and I'm sticking to it for now.
Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to see what kind of response I get on this blog if I posted a short little email I wrote to both the Obama and McCain campaigns today. I don't know why I did. I just sat down to type some emails and this kind of spewed out so I sent it.

Dear Senators Obama & McCain (and President Bush)

CEO's that have left Wall Street in the last 5-8 years should be made to repay a portion of their windfalls if they were involved in the companies getting bailed out now.

The markets, including housing, should be left to adjust even if it's a big bad dark black diamond run. There are always two sides. Many people have held off buying a house while waiting for the markets to come down and saving up to do so. Now that the inflated market is on a down turn they're ready to do what investors say to do. Buy when the market is down. Many have done the responsible thing and not lived beyond their means thus leaving themselves in a position to diversify (ie own a home) when the time is right. The bail out penalizes many people twice. It does not let the market correct itself and our tax dollars are used to fix the mess created by the greedy and those who could not afford to over extend themselves but did anyway.

How long can America keep living on credit? How long can America live with a 10 trillion dollar debt? It's time to face reality. Why put it off for our kids and grandkids to deal with? What about the prudent financial institutions that did not over extend themselves? Should they not be able to benefit from the down turn and stupidity of their competitors. Many financial institutions are still running expensive advertising campaigns including national ads on CNN. If the entire financial system is hurting so bad how can this be?

I agree some sectors of the population may need extra help. There are plenty of people out there who have done the right thing and acted responsibly despite the ease of borrowing money. The elderly who have been getting ready to transfer mutual funds or 401K's over to liquid assets to be used in their remaining years should get some form of assistance so they don't loose everything they've saved for. People who loose their job should be given assistance to bridge the gap and buy some time as they find another job so they don't loose a house or business that they otherwise could afford. Or perhaps people affected should be given assistance while they gain training and education related to developing renewable energy sources or if they transfer into community service positions that benefit others hit by natural disaster for example. Seven hundred billion dollars could go a long way in this regard and help th people who are really in need.

This economic crisis and the urgent jump to "do something or else" are quite reminiscent of the days following 911. We must learn from 911. In this case we must ensure facts and opinions from many different economic experts all around the country are taken into account, not just the guys currently in charge. This is especially true when these same people are the ones who should've seen the whole thing coming in the first place.

It is also difficult to comprehend how taking the time to get any bail out package right the first time would do anything other than cause an initial slow down and adjustment in the economy to occur sooner rather than later. A slow down or resession is something that looks inevitable anyway and there is no guarantee that any amount of money thrown at the financial institutions will keep the economy from grinding to a halt now or in the months and years to come. Throwing more money at it does not deal with the core of the problem - DEBT. With a 20 trillion dollar deficit it will be harder and harder in the years ahead for my kids and yours to borrow money, buy a house, own a car or even eat.

Should America really be built on credit? Or should people, businesses and institutions that have risked a shaky foundation be asked to deal with the consequences as their bubble bursts?

Oh and by the way, for what it's worth canceling the debate on Friday would be a very bad mistake!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Salton Sea and Conservation

Last week Denise and the kids went back to Saipan so my Sister in Law and I headed for the desert. Final destination, Indio California, just south of Palm Springs where Nana had a week to give at the new Worldmark timeshare. The digs are certainly comfortable even if the surroundings are a bit frustrating to look at.
It’s a great pool complete with lazy river but I can’t swim yet as my incision and chest tube holes are still healing. We’re surrounded by golf courses but that’s not an activity I can participate in right now either. I like to golf and it would be good exercise but I’m not going there just yet especially after yesterday.
My exercise over the past days has consisted of a few twenty to thirty-minute walks when the temperature has allowed mixed in with a lot of recuperating on the couch; TV remote and laptop in hand. The time had come to check out the desert landscape beyond the crest of urban sprawl as seen from our fourth floor vantage point.
Destination, The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake. With an interesting past and unknown future, I came across this unique area of the planet during a fly by on Google Earth. A Google search for Salton Sea quickly brought me to the State Park website and a few interesting articles including this one from National Geographic. Not more than 30 miles south we could check out the shores and visitor’s center in less than a day. Off we went.
It’s a bit of a sight. I can’t drive for at least another 3 to 4 weeks. Nor can I sit in a seat with a deployable air bag. I can’t imagine how much that would hurt! Sneezes are hard enough right now. We can’t figure out how to turn off the one in the front passenger seat so I get the back. It may look like fun to have a chauffeur but I can’t say I’m crazy about the arrangement although it did allow me to snap a few shots along the way.
All around are signs of a human takeover of the desert. Water sprinklers and irrigation systems feed crop after crop including rows of towering date palms. The typical residential and commercial developments all too common in today’s urban planning projects protrude into the sand and farms like coral fingers on a submerged fringing reef. Except for the dropback of the arid Santa Rosa mountains these condos, grocery stores, Walmarts and Starbucks combine to look like any other community that’s gone up in the last 10 years.
The Salton Sea is unlike any other! Two hundred and fifty feet below sea level and covering 35 by 15 miles of real estate on top of the San Andreas fault line, this body of water has come and gone over the years at the will of the Colorado River and the effects of man. It now exists as a result of the last flood in 1905 and the irrigation run off from surrounding agricultural areas. However, with water deals for San Diego diverting liquid gold from its source and extreme desert temperatures, the water levels decrease while salinity increases.
(They could use some help from BCNMI)
Water levels have receded leaving a wasteland of rotting bones, barnacles and salt where tourists once flocked. Despite the harsh conditions millions of fish including the tasty tilapia thrive even with intermittent mass die offs. With 90% of California’s wetlands destroyed over the years, millions of migratory birds utilize this last remaining resting spot along the pacific flyway. If the lake dries up what will happen to over 400 species of birds, many endangered? If the lake dries up experts predict the sediments, which contain heavy metals and pesticides from the surrounding developments, will be whipped up by high winds turning the Imperial Valley into a toxic dust bowl much like what happened at Owens Lake in Nevada.

Our tour of this amazing and much debated place included two stops. One at a place called “A Beach Made of Fish Bones” where a short walk quickly revealed that you cannot wear zories and kick up sand here. That’s just not sand. It is in fact sharp remnants of fish bones and barnacles AND it hurts when it gets between your shoes and your feet.
We saw many, many dead rotting fish and plenty of pelicans swooping all around or keeping their distance while afloat on the dark surface. Everything is coated with thick layers of salt, a testament to the fact the lake is 25% more salty than the Pacific Ocean.
At the state park we read informative signs while watching fisherman line the banks with rods in hand. We also took in the very informative and air conditioned visitors center including a revealing documentary on the lakes history. I even spent 40 bucks on souvenirs. This information center educates residents and tourists as to the plight and importance of the lake. It should be a mandatory visit for everyone especially if you are in any way responsible for putting pressure on the lake’s very existence. If you live in Southern California you fall into this category!
(One more American educated as to where Saipan is - she favors the monument proposal!)

On the way back to the swimming pools and golf courses surrounding our accommodations it is hard not to be concerned about human consumption and its effect globally. The waste here is so obvious with excessive lighting and expansive landscaping. With so many places on earth under stress I can’t help but think about how happy I will be if the Mariana Trench Monument becomes a reality and I can one day walk through a visitor’s center that brings revenue to the local economy and perhaps more importantly educates millions of tourists as to the importance of our oceans and conservation in general.

Unfortunately, soon after returning to our pad the aches and pains in my chest from absorbing many starts and stops in the car far outweigh any worry I have about the environment or anything else for that matter. It was good to get out and about but I’m a ways off from strapping a tank on my back!

Where’s the Tylenol!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friends of the Monument PSA

Friends of the Marians Trench Monument began running a public service announcement yesterday following appearance by members of the group on the locally broadcast John Gonzales show.

It's now also been picked up by the Discovery Channel website here.

What would you want the monument and regulations to look like?

This is the question that the Friends of the Monument are being asked now that the feds are here to open up the dialogue.

For a long time the opposition has been suggesting that the people of the CNMI will have no say in the monument and that it will be a unilateral set of rules imposed by the feds. My understanding is that nothing could be farther from the truth. Representatives from the federal agencies involved with assessing the appropriateness and viability of the CNMI monument are now on Saipan in an attempt to ensure the best possible result and that local concerns / needs are addressed should the monument concept move forward.

Friends of the Monument are now being asked to draft a wish list of things that MUST occur in order for us to support the monument as well as a list of things YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE.

I’ll take a stab at a start here but would like to get your thoughts too so please leave a comment with any additions.

I would NEED:
*Federal funds
*A visitor’s center on Saipan
*A ban on commercial fishing and mineral extraction
*A Co-management regulatory body with representatives from the CNMI (including but not necessarily limited to DFW, CRM and DNLR) and the NOAA Sanctuaries program.
*A mechanism that would allow limited, regulated access including sustainable fishing for indigenous peoples and the opportunity for limited ecotourism including diving charters.
*A federal funded Mariana Trench marine science curriculum within the public school system (for grade 7 students as an example).
*The boundaries to be drawn based on the best available science that will ensure the greatest opportunity for success of ecosystem based management.

I would LIKE TO SEE:
*A visitor’s center or satellite center on every island
*A federally funded cultural summer camp.
*Creation of informative advertising and educational collaterals for use by the Marianas Visitors Authority and the public / private schools.

How about you?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Contributor Scubatripp - My Pledge

I just finished writing a post over on the new Friends of the Monument blog. I talk about my background and why I support the monument concept as well as what I intend to do in order to try and help the people of the CNMI obtain something that will improve the economy while ensuring the protection of renewable resources for generations to come.

If you would like to read it please click on this link - Contributor Scubatripp - My Pledge.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Couple of New Blogs

A couple of new blogs recently hit the airways and this one is now easier to keep up with.
(Picture was taken without permission from his website! His eye sight is fine, he just likes to be a pirate on occasion!)

First, Harry Blalock has started a new one at Here he discusses his latest endeavor in becoming a Professional Dive Instructor. If you've followed Harry's Dive blog over the past year or so you know this is a major change for him. His journey and insight down the path of professionalism in the dive industry will undoubtedly be an intriguing and educational ride. I highly recommend you bookmark this one and check in often.
Next the Friends of the Marians Trench Monument now have a blog. This one is intended to help disseminate factual information about the possible marine protected area (MPA) surrounding the three northern most islands in the Marianas chain. It will also allow people to discuss their concerns and help everyone make an informed decision. It's only a few days old so help start the ball rolling by asking questions and voicing your own thoughts in the comment sections.

Also, this blog is now easier to follow along with thanks to a new gadget from blogspot. Over on the right hand side you can click on the "Follower" section located just under the really cool Feather Duster video or a little further down you can click on subscribe and have posts sent directly to you when they first come up!
Finally, I've got to let all of you parents in on this absolutely fantastic and often hilarious if not thought provoking blog from an ex-Saipan resident and mother of three. Is There Any Mommy Out There is an extremely well written, educational and entertaining read. Take the time to check it out; if you have kids you'll enjoy it for sure!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Difficult Times Ahead

My world. Denise picked up the kids two days ago. We’ve only been away from them for about 3 weeks but it has seemed like an eternity. The changes in both of them are very noticeable. How is it possible for them to grow up so fast? While with them time flies, without them boredom sets in quickly.
The visit will be short. They’ll be heading off to Saipan tomorrow and I’ve got at least a month of recovery here before I can join them. Although definitely challenging at times, after all Morgan is 2 &1/2, these past 3 days have just reinforced what they mean to me. Prior to surgery they we’re definitely the source of the most worry. Thoughts of what would happen to them if I didn’t make it. Thoughts of what I would miss out on if I didn’t pull through or perhaps even worse thoughts of how hard it would be if I had a stroke and could not be the dad I wanted to be for them.

Kids change everything. Before they came along I’ve always been ok with the fact that my time would be my time. If it ended prematurely, well, it would suck and it would be hard on some but ultimately I’ve had a good life and everyone left behind would survive. The thought of leaving my kids without a father at such a young age was extremely difficult to deal with prior to the surgery. In turn, thoughts of them when I regained consciousness and realized that everything had turned out well provided the source of indescribable relief.

Now they are my motivation more than ever. The need to get back to a level of fitness necessary to take care of them is what drives me to get better each day. The past few days have brought new challenges. I can’t pick them up. I’m totally dependent on others taking care of them and for this “hands on” dad who really does not like to relinquish control it has been hard to watch at times. Knowing I will not be with them for at least the next month plays hard on my mind although not nearly as hard as those tragic thoughts before surgery. I remind myself this is only temporary and I’ve made it through the worst part.

My daughter has been amazing, helping me with my medications and reminding me that I can’t pick her up because it will hurt my boo boo. I thought she would be relentless with asking me to go swimming in the hotel pool but instead she reminds me that doing so will only make my boo boo worse. When I’m in pain and she notices she gives me a hug and says “it will be OK daddy”
My little buddy seems to understand too. He’s furniture surfing and as he pulls himself up towards me he gives me a big smile as if to say “no need to pick me up dad, I’ll come to you”.

This next month is going to be hard!

For those of you coming into this little open heart surgery discussion a little late you can find all the posts easily by clicking on the Open Heart Surgery Labels at the bottom of this post or by clicking on the links under open heart surgery over on the right hand side of the blog. Those ones are listed in chronological order!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Two Week Follow Up

On Tuesday Denise and I had my follow up visit with my surgeon. The only downer about the day was I didn’t actually get to see him. That was definitely a disappointment. However, I did have the opportunity to finally put a face to a voice when I got to meet Susan. She’s the one who runs the office taking care of all the scheduling and insurance matters. Every time I call she’s juggling this and that or on another call but she’s always given me her time and on this day was even able to make it over from her office to meet me in person.
Susan and I finally meet!

Dr. Reemtsen was in the OR working on another human who needed a life saving intervention so I’m not going to wallow in self pity but I was looking forward to seeing him. Of course it’s really no hardship being looked after by Anita and Vicki. They’re the pediatric cardiac surgery Nurse Practitioners who help take care of his cases. I‘ve had the utmost respect and confidence in these ladies from the beginning and have felt extremely comfortable in their care.

Anita was an ICU nurse for many years prior to becoming a NP and has now worked for over a year; most, if not all of it, under the guidance of Vicki and Dr. Reemtsen. The day before I was discharged Vicki told me how she and Dr. Reemtsen recently came over from Los Angeles Childrens Hospital in order to set up a successful pediatric cardiac surgery program at UCLA. A big factor in her decision to leave Children’s was the challenge of building a successful program as well as the opportunity to continue working with a top-notch surgeon in Dr. Reemtsen.
Anita and Vicki two weeks after surgery!

As far as my check up everything checked out A-OK. My heart sounds good, chest and lungs are clear, the incision is healing well and the holes from the chest tubes are now stitch-less and closing up. Two weeks after surgery the heart muscle has healed to the point where bleeding is highly unlikely, there’s no rub or murmur, swelling of the ankles or anything else I need to be concerned about.

So naturally the conversation turned to pain. What’s your pain like on a scale of 1-10? This one is a tough one to answer because there really is no horribly intolerable amount of pain in any one specific area. In comparison to my broken elbow a few years ago this is nothing. That said everything from the waist up is uncomfortable. This is especially true under the shoulder blades and in the sternum area. I was reminded how my body was spread out and opened up on the table for a long time. As if I really needed a reminder! I was also reminded that I’m going to be sore and uncomfortable for a good 6 to 8 weeks as this is how long it takes for the breastbone to fully heal. It will also likely take that long before all the aches and pains work themselves out and I’m feeling normal again. Along those lines it could take as long or longer for the numbness and tingling in my right hand to go away. I’ll write more about this soon but it’s not uncommon and is a result of irritation to the nerve caused by the position they put your body in on the table.

I mentioned in my last post that Adam Pick the author of “A Patients Guide to Heart Valve Surgery” suggests in his book that the single most important factor for people to consider prior to undergoing open-heart surgery is the confidence they have in their surgeon. The story of how I got Dr. Reemtsen is an interesting one and one I will detail when I get around to continuing the background as to how all this came about but for now suffice to say I’m extremely happy the stars aligned and our paths collided.

Unlike Adam who had to search through many surgeons before finding the one he wanted, I only had one visit with one surgeon before I felt like “If this has to be done, he might as well be the guy”. Thinking back to that day I remember leaving his office feeling like I had asked some good tough questions about the necessity of some aspects of the procedure and that I had really made him think in terms of whether he would do what was being asked if he was me. In addition, I had the feeling that he really understood what I was going through on a family level in terms of the risks and fears when it comes to having young children and a wife that depend on you being around. Dr. Reemtsen and I are about the same age and he has 3 kids. Specifically with regards to the Cox Maze procedure (which I’ll talk about more another time) I asked him to put himself in my shoes and tell me if he would do it if it were him. His answer was a thoughtful but confident yes and in fact he said he uses that analogy in every aspect of every procedure.
Dr. Reemtsen and I 3 days after surgery

Another big factor in feeling comfortable with him was that he was able to relay what needed to be done, the risks and what I could expect in a way that was immediately at my level. I’m a pharmacist with a pretty decent level of understanding for medical issues and his description and our discussion about what was going to happen took this into account. I did not feel like an idiot, nor did I feel like he was treating me like a less educated patient who could really only comprehend the basics.

Finally when it became obvious that he deals more with the pediatric patients I asked whether that would make any difference in the OR. Do you get used to working on the little ones so you get a little rusty on the bigger ones type of idea. His answer was no and in fact he then drew a line on the white board with one end representing the toughest of his tiny heart cases and the other end the easiest, least complicated cases. He then drew an X very close to the latter end and said this is you. He didn’t say it like, “yours will be a snap” but rather he made it clear he had the confidence in himself to know he could handle pretty much anything my heart was going to throw at him while recognizing that nothing in his business is routine.

I remember walking out of the visit feeling secure. Scared as hell since the ball was now rolling towards actually having this done but confident in knowing that he was the one who would have my life in his hands. It was not until after the surgery where nearly every discussion with every caregiver turned to a similar question in the form of “how did you get Dr. Reemtsen”. The question always phrased like or followed by “he’s one of the best and usually only deals with the difficult pediatric cases”. In fact one fella who worked in the ICU actually asked if I was a friend of Dr. Reemtsen and if this was how I got him as my surgeon.

How our paths crossed is a story of its own and I’ll save that for when I pick up where I left off in “A Racing Heart and a Realization” post. It was an interesting journey to say the least but ultimately I, unlike Adam, hit the bull’s eye with my first arrow when it came to finding my surgeon and I couldn’t be happier with the care I’ve received from start to finish.

For those of you coming into this little open heart surgery discussion a little late you can find all the posts easily by clicking on the Open Heart Surgery Labels at the bottom of this post or by clicking on the links under open heart surgery over on the right hand side of the blog. Those ones are listed in chronological order!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Adam's Guide to Heart Valve Surgery

Tomorrow, exactly two weeks after my surgery, I will head back to UCLA for a follow up visit with my surgeon Dr. Reemtsen. I’m hopeful that he’ll give me the green light for stepping up all aspects of my recovery and that I’ll get reassurance regarding the few concerns I have. It still boggles my mind that I’m doing as much as I am in such a short time after open-heart surgery. In fact today, as we prepare for Denise to head back to Saipan next week I walked around Toys-R-Us for nearly an hour. Yesterday was a full day too. We spent the morning packing up and moving to another temporary “home” here in LA and then the rest of the day visiting our good friends Dave and Sandy in Redondo Beach. Although there is really nothing very stressful about watching Dave BBQ up yet another delicious meal they do have two young tykes capable of tiring anyone out just watching them AND I did miss my afternoon nap!
(This was a pre-operation BBQ at Dave and Sandy's, no less delicious!)

Besides looking forward to the reassurance that everything is on the mend tomorrow I’m also looking forward to once again extending a great big thank you to the surgical team and expressing my gratitude for such good care. At this time I’d also like to extend a big public thank you to someone I’ve never met but who has already had a significant impact on the success of my surgery and speedy recovery.
About 2 weeks prior to surgery, I came across a web site selling a book related to heart valve surgery. I believe purchasing The Patients Guide to Heart Valve Surgery by Adam Pick was the single most important thing I did to prepare myself for this ordeal and I cannot recommend his book enough for anyone who will be going through open-heart surgery (or caring for someone that will). Adam is a double heart valve replacement recipient who is fairly young and, as I’ve recently found out, also a Scuba Diver! Adam also has a very informative blog that continues right where the book left off with real life success stories and answers to questions his readers have posed over the years. He also manages to help patients keep up with the advancements in care in a straightforward, no-nonsense sort of way.

According to Adam, the single most important thing one can do in preparing for open-heart surgery is to take the time necessary to find a surgeon with which you have the utmost confidence in. After tomorrow I hope to write a post that will express just how lucky I feel to have met Dr. Brian Reemtsen and his team.

For those of you coming into this little open heart surgery discussion a little late you can find all the posts easily by clicking on the Open Heart Surgery Labels at the bottom of this post or by clicking on the links under open heart surgery over on the right hand side of the blog. Those ones are listed in chronological order!

Monday Night Football LIVE

This one’s just a little dig for all those back on Saipan. I’m sitting here watching Monday Night Football live at 5PM. No poor reception or risk of a power outage as Green Bay battles a divisional rival in the Vikings. Approaching the end of the first half it’s still close which helps make the first Packer game without Brett Favre that much more interesting. I’ve never had a steadfast favorite NFL team over the years. Being from British Columbia just north of Seattle I’ve always cheered on the Seahawks. Back in the days of Dan Fouts I was a Charger fan and I must admit last year I was pulling for history and Mr. Brady’s Patriots.

I can safely say however I’ve never been a Green Bay Packer fan. Although there is no question that Favre is an extraordinary player his on again, off again retirements and general untouchable attitude has done nothing to attract me to his teams success. So with that said I’m wondering just how many other folks out there find themselves routing for the Packers and Aaron Rogers this year. I like an underdog and hope he can make all those cheese heads quickly forget about the other guy. It seems Rogers has handled himself with a lot of class despite all the media hoopla! Go Packers!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Can This Just Be Over

Me: Can this just be over....
Wife: You're kind of an impatient sort!
Me: (sigh) really dejected look (acting)
Wife: You're really pathetic.

It's a week after discharge and other than Thursday night each day gets a little bit better. We're not sure if Thursday was the return of some swelling around my heart or John McCain's speech but I didn’t feel well at all. That night my personal pharmacist suggested some Ibuprofen since the anti-inflammatory medication they started me on in the hospital for the heart rub (caused by swelling around the heart) had finished its course about 24 hours earlier and I was having similar symptoms.

That turned out to be a brilliant call as my pain and general state of being improved 100% by the next day. I had a pretty decent sleep too even though that still meant getting up at least once for an hour or so stretch.

The daily routine:
I wake up first (for the second time) around 7AM, have my bowl of cereal, check email, the Saipan Tribune and a few other web sites / blogs. Yes I check my blog stats, it's addicting. I turn on the TV and half listen to the same crap as the night before on CNN or Fox - hurricane in the Atlantic or Gulf and the exact same sound bites from the candidates as the day before even though they are in different campaign spots. It seems they (especially the Republicans) really try to get the most out of those speechwriters. I mean, how many times can you use the same old line before it just gets irritating. (I digress).
Once Denise is up I get my first beating of the day followed by my medications. These back thumpers are intended to help keep the little alveoli sacks in my lungs open and decrease the pain in my chest. I usually let the pain meds kick in a little before this so I can give a stronger cough and she can hit me that much harder (that's a joke). I then use the incentive spirometer 5 or 6 times until I get a couple of 3000's in a row. After that we head out for our first walk of the day. Walks have been getting further and faster each day as well. We've now progressed to two full laps of the block and tonight I think we'll try for a third.

Once we get back it's not long before Nana is up and all three of us are on the computer sending email, playing suduko and surfing mindlessly. I'm not sure what we would do if it not for the laptops and internet! By mid morning I'm ready for a snooze. Today I was falling asleep while reading a diving study (I'm almost finished a post on it that will be up soon) so that was my clue it was time for a nap.
Once up it's time for another beating. They say you should wait two hours after eating before doing this exercise so I try and do it before I eat. Lunch, more pain meds, more TV and internet a shower, some conversation, some more internet............. Where did the afternoon go? I've been slacking a bit on the afternoon walks because there is really no shade where we are and it's been pretty damn hot but I do try to get in at least one walk before dinner.

Denise and Nana have been teaming up in the kitchen and dinner is served somewhere around 6PM. By 7 it's time to call Morgan at Grandma and Grandpa's house. The conversations are getting shorter and shorter each day as I think the novelty for her is wearing off. She's only 2 & 1/2 but her conversation skills are quite extraordinary for her age. We can usually determine what she's done during the day and with the right questions she gives pretty good responses. It's a hard part of the day because we really do miss them. Part of the boredom factor for us is that for the past 2 &1/2 years we've had more than our share of entertainment everyday just watching Morgan and Carson grow up. Yes at times you want (and need) a break but once you're forced into having one by being away from them it really sucks. I can't wait to give them both a great big huga wugga.
The evenings have been spent watching and bitching about American politics. Followed by more beatings, the spirometer and another walk. Last night we ventured a little farther off our normal track so I could get an ice cream bar much to the chagrin of the diet police. Then it's usually Larry King followed by some good laughs with the Daily show and Colbert. More Medications, more beatings another few blows on the spirometer and Sports Center then it’s off to bed for a few hours before it all begins again.

Sounds exciting eh! Despite getting better each day I really do hate being a patient and Denise is right I am an impatient sort when it comes to doing nothing. If I could just go diving for an hour all would be good again!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Election Politics

I came across this BBC article last night while searching some headline stories. I'm very out of touch when it comes to Canadian news in general but especially the politics. That's both a function of being away from Canada for the last 6 years and also getting caught up in the long drawn out spectacle here in the US. It seems the president's first term ends up being only a tad bit longer than the time it takes to elect him / her.
Anyway, I found it quite funny to see that the entire election campaign in Canada will last exactly 37 days. The article says Steven Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, is expected to ask the Governor-General to dissolve parliament on Sunday while the general election will follow on October 14th!

Now that the Democratic and Republican conventions are over here in the USA there's only 2 more months to go before one of these guys get the nod. That assumes of course there are no legal attempts to change the results!

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Not So Good Day

I haven't felt all that great today, especially this afternoon. I guess it's going to happen, some days better than others. It started off pretty well. I actually managed a 20 minute walk early in the morning and perhaps it's nothing more than being brought back down to reality since I've impressed even myself with how well I've been doing. Those that know me know that's no easy task for this perfectionist.

I even debated about not doing a blog post today. I've got a few in my head, some require a little research and I just couldn't muster up the effort to spend the time on the internet searching through the crap. However, I reminded myself that I started blogging about this life altering event partly to keep friends and family up to date and partly because I knew there would be some not so good days and doing the blog might be somewhat therapeutic.

With that said I started to look at my photos from the past few months while listening to John Mccain give his speech. It was a long one and so doing so gave me something to do. That's when I decided I'd just post some of my favorites from the past few months. It not only helped make a very long speech seem a little shorter but it also helped remind me just how far I've come.


A day at the LA Zoo....

Hanging out in downtown LA......

Venice Beach..........Cabrillo National Monument........Torrey Pines Gliderport.........Southern California beaches...........
California sunsets.........Intense concentration.........

How many want to see a picture of the incision?