Category Archives: Life

An Update on the Recovery

No I am not talking about the ecomonic recovery, I’m talking about my recovery from open heart surgery. Well, so far so good! I have been able to ski for 7 days so far, 2 of them in the back country so that’s great. I feel great. I have more energy. I still feel it in my chest, sore spot on the right and still some numness on the left side. No biggie. My weight is staying around 145 which is where I want it. I need to stay on the ball and at least walk every day. Need to get going on the bicycle again.

So, thank God for modern medicine and my recognizing what was going on. Got a new lease on life I did! :-)

Look what I got for Christmas!

This past Christmas was looking to be better than the last for many reasons. I got some nice presents for my wife, which is often the crux of Christmas for me. I usually don’t get any suggestions. Things were looking good and I was looking forward to going over the in-laws house for Christmas Dinner. As usual, went to bed way too late. I think it was 1 am. Between 4 and 5am I woke up with bad heart burn, got up took some gaviscon, got an extra pillow and went back to bed. This is really bad heartburn I’m thinking to myself. My wife comes in and takes a shower, I am awake sorta. After she leaves I take some more gaviscon, I start doing things like seeing how deep I can breath etc… the pain is pretty bad and extends over to the nipple on both sides of my chest. Given that both my father and brother have had heart attacks, I was concerned. Got up and walking into the kitchen to talk with my wife, my chest is hurting more…. no discussion needed, tell the wife, call 911 I am having a heart attack. I head back into my bedroom to put on some fleese pants and shirt and sox so I won’t freeze on the way there.

I go out to the living area and sit on the couch. My wife is asking me questions. I sorta think she can’t believe that the 911 person just doesn’t take the address and move on. She is still on the phone with them when the 1st responders arrive (San Carlos FD). I get more questions many of which I know they are going to ask, so things go fast. (what is my name, where am I?, what city do I live in, what day is it? bla, bla bla.) I chew 4 childrens asprin. I ask for water…. NO WAY! (I hate that even though I know why you can’t have any, I’m thirsty!). They take blood pressure and other vitals.

Amublence is here. They move in, everyone knows everyone, it’s almost jovial. They quickly get me strapped into a chair that can fold into multiple positions as they have to move me down 4 stairs. Getting loaded into the ambulence then comes the IV line…. really hate that. They are very busy getting ready. I am hoping that the nice looking blonde with blues eyes will stay back with me. No such luck, she drives. They do a very good job and fortunately I live about 5 minutes from a good hospital. We had our kids there so I know it’s good.

I don’t know why everyone complains about the wait in the ER, I got right in! :-) .

They took me to the cath lab which is where they will do the angiograme. Lots of questions, trying to stay calm and tell them as much as I can about family history (both dad and brother have had heart attacks and by-passes). They explain what they are going to do and get me ready by shaving my right groin area. The novacain shot is the worst. I ask for something to take the edge off and they put it in the IV. I can feel the warmth of the dye going in, it almost feels good as I am cold. I sorta drift off but can hear the doctor telling the teck what he wants. “Give me the front, now the side, back to the front” . There are 4 large monitors the doctor can see in real time what is going on with my heart.

They seem to be done and take the cath line out. Doctor says well all that mountaineering and hiking and stuff has helped you, your heart is very strong. The bad news is that you have over 90% blockage in 3 of the main artieries feeding the heart. Stints don’ t make sense in a sitiuation like this. I know I will be having bypass surgury.

With all of the meds and everything else they put in me, my chest does not hurt anymore, Blood Pressure is ok, and so is heart rate. They take me up to the cardio ward. They keep telling me not to move! WTF!? Turns out the artery they use for the scan is a major one in the leg. They don’t stich them up anymore as it reqires the person to lie still for 8 hours! They put in some kind of ‘plug’ made of wax and who know what else. A person explains all of this and tells me I will have to lay in bed for 2 hours at least. Man I really have to pee!….they hand me a bottle.

For the next two hours all I can think of is peeing. I try many times…. just not happening. Finally I get a little relief. Later I can go into a real bathroom. This is heaven. My wife was there most of the time. She had to leave and finish up getting ready the things we were supposed to bring to the in-laws. Nothing she can do here anyway and has been with me since I came into the ER.

At 6:30 am on December 26th, I get a tripple by-pass with multiple blockages in each! WOW, I am lucky to be alive! Yesterday the Surgen showed me one of the blockages. It looks like a swallowed a lego! There is a square chunk in the artery. The surgen even says that he can’t believe anything is getting through but there must be. He thinks the colesteral ruptured.

The next day or two are lost in a haze. I came home Dec. 31, just in time for New Years (I went to bed at 11). The doctor says I can ski after 6 weeeks! I am stoked!

What the Hell Happened?

Well the plan was to back pack for 5 days and maybe hit 3 14ner’s.  Well that’s what 5 other guys did.  No one to blame but myself.  I burned the candle finishing my tent.  By Friday night at midnight while I was sealing it in my kitchen I realized I was supposed to be on vacation and should relax a bit.  I had been working feverishly since Thursday afternoon on the tent till about 1am each night.  Slept 7.5 hours got up at 8:30 on Sat. for some reason did not leave the bay area till 12.  Made good time.  Only mistake was thinking there was a separate turn off for Horseshoe meadows…. opps, cost me about 15 min.  At 10:30 on the way up to horseshoe I had to stop and sleep.   By 11 was in the bag.  Got up at 6:30 and hit the road.  Parked the car and looked for Ron’s truck, did not see it…. weird.

Started to eat breakfast and finish last minute packing…. time to hit the head.  Finish breakfast and make tea, time to hit the head.  Try to finish packing…. hit the head.  Not feeling too well.  It’s now 8:30… have to figure out what to do.  Decide to day hike in and try to catch up with you all to at least say have a good trip!   Time to hit the head.  After 5 trips to the head I am ready to go.  I start to jam, by 12 I am at the 4th/5th lake.  Remember it… looking up at old army but can’t see the trail….. head around the 5th lake to some huge talus where I discover that my vertigo is acting up as I almost fall over multiple times.  Geez WTF!.  Head around to the other side to take a break and eat something and look at the map.  At this point I will be passing the trail to old army for the 2nd time.  Eat and finally relax a bit.  For the first time that day, (and if you know me that’s sayin’ somethin’).

As real proof that I am not doing so well, I head over to the bowl where old army is, passing the trail for the third time, there is no one around except a few fishermen.  I start to go around the left (wrong) side of the lake trying to find a way up to the pass… I hear voices…. fishermen…. I hear more voices (OK, I didn’t relax that much!)… I take a look…. oh look, over across the lake, the real trail….. I swear at myself and hurry over…. I chat with some folks.  Yep your packs are up there…. it’s now 2pm… I am tired and realize that by the time I get to the pass there is a real chance that you will be gone… then I will get back to the car real late….

I remember that I am on vacation and in a very nice place!  I decide I will leave text messages and hope for the best.  I relax a bit and then start the 6 mile hike out.  Relaxing in some nice spots on the way out.  Have a good dinner and find a great place to sleep up by Tuttle Creek.  Nice and cool as it’s 90 in Lone Pine.  My plan is to drop by the ranger station and see what kind of permit I can get.  Might as well head in somewhere for a few days and enjoy myself!  I notice my feet are swollen and I have two blisters.  Sadly one is on the end of one of my toes.  I figure they will be better tomorrow like the usually are.  I soak them in a creek.  Nice!

On Monday, I relax in the shade and drink my tea after breakfast.  I head over to the ranger station, its’ hot!  Have to get back up to the alpine.  I ask about cottonwood, and then I ask any Whitney permits… she checks, why yes there is, when do I want to go and how long do I want to stay?  I can’t believe it.  I say I’ll head in tomorrow and come out Thursday.  I get lunch and head up to Whitney Portal to repack.  It’s nice up there and I’m excited to be going.  I just might get Muir after all.

I head back to my camp site and take a hike up the canyon.  I realize this is the approach if you were going to climb any of the routes on the HUGE south face of Lone Pine Peak.  My feat hurt.  What else is new?  I have dinner, get beer and ice stop by the new skate park behind the MacD. then head up and re-sort, finish packing so everything is ready to go.  Hit the sack at 10.  Parked in a new place a little farther up the road.

Could not sleep.  Turns out that I parked (it looked good at the time) in such a way that I kept sliding off my mat.  By the time I realized this it was some wee hour in the morning… too late to reposition the car.  Alarm goes off at 6:30, I’m up, well sorta…. my eyes are burning from lack of sleep and I know I have to do 6 miles and 4k today and then 16+ miles and 2K the next day.  Am I up for it?  Are my feet up for it?  I decide my blisters have not gotten any better and that there is a good chance my feet will be hamburger by the time I’m done.  I’m soooo tired!  I sit there and feel sorry for my self.  This really sucks.  I decide it’s going to be a wake and bake morning so I go back to sleep and sleep another 2 hours!  So much for Whitney.

I take my time with breakfast and tea.  I slowly head home.  I am disgusted with myself and life in general.

It’s now almost a week later.  I still feel disgusted, it’s been a long week.  One good thing is that I am really going to try to start exercising on a regular basis.  Feeling tired like this just sucks.  Another good decision is that some things are going to change around the house…… or else…. !

Screwed up polictics as usual

Recently in the news it was announced that the former head of PG&E (you know the guy who was running PG&E when San Bruno blew up due to their lax safety checks!) has been appointed to some board to help determine if PG&E was at fault….. OMG!

This is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard of. There is no way this person can be objective. Shows that there just might be something to the occupy movement. Things have gotten out of hand between big business and the government.

Make your voice heard!

Things went well

Well, my surgery was not that bad. I could use the arm by Sunday and had good range of motion a couple of days after that. The pictures of the operation were wild. They went over them with me when I saw the Doc. All and all I am glad I did the surgery. I may have the left arm done next year some time.

Now for my next operation, having a part of my large intestine removed! Yikes.