Ed at the Putnam Lodge
Saturday January 18 was the first time I picked up my big camera since surgery back in the middle of December. Friends and wife talked me into a side trip to Cedar Key, FL from where we were staying in Cross City. After an excellent seafood lunch, we did about a two mile walkabout. Totally exhausting and probably a bit much, but so worth it to strap on a camera bag and walk. A huge step back to normalcy. Thank you, Ruth, Kimberly and Wayne.
First stop: outside the Cedar Key Arts Center
Starting life in 1881 as the Woolridge Building, this old building retired from last being the L&M Saloon. It has been used as the post office, a drug store, a hardware store, a bar and a barber shop. Since its retirement, it has become a drop-off for strange little objects and somewhat of an art presentation in its old age.
Just down the street:
Here are some things I learned:
- Never take sitting down and standing up for granted. Part of Post-surgery Physical Therapy is learning how to do both.
- Toilet seats are a LONG way down.
- Very quickly, learn to never sit down without first looking for something to help get back up. Early on, I got trapped in a chair I couldn’t get out of.
- When traveling, the biggest danger is dropping the hotel bar of soap when taking a shower. You finish the shower with no soap.
- Speaking of toilet seats, watch out for those retail raised toilet seats. Most are not made for the male anatomy. It can be messy; I’ll just leave it at that.
- Pre-surgery Physical Therapy is all about working to the pain and stopping. Post-surgery P.T. is all about working through the pain (scream like a little girl).
- The biggest challenge a week after surgery is realizing that after the pain starts to go away your body was seriously weakened by the surgery, and you simply cannot do it.
- Hospitals are full of nice people who keep you awake all the time; do everything you can to go home as soon as possible.
- The worst times in a hospital are midnight to 4 am. I learned this a long time ago and had it reinforced this time. Someone stayed the first night, so she made it tolerable; the 2nd night I was alone, and it was… no, I don’t have words to describe it. Knowing in advance made the anticipation almost as bad. Pain meds helped; binge-watching TV did not.
- Take advantage of the kindness of strangers. Despite all the nonsense in social media, people held doors open, volunteered to carry things, and let me go to the front of the line. To those of you that did: THANK YOU, it means a lot. If you get an opportunity, HELP: it means a lot.
- Week 2, Day 1. Captain’s Log: A major step forward today. Put on boxers by myself, and it took less than five minutes. It’s the little things that count.
- NEVER go on YouTube and watch the actual surgical procedure. I did after the surgery and had nightmares for two days. If I had watched beforehand, I probably would have chickened out. It just ain’t natural to do that kind of stuff to the human body. Stick with the pretty computer animations.
- Medical bureaucracy is the longest part of getting treated. There are so many CYA forms. And you don’t get pain meds to help you through.
- Despite the terrible shape our healthcare system is in, most of the people I dealt with were great: professional, sympathetic, friendly and some even chuckled at jokes they had probably heard a billion times before.
- Pain Management after surgery is good; extended pain management is bad. Don’t make excuses; get off the pain meds as soon as you can.
- A nasty side- effect of surgery: constipation. Initially, you do not want to go; then you must go but can’t; then you go. Another reason to get off pain meds: opioids cause constipation. “Kids, don’t do drugs, you won’t be able to poop.”
- Get out of bed, walk around, breathe fresh air. You don’t want to, but it is better therapy than PT and drugs. The medical people say it, believe it.
- Socks. Forget about it. Or buy one of the fancy sock tools. If someone had videoed me putting on socks in the hotel room, all 15 minutes of it would have gone viral.
- If you have two floors, have two walkers. Getting up and down steps is a challenge without the extra burden of having to haul something with you or making someone take it up or down. If you leave the walker on the wrong floor, you are trapped and have to sit on the last step forever!
- Biggest lesson: never ever under-estimate the value of friends and family. Remember that it is almost as difficult for them as you.
A storm passing by during a Caribbean cruise.
I do not fly as much as I used to, in fact I only did three round-trips this year and one was to Europe. Despite the discomforts of air travel today, there are moments worth remembering. So, from a flight home from St. Louis, with the help of my DX0 and Perfectly Clear V3, an interpretation of Airplane Clouds:
Ruth and I made a fantastic trip to the Mediterranean in August. We went to some amazing places, met some great people, made some good friends, ate some excellent food, and drank (a lot of) really good wine.
Go to our Trip Story Page to see the trip, the story, and the images. The page is a section of my Galleries, so the image copies are much better quality then I can post on this website.
The Florida Keys
The Caribbean... the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Grand Turks, and at sea
April- May, 2019
The Grand Turks
A Rural Gated Community, with communal mailbox
May- June, 2019
Lensball, assisted by a shot-glass repurposed from what it is normally used for in Key West.
April 2, 2019
A bit of explanation:
The images above are from the FL DOC Road Prison on Big Pine Key. There used to be approximately 60 inmates housed who did basic road maintenance all up and down the Key's roads. The state decided several years ago that infrastructure repairs were too much to spend and closed the prison, contracting the roadwork out instead. The prison sits empty now.
The following are from the Big Blue Hole on Big Pine Key.
This now scenic stop is actually an abandoned rock quarry that was used for local roads and dug in the 30s and 40s.
The pond in front out our home is visited by beautiful and graceful birds. They walk elegantly on long legs, brilliant white feathers glowing in the sun, occasionally dipping long beaks into the water for a snack. When done they spread beautiful wings and soar off to another spot.
And then there is this guy...