Sunday, December 29, 2013
One week since being discharged from the hospital after having two stents inserted into heart arteries. Been instructed to not lift or move anything over 10 pounds to avoid damaging the surgery entry points. Two incisions were made next to my scrotum where instruments and the stents entered the arteries...then fed along the pipes all the way into the heart, some 4 feet away. Kinda neat maneuver. I was released within 12 hours of completing the operation(s).
So far, no problems. Have been packing up clothes, books, and other small items. Will take them to my new storage unit in Ferndale, Washington, in a couple days. The big items such as bed, couch, recliner, bookcase, etc. will be taken to storage on Wednesday by a truck I will rent from U&-Haul. I will then spend a day or two cleaning, scrubbing floors, and shampooing carpets with my carpet cleaner. Other residents have told me that current management brags about confiscating the 500.00 "damage deposit" when residents move out. I must have my deposit returned in full, so will take great care in cleaning up before I leave.
The hospital has set up a internet access to monitor my medical status as I progress on my next walk. I really look forward to that communication, as in the past, I always walked "blind", with no technical awareness of how I was doing, except for my own non-technical observations; which limitations got me into difficulties more than once. I will take various tests and feed the results back to my Doctor / Nurse, including reactions to changing medications along the way.
Today, I broke down and took SAM out for a 2-hour walk and roll through the hills of Bellingham. Except for being a bit short of breath the first 15 minutes or so, the ole' body performed without complaint or pain.
Have received e-mail from my New Zealand friends Rory and wife Molly, who have been "homeless by choice" and walking / camping for some 12 years. They intend to arrive in Los Angeles in early March 2014, to commence a 2-year walk throughout the USA. I will be arriving in Los Angeles area approximately March 2014. It is a possibility that we can meet up for a bit. I look forward to that.
My lease says I must vacate the apartment on Wednesday, January 01, 2014. Because of the restriction to my movements imposed by the hospital, I hope the management will allow me an extra 2 - 3 days so I can complete move-out and clean-up. Otherwise, they my scarf up my $500.00 deposit.
We shall see.
I am anxious to walk and roll SAM & ME down the roadways once again.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Like turning to a new chapter, Christmas Day greeted me with the realization that I can no longer be so cavalier about treatment received from hospitals. In 1995, a heart attack left me with little or no awareness that anything unusual had happened. 19 years later, it nearly visited me again.
Evolving over the past 4 years, my purpose for extreme walking has settled into the comfy niche of promoting awareness of the LYMPHATIC SYSTEM.
In 1991, upon learning of the "terminal" nature of Breast Cancer placed on Cri's shoulders, I asked myself why...then what could I do for her. Attacking numerous internet and printed volumes I came across the words..."...and kills cancer cells.". I was reading a text about the Lymphatic System within our own bodies...a complete system within us which at the same time controls movement of WATER and comprises the major part of our bodily IMMUNE SYSTEM.
Never before hearing about such a thing within my own body, I quickly learned that the Lymphatic System is a system similar to our blood circulatory system...series of pipes - large and small - reaching into every measure of our body. Whereas the blood CIRCULATORY system carries nutrients to the innumerable cells throughout our body - pushed along by a pump, our Heart, the Lymphatic System is a ONE WAY system: collecting interstitial fluids (excess water) from the far reaches of our body cavity, transporting it through the Lymph Pipes back towards the center (Heart).
More activities of the Lymphatic System can be discussed. FIRST and paramount must be clearly understood that: the Lymphatic System Has NO Pump. The fluids cannot therefore move within the Lymph Pipes. To be able to move the fluids, the sides of the Lymph Pipes must be squeezed by muscle groups lining the Lymph Pipes throughout our body...much like squeezing toothpaste through a tube.
We all recall receiving the admonition to ..."get up and walk...". I do not recall anyone ever telling me why !
OK, so we can now recover and move the Lymph Fluids about our body. Much of this fluid will be processed by major organs...much of that excreted as "pee".
But something else is going on in our Lymphatic System: within our Lymphatic System reside countless LYMPH NODES. Within our Lymph Nodes are produced White Blood Cells (also produced within our Bone Morrow). White Blood Cells are the essence of our IMMUNE SYSTEM.
Together with Interstitial liquids, our Lymphatic System sucks up any intruders which may have found their way into our bodies, including toxins, viruses, bacteria, etc. not to forget CANCER CELLS adrift throughout our bodies. These - and many more - elements are transported together with the Lymphatic Fluids through our body by means of the Lymphatic System.
As Lymphatic Fluids are passed through our Lymphatic Pipes, they also migrate through our LYMPH NODES, wherein lie in wait, our White Blood "Immune" Cells.
A challenge is given out by our Immune Cells to passing intruders: FRIEND OR FOE !
Friends are allowed to pass through the Lymph Nodes. FOE's are instantly attacked and KILLED.
OK: So much more is going on with our Lymphatic System...but the above is the essence of my interest.
Please be clear: I am not trained in medicine of any type. I share here that which I have discovered (or been satisfied of) for myself. This is what I have done with this knowledge:
Christiane was given a short time to live. Together Cri and I began to message each other. My desire was to put into action the benefits of the Lymphatic System. Cri was already versed and trained in REFLEXOLOGY. Together, we evolved a system whereby we messaged each other's body for at least five hours each day, every day. This continued FOR FIVE YEARS !
By that time, Cri was without outward signs of cancer. Cri, alone, sailed our ocean-going yacht into the cold lonely San Juan Islands.
I then...and now...attribute Christians survival to our dedicated efforts to activate her Lymphatic System...to give her body the chance to do what it was designed to do...KEEP HER HEALTHY.
One morning at the breakfast table, Cri told me that she would like me to leave...she wanted to continue her fight against cancer alone. Devastated, I rationalized that it was she who had cancer...not I.. Only she could decide how to fight it. I left my home, my wife, my yacht, and all my personal possessions. I fought off a heart attack a few weeks later, continuing the next 15 years to take care of my Lymphatic System.
On January 12, 2001, Cri passed away.
In 2009, I decided I could promote awareness of the benefits of walking...especially by older people - I will be 80 years old in a few months. Paramount to my good health has been stimulation of the Lymphatic System. Leading among activities to stimulate my Lymphatic System has been WALKING.
Fascinating is discovery that my recent bout in the hospital was directly caused by my four-month layoff from my current walk across America. In North Dakota, I curtailed my walk for some weeks due to damage to my left leg tendon. This interruption led to stopping all together the final 1,000 miles to The Peace Arch.
According to the Surgeon who treated my inability to breathe, my lungs filled with interstitial water; my Heart, being too weak to pump the excess water out of my lungs, my breathing stopped. His explanation was that if I had not been walking so actively for so many years, the breathing problem would have surfaced much sooner.
Subsequent medication apparently drained off the excess water through the kidney.
This whole sequence is a fuzzy explanation - at least to me -, but I will work it out.
One more good thing to come from my experience from this week's hospitalization: it is clear to me that the hospital has taken it upon themselves to "take my hand".
Mary Wright, RN, Case Manager with the Northwest Regional Council, assigned to me by the hospital, spent many hours in my apartment last night - CHRISTMAS EVE - going over numerous hospital-generated documents and discussing how I was going to become primary participant in my own health program as SAM and ME proceed.
...OH, and good news: I have re-gained my AARP SUPPLEMENTAL Insurance - at $120.00 / month. Together with MEDICARE, which is deducted from my Social Security $$ by Uncle Sam, I need not bother with the provisions of OBAMACARE.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Yesterday, Sunday, December 22, 2013, I was released from the hospital.
I checked myself into ER on Thursday, being unable to breathe while lying down. ER determined that there was considerable "water" in my lungs, with the heart not being strong enough to pump it out; i.e., the heart was producing at only 30% efficiency.
Further tests - electronic and psychical - determined that of the six arteries making up the heart itself, two were inoperable from the 1995 heart attack; two were currently nearly plugged with plaque; and two arteries seemed to be OK for duty.
A procedure was run on the two nearly plugged arteries, resulting in insertion of two "stents" inside the arteries, designed to hold the artery open to allow blood to flow into the heart.
(That means that in 1995, no attempt was made to treat the arteries damaged by the 1995 heart attack).
How do I feel? A bit tentative! When I was wheeled out of the hospital, my right knee was VERY sore....and I had been suffering from a headache since returning from the operating theater the evening before. Upon driving myself home yesterday, sight in both eyes blurred...and I felt weak and unsteady on my feet...could I have suffered a concussion???
I welcomed an invitation to a wonderful dinner - I was very hungry from not eating yesterday.
This morning, Monday, December 23, the knee is VERY sore to bend. The headache is gone. Eyes are somewhat impaired - I see floating images ... some even revolving...images that are not there !
While being transferred from the "trolley" to the operating table, an inflatable rubber bladder was quickly (I mean instantly) inflated under my body;...as my body was vaulted into the air, it was grabbed by the two attendants and "floated" onto the operating table...only this time, they overshot, my body coming to rest half way down the far side of the table leg with the attendant's body catching mine. I wonder if I was later dropped again, injuring my knee and bumping by head..
The "operation" itself seems to have gone well...I can breathe just fine once again. I question, however...: "where did all that water come from"...and where did it go .
Since I am not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds, final move from my apartment must wait 10 days. This will make SAM and ME late in leaving the apartment - must move a few heavy things to storage across town - ...in any event, the injured leg will not support the extra weight for a few days either.
Bellingham has experienced a bit of cold wet snow, followed by a few days of sleet-like rain .
Assuming the leg heals, SAM and ME should be on our walk and roll by January 5 or 6.
Friday, December 13, 2013
USA / CANADA BORDER CROSSING
In 1814, the Peace Arch was built straddling the border of the United States and Canada at the western end of the nearly 3,000 mile border...the longest undefended border in the world. The walk and roll of SAM and ME begins and ends at this Peace Arch. Our first departure was March 20, 2010. Yesterday, December 12, 2013, became our fourth departure, which will see SAM and ME circumnavigating the entire lower 48 states...a walk and roll of some 10,000 miles, returning us to the Peace Arch in a mid 2015.
This roadway, Portal Way, begins at the Peace Arch and ends near Bellingham, Washington, some 32 miles distant to the South. Yesterday, SAM and ME walked Portal Way for some 20 miles, having already walked a couple weeks ago some 26 miles. Between now and January 01, 2014, we will continue to walk short chunks south of Bellingham. On January 01, we begin our quest in earnest with our first major destination being San Francisco, some 900 miles distant. We plan to cross the Golden Gate Bridge on or about Valentine Day, February 14, 2014.
The border town of Blaine, Washington is the start of Portal Drive...which is "old 99" highway, travelling from mid Canada, across Central America, and ending near the tip of South America
From Portal Way (Avenue), Blaine Marina sends SAM and ME off on our first mile from the Peace Arch.
Please say HELLO to Sally. Sally, driving her pickup truck, stopped to send SAM and ME on our way.
Sally lives in Ferndale, some 10 miles from Blaine. She is employed at the Blaine, Marina. Sally is the first of many new friends SAM and ME will meet along the roadways as we circle America.. In addition to my first HUG, Sally slipped into my hand, two twenty dollar bills...her donation to help supplement our travel funds.
Our saga is financed only by our Social Security $$...and donations here and there. Thank you, Sally.
Main street (Portal Way) in downtown Blaine, Washington.
The Peace Arch, standing tall astride the USA / CANADA Border.
Please say HELLO to June. June met SAM and ME some three years ago, as we began our first walk from the Peace Arch. June works at Peace Arch Park...yesterday, she was pruning bushes in the light drizzle. She remembered SAM and ME and has been a regular reader of our blog as we completed the first 3 + years crossing America 5 times coast to coast walking and rolling some 19,000 miles.
See you in a couple years, June...
Please say HELLO to George and his puppy Biscuit. George lives near Peace Arch Park, where he walks daily with his dog. George has completed many long distance walks in the recent - and not so recent years...keeps us healthy, says George.
On patrol round the clock are Border Police.
Please say HELLO to Mark. Before leaving Blaine to return to Bellingham, stopped in the Blaine Bakery and Coffee Shop for a snack and cuppa. Mark, sitting with his friend at the next table, inquired as to what I was doing...and joined in a conversation about walking after retirement. It is for folks like yourself, Mark, that SAM and ME are out walking...offering "awareness" of our Lymphatic System...the Immune System of our bodies, which is in need of daily exercise to keep us healthy from all manner of disease.
A waterfront private home in Blaine.
Please say HELLO to John. John is the owner of a local Convenience Store / Gas Station, where SAM and ME stopped in on our walk and roll to the Peace Arch...and again on our way back to Bellingham. As I walked into his business on our return from Blaine, he confessed that he had searched the internet, found our blog, and shared with other customers that SAM and ME are for real...
SAM and ME made a half dozen new friends today...and we were on the road for only five hours.
Good start for our new walk across and around America.
Goodies in our apartment are slowly being packed into boxes and / or given to others. We should have no problem to put items into long-term storage...ready to spend our last night sleeping on the floor of our apartment on New Years Eve.
At daybreak of New Years Day, 2014, SAM and ME will be on our way.
Did you know that our white blood cells - immune cells within our Lymphatic System, actually KILL Cancer Cells...
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Along the shores of Puget Sound lie dozens of communities - large and small - within one of the finest micro climates of the world...affording year-round out door activities for millions of residents and visitors from VANCOUVER and VICTORIA, B.C., CANADA in the north to SEATTLE-TACOMA, WASHINGTON in the south.
The village of EDMONDS, WASHINGTON is situated on a rather steep hillside facing west overlooking the cold pristine waters of Puget Sound...the magnificent OLYMPIC MOUNTAINS - with 10 year-round glaciers and extensive rain forest providing a breathtaking backdrop. It was in Edmonds that SAM and ME participated in a 11 km walk sponsored by SOUND STEPPERS Volkssport Club, one of dozens of active organizations providing activities for members and guests in virtually every conceivable interest imaginable.
A few photographs of our 2-hour walk through and around Edmonds are offered below:
Over my left shoulder is one of the many super ferries plying Puget Sound.
Above photo is a rather large MONKEY TREE...each branch a replica of a monkey tail.
Christmas Decorations are already adorning Edmond's Chamber Of Commerce.
Two members of SOUND STEPPERS cross in front of one of the many MURALS painted on buildings of downtown Edmonds.
Edmonds Boardwalk MURAL.
Rising from Edmond's waterfront, this picturesque country road reaches I-5 and the Pan-American Highway of "old 99", beginning in northern Canada and ending deep within South America.
Lots of hills in Edmonds. SAM and ME barely kept up with the last of the 50-something walkers on this cool overcast day- with a bit of drizzle to make us feel at home -
We have submitted our written notice that as of December 31, 2013, we will move out of our apartment. I have experienced many "closures"; i.e., moving on...leaving loved ones behind...stepping out once again into the unknown. This time, however, I am wrestling with thoughts of; this may be our final "home".
My mantra...over the next hill...around the next corner...awaits something - awaits someone; keep SAM and ME walking and rolling forward.
Much of what little remains...a few books, a bed, couple chest of drawers, a swing recliner, a gorgeous leather couch - a "love" gift from E, glass kitchen table with 4 chairs; crystal - china - sterling - home-crafted clothing ("love gifts" from Cri ), and about 15 pair of shoes and boots...; many treasures being set aside, being offered to "others".
SAM and ME will walk and roll from Bellingham on January 01, 2014. Our detailed route has been selected to circumnavigate the Rocky Mountains - counterclockwise. Upon further consideration, we have also detailed a route which once again circumnavigates the entire "lower 48" states...this time on the roadways on the extreme edge of our country.
When SAM and ME leave Phoenix, Arizona - about March 01, 2014, we will decide which route we will take. Which ever we choose, reaching a "destination" is no longer an objective. Being a long-time sailor, I know the real value of any endeavor is the excitement of EACH DAY...of each new friendship...to look into the eyes and heart of the next wild animal to step before me and mentally converse...
For the first time, SAM and ME will have available to us, our full $$ Social Security - except for cost of "enforced": insurance and $150.00/month cost for our computer and cell. By judicious budgeting, we will be able to finance our "unending" walk. We will take SPIA-2 (our 1995 Mazda MPV - with 262,000 miles), making SPIA-2 our "home" for the foreseeable future.
We would very much like to align with a "cause", promoting Cancer, MS, Arthritis, or some such. I cannot, however, bring myself to ask for donations, knowing (having researched the subject) that up to 90% of $$ donations are, nearly always, retained by the organizers instead of the donations reaching those for whom the donations are intended. We will, instead, continue to promote "awareness" ... firstly to our own LYMPHATIC SYSTEM...the center of our body immune system and caretaker of our bodily health; such as: Awareness that one in 1,000 of us have even heard of our Lymphatic System and have no idea where it is, what it does, let alone understand that we must make DAILY efforts to make our Lymphatic System function.
To the best of our ability, we will continue to blog daily.