Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Neck X-Ray and Back MRI Pics

Yes, it is yet another medical update - but this time I have pictures!  (Instead of taking pictures of their computer screen like I usually do they printed out some of the images for me.  Of course, I have never tried to scan anything with our printer before and it wasn't happening easily so I took pictures of my printouts to post here.  If you look close, you can see the crease where I folded the papers.)  Yesterday I had a follow up appointment for my neck surgery of March 30.  It seems to be healing well, which is good and means I don't have to wait longer to have my back surgery.  What is noteworthy of this neck x-ray is that you can see the screw that broke through the bone of the upper vertebrae and is hanging down into the area where they removed the disc.  There is still one screw holding on top and both below, so as long as it continues to fill in with bone and actually fuse I should have no problems.  I have no pain or discomfort in my neck or arm at all anymore.

My back is a different story.  Even my untrained eye can spot the disc herniation in the MRI pics below, it's that obvious.  (The disc below the bulging one is the one I had fixed 11 years ago.)  But, of course, no one had to tell me that - I have been feeling it get steadily worse for almost 3 months now.   So after a brief discussion of my neck, they moved on to my back.  I was very thankful for this, I thought they may make me wait until my scheduled back consultation on July 12.  They pshawed that notion quickly and said that they had all the information they need and didn't see the point in making me wait painfully for a couple more weeks.  I wholeheartedly agreed!  Still, with scheduling, my back surgery - lumbar spine microdiscectomy - will not take place for about 3 more weeks.  I've been taken off work until healed and I'm on oxycontin now, with percoset on top of that for the bad times, so if I post anything goofy in the next couple weeks - I blame it on the drugs!

Monday, June 27, 2011

U.D.O. - Leatherhead

I tried to post this when it was released, but Blogger changed their rules on how to post videos. So, while I experiment in how to post a video correctly and get the results I want, Here is U.D.O.'s first single off their new album, Rev-Raptor.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Garden Gate Project

Yesterday I managed to cross several things off my to-do list.  I feel like if I don't get things done now it may be fall before I get the chance, after my back is fixed and healed (hopefully).  So I popped some extra pills and I did several small things with my wife's help,  but the main project I accomplished was adding a front rail and gate to the gardens.
 It may not look like much, but I took the time to get all the measurements correct and keep everything square and plumbed up.  Slowed by my back, I spent much of the day on this project while my wife went out on the lake with friends.  (I haven't been on the boat yet this year, and probably won't be until I'm fixed.)  While I had all the stuff out I also replaced a rail that was rotted by the side door.  The new wood doesn't match the old over there, but we hardly use that door anymore and it's not very visible from the front of the house so we're not too worried about it.  I think I'm done now, the pain is winning.  Today is a rest day.

More pictures after the break:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Right L5 Disc Compression

Well, I figured out that now Blogger wants us to add Youtube videos directly by url instead of copying the embed html.  The only problem is I can only get this size, not bigger.  Oh well, I'll have to make do for now and look into it further later.

I received news yesterday that the MRI showed I have a right L5 disc compression, exactly what you see in this short video.  Certainly not good news, but it is exactly what I expected.  I have to wait almost 3 weeks for my consultation even though I will be in the same office of the same neurosurgeon on Tuesday for a follow up about my neck surgery.  Sigh.  Well I made it this long, I hope I have a few more weeks left in me.  Also, that other thing I was worried about turned out to be nothing,  I had 2 tests and both came back negative.  Very good news, indeed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cottonwood, Strawberries and... Summer!

Happy first day of Summer!  The cottonwood trees are sending their fluffy white nuisance crap everywhere again.  They fly in the air looking like snow, get into the garage and create what look like huge dust bunnies, cover every inch of the lawn and stick in every cobweb.  At least it only lasts a couple weeks.  I hear they are illegal to plant in Madison anymore because of all the mess they make.

Here, Kate is picking more strawberries.  This has become a daily job, as new berries are ripening constantly.  Unfortunately many of them are small, probably due to the weather and rainfall though we do try to water them on days that no rain is expected.  These are June-bearing strawberries, so there may only be a week or so more of picking to do.  Just as well.  If they were ever-bearing then I'm sure we would tire of them by late July or August!
One of my next projects, as long as my back allows, is to add a rail and gate to the front of the gardens.  The ones that are on the sides were an afterthought that I added basically just to help hold up the chicken wire (remember, I was kind of making it up as I went along).  A rail in front will do the same, and a proper gate will make it so much easier to enter the path in between the raised beds.  Last weekend I bought all the lumber and hardware to do this, so maybe this weekend if I have a chance.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day 2011

Yes, it's a repost from the last Pic Dump.  I meant to save it for today, so here it is.  Yes, I have father issues.  We are having my wife's family over today and grilling out.  I hope you're doing what you like today.  Have fun!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Percocet, Please

And again, it has been days since I posted.  There must be something about the month of June.  Anyway, it has been a pretty normal week.  All I have to report is just medical stuff again, so brace yourself!

I had an appointment with my regular doctor yesterday.  The purpose of this visit was to get the ball rolling on my possible next back surgery because I just can't take the pain anymore, even with all the percocet I've been taking.  Physical therapy exercises have not worked and are now too painful to do effectively.  I await the hospital to call me to schedule an MRI soon, and the sooner the better.  Those results will most likely send me to see a surgeon, possibly the same one who operated on my neck at the end of March.  I fully expect to have to have the surgery again in the same spot as I did in 2000.  They did a partial discectomy then and now I may have to have the rest removed and have a fusion.  Back then it was my left leg that was getting the pain, now it is my right leg, the same leg I broke last August.  I still use the cane regularly, more when I'm out than when I'm at home, all because of the pain and tingling in that leg from the affected nerve in my lower back.  This would be the third surgery for me in less than a year.  Yippee Skippee.

I also got some news that could make my back seem trivial.  I'm not ready to mention that problem to anyone yet, but I will find out more next week.  I'm agnostic so I won't ask for your prayers, but I could use some good luck thrown my way for a change!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Things Done... Today!

While we did get some things done yesterday, it was more the usual domestic chores that we did.  Today, with nicer weather, we knocked out some of the projects I listed.  It seemed a bit breezy so I won't get to spray painting the front handrails, but we weeded, removed grass, and added mulch to the area back by the lilac bush.  It actually looks better than I thought it would, it really makes the plants we have back there stand out more.  On the back side of the lilac is the corner we call the 'compost corner,' where we throw plant clippings, weeds, and other compostable  yard waste.  Eventually when we get or build an actual composter, I think we may move the compost corner to the other side of the back yard where it is less noticeable and plant other things behind the lilac.

We also added more mulch to the corner of the tree area where we replanted the peony from where our new back steps are.  It has grown well but will not bloom this year due to the Spring replanting we did.  In the Fall I think we will replant it again so it is more centered between the two hostas you see here.  When we did it earlier the hostas had barely started to come up so we didn't realize how close it actually was.  Besides that, we also water sealed the new back steps today.  It took probably an hour with the two of us working on it.  They aren't big steps but there was a lot of surface area to cover.  Depending on if it needs it, we may do that again in the Fall, before the inevitable snow and ice of Winter.

Aside from all that, we did some more planting in the garden so, again, I'll have another update over at our Garden Blog.  We tasted our first home grown strawberries today!  And before I forget, congrats to the Brewers who finished a sweep of the Cardinals today to take over first place in the NL Central!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Things To Do... Later

Historically - all 2 years of it - June has been a pretty light posting month for me and this year seems to be no different.  In this case, no news is good news.  The week started with temps in the upper 90F's and ended with temps in the 50's and 60's, supposedly good, cool weather this weekend to help get some outside projects done.  We need to wash and water seal the new back steps soon.  I need to take a wire brush to the front railings and paint.  And lastly, we need to dig out some sod and put in mulch in the corner of the back yard by the lilac.
Today, the overcast skies seems to be affecting our energy and none of those are getting done.  After I slept in late, we have shopped, cleaned the house and mowed instead.  Kate also did some weeding in the garden.  There has been progress in that area so I will be posting over at our Garden Blog later (check out the strawberries!).  In this picture, note the light pink peonies are in bloom and also take another peek at our neighbor Jane's sun and moon collection on her garage.  I think they look pretty dang neat!

Monday, June 6, 2011

There Is No 'Other'

'My Other Favorites' list in the right column is now 'My Favorite Sites'.  Just having the word 'other' in there seemed to diminish them somehow, other favorites, which just never quite sounded right.  I guess I only called it that because it followed the blogs list and the podcast list.  And all of them are exactly what it says: I listen to all those podcasts, read all those blogs and visit my favorite sites as daily as I can manage.

I haven't been writing much lately, but there hasn't been much to write about.  Nothing out of the ordinary has been happening other than I took a 4 day weekend to try and settle down my sciatica (I hate that word but it conveys my meaning in a concise way).  I have been making myself get on the exercise bike more and do more physical therapy exercises for my back, mainly different stretches and planks to get those muscles back into form.  If I saw the doc, therapy is the first thing he will recommend, so I want to be able to say I've been doing it already when I see him for my physical at the end of July.  Hopefully, if I maintain it, this will be a much smaller issue for me then.  Pain is very good motivation.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pic Dump 31

Already another Pic Dump, which means I've spent too much time surfing lately.  Same as usual, click the pic for original size, some may be NSFW, etc etc.  Enjoy!

As always, thanks to the fine sites on 'My Other Favorites' list on the right!  More after the break!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Look At The Yard

I have taken a day off from work today to try and get my back to settle down a bit, so - inspired by Delcatto's post this morning - and as I get ready to watch The Mike O'meara Show live - I thought I would limp out and get a couple pics of how our yard is shaping up this Spring.  The sun is not out, but it had to be now before the rain comes later.*
The irises outside the back porch are starting to bloom.  I know they are mostly yellow, but I thought there should be more purple and pink than this.

The Hostas have filled out around the Silver Maple in the back yard.  If you look beyond the tree on the right you'll see the Bleeding Heart plant is still flowering.  And in the top right corner, the lilac bush just finished for the year.

After starting with just a few plants last year, and adding a few early this year, the Lily Of The Valley is starting to fill out nicely.  Hopefully even more next year.  As you can see, they are just done flowering.

At the bottom of our new back stairs one of our Peonies is getting ready to burst forth in large blooms!
If you're interested in the gardens, I updated that site just the other day.  Other than that, blogger still won't let me post videos and I have no idea why.  Probably something stupid I'm doing or not doing.  Maybe I'll look into it later...

*Update: 2:00pm - Of course it is no longer cloudy and no rain materialized.  The sun has been shining for quite some time now.  Meteorologists are well paid hypothesizers.