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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Transitioning........

7:57 am - Thursday - February 28th - Wittmann, AZ - 47º F, 76% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the north by northeast.......clear, blue sky today with a forecast high of 73º F.

My kind of weather!

Wednesday was kind of a transition day for me in my recovery from surgery #2 in which I moved from being 'in pain' to just being extremely uncomfortable.  I took my last Percocet Tuesday evening about 8 pm, and haven't needed one since.  Since then Tylenol has been sufficient to keep the discomfort (not really pain anymore) around a 3 on a 1-10 scale.  In keeping with my doctor's instructions I have just been concentrating on being quiet, resting, napping, and doing nothing constructive whatsoever.  The post surgical swelling has begun to subside, and I find I can turn my head further to the left and right.

I watched what I call a lot of 'bad TV' on Wednesday.....just one terrible 'B' (Blade: Trinity; Enemy of the State, and.....hmmmm.....I forget the 3rd one) movie after another, but it passed the time.  I did watch 'Maltese Falcon' (hardly a 'B' movie) from beginning to end.  What a well written script! To me Humphrey Bogart will always be Sam Spade.  I did not even venture outside the friendly confines of the Newell once all day long. TLE headed into our host's home in the early afternoon to play cards most of the afternoon with Darlene leaving me to vegetate, and nap.

The temp got into the mid 70's Wednesday, and for several hours ALL of our windows were open, and we were running our Fantastic Fan to draw some cool air into the coach.....what a change from a week ago!

Now that surgery #2 is behind us we can now make a few plans, and appointments such as dental appointments, and an appointment for me at the Pacific Eye Institute to take care of the cataract in my right eye, plus now we have a better idea when we will arrive back in California to see our kids again.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

In search of symmetry.......

7:35 am - Wednesday - February 27th - Wittmann, AZ - 51º F, 65% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the north by northeast.....mostly cloudy today with a forecast high of 73º F.

I slept pretty well Monday night considering that I was being awakened every couple of hours so nurses could take my vitals, or because I had to go to the bathroom.  Going to the bathroom under normal circumstances is not a difficult proposition, but when you are hooked up to 3, or 4 machines the difficulty factor increases significantly.   Especially when you are hooked up to an IV.....they (nurses, doctors) usually do not want you to become disconnected from said IV, so you must take it......the IV and the stand to which it is attached, including monitoring equipment.....with you to the bathroom.  The stand has wheels, but you must unplug it from the wall socket, snake it out from behind the bed, move the table upon which your drinking water, kleenex, phone, and other useful articles reside, and then drag it behind you, or push it in front of you as you trundle off to the 'patients only' restroom.  

Another thing you don't think about when you are being continuously hydrated via IV is that you will have to go to the bathroom much more often, so your entire routine revolves around getting unhooked from from the various machines to which you are attached so you can go to the bathroom, then upon return to the bed getting hooked up to all those contraptions once again, and pushing your IV stand back into its position behind the bed and table.    In all each trip to the bathroom consumes about 15 minutes of your time.  Once you are finally tucked back into your bed, and comfortable once again you know that in another 1.5 to 2 hours you will start that process all over again.  

Then there are the interruptions I mentioned earlier when they come to take your vitals (blood pressure, pulse, etc.), or to bring you pills to swallow, which are more noticeable when you are awakened from a sound sleep during the night.  Fortunately, that only goes on for about 24 hours and then the surgeon (Dr. Tritle) arrives to remove the drain tube from your neck, pronounce you fit to be discharged from the hospital, and signs your discharge papers.  You willingly go through all of that to get to the money shot below......


No more asymmetrical face....thank you Dr. Tritle

.....once again your facial symmetry, absent for several years, has been restored.  The lump which first appeared on your right cheek about 4 years ago has been excised at last, has been found to be benign, and all that is left is to recover from the surgery, and get back to your vagabond life.

TLE, who spent the night with our niece, Christina, at her home in Flagstaff, arrived back at the hospital around 8:15 am just as I was finishing my two egg omelette, and English muffin.  Within an hour my attending nurse, Mark, arrived with my discharge papers, a few post surgery care instructions, and then we were on our way downstairs to the car and the 2.5 hour drive home.  TLE drove, as I napped, sang along to the music on the 60's channel, and just generally stared out at the beautiful landscape.  We were home just before 12:30 pm, and within minutes I was relaxing in my recliner.

Thanks for stopping by!


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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A cut above, or below, as the case may be.....

1:01 pm - Tuesday - February 26th - Wittmann, AZ - 66º F, 25% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the east by southeast......blue skies today with a forecast high of 68º F.

We checked out of our hotel just before 6 am on Monday, and were at Flagstaff Medical Center by 6:10 am.  We found a parking spot right in front....I would hope so at 6:10 am in the morning!  We walked into the hospital and headed for the pre-op registration office arriving about 6:15 am.  By 7 am my name was called, and we were led into the surgical center where I was placed in a curtained room to change out of my clothes, and into the ubiquitous backless dressing gown.

TLE then took this picture of the cyst in my right cheek saliva gland......


 Before....

.....the surgery was scheduled for 8:30 am, and Dr. Tritle stopped by about 8:10 am to apply a 'smiley face' to my right cheek, so there would be no error......

 Dr. Tritle put a smiley face on my right cheek so there would be no mistake

JUST IN CASE YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE GORY DETAILS STOP READING HERE AS THERE ARE GRAPHIC PICTURES FOLLOWING

.....the last thing I remember, just like the last three times I've had surgery, was having an oxygen mask put over my mouth, which also includes the anesthesia.....the next thing I knew I was waking up 2.5 hours later.....about 11 am.....from the surgery.  Where the large golf ball like lump was is now a small crater where the rather large cyst called home for the last few years.  That 'crater' will gradually fill back in over the next 6 months.....

Just after I woke up.....I had a drain for about 24 hours

.....according to Dr. Tritle it took over 50 stitches to close everything up....as you can see from the picture above the incision begins about the middle of my ear, and runs down my jaw line then below the jaw line for total length of about 5-6 inches.....that was all pealed back to get at the cyst.  It took me most of the rest of the day to get over the effects of the anesthesia which left my mind in kind of a fog, and my stomach feeling slightly woozy.  I was authorized by Dr. Tritle to have as many as two Percocets every four hours, but I was able to get by on one every 5-8 hours before the pain would rise above a 6 on a 1-10 scale.  With one Percocet the pain was between a 2 and 3 on the 10 point scale.

For the first 24 hours I had a drain running out of my lower jaw area to a bottle kept in a pocket in my dressing gown, which was periodically emptied....by the time the draine was removed the discharge was down to a minor trickle.....  

Just after the drain was removed 

......frankly the pain, and extreme discomfort I was expecting did not materialize.  I was, understandably,  just a little uncomfortable for the first 6 hours, but then my disposition improved dramatically.  I am able to eat regular food.....no straws involved.  There are no bandages engulfing the right side of my face as I expected......just a long, ugly incision, which will improve in appearance over time.

The one thing I love about Flagstaff Medical Center is you can order anything off their menu anytime between the hours of 7 am to 7 pm.  For lunch I had a bowl of tomato soup, and a cup of coffee.  For dinner I had breakfast......scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, a fruit cup, and a glass of Sierra Mist (soft drink).  You just pick up the phone, dial 12345, and place your order.  Within 15 minutes the food is delivered to your room, and it is actually pretty good food!

So, now I am in recovery mode for the second time this month.  My first surgery back on February 5th is a distant memory, and pretty much healed.  Now I start the process all over again, but all is well in Whatsnewell land.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday, February 25, 2019

The day before tomorrow......

4:35 am - Monday - February 25th - Flagstaff, AZ - 11° F,  59% humidity, wind  3 mph out of the southwest......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of  42° F.  We'll be leaving for Flagstaff Medical Center in a few minutes.

We were up Sunday before 8 am.  Our Jello goal was to be out the door and on our way up to Flagstaff by 12 pm.  As it was, we were out the door by 11:50 am and on the road.  We had about a 2.5 hour, 150+ mille drive north to Flagstaff, and hoped to arrive before 3 pm.  We stopped for gas, and a potty break around 70 minutes later....we had reentered snow country.....




.....the drive was completely uneventful, and we were on the outskirts of Flagstaff by 2:15 pm, and at our hotel for the night by 2:30 pm.  We used TRIVAGO to find a good deal on our hotel.  For those who watch TV you have no doubt seen a number of Booking.com ads.  Over the past two years pretty much every single good deal on hotels we have gotten ends up being a Booking.com deal.....I'm just sayin'.

In a few hours my parodidectomy will be completed, and then the recovery will begin.  I expect it will be a little more involved than my last surgery a few weeks ago, which, by the way is almost completely healed.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which over the course of a year adds up to enough to by a tank of diesel.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Clean air.......

8:17 am - Sunday - February 24th - Wittmann, AZ - 35º F, 76% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the north by northwest......partly cloudy/sunny with a forecast high of 62º F.  We leave for Flagstaff in a few hours.......we'll spend tonight at a hotel so we can be at the hospital at 6:30 am....two hours in advance of my surgery........wish me well!

When we first got up Saturday morning it was below freezing, and it apparently had been for long enough that our fresh water hose came close to freezing.  When I first turned on the kitchen faucet the water was coming out at a dribble, but over a few minutes the flow increased back to normal.  That is an indication that ice was beginning to form somewhere along the 60 plus feet of our hose.  Since we have to run our hose so far to the water connection my heated hose is of no use as it is only 20-25' long.

As soon as the outside temps warmed sufficiently I went outside to remove the old air cleaner which was last replaced 2/5/2015.....


The 4 year old filter has done its job, and now sits forlornly by the trailer awaiting its ultimate fate

.....removing the air filer is not very difficult.  The hard part is installing the replacement.....the task makes one wish he had an extra arm, if only for a few minutes.....


......there are three metal straps which must be loosened and/or removed to remove the filter, but before that you must loosen two clamps from the rubber ducting through which the air travels from the air cleaner to the turbo.....this entire rubber assembly must be removed before the air filter can be removed.  As I said, removing it is easy......getting the new one back in is another matter entirely......


......it probably took me close to an hour to get the new air cleaner installed and secured as one bolt on one of the straps had some bad threads and would not screw into the fixed nut, so I had to find a replacement....fortunately my friend Tom (our host) had a brand new one with pristine threads just a tad longer than the old one that did the trick.

Tom and Darlene had tickets to a free concert being held at the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in Wickenburg for Saturday.  They were unable to use them so we became the beneficiaries of their generosity.  The performance was at 3 pm so we left a little after 2 pm for the 25 minute drive into Wickenburg getting parked about 2:40 pm, and in our seats by 2:50 pm.  The band performing was the USAF Band of the Golden West, The Commanders Jazz Ensemble.  The jazz ensemble represents the Air Mobility Command at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, CA, and travel about 3 months a year giving free concerts around the country.  Of course one never knows what to expect for 'free', but I have to say what we witnessed so far exceeded any expectations we had that we found ourselves, along with the entire audience giving two standing ovations over the course of their 90 minute performance.....




They performed 16 or more songs over the 90 minutes finishing with a stirring rendition of 'Battle Hymn of the Republic, and then Stars and Stripes.  We were so impressed with their professionalism, and the quality of the presentation.  Our seats were perfect.......Row B (2nd row) right smack dab in the middle......up close and personal.  If you every have the chance to see them, or any of the various military branch orchestras, do it.....you will not be disappointed!

We were home a little after 5 pm in time to see another subtle, but beautiful sunset.......


.....as I grilled two filet mignons for our dinner I watched the sun slip below the western horizon once again.  Life is good.....in fact, it is better than good!

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which over the course of a year adds up to enough to by a tank of diesel.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Post deluge......

8:00 am - Saturday - February 23rd - Wittmann, AZ - 32º F, 91% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the north......clear blue skies today (no rain!) with a forecast high of 54º F.  Our 'city' water line came close to freezing last night.....close, but no cigar.  When I turned on the water this morning it slowed to a trickle, so I let it keep running for a few minutes and it gradually thawed out, and came back to full pressure.

As has been our habit the last few months we awoke to a continuation of the rain from the day/night before.  It continued raining most of the morning, finally coming to a merciful end around 3 pm.

Friday was also 'dump the black tank' day.  We had a brief window without rain around 10 am so I began the process only to be rained upon near the end of the process.  By the time I put everything away I was very cold, and a little damp.

Looking at the 14 day forecast for Wittmann it appears we are in for some much warmer weather in the short term with temps getting into the 70's over the next week, and then settling into the 60's....a nice change for sure....

 Wittmann weather looking quite good for the next two weeks!

.....after warming up inside the coach for a few minutes I walked over to the Newell Barn to see what Tom was up to on a Friday afternoon.  He was installing some new 12 volt LED lights in the storage bays on the 2002 Newell, so I hung out watching him install 4, or 5 all the while talking about this and that.  I enjoy talking with Tom as I always come away knowing more than I knew before.

As is often the case when a weather system spends itself and finally moves along we had a wonderful sunset Friday evening.....it was very brief, but glorious......



.....TLE and I spent the evening catching up on some recorded shows, including Blacklist, which was two one hour shows  back to back (no Blacklist for two weeks now), which answered a few more questions, but also added a few more at the same time.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which over the course of a year adds up to enough to by a tank of diesel.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Rock Bottom.......

8:21 am - Friday - February 22nd - Wittmann, AZ - 36º F, 99% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the east.....heavy cloud cover today with a forecast high of 48º F.  Rained steadily ALL night long....still sprinkling as I write.

Thursday we awoke to the gentle sound of rain on the roof, and except for a brief respite around 10 am, it rained continuously all day long.  We had a date to meet my niece, Heather, over in Glendale at Rock Bottom Brewing (7640 Bell Road, Glendale, AZ).....Heather is the daughter of TLE's sister, Phyllis, with whom we hooked up in Flagstaff a few weeks ago.  We pay a visit to Rock Bottom at least once a year when we are in Wittmann.  We love their brews, and their food.....both are consistent, and top notch.

To get to Rock Bottom is about a 40 minute commute from the hinterlands of Wittmann, AZ, so we left just after 11 am to be sure that we would arrive by 12 noon.  Between us and asphalt are a little over 1 mile of dirt roads, and when it rains here they get really spongy, muddy, and just plain underwater in places.  There have been times in past years where the last section of dirt road was not passable due to the depth of the water and mud, and we were forced to cancel appointments.

After slogging through miles of rain drenched roads and highways we arrived at Rock Bottom just before 12 pm.  Heather arrived a few minutes later.  Heather happens to work at the same Phoenix Amazon Fulfillment Center we are going to work at next Peak Season.  She has been there for 3 years now and was a fountain of information for us as she happens to work the same overnight shift to which we have been assigned beginning November 11th.

TLE and I immediately ordered a pint of their 'Tweeker Oil' (5.8% ABV) brew......coffee infused vanilla porter produced on a limited batch release.  For our entrees I ordered their 'Street Tacos' with shrimp.....OMG....some of the best I have ever had.  TLE had their 'Smoked Chicken Quesadilla', and that was also very, very good (I had some for dinner as she could not finish the whole plate).

Our time with Heather (married with three children) flew by, as did the conversation.  We always enjoy getting together with Heather, and are so grateful she had time to have lunch with us on Thursday.

Since we were less than two blocks from a Trader Joes's, and a COSTCO we availed ourselves of their grocery offerings (sour dough bread, chips, coffee, some Kirkland premixed Cadillac Margaritas, cheese, rotisserie chicken, almonds, etc.) before heading for home around 2:30 pm. By the time we arrived back in Wittmann the roads were a little worse for the wear, and there was one section just before the end of the pave portion of the road that was under water for about 100 yards.  I was concerned that our low slung Beetle might have an issue, but we made it to the other side without incident, and were parked beside the Newell 8 minutes later unloading our shopping spoils.

We barely got home when it really began to rain in earnest, and it continued unabated into the evening, and all night long.  As I look out our window I see a lot of standing water surrounding the coach.  The good news is we have a stretch of about 11 days with no precipitation whatsoever.  Maybe things will finally dry out here in Wittmann!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

2018 Year In Review - Part 5 - The Road to Cedar Key

For those who care about such things this post is number 2,655 since I began writing my blog back in 2009.

We departed Campbellsville, KY on December 19th headed for Nashville.  Our flight out of Nashville to SoCal was on December 24th, so we were able to do a little Nashville and environs sightseeing before we flew home for Christmas.....

More micro brews

A visit to the Antique Archeology  (of American Pickers fame) store in Nashville was in order

There was the National Corvette Museum a little north of Nashville in Bowling Green, KY

A wonderful lunch afterwards at the White Squirrel......best hamburger ever!

A serendipitous meet up with Steve and Suzanne

.....on December 24th we boarded an American Airlines flight out of Nashville, TN to Irvine, CA to spend Christmas with our 5 children, plus our 6 grand children (soon to be 7 five weeks later), and our 2 great grand children.  All of our children still live in SoCal within 20 minutes of each other......

Jetting home

Christmas 2018 with our growing family

Grand daughter Cynthia with her two kids (Jameson and Daniel - our great grandkids) and Daniel

Our daughter Sharon with her husband Rod and Brayden James

Our daughter Kate with her husband Nick, and three children (Elijah, Charlise and Jolene)

 Son Tim and wife Layla at Christmas expecting their first child (Crosby Mark)

Crosby Mark born about 5 weeks later

 Oldest son Chris with his wife, Rochelle, and their two kids, Cynthia and Christopher

With our five kids.....Chris, Sharon, Kate, Meredith and Tim

Jetting back to Nashville

.....we had a wonderful 2 day stay in SoCal, but then it was time to take the 'red eye' back to Nashville the evening of December 26th.  We landed in Nashville at 8:30 am December 27th pretty tired, but excited about the next few days of travel.  We we back to our Newell at the Elks Lodge in Nashville within 45 minutes, and 3 hours later were traveling southward to Chattanooga, TN where we overnighted in a Walmart parking lot.  It rained most of the night, and all the next day as we traveled ever southward on I-24 through the Atlanta and Macon corridors where the traffic and rain were terrible.  After about 9 hours of slogging past one accident after another, and torrential rain we arrived in Valdosta, GA where we stayed in an RV park overnight.

The weather on the 29th was partly cloudy as we finished our drive to Cedar Key, FL, but the traffic continued to be horrendous.  At last we arrived at Sunset Isle RV Park in Cedar Key where we saw in the New Year.....

In Cedar Key, FL at last


With 'Krash' and Karen at a local high school basket ball tournament

Our site for 6 days at Sunset Isle in Cedar Key, FL

1842 Daily Grind and Mercantile breakfast

At the Low Key Hideaway Tiki Bar for one of their famous sunsets

And there it is

1.5 mile walk into Cedar Key from Sunset Isle.....we love this walk

Another breakfast and coffee at 1842 Daily Grind and Mercantile

Downtown Cedar Key on Dock Street

Another spectacular Cedar Key sunset on New Years day

Sunset Isle RV Park in Cedar Key.....where we always stay









Dock Street in Cedar Key




.....and thus ends the year 2018.  It was a very busy year for us as we covered just over 8,000 miles, and finally seeing our 48th state.  2019 promises to be just as busy as we travel to our 49th state.....the great state of Alaska.  Stayed tuned for more adventures!