The Adventures of Me & My Shadow #56 in VA, MD & DE 1/20/01

0 miles this trip, odometer now 546 total, miles this year 0. (new speedometer)

From MD, Hi Everyone!

Well, as you can see I haven’t made it to Florida yet. I have had my surgery and it sure slowed me down, I’m still on the mend and will be for several weeks. Before I fill you in on the surgery I want to let you know what I was doing while waiting for it to happen.

Last year the Solair furnace in the old GMC worked and I used it very little. I have a small electric heater that worked very well when it wasn’t very cold and my plans were never to be any place that was very cold. This year didn’t go as planned, I didn’t make it far enough south and even if I had made it to Florida I would have needed the furnace as this winter is unusually cold. I thought that a catalytic gas heater would be enough, I looked in the Campers World catalog and picked the medium sized one. There was a 4 a 6 and an 8, I got the 6. I think I now know what the numbers stand for. Six candles would probably put out as much heat as the #6 that I now have. I have to be right in front of it to feel any heat and It sure doesn’t raise the temperature in the GMC a hell of a lot. When I get to a more comfortable place to work I’ll remove the old furnace and see if I can fix it and I hope I never get stuck this far north again.

My daughter Jenny’s family moved into a new manufactured home from Oakwood Homes Inc. as their old home was flooded. The new Dream Home has turned into a Night Mare. It was delivered with many defects and she has been trying since April to have them all repaired I think she will eventually succeed but only because the money for it is still in escrow. The general manager says he will replace the new kitchen range that has a chip in the top enamel with a new one as soon as she takes the money out of escrow and gives it to him. She has told him she will give him the money only after the range is replaced or a new top is installed she knows that as soon as he gets the money the new stove will never happen. If you want to read all about it use Google as a search engine, type in Oakwood Homes Inc., go to page four and look for "If you don’t have money to burn" and you can read some letters I wrote to Oakwood Homes Inc. but have not yet sent as Jenny wants me to wait till her lawyer works on them awhile. I helped her get her computers running again after being in storage for a few months. The old computer with games on it for the kids had a dead BIOS battery that I replaced and then run the BIOS setup to put it back on line. I also had to run the BIOS setup on an old laptop computer I had given grandson Cody several years ago. Got it running and Jenny found she had over 1,000 email messages to answer on her computer.

Now, to fill you in on the surgery. 1/5/01 I’m back in Portsmouth Naval Hospital filling out paper work and giving a blood sample for the operation scheduled for 1/10/01. I still believe that all the friendliest people in VA work in this hospital. It is always a pleasure to come here and visit with them. It must rub off onto the patients as most of them are smiling; a few show pain and a few show worry but they are few. I was told to check in at 5:30 AM and I would be the first one on the chopping block (OR). I checked in at 5:25 and was supprised to find the waiting room almost full, everyone claiming to be first. I asked how many surgeons worked in the hospital. I was told there were 14 circles. This is a teaching hospital so I see the circle to be a surgeon with a bunch of interns and students gathered around. I was soon in pajamas, gown and robe and was taken to the refrigerator room. I found the reason they keep the prep room, the operating room and the recovery room like the inside of a refrigerator is for sanitation, germs don’t like cold temps. I was covered with a warm sterile blanket that felt good. I wish they would warm those sticky pads they stick on me for a heart monitor. Twice a different intern would come over to ask me some questions and take notes. I would look at their notes and point out words that I recognized and tell them they had to work on their writing because I can’t read any words that a real doctor writes. They told me they would try to get it right. The anesthesia Doc told me that because of my bad heart rhythm they were not going to turn my defibrillator off. In order to leave it turned on the surgeon would have to use an old style cauterize tool as the newer ones could send an electrical signal to the defibrillator to make it fire. I would also have a local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia and this would cause my right leg to be numb for a while after surgery. It didn’t take long to confirm this. In the recovery room I told the nurse that I had to go to the rest room. She helped me out of bed and when I tried to stand up that right leg folded and if she hadn’t been there I would have went to the deck. We got to the commode and she asked me if I was OK. I said yes, she backed off and down I went. She picked me up and was holding me in front of the commode waiting for me to do what I had to do. I reached in to get my tool and because of the cold temps and the fact that someone had been using a knife real close to it. It had shrunk so much that I was having a hard time locating it. I told her they must have cut it off. I finally got hold of it and did what I had to do and she took be back to my bed. It happened again late in the afternoon. My nephew Jimmy, a Fireman and EMT took a couple days off to look after me. He also teaches an EMT class in a local college. He, his wife Debby and kids Brittany 10 and Tommy 5 all treated me like royalty. I had told Jimmy that I had to go to the rest room. He helped me up and to the commode, he backed off and down I went. This time I took

On 1/17/01 I went back to the hospital for post op checkup and I got the green light to head to FL I hope the temps are up in the 70s and 80s. I have a few loose ends to finish here in MD and I’ll be headed south in a few days (almost three months behind schedule). After my checkup I went to cardiology to see about getting my Defibrillator checked before heading south. It was done in about 10 min. I think this is the only hospital that will do it that fast and without an appointment. I asked a few questions about the hospital and found out they have 17 operating rooms, they are the largest and busiest Naval Hospital in the US and I’ll bet they are the friendliest one but I haven’t visited them all. I’ll check out the one in San Diego, CA when I get my defibrillator checked there in the spring. The next letter will be from some where with a warmer climate.

Till next time, Dallas or Dad if it fits.

Me & My Shadow, with Gertrude, Gus & Keith on the road.


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