Extraordinary Stories

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

The "The Bionic Man" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just finished visiting with Amela at Lancaster Neuroscience & Spine Associates.  It's been slightly over a month since I had my third back surgery and today I had an appointment with my doctor's assistant so she could assess my recovery progress and tell me what I can and cannot do until my next appointment with Dr. Kuhlengel in another month.  I made a list of questions I wanted answers before the appointment and was hoping for the best.  I have not been able to drive since the end of October when I had the spinal fusion surgery.  
Sample of what I had done on my spine.
I only had three levels, not the four shown here.
That's OK, since I had no desire to drive.  Carol drove today to find out for herself what I am allowed to do and not do.  Amela questioned me about my pain level and about what I am taking for my pain.  Told her it was more like an ache than a pain and that I have been taking a couple of Tylenol in the morning and a few more when I go to bed.  "No narcotics at all," she said.  "That's great!"  Then it was time to view the Xray that I had taken about a half hour before my appointment.  She pulled it up on her monitor and had Carol and I step over to view it with her.  Only then did I realize what Dr. Kuhlengel did during my fusion procedure.  "How long are all those screws?" I asked her.  "You have six screws to hold the device in place that the doctor used and they are all about three inches in length," she replied.  
This shows the titanium clamps and rods
that were used in my spine.  I took this
photo from the doctor's monitor.  Click
on it to enlarge.
And, there are rods that hold the clamps together.  And, since you had parts of your vertebrae removed during the last surgery you had, Dr. Kuhlengel had to use another rod to hold the two sides in place."  I stood frozen, looking at the screen, having a hard time trying to realize that I was looking at my spine on the screen.  "And, the curvature that I see was something that he told me before he wasn't going to try to fix, since it would necessitate rods to hold the spine straight and I wouldn't be able to bend or twist again," I told her.  I was hoping that I could return to my part-time jobs shortly, but she nixed that notion.  "You have just begun to heal.  It will take a few more months before your back will be totally healed.  
A side view showing the length of
the screws needed to hold the
clamps in place on my vertebrae.
You don't want to do something that will damage what has been done for you.  The muscles need to heal and it would help if you can walk as much as possible," she told me.  She also explained to me again why they extracted bone marrow from my hip.  "The bone marrow is spongy in consistency.  We extract it, add it to bone marrow from a cadaver and an adhesive liquid and place it around the sides of the metal we placed in you.  The stem cells will form new bone to hold it all together," she told me.  Well, I did find out I can now drive and sit in my tub that has air jets, but I still cannot sleep on my stomach or go to work. I was also given a card telling security at the airport that I have a legal metal device in my back that will probably set off the Xray unit.  Has the operation solved my terrible right leg pain.  You bet!  No pain at all anymore.  The numbness I had in my left foot, which was also caused by my nerves being pinched in my back, still remains and she told me that that could take months or even a years to get the feeling back, since nerves regenerate only about a millimeter a day and my legs are long.  I'm just grateful that I found one of the top 100 spine surgeons in the country right here in my own back yard.  He told me he could help me and I'm convinced he did his job.  Now I just have to listen to him and his assistant so I don't ruin what he did.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The "Recollections of Hawaii: Part III" Story

It was an ordinary day.  The last of my three editions of photos I am posting today for you to view.  Since it was my third time on the islands in Hawaii, I tried to take photos that were slightly different than photos from other trips.  Sometimes I was successful in capturing what I tried to do while other times I failed terribly.  I hope you enjoyed a least a few of the photographs from our trip to the state of Hawaii. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


High above the island of Kauai in our beautiful balloon. 
One of the many gorgeous sunsets in Hawaii.
The state bird of Hawaii. 
Getting ready for the sunset as we wait for supper. 
While visiting an historical site in Lahaina, I was greeted by this lovely lady.
Welcome to Hawaii!
Machetes are the tool of choice in Hawaii.
The parrots are all beautiful.
One of the many high rise buildings reflects another one.
God Bless America!
The verdant isles of Hawaii.
Every where you look you will find flowers year round. 
This was probably my favorite.  It was so soft and beautiful.
No need to get up.
A perfect day starts to come to an end.



Friday, November 28, 2014

The "Recollections of Hawaii: Part II" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Posting another 15 photos from our recent trip to the state of Hawaii.  The vacation was very enjoyable, but the 13 hour flight from the east coast was a killer.  Nonetheless, I still managed a few good photos.  Enjoy!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - remember to click to enlarge.


Worker on a river boat was always in deep thought.
Aerial shot from our Hawaiian Airlines flight.  The white ribbon from the middle of the photo to the right front is a line of windmills on the island of Maui.
Another seed pod from the Signature tree.
This gorgeous land and water scape photo was taken on Maui, HI.
Hula shows galore happen on the islands and are photographed by just about everyone in the audience on just about every type of mobile device as well as DSLRs.
A sand crab scurries to his hole in Lahaina, Maui.
Seed pods from the Tahitian Palm tree.
I loved this red flower with the pale blue center.
These birds were grooming each other before a photo session.
The 'Ioa Valley provided a perfect spot for sitting in the cooling waters.
One wall of the Arizona Memorial provided this beautiful sculptured window.
Another neat Hawaaiian bloom. 
This pod, when fully opened, will be a leaf of the plant.
This leaf had small markings on one side and when viewed in the sunlight cast the same effect on both sides.
While sitting in the sun at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, I looked skyward and took this photo of the palms.
I received my very first tattoo while on the island. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The "Recollections of Hawaii: Part I" Story

Foreword: Happy Thanksgiving!  Today is the start of my three day photo journey posts on the sights of Hawaii.  I have chosen 15 photos for each day.  They are some of my favorites from my recent vacation to Ohau, Kauai and Maui, islands in the state of Hawaii.  Hope you enjoy them.


It was an ordinary day.  Searching the 2,621 photos that I took while on the islands of Oahu, Kauai and Maui for some of my favorites.  Could have picked endless sunset photos, but they tend to bore me after a few.  Could have picked fifty or so flower photos, but they all tend to look the same after a dozen or so.  And, if I pick too many aerial shots, you would get bored.  So, I tried to pick a variety that I could share with you from our recent vacation.  Many probably are appealing to me, but maybe not to you.  I hope you will enjoy a few of the 45 prints I have selected to share with you over the next three days.  You should get to see and feel the flavor of the state of Hawaii after viewing the collection I have chosen.  Enjoy!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - remember to click on photos to enlarge them.


The blue eyes are what got me with this guy. 
Entering our trip to paradise. 
One of many varieties my wife can name while I can take photos of them.
This was a beautiful glass sculpture in one of the art galleries.
Stained glass artwork.
She was mesmerized by the Hula dancers. 
Gathering of seed pods from the Signature Tree.
Helping himself to breakfast. 
Warning me to step aside.
Family portraiture using parrots.
One of the participants.
This pigeon was a daily visitor to our balcony in Honolulu.
Playing the Ukulele.
A shop called "Newt".
One of my favorites found on Kauai.