Monday, January 25, 2016

After Jonah, the snow storm

Major snow storms get your attention. While the big cities like Washington, Baltimore and Philly got clobbered, we only got about a foot of snow. It is difficult to tell because there was so much wind blowing the snow about.

Little Red Riding Hood operating the shovel during a break in the snow. The shovel is designed to push the snow, not lift it.

The next morning we could see where the deer had come up close to the house.

The deer hunker down under the bushes.

The little mound is the top of our gas tank.

Our Mini covered with snow. Normally I would be out there shoveling but not this time after my bypass operation. We don't have to go out until Wednesday so we are just going to let the snow melt when the temperature warms up above freezing.

By the height of the snow against the car I can tell that we have had much deeper snow in other years.

We have never seen this type of snow overhang on our roof before.

Weird buildup of snow that was not blown away by the wind.

Somehow I don't think Marianne is going to tackle this.

The first of what probably will be many icicles.

The morning sun illuminating the swamp.

Snow is magical if you don't have to go out and shovel it.

Marianne took this photo of our house.

The closest the snow plow came to our letter box was ab out 10 feet and the mailman was not going to get out of his mail truck to walk over to the box. Marianne made a temporary box out of a show box. Lo and behold, the mailman stopped and took our letters and left a magazine.

Flag and all. Sometimes Marianne leaves me for dead in the ratbag stakes. You have to admire the effort.

Hopefully we will get some showers later today to help wash away the snow, but I am not too hopeful.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The sixth anniversary of my retirement and a triple bypass

January 11 was my mother's birthday and when I retired six years ago, I chose that date in honour of her. It is a day for me to reflect on the past year and to get excited about the next year to come.

It's a colder day today with a beautiful blue sky and temperatures about freezing.

But the warm temperatures over Christmas have confused out daffodils which are coming up months in advance of their normal arrival in March or April.

When my mother was about my age, she had a heart operation with several bypasses. Knowing this, I have tried to keep my cholesterol levels in check and religiously take my daily pills. As you know if you have been following my blogs, exercise is an important part of my retirement life and I do a three mile walk around the community most days of the week.

Just before we headed south, I noticed on the last hill of my walk that the air in my wind pipe seemed cold, which was very unusual. Over the course of the time in Georgia, I was beginning to feel that something was not right so the evening that we arrived back home, there was unusual pain so we went to the local Union Hospital in Elkton.

After an EKG, it turned out that I had suffered a mild heart attack. They transferred me to the larger Christiana Hospital in nearby Delaware to have a catherization. You stay wake but sedated during this procedure. At the end of it, they gave me the bad news. Three of my arteries were partially blocked. Stents and balloons might do the job, but the arteries really needed to be replaced. Obviously in a woozy state I was in no shape to make a decision, but I did have enough sense to say to the anesthesiast that this was the luckiest day of my life. He agreed. I was a really bad heart attack waiting to happen.

The procedure was done on New Year's Eve. I woke up the next morning in some pain feeling very weak, but fortunately, all the exercise has made me able to recuperate quickly. By the following Sunday afternoon, I was able to walk twice around the recuperation ward so they sent me home. I have been visited by a nurse and a Physical Therapist a couple of times and I am now outside walking round the closest block. It has a hill to climb and the walk takes about 15 minutes. Of course, I am quite buggered when I get home, but the exercise is wonderful for my recovery process. The other vital signs continue to improve so I am quite hopeful.

One of the doctors told Marianne that all the walking over the past six years saved me. My regular doctor happened to see me at Union Hospital and was amazed to see me there. 

The last time I spent any time in a hospital was when I was 15 and had my tonsils removed. Procedures have changed since then! Everybody was very professional, friendly and helpful. I quickly found that if I asked every nurse who looked after me where they got their training and some more questions about their career, then they became more interested in me. Quickly you realize that they see hundreds of patients who are focused on themselves. To have the focus changed to the nurse each of whom have their own set of problems is a novelty. Only one person said 'it's a job'. All the others loved their work and I tip my hat to them.

I have a five week trip to India planned for early February. Obviously that trip is in doubt but we will see how I feel later in the month. I may just postpone it for a year.

So don't worry about me. My vital signs are improving every day and I fully expect to be out there in all parts of the world taking more photos for more blogs.

Downtown Athens, GA

Each year, my sister and brother-in-law and Marianne and myself try to get together over the Xmas period. We alternate visiting and this year it was our turn to head south to Athens, GA. As part of the festivities, Clare & Ric take us for an outing. This year, we just had a walk downtown.

Athens is home to the University of Georgia. I seem to remember this was new student housing.

The temperatures were in the mid 70's over Xmas, warmer indeed than Sydney in Australia. 

Athens has quite a number of old style buildings and shops.

And of course, some depressing back alleys.

The glory of Athens are buildings like this that are a feature of the deep South.

Parking garage.

This theater is where REM and the B-52's made their names.

Athens is a student town.

Lots of boutique shops that seem to change each time we visit.

Clare worked in this building for a while.

From side on, you don't see why this cannon is unique.

Now you see why it is the only one of its kind.

The story.

Athens is quite an interesting town. The big drawback is the long, hot, humid summer.