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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Physical Therapy

     As loyal readers know, physical therapy has been a major part of my life for at least five years. I guess the first was some basic range of motion recovery after a "bunionectomy" on my right big toe. Then there was an only partly successful reconstruction of my right rotator cuff. Hip and knee replacements followed...again on the right side. Plus, a right bicep tendon ruptured. Finally, last year, I had some scaffolding installed to fuse the 3rd, 4th, and 5th lumbar vertebrae. The PT for the mechanical aspects of my repairs have gone pretty well, but they are all embedded in the larger issue of my peripheral neuropathy. Enter The Balance Center.
     Originally operating under the auspices of Clemson University and now the Roper, St. Francis Hospital, The Balance, Mobility, and Dizziness Center of Charleston, was tailor made for my circumstance. Since the Balance Center could handle some rehab matters better than an orthopedic facility could handle the balance niche, I spent a lot of time there. Interestingly, every employee of the Balance Center is a woman. In fact, the director of the adjoining sports medicine facility, who has great respect for their expertise and professionalism, once said, "The place is awash in estrogen".
     There's an old line that says that the difference between a terrorist and a therapist is that you can negotiate with a terrorist. The implication being that physical therapists are tough, unyielding, even humorless folks. The ladies at the balance center belie that caricature, mixing gentleness with only enough discipline to get the job done. I suppose the fact that the demographic of their patients is generally older than that of most PT facilities demands it, but gentleness is evident everywhere.
     Several years ago, after a vertigo incident, I began working with the director of the center, Allison Schryver, an acknowledged vestibular expert. One day she said that she was going to hand me off to someone named "Jensen". While it is normal for the lead therapist to make the initial assessment of the patient and then assign someone else to continue the treatment, my initial reaction was, "Here comes the JV squad". Well, it wasn't a Jensen but Jensine Adams, a lovely, accomplished professional with a specialty in vestibulor pediatrics who had spent a good deal of time as a team athletic trainer. In my five years with the USAFA wrestling team I got to know and highly regard the profession of athletic trainer. Jensine is definitely not the JV squad. While I did make some physical improvements, her greater contribution was teaching me how to properly accomplish the exercises that I would have to continue in order to deal with my strength and balance in the face of deteriorating neuropathy.

     I'm the one on the right. Seriously, it's a great crew and I have enjoyed working with all of them. Your job is to write a caption for that picture.
     I'll pick up the bus in a week and leave SC in two weeks. It's definitely getting too warm here.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tall Ships

     Charleston, of course, was the biggest and richest port on the East coast during the ante-bellum days. It is still one of the biggest players. The harbor channel is on track to be deepened to 52 feet at low tide so as to accommodate the post-Panamax container ships. They already have the cranes installed to unload them. They handled one such ship (that arrived at high tide) this week, and are expecting one a week. The key to seeing more of these behemoths on the East Coast is the "raising" of the Bayonne Bridge later this summer, I think. In addition to the port is the remainder of the old Charleston Navy Base. There were tall ships here five years ago, and they hope to make it an annual event.
     At the last minute, figuratively speaking, Cindy and I decided to go have a look. We took the Jeep, a couple of lawn chairs, the handicapped placard, and I brought my walker instead of the cane. Of course, the handicapped spaces were full. As we walked toward the waterfront, I spotted a display of small, handmade wooden boats. Being a semi-skilled woodworker, I had to stop.

     On the middle of each side, in a slightly different darkness were the images of two fish. I looked to see if they were inlayed wood or decals of some kind. They were not only decorative inlays, but also structural elements. There was a seam, amidships, in the marine plywood sheathing. Bridging the seam were these two fish. I spoke with the builder and said, "That's just like a dovetail key!". He said, "Exactly." He also had four inlays of fish on the inside of the hull.

     These were sized and shaped to represent the minimum legal keeping size for the typical sport fish in the area. So, if you reeled in one of marginal size, you could lay it on the relevant outline between your feet and be sure! A clever idea skillfully implemented.
     The reason for our excursion, however, was the tall ships.

     The Pride of Baltimore is a restored topsail schooner with a significant rake to the two masts.

     This is the Alexander von Humboldt II.
     The temperature was above 90, but we were not outside very long. 'Twas a pleasant departure from my Kindle.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Month To Go

     A month from tomorrow (Flag Day) we are scheduled to head north. The bus is still in the shop. The final cosmetic repairs to last year's misadventures have been nicely completed. We have replaced the mattress and the dishwasher. A kilobuck here...a  kilobuck there, and you are soon talking about real money. A month to go...that means that the dining room table will begin to become the repository of "stuff that'll go in the bus". That's when it starts to become real.
     Meanwhile, life has been pleasant if not exciting. A new milestone is doing physical therapy together. Durelle still spends  a good deal of time with her puzzles. Here she is with a picture puzzle of great-granddaughter, Madeleine.

     Cindy took one of the many great pictures that Madeleine's mom, Melissa, sent from Australia and had a vendor turn it into a thousand piece puzzle. The wooden card table being used once belonged to Durelle's folks, so there is over a century represented in that scene.
     Back to the changing seasons: the blossoms on the magnolia tree in the back yard are starting to fade and the oyster harvesting season ends Monday. Time to head north.

     It is discouraging how quickly the blossoms turn brown.

     This year we'll head north with our fourth rescued  senior golden retriever.  Meet Mocha. She'll be eleven in Sept.

     It will be interesting to see how she travels. Her predecessors all loved it.