June 5th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

Last week, three weeks after my heart surgery, I was released by my heart surgeon. They are very pleased with my recovery. I still have to be careful and ease back into doing some things (cannot ride my bike or get my dog for quite a while yet), but I am finally able to drive once again. I will have to build up to longer trips but at least I can get things done I need to do. I still have to take it easy with my healing breastbone as well but I am feeling great. I am really shocked as to the speed of this recovery.

My truck is not fixed yet due to some mix-up at the Service Department, but I got some badass loaner wheels out of the deal – a minivan. Before you start to laugh hysterically, having owned one in the past I actually like the versatility of a minivan. Gets better mileage than my truck, plenty of room for stuff and people if necessary (not like I have many passengers), and it is quiet & comfortable. I plan on driving the hell out of this van while I have it but I have to build up to longer trips. The weather is looking like rain the next several days so I don’t know how much I can get out or how far I can venture. If I could I would leave for a few weeks and really get some miles on it – all I pay for is fuel.

Now that I have this all behind me I am hoping that this year I can FINALLY get out to travel some. The anticipated rise in gas prices is going to keep me from doing some long trips, and I will have to make adjustments in other ways so I can still get out as much as I can. When I think it is safe for me to fly I will consider that option. I have looked into Amtrak but private rooms are spendy and I don’t want to share a bathroom with anyone even if it is just the people in my car. Honestly, I just really like road trips with my trailer the best. It’s a chance to see lots of things, eat local foods, have my own kitchen, bed, shower & bathroom, and I can be on my own schedule.

Yesterday I got to do my laundry and was able to get some supplies and groceries. It is so nice to finally be able to get out and do things again without having to bum a ride. I can take my time, go where I want, or even just take a drive to walk someplace else and see some different scenery. Except for a virtual appointment this week I am all done with doctors until the Fall so I have plenty of time to go places. I cannot operate the jack to hook the trailer up yet so even if I had my truck instead of the Family Truckster I still cannot travel with the Scotty for a few more weeks. At least it is pretty much ready to go when I am!

It was good to get groceries stocked up again. I bought a few new things to try that are still within my diet parameters. I find that since I am still using my app and logging everything I eat it is really helping me control things like calories, sodium and fats. I look at the app whenever I want to eat something and make sure I am not going over the maximum on those two things. If so, then it’s a bowl of Cheerios for supper. It has been an adjustment to do this, but really it’s not much of one and it is for my health. You have to WANT to make the changes and be determined to watch what you eat, and it’s why I spent the money on the app for a yearly premium version – to help me help myself. When you have a heart attack and triple bypass surgery it tends to motivate one into taking action.

I have been grilling a lot lately. I have been grilling chicken for my caprese ciabatta panini and for chicken burritos. I have been grilling up Trident salmon burgers (don’t buy any others!), and diced potatoes wrapped in foil with peppers, olive oil, onions and whatever spices I feel like putting in there (delicious!). I have some scallops in the freezer I need to thaw out and skewer plus I have some cod fillets I can put butter and garlic on and wrap in foil. Getting hungry just typing this…

That’s about all for now. I cannot wait to be able to get back out on the road again and get the blog back onto travel and adventures!

May 28th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

The healing continues, and I am feeling pretty good. Still fighting neck and back issues but my chest incisions are doing pretty good and I had a check on the healing this morning with my regular doctor. She said it was the best incision for this surgery she had ever seen and said there will probably be very little scarring. I have a post-op appointment with my surgeon next few week to remove stitches, get another check-up and, fingers crossed, get released to drive again.

The biggest part of the healing is obviously where they split my chest open. They saw your breastbone down the center and spread your chest apart, do what needs done, then they wire your breastbone back together. Then they glue/stitch/staple (one of those things) your skin back together. There is some pain at the beginning, but not as much as I thought there would be. The biggest thing is that there are a lot of weight and movement restrictions that make life difficult for a while. I can only lift five pounds per arm/ten pounds total between them. Arms must stay in front of the body and hands do not cross the chest so getting dressed and personal hygiene can be quite challenging so they teach you how to adapt until you are recovered. I still have a little chest pain, but it is tolerable without any meds. The absolute worst thing, though, is sneezing. That will put literally put tears in your eyes. It hurts so bad.

I am now down 37 lbs. so that is a real mental boost and definitely helps with my overall health. I still have a few more pounds to go to get where I want to be and that should be attainable with my diet and continuing exercise. I will have a lot of questions next week for the post-op visit with the surgeon. I am trying to keep myself from doing too much but it’s hard to do when I feel like I am doing so well and healing fast. I am back up to walking nearly 3 miles a day and I am increasing it a bit each day. One day it was 3.5 miles!

My truck was towed over today to get fixed and I was hoping it wouldn’t be too expensive. They were able to get it in for a look today and it was pretty much what I suspected – bad fuel pump. Not very cheap to fix but nearly half the price was the parts. This repair should last the life of the truck and I think I should be in pretty good shape now. The fuel/emissions systems have been a pain in my ass and by now there’s not much left to replace.

But, I will be driving soon and that is really important. I cannot wait to do something as simple as walking someplace other than in front of the house. The highway can get really busy and crowded on weekends. I really want to be in the trees walking, maybe a few little hills to build up my stamina once again. I want to go walk with some friends in different places. I have plenty of people offering to help but I am so ready to do things on my own again – get groceries, go to appointments…typical things we take for granted until we cannot do those things.

It’s a holiday weekend here in the States so I don’t think I would be going anyplace other than the store even if I was able to drive. Too many people out and about and I don’t enjoy being in crowds at all. But, the weather is going to be nice and at least I can grill some up salmon burgers and some diced potatoes with peppers, onion, and olive oil. A fairly healthy meal and delicious. I’ll probably make up another ciabatta panini with grilled chicken. I do love to grill and it never matters the time of day; one time a party broke out at my house in Colorado (as was often the case weekly at least once) and we got hungry so we ended up grilling burgers at 3:00 A.M. Bodies were strewn everywhere and we had a great time.

Anyway, hope everyone has a great weekend – holiday or not.

May 18th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

I have been home now nearly a week and nearly two weeks after my surgery. Seems pretty incredible that just 10 days ago I had a triple bypass, and now I am able to live life somewhat normally in such a short amount of time. I had a Zoom office visit with the surgeon’s office yesterday and it went very well; they are very happy with my progress.

Some of my meds have now stopped and I no longer have the need to carry nitroglycerin pills with me. I still cannot drive and won’t be able to for a few weeks more at minimum. It is still a lot of hard work on my own, yet I am so glad to be home to recover in familiar surroundings. My neck and back hurt like hell and is not really letting up, but I am trying to avoid taking any pain meds.

I am soooo glad to eat my own food again. Since my heart attack I have kept a pretty strict diet and the last few weeks have been hard for me when it comes to food. I got used to eating certain things on my diet but that went out the window in the hospital. Limited to no choice on things to eat, and none of those things were what I like to eat. The few things I would eat were so horrible. I don’t know how the U.S. has devolved into eating so much shitty food. Every meal should be an experience and not just something you have to do to stay alive.

Once the recovery is done, I am really curious about how it is going to affect life. Will I have more energy? Will I sleep better? Will I feel different? Will the back and neck pain ease up? I am still doing the Mediterranean diet, but how will it affect how I eat while traveling? Will I feel different at altitude?

I think at my present rate of recovery I may be getting the trailer out before the end of summer; perhaps by mid-summer. It will be a well-deserved getaway and I am really looking forward to doing that. Before that dream comes true I still need to find a mechanic and get my truck fixed. I think the trailer is pretty good as far as any mechanical repairs, especially since I had that wheel bearing go south on me back in the Fall. Just a little shot of insurance with the grease gun and that will be ready to roll. Yeah, I still gotta fix the shower and re-do the sealant around all the windows, but I think that’s it. It is still usable as-is.

I will have to work my way up to longer trips I am sure, but just getting out for a long weekend, or even a week, will be welcomed. It’s the driving part of it that takes the stamina – the rest is just another day’s to-dos. It will take a few days of driving one way to go get my dog so that trip will be a long one. Might as well figure out a way to really make it an adventure.

Just a quick update for now. Enjoy your day!

May 15th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

I was released from the hospital a mere four days after my surgery. My recovery has moved along at a fast pace, which has surprised me a bit since I am in NO way in athletic shape. I still had to recover with someone checking in on me so I opted to go to a facility that took care of people post-op. Boy, what a huge fucking mistake that was.

I got wheeled into the facility and to my room. This place was a shithole. I mean a real dump…and it was the highest rated of the three I had to choose from. I say this with all seriousness: I really felt I could have died in that place. The conditions of the building was horrific. There were many other issues on top of that. I wanted out, and I made it goddamn clear I was not staying there because the place is a shithole. I found out that this place had lost its license before and had been fined $21,000 for something. It should be shut down again.

My landlords have been volunteering to help so I talked to them and they would keep an eye on me as well as other things like pick up groceries if need be. They came and picked me up and I am now back home, where I can walk outside, eat real food, and heal with a much better state of mind.

It is a LOT of work just trying to get better, but I have been working hard on my recovery and I am not gonna stop. On top of the many restrictions I have to follow, I also have to sort out about 15 different medications every day. Some are extremely vital after my surgery and the first night in that dump I was not even given my meds! I also have to take daily showers to reduce chance of infection. I had to learn a new way to put on my clothes. It is challenging but I am quite able to get around pretty good.

I still have a long way to go to attain maximum recovery. I cannot drive for another three weeks, but with my recovery speeding along that very well could happen faster. The biggest issue I am having is not my chest being ripped open; that’s definitely not fun, but most of my pain is from my back and neck issues. Having my chest cut open and my ribs pried apart messed with all of that and it is much worse than it was before surgery. Pills help to an extent, but the biggest thing to help is what I tried today.

I put about 10 drops of homemade cannabis THC olive oil tincture under my tongue starting this afternoon and it really made a difference with the pain and tightness. It helped much more than the pills did. It is a much better and safer non-addictive option than synthetic morphine or muscle relaxers are and it gave me much more relief than those hardcore narcotics. That dosage was about 10 mg of THC – a light dose – so tomorrow I will start earlier and try to get this under control. Yeah, it’s weed…so what; loosen up your sphincters. It works and it works wonders. And, it’s natural.

That’s the latest.

May 9th, 2021

Adventure, Just things, Uncategorized

It’s done.

Heart surgery is finished and I am told that I am recovering very quickly. They even said they are impressed by my fast recovery & my dedication to getting through it but also that I needed very little medication afterwards that many people usually have to take right after surgery.

I was wheeled into the operating room still awake, getting ready to be moved over onto the operating table, and the power went out. “Holy shit” I thought to myself. The surgeon decided to scrub the mission because he was not going to operate while on generator power; disappointing, but a decision I agreed with fully and without question. It freaked me out a bit to be honest.

Of course, I now have “The Zipper”, along with scars on my legs were the had tubes and from where they got the veins for the grafting. Yesterday two chest drain tubes and catheter were removed along with two wires. Today the last drain tube came out of my chest along with a wire and tube that were removed from my neck.

Recovery, like I said, is going well. It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be but it’s certainly something to avoid. Learning how to do everyday tasks in a a different way is challenging, but if I don’t it could be a huge setback if, for instance, my sternum doesn’t heal or heal correctly – I’d have to re-do the recovery from the beginning. Having that surgery is brutal enough when you don’t have pre-existing health issues, but with my neck and back problems the surgery certainly made the pain in those areas much worse.

Now it’s just a matter of figuring out a plan for post-op – a surgical rehab center or home health visits. I am getting around pretty well but I still have to be cautious.

Just wanted to send out a quick post-op update. Enjoy your day!