Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thanks for the Replies

If you wish to refer back to yesterday,s photos, I will give a little explanation. Evidently MamaD4 spent too much time rolling her eyes when she was younger as I scrolled through my slides. The top two and a lower one are taken from the I.P. position in a B-52D of another B-52 refueling from a KC-135 over the South China Sea on our way into South Viet-Nam, I think in May of 1966. I did a couple of ride alongs on combat missions over the South. I made one flight to the Danang area and one west of Saigon around Tay Nihn. I think that I was included in these missions in case the EWO had trouble with our equipment (electronic warfare equipment). As it turns out there isn't too much I could do anyway because 90% of our black boxes were outside the pressurized compartments of the aircraft anyhow. I got to admit that training missions in the States were much more fun, with lots of low level (200ft) through Wyoming and North Dakota badlands etc.. I even got to ride in the right seat and run the throttles at altitude once and view the Cascade volcanoes at sunset as we headed west, great fun all in all. I hope that this clarifies some things.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

what a drag it is to look in the mirror

Yesterday Jan and I went for my weekly PT and encouragement session here at the local hospital. He says that I'm doing well and so does Jan and the site on my right calf that looks like a hunk of raw meat is coming along nicely too. I'd show you all a picture but I'm afraid it would gag some people that have sensitive stomachs, like Eli perhaps. Anyhow, we, wife, sister,brothers, sister in laws, grandchildren, Mom and Mom in law all drove to Rochester last Saturday for Sam's birthday party. It was a pretty good time to say the least. I don't recall, but did I blog about this already? Judging by the replies that I am getting on this blog my wife-Saint Jan is the only person reading this account of my life and I can talk to her at home, although she will say there is damn little of that either. I think that I am getting more cranky all of the time, with the glacial rate of recovery that I am experiencing. Day after day I keep hoping for some sign of improvement but it just seems to be the same morning after morning. Man, I just started re reading " Ghost Rider" by Neal Peart. He is the drummer and lyricist for the band "Rush". He lost his wife and daughter in less than a years time and took off on his BMW and rode all over North America trying to cope with his loss. The book is from his journal while he traveled around. It is interesting reading but it can be depressing in places. I also started scanning in some of my slides from my Air Force days and that has not been going well. Scanning 4 at a time, sometimes gets all 4 and the next batch comes out as one picture or only half of the slides are scanned in. At one time I was going to scan in all of my slides-6000+-but at this rate I don't think that the project is feasible. I need to figure out what is going on with that scanner and I suppose that it means a call to tech support in some third world country. I'll throw in a couple of slides here to show what I have started out to accomplish.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Back on the PC

Me and the grand kids, well anyway 1/3 of them. Leah and Aaron stopped over on Sunday for a visit before they went for a walk with Eli and Lindsey. Jan had been busy with outdoor stuff, planting the mum that I got in the hospital and surprisingly enough a straggler that has survived several winters next to the kitchen foundation. We moved it out to where it should have a better chance of getting some moisture. We also unwrapped the trailer and winterized it with lots of anti-freeze. Yesterday-Monday- was my first day at PT and it was pretty much exploring what exercises I need to do to keep the ankle loose and stretching my jaw out. We also had a misunderstanding corrected. I had thought that the doctors had removed a section of the fibia to repair the jaw but the therapist showed me that the bone is still in one piece. Evidently just sections were transplanted. Now I need to make out a chart of some kind to keep track of my exercise routines similar to the one that I made up to keep me up to date on meds.This weekend we will be running back to Rochester but this time it will be for Sam's birthday party. My sister Kathy is flying in from California today and Jan and I will be picking her up in Mankato later this afternoon. Well, that's about it for now, I'll post more in the future. Bye

Saturday, October 18, 2008

one of these days

Just a short post here. I will bring you up to date on the goings on here, or lack there-of. I have pretty much been devoting my time to getting better, although from point of view it is going way too slow. I must listen to the professionals who tell me that I am ahead of the curve, but maybe they just say that to keep my spirits up. This week I have been eating my meals with a spoon out of the blender. Every time I run up a can of soup etc. I look at the blender and think of Linda Ronstad- think about it- it's a Waring blender. Anyhow, Pastor Johnson stopped by Friday for a short visit and Mom and I went cruising in the afternoon. We went the usual route to Mt. Lake, down to Bergen and cross country through the windmill farm back to Ormsby and St. James. She brought me over some home made soup of hers which went through the blender and down the hatch for supper. As usual it has the commercial brands beat hands down. I have also been limping around the house without the walker more lately too and it seems to be going well but awkwardly. Today Jan and I are going to run up to New Ulm again for some shopping. Other than that it has been a quiet week here in St. James. Oh ya, I start PT on Monday so we will see how I am doing a week from now. Just think 3 weeks ago I was just out of surgery and wondering if I would live to see Sunday. The curve has definitely been steeply up since then. I don't what I would have done without Saint Jan at my side the last weeks, literally.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Things just keep getting better

This blog will be an upbeat one for sure. Jan and I drove over to Rochester for my follow up visits with my Doctors. I wonder some times if they aren't a little magicians for some of the things that they do. Doctor Moore's assistant Eli met with me yesterday after the swallow tests etc. I get the impression that they are like kids unwrapping a present when the see me or take off wound dressings. I think that they have a little wonderment themselves at what they have been able to accomplish. Anyhow, first off was the swallow test where they had me stand in front of a type of x-ray machine and watched me swallow liquids of varying consistency to see how the plumbing was working. Praise the Lord everything went down like I hadn't stopped eating by mouth 2 and a half weeks earlier. Next up was Dr. Eli and his staff. He pulled out all of the staples and stitches and last but not least the feeding tube. I must be tougher than I think I am because he warned me about pulling the tube was going to be really unpleasant. I found it kind of unique, feeling it come up from the bottom of the stomach and out through the nose. God, what a good feeling to get that chunk of fuel line out of my nose. Oh ya, first he had to snip the stitch out of my nose that held the tube in place, even that was not too bad. We went from there to the visitor cafeteria where I had some mashed potatoes,yogurt and a chocolate milk. It went well and after that we met Gen at the Hilton building for a bit before we headed back to St. James. The last couple of photos are of Gen and me, then there is one of me actually eating scrambled eggs and cheese. Later in the evening Eli,Lindsey, Leah and Aaron dropped by and there is a photo of the kiddos here on the kitchen floor. Today I had for dinner a can of soup that Jan ran up in the blender and it was terrific,about the first thing that I have been able to just slurp up and swallow. I have been praying for blessings for all the people that have praying for me, so I hope that all the help that I have been receiving will reflect back on an awfully lot of people. I think that it is time for a nap after dinner as I still don't have near the stamina I had before. Take care and leave a comment, please?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Cruise

In my latest post I have thrown in some more recent pictures. The upper left is my left thigh where they pealed off the skin graft to cover the hole in my right calf where they harvested the fibula to fix the jaw bone that was removed to get rid of the cancer. According to all reports, the mission has been accomplished,praise The Lord. Next photo is me out on the deck getting some fresh air, as you can see the orange mums have opened to a yellow center. Then another of the flowers.This afternoon nurse Jan chased me out of the house and told me to get busy raking leaves. I think that the leaves were falling faster than I could rake them up.

Luckily in the nick of time my Mom drove up and rescued me from an afternoon of toil. She was on her way to Odin to a birthday party with our Neighbor Leona Shellum. Jan and I cruised up to New Ulm again mainly to get a prescription filled but since we were going by Target and Herbergers she just had to stop and check out the bargains and she got some. I am having a hard time getting used to the idea that I don't seem to have much stamina since surgery but everyone says that being on table for 10 hours takes a lot out a person. Every day seems to get better though, especially when I think back to how I felt 2 weeks ago. Keep up the prayers, it really does help to know that so many are pulling for me. Thanks for all of the prayers so far.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


After going through the trouble of pointing out my source for movies I forgot to include her name. It's Melissa.

The Recovery

The left photo is me at the kitchen table futzing with the laptop, ditto the next one. The lower left is me in my shop saying hi to the gang, well most of it. The last is the picture of the flowers that I received at the hospital. The mums did not get into the first round of pictures. They are out on the deck now and have opened up to a yellow center. The bunch from Kathy ended up at Gens' because we were out of room in the Focus. Jan and I did take another trip up to New Ulm the day before yesterday for some stuff at Walgreens and then continued on the river road up past Harkins' store. Not a whole lot going on around here, we are really getting into a routine with feedings, meds, bath time and spending some time on the computer. One of Jan's' co-workers made up a list of their movies and I am picking out the good ones, so that helps pass the time. Yesterday we found out that my brother in law Steve Johnson had been rushed to the hospital in St. Cloud with heart trouble . They cleared up some blockages but they are looking at more surgery down the road. Will have to add them to the prayer list too. I ran into an older gentleman at Fort Snelling earlier this year that told me "the first 50 years are for building after that it's all repair work". It is starting to sound more apropos all the time. Stay in touch and don't be afraid to leave a comment, unless it isn't nice of course.

Monday, October 6, 2008

More Progress reports


To the top left is me sitting in the car before a ride to New Ulm to visit Target. It sure felt good to get out of the house for a little bit, but I am having some difficulty getting used to the idea that it takes so much out of me to do such previously small things. Yesterday afternoon while I was taking my post lunch nap something woke me up. Jan's and co-worker Mick and her two daughters Sophie and Claire were raking leaves off of the deck and lawn. I guess that you never know who will show up to help, so I just had to get their pictures into this blog, Sophie is the older of the two girls and Claire of course is the younger and Mick is Mom. My brother and sister in law, Phil and Laura also drove down from Delano to see me and Eli, Lindsey, Leah and Aaron were here about the same time so I had plenty company for awhile. I look plenty scary to me but Leah jumped right up in my lap when she was over. Maybe it is because I have never been down like this before, I've not been aware of the power of human contact on your outlook, I promise to change in the future if at all possible. Anyhow Saint Jan keeps me fed and medicated even at my 0200 round. I imagine that it is a little like feeding a baby although I don't cry as much. I am sitting here in front of our kitchen windows watching the squirrels peel and eat walnuts and the changing leaves fall off the trees. Well, stay in touch and I'll try to do the same.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Filling in the Blanks

I downloaded some pictures that Jan took of me while in Mayo this week. I hadn't seen them before and that is probably just as well. I will go from the day before I checked in to home again. I don't know about people that don't know my brothers, but I think I looked a little like my brother Paul. We also received flowers at the hospital. The big mum came from our incredible children, Rachel, Genevieve and Eli. My sister Kathy sent the basket of flowers that lent a spot of color to the room. I even had a few visitors, Gens' mom in law and Steve DeFor, Rachels' father in law.Later that evening- I'm not so sure what day it was-a co-worker of mine from Plainview stopped by. It took me a second to figure out who it was- LaVerne Irish- I was a little surprised to say the least. It seems that the company that I retired from has been pushing out e-mails on my condition, anyhow we talked for awhile and I got around to asking him what he was doing there. It seems that his wife- a Janice too- had been diagnosed with stage4 cancer in the abdomen just the day before. I wish that I could have been able to give him some encouragement but I am on the way up from my bed and his path looks mostly down hill from here. Although miracles do happen, as bad as this has been prayer has allowed us to catch, fix and recover from what could have been a devastating condition. The weather has been terrific since we got home and it has been a little tough hearing the bikes running up and down the streets, but it is late in the season and I usually wind down this time of year. I did get a couple of god rides in this year, one with Eli and I to the Black Hills for a few days and the recent " Farewell Tour" ( I'm so melodramatic). Eli was over this morning to help out some with leaves which are already piling up on the deck and get a pair of his old crutches down from the garage. OK, I'll add the pictures now, maybe I should add a warning about disgusting pictures but hey, here they are.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Other Side of Mayo

I will probably not make this a long post as I am forced to use our laptop instead of the pc. Not being a touch typer it just seems tougher on this thing, although I can sit in the recliner while I am pecking away at the keys and backspace buttons. Jan- The Saint- and I got home from Rochester yesterday around 5pm after a mostly unexciting trip, I have got to get her to drive more in traffic. She did drive back and forth from Gen and Steve's a few times, all it takes is experience. It seems kind of redundant to recap the festivities as there seems to be information out on the net, but here goes. We walked into Methodist early last Friday like a lamb to slaughter. I think that I knew I was in for it when they rolled me into the operating room there were at least 8 to 10 people waiting for me. The next thing that I knew I was in recovery 10 hours later. I gotta tell you readers out there, the next 24 hours were the worst time I have ever spent in my life, although I have told you what a charmed life I have gotten by with so far. Saturday I thought I could easily die here in this bed. When I was still alive and kicking Sunday morning I finally realized how tough it is going to be when I really do step off this moving sidewalk of life. With a 7 day stay in the hospital that wasn't even ICU gave me a new appreciation of what some other acquaintances have gone through. Like my daughter Rachel's brother in law who was severely injured in the same accident that she broke her arm, and the GIs that we in the PGR have welcomed home from the sand box and Afghanistan with incapacitating lifelong injuries. These young people have a long row to hoe at least I am 64 and retired with a fantastic family for support. I have been able to write this note while putting lunch in my tummy, because I am taking everything in through a tube up the nose and into the stomach. I did finally get some mouthwash last night and it the first thing I have been able to taste in a week. The bone to repair the jaw was-harvested-from the small bone in the lowere lag along with associated tissue veins and arteries, this necessitated a skin graft from the thigh on the other leg. The whole shooting match was then used to patch out what jaw bone had been removed. The artery and the veins were patched in on either side of the neck, which means I will have a scar from ear to ear. To allow me to breathe a tracheotomy was done. Right now I am waiting this to heal up. The old body is starting to look more or less normal except for a lot of swelling around my neck, although Jan says "you should have seen yourself after surgery". Oh, ya, I also have not shaved yet so I getting a little bristly. I think that it is time for my nap and Jan needs to get a few things uptown. I would have to say that I am proof positive of the power of prayer. Thanks to everyone that prayed for me in locations all over the world, believe me I, or we could feel it!!