Saturday, June 21, 2008

Never an end to health issues

Once again the ugly side of growing older raises its head and points me in the direction of yet another doctor. This time an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Cartwright at KSF.

My "Mad Max Disease" (affectionately named after my good Egghead friend Mad Max whom I charged with giving me his back problems over two years ago via email) has reached the point where I have to do something besides get epidurals for relief. My treating doctor suggested that I see Dr. Cartwright for a consult.

I had to undergo another MRI, this time an open MRI which was not as "challenging" as the one I had two years ago. I have claustrophobia. But with the open MRI I managed to sleep through the process.

Dr. Cartwright reviewed the MRI results and pointed to three areas where the spinal channel containing my nerve bundle was narrowed and probably putting pressure on the nerves thereby causing the constant pain and occasional loss of control of my legs. The condition is fairly common, especially in older and larger men. Genetics also increases the chances of having the problem called Spinal Stenosis. Surgery is the only way to correct the problem.

He went on to say there may be other problems and he wanted to arrange for a CT Myelogram, a procedure where dye is injected into the spinal column in order to enhance the images through X-ray and CT Scan. I underwent the process yesterday and I'm still suffering from it. That had to be one of the top five pains I have ever suffered. Double doses of Vicadan is all that got me through the night. Even now I'm having serious hearing problems and a headache of the worst kind. Hopefully it will clear up before the day is over. I may just go back to bed and sleep.

If the additional data supports his diagnosis I will likely be scheduled for surgery, a Laminectomy. This procedure involves the removal of the lamina that overlays the spinal canal. It enlarges the spinal canal and is performed to relieve nerve pressure caused by spinal stenosis.

I'm told that I can expect to be laid up for many days, but within three months I should be able to lead a normal life.

An update will follow as soon as I know what the next step will be.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New Blog Site - Chicken Coop

When we set out to create an outdoor kitchen we basically had in mind a structure that would allow us to cook on our Big Green Eggs out of the direct sun or rain, plus offer the conveniences normally associated with an outdoor kitchen: refrigerator, running water, storage, good lighting and plenty of room to do stuff. Well, we also wanted it to have a pleasing look and be a fun place to hang out, not to mention have a unique personality of its own.

Apparently, we accomplished that and more. Once I began posting photos on the Big Green Egg Forum, I started getting requests for more photos, measurement information, construction details and even requests to hold a party. Some even sent items they thought would be right at home in the Coop. Naturally, they were added to the decor, often getting names of their own.

Of course I was pleased that so many people thought my handiwork was worthy of so much praise and I answered every request for more information.

Then it occurred to me that I could easily set up the Coop's own blog site, which I did and started filling it with photos. Check it out at:

Now when a request for information comes in I can simply refer them to the new blog site, along with any other information they may ask for.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Chicken Ranch Update

Finally, things are starting to settle down a bit here at the Chicken Ranch. Good thing too, because we are now in the "hot" season. It's just way too hot to be outside performing any kind of tasks unless you happen to be one of those who seem to thrive in the heat. I am certainly not one of them.

However, things do still get done. For example, a fast-growing palm tree was taking over a portion of our front landscaping. It's a pretty tree and would normally look nice wherever it is growing, but in this instance it seemed to be overwhelming our other plants while creating a major problem when it comes to maintaining the area. Before destroying it we offered it to someone if they could come dig it up. Someone did and now they have a very nice tree in their back yard. We still need to fill in the hole and clean up the area before planting some more appropriately sized plants.

We also received two new "critters" for our growing collection of Coop Animals. The first came from Egghead, "2nd Lt. Bob" in Massachusetts. We have temporarily assigned the handle, "Sundown" to him until we can come up with a more suitable name.

The second and most recent arrival arrived with a note saying that he is "a sick chick" who "needs some of your good cookin'." He was sent by my Sweetie's cousins after their recent visit to the Ranch. We also need to assign an appropriate name to him.

Here they are during Rodney Dangerbird's security orientation and general debriefing about their roles here.

So now you are up to date. Stay close though because there will surely be more to come.