Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hip Hip Hooray!

John was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his right hip earlier this year (after several years of incorrect diagnoses including maybe he has a hernia - nope - or a groin pull - nope again).  We finally got the right help in Austin.  Then we were told that he should get a hip replacement but hold off as long as possible (and just take pain killers for the next 10 years?)  Long story and lots of research, but eventually we decided that it would be better to fix it now, we wanted to try a resurfacing procedure instead of the full-blown replacement, and we finally found a doctor in our network who would do it.

So it was scheduled for the end of the summer, after all our travels and race excitement.  Back to Texas for some hip work and then rest/recuperation.

Ready to go at the Texas Health Clearfork hospital in Fort Worth - and by the way, we were very impressed with this place.

John's pre-surgery X-ray showing very little space for movement in his hip socket:

Modeling the gown and lovely non-slip socks:

Hmm, how did they know?  He promised not to climb a ladder for at least a couple days...

So... that first morning, John's all gowned up and ready to go, and then they find out that the AC was off in the operating room.  Way too hot and they didn't yet know why.  So they sent us home...  OK, so that part didn't impress us so much, but everything else was great.

Back for try #2, two days later!  The air conditioner had been fixed, go for surgery:

John is even more risky this time:

Everything went great with the surgery.  The doctor said that John clearly had limited hip mobility when they got in there, his femoral head size was fine (it can't be too small or they won't do a resurfacing), and the procedure went like clockwork.

Not long later, I got to see him in recovery.  He doesn't remember this part (and he seemed quite confused about how the surgery could be finished already), but I knew he was fine when he started goofing around:

Post-op X-ray of his bionic hip:

Soon he was moved to the room where we'd stay overnight.  John doesn't remember the initial bit of time here, but he was doing great.  Tip to anyone with a loved one that goes through major surgery - don't give them their phone for the first little while afterward.  John made a phone call and sent a text message, neither of which he remembers doing.  Most of what he said was true, although I heard him say we were in the hotel room for the night so that struck me as funny.  His parents came in to make sure everything was going fine before they headed back home.  Yep, doing good!

His brain and appetite are getting back to normal - time for lunch!

John had a mostly uneventful afternoon, with the main challenge being that his heart rate kept setting off the machine alarm for being too low (his resting HR is around 40 bpm).  We learned how to adjust the bed (downloading the manual on my phone).  I also got the manual for the monitor machine but we decided I probably shouldn't touch it and just deal with the stupid alarm.

Later that evening, after the numbness wore off in his legs, he stood up with the help of the nice PT woman.  She offered that he could just go sit in the chair or he could walk in the hallway if he felt like it.  Hallway, of course!  One lap, moving quite well, and he was declared the star patient of the evening.  Go John!  OK, go lie down again.

The good news was that the walk stimulated something in John's system so his heart rate bumped up enough to stop triggering the alarm.  And it stayed that way overnight, yay sleep!

Dutifully using his breathing apparatus to work on lung capacity:

Is this how these things go together?

Everything went great and they were OK releasing John before lunch the next day (less than 24 hours after surgery) - impressive!  They offered that we could stay longer if we wanted, but John was ready for the car ride home.

Love this "wheelchair" that they used to transport John to the exit.  This is the only driving John would be doing for the next 4 weeks:

Hey, it's a Tesla in the parking lot!  Love the license plate too:

John did a lot of resting, sleeping, watching TV, and short walks over the next couple weeks.  People kept saying that now was the best time to challenge him to a race.  So I couldn't resist taking him to the track for this photo op:

One lap (in 10+ minutes) and he was tuckered out.  And spent the next 2 days sleeping.  I guess we overdid it a little.  Our nurse had told us his body would let him know if he did too much; she said she took one look at John and knew she needed to mention this to us.  Yep, we're "that kind of patient."

John did take that to heart and took it easier for a while.  Since then he stopped using the cane and got off the painkillers pretty quickly, used an ice pack machine for several weeks, he has been walking longer and longer, basically recovering well.  We had an easy flight back to California four weeks after surgery.

And now he's back behind the wheel :)

We've decided to do some hill training (walking only, no running).  So we started last weekend, with the small 100-foot hill on the Google campus.  Let's go, up there!

Kip's coming along for the weekly hill walks, hi Kip!

Vista Slope, not even really a hill, gotta start somewhere:

The last little rise:

We made it!

So that's our hip surgery story, yay for getting that fixed!  I'll keep y'all updated on his progress over the next year.

And in slightly less important news, I'm finally caught back up on blogging  :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Chico and a return to Texas

And now for a bit of randomness to move us forward in time...

After hearing good things about Chico, we decided to spend a night there, which also gave us a chance to take the Sierra Nevada brewery tour.

We were lucky to get to see their locally-grown hops, a small crop that they grow on site for a limited release, that's pretty cool:

A photo of the hops being harvested:

The lab at the brewery - not a bad gig if one were a chemistry major:

Lots of solar on the roof:

The bottling and kegging plant:

My favorite part - the tasting portion of the tour:

Love the bike racks here:

Oh look, that's where the hops were grown:

We continued on from Chico down to San Jose, settled in, and then flew to Texas.  Just a few quick scenes from the Lone Star State.

Thanks, Waffle House!

I ran a 50K at Tyler State Park, fun one!  Here's the start:

3rd place, pretty excited about that:

Let's do!  (at Cafe Brazil, our new favorite place to eat in Dallas/Fort Worth)

Out on a walk in the woods with our friend Suzanne and her 5 dogs, somehow none of them ended up in the picture she took:

Yay Danny!

Fun sign at our favorite tamale place, Tamale Addiction:

John's dad got roped into being the grand marshal for a parade, so our sister-in-law made him a hat (thanks Kathy!):

Lots of fun visits with family and friends in Texas!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Lassen, part 5 - Warner Valley

Our last day exploring Lassen!  We headed over to Warner Valley in the southeast corner.  It required a bit of a drive, but we couldn't pass up another chance to see geothermal features, and a bonus jaunt along the Pacific Crest Trail.

There's a lot of good stuff listed on this sign - Boiling Springs Lake, Devil's Kitchen, Terminal Geyser.  Let's get started.

Hot Springs Creek that runs next to the parking lot:

Hello PCT!

Boardwalk shadow selfie:

Note the distance of the PCT on this sign:

The color of Boiling Springs Lake just ain't normal:

We had to wonder about the animal tracks in the mud.  Maybe they were just keeping warm, because you surely can't drink this.

Lots of little holes with bubbling, hissing water venting to the surface - and somehow, trees grow in the middle of it:

Continuing on to Terminal Geyser - not exactly a geyser with water spewing forth, but it sure looks like it could.  Any minute now.

Loud steaming rocks, I bet this would be neat to see in the winter:

Yep, it's warm:

Enjoying our little walk along the PCT:

Stepping off the trail for a train of horses - one of the guides asked us to watch for a radio he'd dropped somewhere on the trail behind them:

Double rootstock canyon!  We don't see this very often, that's for sure:

Hey look, there's the radio!  We accomplished something useful today, returning it to the nearby ranch:

The lone horse waiting at the ranch for his friends to come back from the ride, hello pretty horse:

An interesting paddlewheel in a little creek, quite creative:

And another one:

And the best part of the day - Devil's Kitchen.  Another extensive display of volcanic-ness:

Milky-white water, that's kind of disgusting looking:

Hot water dribbling down from vents in the side of the hill:

Sulphur smell and green rocks:

A large otherworldly pool:

It's a super fun trail through here, with new things to see around every corner:

Awesome!  Obviously we enjoyed Lassen immensely, glad we had to time to explore so many parts of it.  Time to go downhill, into the heat, back to civilization and "real life".  Thanks for coming along with us on our summer journey!