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Alan

Just wondering ...............

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A thought just came across my mind (I have so few), so, I need to act on those few that flow across this mind of mine ........

Jim,

How was your trip?

Got any photos?

Speeding tickets?

Indigestion from eating "foreign" (Eastern & Southern) food?

See any strange animals?

See any strange people? No personal names please !!!!!!!!

Visit any good churches?

Visit any bad churches?

Anything of interest that you want the folks here to know?

Alan

 

 

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Alan, my trip was unexpectedly hectic due to unforeseen circumstances. I visited no churches and actually saw very little, due mostly to traffic and having to keep up with it, as well as medical stuff.

Perhaps I will edit a trip update I sent out to family and friends and post it here.

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This is an extremely long post that I can’t shorten since our trip consisted of 30 days and 14 thousand miles. Probably the worst part for me was traffic. I live extremely remote and there just is no traffic at all. All up and down the eastern sea board the traffic is horrible near metropolitan areas. It was very stressful driving in this. This post was originally sent as an update for friends and family.

I am sending this to notify everyone of our safe return home. I am also sending information about our trip that some of you may not know since there were things that happened after we visited you. For instance, some of you got to meet my traveling companion, A.J. and some did not due to his medical problems incurred during our trip.

The trip began on schedule November 1st. We left California and headed northeast to Route I-80, which we would take almost all the way to the east coast. Our first stop was in Indiana to visit my friend and his wife. They have retired and moved to Indiana from western Mass. They have a beautiful home and graciously put us up for the night. We had a very nice visit and had fun recalling days gone by when mining in California.

We woke the next morning and as I was walking from their kitchen to the living room, I stepped off of a step-down in the floor and fell on my knee that I had already hurt earlier in the year. I am already very unstable due to Neuropathy in my legs and this just made it worse. I use a cane at all times, but this fall made it extremely difficult. Fortunately my traveling companion had a set of Canadian Crutches which fit to the arms that
 I could use, this made walking a lot easier.

We left my friend’s the next day and again headed east, Next stop was Pennsylvania to visit some of A.J.'s old and dear professors at Penn State University. He had a short and emotional visit with them on campus and then we were off again headed for Maine.
In Maine I was to visit with my old and dear friend Don and his wife Paula. Don was also retired and had moved to Maine from Mass. in his retirement.

We met at his lovely retirement home in Waterboro Maine and had a great time reliving our youth and all the things we had done together. Don and I were best friends through our mid teens and until our mid twenties, we were inseparable. He was my best man at my wedding. We had not seen each other since we were in our mid twenties, so this was a meeting I was anxious to do, we were now in our late seventies. It is hard to think that it had been fifty years since we had last seen each other.

We finally arrived at his house where he guided us in from the highway. It was a highly emotional meeting for both of us, but after we settled down a bit the stories of old times flew. Paula had a welcome surprise for A.J. and I, a real home cooked New England fish chowder. This was the first time I has tasted real fish chowder in almost fifty years and it was wonderful.

We did not stay overnight with Don and Paula because they had family staying over in preparation for a family gathering the next day at Niagara Falls. So A.J. and I set out once again, this time we turned south and headed for Mass. to see my daughter next. Little did we realize the tragedy that was impending after we left. Two days later I got an email from Paula saying that Don had passed away in Niagara Falls were they were with family the day after we visited them. This was a terrible shock to me and is still hard to grasp. I consider myself very fortunate that we were able to reunite once again before he passed away, the timing was incredible. Although we were apart for a long time, I will sorely miss him.

Once in Mass. we visited my daughter. It was a very nice visit, but only for a day. since we were scheduled to meet one of A.J.'s friends in South Carolina on a certain day.
So, from here we once again headed south. The first stop was to visit with my younger brother in North Carolina. My brother and his wife were in the process of moving, they had just sold their house. So we got a motel room for the night and were able to meet with him the next morning. His wife was not able to come because she had a bad night and was worn out from the moving. But we had a nice visit with him and got all caught up on our lives presently. It was a short visit, as were most of the visits we had, but it was very gratifying in the context of renewing family ties with loved ones.

We left my brother and headed south once again to South Carolina, this time the destination was to see one of A.J.'s best friends. We had been keeping in touch with him by phone along the way so we knew that he was still traveling and in Tennessee at this time and not at home in North Carolina. As it turned out he would not be home by the time we got there, so A.J. decided to bypass him for the time being and visit him after we visited his mother and family in Florida. As it turned out, he lives on a Marine military base so it was not possible for us to just wait for him because we could not get access to the base without him being there.

So we got a motel room for the night and I called my wife, Linda at home, as I did every night on this trip. This time she had some very disturbing news; trouble on the home front. Linda keeps three miniature goats for milk and this morning one of them turned up missing. Linda looked and called everywhere with no response. Goats are herd animals, so they do not readily wander away from the herd. Even if one gets out of the pasture, the rest usually follow, which they have done in the past. We live very remote, our nearest neighbor is six miles away. Linda was convinced that something had got the missing goat. We have Mountain Lions, as well as Bears and Coyotes in the area. Since she couldn't find the missing goat and it had not come back, I suggested that she call Fish and Game and report the incident. She did that and they sent out a trapper two days later. Meanwhile she had taken measures to assure that the remaining goats were safe.

When the trapper came, he found what was left of the missing goat, which was only hair and skin. He determined from the tracks that a bear had killed and eaten the goat, so he set a trap for it. Suffice to say that the bear did not come back and was not caught. Meanwhile Linda was rethinking what to do about the situation in a long term sense. She decided that it would be best to sell the remaining two goats, which she was able to do immediately. We had been looking at finding a permanent place to live for some time and right at this time an offer came up which Linda immediately took. So now, not only our problem with the goats and bear were solved, but our living conditions also changed for the better.

So now A.J. and I continued on to Florida where we would visit my brother on the Gulf Coast and then A. J.'s family in Miami. When we left home we knew that his family was planning a "get together" on a certain day, so A.J. had to be there on that day. When we got to my brother’s place we had three days before the family "get together" with A.J.'s family. So A.J. formulated a plan whereby he would leave me at my brother's place while he went to visit his mother before the family meeting, then drive back to pick me up and return to Miami once again. One of the things he had hoped to accomplish on this trip was to make sure his mother was set up to live alone since his father had just recently passed away. Leaving me at my brother's would allow him to accomplish this, one on one with his mother and free from family obligations, while still allowing for the family meeting. This resulted in a turn of events that could not have been anticipated.

After meeting my brother, A.J. left for his mother's place in Miami and successfully met with her there. He returned to my brother's place to pick me up the next day, but the unexpected struck. He stopped at a convenience store near my brother's place to get a case of drinking water. After putting the water in the van he evidently turned just a bit wrong and his back went out, causing him extreme pain and actually putting him on the ground, where he couldn't get up. He was able to call us and tell us what had happened, whereby we immediately left to get him. On arrival he was still on the ground, in extreme pain. We decided he had to go to the emergency room of the nearest V.A. hospital. He had to go to V.A. because he is a vet and any medical has to go through them. Fortunately there was one in nearby Fort Meyers, Fla. V. A. hospitals are not known for providing the best medical services and this one was no different. They didn't do much for diagnosing what was wrong, but instead they concentrated on pain relief. It took a strong dose of Morphine to deaden the pain and they also gave him pain meds as a prescription for after the Morphine wore off.

This back problem started a chain of events that would last throughout the rest of our trip. After coming back to my brother's place from the emergency room, A.J. decided that it would be best to leave immediately for his mother's place in Miami and before the Morphine wore off and perhaps he could get more meds there. He knew he would not be able to travel if the Morphine wore off and the prescription meds didn't quite cut it for pain relief. The trip from my brother's place on the Gulf Coast to Miami would take about three hours, so we set out right away. I will say that even in the midst of this unexpected turn of events, I still was able to have a nice visit with my brother and his wife, which was one of my goals on this trip. So we set out immediately for Miami before the Morphine wore off.

Arriving in Miami we immediately met with A.J.'s brother for a dinner date and to allow them to discuss their mother as well as the upcoming family meeting. After the dinner date we went to his mother's place where we would stay for the next couple of days until the family meeting. By now the Morphine had worn off and there was considerable pain that the prescription meds couldn't stop. A.J. was trying to deal with the pain as best he could, but with no success, he was in a lot of pain. His mother and I set out to find him a V. A. hospital that might once again give him some relief. We finally found one and once again they could only provide some pain relief, with nothing being done for the actual problem.

A. J.'s family meeting was the next day but he didn't feel he could make it due to severe pain issues. He instead elected to turn north again in search of a V. A. hospital that could do something for him. All in all we visited five different hospitals in three days. We went all the way back to South Carolina since we were going that way anyway to visit his best friend before turning west on our trip. He was able to have the problem diagnosed in a V. A. hospital there and it turned out to be a severe case of Sciatica. They determined that only surgery could heal the problem because it was caused by a lot of calcium build-up which was compressing the nerves. Since we had to make it back home he elected to just get enough pain meds to get him back home after resting enough to get some relief. He couldn't sit in the van seat, so the pain had to be dealt with before leaving again.

I have had this condition before, although not as severe as this was. I had found a way to help get some relief and actually make the pinching let go and suggested this to him. It consists of finding a rafter or beam that you can reach to hang by. Pull your legs up in a fetal position and twist from the waist. He tried it at his friend’s house and it worked. But it was still very tender and he wanted to baby it before moving on, so he spent a couple of days and nights sitting and laying on the hard floor, which was the only position that didn't hurt too much.

Unfortunately the next morning while walking from the kitchen he once again moved just wrong and it hit him extremely hard. He fell to the floor and was in excruciating pain, yelling for us to call 911 for para-medics. When they got there they said they had never seen anyone in such extreme pain. They took him to the emergency room and the Morphine shots began all over again, but at least it deadened the pain. After coming back to his friend’s house and evaluating the situation he decided that there was just no way he dared continue our trip. He had to get back home where the V.A. hospital he had been dealing with before was. He needed the surgery, but also needed to be home where he could recuperate from it.

He decided to fly back home because the hospital told him they would give him enough pain meds to make the trip. This would leave me to drive his van back home alone for the second part of the trip. We were half way into the trip at this point. It turned out that for him to fly to his home city in Oregon would take 22 hours and numerous plane transfers; He wouldn't have enough pain meds for that length of time. But he found that he could get a direct flight from N.C. to Sacramento, CA. which was much shorter. Then he would have to rest up and wait in a motel a couple of days for me to get there. Once there I picked him up and we were able to make the short trip home from Sacramento.

So, with all that said, we are back home and hopefully he is getting the treatment he needs, or soon will be. I am undergoing Physical Therapy for my knee, which turned out to be torn cartilage.
 

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Jim,

Thank you very much for relating to us your experiences on your trip to the East Coast. 

It was a blessing for you to visit your relatives and your friends Don and Paula. I am sure that your relatives and don enjoyed your company and friendship. It seems to me that the Lord enabled you to visit Don just before he passed away to bless both of you.

Sorry to hear about your fall and A. J's medical problems. I am not sure what Canadian crutches are. Maybe A. J. needs to write a report to the head of the V.A., relate his experiences, and let him know his thoughts. Afterwards, as I am sure V.A. may not even read his report, and will probably totally  ignore his report, send the report to a local TV station, or maybe Rush Limbaugh, and see what they will do with his report.

Sorry to hear about your goat. Maybe it for the best as you now have a better place to live for you and Linda.

Again, thank you for letting us know a lot of what went on during your trip. I did pray a couple of times for you during your trip for the Lord to help and bless you.

Thanks!

Alan

 

 

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Thank you for your reply Alan, as well as your prayers, I needed them. Prayer is the only thing that got me through that traffic safely.

Canadian Crutches are like canes that have an arm band for your forearm. Back when there was still Polio, we used to see advertising pictures of kids with them.

Medline MDS805160 Aluminum Forearm Crutches, Tall Adult (Pair of 2 Crutches)

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I didn't know those were 'Canadian crutches'. We have regular ones too - in fact the regular ones are probably more common.  

This spring, I discovered there was such a thing as a 'Canadian canoe', too. (Thank you, England!)

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On 12/18/2018 at 11:42 PM, Jim_Alaska said:

Thank you for your reply Alan, as well as your prayers, I needed them. Prayer is the only thing that got me through that traffic safely.

Canadian Crutches are like canes that have an arm band for your forearm. Back when there was still Polio, we used to see advertising pictures of kids with them.

Medline MDS805160 Aluminum Forearm Crutches, Tall Adult (Pair of 2 Crutches)

That is the only sort of crutches I have seen for years.  What arel ordinary crutches?

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7 hours ago, Jim_Alaska said:

Invicta, I called them "ordinary crutches" because I thought most people would know what they are. They are also called "under arm crutches".

Drive Medical Walking Crutches with Underarm Pad and Handgrip, Adult, 1 Pair

+

Jim, I can't say I have seen them, they are a bit like the old wooden ones.  I think all that I have seen in recnet years are those you call Canadian crutches.

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Yes, I call the old wooden ones "ordinary crutches." Those are what I meant, the newer aluminum ones are just that....newer. The main point being that the ordinary ones fit under the arms and are much more cumbersome than the newer Canadian Crutches.

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On 12/20/2018 at 5:21 PM, Jim_Alaska said:

If I remember correctly it was around the second week of November Swath.

Sorry I missed you guys.  Around that time I was home nursing my right achilles tendon after falling into a divot in the grass of our new place.  Still hurts!

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