Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday, 3/20/08
It has been an interesting 4 months since our last blog entry on November 26. I know that Connie has e-mailed most of you and made/received many phone calls along with visits from family and friends. In a nutshell, while in the midst of our annual pilgrimage to RI in order to celebrate Christmas I suffered a Cerebral Aneurism. We were at the hotel when the local rescue responded to our 911 call. Fortunately, we recognized that something was seriously wrong and were treated, (as we requested) at RI Hospital by members of the Neurosurgical and Neurointerventional staff. In time they found and terminated the bleed and I was back in ICU in a short time. I don’t personally know much of what happened, since I was either unconscious or heavily medicated most of the time but I was inpatient for about 2 ½ weeks. I know they installed drains in my skull to drain off the blood from around my brain and spinal column. I read the records and noted that they administered medications to prevent seizures. Connie, Paul, Tom & Pam have filled in the other gray areas but I don’t have an independent recollection. I completely missed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years. I do know my behavior with the female nursing staff was rather, “unusual” including my communication skills. I also know that I am extremely fortunate because I not only survived, but that I survived with no limitations.

Once I was discharged from RI Hospital, I was transferred to Vanderbilt Rehabilitation, a section of Newport Hospital. I didn’t really need much in the way of formal rehab. but I definitely needed a place to stabilize and strengthen before going, “home”. They did their job well, and I was stronger when I left than I was on admission. There was one incident worth repeating from Vanderbilt. The Occupational Therapist (a well-meaning soul) was in the process of checking on my ADL’s, (activities of daily living) when she asked me if I was comfortable and familiar with the kitchen? Keep in mind, this was a day when I had defeated a nasty headache in the morning and now it was mid-afternoon.
Once again my even temperament slipped and I looked at her and snapped, “do you know who you’re talking to?” “Give me a ½ hour alone in there and I’ll prepare a meal regardless of what you have for ingredients”. The closer was when I told her that I was Italian and didn’t need a recipe!

Are you surprised to learn that a t-shirt with that last line on the front was a Christmas gift from Connie?

After the hospital I spent more time at the hotel where I was treated as an, “honored guest” since Connie had prepared them so well. If I walked the halls “solo” during the day when she was out shopping, making cookies or running an errand for yours truly, she had an activity report from the hotel staff on her return.

The family celebrated a belated traditional Christmas Eve dinner after I was discharged and that was difficult for me emotionally and physically because I was still weak from the hospitalization and meds. It sure was uplifting to see Pam, Tom & Paul take the reins for the fish and our sister-in-law Betty handle the antipasto. More than that, I was acutely aware of how close I’d come to missing out……….

Finally, after several Dr. visits in RI we received the ok to fly back to Florida. Unfortunately, during the flight I developed a blood clot behind my right knee that required another 6 days inpatient at Holmes Regional here in Melbourne, FL where I was on IV Heparin and oral Coumadin to get to therapeutic level. As you can imagine I was not pleased to be inpatient since I had just escaped the clutches of the medical community in RI. It was a happy day when the nurse and technician came dancing into my room at 7:00 am to share the news that my blood level was finally where it needed to be. Do you think I was a little anxious about my condition?
Now Connie is slowly weaning me from my brain related medications and we are carefully watching my Coumadin level to help my body to absorb the clot.

The week of 3/10/09, we drove to the Keys with our friend Don McLendon to bring The Rose from Marathon to Melbourne. The medical people seemed to think it would be a good idea to have an extra hand on board and I have to agree. I felt good, but until we were actually underway Connie & I had no idea of what my limitations actually were. Don is one of those Southern guys with 2 first names, (Rodger-Don) but he is also a retired Chief Merchant Marine Engineer and a good guy. He took the helm, changed filters and handled lines. He also almost violated one of the Cardinal Rules about male urination on The Rose after consuming a bit of wine one night. That’s a story for another time, but Don tells me that he is now in touch with his feminine side!

The run from Marathon to Melbourne is a 3 night, 4 day trip north through Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, etc. The trip was all we could have hoped for. Great weather, and except for a little unsteadiness when underway there were no limitations. I kept my right leg elevated thanks to Connie & Don and was up and down the stairs regularly during the day to keep the muscles working the blood vessels.

Physically and mentally I’m fine. Today, like most days I walked for about an hour at a decent pace. My weight is headed in the right direction again after all that inactivity in the hospitals. Most of all I was anxious to be back aboard The Rose and underway again.

Now The Rose is comfortably docked at Telemar Bay Marina in Indian Harbour Beach and we are relaxing at our condominium. I’m walking daily with a cell phone clipped to my shorts and a note with Connie’s name and cell number in plain sight. While the boat is docked I will do the usual maintenance, oil-filter changes, etc. and I also hope to install new latches on the pilothouse doors and solve a radio problem that has popped up.

We expect to leave here in early April right after Easter and make our way north along the coast to our ultimate destination; Rhode Island. We have assistance for the first part of the trip, since our friends Bill and Robin Evans will accompany us from Telemar Bay to the Charleston area. We hope to bring someone else aboard after that, and the last leg of the trip, (into RI) is hopefully reserved for our friend Ben who docks his boat nearby at Greenwich Bay North.

There are a few members of the Mirage/Great Harbour family in the Vero Beach area this week and we drove there for a shopping run and reunion. We haven’t seen some of these folks in over a year and it was a good time for sure!

Here are a few pictures from the trip as well as the launch that we witnessed while at the condominium.

Sunrise leaving Marathon

"Chief" Don McLendon

Travelling Companions

Birds of a Feather....

Your guess is as good
as mine?

Don's Ride Shuttle Launch from Condo


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