Never Enough Plants! A Test Message Post

Hey All,

I have a quick favor. For some reason I think I inadvertently turned on the “no comments” button back on my 11/23 Thankgiving post entitled “Thanksgiving Day Dinner By The Beach” and going forward and I just noticed this. I hope that I have now fixed the issue (Sorry, I’m not really that proficient in navigating around word press). Just want to make sure the my posts previously written since 11/23 (5 in total) have a least successfully reach you all and that this blog is now allowing people to comment once again. If ypu could send me a brief comment on this blog, I’ll know thingscare now okay again. Thanks fellow bloggers!

Luv, Gary

New plant (below) that I just added to my jungle!!

I bought it yesterday. I guess when I’m sick, plants give me some hope that eventually things with me will be well again. Running out of room in my RV!!!

Homebound For The Holidays

Hey All,

Have been a little bit down today.

My recovery from my my Urology Surgery last Monday has not been going so good. The first three days after returning home last week, I felt pretty good other than having the usual swelling after undergoing that type of intrusive operation.

However, since last Friday and thru today, I have been feeling horrible. Some of the swelling in certain areas has gone down, but in other areas it has gotten much worse and more tender. It seems more problematic at night when I try to go to sleep. Despite taking strong pain pills (which I generally don’t like to do) the pain continues to be constant and sharp. Surprisingly, the only time I feel a slight relief is when I take a warm shower in the mornings.

Yesterday morning (Wednesday) I went to the ER at the Tampa VA, since I felt so uncomfortable. They medical staff took some blood work and a urine sample to rule out any nfection. They then contacted the urology departmemt who sent down a couple of doctors (not my actual surgeon who wasn’t there)) to examine me. They saw the areas where the swelling was most prevelant and wanted me to keep certain areas elavated via a use of a jock strap and to cushion it with “chucks” which is one of those throw-away pads used on hospital beds to help reduce sensitivity. They also ordered me some more pain pills and a heating pad. Off I went down the hospital hallways, looking like a “pregnant” man with all that padding. How humiliating!

On a bright side, did also see my Ortho Doctor yesterday and got new X-Rays taken on my foot and hand fractures. The nones are healing nicely and it is anticipated that I will be free of both casts provided my final X-Rays look good when I return for hopefully my last follow-up visit in about 3 weeks.

My preference would have been to stay in the hospital for a few days under observation until some of the pain and swelling subsided, but since I was stable and my vitals normal, they preferred that I continue to recover at home.

So today here I sit yet another day in pain, watching TV and continuing to keep warm by my fireplace as we have been experiencing a little cold spell. Last night, my lack of sleep and my constant discomfort was no better than the day before. At least I made my little space a bit more cheery since I am pretty much stuck to stay in here all day and rest.

Each day, after I take my warm morning shower and sit on the beige chair as shown in the picture below as I change my dressings, I think back to the past when Terry would sit in that very same chair as I got my basket of supplies and changed his urostomy bag and other dressings. Now it is me sitting in that same seat as both patient and caretaker.

As you all know, I like to be active. However, I know that it will be a good 2 months or longer before I can return back to the gym or to ride my bike (both of which I look forward to do each day).

Also, because of the way I’m currently feeling, I had to unfortunately cancel a weekend trip with “Beau” to Saint Augustine where we were going to enjoy the spectacular holiday lights and Christmas shows they were having there. As for my meetup group activities, I have signed up for so many of them over the next few weeks. However, I know that until I feel a bit better, I will unfortunately have to cancel out on attending many of them.

As for Christmas, my family will not be getting together this year as we have done in the past. My older brother and his wife are going on a cruise and my younger brother is unable to travel to me from his home with my Mom as he has to attend to some medical procedures there and naturely, it is too difficult for me to travel long distances due to my current condition.

So for the most part I will remain “homebound” for the Holidays this year, just praying that I fully recover and get well soon.

Luv, Gary

Post Surgery Update

Hey Everyone

Generally don’t like to post too many “Debbie Downer” blogs, but to be quite honest, I have not felt very well over the past 4 days. I still have alot of swelling in the areas affected by my urology surgery (which I think has gotten a bit worse) The pain I am currently experiencing is a constant and achy pain resulting in alot of discomfort. The first 4 days since my surgery (last Tuesday thru Friday) I felt relatively okay, but I have gotten a bit worse since then. So, I have been been staying pretty much in my RV and just trying to rest and to remain as comfortable as I can.

I have placed a call to my Urology Surgeon to discuss my progress, but he is at the VA Hospital only on limited days and not sure when he will get the message and return my call. In the meantime, I am going to try to grunt and bare it one more day, but if I don’t hear back from him by this evening, I am going to go to the ER at the Veterans Hospital very early in the AM on Wednesday, since I have two scheduled appointments there beginning at 9 Am for hand and foot fracture follow-up and also primary care. In this way I am only having to make one drive there which is tough enough. My next scheduled Urology follow-up appointment isn’t until Thursday December 6th. That clinic only does follow up appointments on Thursdays. Might get it moved till this Thursday (if an appointment opens up), but right now they’re fully booked.

So, while I sit here resting in my RV, at least it’s pleasant and I feel a little Christmas in the air as I enjoy my 4 live plants and other simple decorations.

The weather is supposed to get down to the mid 40’s tonight and to do likewise over the next few days. Although not freezing, I am considering bringing my tropical plants into my RV (or should I say temporary greenhouse) for a few days. In this way they can share the warm space with me rather than to renain in the cold. After all they are living creatures too and I would hate to lose them as all are thriving so nicely and I’d like them to live on!

I guess about all for now.

P.S. Just brought my plants into my RV and arranged them so that they aren’t over-bearing. Have plenty of room for them and for me! May just leave them in here for the winter rather than moving them in and out too often as nights will continue to get a bit colder the next few month. Besides will be spending more time inside than outside during this time of year and it would be nice to enjoy them.

Have a great rest of your day.

Luv, Gary

Taking Time To Recognize Someone for Great Service

Hey All,

Good Morning.  Often times it is human tendency to take the time to make a complaint against a person or agency than it is for people to take the time to recognize someone or an organization when they do something good.  I am of the nature to prefer to do the latter as I don’t think we do enough of these types of actions.  I at this stage in my life would rather look a things in my life in a more positive manner ( a glass half full than half empty).  I think by reflecting on life in this positive manner is what helps to keep us moving forward and to embrace our life and the assist others around us to do likewise.

Having stated the above, I awoke this morning to take the time to compose the letter of appreciation below to be submitted by me tomorrow to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tampa pertaining to the great medical care that I received from one of their staff nurses


To: Hospital Administrator, James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital

Thru:  Nursing Manager (Ward 4 South)

I am a retired U.S. Army Medical Services Corps Officer of 22 years. While in that capacity I performed duties as a pharmacy officer, aeromedical evacuation pilot, airfield commander, regional medical comptroller, hospital administrator and I also played an integral role within the Department of Defense in developing the early stages of the military Tricare program.

On Monday, November 19, 2018 I underwent a difficult urology operation at your facility and was then transported to Ward 4 South for 24-hour observation before being discharged from your hospital on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.

I was totally impressed with the professionalism, responsiveness, compassion and level of knowledge that your entire medical staff displayed throughout my stay. It was by far the best care that I have received by any hospital for any medical treatment that I have undergone thus far in my life.

I want to take the time to specifically recognize the quality of care that I received from your day staff nurse, Cally Graniero while on Ward 4 South. Nurse Graniero displayed outstanding professionalism and exhibited the highest level of bed side manners while caring for me during my stay. Despite short nursing staff, Nurse Graniero remained totally responsive to all my medical needs and portrayed genuine compassion for my post-operative condition. Nurse Graniero ensured that I was comfortable at all times, performed the appropriate medical care that I required while on the ward and keep me abreast of all administrative procedures to be accomplished prior to my discharge. She also was very comprehensive in reviewing with me all follow-up care needed and precautions that I should take when at home to ensure successful and speedy recovery from my recent surgical procedure.

Although nursing and ancillary medical staff generally have a desire to care for their patients, sometimes due to under-staffing conditions and the need to handle so much administrative paperwork, they sometimes lose site of remaining responsive to patient needs. At no time did any other responsibilities of Nurse Graniero distract her from going the extra mile in overseeing my care in an efficient and effective manner.

Unfortunately, the Veterans Administration sometimes gets a bad rap from veterans pertaining to their ability to access and to receive quality care. This has not been the case with me since enrolling into your facility. It is also unfortunate that most times there is a greater propensity for patients to generate complaints about care received than there is to take the time to recognize staff that have performed outstanding care. I wanted to take the time to recognize Nurse Graniero and to ensure that her supervisor and all others in her chain of command at this medical facility are aware of this remarkable nurse.

I highly recommend that nurse Graniero be positively recognized by her supervisors for the outstanding performance of her nursing duties. She is a great asset to your facility and significantly contributes to the success of The James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital.


Gary S. Drabczuk (LTC, Retired-U.S. Army)

Tis’ The Season & Quick Health Update

Hey Everyone,

It’s early Saturday morning and I thought I’d send out a quick blog. Had a restless time last night. Starting to feel sharp pains and alot of discomfort throughout the night from my urology surgery that I had on Monday.

I had been doing pretty well the 1st three days after my surgery. Even with my extreme swelling in and around my surgical areas,I surprisingly wasn’t experiencing too much major pain on those first few days.

However today seems like it will not be so good. I don’t know for sure if it might be related to some internal pain medication that might be wearing off when the surgery was performed or it they are just healing pains? Also, seems like I’m having some bleeding showing up around my incisions. Those incisions had been pretty clear the other days?

As long as my condition doesn’t get any worse than what I’m experiencing rightvnow, I will probably tough it out throughout the rest of the weekend and if necessary contact my urology surgeon at the beginning of next week if I still having significant pain and discomfort and to discuss any other concerns about my recovery.

Hate to go to the ER prematurely as staff this Holiday weekend would be limited and not sure if they would have the specialized expertise to know if what I’m experiecing right now is normal for this operative procedure. I woyld rather discuss directly with my surgeon.

Promise to just rest and take it easy over the remainder of this weekend and see how I feel next week.

As a side note, I went ahead and put up my outdoor Christmas lights yesterday to hopefully get into the Holiday spirit. Much simpler display on my RV and surrounding area than the elaborate lights and decor’ that Terry and I used to do on our former Dallas home. The good thing with living this simpler life now is that it doesn’t take long to put things up and them to take them down after the holidays!

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Luv, Gary

Thanksgiving Day Dinner By The Beach

Good Morning All,

Hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends.

Although I have alot of swelling and discomfort going on as a result of my recent urology surgery, I did manage to convince myself to get out for awhile today for Thanksgiving Day Dinner with friends. I used alot of dressings and support to minimize any movement in my sensitive surgical areas. I am now back home to relax and to keep my lower extremities elevated. Plan to just rest the remainder of this weekend and hope that the swelling begins to subside.

Had a really nice dinner today at Mangos Restaurant and Tiki Nar at the Doubletree Hotel in North Redington Beach, Florida (whick over looks the Gulf of Mexico). The place was about a 50 minute drive from my RV spot on MacDill AFB in Tampa. We had about 45 people in attendance and the food was delicious, the weather perfect (about 72 degrees) and the company cordial.

The girl with me in this picture is Katherine. She is the leader of the Tampa Bay Adventurers group and since the organization is so large and diverse in the activities it organizes, she has about 15 sub hosts to assist her with coordinating so many of the other fun events for members to participate in and enjoy. I would say that this group on average posts at least 10 different activities each week (so needless to say you have alot to choose from)!

As you can see I wasn’t the only invalid in attendance! Actually this guy sat next to me at my table and after chatting with him a bit, foind out he grew up about 10 miles from where I did in Massachusetts.

Only justva part of our group today that I could get to go outside for a group photo. The rest were still inside chatting or busy settling their dinner bills.

Look at the Beach Views ! Sorry for those northerners feeling the deep one digit temperatures today! It is gets down to the mid 60’s here everyone begins complaining and says it’s freezing. Luckily today was in the low 70’s and pleasant.

Photo of me with Katherine the leader of our group and my friend Grant from Australia who is alot of fun. Sometimes in the summer months I would accompany Grant in his motor boat on the Gulf along with a group of other friends from this organization. We would have such a nice time.

Gary (left) + Grant (right) = Gary Grant (actual full name of the guy in the middle). I took this photo and then realized later that the guy in the middle had a part of both of our names. How funny!

Check out my plate of food. This was my second helping (since we had a huge buffet) and this was before I got my big plate of desserts of couse!

A toast by our gracious host Katherine to give thanks for all the wonderful friendships we have in the Tampa Bay Adventurers Meetup Group.

I guess this officially starts the holiday season. My hope is that this season is wonderful for all my fellow bloggers and their families. I have a full schedule of Holiday activities that I plan to participate in over the next several weeks, provided that I am able to still go. Alot will depend on my daily health condition as this extensive surgery that I just had will take several months to recover from and I know some days will be better than others as I continue to heal. It is important that I try not to overdo it and to allow suffient tome to relax as necessary. It is critical that heal properly and have not ser backs so I can eventally get back to my normal activities, provided NO MORE SELF INDUCED MISHAPS!! PLEASE PRAY FOR ME FOR NO MORE INJURIES!!!!

Luv, Gary

“Sanding Ovations” in Treaure Island, Florida

Hey All,

On this past Sunday, the day before my surgery, I did volunteer work at the annual “Sanding Ovations” celebration in Treasure Island, Florida. This event has become a popular event that has attracted the best of the best Sand Scupturers from all over the world to participate in this remarkabke event. Treasure Island, FL has become known as the sand scupturing capital of the world. There was also a lot of live entertainment, a great variety of food and many venders who also participated in this fun-filled event.

My job was to act as lead support coordinator to assist all the bands providing the entertainment. I was responsible for ensuring availability for accessible VIP parking, assisting with equipment set-up and ensuring that complimentary food and beverages were readily available for the entertainers.

I must admit, voluntering for this position provided me with some special benefits. I got to park free in VIP parking right up front and close to the main band stage on the beach verses having to park a mile away and pay $ 20 for parking. I got to meet and great members of all the bands. I got a free festival tee shirt. I was able to eat plenty of complimentory pizza and chicken wings and had cold drinks readily acessible to me and naturally I got to enjoy all the bands up and close.

Immediately following my volunteer work at about 3 PM, I had an opportunity to link up with my Tampa Bay Aventurers group to enjoy the rest of the festival with them for awhile.

The photos I’m including below attest to the remarkle work done by the sand sculpturers. I am just including a hand-full of them to give you an idea of the creativity and detail work of the artists.

Check out whats in the middle of this sculpture above.

Love this sign! Better than the standard ones that say “Do not Litter”

P.S. Will give you an update on my health status in a few days after I have a chance to let all the major swelling to go down which is still pretty significant “down and under”. I feel like a prisioner right now chained to a large prision ball with the chain attached to a different appendage other than to my leg! This is probably the best way to describe my current condition!

Definitely not as peppy and cheery as I was in my former Pics and my “Disc Jockey” video in the hospital just after my surgery when my heavy pain meds were working to keep me very happy and free of feeling any pain at lrast for awhile.

Have a great Thanksgiving today everyone.

Luv, Gary

MY “Pre and Post-Operative” Humor

Hey Folks,

Just a quick status of my health after my 3 1/2 hour surgery today..

I have no idea what’s actually “working or not”down there as yet as I’m all bandaged up like a mummy. Time will tell in due time how things went. What I do know now for sure is that the “Happy Drugs” are working just fine and I have an upbeat attitude (at least at the moment). This is evident in my “boggy blog”above where I am playing the role as a radio disc jockey. My other photos below also attest to good-working drugs.

My Photo Op as “The Virgin Mary II” praying for all my blogger friends.

My two new hairstyles above. Not sure which one I like best?

My version as a female arab.

My version as a sad male arab.

My version as a happy male arab. I like this look better.

If for some reason, I actually died on the operating table…..then as you can attest in the photo below, I must be in “Happy Ice Cream Heaven!” As a live person or a spirit (if I’m actually deceased) I sure know how to work those nurses to my favor!

I will blog more eventually about my health as my healing progresses and when I realize what functions if any may have changed down there as a result of my surgery. It will take some time naturally to assess my progress and determine my physical activity limitations. I know for sure bike-riding will definitely have to be curtailed for awhile. Don’t want to aggrevate anything. I know I will have to take things slowly for awhile. I Probably will be sore tomorrow after the heavy duty pain meds wear off, st o I might as well enjoy the buzz tonight while the going’s good.

Signing Off for now

Luv, Gary

P.S. Forgot to include my Pre-Operative photo shown below in my color-coordinated outfit. Interesting to note is that they gave me “yellow” socks! As you know, “yellow” was Terry’s favorite color. In all the previous operations and procedures that Terry had…the hospitals never seemed to have “yellow” socks in stock! I guess Terry performed his magic to make sure that they had “yellow” socks for me. I truly feel that this was a sign from Terry that his spirit was here with me today and he was watching down upon me throughout my operation and recovery.

Going Under The Knife On Monday

The day of recogning has come. I will be operated on tomorrow (Monday) for my chronic urology issues.

Hopefully the surgeon and the rest of his medical staff will use a smaller and cleaner set of surgical knives than the one shown in my attached photo!

I am the surgeon’s second case tomorrow to begin mid morning and to last several hours. I anticipate I will be staying overnight in the hospital after the surgery, but if they decide to release me to go home, I have a driver (from the RV park) identified to do that.

Not sure how I will feel after my surgery and how long it will take me to recover and if all my bodily functions in the urology area will remain in tact or if I will have any significant and permanent life-changing events in that area after surgery as they will be working carefully arround alot of nerves and vessels. I guess we will just see how things go in due time.

Since, I am not sure of my ultimate post-surgical condition, I am going to take the time now to wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.

Rest assured, if I recover sufficiently by Thursday, I will be joining about 40 friends from one of my meetups for a beautiful holiday dinner at a wonderful place in Saint Petersburg over-looking the bay. What could be better than that?

Yesterday evening, I went to a wonderful pre-holiday celebration with some of my meet-up friends. It was hosted by local artists in the Saint Petersburg area. They had great creative artwork on display in their studios. They also offered a nice music ensemble and had complementary hord d’oeuvres and wine and beer for us all. I am only including one photo here. Wish I took more photos last night but got pre-occupied taking everything in. Oh well.

I’ll end this post by attaching a photo of a beautiful (live) Thanksgiving Holiday Poisetta that I purchased yesterday. It is very unique. The petals are orange with a touch of yellow and the leaves are bronze, with a touch of gold sparkles. I really love it and placed it close to my warm and glowing fireplace in my RV. At least I’ll have something nice to look at while I recover at home over the next few days.

Luv, Gary