“Christmas In The Wild” Among Friends

Hey Everyone,

Decided on Saturday to venture out once again with one of my favorite meetup group of friends. I wasn’t going to dwell upon my on-going medical issues today and to try to let my mind over matter take over to help minimize my pain and discomfort. Figured it was good to get out for awhile for a fun day with friends, provided that once again, I try not to overdo it prior to my next surgery scheduled for this comming Tuesday.

Every year around the holiday season The Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa transforms its Zoo and its residents (the wild animals) into a winter holiday wonderland. The enterance cost into the zoo after 4 PM for this event is normally $ 24.95 per person, however they had an on-going special where you can pay only $ 36.95 for a “discounted” zoo membership that will then allow free enterance into the zoo for the rest of 2018 and all the way thru 31 December 2019 (with exception of a few blackout dates). Since the Zoo has some other seasonal shows throughout the year, I figured that the $ 36.96 special membership was well worth purchasing.

The weather Saturday afternoon was just perfect (the high 70’s to low 80’s) and the evening was equally comfortable in the low 70″s (short sleve weather). Sorry for all you up on the colder winter climates. Of course, what could be better than a little bit of snow fall for the holidays in Florida. The penguins at the Zoo especially loved it!

Above is a nice group photo of most of my friends that attended and accompanied me in our “Christmas In The Wild” adventure today. Couldn’t ask for a nicer group of guys to hang out with!

Of course in yesterday’s blog, I had taken a photo with Santa Clause. So to be sure there wouldn’t be any quabble between this famous couple of whom I loved the best, I decided to take a photo with Mrs Claus this evening. Of couse, I reminded Mrs. “S” that I told her husband yesterday that all I really wanted for Christmas was simply to get over all my current medical issues and setbacks and to be in great health once again in 2019. Figured with Santa getting up in age and suffering from a bit of dementia Mrs. “S” could gently remind him of my Christmas wishes when the big day comes and he and his raideers are up and away in that big red sleigh!

A star is born!

Who doesn’t love Gingerbread this time of year!

My new friend…one of Sanra’s helpers!

These two people were so tall or I maybe I was just way too short. The guy in the tin soldier suit actually took the selfie of the three of us!

Only us four in the above photo from our group were daring enough to go on the log ride and to get all soaking wet. A little water never hurt anyone and although it was a bit later in the afternoon, the temperature was still warm enough for us to dry off quickly before the sun set.

Okay so let’s see some of our animal friends in the wild, going wild!

Okay….maybe not too wild as these 2 guys above were taking a little rest!

Love my giraffes!

These are actual birds up in the trees getting ready to settle down for the evening. As you can see, they were all dressed up in their festive green feathers for the holidays!

This is one large raindeer !

Okay, after a day full of fun and all that walking, I was a bit tired and had to ask one of my Christmas friends if I could use one of their “Candy ” Canes to lean on to for a while to rest for a bit. It was greatly appreciated!

Okay, so as I’m finishing up this blog to you all on early Sunday morning, I looked over to my right and to my surprise…..looked who was sitting on my couch in my RV ! I think and truly believe that this is the spirit of “Terry” coming back to visit us all in the form of this cute little frog. I think he’s trying to let us all know that he’s still with us and watching over us all and wishing us the very best througout the holiday season. How fitting for Terry to visit when I’m writing a blog about animals entitled “Christmas In The Wild” !

Have a great Sunday!

Luv, Gary

Christmas Boat Parade in Saint Peterburg Beach, Florida (Part 2)

Second video of the Christmas Boat Parade.

After the event, a bunch of us went over to a place called “Caddy’s on the Beach” in Treasure Island.

Unfortunately, I didn’t stay there too long as I was begining to hurt and was getting a bit uncomfortable around my surgical area. The band playing there was really good, but because of my present health condition, I couldn’t dance anyways so thought best not to overdo it and head for home.

Christmas Boat Parade in Saint Petersburg Beach, Florida (Part 1)

Hey All,

Despite my current medical problems I had to get out for a little while last night with my Tampa Bay Adventurer friends. I wag going stir crazy sitting home. Needed a social break!

At Horan Park in Saint Petersburgh Beach my group of friends met early last evening for an informal picnic and to watch the boat parade together which was nice. The weather was perfect for a December night in Florida.

I sat with Santa and told him that’s all I wanted for Christmas was to make all my medical problems go away and to get me heathy again so I feel no more pain, can go back to the gym, ride my bike and enjoy going out with no physical limitations.

Part of the group that I could quickly gather. We actually had about 100 people show up last night.

Night wouldn’t be complete without visiting my good friend Frosty the Snowman”

Photo of christmas Tree taken from my truck window that was on MacDill Air Force Base as I was returning home last evening.

Did one more short video clip of the Boat Parade that I will post with same Blog title, but with (Part 2) indicated at the end of the title. Enjoy!

Have a nice rest of your weekend.

Luv Gary

Going Under The Knife Again

Hey All

Just a quick health update. Had follow-on post-operative Urology appointment on Thursday. Unfortunately the medical issues pertaining to the massive hematoma I am experiencing from my first surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago cannot be corrected by more conservative means as I had hoped for. (See my last post: “Torture, I Feel Like a Pin Cushion” for more details about my issue. As a result, i will require to undergo a second surgery next Tuesday (12/11) to remove this hematoma and hopefully speed up my overall recovery. I hate to have to go through all thus torment, but I have no other option. Still trying to remain optimistic despite my recent setbacks.

Have a great weekend.

Luv, Gary

Torture: I Feel Like A Human Pin Needle Cushion!

Hey All,

As most of you already know, I had major urology surgery on the Monday of Thanksgiving Week.

The surgeon had to remove a large mass of scaring tissue in an organ that is only found in a man. It was causing me significant blockage issues. For several months the urologist tried to break down the thick scaring tissue via a more conservative means via regular injections of a medication into the affected area. However after several months of undergoing a very painful amd uncomfortal process on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it was determined that the treatments were not proving to be effective and that unfortunately I needed to have the internal scaring tissue removed surgically.

The surgery went pretty well and for the most part, despite the post-surgical swelling, I didn’t experience too much pain the first couple of days after being discharged from the hospital.

However by day 4, the swelling in the lower areas of the surgical sight had swelled up so significantly that it became very difficult and extremely painful to just move around. This was even more challenging for me since I am still recovering from a fractured right foot and fractured right hand. Literally I felt like a prisoner trying to walk around my prison cell (my RV) with a prison ball and chain (okay…I guess 2 prisoner balls in my case!) I had to devise several mechanical remedies to keep the prisioner balls supported in order to take off some gravitational pressure to facilitate mobility.

Okay….so after a week and a half or so, the “prisoner balls” decreased in size however another problem developed!

Think of a plunger as a way to describe a man’s lower anatomy.

The surgery to remove the thick scaring tissue occurred about 3/4 th’s of the way up the stick. However imagine the ruber part of the plunger being anatomically attached to a man’s torso. Then think of this ruber part of the plunger expanding in size to about the diameter of a tennis ball. That’s what happened to me. An internal hematoma developed! The area became very hard and painful!

For those unaware of what an internal hematoma is let me include a definition of it here for you.

“A hematoma is a collection of blood, usually clotted outside of a blood vessel that may occur because or an injury to a wall of a blood vessel from trauma or surgery allowing blood to leak out into tissues where it does not belong. It is a type of internal bleeding that is either clotted or forming clots.”

So, because of my continued pain and discomfort and at the time, being concerned of what was occuring (not yet knowing what it was) I ended up going to the Emergency Room yesterday (Tuesday) The medical staff after examining me contacted my surgeon to examine me. He first ordered a ultrasound of the affected area. After looking at the images, the surgeon came back to me and did indeed indicate that I had developed an internal hematoma as I just previously described for you.

To hopefully avoid another surgery and to try to remove the hematoma, the surgeon decided to try a more conservative method first. The surgeon took a large needle and injected it directly into the affected area and began extracting what appeared to be old pooled blood. He injected me in several areas of the “plunger” (15 times to be exact) to remove as much of the pooled blood that he could. Trust me….this was not a fun experience!

It reduced the size of the hematoma to about 80 % of what it had been. Now, I have to watch this area closely to see if the swelling increases, decreases or stays the same as it currently is. If it doesn’t get any larger, then the hematoma is due to old blood and not new blood. On Thursday, I will return to Urology. As long as the blood continues to be old, he will try to remove more of the blot clots that have broken down to liquid and try to take out more of it with those wonderful syringes. I can’t wait!

Time will tell what occurs next? Will he restart the weekly Tuesday and Thursday visits to gradually remove the rest of the hematoma or will he allow it to hopefully resolve itself over time if it appears to be feasible, or will I unfortunately end up having to go under the knife yet again to get the rest removed surgically? The saga will continue…..

For now, still a bit frustrated, in pain and still uncomfortable, but hopeful.🤔 Will update you all as I learn more over the next several weeks.

Have a great rest of your week.

Luv, Gary

Dancing Through The Decades

Hey All,

A couple of weeks ago I attended a great party at on of my fellow meetup friend’s homes. People who attended dressed up in their favorite outfit of the decade and every hour the music changed so that people could dance, sing and just celebrate the particular joy of the decade being featured at the time from the 1950’s thru the 2000’s. It was a blast. Due to my injuries, unfortunately I was not able to get out there on the dance floor, but I thoroughly enjoyed the event.

I am going to include several short videos and some select Pics to make you feel like you were there with us all taking part in the fun! Enjoy !!

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