Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ada compliant

"Just me" - who filled in some of the blanks in the comments section when I dropped off the map, offered to build me a ramp while I was still in the hospital.  I had been thinking one would really make rolling life easier so I "jumped" at the offer knowing she could get the job done right and on time.  Stilt House Ben added the 2x4 railing.  In and out was good to go by the time I got home.  23,33,24,0,W

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Follow up in Odessa today.  
7 hour round trip drive for a couple of x rays and a new shoe.

Monday, December 29, 2014


Doing something smart for those times when you do something stupid.  Thankfully I was current on my air medical transport insurance.  Well worth $65 per year.  50,64,34,0,C

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The First Blog

Habakkuk2 And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

Luke47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:

Deuteronomy8 And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.

Revelation27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

29 staples

For about a week after the surgeries, the pain I was feeling was rather generalized.  The couple of times my dressing got changed and I saw the staples just below my knee - I assumed that was just another gouge I got in the crash.  It wasn't until they gave me a print out of my xrays that the pain became more site specific and I knew what the incisions by my knee were for.  I reckon that is where they shoved that titanium rod through to get it in place.  I insisted that I needed a digital version of all the imagining they did and the hospital came through with a disk for me to take home.

The night before I left the hospital they told me they would be removing the staples in the morning.  The thought of that didn't help me rest very easy for my last night at the spa.  The next morning I asked the nurse what time the doctor would be coming in to remove them.  She said she would be doing it and I would barely feel anything.  She was wrong - I felt absolutely nothing as she tweaked them out.  Of course I saved them in a little jar to put into the Field Lab Archives.

Special thanks to the visitors I had during my stay:  David and Heidi Holloway, Wayne Maas, Diana and 3 other south county friends who just happened to be in town for a Red Cross meeting, Carl and Melinda, Nancy Burton (who also brought me some civilian clothes), and Pam and Ken Clause who brought me some banana bread (that was my favorite snack I managed to make last 3 days to go with the 5AM coffee breaks I got.)

Extra special thanks to Ronald Nelson and Nancy Rooney for tending to my critters and to Rick McDowell who came from Alpine to fetch me, help me stock up on groceries, and get me settled in back home (he also did a bunch of laundry and made my bed for me).  There are lots of other people to thank but I will save that for a future update.

I was really sorry to leave my blog readers hanging for a couple of days.  It was very comforting to know so many people were concerned about my welfare.

Since this is the final installment in the hospital saga, I have to add one last amusing anecdote.  When Rick got me home, I noticed that my truck was locked and I assumed the keys were inside.  I managed to find my spare but it didn't have the alarm fob.  Rick opened up the truck which set off the alarm but couldn't find the other keys inside.  (It turned out that Ronald had them safely in his possession.)  So we gave up on the key search and the alarm stopped when he closed the door.  At 3AM my first night back in my own bed the alarm went off again.  I had to roll out to the truck in the middle of the night and pull the wires to the horns to shut it up.  

FYI...I got some Tshirt orders just before my accident and a couple while I was in the hospital.  They will all ship next week.


Friday, December 26, 2014


Not exactly sure but from what I understand, the first surgery they cleaned everything up and put in the hardware for my tibia break and got the fibula back in place.  The second surgery was to check for infection and bolt a small fracture in an ankle bone.

The next debate began on when to send me home.  The "healthcare professional" in charge of my case suggested that I could go home Friday or spend some time in rehab.  My rehab options were another floor in this hospital or 2 other clinics in Odessa.  I figured my best bet was to stay in the same building so they shifted me to room 320 on Tuesday morning.  That afternoon I had appointments with the physical therapists to go over my dilemma and set up my schedule.

From then on I settled into the new routine of physical therapy (sitting and standing exercises and crutch walking) from 10 - 11:30 then occupational therapy (upper body exercises) from 1 - 2:30.  This fit in quite well with the meal plan - breakfast at 6:45, lunch at 11:45, and supper at 4:45.  Some of the others in PT included 2 guys who got really busted up in motorcycle accidents, and overweight guy who broke his hip falling off a ladder putting up Christmas decorations,  some elderly that had various fall injuries, and a couple of knee replacements.  What really struck me about the knee replacement folks is that they were the only ones that were there intentionally.

The daily rounds were governed by constantly changing nurse shifts.  I must have had about 20 different nurses.  It just so happened that I had a bunch of the Ben and John postcards in my camera bag so every different nurse or attendant got one as the shifts changed. At one point I had lagged on the gift and a new nurse asked where her postcard was.

To be continued...


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas to the Field Lab Family.  
May God's gift to the world continue to bless us all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2 operations

For me...the 4 hour surgery went by in a flash.  One second I am breathing something funny and the next - I'm waking up with my teeth chattering in recovery.  I was alive and cold with beard intact - and a bit of a sore throat from a breathing tube.

They rolled me into room 640 for my first night in the hospital.  First time I had a chance to call and let someone know my critters were home alone.  Got a hold of Ronald Nelson and put him in charge of TFL.  Slept pretty good with a squirt of morphine into my IV every 4 hours - even though it seemed like every five minutes someone was coming in to check my vitals or take blood. Time went by incredibly slowly.  That first night I remember thinking at one point it had to be about 4 in the morning when in fact it was only 9:30PM.  I had all day Sunday to get accustomed to my new accommodations and try to get a handle on how time passes.  Didn't get my first taste of hospital food till Sunday night - turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, zucchini, pudding and iced tea.

Monday was a waiting game.  No food and just some tiny sips of water while I waited for my next surgery.  At 2PM they rolled me back to the OR.  I was in a room with 2 other patients also waiting to go under the knife.  A nurse came around to double check everyone by asking names and birth dates and what kind of operation we were about to get.  I told her "vasectomy" and she followed my lead by saying no - I was scheduled for a hysterectomy.  We all made sure we knew what I was there for in the end.

A very nice female anesthesiologist came to talk to me.  She explained that the way they were dosing me this time, there wouldn't be a hard tube shoved down my throat.  As I came into the OR, she slipped a little something into my IV and I was out like a light for round 2.

To be continued...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

off to the spa

So the teams all converged onto the middle of 118 at the prearranged swap spot.  As they wheeled me out of the ambulance, there was a helicopter parked in the middle of the highway with an emergeny crew from Alpine there to block traffic.  Note: If you are taller than I am (6' 1"), they will have a bit of trouble fitting you into the helicopter while on a gurney.  My biggest regret was not taking any pictures from the flight - but the crew was all business at that point.  Apparently, their biggest concern is keeping patients alive and not allowing them to throw up in the tight confines of the cab of a helicopter. They gave me a shot for that and I never was nauseous.

Once up in the air, the medic told me if I needed anything for pain to let them know right away because it is easier to keep ahead of it than trying to catch up.  Midway to Odessa I asked for a little "bump" and was all warm and fuzzy for the rest of the smooth flight.  We arrived at the hospital in one hour.

I got quite a reception when they rolled me into ER.  I seem to remember about 15 people there to watch as they unceremoniously cut all my clothes off.  I have to say that the worst part of the ordeal up to that point was when the doctor informed me that bones outside the body was not a good thing and they would have to rectify that.  The pain wasn't really that bad comparatively, but the thought of what they were doing was not pleasant.  My main concern at that point was no one knew where my camera bag was - although they made a point of having security bag and secure the $31 I had in my pocket.  I told one of the nurses I hoped that would be enough to cover everything they were doing for me.

They x-rayed me right there in the ER then took me to another room for a cat scan.  Another lucky break - no unlucky breaks anywhere other than my leg.  The orthopedic surgeon came in to talk to me briefly to say that I would be having 2 operations - one to clean everything up and set the tibia...then a second to check for infection and set a small break in an ankle bone.  He told me he was like a very well paid professional carpenter hired to do a renovation - that does the job right so it only has to be done once.

The funny part right before the surgery was the anesthesiologist who introduced himself.  He was wearing a big black cowboy hat.  He informed me that since it was his responsibility to breath for me while I was under - if my beard got in the way it would have to come off.  My last worry before I went "night-night" was the thought of waking up without my beard...

To be continued...

Monday, December 22, 2014


One might have expected that an injury such as mine would most probably been caused by my powered paraglider.  The great irony is that while I have not had the confidence to fly again since my training in April, I have on numerous occasions driven the ATV without the slightest thought of safety while statistically it is far more dangerous than my PPG.

So 2 weeks ago I take a regular ride to the mailboxes and turn around for the simple trip home.  About 1/2 mile from TFL, my road has a series of left/right turns before the last straight stretch home.  In all of about 10 seconds I got "out of sync" on the turns while only going about 20 mph.  One quick lapse in judgement and a very brief bit of confusion, and next thing I know is that I'm upside down watching the ATV pass above me (in slow motion).  I knew right away my leg was broken because I saw my foot was looking a little looser than normal.  I was on my back looking at a turned over vehicle next to me.  I got right up and turned it over and tried the start button and nothing happened.  Brief panic set it as I contemplated how to get home without wheels and only one leg.  While deciding that crawling home was not a pleasant option, I remembered that I had to get it back into neutral in order for it to start.  A couple clicks on the clutch - the green light came on and presto!

Was home in minutes -hopped in and sat down in my hut to call 911.  Didn't seem to take very long for them to arrive while they kept me on the line. I almost passed out but managed to stay alert.  There wasn't much pain but I was pretty freaked out by then.  The operator asked if I could lift my pant leg to describe the injury.  I told him I would rather not but that I could see there was some bleeding.  The EMTs started me on a morphine drip and proceeded to cut my boot off.  Didn't take too long to get some bandages and a splint on.

On the ambulance ride out to the highway, the driver spotted my cap and glasses where I had crashed and picked them up for me.  Smooth sailing on the highway as they drove me about 25 miles north to the spot where the Med-Trans helicopter took me from there to Odessa.   Garbage can hill was the hand off location (called double barrel in 911 language because there is a garbage barrel on each side of the road there).

To be continued...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

in a desert land

A message from my friend Adrienne upon my return home this week...

Deuteronomy 32:10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

new parts...

Going home tomorrow with some new parts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Plenty of spots to heal.  On track to come home Saturday.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

yeah...that hurt!

It has been a busy week.  Simple rollover atv accident - nasty compound fracture in my lower right leg - helicoptor ride to Odessa - two surgeries - ten days of PT - restricted to wheelchair or crutches for at least 4 months.

Friday, December 5, 2014

DIY wood stove 7

Painted and prepping for the install.  Going with a "through the wall" instead of straight up and out.  It just pains me too much to cut a hole in my roof.  62,75,45,0,B

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Ben's December tip to tip... 58 3/4"  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DIY wood stove 6

Turns out one of those mini propane bottles is the perfect size for 4" flue pipe to fit over.  Notched out a plug for my front vent, welded on the hot plate, and added the chunk I cut out of the front of my stove to the back side for an extra heat shield.  52,67,30,0,C

Monday, December 1, 2014

The price of cheese...

My main barometer on the economy and indicator of inflation is the price of cheese.  I realize that is probably a little too simplistic, but it is an easy price to keep an eye on since I buy a lot of cheese.  A couple of months ago the price jumped from $7.99 for 2 pounds to $8.16 - the first time I had ever seen the price go over eight dollars since I have been out here.  Did a supply run today and found that the price of TFL's leading indicator had jumped to $9.98!  Perhaps it is just a glitch...  38,60,38,0,W