Tuesday, April 24, 2007

To-Do List

Do you have a list of things you'd like to do before you die? I do. I even remember the first item I ever had on my mental list - to see Vermont in the autumn. At the time (early '80's), it seemed a longshot at best...we had 3 very young kids and couldn't afford to fly to New England. But then I won a trip for 2 anywhere American Airlines flew. And we went. And I fulfilled wish #1.

I haven't been so fortunate with current list items. Many have been there for years. But, I will never give up hope. Here's what I want to do before y'all kick dirt onto my casket:

1. Touch the Stanley Cup.

2. Fly in the Corcorde. This one will be tough since they've taken the sleek bird out of service permanently. But you never know...

3. Take pictures of airplanes in Amsterdam. There's an airport there named "Schiphol". I think they pronounce it "ski-pole". There are more great spots to shoot planes there than at any airport in the world. And they are serviced by airlines from all the major continents...except Antarctica, I guess. So the variety is good.

4. I want to watch my grandkids play sports competitively. Hard to explain why but I anticipate this as much as I anticipated my own kids playing.

5. I have all sorts of people I'd like to see accept Christ as their saviour and turn their lives around. Guess I should have put this at number one.

6. I'd like to go somewhere far away from the bright lights of cities and view the billions of stars in the night sky. I've been stuck in urban areas for too long. I can barely remember what the twinkly-carpeted sky looked like when I had a chance to see it from my grandparents' back yard in Wills Point, TX. I must've been 5 or 6 and it made an incredible impression on me.

I'd love to see what's on your list so feel free tell the world.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Dream Has Died

It's sheer folly, of course, this dream I've fostered for most of my life. Even though my athletic career has been in shambles for decades, I've often held out the slightest hope that I could still develop a pitch - some variation of the knuckle ball, perhaps - that even a 58 year-old could throw and get major league hitters out. It would be a great story, better even than that West Texas coach who made the majors only after his high school team encouraged him to give it a try.

This ridiculous fantasy was obliterated forever today when I got the results of the MRI on my right shoulder. I have degenerative arthritis and a frayed rotator cuff. Forget throwing a baseball 60 ft., 6 inches...I'll have trouble lobbing a tennis ball to my grandkids.

Wait! My left arm's still good! There's hope yet!

Friday, April 13, 2007

MRI - As in Manic Ridiculous Insanity

As a guy who's been pretty chummy with pain over the past two decades, I tend to categorize pain events. Just can't help it. If I'm sitting next to a stranger and need to engage that person in conversation, I'll ask 'em what time in their life they hurt the most. Here's a peek at my list:

In 2nd place, I put the day at Baylor Hospital when the docs wanted a different look at an achey left hip. They took some kind of scan while I was contorted like a pretzel. My left leg was torqued like a ratchet wrench and then they tied me up in that position. The scan took at least 45 minutes and by the end of it I had gritted my teeth down to nubs.

At #1 is the herniated disk episode in 1997. As I writhed on the ER gurney at Lake Pointe Hospital, Brett jotted down two pages of cuss words he said I said. I was coherent and lucid and remember no such depravity. I remember hoping that one ought to be able to die from too much pain as easily as from too much cold or heat or radiation.

Today I was sentenced to an MRI at a place in Rowlett that boasted an "open MRI". I've had several MRI's and they are quite claustrophobic. I thought that an open MRI would have me lying on a table in the middle of a bare room. Turned out to be almost the prototypical tube. It had some openings on the sides of the tube, enough I guess to allow them claim "open-ness".

The scenario looked harmless. The tech put a padded thing under my right elbow and then secured my forearm to my waist. This put the rotator cuff in the proper position to be scanned. In a sense, I looked like I'll look in my casket. Unfortunately, though, this put the shoulder in just the position that caused me the most pain. An hour later, it was over. The tech said he had to retake some shots because I had flinched a couple of times.

After a lot of consideration, I'll put today's episode up there with the Baylor pretzel one. I'm not interested in having any more contenders anytime soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This is a test...this is only a test...

Ladies and gentlemen. I'm thinking that interest in this particular blog has reached an all-time low. To test the validity of this astounding theory, I'd ask that if you're reading this, take the time to post a reply of some sort. You can say, "I'm here" or you can write a treatise.
If the only folks who drop by are my wife, kids, and Heather, then I'll be tempted to shut down the operation. The blogging flame has started to flicker a bit. But if, however, there is a groundswell of response, I'll continue tossing out great aviation photography and not-so-great mental musings. I thank you for your time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Update on the Cuff

Today I got a cortisone shot into the shoulder. The doc said I should see improvement in 24-48 hours.
Getting an MRI on Friday to see if the cuff is indeed torn and how badly it is torn.
The eyes are still crossed.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Off the Cuff

For the second time in my life, I'm saddled with a rotator cuff injury. I wish i could tell you it was the result of throwing filthy sliders in my major league career. But that would be a lie. The first time, 20 years ago, it was caused by trying to throw a football over my house while standing in the alley. This time, perhaps prophetically, it's from lying awkwardly in the floor for hours while looking at old pictures with my grand-daughter.

It feels like a nail has been driven deep into the arm socket. The pain radiates every direction, even down toward the elbow. Ordinary activities, such as putting on a shirt or drying my back after a shower, are now exercises in torture. I can't sleep on my right side anymore. Since I can't sleep on my back due to a spinal fusion, I'm left with sleeping on my left side, the side where I've had two hip surgeries. This starts getting old around midnight. One night I ended up in the recliner...good for naps but not so hot for six hours.

I don't need this. I'm already a chronic pain patient and this stuff is making me cross-eyed.

I'm gonna see if I can get a cortisone shot. I'm also trying shoulder-strengthening exercises and ice.

I will keep you posted on this world-shaking development.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

New P.R.

As you may know, in order to keep from growing stale in my retirement, I have continued to drive a school bus. I may have sworn off teaching, but I haven't gotten the yellow paint out of my system.

I get $18 per hour. I get two trips a week. I opt for one weeknight and a long one on Saturday, if possible. For yesterday, I had signed up for a "private" trip, one that didn't involve schools or school kids. The job was to take 9 teens from a Duncanville church to Reunion Arena, where a youth rally ("Acquire the Fire") was occurring.

The time frame I expected was 7:30 AM to 9 PM. The reality was 7:30 AM to 11:10 PM. I've never been on a longer field trip. To kill the time, I took my camera gear along and took pictures of trains (see above) and, later, the nearly-full moon (also above). The moon shot shows it slipping behind the familiar green lights of the Bank of America building.
Field trips are a trade-off. The money is OK, but I surely could use the time doing other things. The weather yesterday was incredibly nice...seems to work out that way a lot.