Lumbar Spine Decompressed

No more tingling feeling! Sometimes tingling can be caused by excitement. That’s good. But the tingling, numbing feeling I lived with is not. Surgery on March 8th went well. New equipment now makes this microscopic surgery possible. Nerves are given room to be “happy”. My doctor’s term. Herniated disc relieved.

I went home with a bunch of pain medications, walker, and instructions. No bending, twisting, lifting and stretching. Given all the information regarding taking opioids I was very careful, and only needed relief for a couple of days. At my 1 week follow-up a new med was added to try and alleviate back pain. 12 days out and I am much improved. I expect physical therapy will start after my 6 week follow up appointment. Muscles are healing. Back pain is telling me so.

Started getting out for short trips. We had a sudden burst of spring-like weather and so on Sunday we drove over to the American River at Sailor Bar. Got my Fuji x100F out for a couple of pics. I realize that taking photographs will also be limited while I heal. Eye-level only for a while. My CTT group had a virtual outing this week. We were asked to post photos and explain our processing ideas. Here is my contribution.

My husband is serving as my driver while I am recovering from surgery. No one wants to be driving around while taking pain meds. And also with my limited flexibility I will not twist and turn easily. Sunday, the weather was nice and we went out Sailor Bar. Located a short mile from my house. This is off the American River. When I processed the photo I wanted it to look old fashioned so I used some of my quick plug-in tools. First I went to Lightroom and cropped the image. Took it to Topaz Studio where I added a wood-like texture. Brought it to Luminar where I found a Sepia tone, and added a slight vignette.

This is my original photograph.

Here is the processed image.

This next one may make a 1000 piece puzzle to drive some to drink. I wanted the rocks and texture to pop.

Looking down.

Better?

Hope to be out and about with more photographs to come.

See you soon!

Drop me a comment. Would love to respond.


First time surgery

Tomorrow I am taking the first step to improve my life. In the morning I will check into Kaiser Permanente Medical Hospital for spine surgery. I have lived with the tingling, numbness in my legs for over 20 years. Last fall it made its way down to my feet. I have complained repeatedly, and was told that there was nothing that could be done. It has affected my ability to stand in place the most. When out taking photographs I look for a place to sit and recover. Funny, standing in place is most painful, and this affects me when I am in a group socializing.

Some suggested I should try alternative methods.

This was not my preferred route.

Well after my dog Libby had her MRI, my doctor set me up with one. The MRI showed definite lumbar spinal stenosis. One look at the many x-rays and the MRI, and the spine specialist referred me to a surgeon. Tomorrow I hope will be the beginning of a more mobile, comfortable life. Getting a bit ahead of myself. Keeping optimistic!

These are close pictures, but not my x-rays!

There is the surgery first. I’m almost 70 and this is my first time going under “the knife”. Actually, this is the first time I will be a patient since I had my kids.

I hope that my equipment will do its job!

My husband and son are ready to help me. There is a 6 week recovery. This means no lifting, no bending, and no twisting. Chubby Checker will have to wait.

My ice packs are ready.

I’ll be careful with the drugs offered. Good to know I was given pages of warning about not
getting addicted to pain meds.

I can’t believe it is March already. I have been busy taking care of Libby. She is her happy self. I think her left back leg is getting stronger, her right remains about the same. She carefully walks on our flooring without splaying, or she keeps to the carpet runners. When we walk outside I protect her paw with something called “PawZ”. It looks like a balloon, and she doesn’t mind me dressing her because she knows she is going for a short walk. I guess she will be a bit of a homebody while I recuperate. Though, I watched the doctor recommended videos and walking is encouraged.

I assume that I will be able to remain connected. But I am going to do all I need to do to get back in shape. My husband will be helping me with household tasks. Giving up doing the laundry, and cleaning. This may be hard to do. I made a big pot of butternut squash soup which goes well with salad and sandwiches. The weather has been quite wet lately, and soup fits perfectly with the season. My son is coming from the Richmond, Ca. for a couple of days and plans to cook for us. It will be good to spend some time with him.

Well I hope my doctor, nurses and everyone else gets a good night sleep, has a calm morning and will take good care of me when I check in at 9:45 a.m.

These photographs were taken at the Museum of Medical History located here in Sacramento.

Until I am up and blogging keep good thoughts!

Back to Nature in Kauai

Exotic Hibiscus Flower

For such a small Island I can say that five days left us little time with nothing to photograph. Each day we found a new area to see, and new things to photograph.

Up on the North shore Kilauea and Hanalei were an eye catching treat to explore. Weather was cooler, and changeable. Due to some storms last year roads past Hanalei were washed out. On my last visit I had a private docent led tour by my daughter-in-law of the Limahuli Garden  Perhaps, next time.

Approaching the Kilauea Lighthouse



My friend with her long lens finally got to capture images of the birds of Kauai. I tried, but quickly found other things of interest. Without long lenses, and strong arms to hold said lens, I look for things that are possible with the tools I can carry.

Meet the yellow garden spider. Aside from the wind, this spider stays still for a photo opportunity.

Yellow Garden Spider

The Nene is the official bird of Hawaii. I even caught a photo of it young.

Nene, official Hawaiian bird

Nene young

The views from this spot are spectacular. I so enjoyed visiting the north shore.

Rain started up, and we continued on to Hanalei, our selected lunch spot. But oh so fabulous a landscape.

View of Hanalei Bay


Waioli Huiia Church

Capturing some of the flowers here on Kauai. For some of these we stopped at a nursery where we could get close to our subject.

When I’m in Hawaii I like to take in a luau. The garden setting is lovely. A tram ride tour started us off.

Plenty of roosters
Smith Family Garden Luau is a family business. Now four generations continue the tradition started 50 years ago

Kalua pig roasted in an imu oven starts the ceremonial tradition. Followed by song and dance show. Not to easy to capture. I used my Fuji with a 35mm f1.4 lens and we had good seats!

I’m leaving the last bit of this photo tour for another day! Hope you enjoy the images as an arm chair traveler!



Computer Time Genealogy

After working on my travelogue for a couple of days, I quickly decided I needed to actually take some of my photography from Kauai and create a photo book. Spent all of Thursday working out the details, and sent it off to Shutterfly. I haven’t been disappointed with my book produced by this company. If you haven’t tried them, send me your email and a free 8×8 hardcover book is yours. Full disclosure. I will also get one too. Shipping is not included, though. Just got an email saying my book has shipped. Fast service. Sent it in on Thursday 1/31 and it is on its way 2/4. Excited!

While at the computer, I caught up with some of my family genealogy. I have a world subscription to Ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker software on my iMac. After much worry, and much reading, I decided to sync both trees. My next goal will be to bring this tree to life. I would like to put a face or information other than vital statistics (birth, marriage, death) to names of my direct descendents. I check the hints that appear, and that usually draws me away from this goal. And it is so easy to do. Follow one hint, find another. I am getting better at keeping track of my research by using a notebook, and adding notes to my online trees.

My father and his two brothers (Doctor Rubinstein) are part of the story cited in
Schindler’s List

Another distraction is my DNA test matches. I find a match, and I try and figure out how this can be. Recently connected with a second cousin online with a DNA match. I think of this person as a little kid, who I understand is a recently retired physician. Talk about where did the time go.

Before I went to college most of my relatives lived in the New York metropolitan area. And every couple of years there would be a large family gathering. I knew the names and faces of most of the 100+ people, but I could not see how I was related. I never had grandparents, so anyone over 25 was called uncle, and under 25 cousin. A family tree would have cleared a lot of this mystery up. A suggestion for large family reunions would be a family tree.

I remember thinking that it would be nice to have a Grandma.

I’m thinking of trying to connect with my living relatives online since we are now spread around the country, and beyond. I plan to gather as many email addresses from extended family so that we can send out event notices and keep connected. I may set up a private family page where we can share. Kind of like Facebook’s original intent to connect people. I haven’t decided if Facebook is the way to go, or should I create some other venue. I belong to two private pages, and they have worked. But maybe there is another way to connect. I’m looking for suggestions. How does your family stay connected?

I now possess all my parent’s photo albums, and I have a cousin (1st cousin 1x removed) who researched one branch of my family since 1985. All his research was done without benefit of computer. It is remarkable that his research checks my online hints. He is no longer working on this, and will be passing along more of his research to me. Problem is that I live on the west coast, trunk full of stuff on the east coast. So either I make a trip back east or have another family member ship it here. Will figure this out soon.