Well, Wow

I knew last night it was going to be interesting when I heard from multiple sources that FORTRESS had been activated in Moscow and loyal troops (or at least troops with loyalty that could be assured by various means) were being sent to secure key facilities. Lots of RUMINT flying around along with some interesting reports.

This morning sees a so-far successful march towards Moscow that I’m having a hard time believing happened on the fly. All the Wagner ops so far show prior planning and preparation. Rather than a coup, this comes across as a revolution and yes there is a difference.

The Russian governmental response so far evokes the term-of-art “clusterfuck.” They appear to have been caught flat-footed and without a clue on how to respond. Attacks on the Moscow column appear to be piecemeal and uncoordinated. The only active opposition in Rostov is coming from Kadyrov’s Chechen troops (apparently). Attacking fuel depots is an interesting choice that will have little immediate impact in this case.

Which brings us to the heart of the matter. This may succeed, even if completely crushed. For all that a number of regional politicians and others are swearing loyalty to Vladimir, one does have to question the sincerity. Others are either hopping on the Prighozin bandwagon or stirring the waters on their own. At least one nominally independent member of the Federation has informed Vladimir that his country regards this as a purely internal Russian matter.

More concerning for Moscow should be how fast things went from ‘who are you and you need to go’ by the citizens of Rostov-on-Don to the Wagner troops, to the citizens bringing food and drink to those same troops. Look at the reactions of the average citizens to the March on Moscow. Hell, if the SIGINT intercept reports are true in regards the chatter in and between various Russian units in Ukraine/Crimea, the Russian MoD might be getting ready to have a Very Bad Day, if not more.

What’s more, Vladimir’s attack dog turned on him. This matters to Russian mores in a way few Westerners can grasp. Here, we are used to politicians having all the loyalty of jackals coming upon road kill. Things work different there. This is going to be seen as a weakness, a vulnerability, even if Prighozin fails.

For now, we can but wait and watch. I think the only sure thing is that it is going to be interesting.

UPDATE: Interesting is one word, that’s for sure. Does not add up based on what we know. Ergo, there’s more, and more people, involved than we know. Knowing who’s fingers were in this is even more important now. Keeping the ears open and waiting to see what happens next.

What A Week

Had my post-op visit on Tuesday, my first real PT session Thursday (yesterday), and my second this morning. Things are moving out and I’m glad for it!

The PT is actually sorta fun. Discomfort is expected, but pain is avoided as a bad thing. I can already notice a difference in a few areas, and am looking forward to the upcoming sessions, which will be several times a week for the next few weeks.. There is homework too, to keep things going. Icing the shoulder down reduces the discomfort level and pain has been minimal.

For those interested, I have decided against getting the guitar. Learning to play the guitar had been suggested by someone as a means of PT. It might help with the arthritis, would test my ability to learn new skills post lightning strike, but it will not help with current recovery. Part of me really would like to try it, especially as I found a nice used guitar; but, I cant justify spending the money without it being a major help with recovery.

The infection issue seems to be under control for now. Glad the antibiotic works! Yes, I have resumed driving though I’m keeping it minimal for now.

I’ve followed the saga of the Titan, and am very unsurprised at the implosion. For whatever mercy it may be, they were probably dead before they even knew they had a problem. Two people I’d love to hear from on this are Subsunk from Blackfive, and Robert Ballard who found the Titanic. Actually met him a few years back and got to chat briefly a couple of times. Would like to hear his take on this. Also, the oceans are full of interesting noises and if you know someone who listens to such (ASW or otherwise), invest in a few drinks and see if they might share some of the interesting tales.

On Russian politics, I’m eating a lot of popcorn and wondering what it is keeping Prigozhin alive. Pretty much anyone else would have done a swan dive off a roof by now. Also, note that some of the cracks in the Russian Federation are starting to show. Been there, but growing. Suspect things are going to get even more interesting, and possibly much faster than anticipated.

More soon. May even be allowed to type two-handed here soon.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Beginning To Figure Out

Why my efforts to move keep getting thwarted. There’s a long version, and a more condensed I will try for this morning. In short, I think I was looking to move at least in part for the wrong reasons.

In part, I was looking for an alone place, a place to finish up various projects then see what life had in store for me. To put off things like the shoulders for a while longer. The old lone wolf off happily in his remote lair.

Fact is, I both can’t put off some of it any longer, and I need to be around people. I need the interaction (at least to some extent as it is easy for my introverted self to get overwhelmed), I need help on occasion, and I need to be able to help.

I’ve been getting smacked on the nose and muzzle a bit about accepting help here recently, and about the need to be around people. And a couple of reminders that I still have a few things to offer as well. So, it’s less about the where and more about the why and the who. Which means looking at things with a fresh eye, and maybe revising some of the conditions at the starting point.

Last year was all about testing and recovery, and ensuring the Big C wasn’t trying to put in an appearance. Going to have to stay vigilant on that, but maybe this year is about taking care of all I can (on several levels) so the move can be at the right time for the right reasons. We shall see.


Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Moving On!

Yesterday afternoon I had my post-op visit wth the PA. Overall, it went very well.

The dressing and incision tape were removed, which was an interesting but not painful sensation. What I did feel was weird, but not even that unpleasant. A small segment of the incision looks like it wants to misbehave, so I’m on antibiotics four times a day for ten days. We are NOT playing games or taking chances with infection!

Her manipulation of my shoulder proved interesting. While we hit some issues, the range 0f (possible) motion was amazing. While I am to continue to wear the brace (my version of the cone of shame) for two more weeks, I am also now to take it off several times a day to do arm curls and straighten it out. Still no weight in that hand yet, and I’m good with that.

Big surprise is that if all the paperwork goes through, I have my first real PT session tomorrow. May be a couple of other firsts tucked in there, will see.

More soon.

Week Plus

Been more than a week now, and things seem to be going as well as they can. Which is not to say a bed of roses unless you are counting all the stems and thorns.

On the plus side, pain management continues to go well. I’m very lucky in that regard as I’m hearing horror stories of “tylenol only” pain management both locally and nationwide. This despite a lack of any real-world studies showing any real link between surgery/pain management and addiction. Lots of thoughts on that, but they need to wait until I can type again. I’m continuing to wean as I can and am grateful to have on hand if needed.

With PT and general life, it can be needed especially when you discover what all is tied into a shoulder. At this point I would not be surprised to find my left little toe has a direct connection to my right shoulder. There is also the fact that you know intellectually not everything can connect back where it did before; and, there is discovering the reality of that the fun way.

I’m also at a point various nerves and other delights are waking up and going WTF? It’s not phantom pain, but something I’m tempted to call ghost pain as the body figures out some circuits aren’t there anymore, and others have been changed.

For someone who asked elsewhere, I pretty much had all feeling back in my fingers the day after surgery. The thumb was still a little numb late that Saturday, but by the time I got home… Also, starting to get back on a normal sleep cycle and a normal digestive cycle. Both have been interesting processes.

Have my first post-op exam tomorrow afternoon, and will hopefully know more then. Right now, just happy to be able to basically bathe and dress myself without help. In fact, am even able to do laundry and some housekeeping on my own. The cats appear fascinated by some of my work-arounds…

Meantime, on the science front keep an eye on Betelgeuse and also on Leslie Eastman’s work at Legal Insurrection. The good folk at Hot Air are covering a lot of good stories, as is the team at Instapundit. As for internal Russian politics, I’m not sure there is enough paleo-popcorn and adult beverages for the comi-drama (all puns intended) ongoing. If Thunderdome suddenly appears in Red Square, I wouldn’t be surprised. I am a bit surprised official patience hasn’t run out with Prighozhin, especially after the sworn statement circus.

There is a lot going on here at home as well. I really should do a post on the fight that broke out Saturday while I was shopping, as it covers so much… For now, let me just repeat: preparedness always pays; keep your friends close; and, keep your things where you can find them in the dark.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

This Thing On?

Hope so. Just hitting a point where i feel up to long-form on anything: speaking, reading, writing, or anything else. I’m also discovering that a number of things I like to do take two hands to do right. More on that in a bit.

No, things didn’t go as planned. Shortly after arriving for surgery sans mobile as I was only going to be there a short time, I was informed that they had decided to admit me after all. Honestly, I was a bit relieved and it proved to be a good idea. Major pain communicating with my ride home though. Not going to leave the phone at home again.

BTW, if you ever need a sure bet, go for my cause of death as being the result of my being a smartass. When asked why I was in that day, my response was that i was about to have a very one-sided and totally unfair knife fight with the surgeon and that when i lost he was going to amputate my right arm, take some souvenirs, then re-attach it. Cue male nurse freezing, locking up really. A very delayed forced chuckle. Later, the surgeon got a good laugh out of it. Still a bit annoyed they wouldn’t let me keep the ball joint they cut out, and yes i did ask.

The anesthesia team was good, and unlike the open heart surgery I remember the start of the nerve block. Weird, but cool. Remember a bit of being wheeled towards OR then being wheeled into a room post surgery. TV was on, couldn’t figure how to cut it off, so found a channel doing some sort of Harry Potter marathon, muted it. Beat the heck out of being on morphine and watching Cirq du Soleil. [Que the late great Bill Paxton screaming bad trip instead of game over]. An experience I do not want to repeat.

Ate, slept, got to meet my new best friend: the liquid cooled aircast. You can see it above, and it is fantastic! Beats the heck out of any cooling pad/system I’ve ever used. cycle about every hour, and essentially no swelling.

Up until the last couple of days, Ive been on a very intermittent sleep cycle. With the move away from strong pain management has come a return to a more normal sleep cycle. May take a few more days to shift, but getting back on normal routines. I have the strong pills if needed, and boy howdy do you need them on occasion!! Bumps, jostles, and unwise movements can bring pain such that I’ve apologized to the landlord, housemate, and even the cats for the outbursts of invective. And, yes, the move on painkillers is being done VERY carefully. In my case, I’m no longer needing them when I sleep so I dont take them then. Morning/evening when I do PT and such? You bet your bippy I take them.

Years ago, I pushed on pain and on activity after a surgery. Ended up setting my recovery back more than six months. I have no plans to be that stupid ever again. Even if the surgical/care team were inclined to let me, which these are not.

Oh, yeah. Not going as planned. It was a good thing I was admitted, as it let me work with an Occupational Therapist and a Physical Therapist before going home. Can’t say enough good about the OT, much like my nurse/technician teams in recovery. There’s a reason I’m bathing, dressing, and doing therapy on my own… Hate to say it, not impressed with the PT person. Number of reasons including that by the time she finished talking about an exercise and wanted me to do X number I had already done 10-20 iterations. Didn’t help that my BP decided to drop while dealing with her and it took a moment to get a word in edgewise so i could sit and get the BP at least sort of measured. First time was basically 60s/30s, but finally stabilized at 70/40. Thinking back, it is similar to something that happened after the botched colonoscopy, and to what happened every time they tried to stand me up the the first couple of days after the open heart. It did it a bit again today even, and yes it is being watched.

Thank goodness for the immobilization brace, especially since my inner subconscious is a major asshole. It keeps you from doing many stupid things, even if it does invite others by sticking out in odd locations and ways. Trust me, you learn very quickly not to let it bump. No one seems to have a clue what the rubber ball is for though. I have mashed it flat a time or two when I did something stupid and brought on the pain. Meantime the brace has kept me from flailing the arm when the subconscious brings on dreams of tripping, falling, fighting, and other delights.

Other than the PT issue, the only gripe is with the sticks, and most of that falls on pre-op. Out of 6 sticks, they only got one in my book. They brought someone in for the one, and she nailed it. BTW, the back of my hand doesn’t look much better.

That’s enough petty bitching for the day. So far, the surgical team seems to have nailed it and overall things are better than I expected. Post-op care and OT were outstanding. Really looking forward to my follow-up next week. Also, hope to do more here and soon.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Small Update

Think I’m about as set as I can be. Here’s my drink and food stand I mentioned in the big update, though the microwave is out in the common area of the basement. Hopefully everything I need for the time being. Tops are basically off things, just on to keep things out.

Here’s a shot of the power block/surge protector I mentioned that clamps onto the desk. Makes it easy to plug and unplug one handed. Hated shopping BestBuy, but they had one and the options were limited since Indy no longer has an electronics supply store — you have to drive up to Lafayette for anything like that.

More as I can, and the surgeon has said he will take some pictures for me as the surgery progresses. Bit disappointed that I can’t get the bone he’s cutting off with what’s left of the ball, as part of me would love to use it to make the head of a walking stick.

Oh, once this is done, am going to have to look at getting some extra instruction and practice on shooting offhand (been longer than it should on that), and will essentially have to learn to shoot all over again. Not looking forward to the cost, but actually am looking forward to the instruction and practice.

Also, got a novel suggestion for fine motor skills PT for the right hand, which is to learn to play the guitar. If the PT folks sign off, am going to look for a very inexpensive acoustic guitar and give it a go. Figure it can’t be any worse than my attempts to learn and play the bagpipes (I am living proof the Brits were right about something when they declared them a weapon of war, as my playing can clear out counties).

Have two weeks of regular medicines in baggies and ready to go. Going to wing everything else. Send bourbon and cigars!

On a bit more serious note, I thought I would share a bit of a prayer I’ve sent out.

Lord, I ask that with my health and upcoming surgery to let that which is right be. I ask not for a specific outcome, but for you do to do what is best. I ask you to guide me to where I need to be physically and spiritually, and while I know where I would like to be physically, please show me that place which is right for me.

I tend to leave things open like this, as I trust God to know what is right and best, and also because you can get what you pray for. It’s along the lines of “Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz.” God may have been looking at a Lamborghini for you, but if you really want the MB, well…

Keep the Faith. Be Prepared. Keep your things where you can find them in the dark, and know who and where your true friends are at all times.

More soon.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Final Preparations

Okay, this may be the last post for a while. I’m going to be exploring what I can do via dictation and such, but no promises

Meantime, I’ve been trying to prepare as best I can. While I really liked the oven mitt idea, I just tried doing things one-handed as best I could, and decided it’s really going to blow in some respects. I can shave one handed/off handed, though it is not pretty and not the best, but with practice I hope it will get better. One of the real problems is with caps on things, so I’ve done up baggies with two weeks of morning and evening meds/supplements to make that easier in the days after the surgery. It really is the small things, like getting toothpaste onto the toothbrush, that are going to be a pain one handed.

The Unbreakables!
The Unbreakables!

As discussed before, I have gotten as many things unbreakable as I can just in case. The Mueller stainless steel French Press is nice, and I’ve noticed the loose lid seems to be holding a bit better these days. I got an Ideal Servings stainless steel airpot, made in Taiwan, and am very much enjoying it. I also caught a deal on a Mueller electric grinder that while they have a very different take on coarse grind than I do, works well and I can operate it one handed. While I am still playing with brew times, finding that I like the current set-up: grind fresh beans, pre-heat the French Press, let the grinds soak a minute, then fill and brew. I then pour through a pour-over filter with a number 2 filter (found the holder on clearance at a grocery store a while back) into the airpot. Oh, am pre-heating the airpot with the water from the French Press when I start to brew. Also, my landlord bought an electric kettle for me to use as I was using a boiler and pouring from it. Have to admit, I’m liking the kettle.

Given that my mugs are breakable, I have disposable hot cups for the first few days post surgery. Actually, figure the weekend will not be fun, so have as much set-up for ease as I can. I have instant coffee (bleh) and some tea as it may be easier to make than coffee. Annoyed that everyone is out of Scottish Breakfast tea, but have some good Russian Caravan to augment the (meh) English Breakfast. The recliner is set to be my home at need, though my bed came with a platform that will raise the head like a hospital bed. Both will be set before I head up for the surgery. I also have what I hope is two weeks worth of breakfast and supper (I rarely eat lunch) tucked away in the freezer and refrigerator. Even have some snackage, though not a lot. Deliberate on that.

Things have been re-arranged so that things are to my left: the controls for the recliner, tables, etc. It’s amazing the number of “small” details that going around one-handed I have found, and I know I’ve missed a few. UPDATE: Should also mention I found a surge protector/power block that actually clamps to the desk I set up as my food/drink area. Makes plugging and unplugging much easier! Will try to post a photo later.

The bathroom has been scrubbed and sterilized to within an inch of it’s life, as I get to start bathing in special medical soap tomorrow. I’ve been tested for any sign of flesh-eating bacteria, and now they want to do what is needed to prevent any infection via the skin. I’m amused in that the name-brand version of this soap is often promoted for cleaning “adult” toys, and I am not to get it anywhere near my face or private parts. I get to scrub down with it (using fresh washcloth each time), wait five minutes, then rinse. Joy. Still need to find a mechanical kitchen timer for that if possible.

Also, have my first pair of old-man velcro shoes. No way I can tie my shoes one handed, so got a cheap pair to get me by for now. Hoping to start back in on walking next Monday, will see how it goes.

Pain management is the question. I’m hoping they do as good a job as the heart surgeons did, and am giving them that challenge. Don’t expect it to be fun, but am hoping for the best.

I have a book someone was kind enough to send me that I’ve been saving for post-surgery. If it’s as good as I think it will be, will be promoting it later. Reading may be a challenge one handed, but it’s one I will cheerfully meet.

If all goes well, I go in Friday morning and will be home Friday evening. Because of the prior heart surgery, they are going to do the operation in one of the hospital ORs rather than in the outpatient surgery suite. Amazing that this is now done outpatient given that they effectively (though not completely) amputate your arm, make the repairs, then re-attach it. All in about three hours if there are no problems/complications.

Part of me is more than ready for it right now. I had to go off my supplements and such that I use to deal with the arthritis and the pain, and the experience does not make me a happy or patient wolf. In fact, with the pain, I might even be tending towards being a bit grumpy on occasion. So, I’ve been joking and cutting up a bit more than normal to compensate.

There are a few more last minute things to take care of. Going to go get my hair cut after lunch, and tomorrow will be focused on emergency stuff for if there are any problems. Thursday is going to be spent picking up advance medicines and taking care of a couple of last-minute items. If something earth-shattering comes up, will try to post but for now my focus is on all the last minute things I have to do. I even have a timeline provided by the doc for what I am to do, when, and how. Which, given my memory issues from the lightning strike, is a very good thing.

More soon I hope!