The Girl and I have a favorite park within walking distance of the Plaza Hotel. I love to take her over there in the late afternoon or early evening for a last-of-the-day run. Sometimes she’ll play with me. Sometimes she just wants to hunt the battalion of ground squirrels making burrows under the buildings.
It’s all good.
One evening, I noticed a rosebush with these beautiful yellow blooms. I had to make a capture and they reminded me of Texas.
The Girl and I sometimes walk in town in the evening. There is a park embedded in the area behind the local fire station. It’s posted (everywhere) with “State Property, Do Not Enter” signs, but the grounds are open for our four-legged friends.
This door caught my attention the other evening. I wonder what’s inside?
Two weeks ago today, I had the molar just forward of the wisdom tooth in my upper left jaw removed. During the treatment of the tooth (a root canal and crown was planned), the dentist discovered a crack through the base of the tooth.
“You have a failed tooth,” he pronounced. “It will have to be surgically removed and replaced. We can do an implant or a bridge.”
I elected the bridge given I’m not keen on implants (it takes a year to get one done). There wasn’t enough time to do the work while I was already anesthetized, so he scheduled for Thursday. Thursday morning the office manager called and he was sick. Friday morning she called and asked if I wanted to get the work done.
“Yes, let’s do this.” So I snagged a couple of things and headed to Gardnerville.
As I wrote two weeks ago, the procedure was not easy. The remaining portions of the tooth were fragile and brittle. But the surgery was done, the bone graft completed, and I left with a prescription for some good drugs.
The following morning I walked the Girl a bit. I was not my normal self. I didn’t feel right. I was weak.
At breakfast I was careful about eating on the right side of my mouth. But, somehow, I touched the site with the tine of a fork. I thought a number of things at that moment, the first being “How the Hell did I just do that?” That thought was followed by several others.
It didn’t hurt. I was surprised. But, I was equally surprised that a wave of nausea hit me. It was not like I was going to vomit, but I was very queasy — to the point I didn’t want to eat any more.
I broke out in a cold sweat, fast and hard. I was woozy.
Then everything in my field of vision turned gray — I mean everything went monochrome. The colors drained from my field of view.
“This can’t be good…”
My vision didn’t collapse into tunnel vision, but I felt very weak. I wanted to leave and get back to my room. But I was afraid to stand.
As I sat there, trying to keep myself steady, I think I fainted. I fainted sitting straight up and didn’t fall. I do not know how long I was out, probably a few seconds. But I was pleased I decided not to stand up.
I waited a few more minutes for my head to clear, then paid my bill and left.
I was sick for a week. I felt weak and was extremely careful when eating.
My follow-up visit was fine. Everything was healing according to plan.
Monday I went back for an inspection and for the sutures to be removed. My healing is good. I’ll go back in a couple of weeks for them to prepare the site and make the final impressions. Then this will be done. I’m thankful for that.
Tuesday I flew to Kansas City for a job interview. The Girl flew with me, for the first time, and she was perfect! I was so impressed how she handled the entire process. She did better than I!
I’m not sure whether I want the job or not. I’m not sure they will offer me the position. I’ll wait.
In the meantime, I had the chance to spend a few days with interesting people. I enjoyed that.
The weather was killer, with morning temperatures of about 80F. It was rough on the Girl, who likes her cool morning walks. She would give up on me about two miles in, hunting some shade and cool grass where she would crash, rolling around with her tongue lolling. It made me laugh. Then I’d encourage her a bit and we’d walk on.
I had the opportunity to make a few interesting images with my iPhone. I rather like the one I posted above.
We returned to Carson City yesterday. It’s good to be back home. I like it here.
I feel so much better today. I am healing up well and my strength has returned. I did the interview trip as I promised and that task is behind me. I have some work to do that will pay the bills.
I am blessed. I am happy. I am thankful. Life is good.
Although this posted Saturday morning about 0800, I wrote it Friday night about 1900 so my recollection of the day’s events, timing, and dialogue would not be lost.
It was Friday morning. The Girl and I had walked, not as far or hard as we have been. I felt like I needed a break to give my body time to heal a bit. We’ve been pushing the miles pretty hard, averaging a five-mile walk in the mornings and logging six miles or more every day for the last couple of weeks. We had both had breakfast.
I was just getting ready to start my monthly bookkeeping when my telephone rang. It was the dentist’s office manager. They had an opening and could get me in. “Do you want to come in this morning?” she asked.
It took me about two seconds to think. “Yes! Let’s get this done.”
So, at about 0900 the Girl and I scrambled into the 4Runner and headed south to Gardnerville. As I drove down there, I felt my fear and anxiety rise. I had a feeling this was not going to be an easy process. I was reminded of a favorite passage from the book The Golden Compass in which the girl asks her friend the armored bear “Aren’t you afraid?”
“No,” he replied, “but if I am, I will master my fear.”
I think my fear was more of the unknown nature of the process and not about pain. I knew the anesthetic would be effective in eliminating most, if not all pain. But I knew there would be a lot of pressure on my other teeth and my lips are always pinched between instruments and teeth. It doesn’t hurt badly, but there is a lot of it. (And that reminds me of the aphorism about being “nibbled to death by ducks.”) So, I took some deep breaths and reminded myself I could do this. It would be unpleasant for awhile, but then be over and the healing process would begin.
We got there about 0930 (it takes as long to drive through Minden as it does to drive from Carson City to Minden). I visited with the office manager for a minute and then they took me back to one of the stations. Many instruments were arrayed when I sat down. The assistant brought me a blanket for my legs (I get cold in there).
The dentist came into the room, looked over the images, and said “It’s time to get the healing process started.” He then administered the anesthetic and went on to work on another patient while the anesthetic took effect. He returned in a few minutes to administer the second phase of anesthetic and we talked about the bone graft he proposed. I asked a few questions and elected to have the bone added to the socket to protect the adjacent teeth and provide additional structural strength should I need it sometime in the future.
The process began about 1000, I think. It was one of the most unpleasant experiences I’ve ever had. The tooth was brittle and there were four roots, all of which were “spindly.” I could tell from his energy that it was a difficult extraction. He used a drill to cut up the remaining structure of the tooth (the upper part was already removed), then extracted two roots. The other two required a lot of effort to gain purchase. He had to use the drill again to make catch points for the instruments to get purchase of them.
There was not much pain, but a lot of pulling and pressure to work out the roots without breaking them. They finally were all extracted and a followup image proved the socket was clear. So the technician mixed the demineralized cadaver bone with some liquid so it could be injected into the socket. That process was straightforward and completed quickly.
This was followed by some sutures, which were challenging only because the tooth was so far back in my mouth. He nicked me a couple of times when removing the suture needle. I could have said something, but I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. With the sutures in place, we were basically done. The technician worked up the temporary bridge (to protect the site), singing quietly to herself as she worked.
That was very pleasant. She has no idea how calming that was to me.
During most of the process, I was so deeply into myself that I was only aware of direction, my breathing, and tension in my body. I forced myself to face the anxiety and to relax my body when I felt the fear and tension rise.
Finally, everything was done. I was released to the main office. I received direction on care of my wound, follow up appointments, and a prescription for pain medication. I had a feeling that there would be plenty of aching when the anesthetic dissipated. I paid my (huge) bill and walked out to the 4Runner.
The Girl was ecstatic to see me. She sniffed me all over, but kept coming back to my mouth. She knew I was wounded and wanted to care for me. I got her out to pee and then we drove back to Carson City. We stopped at Walmart to fill my prescription and pick up a couple of things I thought I might want/need. I have salt to make a rinse. I have some Reese’s Cups to reward myself and some protein shakes to provide sustenance until I feel like I can eat again.
We drove the remainder of the way to the hotel. I could feel the pain rising and knew I’d better get my pain medication started. So, we parked and I carried my things to my room. I took a pill and decided to walk across the street to the Black Bear Diner in the casino. I wanted a strawberry shake and some time to let the remaining tension bleed out.
On the way out, I stopped by the front desk to extend my stay another week. The sutures will come out in about ten days. The clerk worked on it a bit, but they were booked solid on the 15th, so she told me “I’ll fix this. Someone will call and cancel — it happens every day.” So the Girl and I walked across Carson Street and into the casino.
A young man greeted us at Black Bear Diner. “How many?”
“One… and a half,” I replied.
“Would you like a booth or a table?”
“Either is fine, so long as she is out of traffic.” We started into the dining room. The manager followed us and caught up.
“When someone has a service dog,” she said to the young man, “let them pick where they want to sit. They know where the best place is for their dog.”
I pointed to a table along a partition wall that was out of traffic, “This will be perfect.”
A beautiful young woman came by shortly after I settled the Girl next to the wall. She was mi mesera and asked how I was doing. I elected to spare her the description of the ordeal [grin] and then ordered a glass of water and a strawberry shake. They make excellent shakes at Black Bear Diner.
The manager dropped by a few minutes later. “Thank you for being patient with us. He’s in training and is learning how to handle customers with service dogs.”
“No worries,” I said. “I have learned to ask for something different if I think the seat is not the best for us. Booths are usually good because she’ll sleep under the table. But tables are fine too so long as we are out of traffic.”
The strawberry shake was very good. The cold felt good in my mouth. I needed the calories (if not the sugar). I elected to take a second pain pill because my mouth was really starting to hurt and I wanted to get ahead of the pain.
As I worked through my shake, the medication began its work. The pain didn’t go away, but was reduced to something tolerable. I decided I didn’t want anything else to eat. I will get some eggs Saturday morning. So I paid my bill and we walked back to the room. I took care of a few things that needed doing before I crashed.
I put on some music. Then I laid on the bed with the Girl. She snuggled close, curled up against my tummy. We both fell asleep.
I woke a bit later, checked the time, and took another pain pill. The hydrocodone works pretty well to both dull the pain and make me rest.
I learned a lot Friday. Or at least I feel like I learned a lot. I knew it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience. I was determined to get it done anyway. I didn’t want the infection to worsen and make additional problems. I’ll figure out the money.
Oh, I got a call from my hotel. The figured out a way to keep me in my room for two weeks if I want it. I need at least a week, maybe more. That makes me happy.
The image is unrelated. While at Walmart, I decided to buy a deck of cards. I love the Steampunk motif. I want a deck of cards in my kit. I don’t want to play games on the computer. Sometimes solitaire is a good thing, with real cards. There could come a time when Spades or Hearts might be appropriate as well. And if I’m with a friend, there’s always Gin Rummy.
Yesterday, the Girl and I were up really early to walk. She had a appointment with her veterinarian to have some lesions removed from her tummy. Because of her light skin, she is susceptible to skin cancer. Moreover, she’s my “sun baby,” and would choose to lie in the sun on her side and soak up that heat.
Because of our current lifestyle, she doesn’t do that anymore. We’re together all the time and often busy or driving. So she doesn’t have the same leisure time to ask to go outdoors and lie in the sun. But, she still has a few lesions popping up. Perhaps this year there will be fewer of them. I can hope.
So, after our walk, we drove back to the hotel so I could shower and gather up a few things. Then we headed for Minden and the vet’s office. I weighed her, signed in, and the staff put me in an examination room. Dr. Ross wanted to talk to me.
He looked her over and told me I could either wait or get a cup of coffee. He didn’t expect the procedure to take long (none of her spots were very big this time), so I left and decided to get a bite of breakfast.
For many years, Danny’s Diner (which was a Denny’s before I moved to Nevada) was a place I visited regularly, but not frequently. Wife and I loved to stop there when we were running errands for a bite. I just loved to spend such times with Wife. But Danny’s finally closed with the downturn in the economy (which hurt Nevada particularly badly) and I thought the facility would remain empty. But on my return to Nevada, I found a new place had opened.
So Thursday morning I drove from the vet’s to Independence Diner. It is really much like it was, but with a new menu and new staff. The staff are all friendly and the give-and-take between them bespeaks a friendly working environment. This is a good thing.
I ordered café con crema y agua, then repeated myself in ingles. I’m still practicing my Spanish daily, learning a bit each day, reinforcing past lessons as well. But, mi mesera no habla español, so we laughed about it and talked about Spanish. I ordered and worked in my bullet journal a bit while waiting for my food.
I chose poorly, I think. The chorizo omelette I ordered was just OK. I’ll have to try again, I suspect. And I will.
I drove back to the vet’s office to retrieve my Girl. (I don’t really think I own her; she’s not property.) I received instructions and walked my poor, groggy baby back to the rig. I lifted her into the backseat, thinking she would be more comfortable there. After trying to be up a bit, she melted into a pool of dog on the seat pan. She didn’t move all the way home.
I carried our stuff to the room and blocked open the door. After wriggling about a bit, I lifted her from the rig and carried her upstairs to her bed (my ratty old blanket). She didn’t move but went to sleep.
By evening she was more like herself. She doesn’t seem to be having much pain, for which I’m thankful. I gave her some food and her meds. Then we walked a little around the hotel and the park just across Stewart Street here in Carson City. We sat in the shade a long time, just taking in the outside time. She wanted to go chase squirrels, but I kept her on lead. She’s not ready to be rowdy and won’t be for a few more days.
Now I think it’s time to get out for a walk. She won’t walk off-lead this morning (and not for a few more days). But we both need exercise and outside air.
I’m thankful for her veterinarian. It was also good to see the little diner at the north end of Minden working again. It was a good day.
About a year ago, I bought a surplus MOLLE Generation 2 3-Day Assault Pack. I wanted a pack to use as a day-pack so I could carry some water, a few emergency supplies, a camera, and repair materials for geocaching. I have come to love day hikes. I love geocaching in more remote areas — those that are more difficult that park-n-grabs.
I did some reading before selecting a surplus pack. I did not want to spend a lot of money, at least not initially. I know that military packs are developed to meet specific requirements, but I also know that materials are top-notch as required to stand up to the rigors of combat use.
From many perspectives, this is a great pack. There’s lots of room in the main compartment and a separator to keep the plastic stiffener apart from the contents of the main compartment. The main compartment is zipper closure (with a weather flap) and the zippers are high quality. You can put a lot of stuff in the main compartment. I keep a 3-liter Camelbak in there as well as a cover if I start out cool or think it might turn cool. There is much room left over.
There are two additional pockets on the front of the pack, a large compartment with zipper closure (and weather flap) that could hold food or necessaries that are too large for the smaller front pocket. I can put a couple of bushcrafting books in there and have room for some additional things.
The smaller front pocket is velcro closure (good velcro too) and has room for all of my geocaching tools, replacement logs, and plastic bags. I could keep a decent size pocket notebook in there as well.
The straps are thin but wide. I would say they could be good for loads up to 20 pounds or more, depending on your tolerance for discomfort. I get tired of the straps after five miles with a 20-pound load.
I’ve learned a lot using this pack over the last year. I carry my load a little high. I don’t like the load hitting me in the ass. So the straps are fairly tight and the bottom of the pack sits in my lumbar regions, just above my hips. Because of that, the insertion points for the end of the straps poke me in the back. For short hikes this is just annoying and I can ignore it. For anything five miles or more, it’s uncomfortable. I suspect that if I was wearing the FLC and plates, that the straps would not dig my shoulders or poke me in the back.
I’d also like a separate pocket for my Camelbak. I know they are tough, but I’d like my water separate from my other gear.
The MOLLE is wonderful! There are tons of pockets that can be added to MOLLE-equipped gear. I like have cubbyholes to put things instead of a dump into the main pocket. So, my replacement pack will have MOLLE and I will use surplus MOLLE pouches to add pockets to my new pack.
There are many things about the MOLLE Assault Pack I like. But I need a pack that is comfortable to wear with the loads I carry. This one is not going to work for me.
Last Saturday the Girl and I rose quite early to get out and hike (and geocache) before the heat rose. The story is already told, but a further rumination rose a few minutes ago. I suppose when the Muse calls me, I better answer.
I was scrolling through recent images collected and stored on my computer and came across this capture. It was made after our climb-out and while we were hiking along the ridge of the Prison Hill Range. This is a view of the Girl I see often when we’re out in the sageland. She runs back and forth, doing her favorite thing — hunting. She’s a high-drive dog and will chase rabbits, squirrels, and lizards. I know her well and have learned to manage her drive for the most part. I am still sometimes surprised, bu far less often than I was a few years ago.
This is something that is just part of her. I accept that and watch for those times when it might be a problem. I’m OK with that as well.
So we hike and hunt. It fills a need that she has and a need that I have. We both gain a lot from our time on the trail. In fact, there’s no other place I’d rather be (at this time) that out on the trail with my Girl. I have to watch the heat because she overheats easily. But if the weather is moderate, then we can go for hours.
Our normal morning walk is now five miles. If I push it and keep my pace at about 18 minutes/mile, I keep my metabolic rate up and it pushes her as well. We’re both tired (but maybe not done) when we get back to the rig.
On Saturday, we did a bit more than five miles with terrain. The climb-out challenged my legs and glutes and it was good. The descent challenged my quads and put some pressure on the patellar tendon, which was also good. We were both tired when we got back to the rig, went to breakfast, and returned to our room. That was good. Saturday was a really good day!
This morning we were out early again. It was cold down by the Carson River in Riverview Park. It was cold enough that my legs and hands were cold until the sun rose sufficiently to shine on me. With the cool air, I pushed pretty hard. The Girl had to run a few times to catch up. She’d be distracted by a scent, pause to sniff, and then notice I was 50 yards down the trail, calling and whistling to her to catch up.
And then catch up she would, blasting by me to pick up the next trail or chase a rabbit. We hiked out to the Morgan Mill Road river access. We took a five-minute break there so I could eat a snack and pee. She continued snuffling in the willow brush, then came over to beg some of my snack (no chocolate for her!). I offered a bite of apple, but she declined (with a snort).
After the short break, I donned my pack again and off we went, me jogging part of the way. I carried my walking stick a port-of-arms to practice. No, the stick isn’t a six-pound rifle, but it will do for practice.
We hit the rig before 0800 with just over five miles on the clock. It was time to get back to the room, feed her, and get a shower so I could get to my dentist for a procedure.
She was curled up in the back of the rig when I came out from the dentist’s office. I left with much to think about. The tooth I thought would be crowned will be extracted tomorrow. It’s cracked and cannot be salvaged. The price of the work just went up. I needed to think on this a bit more, consider the options, and make a decision about how to proceed.
We stopped at Wally-World to fill my prescription. I pondered on my decision while we wandered through the store waiting for my prescription to be filled. I bought a strawberry shake (or what passes for a shake) and a cup of coffee from McDs in the Walmart and sat down to enjoy the coffee. I bought a deck of regular playing cards to keep in my kit. I think that sometimes just sitting playing solitaire will be good for me. I like real cards.
After retrieving my meds, we headed for the room. It was good to feel the sun on my body and good to have the Girl curled up in the adjacent seatpan. I fiddled with her ears and stroked her side as we drove.
Yeah, I’d rather be out in the sagelands with my Girl than nearly anywhere else these days. Wife is gone, the kids are grown and independent, I work for myself. The capture of us on the trail together is idyllic, at least to me. Yeah, I challenge my body when we do those hikes. Yeah, I get tired, hot, sweaty. Yeah, I feel the mental game to push the body when it rebels. It’s a different form of training, not as intense as strength training but just as big of a mental game. Yeah, I’m going to get the dental work done (yet another mental game), then recover from it, both physically and mentally.
Then what? I’m not sure right now. I think there is work for me to do. I need to do some of it and replenish my savings account. I’m good with that… and with spending as much time as I can on the trail… with the Girl.
Last Saturday the Girl and I rose quite early to hit the trail up the Prison Hill ridge. I had identified a handful of geocaches I wanted to find and I wanted a good long hike with some relief to challenge my legs. So, I loaded up the geoRig with the Girl, water, and my pack and we headed east out Fifth Street past the roundabout.
One used to be able to drive on the trails in this area. But, things changed in the last year. Motorized vehicles are no longer permitted on the trails. (What do I think about that? I suppose it doesn’t matter, does it?) So, we parked the rig, got out, loaded up (or I loaded up), and started up the hill.
The climb up wasn’t so bad at first, but the trail steepened as we went along. With full-time all-paw-drive, the Girl didn’t have an issue with the trail. But her old man could feel the load and the steepness a bit. Still, it felt really good to be out there and I loved the challenge.
Once near the top, the slope lessened and the hump became a hike. We puttered around, enjoying the view. The view was wonderful with the rising sun slanting across the city and surrounding mountains.
We worked our way along the trails, finding our geocaches (or at least I was finding geocaches; she was finding lizards). I had to refer to Google Maps a couple of times to make sure I had the right trail. (Lesson learned — make routes along the trails and upload those to my GPSr before heading out.) There was so much to see and experience. The cool morning was perfect. There was just enough breeze to cool my sweating body. The crunch of sand and gravel under my feet was punctuated with the occasional pop of a larger rock being kicked from the path or rolling under my boots.
When we crossed the ridge to the east side I began to feel the sun. The breeze was blocked by the ridge and the sun was already warming. Fortunately, I had plenty of water. The Girl didn’t seem bothered by the sun and was intent on hunting lizards, or her preferred prey, squirrels!
“Squirrel!!!!!” she seemed to shout and would go bounding off over the rocks in pursuit. Or course, the “squirrel” might be a rabbit, but no matter… the chase was on.
One of her characteristics is that no matter which way I’m going, she’s out in front about 20 yards. If I turn and go in a different direction, she will run past me, usually blasting me with coarse sand. So I laugh at her. (And I sometimes change directions on purpose just to mess with her.)
As we neared the point where we would turn back on the north connecting loop of the trail system we were walking, I noticed something on the path. There was a small snake, sunning.
What a beautiful creature! It was not aggressive and was clearly digesting a large meal, probably one of the many lizards we see on every outing. I squatted there on the path, looking at the animal.
The Girl, always curious about what I’m doing, came trotting back up the path. She seemed to be saying “Watcha doin’, Man?” As she approached, she (being the ditz she is), didn’t notice the snake and stepped on it.
Of course, that got a reaction from the sluggish animal! It vibrated its tail, feigning the dangers of a rattlesnake, coiled a little, and struck at my walking stick.
The ditz, of course, didn’t notice until she saw it move. Then she saw how it moved and I watched her body language change from curiosity to “Oh Shit! Those hurt us!” and she stepped quickly away from the now-pissed-off snake.
That was good to see. It means her rattlesnake aversion training has taken. The animal didn’t smell like a pit viper or I’m sure she would have alerted sooner. I was pleased.
Nonplussed, I prodded the animal a bit more so I could get a picture with my iPhone. I should have retrieved my compact camera from my pack, but my iPhone was in-hand.
After my picture, I shooed the snake off the path so it wouldn’t be stepped on (again), rose, and moved on. It wasn’t much farther until we rejoined the split where we had gone to the west side of the ridge and worked our way back down the steep part to the flat near the rig.
We hiked a bit more than five miles that day. We made it back to the rig by 0900 or so. The Girl was plenty tired and wanted her water at recline. So, I put her bowl between her front paws as she rested in the shade of our rig. She drank a couple of bowls of water while I put away my gear. Then we mounted up and went off for me to get breakfast.
Of course, I held back a couple slices of my bacon to sweeten her kibbles when we returned to our room. She really likes her special sauce.
Saturday morning, the Girl and I rose really early to get a headstart on the day. I wanted to hike the northern part of the Prison Hill range, get some good exercise, and find a few geocaches. We were at the parking area before sunrise. (N.B. One used to be able to drive some of these trails — a year ago — but now the area is fenced off.) I donned my pack, initialized the GPSr, and we were off.
We humped it up the north end of the hills and were greeted with a wonderful view and wonderful light. I stopped for a few minutes to make a few captures. Then we were off again.
The initial climb was moderately challenging. But once up on the high ground, the trails were not bad at all. We hiked about halfway down the range before turning east to get the trail on the east slope and find a couple more geocaches.
By the time we got back to the rig, we were both done. I was ready for food, coffee, and a break. The Girl laid in the shade by the rig and waited for me to provide water. She settled with paws on both sides of her bowl, reclining while she drank her water. Then she was up in the rig and we were off to Grandma Hattie’s for breakfast.
It was a great morning. I’m stiff, which is also good. We also found a few geocaches to add to my list. Saturday was a good day.