Sunday, February 5, 2012

Feb 6 - This, That, and the Other Thing

First, an update on Dar's brother Dennis.  We're not calling him "Miracle Man" yet, but he is certainly "Lucky Louie" considering how things have worked out this past week. If he had to pick a place to have an accident this serious he couldn't have done better. His buddies called 911 (there was cell phone service), the paramedics arrived within 10 minutes (with snowmobile and evac sled), a first-class medical center was right down the road in Marquette, he was checked over and a diagnosis was made quickly - a tear in his aorta (very serious), and he was rushed into an operating room where a crack medical team spent the next four difficult hours patching him up. If he had been in a more remote part of the Upper Peninsula (and there's a LOT of remote-ness in the U.P.) the outcome, almost certainly, would have been far worse. He may well have become just another statistic.

He made it through the first night, a very good sign. And over the next few days he had some considerable ups and downs. The biggest problems were pain and nausea, the nausea caused in part by the powerful pain meds he was taking. Everyone was on the lookout for additional injuries... injuries to his internal organs from the impact. There's a possibility the nausea was in part caused by some bruising or trauma in his gut, but by the end of the week most of the equipment down there was working again. He was, however, still having a lot of pain and nausea.

Doctors said this was the largest incision they've done in the past two years. To effect this repair, they didn't go in to the heart and aorta through the chest as you (and I) would expect. Instead, they went in from the side and back, and the incision runs from front, around the side, and into his back.

He's still looking at a long rehab, a couple months anyway. But this kid has amazed and surprised people before, more than once, and I'm sure he'll be making quick progress toward getting back to normal in the next few weeks.


Since my last weekly update post discussed hard boiled eggs and nothing else, I really should bring the record up to date with a few notable items. Last week not one, but two pairs of friends arrived here at Sandollar in Rockport.  Fellow explorers Doug and Kay showed up without warning. These are the folks we stopped and visited with at their summer home in Lake City Minnesota last August. They practice a form of travel that's unique in the world of explorers in that even they have no idea where they're going, when they'll arrive, or if they'll stay. So just showing up like this is something those of us who know them kind of expect. As you might expect, they have no idea how long they'll be here or which direction they'll go when they leave, but they will be back in Lake City Minnesota sometime in the Spring to reconnect with grandkids and family.

Then, just a day or so after Doug and Kay arrived, our friends Jimmy and Julianne drove in with their truck and fifth wheel. As opposed to that couple in the paragraph above, we expected their arrival and they were right on time. We had just crossed paths with these two back in Coarsegold California this past Fall and spent a couple days exploring Yosemite National Park with them. Since settling in, Jimmy's been keeping busy hunting fish in the bays around here while Julianne works away at her craft as a wordsmith. Here's a link to Julianne's blog "RV Wheel Life" and another to Jimmy's "Another View".  We think they'll be here into March before they have to leave and head back west and eventually to their summer camp near Spokane Washington. It's good to have fellow explorers stop and spend time here at Sandollar. They add spice to the melting pot nature of our winter camp.


The weather's been warm compared to previous years, marked by an electric bill for January that was about 25% less than the past two. But with warmth comes humidity when you're parked right next to the Gulf of Mexico, and humidity is one of my least favorite things about this area. It's not uncommon for us to pull a full gallon or more of water out of the interior air of the bus-house with our dehumidifier on a sticky day. But, you know... it is what it is. It's the nature of the place. What you see (or feel) is what you get. Ain't nobody gonna change it. The best feature of an RV is that set of wheels it has under it... and they will roll you to a different place any time you choose.

Despite my comments about humidity, we did have a cold front come through here Saturday morning. This one was accompanied by clouds and showers... really more than showers... more a steady rain all of Saturday night. With the exceptional drought in this part of Texas, the rain is a much welcomed thing.

We drove over to Mustang Island Saturday, knowing it wouldn't be a great beach day but having to get out of the house... see something different. As I mentioned earlier, a cold front was working it's way through. The solid cloud deck, pushed along by a gusty cold north wind, wept a few showers, here and there, now and again. The usual gulf scent... the smell of the sea... was gone. A north wind will do that. Even in February Port Aransas attracts throngs on weekends... but not today. A north wind will do that too. We found a restaurant near the harbor, Virginia's, glommed onto a table next to the windows, and were entertained by a couple pair of dolphins while we ate lunch.

All ocean going traffic in and out of the bustling Corpus Christi harbor must traverse the ship channel that runs past and around Port Aransas. Three large ships moved through during our visit. They don't poke along either... and you realize how fast they're going when you try to chase one down with a car to find that perfect spot for a photo.

Windshield wipers slappin' time,
Darlene clicked a shot or nine,
We ran down every road that driver knew...

... and away the ship still flew.

Ferry to Mustang Island

Wind-surfer in Gulf

Look closely... dolphin jumping out ahead of bow wake from large ship (click to enlarge)

The busy ship channel into the Gulf at Port Aransas
More photos from our day on Mustang Island can be viewed [here].


Initiative. Resourcefulness. Aggressiveness. However we define it, there seems to be too little of it among teenagers these days.