Winner Creek, Girdwood, AK.

Hike 8/52 was one that we had done before. Based at the fancy Alyeska Resort there is no shortage of places to stop and warm up before or after hiking in Girdwood.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-31-14-pm

We set off on our short hike after brunch at The Bake Shop. We drove one car to the the end of the trail and started from the far end of the trail. Our plan was foiled when we found out that the hand tram was no longer operating for the winter. There was hardly any snow, so we sighed and muttered, but continued on.

We had to stop and build a snowman as it was still early in the season and we haven’t had a lot of snow, yet.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-31-32-pm

The Winner Creek and the snowman.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-33-53-pmDeciding how to cross when the tram is closed.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-30-43-pmWe somehow still had a lot of fun and wore ourselves out.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-31-01-pmWhen we got home, this happened. I would call it a success.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-30-12-pm

Advertisements

Hiking Eagle and Symphony Lakes.

Hike 7/52 for the 52 hike challenge. This is a popular trail and quite an easy hike. Most of the mild uphill is in the beginning.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-39-39-am

Eventually, you make it into the valley below. The creeks that drain out of the lakes are two different colors.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-42-14-amI am still addicted to panoramic photos.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-40-38-amThe further into the valley you walk, the more boulders begin to appear.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-41-03-amEventually arriving at the lakes, you can see why the two creeks are different colors.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-41-17-amOne lake (Eagle) is the turquoise color of the glacial silt. The other (Symphony) is snow melt and precipitation. They are separated by a narrow ridge. It is a beautiful hike near Anchorage.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-41-33-amThe creek crossings were easier for some of us.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-42-48-am

Neck Update.

It has been two weeks since my surgery. My surgeon says that things look good. I still have a few months before I can play soccer (of course I will go back). It will take a full year to fuse completely.

Here are a couple of pictures of my X-rays.neck xray image 2In this picture, you have to look really close to see the scar.ne9UwFK2ueLFcseQ1iz2XI9Q9b4mz28WI0UAUM_K448Here is the zoom in for you weirdos that are into that.

Neck scar

I am back to “normal” living. I have a cervical collar that I wear while I am driving. That is all. I am still lucky and thankful.

I am very lucky.

After a soccer accident, I had a sore neck. I thought that it was seriously strained. I went to an urgent care facility and was given some pain killers, muscle relaxers, and steroids. The usual to conservatively treat a strain. I did not think that X-rays were necessary. A couple of weeks went by and every morning I would wake up feeling a little bit better. The end of the day was tough, but I have been injured enough to know that these things take time to heal. I was feeling a bit nervous as we were studying muscles and bones in class and I had a nagging feeling that I had done more damage than I would have liked to admit. I went in for X-rays. The PA (physicians assistant) checked my X-rays and wanted a radiologist to look at them. The next day, I got a phone call saying that I had done some serious damage and I should get myself to the hospital as soon as possible. This sort of news is difficult to take in. They tried to explain things on the phone, but I had stopped listening.

I went to the Swedish First Hill Emergency Room and was well taken care of. They took more X-rays and didn’t like what they saw. My C6 vertebrae was not aligned with the others. Most notably, the C7 below it. If the C6 fell off the C7 I could be paralyzed or dead. For two weeks, I was walking around, working, digging in the garden, and had no idea how seriously injured I was.

I was transferred (my first time in an ambulance) from First Hill to Cherry Hill and put on the neurosciences floor. The memories of my brother being on a neuro floor came flooding back. I kept telling myself how lucky I was to catch this before I was seriously injured. My brother is also lucky to walking and alive.

So I arrived at 1am and was put into a bed. I was told to keep my big collar on, not get up, and pee in the urinal. It took a couple of hours for the doctors orders to arrive. I was given a saline IV with 20 mEq/L of potassium. Apparently, my potassium levels were 3.3 mEq/L (normal is 3.5-5). Here is where my nursing friends and I start to geek out. My nurses and NACs that I met were all great. They treated me well and kept me updated before my surgery. One of the surgeons came in at about 3am to tell me that the team would be meeting in the morning and would get me into surgery the next day.

The next morning (really just a few hours later) I met with the surgeon and I immediately liked him. He showed me his scar where he has a similar surgery. It was nice to be able to ask real world questions like, “What will my range of motion be after the surgery?” and get a true answer. Instead of a textbook answer, he would move his head around. I was nervous most of the day just waiting for the operating room to be ready, but I had some great friends keep me company. My crew of support has been fantastic. I cannot thank Derek, Casey, Stefanie, Ed, Patty, Jenn, Adam, and of course Amanda enough.

I was eventually led into surgery and the staff was all great. They calmed my nerves and we made small talk until I slid onto the operating table. My neck was still in a collar, but I couldn’t bring myself to look around too much. The cold sterility of the room made me more nervous than I would like to admit. Surgery was apparently a success. I didn’t do much for the 45 minutes that it took, but I woke up glad that it was now time to start recovering. I was up walking around later that day. I am able to drink fluids and eat soft foods. They discharged me the day after surgery. Now I am at home recovering.

Standard ambulance selfie.

It is nice to sit by the fire sometimes. Before surgery.

Happy after surgery.

In summary, I had an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.

ACDF

3D medical animation, not the real thing, can be seen here.

Vote for war.

I have been doing my clinicals at the VA this quarter. For those of you not in nursing school, clinicals are:

supervised sessions in real world health care environments which allow nursing students to put their knowledge and skills to work. Clinicals are the nursing equivalent of internships and residencies for doctors, and they are a critical part of medical training, as they give nurses a chance to work with real patients in a supervised setting before being thrust into real nursing work without instructors and guides ready to step in and assist.

That being said, I have been thrown into the world of the military. I stumbled upon this article from the Huffington Post.

In 1916, with World War I looming for the United States, a group of Nebraska residents gathered petition signatures and sent a constitutional amendment to Congress that would have enacted a national referendum before lawmakers could declare war. On top of the national vote, anyone who cast a ballot in favor of war would have been required to register as a volunteer for service in the United States Army.

I like the idea.