What's It All About, eh?

Cape Breton evokes deep memories and strong emotions for me as well as a deep appreciation for the beauty of my adopted island. My hopes are that you too might find the photos evocative - maybe a view you've not enjoyed before, or an 'Oh I've been there', or if from away that you may be encouraged to visit this fair isle so that you might come to love and breathe Cape Breton as I do. One word about place names that I use - some are completely local usage while others are from maps of Cape Breton that I've purchased over the years. I frequently post travel and other photos that are of interest to me - and hopefully you.

On the right hand side bar find my take on Single Malt whiskey - from how to best enjoy this noble drink to reviews (in a most non-professional manner) of ones that I have tried and liked - or not. Also musings, mine and others, on life in general.

Photographs are roughly 98%+ my own and copy-righted. For the occasional photo that is borrowed, credit is given where possible - recently I have started posting unusual net photographs that seem unique. Feel free to borrow any of my photos for non-commercial use, otherwise contact me. Starting late in 2013 I have tried to be consistent in identifying my photographs using ©smck on all out of camera photos I personally captured - (I often do very minor computer changes such as 'crop' or 'shadow' etc but usually nothing major), and using
©norvellhimself on all photos that I have played around with in case it might not be obvious.

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My Stent In The Hospital

My recent heart event was one that I had not believed would occur (for the reason it did - blood clots were always a bit of worry to me).  On late Saturday, 25 Jan '14, afternoon I drove up to our daughter Jennifer's home where my truck (2 wheel drive) became, not so much stuck as it was unable to go in the right direction - wanting to slide sideways and drift down the hill toward a small building.  I was very angry with myself for being so stupid in a snowy driving situation but after about 15 minutes of wheel spinning etc, I jumped out got a shovel from Jen and started shoveling madly for another 5 minutes or so clearing enough snow to gain some control. Then backing the truck up and into a proper position, I exited the cab. Suddenly my chest developed a nasty tautness which I had experience somewhat less severely before from gas in my stomach.  This seemed different though, along with aching in both arms and wrists and fingers.  Jen solicitously offered to drive me home but I decided to drive myself and see if the situation (of my chest) would dissipate in the 15 minutes or so to arrive home.  It did not.  So when I arrived at Black Hill uncharacteristically I asked Carol to drive me to the hospital emergency room in case this was a heart attack.  Even though Carol and I both were thinking it was possible, even likely, that I was instead having a panic attack.  It was not.  Regardless of some of the poor stories that I have heard from time to time about Union Hospital my treatment both from the professional and from the inter-actional manner were great.  Blood tests - several over about 18 hours - showed enzymes in the blood that indicated heart damage.  In the meanwhile they were treating me as if it were a heart attack, starting with giving me baby aspirin and continuing with untold numbers of inter-venous medicines.  On early Sunday morning the cardiologist - Dr. Bowens, who had previously ordered an ultra sound of my chest told me that it was indeed a heart attack from two clogged arteries to my heart.  His professional opinion was to go straight to Christiana and have a heart catheterization which would determine exactly the amount of damage and would also be the prelude to any repair technique that was needed that would be done at that time.  I readily agreed and was quickly transported to Christiana. 

Here, the cardiac team - from admittance to the head surgeon - were the most amazing professional team of people that I can imagine.  After a final round of discussion with the second in-charge surgeon, Dr. Copeland, very lo-key and unassuming but just oozing competency, the prepping nurse, various other helping team members, Carol, and my self all talking, laughing as they put a hair screen on my bald head, laughing as I make inane suggestions and comments and as they wheeled me into the operating room which initially seemed just a rather strange, cold large room more than an operating theatre.  As I was being prepped for the catheter into my left wrist, which is becoming the preferred method for this type of surgery, they also were prepping both sides of my groin as back-ups in the event the arm artery would not provide sufficient access.  All the while various conversations with me, with each other, light at times, serious at others and then my introduction to the head surgeon and his casual take charge prep talk with the team of two other surgeons, and the numerous nurses.  Dr. Copeland then gave me the "you'll feel a bit of a pinch here" as he prepared to inject Novocain into my wrist.  Meanwhile two drips had been placed into my right arm, one of which was administering a light anesthetic which would allow me to talk to them if necessary but basically leave me unaware of any pain that might escape the Novocain.  I must have drifted mentally for a little while for I suddenly had an awareness of strange lights flashing red and blue/black through my closed eyes.  When I opened them I could see that it was the bright ceiling lights that would stay on for a while and then go through a flashing routine - but when I closed my eyes they were red.  The flashing blue/black lights were really large box-like cameras that were zooming left and right, up and down, in arcs along with other strange inflated clear flexible plastic containers with some wire-like structure inside.  The third surgeon was evidently doing the procedure, controlling the movements of the cameras and the strange clear plastic containers while talking loudly saying things like "two and one half'" and a voice I recognized as the head surgeon would loudly be commenting "now!" or "no, three point five".  I started to raise my head to look toward the suspended T.V. screens and rapidly decided not to move an iota.   Very Star-Wars like.
My awareness continued to become clearer and clearer and I was amazed at the lack of pain.  I could feel the third surgeon's elbows and working motions of his arms as he rested them on my groin area - evidently some controlled strength was needed to make adjustments to the catheter as he would make controlled jostling motions.  Then suddenly he was on his feet and the surgeons and head nurse were talking to me telling me it was all done, that I now was in good shape again.  I never did think to ask why if  the catheter was in my extended left wrist why or how was all the 'steering?' being done from my groin area.  Or how did the catheter move through an opening in my artery without me bleeding profusely.
While I was being uncovered and being un-hooked, and other various things, the head surgeon was telling me how very successful the procedure was.  It was at this time he told me that it was two stents, that both arteries had been 99% blocked - and that in fact that one had been 100% blocked upon admittance to the ER back at Union but the quick work of the Union emergency team getting various medicines into my system had saved me from serious damage by getting it open to the 99% thus preventing the death of more heart cells.
So then off to a recovery room where I got onto my feet and then into the hospital bed.  I could not believe that there was no pain except for evident discomfort in my wrist.  When I needed to go to the bathroom I asked if I could walk there and was only asked if I was dizzy, however the nurse walked closely behind me down the hall and remained behind me as I used the urinal. 
One last item - the reason for my arterial blockage - Cholesterol.  Even though my total cholesterol was only 164 the bad (LDL - 'Lousy'  Density Liptoids) cholesterol was 105.  It should have been around 70 or so.   So there goes CHEESE, BUTTER, and other good things like that in the future.

Although now on several oral medications along with 81mg of aspirin my main concern at the present moment is the complete healing of the opening in the left wrist.  It should be good for light duty in another day or so and up to splitting wood with a maul in a couple of weeks.

Once again I find that some large bad luck item in my life is backed in a positive way by exceedingly good luck.  If I had not had the attack when I did, more than likely further passage of time would have resulted in two 100% blockages and major heart damage from which my old frame might not have recovered.   Thank you.

Down The Bay


Sunset over Ice

The Morning News

Clear and cold
6°F  (@-14.5°C) at 7 O'clock


A Little R&R - II

Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days BUT I had another little event take me out just about one month after my previous Saturday jaunt to the Emergency Room immediately before Christmas.  This time it was for a heart attack (which I was hoping would turn out to be a 'panic' attack - no such luck).  I am writing this at home today after a double stent surgery at Christiana Hospital in Delaware last night.  Kudos to the staff at Union Hospital both in the emergency room and in the stabilizing room after, for about a day and a-half before the trip to the Christiana Catheterization  Centre and in particular to the care and advice of the Cardiac doctor, Dr Bowens.  Their good treatment quite possibly saved me from permanent heart damage - though only time will tell.  I have only heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the fantastic job by various crews at Christiana ranging from admission to the supremely trained team of professionals in the by-pass surgery.  Modern medicine is truly fantastic when performed by such personal and professional people to whom I quite possibly owe my very life.

I might go into details of the event farther when my left arm - actually the wrist area - is farther healed over the next few days.  It was through the main artery in the wrist that the catheterization was performed.  This area is the major area of healing so I do not want to type for too long.

PLEASE NOTE THE CORRECTION I HAVE ENTERED SINCE FIRST POSTING THIS ABOUT ONE HALF HOUR AGO - not double by-pass surgery but rather double stent surgery.

Disclaimer: my spelling problems are not surgery related, lol

The Morning News

Cloudy w/possible flurries
25°F (@ -4°C)  -  went down to 11 (@ -12°C) in the night


Ball of  Fluff

Iran

Just noticed that I have a new visitor from Iran - Welcome to this lo-key blog of photos and occasional commentary.  If you wish to leave comments please do so.  Norvellhimself

Out The Window




The Morning News

clear and cold
6°F  (-14.4°C)   -   was 9°F about hour and a half ago but is still dropping


Sign In Office:


WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN

Go With The Floe

These gulls are about as far from land - a mile, give or take - as they can get here at the head of the bay

Mistletoe

This mistletoe - along the stretch of beach in the below postings - really caught my eye.  I have never before seen it growing on the Elk Neck peninsula, although it does grow elsewhere in the county along the eastern shore of the bay.

Shoreline


Up The Bay


The Morning News

Mackerel sky
35°F   (@1.6°C  )


Where In Cecil County

If you think you know where this was taken, hit the 'comment' (No comments) and make your observation.  If you are from somewhere else you might even want to know 'Where is Cecil County?'