Friday, November 21, 2008

The Final . . . Spinal

Well, here we are not at the end of the journey, but the end of the treatment.
Not the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning.
We started the day rather uncharacteristically, with me getting up to have my coffee with my fellow ICM patients, only to discover La - AWAKE! and already up, showered, out and conversing with my compatriots.

The schedule was to start off with physical therapy at 1pm and then meander across the CIMA grounds to the "Cirugia Endoscopia" to get my injections. No, you read that right; yesterday did not qualify as the ultimate therapy session, today was more of a debriefing and physical testing session. I did well, by the way :) My therapist said I showed a marked improvement.

To further our good spirits, we got to the waiting room and were amongst the first let in - as opposed to the last, as our previous experience had been. Yeah, I know, we had oh, so many other places to be. As usual, the doctor started off with a shot of pain-killer which, contrary to his warning, was NOT a little prick. The spinal injection was less objectionable; in fact, as I braced myself for what I was sure was to be the impending 'jab' of the needle,the doctor said, "Okay, all done!" As had become the usual practice he showed me the syringe with my name printed on the label to reassure me that I had indeed gotten the correct shot. It reminded me of nothing less than the presentation of the wine cork by a sommalier. After that and the injection of my fat cells into my elbow IV, it was just a matter of lying on my back and doing nothing again.

After hearing that we would be in-country until the end of the month (a 'just-in-case' sort of thing) one of the doctors very graciously invited us to Thanksgiving dinner at at ICM.

This concludes the medical treatment portion of our programming..stay tuned for "Fear and Loafing in Costa Rica"........

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Final Physical Therapy

So I had my last scheduled physical therapy session today, although I will be needing to continue various exercises on my own. I'm aware that there is not a phase of 'instant gratification' here, and I'm okay with that. Delay that gratification, baby! I'm just happy to be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. With the kind of time I have spent 'down', I think that I'm a big enough boy to handle the a n t i c i p a t i o n .
I think that it may be more important to have it be right rather than to have it now - yes, of course, I would, in an ideal world, prefer that it was Right ... Now
- but, Hey! Welcome to the imperfect world as it is.
I do have to take the opportunity to compliment my fellow patients on the Huge amount of support - both physical and emotional - that has been gladly shared. It makes you feel good to be a human being.

Next up; my final injection tomorrow, Friday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today I Got Fat...

Today I went in for yet another spinal injection. This time I also got my first intravenous infusion of the cells that had been harvested from my abdominal fat. Many people claim to 'feel' the stem cells implant themselves into ones head at this point; unfortunately, I was not amongst them. Dang! Cheap Thrill missed...

Regardless, I spoke to the doctor about something I had noticed experiencing over the past couple of days. Whenever I would turn my head or change position while lying down, my head would begin to spin - a nasty case of the 'Whirlies' I had not experienced feeling since my early days with MS; this is not to bitch about this observation either about now or in the past, but to relate that this experience had resurfaced - perhaps on the conditions 'way back out?!?
What was it the techies used to say? "It's not a problem; it's a feature!" I'm excited.

Tomorrow, I have my final physical therapy, followed on Friday with my final injection & infusion.

Stay tuned for continuing observations and elaborations; Same Bat-Time - Same Bat-Channel!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I'm writing this on Tuesday, November 18th,2008.

Sorry that I didn't write Monday, but our plans to get injected yesterday were altered slightly.
We had to reschedule because the roads were all closed until late in the day. You see, the President of China was in town. He doesn't visit US, he visits Costa Rica. Anyway, we found ourselves battling near Los Angeles rush-hour traffic We started the procedure close to 6pm. The post-injection plan was for me to lay flat on my back, arms at my side, staring at the ceiling and doing nothing for, oh, about 4 hours. Around or about hour 3 I fell asleep and consequently continued on my heroic course of doing nothing.

Today (Tuesday) I found myself at physical therapy, working hard and reviewing my progress.
I pushed myself hard and learned a few new exercises. La wandered around aimlessly. Afterward we went to dine with Chris and Kaye at our new favorite place, Denny's..

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Good Morning, Costa Rica!

It's a lovely Sunday and as we have had nothing planned other than sitting around and waiting for the weekend to end, we rented a car (a manual Toyota Yaris) and my driver, La, started driving us to Los Angeles. No, silly! Not THAT Los Angeles, the one down here in Costa Rica! You have to travel through San Antonio, San Francisco and Santa Ana to get to it! ;)

Our mission? A trek to the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de la Virgina de Los Angeles in Cartago, about 14 miles away. In speaking to others who had come down here for this treatment and others to had already gone though it, the story was that drinking the Holy Water and being washed in it made for a near guarantee that total recovery was to be expected.

Now as many of you know me not to be the most pious person (although in my defense I AM a nice guy) but I am also not to be the one to ignore ANY possibilities - hey, it couldn't hurt! Plus there's always the ROAD TRIP factor.

So off we went boldly going towards Cartago when we realized a couple of things. There are no street signs or highway markers. And also that all roads seem to lead to San Antonio. Again and again. Sigh. It ultimately took us two and a half hours to get there (it took us only forty minutes to get back) Round and round and it goes; where it stops, nobody knows.

Part of our time in getting back was recognizing places we had seen before circling aimlessly on our way there and now with a near smug satisfaction muttering to ourselves, this way definitely leads almost DIRECTLY to San Jose!

Before the cart gets too far ahead of the oxen,I should talk about the Basilica. It's beautiful. It's HUGE. It's almost entirely handicapped accessible. We walked with a small line of faithful to the Holy Water springs. When we arrived, we both quaffed from the springs and proceeded to fill some bottles with Holy Water for me to drink later and La bathed my face, arms and legs with a touch of the water, all the while blessing me in Spanish. We sat for a while in the church admiring the incredible detail and listening to the services. Needless to say, La took pictures.

We headed back - after asking directions to San Jose from a flower-girl on the side of the road. She had amazing Poinsettias for less than six bucks. We only got almost lost a couple of times (I know RIGHT where we are . . . ACK! I didn't see THAT our the way out!) We soldiered through in record time. As we chuckled to ourselves that things couldn't get any better, what should show up at the side of the road but a shining Denny's sign. Now, yeah, I know that this may not seem to be a big treat, but the last time we found ourselves THIS excited about food from home when in a foreign land was probably as we were surrounded by thankful Americans at a Mickey D's in Hong Kong - laugh if you will, but know that there are times when is only proper and correct to bow down before the Altar of the Big Mac...

Tomorrow, poked again...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Currently in 'Cool your Jets' mode...

So it's Saturday afternoon, I'm continuing to 'recover' from my lipo & stem cell shots and generally am laying low, practicing my theraputic activities and doing very little else. There really isn't anything to report today so I will just sign off. Ta. Have an excellent weekend.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Otra Vez

Today began well, with a new hotel room opening up a bit away from the swimming pool. This was, for us, good because we generally don’t swim and others, often unsupervised kids, do like to, at often remarkably early times. These kids were apparently not blessed with ‘indoor’ voices.

Our plan for today was to visit CIMA Hospital for another spinal injection. We did so. ‘Nuff said. See ya tomorrow…