Wednesday, November 30, 2011

another guy who gets it

A friend sent me a link to this blog and it didn't take me more than a few paragraphs to notice that the writer also penned the testimonial on the Maui Channel Swim website. I have read how the afternoon of Sept 3rd has affected several people via e-mails, cards and letters, but I think this is the first to get me teary.

The propellers of that boat took a lot from me, but I will never let anyone or anything take away the feelings I had during that crossing, of seeing the sandy bottom after 6 hrs and 15 min of swimming and spotting the finish line. Those are all mine and I earned them.

I hope that what happened to me will never happen to another swimmer, but I also hope it does not stop people from challenging themselves in the open water.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Only a visit...this time

It's been a little over a week since my parents and I made it to the Bay Area, but there are still a couple days left until we have to make the drive home. Several people have asked if it's been "weird" to be home. I guess it has, but then what hasn't been weird since Sept 3rd???

I do know that I needed this trip and from the moment we pulled into the driveway I've felt home...and missed.
My newly cleaned car was in the garage.
The yard looked better than it has in years (although the bar was set pretty low here).
There was a welcome basket on the counter and...
My house had been cleaned. (This one felt a bit strange because I had left the house thinking I'd be back in a short week and not almost 3 months and I have no idea how big a mess I'd left).
Thanks to all involved.

I've enjoyed the silly things like showering in my shower. Sleeping in my bed. Walking down to my beach and around my town. But these pale when comparing them to seeing my neighbors or when I've walked into the club and out onto the pool deck and visited with my coaches and teammates. It might be awhile until I can live up here on my own, but I will be back.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's not just me

Updates first:
  • I saw the hand surgeon yesterday and he told me how happy he was that he was able to straighten my finger by snipping a couple of lateral tendons. He then pulled the staples covering the integra (fake skin), slapped on a band-aid and said he was "optimistic" that he wouldn't have to lop off the finger, and to keep working the PT. Next up is the toe-to-hand, but that's not until early 2012.
  • I then went straight to the pain doctor who said everything looks good and I should re-schedule only if the pain changed. Woohoo!!! One less doctor.
  • PT and a massage today and both ladies are proud of their work (and rightly so).
And this is where today's entry becomes a PSA...

I've made some big gains since Sept 3rd, but all of my recovery would not be possible without my team. This team includes my doctors, the physical therapists and my massage therapists. It also includes all of the people that did not sign up to be in the health care field - especially my sister and her family, my parents and extended family, Grant and the rest of the crew that pulled me out of the water, my sisters friends who have brought meals and run errands, my friends and teammates and also from the fellow swimmers and even strangers who have sent cards, letters and even money.

The rippling effects of accidents and injuries is huge, but so is the effort required for repairs. Thank you for your continued support.

I'm not done. I have a long way to go. For every one time I'm able to buckle the seat belt on my own, there are ten times I'm not able to. I can eat a bowl of cereal on my own, but I can't take the cap off the milk (or lift the bottle if its too full). And on and on.

So, I'm celebrating the victories... but I'm humbled by the enormity of it all. I will be leaning on you (figuratively and sometimes literally) for a long time.

Now up to Half Moon Bay!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I am so grateful that such talented people are devoting their lives to help people like me.

VIP Treatment

It probably wasn't the best idea to schedule surgery the day before giving a 2-day seminar.... especially when I had not even met the client face-to-face.

Luckily the surgery didn't cause me much more pain than I'd already been dealing with, I was comfortable with the material and knew that the Orange County Water District would be there if I started to stumble and I did okay.

Thanks Bern for making the drive down and spending a day being my legal pad. Who knew learning about UV treatment could be so fun?

Thanks Jen for helping put the rest together. Working with you is a lot less frustrating than Dragon.

Thanks Justin for being my "right-hand" man on Wednesday and Thursday. It's a good thing that you're so good with buttons.

Thanks Dad for the shuttle service. I think he really came along just to see that people will pay to hear me talk.Most importantly, thank you Orange County Water District.

I left OCWD to ride across country in the Spring of 2009, but when I called to see if I could do this training for my new client they treated me like I had never left. In fact, I'm pretty sure the directors and people from Sacramento don't get the support that I had.

In order of appearance, but not importance: Bill D, Tyson, Pat, Mehul, Becky, Janice, Rae, John B, Mike Samples, Richie, Jimmy, Manny, Steve Clark, Don Supernaw, Mike Ewing, Tom, Joe, Juan, and even a special appearance at the Q & A by the GM, Mike Markus.

The pictures are of:
1. A SCVWD engineer practicing the repair of a micro filtration module.
2. An RO pressure vessel being unloaded.
3. The lamps/sleeves from a UV reactor.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Successful Surgery

*John was cold from the anesthesia after surgery -
I couldn't resist taking a photo.

First stateside surgery today. Outpatient procedure to remove the scar tissue in his middle finger. John has been making HUGE strides (with the help of PT Jen and masseuse Lisa) to increase the range of motion in his wrist and fingers. His pinky and ring fingers look great - most of the swelling has subsided and he is able to move them. With these TWO fingers he can use his phone, the computer, feed himself grapes, pretzels and other small stuff. He's still working on opening a Coke can - almost there! His middle finger has been "locked" - which has been a source of frustration for John. The only way to remedy this was to have surgery. Now, with PT... more PT... and more PT... he's hoping to get that finger moving like the other two. He'll start back with PT on Friday.
Dr. Chao also removed what was left of one of the original skin grafts and replaced it with a synthetic thin graft - just to speed along the healing process. That graft should come off next week when John sees Dr. Chao again.
As if that wasn't enough excitement for one day, John is now headed up to Seal Beach to hang with our parents for a few days. He's leading a training seminar tomorrow and Thursday at the OCWD (Orange County Water District). Stay tuned :)