Friday, June 30, 2017

Six Weeks Post Op

Today marks six weeks since my open heart surgery. Its supposed to be the end of the first phase of recovery but fortunately for me, I've progressed a lot faster and better than planned.  Also lucky that I did not have any complications or other side effects that many others have had.  I believe a lot of it had to do with the doctors and facility and also the fact that I was healthy and active going into the procedure.

I experimented a bit today gently swinging a golf club and pulling back my lowest weight longbow and I was able to do both gently.  Think however, that I am going to wait one more week after I start my Tai Chi QiGong exercises (which I will start today) before I do any more testing of those two sports.  The QiGong will help my upper body get use to stretching and moving again as well as help my balance and strength.  I even ordered some Kung Fu pants and shoes so that I will be comfortable doing the exercises.  Also supposed to increase intensity of exercises to meet certain heart rate targets in the next few weeks as well.  Will do that in the mango and resort when I get back home.

Going to the Alameda County Fair today to just hang out and have some time outside in the sunshine. Want to try to lead as much of a normal life as possible now that the restrictions are lifted.  Will have some pics from the fair in a later post.  Plan to take the pictures with my new Oneplus 5 to see if the phone lives up to it hype of clearer pictures.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The OnePlus 5 finally came in

The OnePlus 5 arrived yesterday in the afternoon.  It was promised for Friday, but due to the demand for the early sales, it was delayed in shipping for one business day.  They sent everyone who was impacted a $5 credit, which I have already spent. As usual, their stuff was packed well and their packaging superb.  Included in the package was a tempered glass screen protector which was a nice touch.  I also purchased their ready for action 'bundle', which included headphones, a protective case, and an extra Dash charger.  The bundles were heavily discounted for the early drop sale.

Late yesterday I charged the phone and started the migration.  Used both the built in migration tool in the android OS and well as CLONEit.  The first migration tool moved the apps and I used CloneIt to move all the data (i.e. photos, movies, music, docs, etc).  It was all done wirelessly and with little problems.  It just took a while because I had so many files and the basic connection via WiFi is slower than a direct connection.  For obvious reasons, passwords and other security type stuff had to be re-entered, but most are working well.  I did lose some of my Chat history from LINE, but nothing serious.  

So far, the OnePlus 5 seems to be a winner.  Its slimmer, lighter and faster than I expected. Fits my hand really well too. Build quality as usual, is excellent.  I will review it more in a bit after I get some hands on time with the unit.  All in all, a great phone for the price!  It officially goes on sale today and can be ordered at their website:

Only a couple of weeks left on this on this bookend.  Ordering essentials as quickly as possible for my trip and plan to fly over with just one suitcase plus my carry-on.  First in a long time, but due to the surgery, I don't want to push around too much weight.

One of My Email addresses was hacked

Someone hacked one of my email addresses during the last two weeks and has been sending out spam for a porn site.  Found that out this morning when about 100 emails bounced back because of some kind of error in the mail formatting.  When I investigated further, it looks like someone started doing this about two weeks ago from phony locations all over the world.  So if you received a spam email from me during the last two weeks, I am sorry if it offended you.  Its looks like they used my userid to send their spam to their own mailing list for the most part so hopefully most of you who are on my contacts list didn't get anything.

The passwords have been changed and I also put in some additional security measures so hopefully that will keep them out.  There is a recent activity option in Yahoo mail that shows who, what, and where the last log ins were.  That's were I found out the current hacker was using my ID from Russia. Once I found out, I quickly changed all my Userids and hopefully it was soon enough to prevent further loss of data.

Had a quiet weekend.  My OnePlus 5 didn't come in on Friday but its due to be delivered today. Once I have it I can begin to migrate my apps and data over to the new phone.  It will likely be the phone that I will bring and use when I get back to the land of smiles.

On the home front, B tells me that they have finally opened a movie house in town.  Previously, we had to drive almost an hour and a half to Korat if we wanted to see a current movie.  Now we have a place in town!  The big kids went to see the new Transformers 5 movie and it cost them only 50 baht !  Don't know the quality of the movie screen or sound system, but 50 baht sure sounds like a bargain.  The also have a new Moo Ka Tat buffet place near the theater as well.  Its all you can eat for 199 baht.  Bangkok used to have many of these restaurants, but word got around about them and too many big eaters put almost all of them out of business.  From the pictures, they have a pretty good selection of seafood and other items.  Will definitely sample the place when I get back and do a complete review...555

Lastly, this Thursday will be the six week mark of my recovery.  Based on the info they gave me, the first phase of recovery is over and the weight I can carry and many other restrictions (such as driving) are lifted. However, the warning of caution is given that don't do any sudden or violent movements (i.e. sports) for another month or so, depending on how the sternum feels.  Have a lab test today and about 2 more weeks before my final exam with my cardiologist and then its back to the Mango!

Feel so good that I might go the the county fair this week.  I believe that Thursday is a free day for seniors....can't think of a better way to spend time outdoors than at the county fair.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Marina's Birthday...

My name is Marina, not Moana...555
Four years ago, I was on a plane between Kalifornia and Bangkok when she was born.  She was early, about one month early because I intended to get back to the Land of Smiles in plenty of time to see her being born.  But her water bag broke and she was born while I was still in the air.  Funny thing is that I talked to B at the airport and all was well, only to find out she had the baby while I was in Taipei.  After I landed, I rushed to the hospital to see her and B, both were doing well except that Marina eventually had to go under the Bilirubin lights because her liver was still catching up with her early delivery. 

Its been four short years.  Lots of diapers, night time wake ups, and crying but we would not have it any other way.  You are special and bring joy to all those you meet.  

Seems like just yesterday...Marina at hospital, one day old

Now she is four today, attending Pre-School and is a feisty little bundle of joy.  Happy Birthday my dear daughter...Thanks for bringing so much joy to our lives.  Please don't grow up too fast.

Wish I was there...but was there only via videocam...

Friday, June 23, 2017

They don't call this place Fog City for nothing

View from my window this morning.  Can usually see Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridges
Its not quite 7AM here and last night the famous San Francisco Fog rolled in big time and its still here this morning.  As I am getting ready for my walk, I'm deciding how much clothes to put on because its cold out there!  Went from weather in the 30C range to 14C this morning.  That's how quickly the weather changes here.  The fog will be a welcome relief for those just inland of us as it will moderate their near record breaking temps.

Still recovering by walking every day.  Gained back about 3 pounds but want to keep it no more than that and currently feeling very little chest pain except when I cough or sneeze real hard.  The chest is still sensitive to the touch and I won't be pounding it hard any time soon.  

Lastly, my Oneplus 5 should arrive today.  Hopefully it won't be too hard to migrate all the apps and contacts over as I want to use it when I get back to the land of smiles.  Quiet weekend planned...maybe the idea time to play with my new electronic toys...555

Thursday, June 22, 2017

No heat wave here.....

There is a lot of news regarding the record heat that we are seeing in different parts of the country and around the world.  In the UK, they are experiencing record temperatures in the mid to high 30C range while here in the Southwest, temperatures like 47C to 48C are likely.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, we have a very unique condition.  We have micro climates that can vary the weather by 20C in just a 40 KM distance.  We can have temperatures near 40C inland, and if one drives towards the coast, it will soon be in the 20C range.  Its not at all unusual during our summer months for this to happen because of our unique geography.  In fact, one used to easily spot the tourists to the big city because they were the ones freezing in shorts and wearing San Francisco sweatshirts they bought in desperation.

For example it will be 42C inland (about 25 KM) and only 26C for highs today along the bay. Having grown up along the coast during my childhood, I liked the cooler weather, but since living in the land of smiles the last few years, I miss having some heat once in a while.  I enjoy being in shorts and going out without a jacket which is a treat for us coastal dwellers.  And the San Francisco Fog, while beautiful in post cards and Tony Bennett's Song, can be a real drag if you live here.  So...I'm counting the days.

Tomorrow will be five weeks to the day since the operation.  Walking 2 1/2 - 3 miles a day in the morning and then having a pretty normal day.  Still sensitive near my sternum, and that won't get better for another couple of months according to sources.  Will wait until after week six and then will gradually increase my heart rate during the exercises.  All in all, my recovery is coming along exceptionally well and should be near normal when I get back in mid July.  I actually feel like I'm in better cardio shape than before the surgery in many ways.  Weight training will have to wait a bit more.

On the home front, I get pictures and talk with the girls a couple of times a day.  Definitely homesick but not much I can do until I get all the medication sorted out and a final exam from the doctor the first week of July.  Marina will be four in a couple of days and I'm sad that I can only participate at her birthday party by video conferencing but I promised her another 'special' party when daddy gets home.  I hope she will understand and remember how much I wanted to be there when she grows up.

They are both growing like weeds and I regret the time I spent away from them, but it was a blessing in disguise because I could have had major heart problems later if the issue was not taken care of early.  I believe what I went through added many many more years to be with them.

Time for some breakfast and to get ready for that morning walk.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The OnePlus 5 just launched

Yep, it officially launched 1 hour ago.  For those that are interested, the phone is priced at $479 for the basic model and $539 for the 8GB Ram, 128 GB storage version in black.  Specs to match all the latest high end models from Samsung, Apple, etc. A true flagship killer at 1/2 the price.  I've been waiting for this model, having skipped the Oneplus 3 and 3T models the last couple of years.  Just ordered one with their early drop special and should be here on Friday!

Drop me a comment and I will give you the special code to get an early release if you are interested. The official sales launch for the USA is not until June 27th.  In case you missed it, here is the official launch live streamed on YouTube.  Its starts at approximately 24 minutes into the video for those that want to skip to the heart of the presentation.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Found Marina's box of toys....

We finally located Marina's box of toys.  It was sent last month before my heart surgery for her birthday next week and never arrived.  The tracking shows that it cleared customs and left Bangkok's main post office and was on its way to delivery in the country.  The tracking was wrong and it never arrived.

So I started a inquiry and claim process for the package here in California and lo and behold, they 'found' the package. Its currently stuck in airport customs in Bangkok, so someone lied about it leaving the facility.  They never sent out notification regarding how to claim the package to us at the resort and if it weren't for my followup and claim for insurance, it would have stayed there until Thai customs declares it abandoned.  They must really like the toys.

Anyway, B is in the big mango with her mom visiting her aunt and went out to claim the package. She had to go to the police first to get a report that the notification form was 'lost' (even though the customs people could never produce a copy of the notification).  Then when she got there another problem surfaced.  Since the package was addressed to Marina instead of her, she needed Marina's birth certificate to prove that she had the legal right to get the package.  Well, the birth certificate is back at the resort - its not something that one carries around everyday.  Plus it has to be the original and not a copy.  Anyway, B is going to take the bus tonight and do a flip flop to get the document and be back in the mango tomorrow.  We are determined that Marina is going to get her birthday gift.

I've heard many horror stories about Thai customs but this is my first experience where things are so mucked up.  All the other times, the stuff goes right through and nothing is ever missing.  I guess someone really liked Marina's toys and wanted them for their kids or maybe its just a change of policy that requires someone to come all the way to Bangkok to claim a package.

The toys are special however.  They are hard to get and come all the way from England, plus they are on the expensive side. Never heard about the characters until Marina got hooked on watching them on YouTube.  She previously was a Peppa Pig fan, and got lots of toys from me for that series.  Four year olds get bored fast and well now, she likes "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom".  Anyway, here is a sample of the series - warning, don't let your kids get hooked on it or you will be buying some expensive toys....5555  The series was originally released back in 2009 in the UK by the same company that produced the Peppa Pig series.  Many of the character voices are the same people as well.

One of the many sets I sent her...would you believe its $37 USD?
On the recovery front, I am doing well.  Still walking every morning about 2 miles and then another 1 1/2 miles for the rest of the day.  I seldom go under 8,500 steps and can do most things like  before my surgery.  My chest is still tender and I won't be lifting anything heavy for a while, but other than that, its great to be back.  

The chest incision is still very visible, but my left leg has gotten a lot better.  The bruising is almost all gone as well as the discoloration.  It looks like I will be able to wear shorts again when I get back to the Land of Smiles!  Will still have a couple of scars on the leg, but can't complain about that considering where the veins went.

Less than a month left before the jump over to the mango.  Can't wait as I miss home so very much.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day....

On this father's day, I wanted to acknowledge the guy who made my life possible.  My father.  

He was a special guy and like many of his generation, came to the USA with nothing in his pockets but just hopes for a better future.  He was one of ten brothers and only 17 years old when he made his first trip over.  To make ends meet, he worked three jobs.  He was a houseboy to a rich and famous California golden age family, he washed dishes at a restaurant part-time, and at night he washed bottles for a local bottling company.  His hands were often cut from damaged bottles and he told of having to wake up with little or no sleep to serve his host family breakfast and tea. During the depression, they lived on discarded fish heads from the local markets. Somehow, he went to enough school to learn rudimentary English.

During the war, he was a cook on a warship even though he wasn't a citizen yet and somewhere along the line, he returned to China enough times to eventually conceive my brother and myself, and to eventually bring us all to the USA before the Communists took over the country in the late 40s.  He made his money through hard work and aggressive saving.  We ran a grocery store which was open 12 hours a day and open every day of the year for decades.  He had some luck in stocks and eventually a few of his real estate investment yielded success.  For a self taught man, he did pretty well, but always wanted his kids to do better and "to get an education".  He realized that things would always be stacked against us and so he encouraged us to always do well in school.  A good education was the equalizer and I was lucky.  With both his encouragement and my mother's constant reminders, I was the first in the family to graduate from college.  

Standing on his shoulders gave me an advantage financially, and I tell my kids that they will have the advantage of standing on both his shoulders and hopefully mine to reach their goals.  They also will have the responsibility of being caretaker and building upon their grandfather's legacy for their own kids and to educate them as to where they came from and their subsequent responsibility.  

So today I say "Thanks Dad" for everything.  I wish you could see me now and I want so much to talk to you again and to tell you all that has happened.  But I think you know already, and have been watching over me all these years.  Happy Father's day dad....

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mobility again.....

Feels really good to be able to drive again.  Made a trip for lunch and even visited Costco yesterday for some supplies.  Living in the Bay Area without a car is very difficult but its doable.  But having a car and driving makes life so much better - especially the next few days because we are finally getting some summer weather.

Still walking everyday.  In fact, had one of my highest step counts yesterday - 10,359.  Even on the first day of driving, I had over 8,000 steps so the driving is not compromising my exercise schedule.  

On the recovery front, I have been totally off any kind of pain medicine for over a week, but my sternum is sensitive to the touch and certain movements quickly remind me that I had surgery in that area.  I can feel the fabric on my chest now and plan to wear a chest protector when I drive.  Likely need to do this for a few more weeks just to be safe.  Found an inexpensive sternum protector for those who are riding offroad bikes and it works great.  As mentioned previously, I think the nerve endings are rebuilding and I should be expecting feelings like tingling, itching, etc as they grow back.  

On the home front, Marina is sick and missed school yesterday.  She has a cold or the flu as she is running a temperature and had a runny nose.  Its inevitable that kids get sick when they start school and not only that, they bring it back and get everyone else in the family sick also.  I have to be careful when I get back to stay healthy as the last thing I need is to get the flu during the last stages of my recovery.  

Lastly, I've been ordering some linen clothing to bring back with me to the land of smiles.  I can't play golf for the next few months and so my usual outfit of a polo shirt and shorts is going to be replaced with some linen tops - beachwear.  Linen is a very unique product and is used often in tropical and hot climates like we have in the land of smiles.  Made from flax instead of cotton, its supposed to keep the skin 3-5 C degrees cooler than other fabrics. The only issue is that they wrinkle badly, but I don't mind because I'm not working anymore, not out to impress anybody, and everyday is a vacation day.  For a more formal setting, I can always wear something else.

There are lots of father's day sales underway and I was able to pick up shirts from with multiple discounts as they are offering a 40% off sale on their entire site in addition to their sale prices.  This is great for me as I will not be able to get this kind of clothes in the land of smiles due to size and style limitations.  Here is the link to their site:   Don't worry about ordering as they are a division of Perry Ellis International.  Tommy Bahama and Orvis also has many shirt styles made from linen and they can be pretty cheap on eBay. Will test a couple of  them the next few days in the warm weather we are getting.

The Tommy Bahama Beachy Breezer

That's it for now from DubNation  Have a wonderful weekend.  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Four Weeks

Today is a big milestone for me.  Its been four weeks since my surgery and I am planning to drive again after undergoing a rapid recovery.  Normally, the conservative driving interval is 6 weeks, but I've seen ranges from 3 weeks to as much as 8 weeks.  Naturally, a lot depends on the individual as everyone heals at a different rate.  A lot also depends on the condition of the individual prior to surgery as well as the healthier the person is prior to surgery usually results in a more rapid recovery.  I was fortunate that I did not have any symptoms prior to the surgery and was able to exercise and get into good shape just prior to me leaving for Cleveland.  Its also around four weeks before I head back home as I wrap things up here for this trip.

Still continuing my morning walks and have been averaging 7,500 -8,800 steps per day with my pace steadily picking up.  Hope to do the long route starting next week and by week six, I want to be back at my previous cardio levels.

Even though I can drive today, I am staying far away from the Warriors victory parade in Oakland.  They are expecting more than 1 million people in downtown Oakland, same as it was three years ago.  Just saw on TV that people are already on the parade route - some got there as early as 7 AM.  I like the Warriors, but not enough to brave 1 million fans in downtown Oakland after just four weeks of recovery from open heart surgery...

Plans are for a pleasant father's day weekend and then I will slowly prep and shop for goodies to bring back to the land of smiles.  Request for buddies in the LOS:  Don't ask for me to bring stuff this time around as I will be limiting the weight of my single bag to just essentials.  I will gladly bring stuff on my next trip back for you!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Between weeks three and four

Thursday will be four weeks since the actual surgery and supposedly 2/3 of the way to full recovery for whatever that means.  On Thursday, I plan to start driving again on a limited basis. I've been starting the truck every week in the parking lot and moving to different spaces without any pain or apparent restrictions so hopefully going to the local market and or Target Store won't be a big deal. Primarily trying to avoid any issues regarding insurance coverage should I get into an accident - namely why did I go back to driving so soon.

Have been continuing to walk everyday and easily top 8,000 steps.  I am almost walking at the same speed as before surgery and walking the same route and distance as before.  Not quite back to normal as I can feel a tenderness in the chest and a low level pain if I try to do too much with the upper body. No other issues as even my cough has almost completely gone away.

I credit a lot of my fast healing to  fresh Pineapples.  Believe it or not, I think that eating the fresh pineapples each day has helped both the incision to heal faster as well as cure my sinus problems thus curing my cough. The Bromelain in the pineapple acts to reduce inflammation and promote healing.  In fact, many people are taking Bromelain supplements in place of pain drugs like Tylenol, etc. It also helps reduce joint pain from Osteoarthritis.  I was a skeptic, but the results speak for themselves as I am positive it has made my recovery easier and faster.  By the way, the canning process destroys all the Bromelain enzymes so eating canned pineapples or drinking canned juice does not have the same benefits.  It must be fresh, fresh, and fresh. Also the core (the section most people toss), has the greatest concentration of Bromelain.

The local team did it!  The GS Warriors are the NBA Champions again.  Celebrated last night by ordering a couple of team jerseys.  Got one of the Curry and another of the Durant jerseys and will wear them when I do my daily walks in the land of smiles.  Won't wear them here in this area as I might end up dead somewhere with no top on....5555

Precious Ella is now 10 months old..
Just household chores today and maybe a visit to the local market.  Counting the days for that ride on the big silver bird back to the land of smiles.  Will get at least, to be at Ella's first birthday party!!!! Boy has she grown up to be a pretty baby.  Going to need a shotgun around to keep the young boys away...555.  Life at home is great, but its just that I'm not there.

I am missing all the fun.......555

Monday, June 12, 2017

Lazy weekend.......

Not much happening for me this weekend except that I went to the movies on Saturday.  Things are going well on the recovery front and I am walking over 8,500 steps a day on a regular basis now. Totally off pain medication for the last few days and I am expecting to drive around a bit starting next week.  I can feel a 'sensitive area' at my sternum, but no pain unless I sneeze or cough and apparently no restriction in movement so driving locally should be OK.  I think I will leave the freeway driving for another week more.  I feel sensitive now because I believe the nerves that were severed are reconnecting and feeling is starting to come back to my sternum. 

After 6 weeks, my weight restriction of lifting less than 5-10 lbs will be lifted but I am going to still take it conservatively for now.  I might use my 5 lb dumbbells for a week or so to see how that will feel. Giving myself a lot of time even though I feel really good.  Don't want to make the mistake of doing too much too soon and have a relapse or hurt myself or worse yet, get admitted again for emergency surgery.

Look into my eyes.......

Saw The Mummy on Saturday at an afternoon matinee and downloaded Wonder Woman the other day. My son's Transformer movie will be out soon so it promises to be an interesting series of Summer releases.  Still, its just killing time as I am homesick every time I call back to the land of smiles and talk with my kids.  I see Marina off to school via video every morning and talk to her before bedtime. I am going to miss Marina's 4th birthday this year and singing happy birthday over the phone just doesn't seem to have that personal touch.  Will have to double everything when I get back and have a bigger party when she turns five!

That's all for my boring weekend.  Today after my morning walk I will need to get my blood tested again in order to calibrate my Warfarin dosage.  I have small veins and unless a real good technician is present, they usually have to poke and bruise me several times in order to get a sample.  Hate doing this, but getting the proper dosage is critical to avoid big problems.  Keeping a positive attitude towards recovery and making small achievable goals is the best path towards a speedy recovery.

Lastly, the Bay Area is GS Warriors crazy.  Flags, T-shirts, and signs everywhere in anticipation of the team bringing back a NBA Championship.  I know some of the hospital staff at the Cleveland Clinic were die hard Cav fans, so its a series which has something for everyone.  One pilgrimage friend of ours, Mr T., has been smiling ear to ear for the last few years.  He works as a representative for the company that owns the manufacturing and distribution rights for all the licensed merchandise for the team. Needless to say, he and his company have done extremely well financially as the team rose in standing and prominence.  So its time for Sevenwinds to get with the program.....Go Warriors!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Found out when it hurts

Found out yesterday what actions will make my sternum hurt.  Its not a sharp pain, put a dull pain over a tender feeling area of my chest.  When I extend my arms and do things for a length of time, such as folding laundry, it  begins to ache.  Found that out yesterday about 1/2 way through my laundry.  Definitely won't be painting or doing other extended arm stuff for another couple of weeks now that I am aware of exactly what motions are painful.  Walked 8,892 steps yesterday, the second highest in the last couple of weeks.  Felt good this morning as I just completed my morning walk.

Kinda bummed out because some toys that I sent out to Marina for her birthday are missing in the Thailand Postal system.  The package was insured and had tracking but its status show that its been in transit from Bangkok main post office to Chaiyaphum for over a month now.  Anyway, I've filed a claim and an investigation, but that does me very little good in getting Marina her toys for her fourth birthday.  Guess I will have to buy them again and hand carry them over in July.  These were special as I had to order them from the UK.  In the past, packages to/from Thailand have been very reliable and fast.  Don't know what happened this time, but I sure hope they find it as its a lot of time and trouble to order all the stuff again.

B got back to the resort yesterday and says its raining a lot there.  Definitely a strong start to the rainy season in the land of smiles.  I read in the news yesterday that until Bangkok opens the new flood tunnels, that a repeat of the situation from a few years ago can happen again.  Many places in Bangkok still flood when there is extended rainfall and its good to have extra shoes when you are visiting this time of year.

That's all for today.  Looking forward to a quiet weekend - or maybe not as the Warriors are on the verge of sweeping the NBA playoffs tonight.  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Three Week Milestone

I'm at the three week post surgery milestone.  Its significant because its supposed to be 1/2 way in the typical six week recovery period for those undergoing open heart surgery.  I was able to walk 7,876 steps yesterday, most of which was in the morning when I completed my usual route BEFORE the surgery.  I did walk the same route, but it was a lot slower than normal and that was to be expected.  But as far as to the speed of recovery, I am continuously amazed at how quickly things are progressing.

Visited my local cardiologist yesterday and things went even better.  Told me things were all normal and that my EKG was back to pre-operation levels.  Blood pressure was 120/70 - young man levels...555  Wanted to make sure I had my Warfarin dossage dialed in however, so its still a blood test next week and then two weeks later.  Doing so good that he doesn't want me to come back for another month - the week before I return to the Land of Smiles.  Told me that Cleveland Clinic did a first class job on my surgery and he was impressed with all the information and data they sent back to his office.  He was also impressed with the results and outcome.

So with that good news, I will continue to walk daily and by next Thursday I will likely resume driving again.  The recovery won't be complete for another few more weeks so there will be no heavy lifting and likely no golf or archery for a few months to allow my chest to heal fully - don't want to take any chances at this point.  I still plan however, on making my trip to the holy land in September - I have a lot to give thanks for.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Up and Down kind of day

Yesterday was day 20 after the surgery.  Walked 6,494 steps.  It was an up and down kind of day in that I was able to get a few things done but late in the afternoon, I had to take a couple of Tylenol in order to take my nap as my sternum felt a bit tender.  This was kind of a setback because I had been totally off pain killers the last couple of days.  Its likely that I've been too active and need to slow down and that was my body telling me to do so.  After a good night's sleep, I feel a lot better this morning and will slow down a bit.

One thing I did do yesterday was to go to the T-Mobile store at the Bay Street Mall to get my watch set up for DIGITS.  It took about an hour, but the store was on the way to IKEA where I had lunch.  With my watch integrated, all my devices can now make or receive phone calls from my mobile number.  The implications of this besides flexibility and device integration is that I can make a call from anyplace there is internet access for my devices and it will look like I am calling from my mobile number.  Anyplace where there is internet access could be, for example, someplace in the land of smiles!  So now I can make a call from my tablet while I am in Thailand and it will look like I am calling from my personal mobile phone.  I will get all my messages and voice mail on my app too which means that I am always connected.  T-Mobile has been very aggressive in winning over customers and adding services right and left so I encourage readers to check them out.

Lunch at IKEA was uneventful except for the crowd.  This place is getting popular for lunch and almost every seat was taken.  Had the meatballs again plus their Almond cake.  Pigged out before heading home.

Have a doctor's appointment today and will likely do laundry this afternoon.  That's all for today in the long and boring road to recovery.  Still over a month to go before heading back to the land of smiles.  

On the home front, B and family are in Bangkok because her aunt is dying.  This is the aunt with six prior foreign husbands and was a compulsive and habitual gambler.  Lost millions of Thai baht over her lifetime and now has nothing left.  They brought over some of her old clothes and stuff and the doctors say she is going to die any day.  Hospitals and I don't have a best mix of happy memories right now so I'm glad I'm here in Kalifornia and in the sunshine.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Day 19 Post surgery

Not much to report on the recovery today.  Walked 8,778 steps yesterday, second highest since my foray over to the IKEA and then Target.  The increased steps is due in part to me putting in almost the entire route of my previous daily walk plus the addition of an afternoon visit to Starbucks and Trader Joe's.  Think I will tone it down a bit today.

Spent some time trying to set up my T-mobile Digits apps.  This new app allows one to have a single number for all your android devices, thus integrating your mobile phone to your devices.  When someone calls your cellphone, it will ring on all the devices that are connected to it.  The other feature is that you can call out from any of your android devices and the call will be routed to your cellphone number and it will show your cellphone's callerID.  The last step I have to fix is to integrate my smart watch and I will be totally integrated across all my devices.  To do that, I have to go to one of the T-mobile stores.

On the home front, B went out yesterday for a little 'practice'.  Looks like I taught her pretty well, she didn't close her eyes...555.  No immediate danger, but I encouraged her practice often and to be comfortable to use the gun if its necessary for self protection and protection of the family.  The bad guys are going to have a big surprise if they try to mess with us...555

That's all for today.  Doctor's visit tomorrow and hopefully next week, he will give me clearance to drive again....Yeah!!!!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Losing weight.......

Weighed myself this morning and I'm down over 12 lbs since entering surgery.  Even though I have been trying to eat more lately, it doesn't seem to help and I lost another couple of pounds this week.  I was a bit too fat anyway and I like my leaner look now, but I have to check with the doctor this week to see if this is normal.  I've seen some info on the net that says a heart repair can restore or enhance metabolism so I'm hoping that it just that.  Prior to heart surgery, I found that even with careful menu choices and limited quantities, I was still unable to lose weight.  So lets hope that with my new and healthier heart, I can finally get things under control.

Walked 7,431 steps yesterday.  After the morning walk, I took an afternoon trip over to the local Starbucks for a lemonade.  It was good to sit outside and people watch for a while as the weather was absolutely perfect.  Felt really good too so I went over to the Trader Joe's across the way and bought some fresh foods.  Found some fresh pineapple slices and read that its a super food for people healing from bone and other injuries because it contains bromelain and manganese, both which are helpful in building new tissue and bone.  If only I was in the LOS as its quite expensive relative to the street price of 20 baht in BKK.

Not much else happening here as the boring recovery process continues.  A visit to the blood lab is on the books for today and then more walking, etc.  I saw some videos on Tai Chi forms yesterday and think that I might supplement my walking with some of the basic movements that involve the upper body so it will not get wasted due to the lack of exercise.  No lifting weights at the gym for a while.  Its also a very low impact and graceful kind of exercise that will help my flexibility as I go through these few weeks of gaining strength again. What do you think, will it help?

Lazy Weekend...Lazy Sunday.....

Its Sunday and I'm feeling a bit lazy today.  I did do my morning walk and am already at 4,643 steps before noon.  Plan to maybe go over to the Trader Joes and/or Starbucks down the street later in the afternoon and that should put me over the 6,000 step goal for today.  I feel like sitting on a beach chair somewhere in the LOS and soaking up some heat, but that won't be possible for another month or so.  Miss my kids, miss B, and mostly miss my life in the land of smiles.  

There is nothing but coverage on the London Bridge attack on the cable channels and our prayers and condolences go out to the victims.  This is the third time in three months and something needs to be done besides just talk from politicians.  My position is already well known on political correctness and I won't expound on it more on today's blog post.

Word from home in the LOS is that the big fish are out.  With the recent rains, the pond across the resort is full and the creeks feeding it are running strong.  That means that the fish are active in migration and getting ready to breed.  B's father went out the other day and landed these fish.  He was a fisherman for many years in the area and still can bring them in when others can't.

A beer bottle is included in the above picture for perspective as to the size of these fish.  They are great eating fish with large bones.  Great for Tum Yum Pha!  These pictures make me miss home that much more as by the time I get to go back, the fishing season for these guys will be over.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Lazy weekend planned....

Not much one can do if you can't drive.  Sure there are stores in the neighborhood and a nice park nearby, but its not quite the same.  But its going to have to do as the recovery process is just starting its third week and there are still many limitations from doing normal things.  Still not 100% back physically and that aspect won't be for another month or so but I've recovered enough to do the basic things like care for myself and have a platform to get stronger each day.  The key is patience and not to push too hard and fast to get back to normal because a setback will likely occur.  All the material from Cleveland Clinic and all the information on the internet says, "Take it slow and steady" so that is likely what its going to be.

Walked 6,133 steps yesterday and met my goal for this week's daily step total.  That included a trip to one of the local mom and pop markets in the morning.  The only report on the recovery front from my local cardiologist was to stop taking my warfarin for the time being as the test results indicated that I might be taking too much because my INR was too high.  Have to take another blood test on Monday to see if the levels have stabilized before he can set the proper dosage.  I was told at Cleveland Clinic that this would be necessary because they saw a spike in my INR after the first few times I took it and wanted me to be monitored by my local cardiologist.  Warfarin is a blood thinner and too much can cause uncontrolled bleeding and other issues.  Its being prescribed to me only because I had that one incident of Atrib Fibulation on day 3 as a precaution to avoid the possibility of getting a stroke if it comes back.  It requires testing once a week for INR levels to match the dosage.

As to pain, as I said before, the leg where they took the veins for the bypass hurt more than the chest incision.  It sometimes gets swollen during the day and I had to ice it down a couple of times yesterday.  Its is getting a lot better and most of the discoloration has gone away.  They say it could take a couple of months before the leg returns to normal but its all part of the process.

That's it for today.  Plans are to walk, attend mass tonight, and then go out to dinner with friends at a Chinese restaurant.  Trying my best to resume normal life and living life to its fullest.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Beginning to like this Uber service...a lot!

For the longest time, I've never used Uber because I never needed to.  I had my own car, could drive, and knew my way around.  Since I had my surgery, I've started using Uber, first in Cleveland and now in Kalifornia.  My conclusion is that it works really well.  

My rides are usually here within 10 minutes, but many times even shorter with an average of around 5 minutes.  The prices are a lot cheaper and I found that the cars and the drivers are nice.  I got rides to the blood lab yesterday and back and paid less that $4 USD each way using their 'pool' vehicles. That compared to a $14 taxi ride back from the doctor's office because I forgot to bring my smartphone for the visit.

Uber also has a competitor in the area called lyft and I am going to sign up in case something happens and I can't get a hold of them.  A backup is always a good thing to have.

The recovery is going well, I walked 5,768 steps yesterday which is almost near my goal of 6,000 steps by the beginning of next week.  That is almost 2 miles if each step is two feet or more, which I think it is. The highest step count was on Tuesday when I walked over 9,000 steps on the IKEA/Target trip and then the next day I was tuckered out and only had 1724 steps.

In regards to pain management, I am using only Tylenol and Tylenol PM (for sleep) - one 500 mg pill every 4-6 hours.  Remembering my hernia surgery, I know not to be macho and fight the pain when that does very little to speed your recovery.  Its better to be comfortable so that you can rest, exercise, and eat.  That will do more to help one recover than being a macho man in pain. According to the data I am doing extraordinary well in the recovery process - thanks to my work on getting as fit as possible prior to the surgery.

Lastly, I talk with B and the kids everyday.  I miss them a lot but they understand the situation and only ask that I come home as soon as possible.  Marina is going to preschool every morning and is already getting fully adjusted.  Sometimes, she is hard to wake up in the morning, so when I called yesterday she was snoozing in the car on the way to school.  Plans are to be back in the Land of Smiles on the second week of July.  Hope to catch up with some of the guys and some of you readers in the LOS if you are visiting at that time!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Two weeks ago.........

Its just before 7 AM here on the west coast and just two weeks ago at this time my chest was wide open and doctors were doing all kinds of surgery on my heart.  The heart was stopped, put in an ice bath, and was gently opened to get to my mitral valve.  In the meantime, I was being kept alive by a heart lung machine for the next few hours while they did their magic.  From information I got later, my operation lasted 3 1/2 hours.  Needless to say, I don't remember anything except what I said to the team of doctors and nurses just before they started.  They were all assembled next to me for a last minute huddle where my chief surgeon gave them the details of the procedure.  "Here we have Mr. Sevenwinds, male, aged 68, and the procedure today is....".  It was obviously being recorded for training and legal purposes.  At the end, my surgeon asked "Are you ready?"...I distinctly remembered my stupid reply, which was "OK, lets get this done!".  I passed out after that and next thing I knew it was almost midnight and I was in ICU.

The last two weeks have been a blur, and it seems like it also has been such a long time ago.  So much has happened and I am amazed at the progress that I have been able to make in this recovery process.  I remember the first time they got me out of bed.  It was the next morning after the surgery at around 7:30 AM.  With the help to two nurses (one male and one female) I was able to stand up from the bed.  I also remember being totally nauseated with the vision in front of me flipping up and down like a broken old movie strip - I could not get focused on anything in the scene.  I had little control of my legs and couldn't move them well, but somehow was maneuvered to the chair where I sat exhausted for the next couple of hours.  Never felt so weak and helpless in my whole life during that first day.  All my strength was gone, my mind was consumed by the feeling of nausea.  Tubes and wires were sticking out all over my body and I remember asking myself, "what the hell did I get myself into?"

I was in ICU for four days.  Mainly because there were no step down rooms available to move me. Typically, patients get moved to a step down room on day three, but every bed was occupied and I had to just wait.  ICU was overkill and the rules were strict, like no cellphones, electronics, etc. as they could interfere with the sensitive monitoring equipment.  That is why no one heard from me for so long after the procedure and a few got worried something went wrong.  I felt good enough after day two to be moved but didn't take my first walk until my first day in the SDU (day 5).

Anyway, today's goal include a visit to the lab so my doctor can adjust my warfarin levels and some more walking.  Didn't walk much yesterday because I was out visiting my local cardiologist in the morning.  Results are very good.  In fact, he took me off one of the medications for high blood pressure - saying my pressure was "too good'  (too low).   

Milestones and some appreciation

Walked through Bay Street...lots of changes 

Cozy IKEA Restaurant with view of Highway 80

What had to be Swedish Meatballs!

I had two goals and milestones yesterday.  First was to walk over to the East Shore Park trail head and the other was to make it over to IKEA for lunch.  Was able to do both, and in the process got reconnected to my local neighborhood again.  I even walked over to the Target Department store after having lunch at IKEA.

My chest was a bit sore yesterday because I switched pain meds to avoid any dependency on the prescription medication which was an opium derivative.   I am down to 1 or 2 Tylenols for pain relief and its seems to be enough.  Still had my cough.

Today, I am going to see my doctor and have reserved a free door to door shuttle to his office. Unfortunately the return scheduled is booked until 6 pm so I will likely take Uber back to the condo. Want to take it easy today to give my body some rest.  More activities tomorrow.

After a bit of shopping at target, caught Uber for a ride back

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