Tuesday, October 10, 2006

JD and Todd's Sept Road Trip...(Temecula to Phoenix)

Day 1: At the end of Sept, Todd and I piled in his car took a 2500 mile drive. It felt great to be traveling again and seeing new parts of the country. One the first leg of the drive Todd and I drove to Temecula (So Cal) to see his sister Aimee and Phil, an old friend of mine from Charleston. On the way we stopped in Paso Robles to sample the beer at the Firestone Brewery. We also dropped by Todd's friend's winery, Linne Calodo, for some red and white juicy libations. After Paso Robles we continued out trek south, stopping in San Luis Obisbo and at the In and Out Burger. (**In and Out Burgers and Breweries usually require a stop when I'm road tripping with Todd.**) We got to Temecula around 10:30pm that evening and crashed with our Phil and Aimee in their comodious, new home.

Day 2: We left Temecula and stopped in Escondido (outside of San Diego) for lunch at a local burrito shop that took Todd on a trip down memory lane. Todd remarked to me that he had spent many high school night with the munchies at this burrito shop. In his opinion these were some the best burritos known to man. I have to agree that they were pretty damn good and inexpensive too.

After lunch we drove west twds Arizona. For several hours we passed by red rocked scenery and skirted the US/Mexican border. At one point we drove by barracades that were put up to keep the Mexicans from driving right onto I-8.

That evening we passed thru Tuscon and stopped at a small town, Willcox. We caught up with Todd's grandparents and went to dinner at the Desert Rose, a joint where the locals like to dine.

Day 3: We left Willcox, drove thru Tombstone, and stopped for lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Tuson. That afternoon we made our way to Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix. We caught up with my old high school buddy, Ben "H-bomb" Hungerford. That afternoon we sat out by the pool and soaked up some of the Phoenix sun. Ben's condo was right under a flight path, so every 5 minutes a plane would come screeching over our heads.

**(more to come)**

JD and Todd's Sept Road Trip...more pics (Flagstaff to Yosemite)

Pics on the way...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Cocktails with cousins...

On Thursday, Sept 14th I joined my cousins Ellen and Henry for a Bay Area Maritime cocktail party which was hosted aboard the USS Potomac in Oakland. The USS Potomac served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidential yacht from 1936 until his death in 1945.

My injury has brought me closer to a lot of old friends and has added some new ones into my life such as Henry and Ellen.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pimp with a Limp!

Labor Day Weekend I went to a backyard grill out party in Potrero Hill (a neighborhood in SF) with my good friend Craig Bluestien. Craig mentioned before the party that Warren Sapp would probably stop by the party.

Warren is big guy and larger than life. At the party I was kicked back in a chair enjoying the heat from a heat lamp, when Warren passed me. He spotted my camo cane and said to me, "Are you a pimp with a limp?!?!"

The cane is a bit on the funky side; however, I didn't want to look too geriatric so I bought the cool camo cane. The walking is getting better and better and hopefully, soon, I'll be ditching the cane.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Return to San Francisco...

This is me with my pal Rhodora. We're in the SF Maersk office. Rhodora sent me a box of really good Oregon cherries while I was in the hospital in Greenville. That's seems like ages ago. Today is Sept 19th.
This is Jonathan signing in. Just wanted to send a quick note out to let everyone know that Kirstin and I have returned to the WC (San Francisco)...what a change from the August heat of the Carolinas. The high here is 59%F.

My walking continues to improve. Those who have sent out recovery prayers for me...they are being answered. Pls continue to send them as will I.
Rgds, JLD

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Traveling Again! A Quick Visit to Charleston

Nothing gets between Jonathan and some good ole Civil War fun!

Before we dart off to SF, John Paul lined up a private visit to the Hunley (the first successful submarine) for SuSu, Kirstin and Jonathan! John Paul knows Michael Merdikian the Senior Conservator on the project, and Michael gave us a lengthy private tour of the vessel in his lab where they have been doing research on it since it was raised from the Charleston Harbor in 1999.

The remains of the 8 confederate crewmembers were excavated and given a proper burial 140 years after they went down. The researchers continue to study the vessel and its contents to understand why it did not return after its successful mission. This was an incredible experience and I highly recommend checking out the tour -- even if you must join the riff-raff of the public tour on weekends!

Stairs are no challenge at a time like this!

On the VIP tours (or shall I say friends-of-John-Paul tours), even the gracious armed guard gets in on the action to get JD up/down the stairs. (Note the new tennis balls on the bottom of the walker.)

Kirstin, John Paul and Jonathan atop the scaffolding looking down on the tank that holds the vessel.

Looking down on the Hunley from above.
(Its the rusted hunk-o-metal below).

It's really quite a site, but hard to capture here. It was small, hard to imagine 8 crewmembers in there!


Who is that tiny woman in front of that giant tree?
Angel Oak, St. John's Island

Sorry I didn't manage to get pics of everyone, I was busy worrying about eating -- and ironically, not getting eaten myself by the bugs (they only seemed to bite ME, the newcomer.)

The Big Walk-Off!

Jonathan has been challenged.

Miss Annie Weathers claims she will walk before he does! The bet is on! And she is giving him a run for his money.

They are both doing superbly with the walker, but let's just see who stays vertical without assistance first! Who will have the most focus and determination? She DOES have the advantage of not falling too far if she topples over. Jonathan, however, stands to do a little more damage to himself.

May the best and biggest baby win!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Pics of Our Misadventures, Life in Greenville

Today it is a month since we flew home on that air ambulance! We've come a long way! In fact, in the last couple of days Jonathan has spent more and more time using a WALKER instead of the wheelchair. We didn't think we'd see that so soon, so are thrilled! The walker is hard work, though, so we keep that wheelchair in the wings in case he'd rather roll.

Day 31 in Greeville:
Late afternoon exercises in the neighbor's pool. As you can see, it is easier for him to stand and walk in the buoyancy of the pool. Not yet so easy on dry land.

J is sporting the 'action hero' brace that was molded for him in Peru. He needs to wear this every time he is not lying down to help support the spine. The good news is that he can stop wearing it in about 3 weeks -- a month earlier than thought. I am planning a decoupage project to turn it into medical art once he's done with it, auctioned off to the highest bidder to help off-set medical expenses! ;-)

Look, no hands!

Lunching in Greenville:
J's Uncle Tommy from Charlotte was on hand to witness the first day that J shunned the wheelchair for a walker to go out for lunch! Nice to see Jonny vertical again, I must say!

Day 2 in Greenville:
One of Greenville Memorial Hospital's best new residents -- Dr. Dave Coykendall -- stops by to visit his ole buddy Jonny. Love the white coat, Dave!

Dave's wife Ginny took me to get some "summer in the south" clothes and a local cell phone. I was, of course, still in a daze and needed the local guidance! Muchas gracias, Ginny!

Day 2 in Greenville:
Cousin Scott with a serious looking, perhaps shell-shocked Jonathan. So great to be back near friends and family! This was a couple days after we returned to the U.S.

Departure Day in Lima:
Fabiola was the technician in Jonathan's room each day to help him...turn over, eat, drink, bathe, etc. She was awesome!

Departure Day in Lima:
I'm including this hospital lobby shot just to squelch any desire you have to see the inside of a Peruvian hospital.

As I have said, J received good care there. In fact, yesterday at a follow-up appt, our local neurosurgeon gave big kudos to the docs in Peru, crediting their work for making it possible for J to progress as well as he has. Thanks Drs. Cabrereas, Ochoa, and Nino de Guzman!!

Peruvian paragliders on the Miraflores cliffs in Lima. This is not the site of J's accident, but this is where all the pros hang out and inspire you to give it a try!

I took this pic right before J's instructor came to find me at the hotel with the accident news and take me to the hospital where our dear boy was getting X-rayed. :-(

Day before the accident:
Joakim, our friend in Lima, took us site seeing. Coastal Lima is in the background.

Earlier that day, Jonathan had his first solo flight on the paraglider.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lap pool, more standing and walking

Hi from Kirstin. It is Sunday and we're starting to have a routine around here. We just got back from church and lunch with J's dad, just like any other Sunday in Greenville might be.

Firstly, I should tell you how utterly healing it is to finally be at a home (even if its not our own). Comfy surroundings and generous-spirited friends make all the difference! While staying with friends, Jonathan can get his own snacks from the fridge, chill out in front of the TV, read the paper and rest in the 'healing chair' (the cushy reclinder in the corner). As for me, I can nap. I can sleep late. I can even go to bed early. Life is looking up. :-)

A funny coincidence... the neighbor's across the street are also friendly with John Paul (who seems to know everyone from here to Charleston and back up to NYC!), so we've been graciously invited to their 85 degree pool. For 3 days last week, Jonathan was in the pool exercising. In this more bouyant, weightless environment, Jonathan can walk, run in place, practise side steps and swim! And if he falls over, he won't really get hurt. It's a lap pool, so is only 5' at its deepest. It's a great way to get the legs moving in the right direction!

To help the blood flow, Jonathan parks the wheelchair up by the kitchen counter and stands up for about 2-3 minutes every once in a while, using the counter top to balance if needed. Not only does this give his a bum a break from sitting, it also strengthens his leg muscles and allows him to practise the sit/stand/sit movement (and to think he took that for granted all these years!) When I'm done with this update, we're going to use the walker to do 150 steps around the house. This time, he's asked that we keep all obstacles in his, rugs, things he'll need to step over.

I need to run. Jonathan is ready to do some exercises and stretches to prepare for the big walk! Then we need to get online and book our flight back to California. If we can, we'll try to get Jonathan in front of the computer. His wheelchair doesn't quite fit in front of the computer, but I think we can figure something out so he can post a note.

Love you guys,