Friday, May 21, 2010

A Letter From A Driver On Interstate 55

Hello other drivers on I-55!

Yes, I am the guy who shares the highway with you each morning and evening on my way to and from work. I am also the guy who sees the big lighted flashing sign on northbound and southbound I-55 that reads "Bridgework Ahead at Union Road Left Lane Closed". Of course this is about 3 to 4 miles ahead of the lane closure just to give drivers a warning to get out of the left lane and merge into the other open lanes. And during those next 3 to 4 miles you will see numerous signs that read, "LEFT LANE CLOSED AHEAD", "SLOW DOWN", "HIT A CONSTRUCTION WORKER AND RECEIVE A $10,000 FINE", plus various other bright orange signs and cones giving you just a little clue that....THE LEFT LANE IS CLOSED!!!!

What part of "LEFT LANE CLOSED AHEAD", do you other drivers not understand? When it reads, "LEFT LANE CLOSED AHEAD", it does not like hell so you can beat everyone else in the next three lanes! It does not say...the race begins NOW! I wonder if it ever crossed your mind about 3 or 4 miles back when the traffic was not jammed up to maybe merge into those other 3 lanes. Or... Did you ever wonder why all of the sudden the traffic just stops up when it goes down to 3 lanes from 4? Could it be because someone just wasn't paying attention to all of those hundreds of bright orange flashing signs? Could it be that you are such a skilled and talented driver that you can ignore all those signs and cut in and out of traffic to make your drive home faster than mine? Maybe you could actually "think" when you get behind the wheel of your vehicle and make some sound decisions before you get within 500 feet of the lane closure!

How about that Sparky? Do you think that all these construction crews just want to create havoc on the highways? Here me out for just one minute... Maybe, just maybe, someone engineered a plan that could keep traffic moving by notifying motorists of an impending lane closure 3 to 4 miles ahead! They sat in a meeting room drawing diagrams and discussing how much time was needed to get out of the lane that was closed ahead. 2 miles, 3 miles, 4 miles? How many miles would it take to smoothly merge the traffic before getting to the lane closure? Well, just when they thought they had everything figured out, YOU came along and decided to make your own rules and drive how you want to in this traffic game.

YOU decided just because everyone else is following the sign...why should I? You worked hard all day and you deserve to get home before everyone else! Sure you did. And then some more geniuses decide to follow you, because you are the leader as you fly by me at 75 miles an hour approaching the closed lane just ahead. And then along come all of your followers...these are the people that their mothers would say to them, "If Johnny jumps off a bridge are you going to?" "Yes, mama 'cause it looks like such a good idea, so I am just going to follow that leader!"

THEN IT HAPPENS...Me being the consciencious one, reading the signs, merging over into the right lanes, driving the 60mph through the construction zone, and comes to a complete HALT!!! You, the leader of the pack and genius who would lead Johnny right over the bridge, might ask, "WHY IS TRAFFIC STOPPING BEHIND ME?" I will graciously tell you...because again I have to be the nice guy who lets you get over 500 feet before the lane closure because you were just too good to do it 4 miles back! Next time you are traveling down the highway if you would just think for one second that maybe if I would get over 3 to 4 miles before the lane closure we can all continue moving and the traffic would not come to a stop! What a novel idea!

Today, I would just like for everyone to remember signs are for reading and doing what they say. Rebels can sometimes be fatalaties and then you will jam up the traffic!
ARRIVE ALIVE to your next destination...happy traveling friends!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Resolutions...Happy Twenty-Ten

Happy New Year to all my friends who read the blog. It is now the third day of our New Year, 2010 (two-thousand and ten) or for those who prefer a short cut (twenty-ten). After only just a few minutes into the new year a close friend sent me a text message asking me this controversial question which is the correct way to say 2010. Is it two-thousand ten or twenty-ten? Does anyone really know? I believe in our culture today the easy short cut way is what most of us will adopt for this new year.

Think about it in 1999 we just said the two numbers nineteen-ninety nine. The new millennium had everyone confused. You really couldn't say twenty-double zero, that just didn't sound right! So back then we happily adopted the year 2000 as simply two-thousand. Next, we were so use to the simple two-thousand it was easy to throw on another number for the next nine years, two-thousand and one, two-thousand and two, and so on. No one even thought to call it twenty-oh one or twenty-oh two. Now it just seems that two-thousand and ten is such a long way to say, twenty-ten. So one of my first new year's resolutions is to call the new year twenty-ten. It doesn't matter what I do for my resolution or how I do it. It's just the fact that I made a new year's resolution.

I looked into New Year's Resolutions and found that they go back over four-thousand years to Babylon. I assume even then someone must have wanted to lose weight or make a change in their life for the better. My resolution, for as long as I can remember making resolutions was to lose weight. Well, as I look back I have kept my resolutions and did lose the weight the problem was by the end of the year I had found it again.

I further researched the word "resolution". The dictionary states the following... 1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination. 2. A resolving to do something. 3. A course of action determined or decided on. After reading this definition I have determined it doesn't really matter what your resolution is. It just has to be something you have made a strong decision about. With that in mind hear are my Twenty-Ten New Year's Resolutions....1.) To be THIN in TWENTY-TEN! 2.) To be WEALTHY (why not?) 3.) To pay off ALL of my debts. 4.) To travel more on my vacations. 5.) To become a columnist and be syndicated in newspapers all over the country! Remember resolutions are just determinations. Determine what you will be or do this year and be the best you can be for this new year. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Perspective On Soda and Gas Prices

Is it just me are has anyone else noticed how high fountain soda prices have crept up there? I couldn't believe the other day my wife and I were at Applebee's Restaurant and paid $2.39 for a Diet Coke! That's $4.78 more on your total bill if you and a friend go to lunch or dinner! Soda is an item that the majority will buy when going out for lunch or dinner. Let alone a mixed drink which could cost several dollars more. We all complain about the high prices of soda and beer at the ballpark but no one has seemed to notice how the price keeps creeping up at restaurants. If you think you'll save money by ordering ice tea, think again tea which even cost less than soda to produce will cost you the same $2.39! Lately, I have made a conscious effort to watch soda prices wherever I dine. The majority have now went to the $2.39 price some are slightly higher or lower. I then started thinking most soda glasses are about 12 ounces. If you divide the $2.39 into 12 ounces you are now at about 19.9 cents per ounce. Per gallon your at $12.74 per gallon. Of course you say most restaurant will give free refills! After doing some research of my own I have found the real cost to a restaurant for a glass of soda is about 5 cents per glass. A cola soda product is made up of syrup and carbonated water that is why it is so cheap to produce. They could give you 47 - 12 ounce refills before they would start losing money at 5 cents per glass! So please don't feel bad the next time you ask for a refill, drink up!

In comparison, gas prices which seem to go up and down everyday because the price of crude oil fluctuates by the barrel, has to be refined to create gasoline. A little more process goes into gasoline which runs our cars than adding something as simple as carbonated water. I hear everyone complaining about the high cost of gasoline. Gas prices as of this writing are at $2.45 for regular unleaded or about 3 cents per ounce. Still winning over soda prices which are at 19 cents per ounce! Six times more than the cost of gas! Can you believe this?? What would 12 ounces of gas cost today? About 36 cents is all it would cost for 12 ounces of gas! So the next time your on your way to dinner and stop by the gas station for a fill-up be thankful your not paying the same price as you do for a soft drink at your favorite restaurant. A car with a 14 gallon tank will hold $178.36 of your favorite restaurant soft drink or about $34.30 in gasoline. The facts are staggering when you think about it. Now you know why fast food restaurants have recently been advertising happy hour drink specials on soft drinks! Because they can!

So next time you enjoy a good meal, you may want to choose water and watch the money you will be saving. A family of four sill save almost $10 off their dinner bill by ordering water. Save your money for the things that appear to be costly like gasoline! I guess it's all how you put in perspective...and that's why I'm here with HOGUEMANIA!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wakin' Up Is Hard To Do...The Recovery

Well, as promised here is the sequel to the knee surgery story. The Recovery Room are as I call it "Wakin' Up Is Hard To Do!". As I mentioned in my previous blog I was in the operating room and the nurse was trying to introduce me to everyone including the sales rep from the knee replacement company. I guess this is just the ugly part of a sales reps job! I don't remember much after that except when I was waking up in recovery. Whatever they give you for a general anesthesia it is some pretty powerful amazing stuff. It is like you are suspended in time. You start to come out of it 2 or 3 hours later and you don't remember a thing, for a few seconds you wonder where am I or who am I for that matter.

As I awoke there was some guy with an accent from India saying, "Ok, Ronald calm down! You are now waking up! The worst is over. Do you feel pain?" As best I could coming out from the surgery ambush and drugged up feeling I slurred, "Oh, Yeessssssss, it hurts soooo bad! What are you doing?" I asked the gentleman who now had his hands deeply planted in my groin with some type of an instrument. He said,"I am going to give you something for your pain that will last 18-24 hours but you need to tell me do you feel this?". As he spoke I felt a nerve jump from my upper thigh all the way down to my ankel. As I said yes, yes, yes, he poked a needle into the nerve with some type of drug. He then reached around under the covers to the back of my leg and did the same thing. Again, after making my leg jump off the gurney when he hit the nerve he stuck in another needle with a drug. I don't know who that man was but for those few seconds he was my worst enemy, but when he walked away and my leg had absoulutely no feeling he soon became my best friend!

Time is not even of the essence on your day of surgery because you have no concept of it with the drugs. I do remember waking up a little as they pushed me into a room. I then remembered the cute little nurse who gave me my pain button so I could give myself morphine for the pain when ever it began to hurt. Which as soon as the leg numbing meds wore off. I was greatful for my pain pump! The first day I could not wake up, I hardly ate anything they brought me and just wanted to sleep all day.

Afer 4 days in the hospital I returned home. I am pleased to say that as someone told me before I went in for surgery that every 24 hours after surgery will get better. Kudos to whoever told me that because you were absolutely right! I have had good days and bad days but as far as I can tell I am moving down the road to recovery. Graduating from a walker to a cane and as of earlier this week I was told I can start to drive again and return to work by end of November. The new bionic knee is here to stay and I can't wait to show it off with pride. Everybody dance now!

Check out my doctors and nurses in the recovery room...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hospital Gowns...One Size Fits All?

One of my pet peeves when I go to the hospital is those darned hospital gowns. You know the pretty bluish green gowns that look like they've been through the wash a million times with 4 little strings in the back that are supposed to cover all your real estate!

I was wondering what would happen this time when I went to the hospital for my knee replacement surgery. On my last visit the hospital gown was sort of a big ordeal. You know when you are a 300lb. guy one size does not fit all! The last time I was in the hospital and they needed to suit me up in standard hospital apparel I was handed a gown told to strip down and put on the gown and those cute little footie things and wait for the nurse. First of all when you are a big guy it's hard to reach all the way around to get the tie at your neck and back tied. Just because your big does not mean you have longer arms! So as I sit and waited for the nurse with the backyard exposed. I thought they have to have something bigger. When the nurse arrived I told her of my embarrassing predicament. She said honey let me get you another one and you can put it on backwards like a housecoat to cover your rear. Hmm, sounded like a great idea 2 gowns to cover this big body. As she attempted to help me put on my newly created backyard gown I realized that it being small also was a problem. My shoulders being wide would make the gown now tight going over my arms. Thus, freezing my arms in a position straight out in front of me and being unable to move. But, none the less, everything was modestly covered. The nurse also noticed my arm and shoulder discomfort and said, "Honey I think we had a big one in here last week and I'm gonna look for that big gown!" Finally, an understanding nurse. I waited again, and she returned and told me to take off the 2 gowns and put this big one on it should work fine. Now, I had a gown I could fit in the arms were big the material was wide and the strings were long. This gown was so big it wrapped totally around me from front to back and back around to the front where I could comfortable tie the strings in front of me. Now that's roomy! The arms were so big I had to keep them down because if I lifted my arms I think you could see my private parts!

With all the latest medical technology I thought surely things will have changed on this hospital visit. So after check in a nurse came and got me took me to a little hospital waiting room with a TV and proceeded to hand me 2 little blue footies and what appeared to be a blue folded up paper napkin. She said take off all your clothes and put in this bag to give to your wife and put these on. I looked at the napkin and said, "is this my gown?" She nodded and I said, "will it fit me?" She turned and said, "Yes, one size fits all! I'll be back!" As I unfolded the napkin it did get larger and larger. I was amazed that they finally came up with a paper gown that would fit everyone! I put on my bear paw blue footies and hopped into the hospital bed. After they took all my vital signs they told me they would be in to get me around 7:30am to head to surgery.

As I lay there watching TV talking with my wife and sister Norma and Shirley, I was getting warmer and warmer in my paper gown. A nurse came and asked how I was doing and I told her I was really warm. She lifted my covers and looked at the front of my gown and said they forgot to hook you up I will get you cooled down. She reached behind the head of my hospital bed and pulled out this long one inch hose and started attaching it to my gown in front. She said these were new hospital gowns that kept the patients body temperature the same during the surgery so you would be comfortable. Suddenly, I felt a rush of cool air coming into the southern most region of the front of my gown. The nurse said, "Do you feel it?". "Uh, yes it's kind of cold air", I said. She said one the air fills your gown you will be comfortable all over. I couldn't believe it after the initial cold shock it felt really comfortable. Next, was a shot and off I went on the gurney to surgery. When they pushed me into the sterile cold white room the nurse I guess thought it was necessary to introduce me to everyone who would be there for the surgery. Good thing I didn't have to remember names because I was out before I got through all the introductions. Look for my next blog when I talk about the knee surgery recovery.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shopping For My New Knee

After dealing with knee pain and waiting several years the pain had become enough that it was time to get serious with the orthopedic doctor. They told me several years ago I would someday need a total knee replacement but to hold off as long as I could. It seems the knees did not last very long and may have to be replaced again when you got older. At age 50 it seems like everything starts to go so why not trade in the clunker for a new knee. It might just be another stimulus package or the new Obama health plan. Trade in your old parts for new ones.

Sure, I had seen the bionic man and all the metal parts but now I was going to have one in me. How bad could it be? The first mistake I made was to go to "You Tube" and see a total knee replacement being done on a patient. After watching the video and seeing the doctors with saws, hammers, chisels and screwdrivers, you might say I was a little reluctant to move forward.

I met with my doctor and who gave me a brochure that told all about my knew knee the companies name was Smith & Nephew. Now I'm thinking this is some guy named Smith and his nephew that came up with this in their garage, reminded me of Sanford & Son another well known duo. The brochure told all about how strong this new knee was and with me about to hold up 300 pounds on it, I wanted a strong knee. The brochure says ask about the Power of Ox!
Their website, no joke is if you don't believe me just check it out for yourself. Now you know why I'm thinking Sanford & Son knee replacement!

The new knee joint is made from Oxinium material which is the result of a process that allows oxygen to absorb into zirconium metal, which changes the surface from metal to ceramic. The bottom of the joint is made from titanium. And to smooth things up between the joints there are pieces of plastic that snap into the joints. Sounds pretty cool until you realize they have to do all the stuff I mentioned from You Tube to get it in there. Now all I needed to do was set up my date of surgery and this was just a 9 to 5 routine job for the doctor. I'm scared to death and this is just a walk in the park to the doctor who does this several times a week. Of course I'm scared the doctor explained there are some risks involved. The risks include, but not limited to just one item on the list... failure to come out of the general anesthesia, nausea, blood clots, staff infection and of course the big one death! It's amazing how much better your knee begins to feel and you begin to think maybe I should hold off on this. Follow my blog and I will take you through my hospital check-in the hospital gowns and waking up in the recovery room! Isn't this exciting!