Sunday, August 12, 2018

More Surgery and Sent Home

Friday, July 27th

I did manage to enjoy a short four day stay at home after my release from Health South Rehab. Unfortunately, I headed back to Peninsula Regional for a second round of surgery on my right leg. More plates and screws were needed to complete the realignment and length restoration.  Mary and my brother Joe along with our guardian angel Candy sat patiently as the three and a half hours clicked off.  My Doctor came out to let them know everything went very well.
(starting at the top) ankle, shin and knee
I was moved to a private room for recovery. Unlike the first leg surgery that wasn't too painful this round was excruciating. I needed pain meds to help me function like a human.

During this surgery the doctor also fixed up my left big toe that I beat into submission over the last year, it also had an abscess. This abscess was cleaned out and I was given  strong antibiotics to clear up the infection.

While recovering at PRMC I did develop a bacteria infection in my blood so that forced me to stay longer until all tests, and I mean many blood samples, were deemed clear after 48 hours.

Wednesday August 1st

I was released for more rehab at Health South on Wednesday. It was like old home week. I had the same nurses and nurse assistants along with the gang at Physical and Occupational Therapy. They took very good care of me AND worked me pretty hard.

Wednesday August 8th

I made progress and was finally released on Wednesday. Occupation Therapy wiz Stewart rigged up a device that secured my right ankle and provided a way to lift and swing my right leg into and out of bed. He is a genius!
The contraption worked like a charm. Remember those days back in elementary school, making chain links out of construction paper?  Same concept, except we used heavy duty velco.

This sling type device was critical.  Mary, fresh off back surgery was not allowed to bend, lift or twist, so she could not help me. I needed to be able to get in and out of bed and get my leg raised in the wheel chair. Mission accomplished.

Sunday, August 12th

Mary's back is coming along. My bride has a doctors appointment on Tuesday that will require x-rays prior to arriving. Mary has been wearing her brace and following doctors orders. My bride has taken care of me, supported me, and has been the guiding light for me to keep focused. I don't know how she does it.

I need blood work prior to my next appointment on Wednesday. I'll use the local wheel chair transportation system available to us. It's still too difficult to get in and out of the SUV and then be stuck with the wheel chair in the back that neither Mary nor I could lift at this time.

More updates to follow, hopefully getting out of this big splint device and into a smaller cast.  I also hope to report on Mary's progress and that she will be released to drive.

Many thanks to family, friends and neighbors for their support and meals. A special thanks to Candy and Mark G for being our guardian angels for the last six weeks, we are left without words trying to express our gratitude. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018


I wanted to update my  blog with a few notes dealing with our recovery, for both Mary and I.  Despite the many stories, theories and bits and pieces of the facts, I will provide some medical insight.

 Friday June 29

Immediately following the accident Mary was helped out of the plane by a couple that was traveling on Route 611 . The gentleman that helped Mary came back and helped pull me out of the plane . I understand that it took a second man who jumped in to help pull me free of the cockpit .
Mary was amazing, with all the noise going on around me as I laid on the ground I could hear her taking command of the situation. My amazing bride directed people to the fire extinguisher and alerted the ground personnel (first responders) of full fuel tanks in each wing.

 Ocean City fire department was on scene almost immediately . Maryland State police and their helicopter was there just as fast . Mary's injuries were assessed and she was taken by ambulance to Peninsula regional medical center . My medical condition was assessed and I was immediately airlifted to Peninsula regional medical center .

What I remember is a lot of faces asking a lot of questions along with being poked and prodded while being shifted from stretcher to table .  I wanted to see Mary to make sure she was safe and the nurses finally wheeled her in to see me. Mary had fractured L1 in her back and was being put in a brace, along with some bruising and scrapes.  Yours truly had a back fracture in L3 and L4 , fractured sternum , three ribs , fractured skull at my sinus cavity and a fractured eye socket . I think I took about 45 stitches to close up all the cuts around my eye and forehead. My worst injury was a fractured tibia fibula in my right leg .
Mary's brother and sister-in-law were already on the road to come down to Ocean City to pick Mary up . The decision was made that I needed to be airlifted to a trauma center. Mary and I decided that that Christiana Medical Center would be best for transportation and she would be close to our families.

 Saturday, June 30

 I spent my first night in Christiana in a trauma unit .  Mind you I had nothing to eat since Thursday nights dinner except for some toothpaste and water Friday morning.  Christiana wanted me to prep for surgery so I couldn't even get ice chips let alone real food , okay , hospital food .  Mary along with my sister Denise sat with me well into the early morning hours . No sooner than they left I was moved up to the next trauma unit and had a room .  I was prepped for surgery and said goodbye to Mary as they wheeled me off . I honestly don't remember much once I got that first shot .  No idea how long surgery was but I was finally out and was moved in the trauma surgery step down unit.

 Sunday, July 1 - Monday July 9

 It was a long week of nurses and doctors along with roommates and all the hospital distractions one can imagine. Thankfully I was supported by my bride , family members , and friends . I settled into the routine of breakfast, physical torture, doctor visits, hospital lunch, the saving grace of visitors and hospital dinners. I was finally scheduled for release on Monday evening and was shipped out to health South in Salisbury Maryland.  Health South is an acute rehab center. Acute rehab means 3 to 4 hours of bust ass physical torture every day.

 Tuesday, July 10 to Tuesday July 17

Today it gets real . This place has a regiment and they follow it.  I will say for a hospital type facility the food is not bad. After breakfast it's time to clean up and then get to physical therapy or occupational therapy, as the schedule sometimes changes. It's a tough first day and my body hurts but the first ones in the book.

 Wednesday, July 18

Today starts out early with the meds dispensed and an early breakfast. Today I'm heading north to Middletown Delaware to have a follow-up with my surgeon that did my initial leg repairs . I'm transported via ambulance for two hours one way . Let me just say the roads in lower Delaware, suck !

 Mary cannot make the ride because of her back there's no way she could tolerate that . My brother Joe and his wife Janice were waiting for me when I got to the orthopedics office . Mary and I both were very appreciative of my brother and his wife being there to support me and hear what the doctor had to say . Janice has a medical background and she speaks all that medical-ease, always a big plus.
All the bandages were removed from what I call the elephant leg . Staples were removed, Steri-Strips were added and a new ace bandage covered everything back up . The doctor wanted me to start moving the ankle and bending at the knee . The news I dreaded hearing was delivered, I would need more surgery to further repair my broken leg . Not only was my heart broken to hear this but my spirit damaged as well.  I was devastated .

 Thursday, July 19

I think last night was my worst nights sleep . With the bulk of the pain coming from my Sternum, back and my ribs, last night my leg break let it be known that it was here to also annoy me.
A few new scares and a big dent
I talked with Mary, she has been my rock . Our friend Candy drove Mary over early this morning so that we can come up with a plan to manage the pain and deal with this new surgery .

 Candy and her husband Mark are friends of ours that we met through the beech aero club . We are so blessed to have such fantastic friends. Candy hopped a flight and has been here to help Mary.

The first week, Mary's sister-in-law, Lynn helped get Mary settled back at our house. Lynn provided meals, transportation and company that Mary needed to get back on her feet.

 The original surgeon handed off my case to a local orthopedic trauma surgeon located in Salisbury. My new doctor called to let me know I was headed for CT scans on Friday the 20th and set up our first visit for July 25 . As much as I hate to say it, or think it, I just want to get the surgery done .

 So recoveries continue for Mary and I as we work through this latest adventure , or is that misadventure . Mary has surgery scheduled for her L1 fracture August 3 . This procedure will clean out any loose fragments and be replaced with a cement type material .

 Special thanks to our friends Candy and Mark for all their help . Thanks to Mary's family and my family for the support, love and prayers.

Friday, July 20 - Sunday, July 22

 Friday and Saturday follow the typical routine meds , bath , PT and OT . I had to make up some time that I had missed while company was visiting so the schedule was extended on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 Saturday was my toughest day since I got here . I did an extended PT session that included being assessed for my release date . This included extra weight on my leg reps, extended distance and walking with a walker and doing what I call the Bunny-hop . We also worked on transfers for the car, bed and extending my time to be able to stand up . Mary and Candy were here when I got back to the room Saturday and I have to tell you I was totally gassed . Once the therapy people got me back in bed I couldn't even lift my arms or my head I was that wiped out . That's a very scary feeling .  It was a restless night but I did manage to get some sleep .

 Sunday was also added PT and OT my schedule . PT was pretty much transfers in and out of bed by myself and trying to extend the range of doing my so-called Bunny-hop on the Walker. I think I made it to sixty foot, twice.  Following PT I went over to the occupational therapy for what I thought would be my typical upper body strengthening work . I was pleasantly surprised when they asked if I wanted to take a shower instead . The therapist helped get me set up by wrapping up my leg in a big bag and helping me get all my clothes and things needed to take a very nice hot shower even though it was sitting in a shower chair .  It felt good to be cleaned up again and back in bed to relax .

 My family came to visit, which made my day.  my brother Joe and his wife Janice along with my sister Denise and her husband Dave. Mary's first cousin Maureen and her daughter Lauren also stopped in to see me , it was a full house .  Everyone had headed out and buy 4 o'clock it was just me.  Mary and Candy had a busy day finishing up their errands in preparation for my coming home. They both came to visit me about 5:30, just in time for dinner.

 Mary's back was starting to bother her so her and Candy finally headed to the house. The countdown was on, I should be out of here Monday morning or early afternoon . Tentative target time 2 PM .

 More on my release and the trip home in my next blog entry .

Thank you for all the readers who have sent text messages , emails , phone calls and for all your Facebook posts that have kept me laughing .

 Special thanks to Mark  and Candy G from Texas , true friends that have taken on a big project. providing transportation, helping with our zoo, being there to listen  and making sure Mary and I follow the recovery plan.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Flying Update

Mary and I are doing fine, we are on the path to recovery thanks to great doctors, nurses, family and friends.   

Thank You all

Monday, June 25, 2018

Cape May = Fun Day

With nothing on our schedule Mary and I decided we would finally get her some right seat time.  Mary hasn't flown in our 'new to us' plane. She has sat in it, but that's it.  Today we were determined to change that.

We gave some thought to heading to Summit-KEVY to catch up with my brother and sister-in-law but they have a busy day planned as they get ready to head to Yellowstone.  I can't wait to hear about their trip. We called Mary's brother to see if they had their grandson with them today. They did not, schools out and since Amy is a teacher she is home for the summer.

Hmmm...Maybe Williamsburg, nah, we're headed there with the Beech Aero Club in July. We gave some thought to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania - KAVP so we could visit my parents grave and get some mulch down and flowers planted, but it was too late of a start.

We finally decided on Cape May, NJ.  We called the FBO to confirm a rental car is available, and it was. The last time there we took a taxi and he hit us up for thirty bucks each way to Mammas Junk Company, that's a ten mile hop each direction. Today we rented and had our choice of where to go and how long to stay.

We climbed out of ocean city and turned on course for Cape May. Mary was following the check list and thankfully reminded me to switch the gear up. I'm not sure why I don't do that, I notice the difference in the numbers as I climb out and then retract the gear. Very bizarre. The remainder of the flight went smoothly and we were soon letting down for runway one at Cape May. We taxied to Flight Level Aviation and ordered fuel to top off. Once the plane was secure we jumped in our ride and hit the highway.
Of course we headed to Mamas Junk Company first, but they were closed.  Mary was not a happy girl. No problem, point the little blue Kia rental towards Cape May and off we went, down the Garden State Parkway. We passed by one of our favorite restaurants, The Oyster Bay, confirming they open at 5pm. We will be headed back one evening for dinner. This makes for a great date night.

It was just a block or two to the Washington Street Mall and we quickly found parking in the lot next to the grocery store, across from the church, and it only ended up costing us three dollars.
We strolled along enjoying the gorgeous weather. The temps were perfect and there was a nice cool breeze to keep things comfortable. We decided on a lunch stop at Delaney's Pub.
Mary and I each ordered a lobster roll, and it was perfect.  Not all that mayo and extra stuff packed in, just plenty of lump lobster in a perfect seasoning and served with really hot melted butter. It was fantastic!  I washed it down with a sweet tea, that was more watered than sweet or tea. Mary had The BOG: Cranberry Shandy by Cape May Brewing Company.
The BOG: Cranberry Shandy - A tart, cranberry wheat beer blended with lemonade to create an uber-drinkable summer shandy. Perfect to enjoy on those sweltering days, this beer is light and refreshing while still packing tons of flavor.

We walked off lunch for a short while then decided to head back to the airport. Mary wanted to make a quick stop at the Cape May Brewing Company, along the main entrance to the airport.

With our cargo loaded, one 64oz growler of The Bog, we were ready to climb aboard.
45Yankee had plenty of time to cool so I did the normal start procedure. I had no issue and we were soon on our way to runway one for departure. With the run up complete we rolled out on runway one and launched for home. This time I did not move my hand above the throttle quadrant with out tapping the brakes and retracting the gear. I ran 45Yankee pretty much as I have been, 20MP/24RPM and with the slight tail wind watched speeds of 150 knots.

I crossed the Delaware Bay and climbed above a layer blocking my path, topping out just around six thousand feet. My plan was to hop over the layer and let down for OXB. As I crossed the layer I checked my location and I was already just ten miles north-east of the airport. Crap! I didn't want to shock cool so I pulled power and adjusted my approach towards runway one-four.
The original plan was to enter a left base maybe three miles out from the runway and turn final, not happening.  I was too fast and high so I pointed towards the beach and entered a normal left down wind for one-four. Once at recommended gear speed I lowered the gear, providing some anchors to help slow down. 

The winds provided some crosswind action and I really wanted to test my skills. I stuck with runway one-four instead of switching to runway 2, and planted the left main into the wind and rolled 45Yankee on the runway. I was very pleased. 

Next up Tullahoma, Tennessee!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hangar Time

I was too lazy to get out early this morning and fly.  By the time I got rolling the rain and thunderstorms were moving in and I decided to just take Ziva and head to the hangar. I wanted to pull the lens off the rotating beacon and see about removing the 'patched' or blocked area.  I also wanted to note the bulb type so I can replace it with an LED. The patch is not coming off, the bulb will be replaced with an LED.
I putzed around, playing with Ziva then finally got to work. Ok, work is a strong word maybe just tinkering, yea, I like that.

I finished up, closing the hangar and heading to the terminal. I wanted to have Ziva visit with Nola, she loves dogs.  Nola wasn't working today so I kept the visit very short and decided to head for home.
Picture provided by an internet source
As I was walking out the door I heard the folks at the counter mention two AH-1 Cobras inbound. Hmmm...I would love to see those birds.  I did take some video, it was really bad, I never used the zoom. However, as mean as it is, I did get to see them and they were bad to the bone!
Mary and I are on standby for a English Springer Spaniel rescue for Sunday. The ground transport is scheduled for Saturday but we are on deck if needed.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Approach Clearance - Crossing Altitudes

While reading through the many forums I frequent, I came across an excellent what if scenario. The pilot is a friend of mine and I always appreciate his insight to flying/teaching moments. I thought I would share.

Here is his post...

I was taking advantage of a rare chance to get in some actual today in Central Texas today. I did an IFR flight from KEDC (Austin Exec) to KLHB (Hearne). It wasn't a ton of actual but it was bumpy enough to work at it so I hand flew the approaches.

An interesting IFR question came out of this though. My approach clearance to the KLHB RNAV Rwy 18 approach was issued about 5 nm from CORAB

I had been cleared direct CORAB at 3000 prior to this. The clearance was "...cleared for the RNAV 18 approach, cross CORAB at or above _2000_ feet."

The leg following CORAB has a minimum of 2600' and the MSA on the plate is 2300'. Can I descend to 2000 at CORAB and continue until I hit the descent path?

I think this was the intent but I can't seem to find anything online on this. In this case I just flew the approach as published (it wasn't a challenge to loose 800 feet in 17 miles).

BTW - bonus point question. Looking at that plate - what does the grey shading between the VDP and the runway threshold mean.

My thoughts...

Once cleared for the RNAV 18 approach, like my friend, I would have stayed at 2600', flying the approach per the plate from there.

I watched a similar scenario unfold on a video of an aircraft given the "at or above" which the crew followed and triggered a terrain alert. I will continue to follow the approach plates unless breaking out and flying the remainder of the approach VFR.

By the way, I got the bonus question, ok partial credit because I took a shot.  I knew what it had to deal with but wasn't 100% positive until looking it up after the fact.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Sandbox

An odd title, but, after watching most of the FlyLikeThePros videos I am going to adopt a few of their tips for my flying now that I have the 530W and 430W in the Debonair.

The first tip that really peaked my interest was the 'Sandbox'. Flying with a two Garmin system this practice provides a way to secondary flight plan, have a dedicated DME or initiate your 'back up' plan without clearing your current flight plan.

The first step to accomplish this is to set up the cross fill operation. This can be accomplished on the active FPL page or NAV page one. I am going to keep the 'autofill' from the 530 to the 430 but switch the 430 to manual. This will allow the additional flight planning feature without disrupting my working flight plan on the 530.
I really enjoy learning new procedures about flying and implementing them in my flight routine. I have been given instructions by ATC that left me scratching my head on how to set up what they want. The worst case, I ask for an initial heading as I work through the issue.

Knowing your systems and practicing all the crazy what if's when with a safety pilot or your CFI reinforces what we need to do. I am grateful for the instructors I flew with and for all the bust my stone flights with Mike B. When in training, drinking from the fire hose seems crazy, until you need those skills in the real world. I can still hear my father reminding me how we play on game day just like we practice. This holds true in everything flying.

What are your thoughts on setting up the sandbox? If you took the time to watch the FlyingLikeThePros videos have you learned anything new, and if so will you add them to your flying.