Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Progress Continues

A quick update on my post surgery status. My home nurse says I'm doing well and my Physical Therapist seems to think my torture is moving along nicely. I asked to try the stairs Monday since my shoulder is feeling better. I'm still toe touch - no weight bearing status so I had to hop up the steps one at a time. It went smoothly going up and after a short rest it went just as smooth heading down the steps.

Today I decided to work the steps and have lunch in the kitchen. Up and back no problems which felt great. I'm trying to get up the guts to try the next set of steps going to the bedroom and master bath.......my kingdom for a shower! We did venture out today in the SUV. With all the therapy exercises it was a snap getting in and out of the truck. It was very refreshing to see the outdoors, new buds on all the tress some with leaves popping out. Pretty colors, fresh air and a change of scenery, good for the mind.

My lovely Bride is out with the girls celebrating her friends birthday, I wish I was eating dinner with them. I hope she has fun, God knows she needs a break from me and playing nurse.

I hope to report more over the next week......fly safe and have fun!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The New Routine

Things have changed since the completion of my surgery. Post operative recovery requires exercise, therapy, good food and some good ole rest and relaxation. My day begins around 6:30 when Maggie makes her morning visit to check on me then returns upstairs to get Mary up and going. The random checks take place at various times through out the night, normally around midnight then again a 4am followed by the 6 am wake up call. Poor girl is still trying to figure why we are sleeping in two different rooms and on different levels.

I lie in bed until Mary takes care of the zoo. Then the focus is on me getting my bones out of bed and getting started. Ahhh how we take for granted the simple shower, It's sponge time for me until I am allowed to do stairs and have my eighty staples removed. Yes, eighty staples and a twenty-four inch incision. After getting cleaned up Mary gives me a back rub with lotion and changes my bandage to track any drainage. Everything is healing nicely and the staples should come out Thursday afternoon when the visiting nurse makes her stop.

Next is getting dressed with all my special tools, what strange stuff. A dressing stick, a grabber tool, extra long shoe horn (doubles as a back scratcher) and my favorite the sock donner. Dress code is long shorts and T shirt, comfortable and easy. Next up is my exercise routine that I have worked on since my hospital stay. Everything is geared to generating some quad control and building strength. Mary has to help me with two of the sets that help swing my legs in a inside/outside movement like making snow angels and while laying on my back perform a heel slide working to maximize the range of motion in my knee.

After some R&R we settle in for lunch then get back to another few rounds of exercises. I watch some TV, nap and surf the Internet to keep me occupied. If the wx is nice I get outside with my faithful walker and even get some seat time in my spiffy wheel chair. I eventually get settled in for dinner watching the news and enjoying the zoo while they interact. It sure is nice to eat Mary's cooking, I couldn't take the hospital food that I had to eat any longer. It's nice to eat dinner together as we sit and chat, watching the news and discussing my progress. It's going to be a long haul back to walking unassisted but I'm on track with a lot of support from my Bride, family and friends.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sprung From The Hospital

My surgery went from 2.5 hours to 8.5 due to a spiral fracture stretching over a third of my femur. I lost plenty of the red juice and needed multiple transfusions to keep me going and after the bone graft splints, eight wire bands and hip replacement install, it took almost 2 hrs to close me up. I spent the night in ICU for monitoring then moved the next morning to the orthopedic floor.

Fast forward to Friday, April 17th. Mary sprung me out of the hospital due to my continued threats of wheeling myself out and hitching a ride, to anywhere but physical therapy, occupational therapy or my room . I'm now home, on the mend but doubting I'll make my June goal of attending Gaston's due to the complications. I will be NO weight bearing status for eight weeks at the least so that would take me to June 9th, two days prior to my departure date.

I can't thank my Bride enough for all she did for me and all she took on to keep things running during my surgery and recovery. It's not easy keeping the four cats and two dogs on schedule let alone running back and forth to the hospital, I'm a very luck guy. Thanks to my family for all the support and logistics with the hospital breakout and Marys family for their help in a stressful time.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Self Grounding

It's a definite, I have no chance at completing my IR prior to my surgery date. It looks to be a gorgeous day outside and here I sit typing on the stinking computer. I'm self grounding for my sickness and the medicine I'm taking. The Doc has me taking Avelox 400 antibiotic, it really kills the infection but leaves me feeling lightheaded. With moments of feeling lightheaded and if I bend over I feel down right dizzy, I figure it's a safe bet to hang up the airplane keys and work on getting better. The priority is to be ready for surgery so that is what I am trying to focus on.

I also had to stop taking Advil for any pain relief to remove the blood thinner factor. Instead I was given some new fangled patch to put on for twelve hour intervals. Lidoderm is the product name and it basically numbs the area where you apply the stick-on patch.

I hope to be back in the cockpit by early June, two months post hip revision. At least there are some fellow pilots I know who blog and I can fly/live through their postings and keep in contact with aviation, and get my fix. I'm going to have to work on Mary to see if she'll drive me to Kay's to meet the North East Flyers group for breakfast in two weeks.....which will roll right into my plea to attend the Wings Fly-B-Q.

I'll post again after my surgery, until then, Fly Safe!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Blowing In The Wind

My chances at finishing up my Instrument rating are blowing in the wind. No update on the nav/com radio install so 679er is on hold. Winds today do not look good especially since Wilmington is down to one runway. The weather here yesterday made it impossible to fly despite my radio issues. I also got late word Thursday night I had additional tests that had to be completed or my surgery would be rescheduled. To much planning went into the date that is set and the next available date is in June. Even though this would allow more flying and my shot at a check ride it would also pretty much guarantee my Gaston's trip. As sweet as this sounds, I can not tolerate the pain in the hip any longer, it's time as they say to face the music.

Monday and Tuesday are not looking good for much of a chance to complete the VOR check on the nav/com or to get a good mock check ride knocked out. I am patiently waiting for a break in wx and for my luck to change, there has got to be some good mojo out there somewhere!

METAR KILG 041051Z 29023G36KT 10SM CLR 09/M02 A2957

TAF - Terminal Area Forecast

KILG - Wilmington, Delaware
Updated at 10:51 AM GMT on April 04, 2009 (6:51 AM EDT):
KILG 041131Z 0412/0512 28020G40KT P6SM FEW050
FM041400 28027G44KT P6SM BKN050
FM042000 28025G40KT P6SM SCT050
FM050100 29016G26KT P6SM SKC
FM050700 28012KT P6SM SKC=

Friday, April 03, 2009

GPS Safety Seminar

Last Night I attended the FAAST Seminar "GPS From the Ground Up" held at the Plymouth Meeting Double Tree Hotel. It was a packed house with 300+ pilots attending. The seminar truly seemed like I was attending an infomercial at the start but eventually settled into a very good eye opener addressing the do's and don't of GPS use for every phase of flight: Flight planning, preflight, departure, en route and much more. The discussion also reviewed real-pilot "gotchas" that GPS users got themselves into due to lack of proper training. Overall a very informative presentation and worth the trip.

I couldn't do the evening justice if I didn't mention our pre-seminar dinner at Appleby's. Rob of "Robs Flying Adventures" got the word out to those attending that we should meet up and so five of us made the dinner run. It's always nice to catch up and hangar fly with the guys.

Pictured in this post is a VOR key chain that Rob gave me at dinner, it's greatly appreciated and will be put to good use for 679er's keys. It will also serve as a reminder to keep focused on obtaining the instrument rating. Thanks Rob!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

First Time Actual IMC

Finally! Today was the day I finally got some actual in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC). The plan was to see if 679er got her Nav/Com radio back and then decide what course of action to follow. A new Nav/Com would require a VOR check and in order to complete that it would require me to scud run. that's a no brainer, next option. Option two would be to fly with the loaner nav/com since we did check it out but it didn't receive very well when we used it. I'm not feeling warm and fuzzy with this choice either. Option three was to fly a plane that my CFII provided, a super clean Cessna 172 with the bells and whistles to get me some actual.

With option three I will be faced with a totally different plane then I have flown in a long time, but do have seventy plus hours in type from PPL days and renting. Option three it is and I meet my instructor on the ramp. It took me a while to climb in, I'm so used to the Piper roll after nearly three hundred hours. I read through the checklist and try to once again get familiar with the Cessna. I had filed our flight plan and Wilmington never got it so I refiled.

Wilmington Ground Cessna Nxxxxx at Red Eagle with Bravo, IFR clearance. I copied the following clearance. I like the mnemonic CRAFT for Clearance, Route, Altitude, Frequency and Transponder code. My version of shorthand for the Route is RWY HDG - runway heading and V HADIN is Vectors to HADIN the Outer Marker. 2000 was my initial altitude and 4000 should be expected in ten minutes. The departure frequesncy for Philly is 119.75 and 4525 was my assigned transponder code.

A - 2000 - 4000/10
F - 119.75
T - 4525

Ok all set and ready to go since we are cleared to taxi to runway one niner via kilo, mike, hold short. Run up completed and holding short for a Gulfstream now on short final. Ok throttle full power some right rudder, gauges green, airspeed alive and we are wheels up. I guess we were in IMC by one thousand feet and I could not resist but glancing outside. Get those eyes going on your scan rang out and shattered my brief moment of wow this is cool stuff. Ahem...ok back on the instruments and I get my scan going. Holding runway heading and climbing to two thousand I flip to Philly Approach and get my first vectors. Honestly it's a bit blurry but I know I was going over the river maybe towards the Bay and back around to make a right turn to intercept the ILS.

Philly turned me within thirty degrees of the intercept with the following clearance, Nxxxx turn right three four zero maintain 2000 until established, cleared ILS RWY 1. I slowed to 90 knots, added the approach flaps (late) and watched the glide slope slip on under me. I had waited on my outter marker beacon to sound and didn't hear a thing, I was playing catch up from that point forward. I didn't factor for my tail wind which had me hauling butt down the glide slope pulling power trying to not deflect full scale. This first go was not the best by far. I remained a "bit" high on glide but had my localizer pretty good until short final then by the time I was at decision height it looked like I was crabbing in.

Full power climbing left turn when advised by the tower then handed off to Philly for another go. The second time was better as I intercepted with a left turn to final having come from the area of KEVY, Summit. This approach terminated with us going missed and once again following directions climbing out and following vectors from Philly. I got lazy in my climb and flattened out getting the finger point and shake to remind me to get my head outta my butt and get on altitude.

This last approach seemed like it took us forever to get vectored in. Chuck told me to look up and it was nothing but clouds below as we broke out and I sucked up the view, very very cool looking. I even got to see a rainbow which made my day as I was starting to think I had some bad mojo working against me with all the radio, flight plan and tight schedule. I was back in the game as I once again briefed the approach plate. I also configured for 90 knots and really wanted to nail my glide slope, tail wind and all. Again no outter marker beacon but I was on glide as I was on the localizer. I held good speed at 90, pulling power to descend while maintaining my airspeed.

This approach was going to be my last for the day so I was looking for my DH of (580) 600' for a circle to land. I started to turn right for my circle to land before the tower cleared me and got the finger point and hold runway heading until cleared. As if the tower was in the plane they cleared us and off I went. Chuck reminded me don't bust the 600 feet or your check ride is done however I did bust the 1.3 mile CTL limit edging into about a mile and a half. My CFII notes all the fine points and really keeps me squared away. I reference the finger point and shake but it's in jest as he makes sure I have his attention with out blocking radio calls. It works for me and I'm sure I'll see that every time I stray from heading or altitude whether he's flying with me or not. You pilots understand this....how many of you still hear you PPL instructors voice when you fly? I do!

METARS from this afternoon.....
METAR KILG 011951Z 12009KT 10SM OVC013 11/08 A3001
SPECI KILG 012047Z 14009KT 5SM RA BR OVC011 11/09 A3001
METAR KILG 012051Z 14008KT 2SM R01/5500VP6000FT +RA BR OVC011 11/09 A3001