Sometimes we look at sights in nature but don't really see. While hiking in the woods the other day, it became a realization that we need to open our heart and eyes to see the beauty of the simple things in nature with each season. There is so much order and purpose in His creation. God has given us awesome beauty in this world to see and enjoy... if we would but stop to see and feel it. Join us as this blog is about stopping to see the real beauty around touch and feel it... "Through the Lens".

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Ruptured Disc and a Trip to the ER

Just a quick update to explain why we have not made comments lately on your post!!

We arrived at Rainbow Plantation Escapee Park on Friday, July 6.  We secured our spot and settled in for a 3 day stay.  Sunday Mike complained of a sore back and started taking Tylenol thinking all would clear up soon.  Monday morning, our travel day, I got busy readying things inside the Oliver while Mike began getting things unhooked outside.  He came inside about the time I had finished and I assumed he was ready for the final check and load myself and our fur babies and get rolling.
Instead he wanted to lie down on the floor! 
 I could tell he was hurting and asked him if felt like even traveling.  He wasn’t sure so he laid there on the floor for a few minutes.  We both finally decided traveling wasn’t going to happen on this day.  So I began to put things back together to stay another night.  I looked at Mike and I knew....he was not just hurting but in excruciating pain!!!  I asked him if he needed to go to the ER and he said “yes!”

So off we head to Thomas Hospital in Fairhope, Alabama.  We arrived at the ER but Mike was unable to walk so I got a wheel chair and that’s when the kind folks at this hospital went into action.  They got him checked in while I got the truck parked.  We immediately, without any waiting, went into an exam room and was taken care of by the nurse and doctor assigned to him.  
They began administering a ton of meds which included morphine, oxycodone , ibuprofen, and who knows what else.  Nothing
was relieving the pain.  They ordered a CT scan and those results showed ruptured disc.  They admitted him for the night.
Early the next morning they ordered an MRI and this along with the CT scan showed the location and severity.  He had ruptured L4 and L5 disc.  They continued to administer pain medications.  We met with the hospital doctor and the orthopedic surgeon as well as his PA.  Sometime during the early afternoon a physical therapist came and worked with him.  He had him use a walker because at this time Mike still could not walk steady due to the pain.
He was finally discharged around 5:00.
After a day of Morphine and Oxycodone I was ready for
When we had our follow up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon we learned, by actually looking  at the MRI, the damage.  There is quite a large rupture!!  His recommendation is for Mike to have a lumbar epidural.  That will be scheduled sometime in about 2 weeks.  Then after the epidural we will have a follow up visit with the doctor to see how effective the treatment was.

So we will be at Rainbow Plantation for approximately a month.  We aren’t sure after this what our time looks like.

The good news is he is feeling better everyday, but still has numbness in his right leg!!  Thanks to the prednisone and muscle relaxers, he no longer takes the pain medication.  I am now the designated driver!!          
Asher wanted a bed, so we let him borrow Nick's until we get on big enough for him.
We will (we have permission) drive the truck only, no Oliver, to Lagrange Wednesday of next week to complete the doctor’s visits we had scheduled.  Remember that crown....yep it’s still waiting for me!!  I also have my biannual oncology visit!  We will get this done on Thursday and return to Rainbow Plantation on Friday!!  Whew!!  That will be a quick trip but necessary!!

So this is why it’s been kinda silent at Through the Lens these past few days!  We plan to get back to blogging and catching up with all of you very soon!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Mike the Tiger

Every university has a mascot!!  Auburn has their tiger, Aubie!! LSU has their tiger, Mike!!   Aubie is not a real tiger but instead it's a "character" tiger usually dressed up as Aubie or perhaps a blown up version to show school spirit!!

At LSU the tiger is a real live Bengal tiger!!  There have been seven Mike the Tigers and we went to visit the current one...Mike  VII.                  

We found him living in his 15,000 square foot habitat right outside the LSU Tiger Stadium...Death Valley and across from Pete Maravich Assembly Center.                     

Basketball Stadium         

Mike's  habitat consist of lush plants and trees including a waterfall, stream and large swimming pool.  In 2005 $3.7 million dollars was funded to create this beautiful habitat.  

Mike VII began his reign at the beginning of fall semester of 2017.  He has both Siberian and Bengal characteristics and I might add he is quite handsome!!                 

On the day we visited he was enjoying the shade provided by a group of trees.  It was quite warm and he seemed happy lounging in the shade!  What a magnificent animal!!
We really enjoyed spending some time watching this gorgeous tiger!!  

Our son's apartment is in the downtown area of Baton Rouge and so he gets to experience lots of the downtown activities such as a Saturday Farmers Market.  Now I have been to various farmer's markets but this one was most unique!!              

The gentleman is walking to the side entrance of the market.  They closed a block of a one way street for the market

  First of all, it was quite large with an indoor area to purchase plates of different kinds of food to purchasing essential oils, bread, paintings etc.          
Stephen got a bacon egg biscuit and a fresh berry muffin inside

The outside area had more of the local farmers and their produce, meat, fish and shrimp, plants and for good measure a local band played for our entertainment.         

We purchased fresh tomatoes, squash and some homemade jellies.  
I can't begin to tell you how delicious those tomatoes were.  We had tomato sandwiches and steamed squash for several days!! 

It was a fun morning in downtown Baton Rouge!!   We have never been big city people and certainly not big city "downtown" people but this was nice and I am sure Stephen will enjoy the young vibes in this area.                     

With Stephen moved in his apartment and our dog sitting services  no longer being needed we will be getting ready to move on very soon.  We have enjoyed exploring a little in this capitol city of Louisiana and meeting some very nice folks as well.  Thank you Stephen and Baton Rouge for a great visit!!!   I am sure we will be back to catch some of those beautiful plantations in the area!!  I can't wait!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

An Old Capital Tour


Thursday we decided to take a drive downtown and visit the Old  State Capitol Building.  We had heard there is a lot of history in this old gothic style building.           

     Louisiana's Old State Capitol, a Gothic architectural treasure, stands high on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.  The 165 year old statehouse has withstood war, fire, scandal, bitter debate, abandonment and an occasional fistfight.  Today, the building stands as a testament to bold, inspired leadership and active citizenship.

The state capitol saw its first Legislature in 1852 and remained the seat of government until January 1861.  This is when the legislature voted to secede from the Union in the House Chamber.  During this time a fire broke out while occupied by Union forces.  This fire destroyed the interior of the building but the brick walls remained intact as did the wrought iron fencing around the grand building.               
This is a side view showing the fencing around the capital
In 1880 a fourth floor was added and the beautiful stained glass dome for which the building is known.             

It was built to look like a castle and many locals refer to it as "Louisiana Castle or Castle of Baton Rouge and Castle on the River."              
View looking out from the House Chamber                                   
We spent most of the afternoon just rambling around the many rooms in this building.   
Side entrance to the Old State Capital 
Second floor atop the stairs 


Looking up to the second floor and above 
House Chamber Room 
On the second floor of the Old Capital
View from the Senate Chamber into the rest of the building               

Well, we not only mad it up the stairs, but...          

also down the stairs...


The Louisiana State Capital building is the tallest capital in the United States. It stands 450 feet tall with 34 floors.  This capital will forever be entwined with the political career of Huey Long as it was his idea to construct a new capital building in 1928 when he was running for governor.

We finished off our Thursday with a light dinner and nice evening sitting outside our Oliver enjoying the night sounds....not to mention the humidity!!  

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

We are here...Baton Rouge

We arrived at the KOA in Baton Rouge on Thursday afternoon just before a nice rain shower came through the area.  Luckily we were all set up before the rains began to fall.  

After getting set up and Stephen getting off work we made our way over to his new apartment to deliver his doggie, Jo Jo.  His apartment building is basically right downtown.          
Inside the Apartment Complex First floor is 1 level up

 He doesn't have to fight the traffic in the mornings or afternoons for work and its convenient.  It's an older building with concrete walls so he doesn't have any noice issues there at all.  It is a nice apartment and much larger than the one he had in Auburn!!  He is going to turn his second bedroom into a media room!!         
Parking by the lake at the apartment, Governor's Mansion across the lake and the trees       

View from his living room window

We have a nice site but I will confess....its not the kind of campground we prefer for lots of reasons.             

The first being the price!!  As those of you that travel know, KOAs are upper in the price range.  Don't get me wrong, its a very nice campground with concrete sites and patios laid with pavers.   Right across the road from our site is a beautiful grassy area to walk the dogs....well, to walk Asher.       

 Nick is old and doesn't wish to cross the street to do his business.  There is a very nice pool with hot tub and patio area and out front is a very well kept putt-putt golf course for the kids and kids at heart.              


The second reason its not our cup of tea is there are very few trees.  
I know all KOAs are not treeless but this one is.  We like nature!!!!   I sure miss my birds chirping in the morning and the beautiful trees and hiking trails.    This campground is the closest to our son's new apartment so for this trip its the campground of choice.            

We've enjoyed the people that have come through and most have seemed very friendly.  We've been asked lots of questions about our Oliver and have enjoyed talking Oliver with those that are curious.       
We got to do an outside close-up on a Newell Motorcoach...awesome
We will be here another week and then begin our trek back to the Auburn/LaGrange area to first collect my new permanent crown for the dentist.  Then Mike and I will be doing the doctor thing with our PCP.  The week after that is my semi-annual oncology visit.  This should, Lord willing, be a short visit of only lab work and a visit with the doctor.  The day after this visit we will be heading back toward Baton Rouge to say hi and bye to Stephen as he will be traveling to California on business and we will be traveling to Texas for our domicile.  Whew!!  

We haven't done anything blog worthy since arriving here.  To be honest....resting has been nice!!  Once we get our "travel legs" on we will begin to plan things a little better.  We traveled too many back to back days and that just wore us out.  
We do plan to get out a bit beginning tomorrow and see what we can see in this area.  

Our little guy, Nick, had a "spell" of some sort about a month ago.  He woke up and couldn't walk very well and his head did a lot of jerky motions.  We both thought he might be having a seizure or stroke!!!  We gave him a Temaril P which contains a tiny amount of prednisone.  By the time we got him to the vet he was pretty much his old self again.   Our vet in LaGrange checked him over real well and said he felt like it was something with the brain stem, like some fluid build up or swelling.  He prescribed prednisone (1/2 dose once a day) and it cleared things up real well.  We hate for him to be on prednisone so when he started getting lots better we decided to give him 1/4 of a dose every other day and he seemed to be doing good with that.  No more episodes.  So in bringing Stephen his doggie to Baton Rouge we let the dose go to about 3 or 4 days.  Last night he had another episode!!  We immediately gave him 1/2 dose of prednisone and by bedtime he was walking pretty good and the head jerking had stopped.  We called the vet this morning and he said we needed to continue the prednisone...I guess this means we can't begin a career as a vet any time soon.  So we will do one more 1/2 dose and then go to the 1/4 dose everyday for a few days and then try the every other day but no more than every other day.  High doses of prednisone can cause Cushings Disease in dogs but the vet felt like the 1/4 dose would not cause this.  Bless his heart...our furbabies so become part of our families and when they are not feeling just right we aren't either.  Please say a prayer for our little Nicky!!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.  Psalm 19:1

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Finishing the Natchez Trace Parkway...for Now

Well....we decided to take our time leaving Davis Lake to head down to Jackson, Ms which was about a two and half hour drive.  So we packed our new addition(Asher) in his crate, put him on the back seat of the truck, put JoJo beside the crate on the other side of the seat and put Nick in his usual seat next to Gerri, and off we went on the Natchez Trace Parkway toward Jackson, Ms.
An Indian Mound we stopped at along the Trace Parkway
Since we had driven this section before, we didn't stop too much along the way.  We did find a good pull off and stopped there for lunch and a walk-about for us and the dogs.  We decided to stop in Jackson for an overnight at Lefleur Bluff State Park.  Although there were a few scenic areas in this park, it was kind of old and a bit dirty, so I would not recommend this for an extended stay. In fact, we didn't even unhook the Oliver.    

Our site at Lafleur State Park
We headed down the last part of the Natchez Trace to Natchez Mississippi.  This section we have not driven, so we were glad to be able to finish up the complete Parkway with this trip.  Just outside Port Gibson there is a pull-off to see the a part of the Sunken Trace.      

The way back up from the Sunken Trace
  It was really interesting to see how much the path there had sunk over the years of travel.  We got out and walked down to that part of the Old Trace to see how deep it had sunk...amazing.  I even took Asher down and let him walk some of the path, and oh how he enjoyed it.  Just beyond Port Gibson we took a windy drive to see the Windsor Ruins.              

Instead of me writing about it, Gerri took a picture of the sign explaining about the ruins.  Wow, I can't imagine what the house had looked like when it was standing in it's entirety.

Well, we finally arrived in Natchez Mississippi, but because we had a deadline to get Stephen's dog to him, a return trip to Natchez for several days is in order down the road.  We stayed at River View RV Park and Resort in Vidalia, is it really a nice campground.
The open area from the RV Park and the Mississippi River
Another view of the open area
A view toward the bridge over the river from the rv park
Our Campsite
Looking through the open area toward the club house
 It is right on the Mississippi River and was so peaceful and calm.  We will definitely stay here again when we return to tour Natchez Ms. and the surrounding areas.