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".

Our Friends

Saturday, August 25, 2018

We Got A Lot of 'Splainin' to Do...

Where have Mike and Gerri been?  Wow!!  That’s a long story so I won’t bore you with all the details but the short version goes something like this.                              

Mike has continued to really suffer with these ruptured discs.  His leg is painful and the top of his foot extremely painful.  He's been doing spinal decompression along with laser and Estem treatments.  He still cannot wear long pants because anything touching his leg gives way to pain and he's been wearing flip flops because nothing can touch the top of his foot...very sensitive to touch.  He had a lumbar epidural two weeks ago and he feels like it helped some.  He can now wiggle his toes and has some feeling in the big toe. He is scheduled for another September 13th.  It has become quite obvious that this will take some time.          

During all of this I have been doing the chores for both of us.  As you all know, we have a young Golden that at this time was learning to walk on the leash and be a "good boy".  Well, he pulled a bit whenever I would walk him and low and behold the back of my knee began to hurt whenever I was walking.  I didn't pay too much attention to it....just kept on going.  Until.... one day I was in a bit of a hurry and got into the truck a little too fast and felt a pop or snap in the back of my knee.  I grabbed it and screamed because the pain was immense.  I couldn't walk...not a bit.  I got home and managed to get out of the truck which wasn't a pretty sight but I got out.  I also had to butt scoot up the RV steps to get inside.  I got in bed where I remained for 6 days....yes, you read that right, 6 days!!  I elevated the leg, iced it on schedule, compressed it from time to time and mainly just rested it.  I couldn't go to the doctor yet because I couldn't get into the truck.  The nurse I talked to felt that what I was doing was good and didn't sound like anything was broken or fractured so I could wait a few days to see the orthopedic doctor.  It turns out that when my appointment day came I still couldn't get into the truck so we rented a car for the occasion.                

The doctor took a few x-rays and did his exam of the knee and then asked me why I felt it was a knee problem?  Oh my!!  Maybe because that's where the pain is and where I heard and felt that awful pop/snap??  He said he felt it was my back, osteoarthritis and a weak hamstring.  I have continued to improve each day and no longer have to use crutches.  It took the longest time to figure out those RV steps.  I googled know you can google anything these days.  It said to use the heaven/hell approach.  The good leg is heaven and it goes UP the steps.  The bad leg is hell and it goes DOWN the steps.  I tried it and it works!!

Today was physical therapy day!!!  The therapist did her own exam of the knee and concurred it was osteoarthritis, a weak hamstring and IT Band Syndrome...which means Iliotibial band.  This is the pain I felt on the right side of the knee and behind the knee each time I would walk and probably what I felt "snap" when I got into the truck.  She saw no evidence of a back problem...Yay!!            

So this is what we have been doing for nearly a month!!   I apologize for not being on the blogs lately.  I (we) have read your blogs but just have both been too tired and hurting to be on line long enough to write comments.  Hopefully, we are getting back in the saddle again.         

We did manage during some of the time before my injury to get to the pier in Fairhope and see some beautiful sunsets and cloud formations.  Since we haven't traveled anywhere except to the hospital, doctor's offices and physical therapy I thought I would spare you that excitement and instead share some of our evenings on the pier at Mobile Bay!!  I hope you enjoy...we sure did. 



Today on Facebook my friend, Ruth Hiebert wrote this....

"God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in flowers and clouds and stars".                 

Thank you, Ruth for that insight!!!  He sure does!!!

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!!