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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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Crazy Summer and Frightening Fall

No, we haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth!!  But it has been a crazy summer with Mike’s ruptured
disc and all the treatments that went along with that!!   I will spare you the details but he has probably gotten as far as he can.  His back is good now but he did have nerve damage in his right leg and his right foot.  He continues to have something called “drop foot” that doesn’t bother him only sounds weird when walking!!

We haven’t been allowed to travel much so we’ve been pretty stationary at Escapees Park...Rainbow Plantation.  If you have to be stationary it’s a good place to be.

We watched many beautiful sunsets from the pier in Fairhope Alabama.  This pier overlooks Mobile Bay and is one of our favorite spots in the area.

We made a couple trips to Baton Rouge to visit our son.  Nothing blog worthy just a nice visit with family.  We stayed at the KOA which is not our favorite but happens to be the only decent park in the area.  A little pricey but convenient!!
This is the hallway into the banquet buffet we dined in for Thanksgiving          
The outside of the restaurant overlooking the Mississippi River

Just outside the restaurant

The frightening part of fall happened when Mike’s blood pressure became quite high and for six weeks remained that way while the doctor was trying different medications to bring it down.  Mike started to experience chest discomfort, heart palpitations and extreme fatigue.  We were alarmed and once again saw the doctor who had an Echocardiogram performed and we discovered Mike has mitral valve prolapse.  The doctor was concerned at how quickly this came about.  In August the doctor heard nothing when listening to his heart and now moderate regurgitation.  So another test was scheduled along with an EKG.  This showed no blockages...thank God!!  The final consensus was the prolonged high blood pressure had caused the mitral valve prolapse.  The stress from the pain and aggravation of the ruptured disc probably caused the high blood pressure.
The Good News—-the blood pressure is stable and the extreme symptoms are subsiding.  Mike still has heart palpitations but that can happen with mitral valve prolapse.   Yes, this was frightening!!  The heart is sorta vital for all of us!!!!

With that all said...we hope to be back in the saddle with our blogging!!  Hopefully we’ll be moving more now!!
We hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving and are looking forward to a grand Christmas season!!!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Baton Rouge to Natchez Mississippi

After being stationary for a couple months to complete physical therapy for me and treatments for Mike's ruptured disc and damaged nerve, we decided to make a trip over to see Stephen in Baton Rouge.  We got lucky because it was fall break for the students which meant  his work load was reduced and the added bonus was LSU was playing an away game.  So we were able to really enjoy some family time.  We stayed at the KOA in Denham Springs.

Monday we decided to head up to Natchez Mississippi and pick up on the sightseeing we started in June.  

We arrived at Riverview Campground in Vidalia, La around 2:00 and got all set up in our site facing the Mississippi River.            

This is a very nice campground with concrete pads and beautiful green grass...very clean!!                  

Once we got all set up we headed over to Roux 61 for some lupper!!  This restaurant was recommended by the campground and we were very pleased.  It is quite unique with a quirky cool atmosphere.  The portions were crazy generous and the food delicious.  

After getting our bellies full we made our way over to the Welcome Center where we learned more about the Natchez area and its unique history.  We gathered ideas of places we would visit and tour during the next couple days.  
Because it was getting late we decided to start by driving around in the historic area and get our bearings.  One place we wanted to see was Natchez Under the Hill.             

This area is part of the original Natchez and this street, Silver Street, is all that is now left.

  During the 19th century there was a Natchez proper and a Natchez improper.  Natchez proper was the town above and Natchez improper was the area below the bluffs where boats would dock.     
This is looking at Silver Street zoomed from my camera at Riverview RV Park

 During the 19th century this area developed a reputation of being one of the rowdiest ports on the Mississippi River.  Today it has cleaned up its act with restaurants, gift shop and a saloon.              

We had a busy and full day and look forward to exploring more of the history of Natchez!!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Birthday Celebration and Gordon

Sorry this post is late getting in, but we have had issues being able to get online with our laptop.                

Looking at the Pier in Fairhope
As you know, this has been quite the summer!!  With Mike recovering from his ruptured disc and going to treatments we have been pretty "site bound."   But September 2nd was Mike's birthday and since we hadn't gone anywhere in so long we decided to take a trip over to Baton Rouge to visit with our son and celebrate Mike's birthday together.                 
Downtown Baton Rouge from the Pier on the Mississippi River

 We left on Thursday, August 31 and arrived at the KOA in Denham Springs, La which is only several miles from Baton Rouge where our son lives.  Since this was a quick decision and it was a holiday weekend we found all the good sites to be filled.  We did manage to snag a fairly decent site and that was good enough for us.  

Since we have been here before and know the area pretty well we decided to do a little shopping while waiting on our son to get off.  
Unfortunately, our timing of the birthday and the holiday along with the opening of school at LSU we found ourselves with lots of shopping time.  That's ok....a little time together is better than no time.

He did manage to come over Saturday afternoon and spend some time with us at the Oliver before having to head back to campus and work.     

 Then on Sunday we had lunch together before he had to return for another "opening" activity.  Monday we did spend some time together as we had all decided to celebrate Mike's birthday on Monday with a really nice lunch out followed by a special cake back at his apartment.  The best made plans.......

All during this meeting up and shopping out in the Atlantic there arose such a storm.  A tropical storm named Gordon and it appeared to be heading right toward New Orleans but nobody knew for sure.  We kept watching and Monday morning "they" finally projected it to make landfall around Gulf Port, Mississippi.  The target looked like I-10 would be swamped by rain, wind and some flooding.  I-10 is of course the interstate we travel back to Summerdale and Rainbow Plantation on.  Since we were towing and didn't want to get into high wind gust we made a quick decision to leave as soon as we ate lunch and had our cake.

We hurried up and ate our lunch at Walk- Ons Bistreaux & Bar in Baton Rouge and then headed over to Stephen's apartment for the grand finale....the cake.  Unfortunately, we had to hurry on the one day he didn't have to hurry.                    

We left the KOA around 4:00 and made our way back to our site at Rainbow Plantation (Escapee Park) and pulled in around 8:00.  We have to stop quite often and let Mike walk and stretch due to his disc issue.  Once we got back we realized they were calling for high wind gust in our area of up to 70 mph.  Why stay for the high wind gust when you can do something more fun?         
The river below our site at Gunter Hill
Early the next morning we got up, never unhooked the Oliver, and headed a little further northward to Gunter Hill COE campground just outside of Montgomery, Alabama.      

We landed a beautiful site right on the river!!!  We stayed as long as the site was available!!       

 We had a great first day and the rest were a bit rainy.  This is a great COE campground and we have been here before and have never been disappointed.  We were able to rest and relax and get a few walks in and a few drives around the campground.         

 Our first time in this campground was during Green Eggs and Ham Casita Rally always held in March.  Even though there weren't any little eggs in the campground this trip it was still fun and enjoyable.                     


When we returned to The Plantation we found everything in good order and Praise the Lord nobody had any damage from Gordon.  I don't think the wind gust got quite as high as they predicted but thats ok....we enjoyed our detour to Gunter Hill!!                   

Sunset over Mobile Bay in Fairhope

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!!!