Bored, But Keeping Busy

I am bored senseless waiting for the prosthetic leg.  It’s in the hands of the insurance company, and they would rather not spend any more money on me, I guess.  Not sure why else they would be dragging their feet to approve my leg.

But in the meantime, I dragged out the old white Frankencaster last night to exercise my fingers some.  The neck had shifted a bit and the A and D strings were buzzing on the frets pretty badly.  I tried raising the bridge but they still buzzed.  So I grabbed my hex wrench and went after the neck.  Looked like it had flattened out some, so I put a tiny bit of curve back in it and readjusted the bridge saddles.  This time it rang true, so I tuned it up and played for a while.  Afterwards I put the guitar away and let it sit until tonight.  Only minor string slippage on 2 strings, and still no buzz.  So I played for a while and set it down again.  I’ll check it over the next few days to be sure the neck adjustment holds.  I probably should check the intonation, but I’m a bit lazy, so it can wait.

Not bad for a cheap guitar.  It started life as an ugly polar-bear-pee yellow Squier Stratocaster, a decent beginner’s instrument with a pretty good neck.  But I wanted to practice my guitar tech skills so I tore it apart and added some extras.  First, I pulled the neck off and stripped the body, refinishing it to a bright gloss white.  It got new Fender Tex-Mex hot pickups, new volume and tone pots, and a new 5-way selector switch, plus I used copper tape to shield the entire electronics cavity and pick guard, and grounded it all.  Then I tackled the neck.  The plastic nut was replaced with a graphite one, the string trees were replaced with American Strat roller trees, and I drilled out the tuner holes, taking them from 8mm to 10mm to accommodate locking tuners.  I also added a Cross Section logo, then put a satin finish on the head stock and back of the neck.  Last items added were a pair of Dunlop locking strap buttons.

For a cheap guitar, it sounds and plays pretty good.  And I have the enjoyment of having done all my own modifications.  If I ever need to, I can remove almost all the add-ons and use them on another guitar.  And the Squier will still be the nice piece of firewood that it was when I started.  This Frankencaster will never match my Mexi Telecaster (which I also modified) or my PRS, but it is a guitar I can drag around and if it gets trashed, it is not that much of a loss.

I love having hobbies that allow me to work with my hands.  It’s nice to have something to keep me busy.  God blessed me with an eye for detail and a steady hand, so it is a natural thing for me to tinker with wood, metal, and electronics.  And yes, I do occasionally miss being a watch repairman.

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The Mystery Of Consecration

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A Little Detour

Sunday evening I went to the nursing home to visit my father.  When we got home at 7pm, Chris parked the truck at the bottom of the drive, then grabbed my wheelchair and took it in the house.  Haylea got my knee scooter out and brought it to my door.  I got out of the truck and onto the scooter and headed down the drive to go around the cars and into the yard.  That’s the last thing I remember until the ER.  From what I’m told, Haylea turned close the truck door and then she heard me hit the pavement.  Apparently, I lost  control of the scooter or the brakes failed, but I have a slight memory of going over the right side of the scooter.  I guess I tried to tuck and roll, because I have contusions on my right shoulder blade and the back right of my head. 

I have no memory of the following events, but this is what I am told happened.  Haylea ran to me and got me to a sitting position.  Linda looked out the door and said she saw me sitting in the street, so she yelled for Chris and they came out to help.  I have no memory of it, but Linda says I told them to bring out the wheelchair, which Chris did, and I got into it somehow.  After being wheeled inside, Linda checked my eyes and the pupils were not responding to a flashlight.  I was also disoriented and obviously not really ‘with it.’  Linda asked if she should call an ambulance and I told her no, just take me to the hospital.  I got out the door and into the truck and Linda drove me to the ER while Chris and Haylea followed in her car.  Linda says that all the way to the ER I kept asking where we were going and why, unable to comprehend that I had fallen and been injured.

I can remember some of the ER, but not all.  Got X-rayed and CAT scanned and in between seeing doctors and nurses, Linda, Chris, and Haylea treated me with TKM, using the ‘stop and seal’ technique, which stops bleeding.  Linda said later that blood was running down my neck from the head wound, but that I stopped bleeding pretty quickly. 

This is about the point where I began to remember things.  I remember talking to the ER physician, Dr. Nasser, who advised keeping me overnight for observation.  At midnight I got into a room on the 4th floor and a nurse came in and got an IV set up to hydrate me since I had nothing to drink since 4pm when I left the house to see my dad at the nursing home.  She asked if I needed pain meds, which I refused.  I had a headache but the pain was more irritating than debilitating.  Mostly, I just wanted to sleep.  OF course, a hospital is NOT where you go to rest, but I did manage to nap intermittently.  A phlebotomist woke me up at 3:20 to take blood and left the door open so I’d have plenty of light to sleep by (sarcasm intended).  There was a towel behind my head to keep blood off the pillowcase and I put it over my eyes so I could get a little sleep. 

At the 7am shift change a new nurse came in and took vital signs.  She asked me if I could stand up so she could get my blood pressure, and I refused.  She asked why, and I said ‘because I only have one leg!’  She decided to have me sit up to take readings.  The reason for taking vitals at different positions is that is normal treatment for brain trauma patients to see if there is a drop in blood pressure upon sitting or standing.  A physical therapist came by and had me use a walker to walk to the door and back to the recliner in the room.  

I asked how soon I could leave the hospital because I have appointments this Wednesday with a surgeon to approve my prosthetic and I’m starting pre-prosthetic therapy at a local clinic.  They said that was up to the doctor so I settled in to watch a National Geographic program about King Tut and Egyptology, since I knew doctors don’t make rounds until about 9am.  Pretty soon they cleared me to have breakfast, of which I was very glad, since I had been allowed no food or drink since the previous day.   A doctor came in about the time I expected, and she said I could go home after I ate and the release paperwork was finished. 

At 11am a nurse showed up with discharge papers which I was very glad to sign.  I called Linda to come get me, and when she got there a nursing assistant helped me into a wheelchair and took me to the front door of the hospital where I met Linda and got in the van for the ride home. 

Kayte and Kenny had posted prayer requests on Facebook, and many people responded.  I also had texted my Shabbat group with a prayer request.  I’m pretty sure that there was a minimum of 2-3 dozen people praying for me.  I want to thank all those who lifted me up to God for a blessing, and those who gave Him praise for the blessings I received and am still receiving.  I’m going to make it to my appointments this week, so I’m still on schedule for getting a prosthetic leg.  God is faithful!  Anyway, just an exciting little detour on the journey.  I still have memory loss of the two hours of so between the accident and the ER, but the headache is getting better.  Still sore to the touch on my head and shoulder, but no stitches needed and no bleeding after the TKM treatment.  I am ‘Happy, happy, happy!’ as Robertson says on Duck Dynasty.


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A Mighty Man Of Valor

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How Do You Worship?

Do you worship like a warrior?  Joshua did.

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Today’s Test Drive

Woohoo!  I’m really cranked!  I had an appointment at the orthopedics clinic today and I got to test drive the base model of my new leg!  I walked about 300 feet and get to go back next week to do more.  No, I don’t get to take it home.  Test drive only.  Here’s why:  The cup into which my stump fits is made out of clear plastic so the tech could spot problems with the fit, and that plastic is not strong enough to hold up to regular use.  But I am learning to put on the leg and take it off, and the tech got to make adjustments to the height of the leg and the pitch of the cup.  So we put it on and took it off several times, looking at my skin on the stump and around the knee for signs of irritation or trouble.  It is a good fit, so when the final cast is made and the prosthetic is produced, I won’t have any trouble with the fit. 

first steps

I am very excited!  Of course, I’ve got a long way to go before I can fly on  my own.  The bone and joint surgeon has to approve the orthotic, and the insurance company (ugh!) has to approve payment for it.  Then, I’ll go through some therapy to learn to walk properly with the prosthetic.  In about a month or so I’ll have to learn to drive with the appliance.  I’m planning to have Chris take me to the parking lots where I taught him to drive and let me switch with him and take over.  It will be self-teaching as I know of no classes I can take.  Now that’s scary, huh?


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The Inheritance

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You Have A Break Coming: Shakat

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Slow, But Moving Along

Got to go to the prosthetic clinic yesterday.  They are happy with the condition of my stump, though it needs to shrink further.  But they did take some measurements and made a cast for my first socket for a practice prosthetic leg.  I will have to go see a specialist and get an approval to go forward with a new leg, and then I will have to wait for the insurance company to approve it.  Finally, the socket will be made and the leg put together, then I can start to learn to walk with it.  I really hope that process does not include falling.  I fell earlier this week and landed on my left hip, which is still bruised and painful.  Oh, well, no pain, no gain.  I’m still working out daily and massaging my stump to keep scar tissue from attaching to the bone and creating future troubles.

So this is how it works:  I put on a ‘sock’ that is latex inside and fabric outside.  To make the cast the tech put another sock over the initial sock and marked on it where my bones and ligaments are with a special blue pen.  Then the cast material was applied and allowed to dry.  After removing the cast, the blue ink had transferred to the inside of the cast.  You can see this in the photos. 

Anyway, just wanted to post a quick update and let folks know how I’m doing.  The surgeon released me to use my knee scooter, which is more convenient for getting around in some instances, particularly inside the house, but I need the wheelchair for extended excursions.  I am considered house-bound by the doctor and disability services, which means that I am not to leave the house except for doctor visits or to attend religious services.  It is pretty physically and mentally stressful to get up and down the front steps, so I’m happy staying in the house most of the time.  Getting in and out of the van or the pickup is a piece of cake, but the front porch is a challenge, and I really do not want to fall on those concrete steps.  I have been able to go to erev Shabbat meetings the last 2 Friday nights, and it has been worth the effort.  Since the first of December, I have been missing the fellowship, worship, and study, (and the food!) so it’s really good to be back and spend time with my brothers and sisters.  Love that group!

Thanks to all those who have prayed and are continuing to pray for  my recovery.  I appreciate your prayer support more than you know.  My recovery would not be possible without you.  Yah bless you all and keep you strong and healthy, protecting you daily and supplying your needs and delivering you from the adversary.  Remember He is faithful to bless you, and His choice of blessings are better than anything you can imagine.  Trust Him.

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