Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Echocardiogram results2

Echocardiogram results day 2
Yesterday I thought that I'd receive my echocardiogram [ECG] results when Doctor Espinoza talked to my friend Jimena Schuster on the phone. Then, Jimena would tell me what the doctor told her. However, that was not to be!

Instead, the doctor asked me to leave a computer travel drive at the medical clinic. The doctor will download the ECG data to that travel drive and leave it for me together with my written ECG report. Then I will get together with Jimena who will translate my ECG report since this report is written in Spanish. I want to make sure that I understand the report completely. That is why I am getting help from Jimena to read it instead of reading it on my own.

12 noon - No ECG report today!
Pete, Jimena and I drove to the medical clinic to pick up my ECG report. However. the report was not there for us! It seems that the doctor promised more than he could deliver. Doctor Espinoza is employed at the IMSS Hospital and was not able to get away to come to the clinic in Tequisquiapan today.

Doctor Espinoza has promised my ECG report tomorrow, Wednesday, in the early evening.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Echocardiogram results

Echocardiogram results
Today cardiologist Doctor Ricardo Espinoza has promised to deliver the results from his study of my echocardiogram [ECG] taken last Friday. There are many things going on in my mind concerning the problems with my heart's aortic valve.
  • Dr. Espinoza told me immediately after the echocardiogram that it appeared I would not need aortic valve surgery at this time. However, he would need to study my ECG over the weekend to confirm.
  • Researching heart surgery, I've found that remarkable breakthroughs have been made in this field concerning minimally invasive techniques.
  • The Cleveland Clinic video below has comforted me a huge amount concerning my heart's leaking bicuspid aortic valve!
Click image to view video

Note: You may have to play video twice to stop the stuttering playback!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Re-engineering MsTioga

Re-engineering MsTioga
We on the TiogaRV Team have done a lot of re-engineering with MsTioga. One of our first re-engineering projects was replacing Tioga's cabover floor. It seems that when Fleetwood designed the "Front Cab-Over Section", two major blunders were made:
  • (6) 1/2" diameter holes were drilled thru the fiberglass cabover roof for routing of the clearance light wire harness and these holes were left unsealed
  • No mounting was provided in the cabover construction for securing clearance light fixtures
In the years prior to 2003, before Tioga joined The Team, rainwater entered these unsealed wire harness holes and destroyed the cabover floor. This was concealed damage which we did not discover until July, 2003. We replaced the destroyed cabover floor and collateral damage while at Wild Turkey Camp. This is a lovely forest boondock camp near Mount Rainier in the State of Washington.

You may read about our 2003 Wild Turkey Wood Shop that we set up to do these repairs by clicking [here] . Read until Monday July 28, 2003 to get the whole story.

MsTioga's engineering drawings
MsTioga was manufactured by Fleetwood Industries, perhaps the largest manufacturer of mobile homes and RVs in the world. Before Fleetwood Industries went bankrupt in 2009, the company maintained a wonderful Fleetwood Owner Relations Department.

We asked Owner Relations to mail us many engineering drawings for MsTioga. One set of drawings are the engineering specs for the Front Cabover Section that we are writing about above. We also have many electrical and plumbing spec sheets.

It is a terrible thing that Fleetwood Industries, who tried very hard to please its customers, did not survive the economic nightmare of recent years.

Note: We are still working to this day to resolve the missing mounting for the cabover light fixtures that we write about above. We on the TiogaRV Team are relentless, and never give up. Soon we hope to re-engineer a mounting system for the clearance light fixtures. Lately, we have been thinking about this mounting system every single day!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Aortic valve surgery

Aortic valve surgery?
The big question is; "Do I need aortic valve replacement surgery at this time?" According to Doctor Espinoza, my aortic valve is doing OK right now and no valve replacement is necessary. However, the final results from the echocardiogram study should be ready this coming Monday, and then I will know for sure.

Doctor Espinoza gave me an explanation of the initial results of the echocardiogram immediately after the ECG. I could not understand the doctor's technical English well enough to tell you for sure what he told me. That explanation had something to do with the measurements taken during the echocardiogram.

When I receive the final results on Monday, I'm planning on asking Jimena Schuster to talk to Doctor Rodriguez for me, because she is fluent in Spanish.

11AM - Off to Bernal!
Pete & Jimena drove by MsTioga to ask if I would like to go off to the Pueblo of Bernal and eat at El Chino Restaurante. Of course I answered, "Yes!"

After lunch at El Chino, we went to Bernal and walked around this lovely town. Bernal is a Mexican tourist town. Hardly any Gringos there. Tourists only are in Bernal on the weekend. During the week it is dead here.
Jorge, Jimena & Pete in Bernal

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day Nite Camps

Day and Nite Camps
As you may know, the TiogaRV Team has two favorite campsites here in the City of Tequisquiapan. Our Day Camp is on a rarely used street behind the Soriana grocery store. From Day Camp we overlook the reservoir/lake and the mountain southeast of town.

Our Nite Camp is on a quiet side street across from the Best Western Hotel. At our Nite Camp we are close to the center of town and are able to use the hotel's WiFi!

MsTioga and The Team like to make two camps. For us it's fun to go from one camp to another each day. We do the same thing when we stay in the Pueblo of Aticama during the winter and springtime. Our Aticama Day Camp is on the beach of Matanchen and Nite Camp is next to the Little River.
  • Nite Camping Info [link]
  • Day Camping Info [link]

Echocardiogram this evening
This evening I return to Doctor Espinoza's office for an echocardiogram [ECG]. The doctor explained to me during my appointment last Wednesday that the ECG will give information on the condition of my heart and especially the condition of my heart's aortic valve.

With the ECG, Doctor Espinoza will be able to advise me if an aortic valve replacement should be considered at this time. I was born with a bicuspid [two lip] aortic valve instead of the normal tricuspid [three lip] aortic valve. My bicuspid valve has developed leaks, or regurgitation back into the heart chamber.
Human heart

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Heart stuff

Heart stuff
In yesterday's blog I wrote to you about Doctor Espinoza wanting an electrocardiogram to evaluate my heart condition. My heart's aortic valve regurgitates, or leaks blood back into the heart chamber. What to do about that is the question?

So, this morning I am doing research using Blogger to learn more, such as [link]. I've even found a video showing the surgical procedure for Aortic Valve Replacement! [link]. Wow! Open heart surgery! Thrilling to contemplate undergoing such a thing as that!

My appointment with Doctor Espinoza for the electrocardiogram is at 7:30pm, tomorrow [Friday] evening.

10AM - Healthy breakfast!
This morning instead of a wonderful omelette filled with ham & cheese, I'm eating Kellogg's Extra topped with strawberries. Don't get me wrong. I like dry cereal and strawberries. But I feel hungry after the cereal breakfast.

If I continue eating like this, I bet my waistline plummets!

Cereal and strawberry breakfast!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Skype miracle

Skype is a miracle!
Today is the day that Social Security [SS] is direct deposited into my bank account. When checking the bank account today, the SS deposit was $7 less than usual. What's this?

Going online to my Social Security account found that there was some kind of an over-payment, and Social Security had adjusted the monthly payment amount to compensate. Apparently this $7 over-payment had been going on for 27 months and SS was going to reclaim a total of $189 from my November, 2010 SS payment.

I had not been to my son David's home for many months, so I'd not read notices mailed there by SS concerning these over-payments. The online information page gave me a 1-800 number to call if I had questions about what was going on. However, I have no phone to make this call. But I do have Skype!

Using Skype I phoned the Social Security 1-800 number. After talking to a computer for several minutes and giving that computer my personal ID info, I was transferred to a real live human being! Isn't that amazing? This live human woman looked up my info and answered all of my questions!

It is really fantastic that I can do all these things from Mexico using only my computer and a connection to the internet. Especially amazing is talking to the Social Security using Skype!

6PM - Doctor Espinoza
At my appointment with Doctor Espinoza he gave me an EKG and immediately after said that he wanted me to return Friday evening for an echocardiogram. My blood pressure is 140/80 and he prescribed Biconcor to lower it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Feeling great

Why do I feel so great?
Just a few days ago I was having trouble sleeping. When I went to bed I felt short of breath. But lately, I have no shortness of breath. When I go to bed, I go right to sleep. And sleep all nite long!

What is going on? Am I alone in believing that there should be consistency in events like this? I am darned happy to be feeling terrific. But confused too by this abrupt change. Ii's a miracle!

Now that I am getting lots of sleep, I've got a ton of energy. Yesterday all day was spent working on MsTioga. And I did not get a bit tired. Even at the end of the day I was not tired. Hmmmm?

9AM - Went over to Pete's place
The first thing we did this morning, is to go to the clinic to get the appointment for Doctor Espinoza. The appointment is tomorrow, Wednesday, 08/25 at 5:30pm. Then we headed over to Pete's to see what is going on with his home construction. On the way, MsTioga stopped at the propane place to fill her tank.

When we arrived at Pete's, we found his wife Jimena there sitting under a shade tree watching the building guys working. Pete came over and we all talked about what has been going on lately with their home construction

I mentioned to them both about a little restaurant that I found yesterday in Tequisquiapan. This restaurant serves blue corn gorditas. All three of us love blue corn foods. A gordita is a Mexican version of pocket bread. We decided to all go together to this little gordita shop for lunch.

After lunch we returned to the building site where one of the guys was completing the form for constructing an archway. I was very interested because I'd never seen an arch constructed before!
Pete looks at his archway

Monday, August 23, 2010

Doctor questions

Doctor questions
As I wrote to you yesterday, I'm going this morning to Doctor Espinoza's office to get an appointment. There are several questions for which I'd like answers:
  • Is my recent shortness of breath when lying down in bed due to heart problems?
  • Many times when I go to bed, I have no problems breathing. Why is that?
  • Last year I often had dizziness when lying down. Now I don't get dizzy. Why?
  • Do I need aortic heart valve replacement surgery at this time?
It seems really odd to me that I feel so good lately. If my heart's aortic valve is leaking enough to give me shortness of breath, shouldn't these breathing symptoms be consistent? Why do my heart related health problems come and go?

I am obviously a slow learner. I've known for over 30 years about the heart disease related to my bicuspid aortic valve. And I'm only now getting a handle on this thing!

8AM - Other things to do today!
You may recall that a few days ago one of Tioga's cabover clearance lites was replaced. This lite had a leak in it that caused rain to go inside the cabover area. Apparently my installation of this new lite was not good, because when it rained yesterday evening, there was still a bit of seepage coming from that fixture. Apparently I did not seal up the hold down screws adequately.

Also, the forward roof vent is still leaking a little bit. I've just about had it with these ongoing leaks, and want to seal them up forever. No more leaks!
  • This morning I'm going to buy some silicone sealant for the clearance lite hold down screws and seal these things up so that they do not leak anymore!
  • Sealing up this roof vent is not rocket science. I want to fix this vent leak today, once and for all!

12 Noon - Doctor and maintenance stuff
When we went to arrange for our appointment with Dr. Espinoza, the nurse/receptionist said that she must phone the doctor for my appointment. I am to return tomorrow morning to receive the appointment date.

After leaving the clinic, we went to a hardware store across the street and bought the silicone sealant that is needed to seal screw holes in the clearance lite fixture and vent cover. Then Tioga returned to our Day Camp behind the Soriana store.

It is now 12 noon. The work on the clearance lite and vent is complete. We also did our routine maintenance on Mr. Datastorm's Motosat antenna. This antenna maintenance included lubrication, re-painting where required and inspection. Mr. Datastorm's maintenance comes up in our Auto Maintenance Pro software program every four months [link].
Jorge doing Mr. Datastorm's maintenance

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Keeping Tioga going

Keeping Tioga going!
MsTioga will be 20 years old on April 16, 2011. What does it take to keep an RV with almost 20 years going? Well, it takes a lot of inspecting! We must look regularly at every screw, every part, every component. From MsTioga's roof down to all the stuff underneath MsTioga.

Rust is our enemy. Even inside MsTioga, stuff gets rusty. In 2003 we bought carpet runners to cover Tioga's original carpet. In order to hold the carpet runners in place, we used aluminum carpet hold downs. Recently we began replacing the screws which secure these hold downs. The old screws became rusty and needed replacement.

Yesterday we re-painted Tioga's exterior retractable step. We also repainted bolt heads inside the motor compartment. We must be constantly on the lookout for things like this that need maintenance. A few days ago we inspected Tioga's underside for rust and when we found it, sprayed with Must For Rust. Today we will go under MsTioga again and paint those Must For Rust places with Rust-Oleum Black Flat Protective Enamel.

We have found that the more maintenance inspections and work that we do, the easier it gets!

Medical self-diagnosis is wrong!
I went to lie down a little while ago, and could not get enough air! I got up and did a Google search for bicuspid aortic valve symptoms and found [this]. Reading this medical page I learned about the following symptom:

Shortness of breath, especially with exertion or when you lie down

Apparently my self diagnosis of a couple of days ago was completely wrong! My heart is not functioning well enough anymore. Darn! What a bummer!

Although I hate to go to doctors, it seems that I am now boxed into a corner. I'm going to have to visit my cardiologist here in the City of Tequisquiapan. I've got to find out for sure what is going on with this lack of air thing that happens mostly when I lie down. And I have to find out what to do about it!

My cardiologist is Doctor Ricardo Espinoza. His office is only a couple of blocks from my Nite Camp near the Best Western Hotel. I last visited Dr. Espinoza on June 20, 2009 [link].
A guy who hates going to doctors

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Schusters progress

Pete Schuster's progress
We've not been to Pete Schuster's construction site for several days and decided to head over there this morning. MsTioga was pretty close when we realized that today is Saturday, and the crew does not work there today.

So, MsTioga parked next to the front wall and Little Mavicita and I went up on Tioga's roof to take a peek at what has been going on!
Looks like all the brick walls are up!

More about my health
It likely seems odd to many Readers to find out that I am not doing everything I am able to do to extend my life to the maximum. I don't believe that I can explain my attitude to the satisfaction of all Readers. I did want you to know of my health challenges though. If I did not clue you in and then suddenly died, that did not seem like a fair thing.

You should know, that at 72-1/2 years old, I feel that I am in terrific shape. As I mentioned to you yesterday, I have no aches or pains! I am able to do most everything that I want to do. The sleep problems that I told you about yesterday, are not too much of a challenge for me. When I do not sleep at nite, I nap during the day.