Saturday, November 29, 2014

Oceanside Orca Whales?

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Friday, October 24, 2014

Rehab Continues on the Back

A month ago I posted about early healing progress--about two weeks post surgery.  Today I am about six weeks out.  I just finished a walk of ten blocks with a cane around my neighborhood.  I'm still experiencing plenty of pain but making progress with that also. 

When you have spinal surgery an odd thing occurs in parts of your body.  You wake up with all sorts of new pain and numbness in places that were normal beforehand.  I woke from surgery with a left knee area--a large area including the kneecap--that felt like it was beaten with a stick a bunch of times.  It also had different spotted areas of numbness within.  Strange.  I also woke with the top half of both of my butt cheeks (oo la la) mostly without feeling, except a very general pressure feeling.  Much of that is still there--and I had none of that before surgery.

The low back would get boring if I went over that again.  I have a big, supportive brace that I wear.

I'm still reading other swim blogs and enjoying the water through write-ups and photos on other blogs.  Thanks.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A couple of weeks post surgery

Hi. The pain from surgery is heavy still and I think it will become my long-term companion.  Surely, physical rehabilitation was meant for younger folks.  I walked with the walker 100 feet up the small hill to the corner and back to the house this morning.  I am making it a three-times-daily event.

A dip in the ocean is a long way off; I have yet to hit the shower since surgery.  Tomorrow is shower day.  Staples were removed yesterday.  Wound healing well.  I can get in/out of bed much easier now.

My doctor's instructions are walk, walk, walk.  OK, OK, OK. 

There has to be a goal of some sort to energize the soul.  Mine is the swim, even though I don't know whether I'll fully swim again.  I can see myself in the water but swimming a smooth crawl stroke may be beyond my body's future abilities.  A bad neck, one bad shoulder, and waiting for this back to return to use fill my plate, but I can make adjustments. 

For now I'll do my little exercises and plan for slow, steady progress.  This will lead me downstream toward the beach.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Will He Swim After He Gets His Bionic Parts?

Tomorrow is a big day for this half-assed swimmer.  I get my spinal fusion surgery, L5-S1.

The rehab process is something that I don't want to experience, but that is my lot.  My hope is that there are ocean swims ahead for me still; I so miss the cold chill of the water.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lightning Struck at the Beach

     Yesterday at Venice Beach

I don't know anything about lightning, except that in the US it strikes most commonly in Florida.  This is another reason why I will never go to Florida.  My paramount reason for avoiding Florida is the presence of alligators.

So, this poor fellow is in the wrong place at the wrong time, for sure.  And fourteen others left buzzing by the strike.  Things like this are why we don't worry about sharks in the water. 

By the way, I am STILL waiting for insurance approval to get my back surgery.  I am now a big fatso who does nothing.  The insurance is making me see a neurologist/surgeon--only four more days to wait for that appointment.  This is a one-month wait to see this guy as a mandatory second opinion.  I bet I'm in the office for ten minutes.  What I don't get is that my L3, L4, and L5 discs are all herniated or leaking or bulging, and the technical description goes on about L3 & L4 damage, BUT the orthopedic surgeon plans to fuse just ONE disc (L5 to S1).  Seems to me you'd fix all three discs but what do I know?

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ironically, this is good swimming news for me in Oceanside.

     I just looked up in this blog and my last swim was three months ago.  And I was barely in action for a few months before that.  I started the blog as an aid to my recuperation from neck surgery.  Cervical fusion C5,6,7.  The blog put pressure on me to get my lazy butt in the water.

     So my good news yesterday is that I need another spine surgery, this time a fusion of L5 to S1.  And along with that I get to rehab myself again.  My L3 and L4 aren't in great shape but no fusions there yet.  My doctor's theory is you go forth and suffer until you can't stand the pain any more.  Then you get more testing and await the insurance approval for surgery. 

    Surgery will be in approximately six weeks and the initial brace afterward is for two or three months.  I'll plan to start water work after that or while wearing the brace, depending on the type of brace and recovery.

    It took me four months to rehab from my neck surgery before I could trust it to use it.  At least I'll have something to write about again in a month or two.  This swimmer is feeling hopeful again. 

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Monday, April 28, 2014

Takes Major Guts to Swim Off New Zealand

I copied this amazing photo taken by vetstreet of Adam Walker doing a swim that most of us couldn't even walk.  These Cook Straits are known for the presence of sharks. This photo captures one dolphin of a pod of dolphins that accompanied Adam for a while on his swim.  It was reported that a great white shark also accompanied Adam for an hour or so on the swim and that the bunch of dolphins kept the shark safely away from the swimmer. 
What strikes me is the body position and form of the swimmer.  His legs are high; his body above the waist is quite high in the water.  I wish I had some of that body position.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I Read a Great Post by Evan Morrison Yesterday

This post above has nothing to do with me but one can gain some insight into how far ladies can push themselves when self-challenged. 

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Friday, March 28, 2014

Putting My Swim Blog on Hold for Now

      Just a brief note to blog followers that I am suspending my blog for the time being due to health reasons.  I hope to return here.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Oh my goodness. I felt salt water again--after a month.



I looked at the date of my last post--February 20th.  I swam with fins.  Well, apparently the fins don't help a guy with discs in the low back that like to move and, at worst, pop out of place.  That is what happened to me after my last swim and I spent days on my back regularly howling in pain.  Caution to readers: Don't rodeo.
Anyway, for the good stuff.  Today I needed to go to the beach because I, because I...well, I NEEDED it.
So I was surprised to see that Spring Break vacation has come to Oceanside.  The parking lots were 3/4 full and many more people than usual were enjoying a gorgeous 74 degree day.  No clouds, no wind, no crowds--just right. 
And the water was beautiful.  It was high tide and rising with a green-blue hue to the ocean.  Flat surface.  No current.  Water temperature was a warm 62-64 degrees. Wow! That's summer water.  The waves for the surfers were beautiful: a long interval between waves of 2-3 feet.  About 20 surfers were on the south side of the Pier today.  Plenty of room for more.
I had expected a chilling swim today and when I opened the trunk of my car I saw that I had forgotten my bathing suits that I usually wear.  I had to wear an old wetsuit--it's thin: 1-2 millimeter, I think.
No time was needed to adjust to that water temp.  I slowly swam out, watching to stay clear of surfers, and had to rest just past the break.  No wind.  I am sooo out of shape now.  I swam out for ten minutes or so and wasn't going anywhere.  But is was so nice just to lie on my back and feel that water.  My disc is still not right so the swim was just a mental health swim today. 
Gosh, why do I wait to get out there?  I hope to write another swim post soon.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kicking About with Wetsuit & Fins

That top picture today is of an unusual sight--after I was out of the water I caught sight of a person swimming in--presumably returning from a swim around the pier. He looked like one of the thin, fit, triathlon people that I'm jealous of.  I ended that sentence with an obvious dangling preposition and it bothers me, but I don't want to rewrite it.  The water was a cold 58 degrees with an airtemp of 78 degrees today.  It was rough with three to four foot steady pounding waves very close to one another.  Just from the car I could tell that I wouldn't be able to get through it, so I went with fins.  That other swimmer must be pretty good because he got out on the south side--the rougher side of the pier.  Those good swimmers amaze me. 
I even had a mildly hard time kicking through the surf zone.  Out of shape.  The water was beautiful and clean.  Strong surge to the south.  More people than usual enjoying it.  I kicked it out for twenty minutes and called it a day.  Very nice.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Got Wet Today -- Almost Three Weeks It's Been

I think about going to get in the water every day, but the body is weak, and at times the mind is too.  This morning I didn't have much back pain and I was ready to go.  The problem was my edge.  What's that?  Well, my edge is my nerve, my wild streak.  I sat in the La-Z-Boy for more than an hour knowing that I had to go in the water but not having the guts to do it.  What does Nike say?  "Just Do It."   If only the whole thing were just that easy.  
67 degrees at our house.  68 at the water.  More folks than usual getting sun under the lightly-clouded sky.  A dozen surfers near the pier.  The waves were a solid four feet with a short interval of time between them: 9 seconds.  They were coming in and breaking straight parallel to the sand, no angle to them for the surfers to ride.  I went in with swim suit and it was cold: 58 degrees.  My fingers got numbed up after a few minutes.  The problem was that trying to get out (past the breakers) was problematic.  I'm diving under waves and coming up to face another wave in a few seconds.  I kept repeating this scenario over and over.  There was a stong south current today that pulled me toward the pier. (I got in north of the pier a ways).  I couldn't get out.  Needed fins.  I came back in and looked for shells and felt the enterprise was a success for me.  It helped me work on getting my edge back and made me feel good.  The water was beautiful.  Clean, foamy, refreshing.   

Friday, January 31, 2014

Dirty Water--Oh yeah it rained yesterday

It was nasty down at the beach at 2:30 PM.  It rained a little bit yesterday--I forgot--and all the junk flows down to the ocean.  But since I was already there I went in and kicked around with the fins and wet suit for a half-hour.  It was cold.  The water was a big choppy mess.  There were a few 4 footers every few minutes or so.  The tide was very low.  No good shells to gather either.  One guy went in for ten minutes while I was there to surf but gave up quickly.  I hope I don't get sick.
"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I LOVE THE OCEAN--Just some thoughts I put together this morning

            I love the ocean.  I love to study the water, the time it takes your body to get used to the cold, the foam after a wave breaks, the saltiness—gosh, so much to love at the beach.  I love the lightness of a bubbling wave spraying me as I face into the oncoming rush, like carbonation from a shaken bottle of club soda.  I don’t care much for a beach with more than a couple of dozen people on it; I don’t want anything to do with crowded beach parking and families hustling their kids with all their equipment to the sand.  A towel and a bottle of water seems like enough to me.
            I mean to say that I’m glad that others love the beach and the water, but I just don’t want to be there with them.  It’s a sad thing in a way.  There’s loneliness in my solo swims.  I can’t share the beauty and excitement of hundreds of pier and beach swims with my family because they’re not beach people.  I’m reminded of being on deck of a carrier when I was young—there were times, beautiful scenic times underway, when flight ops were shut down, and walking the deck in absolute amazement at the endless, flat surface of the Indian Ocean, that I wished my old best friend from childhood was there alongside me to share the awesome experience. 
            I love the myriad colors of the ocean—the greens, blues, and grays, and the blends of color in between.   I love the breaking wave, to observe it from the side as it builds its volume of water, organizes itself, and starts to approach its turn to crest.  Watching the inside of a wave as it curls is a thing of beauty, and with surfers doing their graceful magic dances my pleasure is enhanced. 
            I love being beyond the breakers, watching them from behind as they form their swell, peak, crash, and generate their foam—sometimes angry, sometimes gentle.  Gosh I love being behind a large wave, say a twelve-footer, as I easily move up and down with the large, friendly swells before the wave forms up, takes its turn, and does what it must do. 
            Rarely, the waves are difficult to navigate through—perhaps the size is just too scary or the interval between them is short and the pounding of repeated waves is too much on the body and lungs.  But guess what?  I love this too.  Selecting a spot of water that you think you can penetrate is exciting.  Going into a raging, surging, overhead of white water and trying again and again to come out the far side is absolutely excellent.  It’s fins for me but my manliness is not in jeopardy because of that.  That’s just safety.  And many a day I’ve worn a swimmer’s safety vest also.  I love my gear too.  I love carrying my fins on one hand, my hand through the loops of both fins leaving my hands free for safety.  It takes me back again to my Navy time and training.  I love how it feels to kick my legs in the water back and forth with my fins on--the muscles of the legs working with the fins, rotating from my hips, and counting off kicks alternating a slower and quicker pace. 
              I love getting cold in the water.  There’s a crispness that heightens my senses and motivates me to do more.  I enjoy the cold water on a beautiful day, but even more I love an angry ocean--the misty, fogged-over day with both the waves and the ocean’s surface unable to find their customary shapes.  Instead, a windy, choppy, splashy, washing-machine mess is outstanding for my frame of mind.  And throw in a current, why not?  You can’t enjoy that with your family out there with you.  But you can imagine your old best friend alongside kicking and stroking it out with you.  Afterwards you’d do the towel dance getting changed, pull on heavy hooded sweatshirts, and find a hot cup of coffee.  Damn.  What could top that for a day at the beach? 
            Oh, and one last thing—in the water we all get the fear.  I love the fear; it makes you feel alive.  I’ve always felt that if I’m smooth and regular in my motions in the water the sea monsters will leave me alone.  Smooth strokes and flowing kicks are my friend.  The sea dwellers will take a look at me, see that I belong there, and glide on past.  The splashing arms, sloppy, frenetic kicks of a swimmer with too much fear are indicators that you need more training.  But not to worry; the ocean is a constant and when you are ready to train, you’re welcome.  One thing is for sure: there is plenty of room out past the breakers.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Relaxing Swim Today--Just Kicking With Fins

The water was at an extremely low tide when I got there and took these photos.  Very low tide!  I looked for shells and eased into the water with wet suit on.  59 degree water but I felt wimpy in it today.  Nobody in on my side of the pier--right side of these pictures as you look at them.  I relaxed and kicked back and forth with the fins.  The waves were small--1-2 feet, and grew to 2-3 feet as I was in.  Just a half-hour of water therapy.  I did step on something slimy and slippery that moved when I stepped on it, so a tiny bit of excitement there.  Then after I got out seven guys were doing gymnastics and capouera on the sand.  They were happy!  The end.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Strong Surge Today

Again it has been a while since I got wet.  Yesterday and today I felt better so I got my lazy butt down to fabulous Oceanside, CA.  There was one surfer north side and one surfer south side.  Nothing good to ride; the waves were big but closing out horizontal to the sand mostly into a big, white, surging, foamy hunk of loveliness.  The surging foam was pulling to the south moderately.  I wore the wet suit and warm hood and just kicked it out around past the breakers.  The water felt nice after ten minutes; just kicking on my back with fins relaxing and easing up and down with the rise and fall of the swell is sweet.  I stayed in maybe twenty-five minutes and got out because I didn't want to overdo it on my back.  A nice day for me.  Then when I was cleaning my junk out of my car when I got home I stuck my finger on a safety pin while reaching into a car crevice to get my wedding ring.  In my cursing and shaking my hand my ring disappeared.  I looked around everywhere imaginable but I can't find it.  I may have to invest another hundred dollars again for a replacement ring.  If I do that will be my third hundred dollar wedding ring.  And, oh yea, "The first time you quit is the last time you try." 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday Kicking with Fins

I was going to swim as I did the last few days, i.e., not for long and without wet suit.  Well, I forgot my goggles and my watch, so I donned the wet suit and fins, and my very warm neoprene hat, and went for a kick.  I went out just past the small waves, lay on my back, and kicked away up the beach and back.  It was nice.  My wind is getting better and my low back felt like it was getting some good exercise. 
Before I got in, I chatted with a couple down from Michigan for the winter.  The wife was walking slowly like me, plus a cane, and we talked about the water here a bit and there (Lake Michigan) for a bit.  I asked her about being gimped up--I suppose I should have use some better terminology--but she didn't seem bothered by it.  Well, she told me she had problems with her discs (lumbar) and so we were off to the races with disc talk.  "Do you get those spasms where you sit up," she queried me.  "Oh, yeah, I get those about fifty time a day."  "I get them when I'm lying down in bed," she says, and I tell her, "I get them when I'm sitting down."  Oh, ha ha ha...blah blah blah.  We're at that stage of life now.  Great (not).  End of story.
"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I feel like I'm getting used to the cold water again-a little so far

A handful of surfers today looking at some small waves.  Good visibility--about 8 feet in spots.  Water temp the same at 58 or so degrees.  I just swam out and did an arc back in for a swim of 15 minutes.  I didn't get used to the water until about 12 minutes, I'd guess.  But the brain is improving for now--and the old body too.  A beautiful day at the beach for a $2.00 close parking spot right on the sand.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Good Blogs About Swimming. Real Swimming,not my candy-ass dipping my toes in the water

From Ireland, and including great photos of people and the country is

From the US, the blog      farther, colder. rougher--that says a lot

From Monterey Bay, CA,        swim year-round up north

From Central CA, Avila Beach Swim Club,

Good, motivating reading.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Quick Swim Today--A Replay of Yesterday


I'm having a hard time getting my photos and words lined up today so I'll stop at two pics.  Today was almost identical to my short swim yesterday.  59 degree water temp.  Face hurts swimming in that.  12 1/2 minutes only today.  I'm still cold about an hour and a half later.  Boy, I really need to get acclimated to freezing again.  It felt good.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday Oceanside CA Brief Dip

  I got in the water for a few minutes today without a wet suit. 
Our weather is beautiful here; I'm sorry for the vast majority of the country experiencing unnaturally cold weather lately.  But I'm not moving back there; nor would anyone want me back anyway.
Oceanside was quiet today.  Plenty of parking spots.  A handful of friends and families, and there were several surfers trying to look for a wave of any surfable size.  It was soooo flat.

I only swam for 12 minutes.  58 degrees feels colder than it used to.  Visibility was good-about 8 feet. A good quick visit.   "The first time you quit is the last time you try."