A Birthday Milestone, a little Football, X-Rays, and an MRI

I’ve been a little remiss in getting information out to all of you who think there’s a need to keep tabs on me for various reasons, so here I am to bring you as up-to-date as possible.

Before I get going, however, I must report the most important news for this day, the 23rd of October which just happens to be my favorite Daughter’s, Jennifer’s, 40th birthday. Here she is at 6-years-old – she’s the one on the right.Jennie 1981

Here she is a little older …


She’s a very lovely, very special Lady.

Using my handy-dandy calendar, the one on my computer, I will do my best to report events in chronological order unless, of course, I either see something shiny or a squirrel runs by my window. Should that happen, all bets are off and you will be at the mercy of my random thought generator.

Since October 14th, the date of my last post, we have attended three of Lydia’s soccer games (won 2 lost 1), spent three days in the RV in a field in Hood River, went to see my local doctor because stuff hurts, got an X-ray, played golf, had an MRI, fasting blood work, attended a meeting at our church with the ladies who write all the checks, and attended a Scappoose High School football game against Seaside.

That’s about it. But, I suspect you’d be more interested in the details of some of those events, particularly the one about staying in the RV …

Regarding that … we joined our Winnebago friends in Hood River, at the Hood River County Fairgrounds, so we could enjoy traveling the Fruit Loop through the numerous orchards that dot the countryside around Hood River. There’s a bunch of them and they are all selling tons of fruit. Since we like fruit, we bought some gigantic Jonagold versions at $.50 a pound. That’s only if you buy 20 pounds or more. If not, they are $.89 a pound. I got 23 pounds for $11.50. That was most of an entire box. I love those things. They are my evening snack along with a piece of Tillamook cheddar cheese.

Everything went nicely on this short little visit until we were well on our way home. That’s when the transmission started giving me fits. We’d be flying along just fine then it was like the transmission just shifted to neutral and the engine revved up a bunch. Then smoke started pouring out behind us making it difficult for me to see how close people were following. That really wasn’t a problem, however, because everyone passed me and no one was following us. The problem was the transmission was losing fluid from somewhere that I couldn’t find during a quick stop to see what was the matter. The smoke was from transmission fluid burning off the exhaust pipe on the left side of the engine. I looked all over for a possible leak but it was difficult to pin it to just one place because pretty much the entire bottom of the transmission and the frame was covered with the stuff. Still, I looked, hoping to get lucky. At this point we were about 50 miles from home and I wasn’t in the mood to spend the night parked alongside the road. So, I dug around in the from part of the RV and discovered a nearly full quart of transmission fluid which I poured into the proper receptacle to, hopefully, top off what was missing. I knew, from prior experience, that a relatively small amount of viscous material, like oil, and transmission fluid, could cover an astounding area making one think the reservoir must surely be dry, but it isn’t.

Once the fluid was added I cranked the rig up and shifted to reverse and D a few times to see what would happen, got the appropriate response, put it in D and took off down I-84 West once again. We made it all the way to Warren when things took a decidedly bad turn in that no amount of coaxing would provide enough friction in the transmission to increase the speed even a little. The result was that we coasted slowly to a stop. Knowing this was going to happen gave me an opportunity to get off Highway 30 onto Old Portland Road, across from Bennett Road, with enough forward momentum to ensure the coasting stopped in the Moose Lodge parking lot. That rig would not move another inch. I tried.

We were towing the PT Cruiser most of the way but figured removing that tow weight might be easier on the RV transmission. So, it was available for Diane to make a run to Wal*Mart to get some more transmission fluid for just one more effort to got that next 2 miles to home. There was just enough of everything to do that with nothing to spare beyond parking it off the street. What a trip. It took us 5 hours to make what is normally a 2 hour ride. But, we made it.

The next morning I got up and tried to figure out where all that fluid was going, but didn’t have any luck. So, I decided to do something else and went to our Lions Club meeting. I went alone because it was Diane’s bunco night with the girls. I told everyone at the meeting where she was, of course.

The next day, Tuesday, I went to visit one of the Legacy doctors at the local free clinic to make sure I didn’t have any STD’s and to see if they could do something about my left arm which had been a problem all weekend. I made an appointment the previous day so they were expecting me.

After poking, prodding, and asking a zillion questions it was determined that I needed to have an MRI of my left shoulder and X-rays of my left wrist to see what was up. The X-ray was done right away and the next day I received the news that my left wrist was severely diseased. I know that sounds kind of like my wrist was in such terrible shape that my hand was in danger of falling off. Not quite the case. It’s just that those little tunnels in the wrist bones through which blood vessels pass to give me warmth and feeling to my hand are severely restricted which causes my hand to be cold most of the time and to ache pretty much all the time. It’s been that way for about 20 years. I’ve tried to get doctors to amputate it, but none of them would because all the fingers still worked. So, I’ve just lived with it. You may be happy to know that I don’t have any STD’s. I know Diane is.

But the shoulder was something else … It keeps me awake long into the night and wakes me up sometimes when I finally to get to sleep. It needs to go, too, but I know I’ll have to keep it. So, I’m curious to learn the results of the MRI I had yesterday. At 0715 in the morning. That means we had to leave town at 0615 to make sure I made it on time.

Since I don’t normally do well in MRI machines, I was given a Valium to ease the tension, allowing me to lie very still with no fear that I would have to claw my way out of that tube before it collapsed in on me. Nope. It all went just fine and I was deemed to be a model patient for that procedure.

Later that afternoon we went to school to watch another one of Lydia’s soccer games. Unfortunately, they lost 1-0. It was a good game. Directly after the game Diane took me home to get my car so I could drive myself to my American Legion Meeting at the Moose Lodge. It’s been deemed advisable for me to attend those meetings because I’m the Sgt. At Arms for the group and I’m sure you can imagine how rowdy a bunch of old Viet Nam vets can get when they’re off their meds.

That brings us up to today and the news that I discovered the reason all the transmission fluid disappeared. There’s a little rubber tub connected to the bottom of the radiator and a rigid line running to the left side of the transmission. There’s a matching tub on the right side of the radiator that is flexible indicating it’s been replaced. The one on the right was hard like a rock and it was leaking around the brass fitting. So, I took it off. In doing so it pretty much fell apart. I took the pieces to both of our auto parts places, NAPA and CarQuest and neither of them could produce a replacement. Turns out I’ll have to take it to a specialist and have one custom-made. Maybe tomorrow.

This evening we decided to attend the Scappoose High School football game because they are playing really well. They are 11-0 on the season and made it 12-0 after stomping Seaside 55-6. The tone was set when Seaside kicked off and Scappoose ran it back for the first touchdown. During the course of the game Scappoose intercepted 3-4 passes and ran most of those back for touchdowns, too. It was pretty bad. So bad, that we found ourselves hoping Seaside would score at least once, which they did.

Now it’s late and I must quit. Need to rest up so I can search Portland and the surrounding area for a place that will make the connector I need to resurrect the Winnebago. When that’s done, it’s going on the blocks and we’re going to buy a trailer.

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