Tuesday, January 28, 2014

North Jetty - Nokomis Florida

The sun lured us out for another mini-bike ride today.  There are quite a few places within 20 or so miles of the house, but one of our favorites is the North Jetty.  There are several cuts where you can go from the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico.  This one has a long jetty and a park on both sides of the cut.
Lots of people coming out for a day on the beach now that we are fully into "the season".
Looking across the cut to the south jetty, we watched the dolphins frolicking amongst the boats going in and out to the Gulf.

Fishermen of all shapes and sizes:

Most were having success today:
Flounder for the bottom fishermen
Spanish Mackerel
Little Blue Heron
A whole tree full of Pelicans
The Jetty is a great place for looking for shells also.

The Learning Garden

After a month of mysterious symptoms and illness in Ron that we feared might even be fatal, we are miraculously back to more or less normal around here.  The weather has been beautiful for the past couple of days, and we've been taking some mini motorcycle rides.  Yesterday we went out to Placida, which is only about 20 miles from our house.  We explored all the interesting roads and developments that are off the beaten track and new to us.  We found this interesting brown park sign:  "Learning Garden" and decided to check it out.
It turned out to be the most interesting garden - all kinds of Florida plants that I see all the time and have wondered what they were.  Here we found a couple of acres on a little lake with neat gardens with cement walkways winding throughout and signs to identify all the plants!
This tree with pretty blossoms is called "Powder Puff"
I was surprised how many I already knew - like Hibiscus
Loquat, and some of the palms.
This was called "Bleeding Heart" but looked nothing like the ones we have at home.
Who knew Mahogany had a big fruit that was nearly as big as a grapefruit?
I've seen these beautiful lavender blooms covering trees, and wondered what they were.  Now I know:  Orchid tree.
Definitely a place to remember if I start wondering about the name of a plant.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mantee Viewing at Tampa Power

In 1986 when the Tampa Power plant began discharging warm water into a cove in Tampa Bay, they started noticing that when the weather was cold, the manatees began to congregate there. 

All the black spots you see are manatees
Now as many as 300 manatee have been counted in this area, and it has become a National Manatee Refuge.
There are walkways along the bay that allow the public to see the manatees up close.
There is a walkway through the mangroves
that extends out into the bay
where you can see huge fish and all kinds of birds
Snowy Egret
and pelicans, to name a few.
You follow Interpretive signs and recorded information messages throughout the walk.  For instance, manatees must leave the cove and go to the bay to find sea grasses to eat, and consume approximately 10% of their body weight daily.  They are vegetarians, carry their babies for 13 months, the babies are about 3' long at birth and weigh about 60 pounds, and calves remain close to their mothers for about two years.
There are fun things to do, a museum, and large picnic area.  There is no admission charged for any of the park, even for parking.
There is even an electric car charging station (not free, however).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Health's Slippery Slope

It's been a month since I posted to the blog.  Right around Christmas, my husband of 28 years suddenly developed weird symptoms that could have been attributed to:
  1. Heart attack
  2. Stomach cancer
  3. Pancreatic cancer
  4. Sinusitis
  5. Stroke
  6. Flu
  7. Crohn's disease
  8. Medicine side effects
  9. Panic attack
and many more.  Believe me, I searched the web and every one of the many medical books and journals I could find.  After he finally told me he was feeling really terrible, he confessed that he had thought he had an ear infection, so had been taking the penicillin and Cipro that we had brought back from Mexico in past years.  Further interrogation brought out the fact that not only had he been throwing everything in his "pocket pharmacy" (a pill bottle with several of every type medicine he has collected over the years) at it, but that he had decided that the blood pressure medicine he had been taking for 22 years made him feel worse, so he had stopped taking that altogether.  If this isn't a cautionary tale for NOT self-medicating, nothing will be.
Then Ron became a hot potato for the medical community - each doctor doing his best to eliminate his realm from consideration.  Five days in the hospital eliminated his heart as the problem.  Even with daily doses of heparin and nitroglycerin and a couple of new blood pressure meds, his heart was sound and we went home with the same symptoms. However, instead of his original blood pressure medicine, he now had four other medicines: 
  1. Metformin for blood sugar as they diagnosed him as diabetic;
  2. Lipitor for his slightly elevated cholesterol
  3. Zoloft for anxiety
  4. Atenolol for blood pressure control
  5. Xanax for when he had panic attacks
And a referral to an internist and then a digestive system doctor.  Then more tests:
  1. Colonoscopy
  2. Endoscopy
  3. Ultra Sound
  4. More blood tests
all of which were "nothing to worry about" - even though his symptoms continued.

After three weeks of careful diet control he is finally starting to feel better, but who knows why?  The Lipitor has given him terrible leg cramps and twitchiness, the Xanax and Zoloft caused him to feel like a zombie, so he has discontinued them and we are once again back to his original medicine:  Atenolol for blood pressure control, and the Metformin for the blood sugar control.  The blood pressure is still going up and down like a yoyo and the blood sugar also varies wildly.  He still can't sleep at night and still gets headaches. 

We are doing our best to return to a normal life, but things are still a bit shaky and he hasn't gotten his strength back to where we can go out on the motorcycle.  However, I'm hoping for more and better blog posts in the near future.