About Me

Pearl City, HI, United States

Friday, April 26, 2019

Are You Ready?



Copyright © 2019
by Ralph F. Couey

Spring and summer are often times when strong, even violent storms occur.  Such events are not unique to tornado alley or hurricane-prone areas, and it is prudent to make some preparations in advance.  Earthquakes, of course, don't require any season.  They just happen.

Basically, there are two scenarios.  One, if situations force people to flee their homes, such as floods or approaching hurricanes.  The other is if situations develop where people are going to be trapped or otherwise isolated for long periods of time due to disruptions of civil services.  Again, the aftermath of hurricanes and tornadoes, earthquakes, or if flooding isolates an area, effectively cutting people off from the outside world.  Regardless of where one lives, either scenario could occur.

Here in Hawai'i, the concerns center on hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.  And the odd nuclear missile threat.  People are continuously advised to prepare, but because people are people, almost nobody heeds those advisories.  After perusing some of the excellent publications available through Civil Defense and Emergency Management, I thought a discussion on how to prepare might be appropriate.

Let's first think about a situation where you might have to flee your home on short notice, for a number of very excellent reasons.  There won't be enough time to put your "Go Bag" together, and you could find yourself leaving behind items vital to survival.  While the term Go Bag might connotate a backpack, you might also think about a medium-sized wheeled suitcase.  As to what goes inside, here is a list courtesy of any number of government agencies.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

My Lap Band Life: Postop #3

Three Weeks and looking good.

Copyright ©2019
by Ralph F. Couey

That photo represents a kind of triumph.  I am wearing pants with a size 38 waist, something I haven't worn since I was 25.  Suffice to say, I am happy with my new profile, even happier that since the swelling hasn't gone down completely, I'll get even smaller.  So, adding it all together, since I started this journey in 2011, I've lost 214 pounds.

Every day I've seen marked improvement in the pain levels.  But as the numbing agents which were injected during surgery begin to finally wear off, I'm feeling some discomfort that is just enough to impair my concentration.  I have pain meds for that, but I'm only taking them when I absolutely need to.  I was a counter-drug analyst for seven years, so I am well-versed in the trap of addiction that opiates represent.  My activity levels have increased accordingly.  I'm now walking two miles per day, and will up that a bit in the coming week.  My new job involves a lot of sitting, and that makes the ab muscles stiffen up.  So, when I stand up, there is a moment of two of pain while things stabilize.  The more I move, the looser those muscles become, and hence the lower the pain levels.  

I had my third postop visit with the plastic surgeon and was told that everything is healing as it should.  The belly drain stayed in for an interminable 16 days, but was finally removed so I've been freed from the necessity of carrying the darn thing around my neck.

Sleep is still difficult, but not necessarily from the surgery.  I'm having to get up every hour or hour and a half to visit the restroom, which is odd because during the day I can go four to six hours between visits.  I have a call into my urologist to solve this particular mystery.

One of the interesting things is how low my appetite has been.  I eat very little, and that has helped my continued weight loss, which is now down to 204.  I am still drinking protein drinks to ensure I get my fill of that vital nutrient.  

Monday, April 01, 2019

Earning Wisdom


"If I had my life to live over again,
I would ask that not a thing be changed,
but that my eyes be opened wider."
--Jules Renard

Copyright © 2019
by Ralph F. Couey

I would wager that there's not a single one of us who hasn't indulged in asking the question, "What if could start life over again; what would I change?"

It's a self-directed inquiry rooted in that somewhat rueful life review where we remember the mistakes we made, the errors in judgement, and other slip ups that decorate our past.  We think that if we could go back in time and correct those missteps, then everything would be different, and better.  While there's some truth to that, we overlook the real value of those experiences.

There are two invaluable things we gain through life, education and experience.  Education is levied through formal education, but also through the far less formal classroom colloquially referred to as "The Street."  While it is important that we reach a certain point knowing how to do most math, identify proper sentence structure, and an appreciation for human history, it is where that structured information mixes with sometimes harsh reality where true understanding is reached.  

The context of human experience is vital in the appreciation of what we know.  One can read and study about poverty, but until you plant your footsteps in the soil of Africa, you will never appreciate what true poverty really is.  One can also read about hate, but until you are face-to-face with someone who is consumed to the point of violence by that hate, you will never understand the power of that emotion.  It is, as they say, the difference between knowledge and street smarts.